From "The Four Sons"

Clip Text #2 – From “The Four Sons”

Source: The Steinsaltz Haggada (Hebrew-English), with expanded commentary and notes by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. 2016, Koren Publishers Jerusalem. Pages 78-79.

The simple-natured son who does not know how to explain the details of his question poses his query in a general way: “And when, in time to come, your son asks you, saying, ‘What is this?’” ( Exodus 13:14). And you must tell him, “With a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the grip of slavery” (13:14-17). And the one who does not know how to ask, who sees everything transpiring, and to him it all appears simple and normal, you must open [the story] for him. Explain everything to him, so that he understands what is happening, and why. As it is said, “And you shall tell your child on that day, ‘Because of this the Lord acted for me when I came out of Egypt’” ( Exodus 13:8). This entire section of the Torah deals with the commandments that were intended to serve as a remembrance of the Exodus – especially the Paschal offering.

Discussion questions for Text #2

  1. When you share your personal journey, do you tell that story in different ways to different people? Why or why not?
  2. The two sons receive different explanations for why we celebrate Passover, and each explanation is a verse from the Book of Exodus. What are the similarities and differences between those explanations? What do those explanations tell us about those two children and their ways of understanding?
  3. The sons are told the story in different ways. How is storytelling an act of remembering? What is the role of memory in the building of Jewish culture and society?

haggadah Section: -- Four Children
Source: The Exodus: An Extraordinary passage