מוזגים כוס ראשון. המצּות מכוסות.
וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל-צְבָאָם. וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְבָרֵךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת.
סַבְרִי מָרָנָן וְרַבָּנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל-עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל-לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (לשבת: שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשוֹן, (לשבת: אֶת יוֹם הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶּה וְ) אֶת יוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ, (לשבת: בְּאַהֲבָה) מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (לשבת: וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶׁךָ (לשבת: בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', מְקַדֵּשׁ (לשבת: הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.
בּמוצאי שבת מוסיפים:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, בֵּין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת-עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה.
שותה בהסיבת שמאל ואינו מברך ברכה אחרונה.
We pour the first cup. The matsot are uncovered
On Shabbat, begin here:
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their host. And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because He rested on it from all of His work which God created in doing (Genesis 1:31-2:3).
On weekdays, begin here:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has chosen us from all peoples and has raised us above all tongues and has sanctified us with His commandments. And You have given us, Lord our God, [Sabbaths for rest], appointed times for happiness, holidays and special times for joy, [this Sabbath day, and] this Festival of Matsot, our season of freedom [in love] a holy convocation in memory of the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us above all peoples. In Your gracious love, You granted us Your [holy Sabbath, and] special times for happiness and joy.
Blessed are You, O Lord, who sanctifies [the Sabbath,] Israel, and the appointed times.
On Saturday night add the following two paragraphs:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the light of the fire. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who distinguishes between the holy and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six working days. You have distinguished between the holiness of the Sabbath and the holiness of the Festival, and You have sanctified the seventh day above the six working days. You have distinguished and sanctified Your people Israel with Your holiness.
Blessed are You, O Lord, who distinguishes between the holy and the holy.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life and sustenance and permitted us to reach this season.
Drink while reclining to the left and do not recite a blessing after drinking.
(1) Women and Kiddush: Although it is the custom of women to recite the She’heche’yanu when they light the holiday candles, I have not been able to find a basis for this among any of the early or later decisors of Jewish law. I wrote to my father regarding this matter and he has answered me that others have expressed surprise about this matter as well. Actually, the She’heche’yanu should be recited over the first cup of wine. Still my father has written that we should allow women this practice since it gives them pleasure. Also we learn in the Talmud that the She’heche’yanu can be recited anywhere, even in the market place. I wrote back to my father about this matter I and added that if a woman has already said the She’heche’yanu when she lit the candles, she should not say it again if she is the one reciting the Kiddush. If a man is the one lighting the candles then it is better for him to wait and recite the She’heche’yanu when he says the Kiddush and not when he lights the candles. My learned father agreed with me that this is the proper observance in this matter.
(1) Kadesh u’Rechatz: A person should first sanctify himself so that he can turn away from sin, and afterwards one should perform mitzvot, as scripture states, “Turn away from evil and do good.” Therefore we say, Kadesh u’Rechatz: Sanctify yourself by leaving transgression and afterwards cleanse yourself so that you will not be like the person who immerses himself in the Mikvah while holding on to an impure creature. Nothing should stand between you and purity.
(1) Why Four Cups of Wine: On page 72b of Pesachim, Rashi writes that we drink four cups of wine is for the four expressions of redemption: “I will bring you out,” “I will save you,” “I will redeem you,” and “I will bring you to the land.” Elsewhere, Rashi writes that the reason for the four cups of wine is reminiscent of the three cups of wine which Pharaoh’s wine bearer saw in his dream as well as the cup which we drink after the Birkat HaMazon, the Grace after Meals. It seems to me that there is another reason for the four cups of wine found in the Mekhilta, Parshat Bo. According to Rabbi Elazar Hakafar, the four cups of wine are related to the four mitzvot which the people of Israel performed and that the world are not worthy of: the people of Israel were not guilty of unchastity , they didn’t commit slander, and they didn’t change their names, their language, nor their clothing to follow their neighbors. It was because of these actions that they merited redemption from Egypt. In the Mekhlita scriptural verses are brought as proof texts for each of these actions. It was in honor of these actions that we drink the four cups of wine.
However, this is difficult. We say “You were naked and barren of mitzvot” which suggests that the Israelites did not have any mitzvot to their credit to make them worthy of redemption, and therefore God gave them the blood of circumcision and the blood of the Passover offering. The K’li Yakar answers this question that these four mitzvot were all passive acts – they didn’t involve performing an act. The Israelites did not have any active commandments to their credit. Therefore God gave them two commandments which involved performing an action rather than simply desisting from doing something. The Holy one freed them from bondage as a reward for the four commandments but did not take them out of Egypt. Israel ceased serving the Egyptians in the month of Tishri but they did not leave Egypt until the month of Nisan after they had circumcised all the males and offered the Passover sacrifice.
(1) Kadesh Asher bachar banu: As with many blessings, the Kiddush begins “Praised are You…” (in the second person) but continues “That he chose us…” (in the third person). Ramban makes the following comment in Parshat B’shalach on Exodus 15:26:
“Any berakhah which acknowledges God’s sovereignty, continues in the third person (for example, asher kidshanu – ‘Who sanctifies us’) while blesses that do not begin with the divine name because they fellow another blessing, are written in the second person, such as the second blessing of the Amidah which begins attah gibor, ‘You are mighty.’ Similarly the sages decreed that the Alaynu should be written in the third person because it begins by acknowledging God’s sovereignty.”
This explanation is problematic since the blessing over the wine which we recite later in the Haggadah, Asher g’alanu as well as the prayer we add to the Amida during the Ten Days of Repentance, Zochreinu, begins in the third person and then switches to the second person, contradicting the Ramban. The Ramban believed that the first part of the blessing must be in the third person but not the latter part of the blessing. The last part of a blessing which is written in the form of a petition can be written in the second person. This matter needs more study.
לוקח מן הכרפס פחות מכזית - כדי שלא יתחייב בברכה אחרונה - טובל במי מלח, מברך "בורא פרי האדמה", ומכווין לפטור בברכה גם את המרור. אוכל בלא הסבה.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה.
Take from the greens less than a kazayit - so that you will not need to say the blessing after eating it; dip it into the salt water; say the blessing "who creates the fruit of the earth;" and have in mind that this blessing will also be for the bitter herbs. Eat without reclining.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.
(1) Karpas: This word is derived from two words: karim, which means pillows and pas, which means remove, as in the verse, “The loyal have vanished (pasu) from among men.” One who wishes to wear the crown of Torah must first throw away his pillow (his comforts). We learn this in Avot, “This is the way that is becoming for the study of Torah… sleep upon the ground, and live a life of trouble…” That is, a person should not lie on pillows and couches. The sages also interpreted the word karpas as a reference to samech parekh, sixty (ten thousands) who faced oppression. Sixty x 10,000 is a reference to Israel, since each one of them possesses one of the 600,000 letters that make up Torah.
(2) Karpas This matter has been studied by the scholars of Israel and it is accepted that the most fitting vegetable for karpas is celery. One may cook them since it is better to recite borei p’ri haadamah on cooked vegetables rather than on raw ones. This was also my father’s practice. One should have in mind when saying this blessing to be exempt from saying it again when one eats maror later on. Similarly, when one says the blessing for matzah one should have in mind to be exempt from saying the blessing again when one eats the Afikomen at the end of the meal. Therefore, one should refrain from unnecessary conversation during the Seder so that the conversation doesn’t interrupt ones concentration and intention during the Seder.
(1) Yachatz: means half or a portion. This is a reference to the continuation of the statement in Pirke Avot mentioned above: “A morsel of bread with salt you shall eat and water by measure you shall drink.” Or it may be a reference to what the Talmud says: A person shall divide up his study time: a third for Scripture, a third for Mishnah and a third for Gemara. And if he is an entrepreneur, let him divide his time and set fixed times for Torah – this is the meaning of Yachatz, dividing: one should divide his time between study and business. This is a pillar of Torah.
(2) Yachatz Rabbi Yitzchak Nunis Weiss, the author of the Siach Yitzchak quotes the Apei Ravravi: “the reason we wrap the three pieces of matzah separately in cloth is to remind us of the special way in which the Israelites wrapped up their dough when they left Egypt. Also the wrapped matzah is a reminder of the manna which was covered top and bottom when they found it in the wilderness. It is also customary to wrap up the Afikomen in cloth and to place it on one’s shoulder and, then, to place it under the pillow on his chair.
Further it is taught that only the head of the household should wash his hands during the first washing, even though the washing is because any food that is dipped in liquid is subject to impurity. Since we are supposed to eat less than an olive’s worth, and the washing is less than the required amount it is not necessary except for the head of the household who touches all the greens which are dipped. Therefore, it is appropriate for the person who hands out the greens to all those around the table to wash first and then to pass out the portions to each person.
מגלה את המצות, מגביה את הקערה ואומר בקול רם:
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִּי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַּׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַּׁתָּא עַבְדֵי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין.
The Recitation [of the exodus story]
The leader uncovers the matsot, raises the Seder plate, and says out loud:
This is the bread of destitution that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Anyone who is famished should come and eat, anyone who is in need should come and partake of the Pesach sacrifice. Now we are here, next year we will be in the land of Israel; this year we are slaves, next year we will be free people.
(1) Maggid Rach’tzah: Before one partakes of a meal, one should study (yagid) and pray and then wash as is the law, reciting the blessing, al n’tilat yadayim before the meal. The sages offered the following interpretation of scripture, “You shall not do anything with its blood (hadam):” you shall not eat before you have prayed for your blood (life). Also they taught, “It is forbidden for a person to taste anything before he has prayed.” This is a rebuke to those people who drink coffee on Shabbat and Holiday mornings before attending the synagogue service. Not only is it forbidden before Kiddush but it is forbidden to make Kiddush without its being accompanied by a full meal. Concerning such people we learn: “Rabbi Isaac said in the name of Rabbi Jochanan, who had it from Rabbi Jose, son of Rabbi Hanina in the name of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob: If one eats and drinks and then says his prayers, of him the Scripture says, ‘And you have cast me behind your back.’ Read not gavekha [your back], but gei’ekha [your pride]. Says the Holy One: After this one has exalted himself, he comes and accepts the kingdom of heaven!” Where is the reverence of one who enters synagogue to pray with a full stomach? The Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria, emphasized this law greatly and even said that it was forbidden to eat before sunrise.
(2) Maggid When reciting Ha lachma anya the matzah should be uncovered; it is customary to remove the egg and the bone from the plate when the plate is picked up. The Magen Avraham writes that it is not necessary to remove them.
The Siach Yitzchok writes that the reason for lifting the Seder plate is to remind us of the basket of the first fruits which our ancestors brought to the Temple. It was necessary to wave the plate just as was done when reciting the First Fruit Declaration over the basket of fruit.
It is also customary to open the door when reciting Ha lachma anya since we say, “All who are hungry come and eat.” If the door is closed no one can enter.
(1) Ha lachma anya: There are a number of difficulties in this passage. First, the passage should have begun with the words, “All who are hungry come and eat.” Second, it would have been more appropriate to say, “This is the bread of affliction” when everyone is sitting around the table paying attention. There are other issues which Don Isaac Abarbanel and the Ma’aseh Adonai spell out.
