Day 25: Charoset
One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Proverbs 27:7
The charoset (spelled many different ways), is a relative latecomer to the Seder observance. It was not mentioned in the Scriptures, and came to the table after Jesus would have celebrated his final Passover, but since it is a regular part of today’s Passover ritual, we will look at it here.
The recipes for this concoction vary from region to region, as do the explanations of its meaning, however the predominant thought on the significance of charoset is that it represents the mortar the Israelites used to keep the bricks in place, and it is sweet because of the sweetness of deliverance, or the fact we can find sweetness in the bitterest of circumstances.
This last statement is particularly true in the practice some participants have of scooping both the bitter herb (horseradish) and the charoset mixture together on the matzo, using the one to temper the other. However, most of the commentaries I read seem to prefer to take the maror alone, to experience the full impact of the bitterness.
As our verse for today implies, those who are satiated may find the sweetest things too much, but for those who are in deep longing, the slightest glimmer of hope is a cause for joy. The promises of the Lord hold out that hope to us in our darkest hours. His presence sweetens the most bitter of experiences. Let us cling to that hope, that truth when our circumstances are difficult—or even seem impossible.
• When you have found yourself in trying times, what has been the hope you have clung to?
• What sweetness has the Lord delivered to you when you needed it most?
• Sometimes the Lord uses other people to sweeten our suffering. Who did the Lord send to you?
• Have you expressed to them (lately or ever) how meaningful they were to you at that point in your life?
• Ask the Lord to show you anyone whose life you could sweeten.
Lord, you turn every hardship on its ear. There is a sweetness in you, in knowing you, that turns the driest desert into rivers of joy. I thank you for the many times you have refreshed me when I have been weary, brought joy into my darkest moments, and lifted me up when I felt I could not go on—whether by your presence or through your people.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries