One of the most important parts of the Seder is retelling the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. As a matter of fact, it is an obligation for every parent to educate their children about the story of leaving Egypt, including teaching the ten plagues. However, every year, towards the end of Maggid, after the plagues have been mentioned, we also say דצ"ך עד"ש באח"ב, an acronym for the ten plagues. Why would it be necessary to vocalize this acronym right after the story of the ten plagues has just been told? Why would R’ Yehudah, a well known and tremendous Rabbi, contribute such a seemingly obvious and redundant acronym to the Haggadah?

            The Ritvah wrote in the name of Rashi who asked this same question; why do we need this acronym? Rashi explains that without the acronym people may think “ein mukdam umeuchar baTorah,” that the Torah isn't written in chronological order. Rashi gives this answer because, in Tehillim Perek 105, David Hamelech recounts the ten plagues in a different order than the one found in the Haggadah. He shows that without the acronym, we may not have known which order of the plagues was correct chronologically. However, this is an unusual comment for Rashi because he is well-known for writing that the Torah is not a history book and it is not written in chronological order. So, why would he do this?

            Before we get to answering that, the Rashbatz explains that simanim, or symbols, were commonly used by R’ Yehudah in the Beit Midrash. Just like any professor, R’ Yehudah had a teaching style, in this case acronyms, which he used in order to prevent his students from making errors and to highlight the importance of the order of things in the Torah. So, it seems that both Rashi and Rashbatz would agree that the reason for R’ Yehudah’s acronym is to enhance the Mitzvah and Kiyum, fulfillment, of retelling the story of leaving Egypt. According to Rashi, the chronological order of the plagues, which would usually be completely unimportant to him, seems to be important in this case because it is part of properly retelling the story of exodus. In addition, according to Rashbatz, using R’ Yehudah’s acronym is essential because it teaches the children the importance of remembering the order of the plagues.

            Therefore, we see that R’ Yehudah’s acronym serves a very important purpose at the Seder. The theme of educating the children is a crucial part of the Seder and is essential to fulfilling one’s obligation. דצ"ך עד"ש באח"ב enhances the retelling and allows the children to learn the plagues in the correct chronological order, not only teaching them about history, but also teaching them a lesson about the importance of learning Torah studies in a specific order for them to use in future educational situations.

haggadah Section: -- Ten Plagues
Source: Adina Passy