Hagaddah Insights 5777

What is the difference between Kiddush on Shabbos and the Four Cups of Pesach? You can’t drink four cups at once. Each cup must be consumed at certain junctures.

Everyone drinks their own cup vs. just a drop.

The whole cup or at least rov kos vs. melo lugmav ( a “gulp”, fill the cheek)

“Good” wine vs. “wine I like”- on Pesach we are like “princes”, and one makes a toast on champagne or fine wine.  However, Rav Soloveitchik says even on Pesach we should drink what we like.  I think this opinion is based on the idea that drinking wine represents “freedom” too.

Urchatz is for the karpas.  This ritual is based on the practice of washing before dipping into liquid because the liquid is a medium that can transfer “tum’ah”, impurity.  Some actually practice this custom today.  So why davka on Pesach do we recall it?  Even though we experience redemption, we also bizman hazeh after the churban, we experience a certain lack, something missing.  No korban pesach of Beis Hamikdash.    In fact, some say the reason we sue an egg to represent the chagigah is to reflect aveilus.  We only had to use a “cooked” food.  In addition the night of the first seder is the same as Tisha B’av.  Even in simcha we have a hint of mourning the BM. Perhaps this is also giving us impetus to work towards final ge’ulah.

Karpas can also be viewed in this context.  On a drash level, the word in Hebrew is understood backwards as Pey Reish Chaf parech, the rigor of the Samech, shishim ribo, 60 myriads 600,000. Karpas also means a piece of clothing (in the Megilah).  It refers, again midrashically, to the coat of Yosef which was the cause of the descent to Egypt.

Magid- Mah nishtanah can be translated Wow! How different this night is!  Regular yomtovim reflect one idea.  Pesach has a dual identity:  servitude and freedom.  I suggest Pesach embodies Jewish history not simply one event, but the arc of Jewish experience throughout the generations.

The first answer is Avadim hayinu.  We were slaves and God saved us.  Then we say if Hashem hadn’t brought out our forefathers, then we…would be enslaved.  History becomes personal, we immediately make the connection.  Next we say even if we all knew the Torah, we have the mitzvah to relate the story.  Knowledge is not the point but the involvement in telling the story.

Difference between mitzvah of zechira and sippur.  Remember or relate.

“God save us in Egypt.” vs. Telling the whole story.  The story is told in a question and answer format, and through learning Torah.  And it’s an emotional experience not just an act of memory.

V’higadta l’bincha means to tell it over, teach it on a deeper level, it has to be understood, “ben” from “binah” havanah; therefore, Rama paskins that we have to say hagadah in lo’az, the colloquial language.  It is preferable to recite it in English or at least explain it in English and have a translation so everyone can understand.

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