Exodus 1:14 "And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour."

If haroseth represents the mortar of hard bondage, why is it sweet?

Bondage to Egypt or to the World doesn’t always seem bitter. Sometimes it is what we want. (1 John 2:16 "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.")

It could also be that the bitterness of bondage is turned sweet, after the example of Purim. (Esther 9:22 "As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.")

How do you make haroseth?

Ashkenazi haroseth is probably the easiest and most common.
2 large apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons kosher red wine
Sephardic: Probably the least known, but perhaps most interesting recipe for haroseth comes from the Song of Solomon, specifically the verses where Solomon describes his bride.

Song of Solomon 4:10-11,13-14 "How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:"
Song of Solomon 6:11 "I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded."
Song of Solomon 7:8 "I said, I will go up to the palm [dates] tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine [raisins], and the smell of thy nose like apples;"

Other regional variations:

Afghanistan: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, apples, sweet wine, pomegranate seeds, black pepper, dates.

America: 6 large apples, 2 tbsps. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 c. sweet wine, 1/2 c. chopped pecans

America 2: apples, mango, pecans, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey, sweet wine.

Babylon: 1 cup date syrup, 4 cups crushed nuts, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 4 cups wine vinegar.

Bukhara: walnuts, almonds, dates, raisins, apples, sweet wine.

Calcutta: 4 cups (about 24 ounces) pitted dates, about 8 cups water, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds. Place the dates in a large bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak until soft, at least 24 hours. In a food processor or blender, puree the dates and soaking liquid. Let stand overnight. In batches, place a little of the date mixture in a linen towel and squeeze out the liquid. Discard the solids left in the towel. In a saucepan, bring the date liquid to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and boil, skimming the surface and stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, about 1 hour. Cool, then pour into a jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. If sugar crystallizes, place the bottle in a bowl of hot water until the syrup is smooth. Stir the nuts in before serving.

California: 2 apples, peeled and cored, 2 firm pears, peeled and cored, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup dried cherries, sugar to taste, lemon juice to taste, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 4 to 6 tbsp. sweet red wine

Curacao: peanuts, cashew nuts, dark brown sugar, dates, prunes, raisins, figs, candied fruit, wine, honey, cinnamon, orange and lime juices or watermelon and tamarind juices.

Curacao 2: 14 pitted dates, 10 pitted prunes, 8 figs, stems removed, cup golden raisins, cup cashew nuts, lemon, unpeeled and cut in chunks, cup sweet red wine, cup honey, or more as needed, 2 tablespoons cinnamon to coat. Place dates, prunes, figs, raisins, nuts and lemon in food processor. Chop coarsely. Add the wine and cup honey. Process to chop finely. Mixture should be moist but firm enough to shape. Add a little extra honey if needed. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Toss in cinnamon to coat.

Egypt: 1 pound raisins, 8 ounces pitted dates, 3 bananas, 2 cups water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup chopped almonds. Combine raisins and dates in bowl. Add 2 cups water (or enough to cover). Let stand overnight. Drain. Place mixture in food processor or blender. Add bananas, sugar and process until mixture is well chopped. Serve sprinkled with almonds.

Galicia: apples, nuts, sweet wine, cinnamon, horseradish.

Greece: 1/4 cup golden raisins, 1/2 pound dried apricots, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 pound moist dried figs, 1/2 pound dates, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, dash ground cinnamon, Soak raisins and apricots together in water to cover overnight or cook them in water to cover until the apricots are tender but not mushy. Drain fruit, reserving liquid. Toast pine nuts on a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool. Grind pine nuts in food processor until fine but not pureed. Add remaining ingredients, including raisins and apricots, in small batches, processing after each addition, until desired consistency is reached. If too stiff, add apricot cooking water or plain water.

Greece 2: 2 cups pitted dates, cut in half, 1/2 cup raisins, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 cup sweet Passover wine. Blend dates and raisins in bowl of food processor until very finely minced. Transfer to large bowl and add walnuts, pine nuts, ginger and wine and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

India: 1/2 pound chopped dates, 1 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, Place the chopped dates and golden raisins in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit thickens to a soft paste. Cool. Cook Time: 1 Hour Stir nuts and cinnamon into the cooled fruit mixture. Form paste into small, bite-size balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar.

