The four children are a vignette of the Jewish people. One asks because he wants to hear the answer. A second asks because he does not want to hear the answer. A third asks because he does not understand. The fourth does not ask because he doesn’t understand that he doesn’t understand.
Ours has never been a monolithic people. Yet there is a message of hope in this family portrait. Though they disagree, they sit around the same table, telling the same story. Though they differ, they stay together. They are part of a single family. Even the rebel is there, although part of him does not want to be. This too is who we are.
The Jewish people is an extended family. We argue, we differ, there are times when we are deeply divided. Yet we are part of the same story. We share the same memories. At difficult times we can count on one another. We feel one another’s pain. Out of this multiplicity of voices comes something none of us could achieve alone. Sitting next to the wise child, the rebel is not fated to remain a rebel. Sitting next to the rebel, the wise child may share his wisdom rather than keep it to himself. The one who cannot ask will in time learn how. The simple child will learn complexity. The wise child will learn simplicity. Each draws strength from the others, as we draw strength from belonging to a people.
-Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s Haggadah
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