In Yoreh Deah 249:3 we learn that when giving tzedakah, one should do so with a cheerful countenance, joyfully and with a full heart. One should empathize with the needy person in his misery and speak to him with consolation. If one greets him with an angry countenance then he loses all merit for the mitzvah of giving tzedakah even if he gives him money or food. This is what the prophet Isaiah wrote: “and you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature.” This means that one should first speak to the needy person and ask him about his troubles. One should not humiliate him since the world is a turning wheel – the needy person who sits on the dung heap may eventually sit with princes. He should placate the poor person and encourage him to come to his house. But once the meal begins, he should not speak about the other’s poverty; rather he should treat him as if he were the host’s best friend and happy to be with him. They should eat and drink happily together. When the poor guest prepares to leave, once again his host should console him with soft words and tell him that God will help him and that he will see better times just as we all wait for the final redemption.
These are the things that the host should do who invites the needy to join him at the Seder. First, he should say, “This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.” By saying “In Egypt,” instead of saying, “When we went forth from Egypt.” David Abudraham relates that when his contemporary was imprisoned in India they fed him unleavened bread that did not get moldy or stale. One can go on to explain that the Egyptians did not allow the Israelites to bake regular bread in Egypt – but eventually the unleavened bread became a symbol of freedom. In this way, one can remove the mask of humiliation from the poor person’s face. He does not have to feel he has come to a rich person’s house this night – we all eat the bread of poverty and affliction. Rather we should make the person feel at home and accepted by saying: “All who are in need come and celebrate the Pesach.” He does not have to feel that he is eating the bread of humiliation. And when he prepares to leave, speaking consolingly to him and say, “This year we are here – next year in the land of Israel!” That is, he can anticipate God’s redemption land of Israel just as we do.
(2) Ha Lachma Anya, A Second Interpretation: The Midrash teaches that it is through the merit of giving tzedakah that our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt. They would feed the hungry at their tables and from them we can learn how to act. Just as they fed the needy, so we should feed the needy. In Masekhet Baba Batra, 10a, we learn “Tzedakah is great for it brings redemption closer.” We learn this lesson from Isaiah 56:1 – “Soon my salvation shall come for my righteousness (tzedakah) shall be revealed.” This is the first lesson of the Haggadah in the words, “This is the bread of affliction.” The redemption was because of the bread of the needy which our ancestors fed them in Egypt; therefore, lets us act similar to them. We say, “All who are hungry come and eat.” What is the reason for this, so that while “now we are here,” next year “we may be in the land of Israel.” It is through acts of tzedakah that we bring redemption closer and that we can anticipate being in the land of Israel in the year to come!
(3) Ha Lachma Anya, A Third Interpretation: In looking closely at the language of this passage, the question is raised why is it in Aramaic? The common answer, that the people in Babylonian spoke Aramaic is not a sufficient answer to this question. For in our time when we understand Hebrew we should recite this passage in Hebrew. I found written on a manuscript containing the words of the liturgy from the year 1406, “Why do we recite this passage in Aramaic? Because the evil spirits do not understand this language, and if we recited this passage in a language that the spirits understood they would come and harm the people.
Yet don’t we refer to Passover as a leil shemurim, a night of guarding, so what do we have to fear on the eve of Passover? While the evil spirits cannot come on their own and harm people, if we issue an invitation, they are given an opening to come and cause damage. Also by issuing an invitation they will become habituated to being present and can cause harm to the members of the household after the Passover is over. This idea that it is a night of guarding from harmful spirits is difficult, since elsewhere we say that it is only on Yom Kippur that we are protected from the harmful spirits. The word Ha-satan has the numerical value of 364 because 364 days a year harmful spirits can attack us but not on Yom Kippur – the 365th day of the year. This implies that on the days of Passover, harmful spirits do have the ability to attack and harm people. The answer to this question is that on Passover the Jewish people are protected from harmful spirits but not the other nations of the world. On Yom Kippur, the entire world is protected from harmful spirits which is what we are referring to in the word Ha-satan.
But there are other difficulties with this idea. In the book of Job we say, “On the day when the divine beings presented themselves before the Lord, the adversary, Ha-satan, came along and to present himself before the Lord…” The Aramaic translation of the Bible translates “on the day” as “the day of the great fast” implying that even on Yom Kippur evil spirits could cause harm to the other nations. (So what then is the distinction between Yom Kippur and Passover with regard to protection from harmful spirits?) On Passover the Jewish people are protected from the actions but not (from?) the words of the harmful spirits (i.e., they could not harm us but they could curse us) but on Yom Kippur the harmful spirits cannot harm us in word nor in deed. Therefore on Passover we recite the invitation to the Seder in Aramaic so that the harmful spirits cannot find entrance to our homes even in word. Only Israel and not the other nations are protected on these two occasions.
Yet why is this passage recited partly in Aramaic and partly in Hebrew ? This passage refers to four different time periods in the history of the Jews of Babylonia. The first passage, “this is the bread of affliction” refers to the first Passover soon after they arrived in Babylonia. The second passage was added after the rebuilding of the temple, “All who are hungry come and eat” and “All who are needy come celebrate the Passover.” The people felt like royalty and joyously celebrated even in Babylonia. They opened their homes in great joy and generosity to celebrate this occasion. When the Temple was destroyed again, the sense of joy ceased and now the people said, “Now we are here next year may we be in the Land of Israel.” The references to the redemption were made in Hebrew while the references to the exile were made in Aramaic, hashta hakha, “Now we are here.” Yet in this third passage we find a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic b’ara d’yisrael. This was a way of saying that even though the Jewish people will eventually be able to return to the land of Israel, they are still not completely free since we are subjugated to the Persians and the Medes, and others. Only in the final passage which is a reference to the fourth exile, do we switch over to Hebrew completely in the final part of this expression, “Now we are slaves (in Aramaic) but next year may we be free (in Hebrew).” We say Lishana ha-baah b’nei horin, “Next year may we be free” which is entirely Hebrew.
(4) Ha Lachma Anya, A Fourth Interpretation: This passage is an explanation of Yachatz, the custom of breaking the middle matzah in half. “This is the bread affliction” explains why we put a broken piece of matzah back on the Seder plate between the other two pieces of matzah. It is a symbol of slavery. The poor person saves a bit of food because he is never sure where his next meal will come from. So, too, we place a broken piece of matzah back with the others as a reminder of slavery. The second piece is wrapped up and put behind the pillow as a reminder of the unleavened bread which our ancestors made while hastily fleeing from Egypt. We can now understand why we refer to this holiday as Hag HaMatzot, the festival of the unleavened breads, in the plural, and not Hag HaMatzah, in the singular as we say about the Passover offering, Hag HaPesach. The Pesach is offered only once, on the first day so we refer to it in the singular. We eat matzah for seven/eight days, and it has at least two different meanings. It is a reminder of slavery and a reminder of the Exodus.
There is second explanation for Yachatz in this opening statement of the Haggadah. We break the matzah in half so that we can recite the blessing for eating over matzah over half of it and use the other half for the Afikomen, which reminds us of the Pesach offering. We make reference to these two meanings of the broken matzah in Ha lachma anya. “This is the bread of affliction” refers to the matzah, and “all who are needy, come celebrate the Pesach” is a reference to Pesach offering.
A third explanation of Yachatz can be found in Ha lachma anya: it symbolizes exile and redemption. Part of the matzah symbolizes the bitter exile of the people of Israel; we refer to this in the expressions, “Now we are here” and “Now we are slaves.” The other half of the matzah is a symbol of the future redemption. The word afikomen comes from the Aramaic “to go forth;” we will go forth from exile to “the land of Israel” and we will go forth from slavery to “freedom.” Since the time of redemption is hidden from us, we hide the afikomen behind a pillow; it is a source of our hope and trust during this period of exile.
(5) Ha Lachma Anya, A Fifth Interpretation: We learn that one should not eat on the eve of Pesach until after dark. The reason for this law is that our ancestors in Egypt could not eat until they returned from a long day of slavery in the fields. The task masters made them work hard all day we commemorate their experience by reenacting it on Passover eve. We wait until dark to eat our meal on the eve of Passover and begin by saying, Ha lachma anya, “this is the bread of affliction” so that we are truly like a servant returning from the fields to eat one’s evening meal.
Similarly, the Jerusalem Talmud says, that one who eats matzah on Passover eve is like one who has intimate relations with his fiancé in his father-in-law’s house before the marriage . A bride is forbidden to the groom prior to the sheva berachot, the seven marriage blessings. Similarly before we eat matzah at the Seder, we must recite seven blessing as the groom does for his bride:
5. Asher G’alanu
7. Netilat Yadaim
There are actually nine blessings leading up to the matzah so which ones do we count? According to Abudraham, the two blessings for the wine aren’t included in the seven blessings. The author suggests that we don’t include the motzi or the blessing for washing the hands since one recite those blessings even if it wasn’t Passover. Actually, the Jerusalem Talmud teaches us that the significance of the ceremonies is not in the number of blessings we say but in the connection between the wedding ceremony and the Seder. Just as one needs Kiddushin ceremony (the betrothal ceremony), the canopy (the Nisuin blessings), the reading of the ketubah, and two cups of wine for a wedding ceremony to be complete so, too, before we eat the matzah must recite the Kiddush (the Erusin), cover the matzah (the chuppah), read the Haggadah (reading of the ketubah), drink two cups of wine before the meal (just as we drink two cups of wine in the wedding ceremony), and partaking of the meal is compared to the consummation of the relationship, as we read in scripture: Such is the way of the adulteress, she eats, wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong.”
All who are in need… of the basic necessities of the Seder which are the four cups of wine and the Pesach offering ‘let him come and celebrate Passover/Pesach.” The afikomen is a symbol of the Pesach offering. (That is, the first statement “all who are hungry…come and eat” is a reference to the matzah, while the second statement “all who are in need” is a reference to the Afikomen/the sacrifice and the four cups of wine. They also symbolize the future hope of redemption when we will be able to celebrate Passover fully once again. That is why we continue, “Now we are here, next year may we be in the land of Israel.”
(6) Ha Lachma Anya, A Sixth Interpretation: This passage is an expression of the four children. “This is the bread of affliction,” is a reference to the wise child. Matzah has two opposite meanings – it is the food which our ancestors ate in Egypt because it didn’t spoil as well as the dough which they brought out of Egypt. Only a wise child will be able to see both meanings of matzah.
“All who are hungry come and eat; all who are in need come celebrate Passover” is a reference to the wicked child. Only those who starved themselves on the eve of Passover and have gone to great bother in preparing for the Seder should come and eat now. The wicked child who says, “What is the meaning of this service,” doesn’t deserve to partake of the Seder meal!
“Now we are here, next year in the land of Israel,” is addressed to the simple child. He is amazed at all the trouble we have made in preparing for the Seder. After all, aren’t we still living in a bitter exile? Aren’t we still subjugated to other rulers living in a land other than our own? We answer him, we are living here but next year we may yet be in the land of Israel for we still express hope every day in our redemption.
“Now we are slaves; next year may we be free” is a statement that refers to the child who doesn’t know how to ask. He has heard the explanation of the father to the simple child but it does not satisfy him. His mind begins to wander and he becomes more depressed. The father cannot answer this child as he was able to do with the simple child. He has not yet learned to distinguish between one land and another; therefore the father says to him, “Next year we will be free like kings and princes!” This is a distinction that this child can understand.
