As Pesach is getting very close, we would like to share with you a few insights associated with this holiday.
This time we would like to talk about the four sons.
The Four Sons
One of the famous sections in the Haggadah is the “Four Sons” – ארבעה בנים – “Arba’ah Banim”, in which we are introduced to a wise son, a wicked son, a simple son and a son who cannot formulate a question.
In the Torah it is mentioned: “One wise – חכם,
one wicked – רשע, one simple – תם AND one who does not know how to ask a question ושאינו יודע לשאול.”
The Khida in his commentary on the Haggadah, explains that there are three ways one can fulfill the commandment of telling about People of Israel going out of Egypt.
- Ideally, the story should be told in the form of question and answer.
The Talmud derives this from the Torah’s description of Matza as “Lechem Oni” – לחם עוני the bread over which a person answers.
Please note that the common way to view the expression לחם עוני is to relate to the word עוני as having the meaning poverty, implying that people of Israel were eating bread of poverty (affliction) in Egypt.
However in this commentary the word עוני is interpreted as being derived from the word לענות – to answer.
Thus the expression לחם עוני becomes – bread over which a person answers.
- The second level is to tell the story even if no one asks. This is derived from the verse “and you shall tell your son on that day…”
You should tell him, meaning – even if he doesn’t’ ask.
It means that the procedure of question and answer is preferable, but not absolutely necessary.
- The third level is this: Even if a person is alone, he must speak about the going out of Egypt.
Then the Khida adds: When introducing the fourth son The Haggadah uses the word “and.“
…AND one who does not know how to ask a question…
- This teaches us that there is a fourth level – even if someone has children that fit into the first three categories, he should also pay attention to the one who does not even know how to ask.
This is very important not to ignore the youngest or the least knowledgeable son, for those who are inclined to use the Haggadah as an intellectual presentation during the Seder.
It could just go over his head, leaving him with no opportunity to get the proper knowledge.
Pesach is a family unifying and inclusive holiday.
The Haggadah gives us a wonderful opportunity to include and address each family member with no exception, based on one’s individual views, needs and approaches.
The Hebrew Corner
Let’s learn a few words and roots, addressed in this newsletter:
לַעֲנוֹת – to answer, to torture (v)
לְהֵיעָנוּת – to respond (v, passive)
עִינּוּי – torture (n)
עוֹנִי – poverty
מַעֲנֶה – response, answer (n)
A more common word for “answer”: תְּשׁוּבָה
מָשׁוֹב – feedback (n)
לִשְׁאוֹל – to ask (v)
שְׁאֵלָה – question (n)
מִשְׁאָלָה – wish (n)
Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Pesach.
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Shabbat Shalom Ve’Chag Sameach,
שבת שלום וחג פסח שמח
Yoel & Orly
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