The Haggadah's instruction to "blunt the teeth" of the Wicked child has often been interpreted as recommending some form of violence.

The simple reading, however, suggests nothing of the kind. To blunt someone's teeth is to take away their bite; to neutralize them. The Wicked son must be immediately dealt a (metaphorical) knock-out blow, to take away the power of their argument.

In the Tanach, though, there are two references to "blunting teeth", in Jeremiah 31:28-9 and Ezekiel 18:2. Both cases concern the famous concept of   אבות אכלו בוסר ושיני בנים תקהינה - fathers eating raw, young grapes but the teeth of the sons becoming blunted. The idea is that children pay for the sins of the fathers.

It seems inconceivable that the author of this passage in the Haggadah was not aware of, and deliberately echoing, this biblical phrase. Although it is the father who is doing the blunting here, is there an implication here that the father must shoulder some blame for the way his son turned out?

haggadah Section: Cover
Source: Adapted from JPS haggadah