(7) Ha Lachma Anya, A Seventh Interpretation: The leader of the Seder makes this statement in order to encourage all who are present to ask the four questions. The first statement, “This is the bread affliction,” will make him ask about matzah. When we lift the Seder plate and say all who are hungry, showing the things we dip, the maror and the karpas – he will ask the second and third questions – about maror and dipping. And when he says, ‘now we are here’ and ‘now we are slaves,’ the child will ask regarding the practice of leaning which the father has already mentioned when we recited the Kiddush. The child may wonder, if we are still in exile and are still slaves why do we bother leaning on this night. Thus, by reciting Ha lachma anya, the leader of the Seder will encourage the children to recite the Mah Nishtanah, the four questions.
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 son then asks:
What differentiates this night from all [other] nights? On all [other] nights we eat chamets and matsa; this night, only matsa? On all [other] nights we eat other vegetables; tonight marror. On all [other] nights, we don't dip [our food], even one time; tonight [we dip it] twice. On [all] other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining; tonight we all recline.
(1) Mah Nishtanah: Why does this passage begin with mah (How is this night different) and not lama (Why is this night different)? In a number of places, the word lama implies a negative response, as in, “Why (lama) should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that God delivered them from Egypt,’” “Why did you bring harm upon this people,” and, “Why should the nations say.” In each of these cases, the question implies a rhetorical question to which there is a negative answer. The word mah on the other hand implies that the question wants an explanation for the practice. Even though the wicked child’s question begins with the word mah, his question still has a negative implication. First, he wants to know the reason for the rituals but his question implies that even if he knows the reason, he is not going to perform this act. He asks, “What does this service mean to YOU,” and not to HIM.
Three of the four children begin their question with the word, mah: “What are these statutes,” “What is the reason for this service,” and “What is this.” Therefore, the author of the Haggadah begins the four questions with the word mah as well. The opening words of Mah Nishtanah are an allusion (remez) to the story of Esther. “On that night, sleep deserted the king…” This took place on the night of Passover – it inaugurated the downfall of Haman. The first letters of Mah nishtanah halailah spell the name Haman, a reminder that this is a night of redemption in many generations.
According to the ways of esoteric interpretation (sod), the word mah is a reference to the sephirah of Divine Wisdom (chokhmah). The word chokhmah, comes from the words koach mah – the potential for mah. It is also connected to the Sephirah of Malchut; this night is a night of mah, Malchut.
(2) We can eat either leavened bread or unleavened bread: Why don’t we ask the same type of question regarding maror: “On all other nights we can eat either regular vegetables or bitter herbs…” The question is phrased differently for chametz and matzah in order to emphasize that not only don’t we eat chametz on this night but we can’t even eat enriched matzah such as egg matzah. On the eve of Passover we only eat lechem oni, the bread of the poor which is regular matzah. We therefore say, tonight we eat kulo matzah, only matzah. Maror is different since this mitzvah can be fulfilled with all different types of vegetables and herbs, as long as they taste bitter. We don’t have to say kulo maror - only bitter herbs - as we say kulo matzah – only matzah.
(3) Mah Nishtanah: There are many questions raised by this passage. First, why don’t we ask about the other things which are different on this night, such as the four cups of wine? The fact that the children aren’t yet aware that there are other cups of wine is not an answer to this question; they also don’t know that we are going to dip twice during the Seder. All they really know about are the things that are found on the Seder plate. The Talmud says that we recite the Mah Nishtanah when we pour the second cup of wine. If that is so, then the child should have asked, “Why are we pouring a second cup of wine?” It seems that the questions are related to eating the Passover meal. We ask them when we pour the second cup of wine because drinking the wine increases one’s appetite and one’s desire for matzah . When the child sees the pouring of the wine, he begins to wonder about this meal and how different it is.
There are other questions. We ask the four questions in their proper order! In the Zevach Pesach commentary, Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel writes that the first two questions relate to slavery and the second two questions, freedom. We have two questions regarding slavery (matzah and bitter herbs) because there were two aspects of slavery in Egypt. We were enslaved both to Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. Not only did we have to serve Pharaoh, but we could not escape from Egypt and had to serve all the people of the land. But if these two questions both relate to slavery a wise child could have combined these questions: “Why on all other nights we can eat chametz or matzah as well as all types of vegetables but tonight, we eat only matzah and bitter herbs?” Similarly with the second two questions which relate to freedom, he could have said, “tonight we recline and dip twice unlike other nights.”
Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi , in his commentary Ma’aseh Adonai, writes that the four questions are related to the four children. The question regarding matzah is the question of the wise child. He wants to know why this night is ‘entirely’ matzah; with most of the laws of kashrut a small amount can be disregarded but not so with chametz and matzah. Even a little chametz is forbidden. Also the matzah which we eat on this night must be plain matzah, uncooked other than its being baked. It must also be the last thing we eat so that its taste remains in our mouth.
The second question regarding bitter herbs is the wicked child’s question. He has no desire for something bitter so he says, “What is this service to you?”
The simple child asks the third question regarding dipping twice. He only asks about that which he sees. He sees that we are going to dip twice and wonders, “What is this?”
Finally, the ‘one who doesn’t know how to ask’ on his own, questions the act of leaning. We purposely lean during the Seder, something we don’t ordinarily do, in order to provoke this child to ask questions.
There are two other ways of interpreting this passage in the Haggadah.
(4) First Explanation: To explain the first interpretation, we must first understand the connection between Passover and Pesach Sheni, the Second Passover. There are two verses in scripture which contain a significant difference. “They shall eat it roasted over fire and matzah with bitter herbs.” In Parshat Baha’lotkha, “According to all the statutes of Passover, you shall eat it with matzah and bitter herbs.” Note the difference between these two verses. In the first one, regarding Passover, there is a separation between the matzah and bitter herbs, while the verse from Numbers which is related to the Second Passover, the Passover offering is separate from matzah and bitter herbs. Nachmanides explains that the first verse suggests that both the Passover offering and the matzah are each a unique and separate mitzvah on the eve of Passover. They are connected by the Hebrew letter, vav (and), which is a conjunction. This teaches us that that these two commandments are not dependent on one another while the eating of bitter herbs is dependent on the Passover offering. That is why we see ‘al marorim,’ with bitter herbs, and not u’marorim, ‘and bitter herbs,’ in the first verse.
Someone who didn’t observe the Passover on the fifteenth of Nissan because of circumstances beyond his control can make it up one month later on the fifteenth of Iyyar. If one forgot to eat matzah on the fifteenth of Nissan (in our time), he cannot make it up this lost mitzvah. Even if the person eats matzah on the fifteenth of Iyyar he has not fulfilled this mitzvah. The Second Passover is only for making up the missed sacrifice in ancient times. He still must eat the Passover offering with matzah and bitter herbs, but this does not count for the missed commandment of eating matzah on Passover. The verse in Numbers, therefore, says, “You shall eat it WITH matzah and bitter herbs;” the word WITH implies that while you still eat these other foods they are not considered separate mitzvot.
We can now understand the statements in the Mah Nishtanah. These four questions are all related to the similarities and differences between the regular Passover and the Second Passover. That we do all these things to commemorate the Exodus is obvious to the reader. So why are they different from one another? The question is, “Why is this night so different from all other nights – even from the Second Passover?”
On the Second Passover why don’t we have two commandments of matzah and the Passover offering just as we have on the first Passover, since scripture states, “According to all the laws of Passover you shall do it.” Regarding the second question, we ask, ‘If bitter herbs are only an accoutrement and not a separate mitzvah on Passover why do we eat bitter herbs at this time?’ Similarly, we ask regarding the dipping and the leaning, shouldn’t we be required to lean and dip on the Second Passover just as we do on the first Passover? Only those acts which accompany the Passover offering are prevented on the Second Passover and not the other customs.
The answer to all these questions is that the first Passover is a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt and therefore all of these practices are required as part of the celebration while the purpose of the Second Passover is to allow the person to make up for the missed sacrifice and not to commemorate the Exodus all over again. We eat unleavened bread to remind ourselves that our dough did not have time to become leavened when we left Egypt and that the matzah was the bread of affliction, a reminder of slavery. Today we eat the bitter herbs to remind ourselves of our ancestors’ bitterness in Egypt. The dipping and leaning are a commemoration of the verse, “I brought you out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” All of this only applies on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan. The Second Passover offering was not a reminder of the miracles but a ‘make-up date’ for the missed offering.
(5) Second Explanation: The second explanation of Mah Nishtanah is related to Rabban Gamliel’s statement later in the Haggadah in which he explains why we eat the Passover offering, the matzah and the bitter herbs. Clearly, the reason for matzah is to commemorate freedom while the reason for the bitter herbs is to remind us of slavery. We eat them together with the Passover offering (according to Hillel), to include all of these remembrances together. But why do we explain them out of order? The bitter herbs should have been explained first in Rabban Gamliel’s statement and in the Haggadah. And yet we put the matzah before the bitter herbs. Why do we even need a reminder of slavery and bitterness? We don’t have such a reminder on Purim or Chanukah – also reminders of God’s miraculous redemption.
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz explains that it was because of righteous women that the Jewish people were redeemed from slavery. They knew that the people of Israel could not be redeemed until they gave birth to 600,000, equal to the number of letters in the Torah that they would receive at Mount Sinai. Therefore they remained attached and devoted to their husbands even in the face of oppression. That is why scripture says, “But the more they oppressed them, the more they increased and spread out.” It was through the great oppression that a great purpose came about; the people were fertile and increased, and became a mighty nation of 600,000 so that they could become worthy of receiving the Torah. Therefore, the bitter herbs actually served the purpose of making Israel worthy of receiving the Torah – this happened after the Exodus so the question of bitter herbs also follows the question regarding the matzah.
The Mah Nishtanah implies this explanation. The child wants to know why we ask questions regarding freedom first before we ask questions about slavery. After all, matzah is a symbol of freedom while matzah and dipping are symbols of slavery. The dipping in charoset is a reminder of the mortar with which they made the bricks while leaning is a symbol of freedom. Even though Don Isaac Abarbanel suggested that matzah is a symbol of slavery and we call it the bread of affliction, in reality it is a symbol of freedom; that is why we are supposed to lean when we eat the matzah. There is also an association of freedom with bitter herbs, thus while we don’t lean when we eat the bitter herbs, it is permissible to do so!
מחזיר את הקערה אל השולחן. המצות תִהיינה מגלות בִשעת אמירת ההגדה.
עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם, וַיּוֹצִיאֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מִשָּׁם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה. וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, הֲרֵי אָנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם. וַאֲפִילוּ כֻּלָּנוּ חֲכָמִים כֻּלָּנוּ נְבוֹנִים כֻּלָּנוּ זְקֵנִים כֻּלָּנוּ יוֹדְעִים אֶת הַתּוֹרָה מִצְוָה עָלֵינוּ לְסַפֵּר בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. וְכָל הַמַּרְבֶּה לְסַפֵּר בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח.
He puts the plate back on the table. The matsot should be uncovered during the saying of the Haggadah.
