Maggid: The Four Children

Haggadah Section: -- Four Children

Uncover the Matzah and begin the reply.

We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord our God brought us forth from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not brought out our forebearers from Egypt, then we and our children, and our children's children would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. Therefore, even were we all wise – and some of us are! – all men and women of understanding, and even if we were all old and well learned in the Torah, it it would still be our duty to tell the story of the departure from Egypt. And the more one tells of the departure from Egypt, the more is one to be praised.

Blessed is the Lord, Who gave the Torah to His people Israel. Blessed is He. The Torah speaks about four sons: one who is wise and one who is contrary; one who is simple and one who does not even know how to ask a question.

Alternate Around the Table

The wise son asks: "What is the meaning of the rules, laws and customs which the Eternal our God has commanded us?  "You shall explain to him all the laws of Passover, to the very last detail about the Afikoman (especially the tax ramifications)."

The contrary son asks: "What is the meaning of this service to you?" Saying to you he excludes himself, and because he excludes himself from the group, he denies a basic principle of our faith. You may therefore tell him sternly: "This is done because of what the Eternal did for me when I came forth from Egypt."  For me and not for him.

The simple son asks: "What is this about?" To him you shall say:"With a strong hand the Eternal brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage."  And then hope there are no bones in his soup.

As for the son who does not even know how to ask a question, you must begin for him, as it is written,"You shall tell your child on that day, 'This is done because of that which the Eternal did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.'"

Silbergleit family Passover Haggadah 2005, per Rabbi Nathan Goldberg (adapted by Jeffrey Wise)

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