Iran: Puree 2 cup each walnuts, almonds, pistachios, 2 peeled, seeded apples, 2 peeled, seeded pears, 2 pound pitted dates. Stir in 4 cup sweet wine and 2 tablespoons black pepper.

Ireland: apples, cinnamon, sweet wine, almonds.

Israel: 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped, 2 bananas, peeled and chopped, Juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon, Juice and grated peel of 1/2 orange, 15 dates, pitted and chopped, 1/2 cup ground pistachios, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup sweet Passover wine, 5 tablespoons matzo meal.

Israel 2: 1/2 pound dried raisins, 1/2 pound dried apricots, 1/2 pound pitted dates, 2 cups water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon sweet red wine, 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Soak the raisins, apricots and dates in the water for an hour. Add the sugar and wine to the water-fruit mixture. Chop the mixture, a third at a time, in a blender or food processor for about a minute. Transfer the chopped fruits to a heavy saucepan and let simmer about 20 minutes over low heat until the fruit is cooked and the liquid absorbed. Remove from heat and cool, then mix in the chopped nuts.

Italy: 6 ounces dried chestnuts, 3/4 pound peeled apples, 1/4 pound blanched almonds, 1/4 pound pitted dates, 1/4 pound pitted dried prunes, 1/4 pound sultana raisins, 1 tsp powdered cinnamon, the juice of 2 oranges

Italy 2: 1/2 pound pitted dates, 1/2 pound shelled walnuts, 3 large apples, peeled and cored, 1 large unpeeled seedless orange, thoroughly washed, 2 large bananas, 1/2 cup sweet Passover wine, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, Matzo meal as needed. Very finely chop dates, walnuts, apples and orange, and place them in a bowl. Mash bananas; add them to the bowl. Add wine, cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice. Mix well. Add matzo meal as needed to make a mortar-like paste.

Jamaica: a pound of dates and 2 cup sultanas (raisins) soaked overnight in orange juice and drained; grated rind of 1 etrog soaked overnight in water and drained. Grind dates and sultanas to a paste, add etrog rind and boil 30 minutes with the orange juice. Add port wine and shredded coconut to a dry consistency. Cool, shape into bricks, dust with cinnamon and form small pyramids.

Kitniyot: mashed cooked garbanzo beans, pomegranate juice, wine vinegar, toasted sesame seeds and coriander seeds, black pepper.

Maimonides: dried figs, raisins, pitted dates soaked in boiling water, then boiled and crushed; add wine vinegar, shredded stick cinnamon and fresh ginger.

Mogador: 1 cup pitted dates and 2 cup almonds ground to a paste. Pour sweet wine over 3 cups dried rose petals and let soak a few hours, then remove their bitter white parts and knead petals to a paste; fold into date almond paste. Stir in 2 tablespoons powdered cinnamon.

Morocco: 2 c walnut pieces, 1 c blanched slivered or whole almonds, 25 pitted dates, 10 large brown ("calimyrna") dried figs, 20 dried apricots, 10 large pitted prunes, 1/2 c shelled pistachio, 1/4 c sweet red wine, ground cinnamon to taste, Put all of the nuts and dried fruit through the fine blade of a food grinder or finely grind them, together in a food processor. Mix in just enough wine to make a smooth paste that is soft and malleable. Form the mixture into 1inch balls.

Morocco 2: There is also a tradition in Moroccan-Jewish families to roll up charoset into balls. 500 grams hazelnuts, 250 grams almonds, 250 grams dates, 250 grams sultana raisins. Using a food processor, grind the nuts together coarsely. Add dates and raisins and process until consistency is smooth but still has some texture. Prepare balls of the mixture about 2 centimeters in diameter (about 0.79 inches in diameter). Can also be served as a dessert.

Netherlands: chunky mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, sweet wine.

Paris: Bring to a boil 2 cups dry red wine with 2 cup sugar and grated zest of half a small orange; simmer 10 minutes. Add 1 pound dried figs and simmer until softened. Let cool and add 2 tablespoon ground cardamom, then blend well.