We were slaves to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. And the Lord, our God, took us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched forearm. And if the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our ancestors from Egypt, behold we and our children and our children's children would [all] be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt. And even if we were all sages, all discerning, all elders, all knowledgeable about the Torah, it is a commandment upon us to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. And anyone who adds [and spends extra time] in telling the story of the exodus from Egypt, behold he is praiseworthy.
(1) Avadim Hayyinu: There are a number of question regarding this passage. The Haggadah could have said, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord freed us from Egypt with a mighty hand.” Why does the Haggadah add “an outstretched arm” “the Lord our God,” and “from there” to the passage? Why does the Haggadah add, “If God had not taken our ancestors out?” Also, why does it say “we would have been subjugated (mishu’badim),” as opposed to “we would have been slaves (avadim)?” And why does the text mention three generations when it says, “Us, our children, and our children’s children?”
There were two forms of oppression in Egypt: there was the oppression of Pharaoh whose heart was hardened and there was the oppression of being trapped in Egypt, which was filled with impurity and sorcery, from which they could not flee. The matzah and the bitter herbs are reminders of these two types of oppression which our ancestors faced in Egypt. The expression “And the Lord our God took us out” is a response to the first and more apparent form of oppression – the oppression of Pharaoh. The second expression, “with an outstretched arm,” is a response to the inner form of oppression which our ancestors faced in Egypt. Israel had already descended close to the fiftieth level of impurity and had they delayed their departure from Egypt even another moment, they never would have been able to escape. That is why God Himself had to redeem them rather than an angel or a messenger. The impurity had weighed them down greatly. This is what scripture says, “Has any god ever ventured to go and to take for himself one nation from the midst of another….” God did so on God’s own and with His own glory.
(2) From there… God brought Israel forth from a place of impurity.
(3) With an outstretched arm… This is a reference to the right hand of God which is associated with loving kindness (chesed) as we learn in scripture: “Your right hand, Lord, glorious in power; Your right hand shatters the foe.” The right hand is mentioned twice in this verse, once for the revealed miracle of redemption and the other for the hidden miracle of redemption.
(4) If the Holy One had not brought us out of Egypt… There is a comment in Yalkut Shimoni which claims that Israel could not leave Egypt until Pharaoh said, “I hereby give you permission to leave.” Commenting on this, Rabbi Abraham Gombiner, the author of Zayit Raanan writes that since Israel had not completed the four hundred years that they were supposed to be in exile, Pharaoh gave them the additional years as a gift.
But there is a problem with this explanation. How can the years that Pharaoh gave Israel be considered a valid gift since he gave them under duress? The Talmud says that if one buys a piece of property forcibly from someone, the transaction is not valid. Yet in the same discussion we learn that a divorce can be obtained through physical force because “It is a mitzvah to obey the teachings of the sages.” Giving a divorce is, in the interest of the sages, valid even when done under duress because it is a matter maintaining the will of the rabbis. If obeying the sages’ teachings can be placed on a person forcibly (and against his will), how much more so is that the case when it involves obeying the will of God! We learn from this statement that if God had not pressured Pharaoh, he might not have freed the people of Israel; still this agreement under duress is still a valid gift to Israel!
We speak of Israel being subjugated here and not slaves because the people of Israel were liberated from slavery in the month of Tishri, six months before the Exodus. They were no longer slaves but they could not yet leave Egypt so they were still subjugated to Egypt. On Passover the people were freed from subjugation.
(5) Even if we were all wise (chakhamim), all discerning (nivonim), all elders (zikeinim), all knowledgeable in mattes of Torah (Yod’im et HaTorah)… In Rabbi Amram’s version of the Haggadah, the text appears as it does in our text; in Abarbanel’s Haggadah it does not include the word zikeinim. Abarbanel’s version is based on Deuteronomy 1:13 (which does not include zekeinim): “Pick from your tribes men who are wise, discerning and knowledgeable.”
So why does our version of the text have four terms instead of three? It is based on the fourfold levels of interpretation of scripture, PaRDeS: Pshat, Remez, Drash and Sod. This fourfold approach to the text is hinted at in the names of the Hebrew alphabet. When one writes out the names of the Hebrew alphabet, these are the only four letters that contain a lamed- aleph gimel dalet lamed. Lamed means learning. Therefore there are four types of ‘learning.’ One is related to the wise person who learns the simple meaning of the text from his teacher. One is for the discerning person who is able to gain meanings from hints (remazim) and allusions. One student of the Torah is called an ‘elder’ (zaken) when one can teach the masses the meaning and teachings of Torah. And one truly becomes knowledgeable in matters of Torah when he understands the hidden meaning of Torah. These four people should not say, “Why do we need to focus on the story of the Exodus – even a child in nursery school knows this story. Rather we should delve into the intricacies of the Passover offering and we will reveal the hidden meanings of the laws of Passover.” To this person, one should say, “Even so it is a commandment upon us to tell the story of the Exodus simply as a story as if we personally went forth from Egypt. It is beloved to tell the story at the proper time.”
(6) It is a commandment to tell the story of the Exodus, and whoever does so at length (v’khol hamarbeh), this is praiseworthy: Why does the Haggadah say, “It is a commandment;” it should have said, “It is an obligation.” Also why does the statement conclude, “Whoever does so at length is praiseworthy” instead of “anyone who tells the story of the Exodus,” or “who lengthens the telling of the story of the Exodus?” It would seem that these questions are related to the whole question of why we don’t recite a blessing over the telling of the story of the Exodus. Scripture states, “You shall tell your child on that day.” The Pri Hadash suggests that we don’t make a separate blessing because the Kiddush mentions the Exodus and it counts as the blessing for the recitation of the story of the Exodus. But if he has already fulfilled is obligation of mentioning the Exodus by reciting the Kiddush, why is it necessary for him to tell the story at length? It is for this reason that it is necessary to say, “Whoever does so at length is praiseworthy.” Even though he has fulfilled the commandment, on this night we do more than simply mention the Exodus but tell the story at length.
(7) Anyone who does so at length (v’khol hamarbeh): implies that we should go to great trouble to encourage children to ask questions, by dipping and doing all types of things that will pique their curiosity. We should also give out ‘parched corn’ and other treats so that they don’t fall asleep and fail to ask questions. Similarly, we should grab the matzah so that the children will stay alert. This is the reason that we hide the afikomen. To do so at length means to do so in different ways so that through these practices they will come to tell the story of the Exodus – and this is truly praiseworthy.
(8) This Is praiseworthy: Note that the text says, Harai zeh mishubach (This is praiseworthy) and not Harai hu mishbach (It is praiseworthy). The commentators were troubled by this expression – why use the word zeh, this. The use of the word zeh here is related to the use of this word in the following verse, “It is because of this (zeh) that the Lord brought me out of Egypt.” This verse is explained in the following way: the word ‘this’ means when the matzah and the maror are before you. Like the numerical value of the word zeh, there are twelve things that should be before us at the Seder: four cups of wine, two dippings, two measures of bitter herbs, matzah, afikomen, karpas, and a measure of matzah for the sandwich. We begin telling the story when zeh – these twelve items are before us. One who has these twelve things before them is praiseworthy!
מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן-עֲזַרְיָה וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְרַבִּי טַרְפוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ מְסֻבִּין בִּבְנֵי-בְרַק וְהָיוּ מְסַפְּרִים בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם כָּל-אוֹתוֹ הַלַּיְלָה, עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ תַלְמִידֵיהֶם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם רַבּוֹתֵינוּ הִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁל שַׁחֲרִית.
אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן-עֲזַרְיָה הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְּבֶן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא זָכִיתִי שֶׁתֵּאָמֵר יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם בַּלֵּילוֹת עַד שֶׁדְּרָשָׁהּ בֶּן זוֹמָא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ. יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הַיָּמִים. כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הַלֵּילוֹת. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ לְהָבִיא לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ:
It happened once [on Pesach] that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon were reclining in Bnei Brak and were telling the story of the exodus from Egypt that whole night, until their students came and said to them, "The time of [reciting] the morning Shema has arrived."
Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said, "Behold I am like a man of seventy years and I have not merited [to understand why] the exodus from Egypt should be said at night until Ben Zoma explicated it, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 16:3), 'In order that you remember the day of your going out from the land of Egypt all the days of your life;' 'the days of your life' [indicates that the remembrance be invoked during] the days, 'all the days of your life' [indicates that the remembrance be invoked also during] the nights." But the Sages say, "'the days of your life' [indicates that the remembrance be invoked in] this world, 'all the days of your life' [indicates that the remembrance be invoked also in] the next world."
(1) Once, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon: Considering that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon were older and wiser than the others, why weren’t they listed according to their age? The sages gathered in B’nai Brak, so called because they were in the home of the Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah who was the Patriarch and whose dishes and utensils sparkled (barak). Out of respect for the Patriarch, two sat to his right and two sat to his left. This story is brought as proof for the previous statement. Even though they were all experts in the four levels of Torah study, PaRDeS, they still spent the entire night recalling and recounting the story of the Exodus. In the Zohar we learn that when we tell the story of the Exodus, God sends His angels to listen to His children telling their story.
That entire night: note that the word night, lailah, is masculine here. Until midnight the evening is called la’yil which is feminine, and from midnight on the evening is called lailah. That entire night (lailah) implies that it was the second part of the night (the masculine part of the night) since the first part of the night was spent performing all the appropriate commandments. It is also possible that each of the sages spent the first part of the night in his own home performing the seder for the members of his household. After midnight that all came together in order to sing songs, and recite Song of Songs together until sleep overtook them.
Until their students came and said, ‘Our Rabbis, that time for the recitation of the morning Shema has arrived: Surely they saw that the sun was rising, surely their discussions and interpretation was not so all encompassing that they didn’t notice what time it was! The fact is that they were in B’nai B’rak and the light of their discussion was so brilliant, they could not differentiate between day and night! Or possibly, a fire came from heaven and surrounded them so that they couldn’t see that daytime had arrived. Therefore, their disciples came and said to them that one should not mix up commandments with one another; it is the obligation of the night to tell the story of the Exodus and now during the day it is an obligation to mention the exodus when one recites the final passage of the Shema. They came to tell them that it was time to conclude one commandment and to perform another.
Another explanation: The reason that the students came to remind their teachers about the Sh’ma was to emphasize the two aspects of the Exodus. There are two aspects to the story of the Exodus: one is telling the story of the actual Exodus from Egypt and the ten plagues; the second is the story of the splitting of the Red Sea. We mention the splitting of the Red Sea in the morning as part of the Shacharit service. The sages spent the whole night recalling the story of the Exodus. The disciples now came to remind their teachers that it is also necessary to recall the other half of the Exodus – the splitting of the sea – as part of the Shacharit service. According to Rav Yehudah, the recitation of the Shema was ordained by the sages but the mention of the splitting of the sea is a Torah obligation. It was incumbent upon the students to remind their teachers of this because they were so engrossed in the discussion of the Exodus.
