When the Bet Hamikdash stood, the entire Jewish nation would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Erev Pesach and every family (or group of families) would bring their Korban Pesach (Pascal Lamb) to the Bet Hamikdash, which would the be eaten in Jerusalem later that night at the Seder. The entire Jewish nation rejoiced during this holiday as they experience a supreme closeness to Hashem.
“This Meat is for Pesach”
The Gemara (Pesachim 53a) states that one should not exclaim “this meat is for Pesach” in regard to meat designated for the holiday, for this appears as though one is consecrating the meat for the Korban Pesach and eating it outside of Jerusalem. This means that since in the times of the Bet Hamikdash when the Korban Pesach was offered in purity, people would consecrate the lamb first by exclaiming, “This animal is for the Pesach” and following such consecration, nothing else could be done with this animal besides for offering it and eating it as the Korban Pesach. Thus, even nowadays when we no longer have the Bet Hamikdash unfortunately, one should not such an exclamation. Rather, if one wishes to say something, one should say, “This meat is for Yom Tov.”
The Poskim disagree regarding the Halacha if someone did, in fact, mistakenly say “This meat is for Pesach,” whether it would be permissible to consume this meat post facto. According to Hagaon Bayit Chadash, even post facto, it would be prohibited to consume this meat; even benefitting from this meat in any way would be forbidden, as is the law regarding actual consecrated meat. Nevertheless, the great Rabbeinu Chaim Abulafia writes in his Sefer Mikra’ei Kodesh that there is room to permit the meat for consumption after the fact. Many other Poskim concur and write that the prohibition in the Talmud only applies from the outset, however, post facto, there is no reason to prohibit the meat for consumption. This is especially true nowadays when no one actually intends to consecrate meat for the Korban Pesach and saying “This meat is for Pesach” is merely a figure of speech.
Eating a Whole Roasted Lamb
Similarly, our Sages forbade eating a whole roasted lamb or kid on the Seder night, for this almost exactly resembles the actual Korban Pesach and it appears like people are eating the Korban outside of Jerusalem. This prohibition applies everywhere.
For the same reason, it is likewise forbidden to eat the “Zero’a” (roasted lamb shank) placed in the Seder plate (on the Seder night), for this item is meant to commemorate the Korban Pesach.
Eating Other Roasted or Grilled Meat
Furthermore, there are places where the custom is to prohibit eating any manner of roasted or grilled meat on the Seder night so as not to resemble eating the Korban Pesach. Nowadays, the prevalent custom throughout the entire Jewish nation wherever they reside is not to eat any roasted or grilled meat on the Seder night. This applies to lamb, beef, poultry, and anything else that requires ritual slaughter.
Needless to say, the above applies only to roasted meat. However, it is likewise customary throughout the Jewish nation to eat cooked meat on the Seder night. “Cooked” in this context refers to meat or poultry cooked in water, oil, or any other significant sauce or gravy. Thus, if one wishes to cook meat in a pot for the Seder, one should make sure to add water or other liquids and not just allow it to cook in its own natural juices, for this would fall under the “roasted” category.
May it be Hashem’s will that in the merit of our strict adherence to Halacha and the merit of the public that we soon be fortunate enough to eat Matzah, Maror, and the Korban Pesach in the holy city of Jerusalem, Amen!