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Bitter Herbs

BITTER HERBS (מְרֹרִ֖ים). At the Passover, the children of Israel were invited to eat the meal with merôrîm, which really means “bitter,” the word “herbs” being understood (Exod 12:8). There is a similar reference in Numbers 9:11. These “herbs” as tr. are prob. not culinary herbs at all, but salad greens like chicory, endive, sorrel, dandelion, and even old types of lettuces. All these were found widely distributed in their natural state in Egypt. Watercress is included by some experts as a bitter herb. In Europe, at modern Jewish Passover feasts, horseradish is allowed, but this certainly could not have been used in the time of Moses.