What are the similarities and difference between the exodus story and the seder meal?  

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The Exodus story is one of the Biblical stories, and the foundational myth of Israel. It tells how the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and by the grace of God (Yahweh) were led to freedom by Moses.

The Seder meal of Passover is focused around Exodus and involves a retelling and discussion of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt. Passover, the Seder, and the Exodus story are foundational to Jewish identity, as it is believed that without God's intervention, Jewish people would still be slaves in Egypt.

The Seder meal involves several foods symbolic to the Exodus story. They are:

  • Beitzah, a hard boiled egg, symbolizing the sacrifice offered in the Temple in Jerusalem
  • Zeroa, a roasted lamb or goat bone, also symbolic of the sacrifice offered in the Temple in Jerusalem
  • Charoset, a sweet paste of fruits and nuts, symbolizing the mortar used by Jewish slaves to build storehouses in Egypt
  • Karpas, a vegetable such as celery, potato, or onion, which is dipped into salt water. The salt water is said to represent the tears of the enslaved Jewish people.
  • Maror, a bitter herb, typically horseradish.
  • Chazeret, another bitter herb, typically romaine lettuce. Both maror and chazeret are symbolic of the  bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
  • Four cups of wine, which are drunk at specific points during the retelling of the Exodus story. They coincide with and are representative of the four expressions of deliverance by God.
  • Matzoh bread is also eaten during the Passover Seder as symbolic of poor person's bread, which would have been eaten during slavery, and symbolic of the food eaten during the journey out of Egypt.


One of the main differences between the Exodus story and Passover tradition is that the biblical story refers to the entire tribe of Israelites, who later evolved into the Jewish and Samaritan peoples. The Passover story focuses on the journey of the Jewish people out of bondage in Egypt.

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