What does the dipping of the Karpas symbolize?
How might the dipping of the Karpas represent the journey of the Jewish people exiting slavery and traveling to receive the Torah?
How might we incorporate the symbolic ritual of Karpas into our own lives?
Learners will be able to articulate the definition of Karpas and provide multiple reasons for the symbolism of dipping
Learners will formulate ideas about how this ritual represents the journey of the Jewish people from Egypt
Learners will reflect on how they can incorporate these lessons into their own lives.
Part 1: Identifying the different parts and reflect on their possible meanings
- Ask the students to identify the different parts of the Karpas ritual (Vegetable, dipping, water/salt water).
- Ask the students what they think each part represents. For example, Why a vegetable? Why must we "dip it"? Why into water? Salt water?
- Ask the students if they can think of connections to other rituals in Judaism that involve water?
- Ask the students if they can think of any part of the Pesach story that involves "dipping".
- Summarize and list the student's background knowledge, theories, and new questions.
- Break up into pairs. For each section have one reader and one note taker.
Person #1: Read the text below out loud while person #2 listens and takes notes
Then, person #2 reads, and person #1 listens and takes notes. Switch at the next section.
Pay attention to the different reasons offered for the ritual and symbolism of Karpas
Teacher: You can have them read all three sections and then return for a class discussion or bring them back after each section for a check-in.
- Where does dipping appear in the source?
- How was fulfilling this commandment a declaration of faith in God?
- What is the meaning of the salt water?
- What are the two themes of Karpas? How does is represent both themes?
- What is the connection between "dipping the blood" and "dipping the Karpas"
- How does the dipping represent serving God?
- Why must we dip the Karpas totally into the water? What does is symbolize?
- What did the Jews need to be purified from? What were the purifying themselves for?
- Of all the things to dip, why vegetables?
- Why do we call it Karpas and not just vegetables?
Part 3: Recap and Reflections
After bringing the class back and asking them to report their findings you can ask them:
- Why is it important that the Pesach Seder starts with the ritual of Karpas?
- How does the journey of impure to pure, and slavery to freedom, represent the journey of the Jewish People? Of our own lives?
- Is this a process that happens once or a cycle that repeats itself?
- What is an area of your life that you want to "purify" so you can enter a new stage of freedom?
Optional Part 4:
Depending on the maturity and background of your class you can also introduce the idea of Mikvah and how dipping into water is a purifying ritual that symbolizes rebirth and renewal. The first 30 seconds of the following video does an excellent job of introducing that idea. You can then also discuss moments of personal and national transition and how we use rituals in Judaism to mark those moments.