We make the Hillel sandwich of charoset and bitter herbs on matzah every Passover. To remind of us of the bitterness of slavery and the sweetness of redemption, we taste both in the sandwich. The seder teaches through taste, the saltiness of twice dips herbs, the texture of matzah, the richness of the food, and drinking of wine. And often we taste the bitterness and sweetness of chocolate in macaroons and covering matzah.
We celebrate the liberation from slavery under the Pharaohs in Egypt. But today other parts of Africa, slavery still exists in the form of stolen children who are forced to work in the cacao plantations. The chocolate produced is bitter not just in taste, but in injustice and suffering. Not unlike the slaves who built great buildings in ancient Egypt, the cacao is harvested, made into candy and cakes and cookies, by slaves who also hope for freedom and redemption.
Across the world, people are underpaid and mistreated to grow and gather the food we eat everyday. And it is difficult to know what to do. I have one suggestion, put a piece of chocolate on your Seder plate. And try to find one that is made without slave labour. It may be hard to find one that is kosher le pesach, but surely chocolate that is made with slave labor should never be considered kosher for the holiday that commemorates freedom from slavery.
This year I have picked out some chocolate that was grown and made into a chocolate bar in Madagascar. I will put it on our seder plate. And I will avoid using cocoa and chocolate that might be made with slave labor. There is no sweetness in chocolate made by child slaves.
Blessing for chocolate
Ideas for Chocolate on the Seder Plate
Background on slavery free chocolate