The Answer

Haggadah Section: -- Four Children

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Eternal our God, took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. If the God had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children's children might still have been enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. Therefore, if all of us were wise, all of us understanding, all of us learned in the Torah, we would still be obligated to discuss the exodus from Egypt; and everyone who discusses the exodus from Egypt at length is to be praised.

It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Joshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarphon were reclining at a seder in B'nei Berak. They were discussing the exodus from Egypt all that night, until their students came to tell them it was time for the morning prayers.

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaryah said: "I am a man of seventy years old, yet I did not understand that the story of the departure from Egypt must be told at night until Ben Zoma explained it.  It is said "That you may remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life."  Ben Zoma explained, "The days of your life" refers to the days, but "all" indicates the inclusion of the nights!"

The sages, however, also said: "The days of your life" refers to this world only; and "all" indicates the inclusion of the days of Messiah."

Blessed is God who gave the Torah to God's people Israel, blessed be God! The Torah speaks of four children: One who is wise, one who is contrary, one who is simple and one who does not even know how to ask a question.

The wise asks, "What are the testimonies, the statutes, the customs, and the laws which the Eternal our God, has commanded us?" You, in turn, shall instruct the wise child in the laws of Passover, to the very last detail of the Afikoman.

The contrary one asks, "What is this service to you?"  The contrary child says "to you, " By excluding himself from the community he has denied that which is fundamental. You, therefore tell him plainly: "It is because of what the Eternal did for me when I left Egypt." For me but not for him; had he been there, he would not have been redeemed!"

The simple child asks, "What is this?" Thus you shall say to the simple child: "With a strong hand the Eternal brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage."

As for the one who does not know how to ask, you must begin with that child, as it is said: "You shall tell your child on that day, `It is because of that which the Eternal did for me when I left Egypt.'"

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