The Lubavitcher Rebbe instituted that people should get together on or after a Yom Tov and share Torah thoughts. This article represents my contribution to the Kinus Torah at the Surfside Minyan
This article is about the bracha (blessing) that is said on the karpas that we eat at the seder and how that bracha is supposed to include both the maror as well as the maroreaten in the Korech sandwich. This discussion is a little more detailed than my usual articles. I hope you will find it interesting.
Why No Ha’adamah on Maror?
The Talmud says that before eating the karpas, one should make the bracha of ha’adama (who created the fruits of the ground) and before eating the maror (bitter herbs) one should say the bracha of “asher kideshanu… al achilat maror” (who commanded us about eating the bitter herbs). This indicates that it is not necessary to make the bracha of ha’adama before eating the maror.
There are two opinions as to why it is not necessary to say the bracha. Rashi and (his grandson) the Rashbam both say that the bracha of ha’adama on the karpas includes the maror.
Tosfot says that maror does not need a bracha of ha’adama at all since it is covered by the hamotzie blessing that one recites on the matzah just as all vegetables eaten during a meal are included in this bracha. Vegetables are (generally) eaten to increase one’s appetite and such foods are included in the hamotzie blessing.
Understanding the Logic of Rashi and the Rashbam
I have found two explanations as to why, according to Rashi and the Rashbam, the maror is not included in the hamotzie blessing recited over the matzah. After all, why is this lettuce (dipped in a charoset dip) different than a salad?
1) Rabbi Yosef Tuv Elem
(quoted in Tosfot ibid) writes that since only a kezayitof the maror is eaten, it is clearly not eaten as an appetizer.
2) The Tzemach Tzedek explains (based on the Responsa of the Rashba 1:241) that, according to Rashi, even foods that are eaten as appetizers are not covered by the hamotzie blessing. That blessing only covers foods that are eaten as an accompaniment to bread or (according to some opinions) if they are eaten as satisfying foods. Since neither of these applies to maror, it is not covered. (It would seem that salads are usually covered by hamotzie as they are eaten as side dishes to the main meal and are thus considered accompaniments to the bread.).
(See below for a possible third explanation of this concept.)
Understanding the Logic of Tosfot
In explanation of the logic of Tosfot, the Rosh brings an additional reason as to why the maror should be “covered” by the bracha of hamotzie – that it is part of the meal since the Torah dictates that it be eaten after the Matzah. This is apparent in the verse which says regarding the Pesach sacrifice, עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ “It shall be eaten together with matzot and maror.”
The order of the verse indicates that the matzotshould be eaten before the maror. As such, the maror is considered an integral part of the meal and is included in the hamotzie blessing in the same manner as other foods that are integral to a meal.
Although both opinions agree that no ha’adamah is recited on the maror there are several practical differences between them.
· Borei Nefashot
According to Rashi and the Rashbam one should not recite the Borei Nefashot
blessing after eating the karpas as the bracha of ha’adama is supposed to be carried over to the maror. Whereas according to Tosfot, if one ate a kezayit (olive size piece) of the karpas, one should recite the Borei Nefashot blessing just as one should do after eating any food that is not part of a meal.
· Having in Mind
According to Rashi and the Rashbam one should bear in mind, while saying the bracha on the karpas, that they are also “covering” the maror with that bracha. According to Tosfot this is not necessary or helpful.
· A Shehakol Karpas
Although one should try to have a vegetable whose bracha is ha’adama, if one did not have one and instead needed to use one whose blessing is shehakol (a mushroom, for example), there would be an argument between Rashi and the Rashbam versus Tosfos as to whether or not one needs to say the ha’adma blessing on the maror.
Since there is no clear ruling between these opinions, one should try to not be in any of the above situations. If one is already in these situations, they should follow the rule of safek brachot lehakel (do not recite a blessing when in doubt) in all of the above applications.
As such, one should make sure to get a vegetable whose blessing is ha’adama for the karpas.
Also, one should not eat a kezayit of the karpas so as not to have a question about reciting the Borei Nefashot blessing. If one did, however, one should not recite a ha’adama blessing on the maror. Neither should one make that bracha (ha’adama) if they forgot to have the maror in mind when saying ha’adamah on the karpas or if they only had a karpas which was shehakol.
Having in Mind the Maror in the Korech
The Lubavitcher Rebbe writes in his Haggadah (based on the Sidur Yavetz) that one should also have in mind the maror in the korech when saying the blessing on the karpas.
