Why Do We Eat The Bitter Herbs At Passover?

The Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.  It is written:
"So they put slave drivers over them to oppress them with forced labor, but the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor, the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.  Exodus 1:  11-14

This morning was a busy morning.  While at the grocery store, we decided to pick up some food for our upcoming Passover Seder dinner.  It felt like Groundhog Day when we couldn’t find a fresh horseradish root in the Produce Department.  We face this same dilemma every year!  The grocer told us, “The shipment has not come in.”  So I turned to my hubby and said:  “Just use the stuff in the jar.”  And like so many other years, he stood firm; “I’ll try another store tomorrow.”  He prefers the fresh, potent root because he likes to get us feeling the drama of oppression that the Israelites faced under Egyptian slavery.  Suffer we must!  I dislike that part of the Seder.  I don’t like to suffer and cry; On the other hand, it’s my favorite part.  You see, God brought them through it.  He delivered them.  That part is my favorite part!  Guess you can’t have the deliverance without the suffering.

As we shopped, we bumped into friends we haven’t seen in years and off to the coffee bar we went.  It was good to sit and chat.  They needed to talk.  They were dismayed because of job loss and financial strain.  We listened and offered encouragement.  I shared a similar experience we went through years ago and how God rescued us.  I could tell that they felt validated in familiar suffering.  Tears welled up in their eyes.  Pretty soon we were all choked up.  We prayed with them before leaving and they said they felt much better.

After that, we continued to shop, but my heart changed toward the horseradish.  I was up for the search for that bitter root realizing that it is good to cry and feel the pain!

Jesus, our Yeshua Hamashiach – the Anointed One, Our Messiah, has indeed come to rescue us.  This year I’m seeing the suffering in the Seder a little differently and it is more of a focal point for me.  It’s real life.  We can only be delivered by going through the trial.  By the power of the cross, He has delivered us.  He is, indeed, our Passover Lamb, our powerful sacrifice. 


  1. Very interesting, love you my friend.

  2. Can't have the deliverance without the suffering...that's so true. I think so many of us know that on a personal level. Love that you guys celebrate Passover. Happy passover.

  3. What a wonderful spiritual application you have made of the bitter root of suffering. And how perfect of The Lord to bring that couple across your path that needed your encouragement. I'll be thinking of that bitter root in this week leading up to Easter. And how our Lord had to go through bitter suffering before receiving glorious deliverance. Thank you!

  4. I love this episode, Mary! Surely, it was no accident you 'happened on' your friends - so in need of encouragement!

    Only in the last few years have I been so interested in the Jewish faith; and really appreciate the way in which you share their teachings!

    Love ya,

    PS - That tablecloth is equisite!

  5. Mary, such an interesting post. I love how God used you and your husband to ease the suffering of someone else while you were on your *root* hunt. See, He did indeed bring joy out of suffering!

    GOD BLESS - have a wonder-full Easter!

  6. I love when the Lord uses a simple errand for someone needing encouragement through both of you. How significant too that you realize the value of His saving grace whenever we are going through tough times. Praying for His provision for your frIends. You know. .. You also continue to encourage me too. Thank you sister Mary. Thanks be to God...we are not disabled because He is God Who enables! God bless and love to you.

  7. Hi Mary! How amazing that you were looking for bitter root, and found it in your friends sufferings. So many are in a bitter season now. You were such a comfort to them!

    May your family have a wonderful Seder and Passover celebration. I have taken part in Seder several times, and it's so meaningful.
    Blessings to you!

  8. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing about the reason for the bitter root. I feel God placed you and your husband just at the right place and time to connect with your friends and to minister to them...so inspiring to hear these story's. Have a Blessed Easter. Dee


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