Why does the Haggadah include a story about these five sages in particular? These sages disagreed over the issue of what part of the night one is obligated to recall and discuss the Exodus from Egypt. According to Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, one is only obligated to do so until midnight. His opinion was based on the idea that the Exodus took place at midnight. Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehoshua, on the other hand, felt that the Exodus should be discussed all night long since the time of the flight from Egypt took place the following day, so we continue to discuss the story until the hour of the flight. Rabbi Tarfon, tangentially, was also involved in this disagreement. The argument went on all night long as to whether one is required to tell the story of the Exodus until midnight or until daybreak.
(1) Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said: There are a number of questions raised by Rabbi Elazar’s passage. First, why did the author of the Haggadah include this passage in the Haggadah? The Mishnah is actually a discussion of the daily obligation to make mention of the Exodus and not the observance of Passover and the telling of the story of the Exodus. Second, this passage speaks of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah besting the sages in their discussion of when the Exodus from Egypt should be mentioned. Yet the sages were able to respond to his claim that the Exodus should be mentioned at night. While he identifies Deuteronomy 16:3 (“All the days of your life”) as the basis for mentioning the Exodus at night, they claimed that the word kol, “all,” is the basis for mentioning the Exodus “in the days of the Messiah.”
The sages did not disagree with Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah’s contention that one must mention the Exodus both at night and during the day. The sages disagreed about whether this obligation is based on the Torah or if it is a rabbinic obligation. This statement, as it appears in the Mishnah, begins, “We mention the Exodus from Egypt.” There is no suggestion that the sages disagreed with this statement. We are left to wonder what Rabbi Elazar meant when he said, “I was not privileged to know...”
Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah’s explanation makes more sense than that of the sages. He explains the word kol (all) in Deuteronomy 16:3 as a reference to the night time and the word yemai (the days of) as a reference to the day time. This is the logical order of time since night precedes day in the Jewish calendar . The sages claim that kol refers to the messianic era while yemai refers to the present time. But according to the sages’ explanation, the order of the expressions is backwards since the present time should proceed the messianic era.
This verse was not necessary to prove that the Exodus should be mentioned at night by the sages or by Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah. This should have been self evident. Since the Exodus began at night and the people left Egypt during the day, it would seem that day and night should be of equally important status.
Rabbi Elazar, however, treats the evenings differently because of the law of Passover; since we only observe the Passover feast until midnight on the eve of Passover and not throughout the whole night, we need a proof text to teach that the Exodus can be mentioned all night on the other nights of the year. Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, therefore, needed a proof text to distinguish Passover from the practice of mentioning the Exodus on the other nights of the year. The sages believed that the obligation to recount the Exodus story applied all night long on Passover eve all night long (as mentioned above). It was not necessary to have a proof text to distinguish Passover from the rest of the year. They used the additional word kol to teach us that the Exodus should be mentioned even in the messianic era.
Rabbi Elazar’s statement now becomes relevant to the observance of Passover and not just to the daily liturgy. According to him, the story of the Exodus must be recounted and the Passover observed by midnight on Passover but it can be mentioned any time during the night throughout the year. The word kol differentiates Passover from the daily recollection of the Exodus in the liturgy. This proof text helped Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah distinguish his point of view from that of the sages.
I was not privileged to know the biblical source: The word for ‘privileged’ (zachiti) can also be translated as ‘succeeded.’ Maimonides explains that Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah was so engrossed in his studies, old age seemed to overtake him. The Talmud says that on the day that Rabbi Elazar was appointed head of the Sanhedrin he was only eighteen years old. He did not have white hair (as was proper for a respected ‘elder’ of the people). That night a miracle occurred and he became prematurely white-headed.
But why was this comment about Rabbi Elazar being like a seventy years old necessary? This comment is related to Talmudic discussion about whether words must be taken literally or can be understood figuratively. We learn in scripture that we are supposed to honor the elder and the person with white hair. The fact that Rabbi Elazar became prematurely white so that he would be properly honored as the head of the Sanhedrin suggests that we understand this teaching (regarding the elders) literally and that “words should be understood just as they are written.” If that is so, then we must also conclude that the expression regarding the Exodus, “all the days of your life,” should also be “understood just as they are written.” This would mean that the Exodus should only be mentioned in the daytime and not at nighttime. On the other hand, if one holds that words can be understood differently from their literal meaning, then the word ‘all’ can be understood as a reference to the nighttime. Rabbi Elazar said that he assumed that scriptural words should be “understood just as they are written” and that it was only with Ben Zoma that Rabbi Elazar succeeded in understanding the principle that, ‘words need not be understood literally.’
The sages taught: “All the days of your life” is a reference to Messianic times: If ‘All the days of your life’ is a reference to messianic times, how are we to understand, “Cursed be the ground because of you; by toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life?” Have we not learned that in the future the trees of the land of Israel will bear fine fruit and give shade? It would seem that the sages were in agreement with Shmuel who said there is no difference between this world and the messianic era except for the subjugation to the other nations. Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah and Ben Zoma, on the other hand are in agreement with Rabbi Hiyyah bar Abbah and others who felt that the messianic era would be radically different from this world.
‘All,’ includes the messianic era: It is hard to understand how ben Zoma bested the sages in this discussion since they were able to offer their own explanation of the word kol, ‘all,’ thus throwing into question his explanation as referring to the evenings. In the Mekhilta, this discussion continues between ben Zoma and the sages: Ben Zoma retorted to the sages: Will it be necessary to mention the Exodus in Messianic era? Do we not learn, “Assuredly, a time is coming” says the Lord “when it shall no more be said, ‘as the Lord lives who brought the Israelites out of Egypt,’ but rather, ‘as the Lord lives who brought the Israelites out of the Northland and out of the land to which He has banished them, ’” Rabbi Natan said, the words, ‘that brought us up and that led’ prove that even in the future they will mention the Exodus from Egypt . The passage in the Mekhilta goes on to offer proof texts for the opening blessing of the Amida (that we say, ‘the God of Abraham…Isaac…and Jacob…’) and the Grace after the Meal.
How then are we to understand Ben Zoma’s point of view? Elsewhere we learn that Ben Zoma held that in fact, the exodus will be mentioned in messianic time but the new redemption will be more essential and the Exodus will become secondary. Similarly, we learn regarding Jacob that even though he was given a new name, Israel, his old name was still used afterwards. Israel, however became his essential name and Jacob secondary. Yet if that is so then why do we say the God of Jacob in the opening blessing of the Amida – we should say the God of Israel since that is our forefather’s essential name! That is why the Mekhilta offers a proof text for the Amida in which the name of Jacob is used. Without a biblical citation we would have assumed that the opening blessing of the Amida should have said, ‘the God of Israel.’ It would seem then that Ben Zoma is in agreement with Rabbi Natan not only regarding the mentioning of the Exodus but in these other cases as well.
The continuation of the discussion in the Mekhilta is relevant to Ben Zoma’s point of view. We learn that while it is a transgression to refer to Abraham by his previous name, Abram, the same is not true for Jacob/Israel. The reason for this is that the name Jacob has a negative and a positive connotation in the Torah. He is called Jacob because he tricked (vaya’akveini) Esau and he is called Jacob because in the future he is destined to supplant Edom/Esau and rule over him, as was prophesized to Rebecca. In the future when Jacob supplants his older brother then he will truly be Israel and not Jacob any more. It would seem that both names have a good connotation while the name Abram has no purpose at all. Similarly, we learn that by mentioning the exodus in the Birkat Hamazon that mentioning the Exodus is relevant at all times, night and day and that Ben Zoma’s explanation is correct.
בָּרוּךְ הַמָּקוֹם, בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבָּעָה בָנִים דִּבְּרָה תוֹרָה: אֶחָד חָכָם, וְאֶחָד רָשָׁע, וְאֶחָד תָּם, וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל.
חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֵדוֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם. וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמוֹר לוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח: אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן:
רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבוֹדָה הַזּאֹת לָכֶם. לָכֶם - וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִׁנָּיו וֶאֱמוֹר לוֹ: "בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם". לִי וְלֹא-לוֹ. אִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל:
תָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה זּאֹת? וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו "בְּחוֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ ה' מִמִּצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים".
וְשֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל - אַתְּ פְּתַח לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם.
Blessed is the Place [of all], Blessed is He; Blessed is the One who Gave the Torah to His people Israel, Blessed is He. Corresponding to four sons did the Torah speak; one [who is] wise, one [who is] evil, one who is innocent and one who doesn't know to ask.
What does the wise [son] say? "What are these testimonies, statutes and judgments that the Lord our God commanded you?" And accordingly you will say to him, as per the laws of the Pesach sacrifice, "We may not eat an afikoman [a dessert or other foods eaten after the meal] after [we are finished eating] the Pesach sacrifice. (Mishnah Pesachim 10:8)"
What does the evil [son] say? "What is this worship to you?" 'To you' and not 'to him.' And since he excluded himself from the collective, he denied a principle [of the Jewish faith]. And accordingly, you will blunt his teeth and say to him, "'For the sake of this, did the Lord do [this] for me in my going out of Egypt' (Exodus 13:8)." 'For me' and not 'for him.' If he had been there, he would not have been saved.
What does the innocent [son] say? "What is this?" And you will say to him, "'With the strength of [His] hand did the Lord take us out from Egypt, from the house of slaves' (Exodus 13:14).'"
And [regarding] the one who doesn't know to ask, you will open [the conversation] for him. As it is stated (Exodus 13:8), "And you will speak to your your son on that day saying, for the sake of this, did the Lord do [this] for me in my going out of Egypt."
(1) Praised is the Omnipresent, Praised is He! Abudraham explains that it was the method of those who explicated words of Torah to introduce them in this manner. Later the Haggadah presents the story of Terach’s idolatry and how the people came to worship one God. This is according to Rav’s explanation of the principle that ‘we begin with shame and end with praise.’ This introduction, then, sets the stage for the explanation we are about to begin. The purpose of this extended passage is to explain how Israel ‘came close to God.’ Expressing the same theme, the passage then ends with Dayenu and ‘God has bestowed many favors upon us.’ Through the Exodus God showed Israel how His providence and His power fill the world, and that God is the ‘place of the world’ but that the world is not God’s place. Through this story we learn the fundamental theological truths of Judaism – so we begin by saying “Blessed is the Place of the World, blessed is God,” and, “Blessed is the one who gave the Torah to the people of Israel.” Even though God is all places, God is still hidden – this is expressed through the words, “Blessed is God.” We can only comprehend God through God’s actions; through them we can come to the realization that God is creator. At the moment of revelation, however, God revealed Himself as an elder sitting in the academy – in response to this moment we say, “Blessed is the one who gave Torah to His people.” Through that moment we can comprehend a bit of God’s essence. Then we say again, “Blessed is He/God,” since, even in the moment of revelation, God’s true essence is hidden from us.
According to Kabbalistic interpretation, God is called makom, Place, because the gematria of the word makom is 196 like the word paku which means ‘go out.’ God caused Israel to go out from impurity and from Egypt.
(2) The Torah speaks of four types of children: Why does the Haggadah use the word “one” four times in this passage? It could have said that, “The Torah speaks of four types of children: wise, wicked, simple and could not ask.” The use of the word, ‘one’ in this passage is a reference to the different ways in which the four children comprehend the ONENESS of God. Bachya Ibn Pakudah (Chovot Halevavot), Maimonides and others suggest that those who have the capacity of comprehending the oneness of God should engage in such analysis. This is accomplished through rational analysis; to arrive at belief without such analysis is not appropriate. A parable explains this. If a series of blind people try to follow one another with a seeing person leading them; if the sighted person falls into a pit, then all the others will fall in with him.
