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Seder Pillows Guide

Seder pillows hold a special place in Passover practices, in particular for those who hold religion close during the Jewish holidays. These unique parts of the Seder represent an ancient tradition of Jewish culture and seem outdated to some, but there are several reasons that the history of the Seder pillow has been kept alive for the celebration of Passover.

What are Seder Pillows?

Seder pillows are part of an ancient tradition that helps Jews celebrate the Exodus from Egypt. The pillows themselves are just like pillows you might find on your couch or bed but they are made especially for the tradition of “leaning” to eat during Passover. These pillows were originally meant to be leant on with the left arm while you ate with the right. It was decided to lean on the left arm because in this way, food going down your throat would put no pressure on the wind pipe which is in the right side of the throat. Eating in this way has become uncomfortable with modern chairs and utensils, so most make do by leaning on the pillow in any way possible.

Religious Tradition

The tradition of “leaning” was begun upon the Jews exit from slavery in Egypt. Leaning on one arm while eating was long considered a habit of the wealthy and the comfortable. Jews began to use this as a way of celebrating the fact that they could be at ease as free men. Now their Seder meals could never be interrupted by a master to come and oppress them.

As Passover was the Jewish holiday to mark the Exodus, “leaning” became especially encouraged during the Seder dinner. Unfortunately as time went on the chair and fork were invented making it slightly difficult both to “lean” and also to eat with one hand. There were many attempts at adjusting these new technologies in order to continue “leaning.”

For a while, families were having their food specially prepared in order to eat by hand so that they could still lean. Others have even taken to eating in a lawn chair during Passover, but most simply sit in a normal chair and keep a Seder pillow behind them to symbolize leaning keeping their Passover religiously kosher.

Material and Design

Seder pillows are meant to make the “leaning” experience both more comfortable and much finer with often meaningful symbolism and rich materials. Such pillows can be made of nearly any material imaginable but they are generally made with satin or silk for the finest Seder dinner. These rich materials are generally designed with meaningful images such as those of Seder plates or Hebrew words and blessings. Whatever your taste and needs for “leaning” There is sure to be a Seder pillow to enhance your holiday.

For More Information

For more information about Jewish holidays, Passover or any other Judaica items, feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.

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