My father-in-law, a Rav, told me he was once asked, “Why is haroset delicious if it represents such sad things?” He responded, “Every difficulty in life is really sweet—they are blessings from G-d.” Every ingredient in the haroset is symbolic of the Jewish labor in Egypt. The walnuts are the pebbles of the bricks. The dates represent the mud, and the wine is the blood of the babies who were used in place of bricks when the quotas weren’t filled. As most Sepharadim eat gebrokts, the matzah meal represents the straw, also used to make bricks. This recipe is from my husband’s grandmother a”h, Rosa Dwek, from Aleppo, Syria.
- 3 pound large pitted dates
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sweet wine
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 to 2 tablespoon matzah meal, as needed to bind
Place the dates in a saucepan. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, the lower heat and simmer until the dates are soft. Pass the dates through a strainer or use a food processor. Add remaining ingredients.