Volume 23 Number 64
                       Produced: Mon Apr 15 20:20:35 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Additions to Haggadot  v 23 #55
         [Neil Parks]
Hagadah Question (7)
         [Aaron Greenberg, David Charlap, Rena Freedenberg, Steve White,
Yeshaya Halevi, Shmuel Jablon, Perry Zamek]
Latitude in text of the seder
         [Micha Berger]
Pesach and Omer Questions
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 96 12:55:07 EDT
Subject: Additions to Haggadot  v 23 #55

>From: Schwartz Adam <adams@...>
>A hiloni guy at work asked me about haggadot and I'm trying to get and
>answer for him.  I was curious if anyone knew anything about using
>haggadot that make mention of current events.  Are there those who
>prohibit use of these haggadot?  Based on changing the 'matbea' of the
>haddagah?  (at there's no bracha of "al mitzvat maggid..." to worry

I have heard from more than one rabbi that the traditional haggadah
isn't something that has to be followed word for word with no
variations.  Rather, it is a guideline for telling the story of the
Exodus from Egypt.  As long as we eat the matza and maror, drink the
wine, and recite the paragraph by Rabban Gamliel about the significance
of Pesach, Matza, and Maror, we have fulfilled our obligations.

One LOR says that at his seder, he asks each participant to tell about
any time when he or she was personally saved from danger.  He says
that's the way that (as the haggadah says) "each of us must consider
ourselves as though we personally were redeemed from Egypt".

....This msg brought to you by NEIL PARKS      Beachwood, Ohio    
 mailto://<nparks@...>       http://www.en.com/users/neparks/


From: Aaron Greenberg <greenbah@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 00:04:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Hagadah Question

> From: Mandy G. Book <mbook@...>
> Much is made of the phraseology of the wicked son's question to his
> father concerning  Passover tradition; specifically, much
> speculation about the wicked son's use of the term "you" and its
> implication that he is wicked because he sets himself apart.  How, then,
> do we explain that the wise son ALSO uses the term "you" -- in the
> Hebrew, his question uses the word "etchem".
> Is there something more that makes the wicked son wicked?  Is there
> something that differentiates one "you" from the other?

This is an often asked question, and I think I recall an answer.

While my dikduk (hebrew grammer) is not very good, I recall having heard
one that _etchem_ is an inclusive 'you' while _lachem_ is an exclusive
you.  So, the wicked son's use of the word you is excluding himself from
the community, as the haggadah goes on to say "L'fi SheHotzei et Atzmo
Min HaClal".  The wise son's use of the word you is a communal you, of
which he is considering himself a member.

Aaron Greenberg

From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 96 00:10:00 EDT
Subject: Hagadah Question

The problem is in learning from the translation.

The wise son says "etchem" - "you".
The wicked son says "lachem" - "to you".

The wicked son is using language that explicitly excludes himself from
the others, while the wise son doesn't.
Still, you're right, it is strange that the wise son doesn't use a word
meaning "us" instead.

>Is there something more that makes the wicked son wicked?  Is there 
>something that differentiates one "you" from the other?

I think the different Hebrew phrases make the distinction.
Unfortunately, English is a poor language for this material.  Modern
English doesn't have different versions of "you" for familiar and
unfamiliar contexts.  Older English used "thou" for the familiar and
"thee" for the unfamiliar.

Other languages also make a differentiation.  For instance, Spanish uses
"tu" for a familiar second-person "you", while it uses "el" for an
unfamiliar third-person "you".

As for why this would make a son wicked, it seems obvious to me.  When
the son refers to the rest of Judaism in a third-person "you" instead of
a second-person "you", he is separating himself from the rest.  Since he
is separate from them, he is not saved with them.

It is very similar to what (unfortunately) we hear today.  Non-religious
parents, when their children ask about religious grandparents (or great-
grandparents) often get the answer "that's what they do.  We don't do
that" - which is precisely the wicked son's attitude.

