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Is your maror too strong?

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While many have the custom of eating raw horseradish at the Passover Seder, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook questioned whether one can fulfill the mitzva of maror (bitter herbs) if the maror is too strong. The mitzva, after all, is to eat the maror. If it burns one’s mouth and tongue and throat, Rabbi Kook reasons, that is not “eating.” Rabbi Kook writes that the commandments are not supposed to cause pain. He invokes Proverbs 3:17: “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.”

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