Around our tables sit four daughters:
The wise daughter understands that not everything is as it appears. She is the one who speaks up, confident that her opinion counts. She is the one who can take the tradition and ritual that is placed before her, turn it over and over, and find personal meaning in it. She is the one who can find the secrets in the empty spaces between the letters of the Torah. She is the one who claims a place for herself.
The wicked daughter is the one who dares to challenge the simplistic answers she has been given. She is the one who asks too many questions. She is the one not content to remain in her prescribed place. She is the one who breaks the mold. She is the one who challenges the status quo. Some call her wicked and rebellious but we call her daring and courageous.
The simple daughter is the one who accepts what she is given without asking for more. She is the one who trusts easily and believes what she is told. She is the one who prefers waiting and watching over seeking and acting. She is the one who believes that the redemption from Egypt was the final act of freedom. She is the one who follows in the footsteps of others.
Daughter Who Does Not Know How To Ask
Last is the daughter who does not know how to ask. She is one who obeys and does not question. She is the one who is content to be invisible. She has yet to find her voice.
The four questions, like most of the seder, are meant to be participatory. They are a jumping off point for exploration of the themes of Passover and our identities as modern Jews. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the ancient rabbis would remove the seder plate in an effort to stimulate discussion, exempting the table from the "mah nishtana" if the questions flowed. Even the Hebrew lends itself to discussion, as the word for simple - tam - also means "perfect." The simple son or daughter asks the most perfect question around which everyone may learn.
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