Category Archives: 15 – The Hagada

1. “Tell your Child”

There is a positive mitzva to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan. The more one embellishes the telling, elucidates the great kindness God showed us by saving us from the … Continue reading

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2. The Mitzva to Tell the Exodus Story on Pesaĥ Night

The Torah commands us to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt on the very night we left Egypt for freedom. Actually, we are commanded to remember the Exodus every day of the year, as it states: “So that … Continue reading

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3. The Mitzva to Begin the Seder with a Question

There is a mitzva to tell the story of the Exodus by way of question and answer, as it is stated: “When in the future your child asks you… say to your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…’” … Continue reading

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4. The Text of “Ma Nishtana”

In order to give this seminal question a structured framework, the Sages formulated the “Ma nishtana” text, through which the children express their surprise at how different this night is, paving the way for the telling of the Exodus story. … Continue reading

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5. The Torah Speaks of Four Children

On four occasions the Torah states that one must tell his child about the Exodus from Egypt, and each time it uses a different formulation. This teaches us that one must tailor his storytelling to the abilities and personality of … Continue reading

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6. The Main Message of the Hagada

In order to understand fully the goal of the Hagada and the story of the Exodus from Egypt, we must consider the question of the wise child and the answer he receives, for he is the preferred child, and we … Continue reading

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7. From Indignity to Praise

The Sages state that one must begin the story of the Exodus with indignity (“genut”) and end it with praise (“shevaĥ”). To what sort of “indignity” does this refer, physical or spiritual? According to one talmudic sage (Shmuel), it refers … Continue reading

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8. The Meaning of the Ten Plagues

The Torah describes the ten plagues at length and in great detail, without omitting a single plague. There are many things we can learn from this. The most obvious is that there is a Judge and there is justice, and … Continue reading

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9. Pesaĥ, Matza, and Maror

The Mishna teaches: “Rabban Gamliel would say: ‘Whoever does not say these three things on Pesaĥ has not fulfilled his obligation, and they are: Pesaĥ, matza, and maror‘” (Pesaĥim 126a). This means that even one who cannot recite the entire … Continue reading

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