The Passover Seder’s 4 Questions Interpreted by a Med Student

Ah, Passover, that one time of year where being a Sephardic Jew seems like the most compelling thing in the world. If your in Jew-town like me, you are currently living a cold and empty life without bread, or all grains for that matter. Despite all of the archaic and seemingly pointless rituals of Passover, there is one that stands strong, the reciting of the four questions at the Seder. One person, traditionally the youngest child, recites one question, “Why does this night differ from all other nights?” followed by 4 answers. As an aspiring doc, I was never quite content with the answers given to these questions. They’re questionable either from the standpoint of a medical student or from a pure medical standpoint. Here’s why:

1. On all other nights we eat bread or matza, while on this night we eat only matza.

I’m not sure about you, but my fam and I don’t sit around nomming on matza, “on all other nights.” Bread is our go-to. Also, last time I checked Passover is 8 days, meaning it’s not only that on this night we’re gonna choke on dry, disgusting matzah, but I will also have a whole 192 hours to risk my life eating the choking-inducing food. Thanks a lot, Pharoah.

A closer look at those nutrition facts suggests that maybe we should switch over to matzah-instead-of-bread diet. A piece of white bread as 12.15 mg of sodium while matzah has approximately 0 mg. It’s also less caloric than bread which means…om nom nom, feed me matzah.

2. On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables and herbs, but on this night we have to eat bitter herbs.

Maybe it should be Jewish law that we eat bitter herbs on all other nights but on this night we eat all the other gross vegetables. Apparently, bitter herbs are actually quite good for you from a health standpoint. After you get past the gag-reflex, bitter herbs are one of the best things you can eat for your metabolism. When you anything bitter, the activation of your “bitter” taste buds stimulates the release of gastric acid in the stomach and bile in the liver. Bitter herbs have also been shown to help in weight loss by reducing sweet cravings and stimulating the metabolism. Sign me up for some bitter herbs please!

3. On all other nights we don’t dip our vegetables in salt water, but on this night we dip them twice.

Ok, first off, you don’t need an MD to know that double dipping is bad bad bad but now even research supports the old adage. According to a study out of Clemson University, when a bowl of dip was analyzed for bacterial presence of multiple dips of the same chip, researchers found a single double-dip can potentially introduce 1,000 bacterial organisms per milliliter. Fox News even reported that eating from a bowl that has been “double dipped” into is the equivalent of kissing whoever double dipped. Sorry, Aunt Girty, love ya but don’t want to smooch on the mouth today.

4. On all other nights we eat while sitting upright, but on this night we eat reclining.

And that’s when I recline into oblivion…

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Rachel Greenberg, "Almost" MD

Rachel Greenberg is an editor for The Almost Doctor's Channel hailing from Great Neck, NY. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology, where she spent much of her time either singing a cappella or being a pre-med. In addition to maintaining an interest in holistic medicine, Rachel boasts a world-class Carrie Underwood impression.