The Seder stand is shaped as a cabinet made of wood, with three drawers for matzot. The upper platter is arranged around a hexagonal piece, surrounded by six four-sided pieces. The central piece has an inscription: את חג מצות תשמר.
The four-sided pieces are inscribed with titles of Seder food:
מרור, ביצה, כרפס, כורך, חרוסת, זרוע
From top to the left: Maror (Bitterherbs); Bezah (egg); Karpas (greens), Korech; (wrap), Haroset (mixture symbolizing mortar); Zero'a (shankbone).
The plate was most probably produced by a non-professional artist. Relatively few samples of Seder plates produced by non-professionals are preserved in museum collections.
The maker of the plate took as a model three-tiered Seder stands (See CJA objects 7074, 7340, 17589) and porcelain Seder plates with a hexagonal central piece (See CJA object 17590) and tried to imitate expensive models in a cheap material.
A three-tiered Seder stand in the form of a cabinet made of ceramics, metal, or wood, with three drawers for the matzot placed under a platter meant for Seder symbolic food appeared in the late eighteenth century and was still popular in the 1930s. This kind of plate was mostly in use among Jews of Western Europe. At least, the majority of extant samples originate from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and the Netherlands. This particular shape - three drawers for matzot and a level for Seder signs above them – was most probably developed to follow Lurianic Kabbalistic custom, which called to place matzot below and Seder signs above. Earlier those, who followed this custom, placed Seder signs directly on matzot, thus taking a risk of breaking them. In the twentieth century, three-tiered models were used by modern Judaica artists, such as Friedrich Adler and Ludwig Wolpert.
The Seder stand is decorated with wooden carvings with floral motives and the Stars of David. Beside its decorative functions, the carvings support the drawers and the upper platter. Wooden Seder plates of this type are usually not decorated with wooden carvings (See CJA objects 7340, 18843). Thus, the maker not only combined existing models but added elements untypical for this oblect.
The upper platter is decorated with inscriptions. The central inscription את חג המצות תשמר is a verse from the Book of Exodus, 23:15, saying “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread.” Such inscription is rarely seen on Passover plates. In general, the need in the central inscription appears only when six pieces for symbolic food are arranged as sections or movable parts. Therefore, the is no single custom for the central inscription.
The word חזרת , “horse-radish,” which names one of the six symbolic pieces of food, is missing and the word כורך , “wrap,” is written instead of it. The symbolic food eaten during the Seder is discussed in the Mishna (Pesahim, 10:3) and therefore cannot be easily altered. However, there are numerous examples, when the world hazeret is replaced. E.g., plates made in Karlsbad (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), included an inscription סדר הקערה , “the order of the plate,” and usually substituted hazeret with the word maror, which thus appeared on the plate two times (see CJA object 17111). A wooden three-tier plate made in Israel in the early 20th century, replaced hazeret with “salt water” (See CJA object 18843).
Probably, hazeret in the Seder plate of the Wurzmann family was replaced by korekh for the Kabbalistic reasons. Isaac Luria (Ha-Ari), the founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah. in his book Pri Etz Hayyim described placement of symbolic food on the plate, pointing to the connection of each type of food with one of the sefirot and their place in the Tree of Sefirot:
- zero'a – symbolizing sefirah Hesed – on the right side,
- bezah – symbolizing sefirah Gevurah – on the left side,
- maror – symbolizing sefirah Tif’eret – between them;
- haroset – symbolizing sefirah Nezah – on the right side, under the zero'a,
- karpas – symbolizing sefirah Hod – on the left side under the bezah.
About hazeret Ha-Ari writes as follows: “And hazeret put underneath the maror, on the central line, to do with it korekh afterwards, and it symbolizes [sefirah] Yesod.” [Isaac Luria, Pri Etz Hayyim, part “Hag Ha-matzot,” chapter 6]. Thus, the inscriptions follow this order and substitute hazeret with korekh, as written by Ha-Ari. The artist was probably acquainted with Luria’s book and followed the Kabbalistic ideas when producing this Seder plate or he reproduced a tradition spread in his community.