From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 16:06:04 +-300
Subject: Hagadah Question

In the section of the Hagadah that you are talking about, we see that even 
though both sons use the word "etchem," they are asking two vastly 
different things.  The wise son is seeking wisdom, asking for direction and 
to learn what is expected of us; the wicked son is contemptuously asking 
why do you bother to do all this, looking down on the beliefs of his 

---Rena Freedenberg 

From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 20:22:20 -0400
Subject: Hagadah Question

The wise son first uses the words "Hashem Elokenu."  In this way, he
acknowledges that Hashem is "our G-d" first, and then respectfully says
"etchem" to the elders, who "already" have the law and the tradition and
who have the responsibility to teach him.  The wicked son, on the other
hand, is clearly excluding himself in the use of "etchem."


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 12:06:26 -0400
Subject: Hagadah Question

	It is true that the questions asked by the Wise Son and the
Wicked Son are startlingly similar.  Both essentially ask, "What is all
this to you?"
	However, the answers each gets are very dissimilar.  The Wise
Son gets holiday minutiae lovingly explained to him, while the Wicked
Son's teeth are set on edge by a curt reply.
	Here's why. 
	The Wise Son asks, "What are the testimonies and the
unexplainable laws and the explainable laws which the Lord our God has
given to you?"
	Even though he doesn't yet include himself into the equation by
saying "given to us," he does start out by saying "our God."  Since he
started out on a level of inclusion, even though he came to a misguided
conclusion, we guide him back onto the path.
	The Wicked Son asks, "Ma Ha-avoda Hazot La-chem," which is
usually translated as "What is all this worhip/service to you?"  And
because he says "to you" and not "to us," and because he didn't use the
inclusive language of "our God," we set his teeth on edge with a sharp
retort that "It is because of what God did for me when I exited Egypt."
We imply that had the Wicked Son been there, he would not have been
worthy of being redeemed.
	But that's only one facet of this gem of Judaism.  Here's
another I thought it up on my own, years ago -- but I was not surprised
to learn recently that "my" insight was first recorded in the Jerusalem
Talmud 1600 years ago..
	The disparity in the answers each is given is because each asks
"What is the 'avoda' to you?"  In Hebrew, the word "avoda" means
"service" and indeed "avoda" is the word often used to describe
worshipping God.  Thus, when the Wise Son asks about the "avoda" he is
given a detailed, intelectual reply.
	But the word "avoda" also means work, hard labor, and the Wicked
Son uses it in this sense.  "Why do you burden yourself with this
labor?" he is asking.
 "Pesah is not worth all the arduous preparation," he implies -- and
that's why he gets nailed in the chops.
	Of course, this being Judaism, there is still another answer,
another facet.  I claim it as original but would not be at all surprised
to learn that over the past few thousand years, another Jew came to the
same conclusion.
	When the Wicked Son asks "What is all this `avoda' to you," he
isn't talking about the worship and he isn't talking about the work that
goes into preparing for Pesah.
	Instead, he is talking about the work, the slavery, which the
Jews suffered in Egypt.  (Remember, the Hebrew word for slave and
servant is "eved," which is also the root of the word for work,
	"What is all that slavery to you?" he asks, denying that there
is a link between his ancestors and himself.  And as a consequence of
denying that link to slavery, he also denies that God's redemption was
also for him.
	Finally (?), reflect upon this facet of our Judaic gem.  In the
Torah God says, "kee lee B'nai Yisrael avadeem," "For to Me are the
Children of Israel servants."  By saying "What is all this avoda, this
servitude, to you," he is also denying that he is subject to God's
      Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)

From: <ShmuelAJ@...> (Shmuel Jablon)
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 22:00:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Hagadah Question

In regards to the 4 sons: One of the primary differences between the
wise and the wicked son is that the wise son used the term ELOKEYNU to
describe Hashem.  He, therefore, places himself within Klal Yisrael as
he believes that Hashem is OUR G-d.  He says "you" in his question
because he recognizes, on the literal level, he was not present but his
father was.  Thus, he is simply noting the historical reality.  Rav
Yitzchak Sender shlit"a (see THE COMMENTATOR'S PESACH) notes that the
answer given to the wicked son is the same as given in the Torah to the
wise son.  In reality, any son can "switch places" for the good- or Chas
v'shalom the reverse-with proper education and guidance!

