one must submerge it in the ḥaroset, due to the bitterness and poison in the lettuce. For if it could enter your mind that one need not thoroughly submerge the lettuce in ḥaroset, why do I need him to wash hands before eating bitter herbs? He did not touch the liquid with his hands, and therefore he did not render it ritually impure. The Gemara rejects this contention: Actually, I will say to you: According to the halakha, one need not submerge the lettuce in ḥaroset and the poison dies. The poison is nullified from the smell of the ḥaroset. The Gemara asks: But in that case, why do I need the washing of hands before dipping? The Gemara answers: Perhaps one will submerge the lettuce, and it is therefore necessary to wash one’s hands to avoid the possible transfer of ritual impurity.
And Rav Pappa said: A person should not leave bitter herbs in the ḥaroset for a lengthy period of time, lest the sweetness of the spices in the ḥaroset nullify its bitterness. And the bitter herbs require a bitter taste, and they are not bitter when marinated in ḥaroset. The Gemara reports: Rav Ḥisda authorized Rabbana Ukva to deliver a lecture, and he taught: If one washed his hands for the first dipping, he should wash his hands again for the second dipping.
The Sages said this halakha before Rav Pappa and added: This halakha was stated generally, i.e., concerning one who dips food twice anytime, not with regard to Passover night. For if it could enter your mind that this was stated here, concerning Passover, why do I need washing of the hands twice? This person has already washed his hands once. As he knows he will dip again, he will be careful to preserve his hands in a state of ritual purity and consequently there is no need for him to wash his hands a second time. This is not the case with regard to dipping throughout the rest of the year, when one does not know at the start that he will dip again.
Rav Pappa said to them: On the contrary, this halakha was stated specifically here, with regard to Passover night. For if it could enter your mind that it was stated in general, why do I need two dippings? A person usually dips only once, either at the beginning or in the middle of his meal.
The Gemara asks: Rather, what will you say; this halakha was stated specifically here, with regard to Passover night? If so, why do I need two washings of the hands? He has already washed his hands once. They say in response: Since he needs to recite the Haggadah and hallel in between the two dippings, perhaps he will divert his thoughts and his hands will touch a ritually impure object.
Rava said: If one swallowed matza without chewing it, he has fulfilled the obligation to eat matza, as he has consumed it. However, if one swallowed bitter herbs without chewing them, he has not fulfilled his obligation, as he did not taste their bitterness. Furthermore, if one swallowed matza and bitter herbs together, he has fulfilled the obligation of eating matza, but he has not fulfilled the obligation of eating bitter herbs. If one wrapped matza and bitter herbs in a palm net, the thin interlacing of vines that sprouts around a palm tree, and swallowed them, he has not fulfilled his obligation even of eating matza. When matza and bitter herbs are consumed in this fashion, the matza does not touch one’s mouth. This is not considered eating.
Rav Shimi bar Ashi said: Matza must be placed before each and every participant at the seder. Each participant in a seder would recline on a couch at his own personal table. Likewise, bitter herbs must be placed before each and every participant, and ḥaroset must be placed before each and every participant. And during the seder, before the meal, one shall remove the table only from before the one reciting the Haggadah. The other tables, which correspond to the seder plates used nowadays, are left in their place.
Rav Huna says: All of the aforementioned foods, i.e., matza, bitter herbs, and ḥaroset, must also be placed only before the one who recites the Haggadah. When the time comes to eat these items, all the other participants receive a portion from him. The Gemara comments: And the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rav Huna.
The Gemara asks: Why does one remove the table? The school of Rabbi Yannai say: So that the children will notice that something is unusual and they will ask: Why is this night different from all other nights? The Gemara relates: Abaye was sitting before Rabba when he was still a child. He saw that they were removing the table from before him, and he said to those removing it: We have not yet eaten, and you are taking the table away from us? Rabba said to him: You have exempted us from reciting the questions of: Why is this night different [ma nishtana], as you have already asked what is special about the seder night.
Shmuel said that the phrase: “The bread of affliction [leḥem oni]” (Deuteronomy 16:3) means bread over which one answers [onim] matters, i.e., one recites the Haggadah over matza. That was also taught in a baraita: Leḥem oni is bread over which one answers many matters. Alternatively, in the verse, “leḥem oni” is actually written without a vav, which means a poor person. Just as it is the manner of a poor person to eat a piece of bread, for lack of a whole loaf,