This stands in contrast to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav who does not mention this in his Siddur. In fact, in his personal notes, the Rebbe quotes his father-in-law as saying that it is not necessary to bear in mind the maror of the korech when saying a blessing on the karpas.
In addition, it would seem that the maror in the korech would not need a separate bracha since it is eaten with the matzah. The halacha states that even foods that are not “covered” by the bracha on bread such as fruit, are “covered” by that bracha if one eats them together with the bread. In other words, even if the maror is not included in the hamotzie blessing as a meal food, it should still be considered secondary when eaten with the matzah itself.
The Opinion of the Rashba – Borei Nefashot on the Maror
In order to understand this, let us first try to understand a statement of the Rashba. He agrees with Rashi and the Rashbam that the maror is not considered a meal food since it neither accompanies the “bread” nor is it eaten for satisfaction. In addition, he writes that one must say a borei nefashot after eating the maror which will cover both the maror and the karpas, just as is needed for foods that are eaten after the meal which require a separate after-blessing.
This opinion needs to be understood since the maror is eaten during the meal and not after it. In fact, it is forbidden to eat anything after the afikomen on this night. As such, why is it not included in the Birkat HaMazon?
It is possible that the reason for the Rashba’s opinion is that when a food is eaten for the sake of a mitzvah, even if it is eaten during the meal, it is not considered part of the meal at all. This is in contrast to snack foods that are eaten during the meal. Although they are not secondary to the bread and they require a separate bracha, they are still covered by the Birkat HaMazon because they contribute to a person’s satisfaction and should logically be included in a blessing said after eating and being satisfied.
When one eats for the sake of a mitzvah, however, one does not intend to have physical satisfaction and, as such, this food has no relationship with the meal.
Matzah is Secondary
If the above is true that, according to the Rashba, the reason that maror is not considered a meal food is because it is being eaten for a mitzvah, it is possible that when it is eaten as part of the korech sandwich, the matzah is secondary to it rather than vice versa.
This is based on the fact that nowadays one must eat the matzah separately according to all opinions in order to fulfill that mitzvah of matzah. The entire purpose of the korech sandwich is to fulfill the mitzvah of maror in the same way it was fulfilled in the Temple era. As such, instead of the maror being secondary to the matzah, the reverse may be true.
This may explain why the Rebbe recommended to have in mind the maror in the korech, since, according to the Rashba’s logic, this maror is not secondary to the matzah and is therefore not covered by the Hamotzie blessing.
Wishing you a Good Yom Tov, a good Shabbos and a Kosher and Happy Pesach.
 See Brachot 41a as explained by Tosfot D.H. Hilcheta
that foods that are eaten “as a result of the meal” are covered by homotzie. See also ibid 42a
that a parperet (side dish) is covered by the blessing on the bread. The Talmud (Pesachim 114a
) calls the karpas a parperet.
Another question Tosfot asks on Rash and the Rashbam is that the haggadah should be an interruption and should not allow the bracha from the karpas to carry over to the maror just as it is an interruption between the first and second washing of the hands (Pesachim 115b
). The Rosh (Pesachim 10:26
) explains that, according to Rashi and Rashbam the haggadah is only an interruption for the washing of the hands where one may have touched an unclean area but not for brachot.
 In his piyut (poem) for Shabbat haGadol
 Chidushim al HaSas Yud Gimmel side 3
 According to the Rashi and the Rashbam, if one ate a kezayit of the karpas, the after blessing will be covered by the Birkat HaMazon recited after the meal. The reason for that is that since the ha’adamablessing of the karpas also “covers” the Marror and the Marror is in turn “covered” by the BirkatHaMazon, the Birkat HaMazon is able to also include the Karpas although it was eaten before the meal (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 473:17
 Siddur HaRav
he writes “And one should intend to ‘cover’ the maror with this bracha (on the karpas).”
 Reshimat HaYoman of the Second day of Chol HaMoed in Riga 5691
 In his responsa vol 1:72 and 241
 See Brachot 41b that foods eaten after one finished eating bread require a separate blessing both before and afterwards. This halacha does not apply (in most cases) today. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 177:6
 See Darkei Moshe 473:14
who writes, “I have never seen anyone say a borei nefashot after eating the marror.”
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 475:17
 It requires further examination as to why the Previous Rebbe was not concerned about this opinion and why the Rebbe chose to do so.
May we Celebrate Pesach Next year in Yerushalayim!