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What is urchatz?

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Quick Answer

Urchatz is an official step in the process of a traditional Passover seder; this step focuses on cleansing prior to consuming food. Rather than being a purely symbolic or spiritual cleanse, though, this is a step that focuses on the literal washing of the hands.

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Full Answer

Though this step in the seder focuses on physical handwashing, typically either by dunking hands in a basin or wiping with a cloth, it does have a symbolic component as well. Urchatz helps make diners ready for eating, but it also helps set the tone for the spiritual process that is about to take place during the seder. The water used during Urchatz represents wisdom and healing power.

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