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  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Seder Night

Karpas & Maror Brachot


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar 29, 5773
Hello, Our sages require us to have the maror in mind when saying the bracha boreh peri ha’adama over the karpas. However, Achilat Maror is said after Motzi Matza. Can one not argue that there is no requirement of thinking about the maror when saying the the bracha over the karpas since motzi matza covers the meal, i.e. whatever is eaten after motzi matza? I know, technically the maror is not part of the meal but since it comes with two components (the eating of a pri adama and the mitzvah achilat maror), it seems to me that eating it could be covered by the motzi matza. Otherwise we could say, we also should have the maror of the korech in mind when saying the bracha over the karpas? Thanks for clarifying
Shalom, As Passover gets closer and we start to prepare for the festival, learning the laws of the Seder night is certainly worth investing time and effort in. So, with that in mind, it's lovely to get your question and have a chance to review some of the details of the Seder. You are correct in writing that when saying the blessing for the Karpas one should have the Marror in mind (see the Mishna Brurah 473, 55). The reason for this is that there does in fact exist an argument as to whether the Marror needs it's own blessing of "ha-adamah" or not. That is, is the Marror, which is eaten after we wash and eat Matzah, a separate entity from the Matzah, and so it would need it's own blessing, or, because we are commanded to eat it on this night, together with the Passover lamb and the Matzah, it is an integral part of the meal, and is covered with the blessing over the Matzah. This argument is the root of three halachic questions surrounding the Karpas and Marror. The first is, as you point out, do you need to keep the Marror in mind when saying the blessing over the Karpas, and if you didn't, do you need to make a new blessings on the Marror? Secondly, should you eat a keziyit of the Karpas or only a small amount. A keziyit could mean an after blessing on the karpas perhaps, and raise the question of if the Marror needs a new blessing. And thirdly, would an after blessing be said on the Karpas, if one did in fact eat a keziyit, and if so, does the Marror need a new blessing? In truth this question can be traced back to the Rishonin. See, for example, Rav Ovadya Yosef's Shoot Hazon Ovadyah, (chapter 18 - or in the work Hazon Ovadyah, Pessach, page 99-100). The conclusion of the poskim is to try to hold by both opinions, and keep the Marror in mind at the time of the Karpas blessing, and to eat less than a keziyit of Karpas so as not to need an after blessing. However, if one missed out one of these details, we do indeed say the Marror is part of meal and does not need it's own blessing - so if one did not have the Marror in mind, or one said an after blessing for the Karpas (for whatever reason), then one does not say a new blessing of "ha=adamah" on the Marror. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 473, 17-18). In relation to the Korech, I did not see any mention of having it in mind. This is probably because it is either considered as same Marror we had in mind to cover with the first blessing (i.e. having the Marror in mind automatically includes all the Marror we will eat, including the Korech). Or, perhaps with the Korech sandwich which is eaten with the Matzah together certainly is covered with the blessing on the Matzah. Blessings for a Chag Semach.
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