Each person must arrive at his own concept of God but not all concepts of God are the same. Not everyone is capable of such study and the ability to comprehend the unity of God is different for each student. According to a person’s knowledge and intellect he will arrive at different levels of understanding of God. Therefore, in this passage, when we say “the ‘ONE’ of the wise child, the ‘ONE’ of the wicked child, the ‘ONE’ of the simple child and the ‘ONE’ of the child who doesn’t know how to ask,” we are speaking about their different perceptions of God. A child is not yet ready to delve into this analysis so he is better off accepting belief in God based on tradition. For the wise, “One” means incomparable and indivisible, while for the simple child, ‘One’ is quantitative (God is one and not two). The ‘One’ that the wise child comprehends is the true oneness of God in the sense that the philosophers spoke of it. For the wicked, God is not one in the sense of singular; “One” is a product of many joining together– such a person is guilty of heresy . In the way of Kabbalah, the child “who doesn’t know how to ask” is one who realizes that one cannot truly comprehend the absolute oneness of God. True comprehension of God’s oneness is only possible through the instrument of Torah and through the extent of a person’s intellect.
(1) The wise child, what does he say (Mah hu omer)? The wise child’s question could have been Mah omer; the word hu is unnecessary. The statement could have simply been, “the wise child says...” The expression, then, is both a question and an answer. The Haggadah says “The wise child is saying Mah.” The first three children each phrase their ‘question’ and ‘answer’ with the word, Mah. In each case the word Mah has a different connotation.
For the wise child, the opening statement is, “The wise child says mah!” The word Mah implies fear and love of God, as in “And now O Israel WHAT (Mah) does the Lord demand of you? Only this to fear the Lord your God and to walk only in His paths and to love Him,” and “He who suspends the earth over nothingness (b’li –mah)” When the wise child asks Mah, he is acknowledging the divine source of all existence. The one who worships God faithfully begins with this word. The statement of the wise child then is both a question and an affirmation. “Mah includes the testimonies and the statutes and the laws which the Lord has commanded you.” We are called on to fulfill the commandments out of love and reverence which is called Mah, what! The wise child says, “Which the Lord commanded YOU,” out of a sense of humility. When we see how beloved the commandments are to him we should teach him all the commandments down to the law of the afikomen, so that the taste and the love of the commandments should remain in his mouth.
The wicked child, on the other hand, mocks and ridicules the commandments. He also says, Mah. But for him the word ‘Mah/What’ implies something small and inconsequential. “He says Mah/what’s (the big deal about this service?” His statement is also not a question but a rhetorical question since he has no interest in observing God’s commandments. He says, “what is this ritual lakhem/to you,” in order to remove himself from the community.
The simple child sees the deep thoughts and analysis of the wise child as well as the sarcasm of the wicked child. Both of them use the word Mah, and so he formulates his question with this word: “Mah/what is this?” What is the meaning of the word Mah? He says, “I don’t understand all the discussion in which you are engaging or why you are debating with one another on this particular night!” To him we answer, “It is with a strong hand…” that is, it is the things that happened on this night that have caused us to worship the Lord with reverence and love.
The word Mah can be used to express a question (as in Mah she’eilatekh, “What is your request?” ) or a general statement (as in, Mah tovu ohalekha Yaakov, “How Good are your tents O Jacob” ) It can also be used as an expression of surprise (as in Mah ta’arkhu lo, “What form can compare to God!” Or Mah enosh ki tizk’renu, “What is man that you should be mindful of him!” ) The wise child uses the word Mah in the sense of a general statement (Mah tov - how good are these statutes and judgments!); he is asking out of a desire to fulfill the commandments. The wicked uses Mah as an introduction to a rhetorical question (mah ha’avodah – what’s the point of this ritual?) and the simple child asks as a sincere question (mah zot – what exactly is this all about?)
(2) That the Lord our God commanded you, etkhem: This is how it is written in Deuteronomy 6:20. Some commentators prefer to read this passage, “the the Lord our God commanded us, o’tanu,” so that he includes himself in the community and doesn’t exclude himself. The testimonies (eidut) – the pesah offering and the matzah - were performed as a way of remembering the Exodus from Egypt. The mishpatim, are those commandments which have a clear explanation. The statutes (chukim) - do not break the bones of the offering and only those assigned to the offering may eat it - are those laws that we continue to observe as a way for the present generation to keep the temple service in mind. The answer to the wise child is a response to the question, what are the statutes…we eat the afikomen as a way of reminding people of the temple connection of these laws. The wise child then is asking, “Why do we (o’tanu) observe these law” and we explain the connection between the statutes and the temple service. Even though these laws are connected to the ancient temple rite, they have become OUR laws in this time.
Some argue that the word etkhem is more fitting than o’tanu in this passage. The verse regarding the wise child says, “When your child asks tomorrow…what are…which God has commanded you (etkhem),” while the verse concerning the wicked child is, “When your child asks you, “What mean you (lachem) by this rite?” The most important difference between these two verses is not the use of etkhem and lachem, but the time when the question is being asked. The wise child asks machar, tomorrow. While the ritual of Passover is taking place he joins in the celebration; he doesn’t want to confuse his elders while they are carrying out the Passover sacrifice. The following day after the ceremony he asks about its significance in order to better understand meaning of the rituals. Regarding the simple child, the word machar is used suggesting that he asks about the ceremony after the fact. The wicked child, on the other hand, asks as the ceremony is happening; he is standing back and asking questions but not actively participating in the ceremony. This is all an intellectual exercise for him. His true intention is revealed by the way and when he asks his question.
But if this is the case for the wise child, the Torah should have said, “Who commanded US” and not who commanded you!” Why do we use the word etkhem, you, for the wise child? There are a number of places in scripture in which the word etkhem is like the word imakhem, with you; that is, it implies you and me together.
(1) What does the wicked child say: What do you mean by this rite (avodah)? The word avodah has a connotation of trouble or bother. He is asking, “Why are you going to all this bother?” His question and his choice of words (‘to you’) imply a derogatory question. Also he does not make mention of God in his question like the wise child who says, “which the Lord our God has commanded.”
(2) So too: The Torah already tells us how we should answer this child; it is unnecessary for us to explicate this passage: “When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this rite,’ you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians but saved our houses; and the people bowed in homage.” The language of the verse could have been, He passed over our house and struck the Egyptians. By stating it the way it does, it implies that had they been in Egypt they would not have been included among the Israelites.
There is another explanation for the answer which the Torah gives to the wicked child’s question. The wicked child challenges his parents. After all, there was no altar in Egypt; the essence of the sacrifice was the placing of the blood on the door posts and the lintel. He challenges his elders by claiming that this ritual is offered for their own benefit – so they can consume the sacrifice for themselves. The Torah offers the answer: “It is a Passover sacrifice…” Even though our ancestors did not have to make a sacrifice in Egypt but slaughter the animal and place its blood on the doorposts, we are commanded to do so as a reminder of the Passover offering.
(3) You also set his teeth on edge! This expression implies the grinding of one’s teeth. The wicked in Egypt didn’t want to be included among those who were going to eat the Passover offering. God caused an aroma to the Garden of Eden to go forth from the roasted meat, making the wicked ravenously hungry. When they asked to eat the offering they were refused. This caused them to salivate and their teeth to grind. That is why the author of the Haggadah says af attah, “you ALSO,” set their teeth on edge. We are not the first to set the teeth of the wicked on edge; this happened in Egypt and we should do the same in response to their caustic comments.
A Kabbalistic explanation of “You also set his teeth on edge.” One who is not scrupulous in the observance of the laws of chametz and matzah will come under the control of the prince of Egypt and will become his slave. The law of slavery is that if one knocks out the tooth of his slave, his slave must be allowed to go free – therefore, knock out his tooth so that he will be freed from the powers of evil. I have heard that Jews have one more tooth than gentiles: sixteen on the upper bridge and sixteen on the lower bridge. Together they add up to 32 teeth which are equal to the 32 paths of wisdom as well as the 32 rules of interpretation attributed to Rabbi Yosi in the Sifra. We knock out the extra teeth from the wicked person because he has chosen to make himself like a gentile. He has done this by “denying the very essence of Jewish belief.” He doesn’t deserve to have the extra wisdom teeth!
(1) What does the simple child say? In answering the simple child the Torah uses the expression, “With a mighty hand” and it does not say, “With an outstretched arm.” Why is this? Earlier we saw that “With a mighty hand” refers to the outer manifestations of liberation from Pharaoh, while “With an outstretched arm refers to the inner expressions of liberation from idolatry and sorcery in Egypt. The simple child has no interest in the mystical significance of things, so in the Torah’s answer to him speaks of the outer manifestations of liberation. Therefore we do not say “with an outstretched arm. When this child witnesses the ceremony in which the first born animal is given to the temple while the first born ass has its neck broken, he is likely to ask what this has to do with the Exodus from Egypt. We can then explain to him that the breaking of the neck of the ass is a reminder that the Egyptians were stubborn and stiffed necked and that they were similar to asses. It was only with the killing of the asses in Egypt that the Israelites were freed.
(2) With a mighty hand: The word chozek, mighty, is spelled without a vav in Exodus 13:14. The expression B’chozek yad, “with a mighty hand,” has the same gematria as the name Samael. This is an allusion to the fact that Samael lent his chariot of impurity to the Prince of Egypt in order to increase his impurity with the impurity of Samael. That is why it was necessary for the Holy One to help free the Israelites from Egypt. The Prince of Egypt had to be defeated by God before Israel could be liberated from Egypt.
In the Jerusalem Talmud we find another version of this passage that is different from the one in the Haggadah: “What does the fool (tipesh) say? Mah Zot - What is this? You must also teach him all the laws of Passover through, ‘One does not go to additional feasts after eating the Passover offering,’ so that he doesn’t uproot himself and go from one group to another.’” This is quite surprising! If this is the answer to the simple child’s question, then what is the difference between the questions of the wise and the wicked children? The Korban Eidah explains that the wise child is asking specifically about the chukkim, statutes, and that the wise child’s question is motivated by humility. Statutes have no explanation but he feels that the wise people of his generation might have some explanation for them, so he asks them the reason for these commandments. The wise child today, on the other hand, is living at a time when the only Torah commandment for Passover is matzah, so there are no statutes (such as “not breaking a bone of the offering,” or “that the offering must be roasted”, etc). The Shelah explains that the answer, “One does not go to additional feasts after eating the Passover offering” is that type of statute since the reason for this law is to remind us of the Passover offering. This answer is a way of saying that even today there are chukkim, statutes or laws without rational explanations.
