Pictures Tell: A Passover Haggadah The Four Questions

Created in partnership with Josh Feinberg and Sara Wolkenfeld

Cave, Haidan A-Sham, Yemen, 1992 ©Zion Ozeri

מסיר את הקערה מעל השולחן. מוזגין כוס שני. הבן שואל:

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת? שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר. שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים. שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין.

He removes the plate from the table. We pour a second cup of wine. The child then asks:

What differentiates this night from all other nights: On all other nights we eat bread and matzah; why on this night, only matzah? On all other nights we eat different kinds of vegetables; why tonight only bitter herb? On all other nights, we don't dip our food even one time; why tonight do we do it twice? On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining; why tonight do we all recline?

For Discussion:

  • What do you think is happening in this photograph, and where do you think it’s taking place?

  • How does this image connect with the Mah Nishtanah text?

  • How is this scene different from your home or community?

  • What questions would you ask about this scene?

  • What can you tell about the relationship between the teacher and the children from the way they are sitting?

  • Each of the four questions in the Haggadah refers to an item at the seder. What other questions might you suggest? What seems to you to be the strangest thing on the Seder table?

For Further Reflection:

  • Jewish tradition famously states that someone who is wise is someone who learns from every person in their life. You can read the full text here. How can you learn from everyone in your life? What types of questions might you ask to ensure that you learn from everyone?

  • Asking questions is one way of inviting others to tell us their stories. In the Haggadah , questions are a way to introduce the telling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. You can read the beginning of the answer here. What stories have you received, maybe in response to questions, from important people in your life? What types of stories would you still like to learn? What questions can you ask to elicit these stories?

Tell Your Own Story:

Take a picture with this question in mind: What questions do you have about this night? What about Passover, or the people you are with, captures your curiosity? After you take your photo, give it a caption. You can find some helpful photography tips here.