February 28, 2013

Spotlight on the Four Children

Posted by Haggadot

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One of the most discussed and interesting parts of the traditional haggadah text is the section on the four sons: the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the son who does now know how to ask. Over time, hundreds of thinkers and artists have expounded on the meaning of this fascinating text, and we have nearly 60 different interpretations of this classic part of the Haggadah. Here are some of our favorites:


We love these oil paintings from contributor Shoshannah Brombacher. They're reminiscent of Chagall, and have lots to look at and discuss. There's also these long narrow artistic renderings of the four sons, from jewishworldwatch.org. G-dcast brings us a wonderful and fun video, and there's also an excellent drawing activity with Made it Myself Books.

Marginalized Communities

From feminists, to the LGBT community and beyond, we have some great non-traditional readings. The Jewish Woman's Archive brings us a lovely rendering of the Four Daughters, and a contributor named Heather wrote the Four Girls, which explores issues around body image and health. JQ International has a GLBTQ reading of the text, that addresses issues of shame and inclusivity. Finally, we love this reading from the Love and Justice Haggadah, that turns the four children upside down, and uses texts written by children to remind us adults that we have a lot to learn from youth.


The Congress Of Secular Jewish Organization brings us a fascinating version of the four sons addresses Israel, safety, and compromise. Four More Sons from the Foundation for Family Education looks at Israeli POWs and their fate.

Social Justice/Slavery

he Religious Action Center has some great questions to get a social justice conversation going around the four sons, and Rabbi Gilah Langner from Rabbis for Human Rights brings us four sons' take on slavery. Uri L'Tzedek brings four sons who ask questions about food justice, and American Jewish World Service has four children asking about how and why to pursue justice.

We also have a ballad, a tongue in cheek graduate student version, and many many more. Head over to the clip library and check them out!