Midrash Peliah offers another explanation of the Simple child’s question. The letters that make up the words mah zot, “What is this,” can be rearranged to spell zeh emet, “This is truth.” As he says, so he is. The four children represent the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, the four letter name of God. The yud represents wisdom and the wise child, the highest of the Sephirot. The wicked child is connected to the higher hei, the Sephirah of Binah or understanding. Binah is the source of judgment (and as a result also the source of evil). Those adept at the mysteries of mysticism know that the realms of impurity find their vitality through this Sephirah. The Simple child is represented in the letter vav, which is also the Sephirah of Tiferet, and the One who doesn’t know how to ask is connected to Malchut. Malchut has no illumination of its own but received all its illumination from the other Sephirot; so too, the one who doesn’t know how to ask is dependent on others for illumination. Malchut can be a source of compassion if it receives its illumination from chokhmah or chesed, or it becomes a source of judgment if it receives its illuminations from the binah or din. Now, since the simple child is associated with tiferet, it stands to reason that it is also connected to truth. Tiferet is associated with the quality of truth, emet. Therefore, Mah zot = zeh emet; it is the source of supernal truth!
(1) The one who doesn’t know how to ask, you (aht) open it for him: Why does the Haggadah use the word Aht, ‘you,’ the feminine form of this word instead of ahtah, the masculine word for ‘you?’ The father is weakened like a woman by his failure to teach his son about the commandments when he was young and by his son’s lack of knowledge.
The word Aht may be a reference to a woman’s obligation to teach her children the story of the Exodus. Even though she is not obligated to teach her children Torah, she is obligated to teach them about the Exodus, for we have said, “Whoever increases the telling of the story of the Exodus is praiseworthy.” Also, by teaching this child about the Exodus, he will not be incited by his older and wicked brother.
(2) You shall tell it to your child: There are a number of issues here. The answer to the One who doesn’t know how to ask is different from the other children; the question isn’t directly addressed to him. Also, in the verse, “You shall tell your child on that day saying (leimor),” the word, leimor, is unnecessary. Further, why don’t we wait until this child is older and then teach him about the Exodus? The father is fearful lest the wicked child come to incite his younger brother and mislead him. Therefore the Torah instructs the parents to tell (Haggadah) the story of the Exodus to this child. Haggadah implies not just to tell, but to draw the heart of the child closer to Torah through the story. “Leimor, saying…” this word implies that when you talk to this child SAY to him: “If you are incited to leave the ways of Torah like your wicked brother, I will have to say to you what I said to him: God did this for me and not for you! If the wicked child had been in Egypt, he would not have been worthy of being redeemed. ” That is why we answer the child who doesn’t know how to ask with the same verse that we used for the wicked child.
Another explanation of why this verse is quoted for the child who doesn’t know how to ask: The Mishnah says after the Mah Nishtanah, “If the child does not know how to ask, let his father (mother?) teach him.” The answer to the fourth child, then, is a reference to this statement: “You open the matter for him (since he can’t do so for himself), as it says, ‘You shall teach your child…’”
Another explanation: The Torah should have said Aht tagid lo, “You tell him,” echoing the language of the proof text. Why does the Haggadah use the word p’tach, literally “open?” The Talmud says you should hold the interest of the young children by giving them roasted nuts and other treats, literally – keep his interest by opening his mouth with treats and puzzles that will interest him.
(3) The four children and the four promises of redemption: The four children correspond to the four languages of redemption in Exodus, Chapter 6.
“I will bring you out,” corresponds to the wise child. This term is an allusion to the haste with which our ancestors left Egypt. They did not stay one more second than they had to. “I will bring you out,” then, is a reference to the liberation from the forty nine gates of impurity and how Israel was redeemed through the sparks of holiness.
“I will save you” corresponds to the wicked child. The Haggadah says had he been in Egypt, he would not have been saved, and he would have been among those who died during the plague of darkness.
“I will redeem you” corresponds to the simple child. Just as a slave is redeemed from his master, so in the answer to the simple child we say, “With a mighty hand he took us out of the house of bondage.”
“I will take you” corresponds to the young child who cannot ask for himself. Like a young child, this one has to be taken by hand and taken to a safer place.
יָכוֹל מֵראשׁ חֹדֶשׁ? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא. אִי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יָכוֹל מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה - בַּעֲבוּר זֶה לֹא אָמַרְתִּי, אֶלָּא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר מֻנָּחִים לְפָנֶיךָ.
It could be from Rosh Chodesh [that one would have to observe Pesach. However] we learn [otherwise, since] it is stated, "on that day." If it is [written] "on that day," it could be from while it is still day [before the night of the fifteenth of Nissan. However] we learn [otherwise, since] it is stated, "for the sake of this." I didn't say 'for the sake of this' except [that it be observed] when [this] matsa and maror are resting in front of you [meaning, on the night of the fifteenth].
(1) One might think that one must tell the story of the Exodus on Rosh Hodesh: One might conclude that this is the case because according to Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, one must begin to expound on the laws of Passover two weeks before the holiday. Similarly, the Torah says, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you,’ suggesting that one should begin telling the story of the Exodus from Rosh Hodesh.
מִתְּחִלָּה עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה הָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְעַכְשָׁיו קֵרְבָנוּ הַמָּקוֹם לַעֲבדָתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹאמֶר יְהוֹשֻעַ אֶל-כָּל-הָעָם, כֹּה אָמַר ה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם, תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר, וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים.
וָאֶקַּח אֶת-אֲבִיכֶם אֶת-אַבְרָהָם מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וָאוֹלֵךְ אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן, וָאַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעוֹ וָאֶתֵּן לוֹ אֶת-יִצְחָק, וָאֶתֵּן לְיִצְחָק אֶת-יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת-עֵשָׂו. וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת-הַר שֵּׂעִיר לָרֶשֶׁת אתוֹ, וְיַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו יָרְדוּ מִצְרָיִם.
בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵר הַבְטָחָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חִשַּׁב אֶת-הַקֵּץ, לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶּׁאָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בִּבְרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם, יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי-גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם, וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה. וְגַם אֶת-הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל.
מכסה המצה ומגביה את הכוס בידו, ואומר:
וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ. שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלוֹתֵנוּ,וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם.
From the beginning, our ancestors were idol worshipers. And now, the Place [of all] has brought us close to His worship, as it is stated (Joshua 24:2-4), "Yehoshua said to the whole people, so said the Lord, God of Israel, 'over the river did your ancestors dwell from always, Terach the father of Avraham and the father of Nachor, and they worshiped other gods."
And I took your father, Avraham from over the river and I made him walk in all the land of Canaan and I increased his seed and I gave him Yitschak. And I gave to Yitschak, Ya'akov and Esav, and I gave to Esav, Mount Seir [in order that he] inherit it; and Yaakov and his sons went down to Egypt.'"
Blessed is the One who keeps his promise to Israel, blessed be He; since the Holy One, blessed be He, calculated the end [of the exile,] to do as He said to Avraham, our father, in the Covenant between the Pieces, as it is stated (Genesis 15:13-14), "And He said to Avram, 'you should surely know that your seed will be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation for which they shall toil will I judge, and afterwards they will will go out with much property.'"
He covers the matsa and lifts up the cup and says:
And it is this that has stood for our ancestors and for us, since it is not [only] one [person or nation] that has stood [against] us to destroy us, but rather in each generation, they stand [against] us to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hand.
(1) In ancient times our ancestors served idols: There are many questions raised by this passage.
First why does it use the word avoteinu, ‘our forefathers’ to describe our ancestors? We are told that we only use the word, avoteinu to describe Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Second, why does the passage go on to tell us that ‘God brought them to His service,’ something that is obvious. The repetition of language is also strange: “I brought your father, Abraham.” Why is it necessary to say both our forefather and Abraham?
If this verse mentions Abraham, why doesn’t it also mention Isaac and Jacob?
Finally, the verse says, “(Mei’olam) your ancestors dwelt on the other side of the Jordan.” What does the word mei’olam add to the verse?
Before the Patriarchs, people referred to their ancestors in the chain of generations as “forefathers.” Once Abraham arose, and brought illumination to the world by teaching others about the existence of God, the term, ‘forefather,’ was now applied only to him. We no longer called the previous generations as our forefathers; only Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are our forefathers. Because of their great importance as well as their deep love of God and the contribution they made to future generations, we think of everything beginning with them.
This is what we find in the book of Joshua and in the Haggadah. “In ancient times” our ancestors who worshiped idols were considered “our forefathers” but now that God brought us closer to His service, we are like converts whose lineage begins from the moment of their conversion. The future lineage begins from a convert. Terach may have been Abraham’s father but only Abraham is our forefather because his father was an idolater. The verse from the book of Joshua mentions Terach and Nachor who were known idolaters but it doesn’t mention Charan, Abraham’s other brother because there is a question about whether he was an idolater or not. The verse goes on to say, “And I took your father…” The word ‘took’ implies that God created him anew so that those who came before him would no longer be called forefathers. That is why our first forefather’s name is Avram, Av Ram – literally exalted father. Through him the name ‘forefather’ was exalted, as though he were the very work of God’s hands. God then bequeathed a letter to him from His great name – the letter hei – so that his name became Avraham. The text alludes to this earlier: “This is the generations of heaven and earth in their creation. The letter hei in the word b’hibaram, “in their creation,’ is an allusion to the future when God would give Abraham the letter hei from His name and make Abraham a new creation.
(1) And I gave Jacob and Esau to Isaac: Jacob’s name is placed before Esau, even though he is technically the younger child, because Jacob was the first one formed in their mother’s womb. Isaac had been sanctified through his being bound on the altar. However, it was necessary for Rebecca to give birth to Esau so that all the impurity would be given to him and all the purity to Jacob. In this way Esau would not be worthy of inheriting their holy land while Jacob and his descendents would. Instead, Esau inherited a land that had no holiness – Mount Seir.
(2) Jacob and his children went down (yardu) to Egypt: The verb yarad also has a connotation of ‘reigning over.’ Jacob and his family came to Egypt through the government, since Joseph ruled over all of Egypt and he gave them authority. Pharaoh, too, saw that they were capable of ruling and so place them in charge of his herds. Even though Israel ascended to authority, God caused them to be diminished, as in the verse, “God brings low those that are exalted. ”
(1) Praised is the one who keeps His promise: There are several questions that must be answered here:
Why is it necessary to tell us that God ‘keeps His promise’ – isn’t this obvious?
Why does this passage say that God kept His promise to Israel; wasn’t the promise made to Abraham at the covenant between the pieces?
What does it mean when it says that, “The Holy One determined their end?” What does this mean? Surely the text tells us that they would be strangers in a strange land four hundred years.
There are many words in the passage from Joshua which seem redundant. For instance, the word la’asot is unnecessary here – what does it mean in this passage?
In the proof text we find a double word: “Certainly know (yodoah teidah) that your offspring shall be strangers…” What is the meaning of this double expression?
The verse also says that the offspring of Abraham would be enslaved and afflicted 400 years; and yet they were only enslaved 210 years. It should have said, “Your offspring shall be strangers 400 years.”
Scripture says: “Just as a person chastises his child, so your God shall chastise you.” We shall see in this explanation that even when God becomes angry with his children he still remembers to be compassionate and lightens his decree. This teaching can be applied to the amount of time that the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt.
