Sunday, June 18, 2017

maror: radish or horseradish?

   This is a page from the Graziano Haggadah, a 13th century haggadah on loan to the Met from JTS (see here).  While wandering through the museum today the page caught my wife Ariella's eye because of the picture used for maror.  Unless she and I are very much mistaken, that is a radish -- not a horseradish, just a plain old radish.  I've never heard of anyone using a regular radish for maror.  Granted that just because this haggadah was printed in the 13th century doesn't make it a rishon, but it is interesting if using radish was in fact the minhag of Catalonian Jewry.      


  1. i dont know that horseradish is any better then radish

    1. Since ideally one must use the leaves [or stalk], radishes are ideal. They mature in three weeks, with significant amount of leaves, and grow well in cold/cool weather.

      In Catalonia, there may have been another issue, since it has a Mediterranean climate. Kos [= chasa = romaine lettuce] does not grow well in hot climates. Of course, it could be planted early, in late winter, but there is no way of preserving the leaves until Pesach. So, radishes.

      Another issue with horseradish is that it is a perennial, which doesn't seem to fit the concept of yerek.