Persia: 25 dates, pitted and diced, 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1 and 1/2 peeled apples, cored and diced, 1 pomegranate, 1 orange, peeled and diced, 1 banana, sliced, 1/2 to 1 cup sweet red wine, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp ground cloves, 1 tbsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp black pepper

Persia 2: 1 unpeeled pear, cored and finely chopped, 1 unpeeled apple, cored and finely chopped, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, 1 cup finely chopped almonds, 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, 1 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts, 1 cup chopped pitted dates, 1 cup chopped raisins, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons grated ginger root, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, Sweet wine. Combine pear, apple, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, dates and raisins in a large bowl, and blend well, being careful not to chop the mixture into a paste. Add cinnamon, ginger root, cider vinegar and enough wine to bind. Place on a platter and shape into a pyramid. Cover and refrigerate.

Poland: walnuts, almonds, apples, wine, cinnamon.

Provence: 1 pound chestnuts, 1 cup blanched almonds, 2 medium tart apples cored and chopped, 1 cup pitted dates, 1 cup dried figs, 1 cup raisins, 1 to 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, wine vinegar. Cut an X in the shell of chestnuts. Place in boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Drain. When able to handle, peel off shells. Finely chop chestnuts and almonds. Add fruits and finely chop. Stir in enough wine vinegar to make a thick paste. Add ginger.

Russia: apples, raisins, cinnamon, honey, nuts.

Santa Fe: apples, nuts, sweet wine, and finely chopped roasted and seeded green chili peppers.

Sephardic: coconut, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, apricots, dried apples and pears, prunes, cherry preserves, wine.

Sephardic 2: 1/2 cup dates, pitted and cut in half, 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in half, 1 unpeeled apple, cored and diced, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Blend dates, apricots, apple and allspice in bowl of food processor until very finely minced. Add walnuts and pulse on and off until mixture is blended, do not purée. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Spain: almonds, dates, apples, orange juice, ginger, cinnamon, vinegar rolled into balls about the size of an olive.

Surinam: 8 oz. unsweetened coconut, 8 oz. chopped walnuts or grated almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 8 oz. raisins, 8 oz. dried apples, 8 oz. dried prunes, 8 oz. dried apricots, 8 oz. dried pears, 4 oz. cherry jam, sweet red wine. Combine everything except the jam and wine in a pot. Cover with water and simmer over low heat. Periodically, add small amounts of water to prevent sticking. Cook at least 90 minutes. When it is cohesive, stir in the jam and let stand until cool. Add enough sweet wine to be absorbed by the haroset and chill.

Syria: dates cooked to a jam consistency.

Tblisi: 1/4 cup whole cloves, 1/4 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup hazelnuts, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/3 cup honey, 6 medium (2 pounds) apples cored and finely chopped, 6 medium (2 pound) pears cored and finely chopped. Pour boiling water over cloves and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid. In a food processor or nut grinder, grind nuts until smooth. Combine fruit, nuts, clove water, and honey to taste.

Turkey: 2 sweet apples, peeled, cored and chopped, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 cup large golden raisins or sultanas, 1/2 cup white figs, coarsely chopped, 1/4 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup walnuts shelled and chopped fine, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, pinch of cayenne pepper, 2 to 3 tbsp sweet red wine.

Turkey 2: 1/2 cup pitted dates, 2 cups peeled and sliced apples, 1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped. Cook fruits together with water just to cover until apricots and dates are tender enough to mash with a fork and mix until blended. Add nuts.

Venice: 1 and 1/2 cups chestnut paste, 10 oz. dates, chopped, 12 oz. figs, chopped, 2 tbsp poppy seeds, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup brandy, honey, to bind

Yemen: 1 lb fresh dates, 1 lb raisins, 3/4 lb almonds, 1/2 lb walnuts, 3 pomegranates, peeled and seeded, 1 Tablespoon mixed spices (equal parts cinnamon, pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, ginger.) Sesame seeds and apples are sometimes added.

Yemen 2: One way of making a unique presentation of this dessert is by rolling the haroseth into 1-inch balls and dropping the balls into 8 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate. Smooth over, then refrigerate until firm. 1 cup pitted, chopped dates, 1/2 cup chopped dried figs, 1/3 cup sweet Passover wine, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, Ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons matzo meal. Blend dates, figs and wine in bowl of food processor. Transfer to bowl, add sesame seeds, ginger, dash coriander, cayenne and matzo, meal and mix thoroughly.