Moroccan Haroset

One of the food items used during Seder and that is placed on the Seder plate is the Haroset. The Rama (Orah Haim 473:5) writes that it should be prepared with a thick consistency so as to commemorate the mortar which the Jewish people used when they were building cities as slaves in Egypt. He adds that red wine is used as an ingredient and is symbolic of the plague of blood, as are different fruit such as apples, figs, pomegranates and almonds, to which the Jewish people have been variously compared. Furthermore, he writes, the Haroset is garnished with cinnamon or ginger, which symbolize the straw that was used to reinforce the mortar.

The Moroccan custom is to prepare the Haroset into serving-size balls or into a thick paste. Besides the ingredients listed by the Rama, the Moroccan Haroset uses other fruit, to which the Jewish people have also been compared. Rabbi Yosef Messas (Otzar Hamichtavim, vol. I, § 1128) and Rabbi Moshe Mot (Mateh Moshe, Hilchot Pesah, § 612) explain that dates are used and the Jewish people are compared to them in the verse (Shir Hashirim 7:8) “Zot Komatech Dameta Letamar” (lit. “This, your stature, resembles a date palm tree”). There is also a Moroccan custom to use raisins, to which the Jewish people have also been compared in the verse (Tehillim 80:9) “Gefen Mimitzrayim Tasia” (lit. “You uprooted a vine from Egypt”).

It should be noted that although the Shulhan Aruch does not codify a specific set-up for the Seder plate, the common custom among many communities, Moroccan included, is to follow the order of the Arizal.

​Summary:   The Haroset’s ingredients are full of symbolism.