The Questions

Haggadah Section: -- Four Questions

[It is traditional for the youngest person at a seder to ask four questions. (It’s actually one question with four answers.) We know the question, and we know the answers, but we ask anyway because there is always something to learn. No matter how “wise” we become, we must remember to question.]

[The youngest child chants the Four Questions:]

מַה נִּשְׁתַנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוֹ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה. הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶה כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה:

שֶבְכָל הַלֵילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַיְלָה הַזֶה מָרוֹר:

שֶבְכָל הַלֵילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִילִין אֲפִילוּ פַעַם אֶחָת. הַלַיְלָה הַזֶה שְתֵי פְעָמִים:

שֶבְכָל הַלֵילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵין יוֹשְבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִין. הַלַיְלָה הַזֶה כֻלָנוּ מְסֻבִין:

Mah nishtanah halaila hazeh mikol halaylot?

Shebakhol halaylot anu okhleen khamaytz u’matzah, halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

Shebakhol halaylot anu okhleen sh’ahr y’rakot, halaila hazeh maror.

Shebakhol halaylot ayn anu matbeeleen afeelu pa’am akhat, halaila hazeh sh’tay f’ameem.

Shebakhol halaylot anu okh’leen beyn yoshveen u’vayn m’subeen, halaila hazeh kulanu


Why is tonight different from all other nights?


On all other nights we may eat either leavened bread or matzah; tonight, only matzah, that we may recall the unleavened bread our ancestors baked in haste.


On all other nights we need not taste bitterness; tonight, we eat bitter herbs, that we may recall the suffering of slavery.


On all other nights we needn’t dip our food in condiments even once; tonight we dip twice, in saltwater to remember our tears when we were enslaved, and in haroset to remember the mortar and the bricks which we made.


On all other nights we eat sitting up; tonight, we recline, to remind ourselves to savor our


...and 5.

In addition to the Four Questions, tonight we ask ourselves a fifth:

We are commanded to celebrate as if each one of us were personally liberated from Egypt. In the next year, how do you hope to bring yourself closer to freedom?

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