Kol tuv-
Shmuel Jablon

From: <jerusalem@...> (Perry Zamek)
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 23:19:05 +0300
Subject: Hagadah Question

Mandy Book wrote (v23n61):
>Is there something more that makes the wicked son wicked?  Is there 
>something that differentiates one "you" from the other?

The answer is usually given along the lines that the Wise Son uses the
expression "Hashem Elokeinu", thereby including himself among those who
believe, while the Wicked Son uses no such expression.

BTW, this is like the Yitzhak/Yaakov interchange in Parshat Toldot:
Yitzhak: How did you find game so quickly
Yaakov: Because Hashem Elokecha happened before me.
Yitzhak (suspicious): Come and let me feel you, my son [Yaakov (?)] -- are
you my son Esav [who would *never* mention God!] or not?

Are there any similar passages where mention of God identifies someone as
being other than he is thought to be?

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should live his life in such a way
Peretz ben    | that people can say of him: "There goes
Avraham       | a living Kiddush Hashem".


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 13:14:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Latitude in text of the seder

In v23n55 Andy Levy-Stevenson asked for ideas for making a kid-friendly

The question came up in my home a couple of years back, when we had
three other families over. There were about 8 kids who were old enough
to follow some of magid, and I was the only FFB at the table.

After talking it over with my posek (LOR), I decided on a seder with the
following format. Since I was the only one there who could follow the
seder in Hebrew, it was NOT PERMISSABLE to conduct the seder in
Hebrew. Never mind if it was permitted to switch to English, no one
other than myself would have fulfiled their obligation of recounting the

Next, the translation was very loose. Every concept was covered, but we
did it in question and answer form, prodding the kids to provide the
answers.  Otherwise the phrase "vihigad'ta libincha" (and you will tell
your child) is not really fulfilled.

This does leave you with a very nonorthodox (small o) and non-Orthodox
(capital O) seeming seder. Yet, this is actually halachicly preferable
(according to my LOR) than following a text your kids don't understand.
I had to remind myself of this idea repeatedly, because the seder felt
"fake" to me. I guess deep down my religion is defined more by childhood
memories than halachah. (Does that mean I'm an FFH - frum from habit?)

All the famous songs were sung in Hebrew. Dayeinu was not then
explained, since the next paragraph explains the same idea.  But the
rest of them (eg vHi she'amdah) were.

R. Gamliel's three things that must be said to be yotzei was done in
both languages. This was an allowance to myself, because I felt
uncomfortable. There was no halachic reason why this portion needed to
be in Hebrew.

All pesukim that were introduced as quotes (e.g. by "shenemar" or in the
"tzei oulmad section) were said in Hebrew, and translated.  The "tzei
ulmad" section, where a pasuk is said and then expanded, the psukim were
said in Hebrew and translated, and then explained.

So, the question is not "Can you leave the text to be kid-friendly?"
but "How close may you stick to the text so that you don't feel like you
walked in on another religion?"

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 96 16:37:00 -0400
Subject: Pesach and Omer Questions

> Is there something more that makes the wicked son wicked?  Is there 
> something that differentiates one "you" from the other?

	The simplest answer is that he also says "elokenu" and thus includes

> When we counted the first day of the Omer I was struck by the fact
> that we do not make the Bracha of SheHeheyanu. I cannot think of any
> parallel case where we do a yearly occurring Mitzva for the first time
> but do not say SheHeheyanu. Does anyone have a good reason why we
> should omit this Bracha.

	Haven't seen anything on this,  but how could you make a shehecheyanu
 if the mitzva will not be completed until the end of the sefira,  by which
 time you might miss a day?

> In light of the prohibitions on writing  on chol hamoed, is there a
> similiar prohibition on typing on a computer for nonessential reasons,
> such as email to a friend?

Writing a regular letter to a friend (igeres shlomim) is permitted on
chol hamoed,  so an email would certainly be.  Writing on a computer without
printing (perhaps even with printing) would not be a maaseh uman in any case.

<gershon.dubin@...>        |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG   |


End of Volume 23 Issue 64