Shankbone – Zeroa

Placed on the Passover seder plate to remind us of the pascal lamb.

The shankbone, or the zeroa זרוע, is one of the three basic components of the Passover service.

In ancient times, the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice one lamb per family to eat for the Passover meal.

Today, we no longer sacrifice animals in Jewish worship. Instead we place a piece of roasted meat or bone on the seder plate to remind us of the pascal lamb.

Some people specifically use a different animal than lamb, such as a chicken neck, so no one will think that you violated the traditional prohibition and actually sacrificed a lamb. Others are not so concerned about this, and they pop on a shank bone ordered specially from their local butcher. And hey, veggies, don’t worry! According to traditional understanding of Passover rituals, you can also use a roasted beet as a vegetarian shankbone.

Discover More

Passover Recipes

Delicious dishes for you and your family for the seder and beyond.

Must-Know Passover Terms

Key words and phrases for Passover.

Hanukkah 2019

In 2019, the first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, Dec. 22.

Shabbat Blessings for Friday Night

Lighting the candles, saying Kiddush and other Shabbat dinner rituals.

Modern Jewish Holidays 101

There are a handful of holidays that entered Jewish life in the latter half of the 20th century.

How to Light Shabbat Candles

What you need to know about this ritual welcoming the Sabbath.

Must-Know Sukkot Words and Phrases

Key terms for the holidays of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.