The time period of 400 years refers to two different events; “Your offspring will be strangers in a land not their own” and, “They will be enslaved and afflicted.” Both of these events will take place during the 400 year period. It will begin after the birth of Isaac and continue up to the Exodus from Egypt. When Joseph brought his family down to Egypt, he did not allow them to become settled in one place, unlike other nations – so they were strangers in the land. However, we might also say that they were strangers because unlike Isaac, they did not live in the land of Canaan for an extended period of time. The decree of slavery and oppression was supposed to be applied to a full period of four hundred years aside from living as strangers in a strange land. However, if the people repented and prayed to God, then God would calculate the period from the birth of Isaac and the end would come sooner. But if the people did not repent, then there would be a period of four hundred years of slavery and oppression. God did not reveal this to Israel because human beings must have free will to make choices on their own. This is alluded to in the expression yodoah teidah- there are two possible outcomes of God’s will depending on the choices the Israelites make. The 400 years can begin from the birth of Isaac or it can be 400 years of misery in Egypt.
(2) And so also the nations that they served I will judge: Even though God had decreed Israel’s exile and slavery, Egypt still was subject to punishment because they choose how severe to make Israel’s servitude. God only decreed that they live in a land not their own and be oppressed for 400 years – He did not decree the extent of the oppression. The Egyptians chose to oppress them ruthlessly for 210 years – therefore they deserved to be judged by God. The verse says “the nations that they served I will judge (dan anochi).” The word anochi is unnecessary here. It is a reference to the tenth plague about which it is written: I shall go forth in Egypt and strike down the first born.” The words, “And so, also” implies that even if they only enslave but don’t oppress the Israelites they will be judged. “And afterwards they shall go forth with great wealth:” afterwards, whether they served the full 400 years or only part of them, they shall go forth with great wealth.
We know that the Israelites repented because the Torah says, “And God heard their sighs.” “And God remembered His covenant” – that God would begin counting the period of exile from the birth of Isaac. “The God of our fathers,” God made a covenant with Abraham, with Isaac he promised that the period of exile would begin from his birth, and with Jacob. God can be counted on to keep all of His promises particularly to our forefather Jacob to whom He said: “I will go down with you to Egypt and I will certainly come up (alo a’aleh) with you.” The Ba’al Haturim points out that the word alo is written with a hei instead of a vav to teach that Israel would be enslaved for five generations: Jacob, Levi, Kehat, Amram and Moses.
(3) Praised is He: the word hu, he, is third person. The calculation of the period of exile and enslavement was hidden by God. Only God could calculate the end of this period from the birth of Isaac. That is why it says that God calculates the keitz, the end. The gematriah of keitz is 190 leaving 210 years. Also Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born – adding up to 190, keitz. The number 190 is also associated with the different spellings of the name Isaac: sometimes it is spelled yud-sin-chet-kuf and usually yud-tzadi-chet-kuf – the difference between these two spellings is 190! The 210 years of slavery is fulfilled if we count from the birth of Isaac – then there are 190 years of slavery.
Another way of interpreting this passage is to say that it applies specifically to Jacob/Israel. “Praised is the One who kept His promise to Israel” – that is, our forefather Jacob. The Holy One said to Jacob: “I (anokhi) will go down with you to Egypt and I (anokhi) will go up with you.” Why does it say anokhi, “I,” twice in this verse? The Midrash says that when Jacob’s family went down to Egypt, God was counted as one of the seventy members of his household, and when the Israelites left Egypt, God was the six hundred thousandth necessary for them to leave. The Israelites could not leave Egypt until there were six hundred thousand like the number of letters in the Torah. They were lacking just one so God counted Himself as the One. In other words God was the anokhi that went down to Egypt and the anokhi that left with the people of Israel. The Israelites could not wait another moment to leave Egypt so God did them a kindness and counted himself among the six hundred thousand. We can now understand the expression differently, God numbered himself among the people of Israel because the end was so near.
(1) And it is this (v’hee) that sustains us: Literally, v’hee is “And she” is a reference to the Shekhinah, the divine presence. “It is the Shekhinah that has sustained us for more than once enemies plot to destroy…But the Holy One saved us from their hands.” She was with us in exile and was subjected to the forces of impurity – so she is with us in every generation but the Holy One, Praised be He, saves us from their hand.
The simple explanation of this expression v’hee is that it refers to the promise that God made with Abraham at the Covenant of the Pieces. God keeps His promise. “It is that promise that has sustained us, for more than once enemies plot to destroy us…But the Holy One saved us from their hands.”God showed Abraham the four Empires which would eventually subjugate his descendants in generations to come and reassured him that none would be able to destroy his descendants.
Yet another explanation is that v’hee refers to geulah, redemption. “It is the various redemptions that have sustained us, for more than once enemies plot to destroy us…But the Holy One saved us from their hands.” All of the redemptions until this time were incomplete and therefore we can only sing a shirah, not a shir. V’hee, then, is a reference to the intermittent redemptions which precede the great redemption. V’hee can also be a reference to teshuvah, repentance. “It is repentance that has sustained us for more than once, enemies plot to destroy us…But the Holy One saved us from their hands.” Repentance brings redemption closer to fruition. When Israel cries out in repentance to God, then the Holy One saves them from their enemies.
יניח הכוס מידו ויגלה אֶת הַמצות.
צֵא וּלְמַד מַה בִּקֵּשׁ לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לְיַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ: שֶׁפַּרְעֹה לֹא גָזַר אֶלָּא עַל הַזְּכָרִים, וְלָבָן בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲקֹר אֶת-הַכֹּל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי, וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה וַיָּגָר שָׁם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט, וַיְהִי שָׁם לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל, עָצוּם וָרָב.
וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה - אָנוּס עַל פִּי הַדִּבּוּר. וַיָּגָר שָׁם. מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹא יָרַד יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ לְהִשְׁתַּקֵּעַ בְּמִצְרַיִם אֶלָּא לָגוּר שָׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ, כִּי אֵין מִרְעֶה לַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר לַעֲבָדֶיךָ, כִּי כָבֵד הָרָעָב בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן. וְעַתָּה יֵשְׁבוּ-נָא עֲבָדֶיךָ בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶן.
בִּמְתֵי מְעָט. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: בְּשִׁבְעִים נֶפֶשׁ יָרְדוּ אֲבוֹתֶיךָ מִצְרָיְמָה, וְעַתָּה שָׂמְךָ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב.
וַיְהִי שָׁם לְגוֹי. מְלַמֵד שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְצֻיָּנִים שָׁם. גָּדוֹל עָצוּם - כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל פָּרוּ וַיִּשְׁרְצוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ וַיַּעַצְמוּ בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד, וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ אֹתָם.
וָרָב. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: רְבָבָה כְּצֶמַח הַשָּׂדֶה נְתַתִּיךְ, וַתִּרְבִּי וַתִּגְדְּלִי וַתָּבֹאִי בַּעֲדִי עֲדָיִים, שָׁדַיִם נָכֹנוּ וּשְׂעָרֵךְ צִמֵּחַ, וְאַתְּ עֵרֹם וְעֶרְיָה. וָאֶעֱבֹר עָלַיִךְ וָאֶרְאֵךְ מִתְבּוֹסֶסֶת בְּדָמָיִךְ, וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי, וָאֹמַר לָךְ בְּדָמַיִךְ חֲיִי
וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ הַמִּצְרִים וַיְעַנּוּנוּ, וַיִתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ עֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה. וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ הַמִּצְרִים - כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה לוֹ פֶּן יִרְבֶּה, וְהָיָה כִּי תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם הוּא עַל שֹׂנְאֵינוּ וְנִלְחַם-בָּנוּ, וְעָלָה מִן-הָאָרֶץ.
וַיְעַנּוּנוּ. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלָיו שָׂרֵי מִסִּים לְמַעַן עַנֹּתוֹ בְּסִבְלֹתָם. וַיִּבֶן עָרֵי מִסְכְּנוֹת לְפַרְעֹה. אֶת-פִּתֹם וְאֶת-רַעַמְסֵס.
וַיִתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ עֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה. כְּמָה שֶֹׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיַּעֲבִדוּ מִצְרַיִם אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּפָרֶךְ.
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל-ה' אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ, וַיִּשְׁמַע ה' אֶת-קֹלֵנוּ, וַיַּרְא אֶת-עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ.
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל-ה' אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ - כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְהִי בַיָּמִים הָרַבִּים הָהֵם וַיָּמָת מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, וַיֵּאָנְחוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מִ-הָעֲבוֹדָה וַיִּזְעָקוּ, וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעָתָם אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים מִן הָעֲבֹדָה.
וַיִּשְׁמַע ה' אֶת קלֵנוּ. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶת-נַאֲקָתָם, וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ אֶת-אַבְרָהָם, אֶת-יִצְחָק וְאֶת-יַעֲקֹב.
וַיַּרְא אֶת-עָנְיֵנוּ. זוֹ פְּרִישׁוּת דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים.
וְאֶת-עֲמָלֵנוּ. אֵלּוּ הַבָּנִים. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: כָּל-הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ וְכָל-הַבַּת תְּחַיּוּן.
וְאֶת לַחָצֵנוּ. זֶו הַדְּחַק, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְגַם-רָאִיתִי אֶת-הַלַּחַץ אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַיִם לֹחֲצִים אֹתָם.
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ ה' מִמִצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה, וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל, וּבְאֹתוֹת וּבְמֹפְתִים.
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ ה' מִמִּצְרַיִם. לֹא עַל-יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ, וְלֹא עַל-יְדֵי שָׂרָף, וְלֹא עַל-יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ, אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, וְהִכֵּיתִי כָּל-בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מֵאָדָם וְעַד בְּהֵמָה, וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים. אֲנִי ה'.
וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - אֲנִי וְלֹא מַלְאָךְ;ְ וְהִכֵּיתִי כָל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ-מִצְרַים. אֲנִי וְלֹא שָׂרָף; וּבְכָל-אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים. אֲנִי וְלֹא הַשָּׁלִיחַ; אֲנִי ה'. אֲנִי הוּא וְלֹא אַחֵר.
בְּיָד חֲזָקָה. זוֹ הַדֶּבֶר, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: הִנֵּה יַד-ה' הוֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה, בַּסּוּסִים, בַּחֲמֹרִים, בַּגְּמַלִים, בַּבָּקָר וּבַצֹּאן, דֶּבֶר כָּבֵד מְאֹד.
וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה. זוֹ הַחֶרֶב, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ, נְטוּיָה עַל-יְרוּשָלָיִם.
וּבְמוֹרָא גָּדֹל. זוֹ גִּלּוּי שְׁכִינָה. כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר, אוֹ הֲנִסָּה אֱלֹהִים לָבוֹא לָקַחַת לוֹ גּוֹי מִקֶּרֶב גּוֹי בְּמַסֹּת בְּאֹתֹת וּבְמוֹפְתִים וּבְמִלְחָמָה וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה וּבְמוֹרָאִים גְּדוֹלִים כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לָכֶם ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּמִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֶיךָ:.
וּבְאֹתוֹת. זֶה הַמַּטֶּה, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאֶת הַמַּטֶּה הַזֶּה תִּקַּח בְּיָדְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה-בּוֹ אֶת הָאֹתוֹת.
וּבְמֹפְתִים. זֶה הַדָּם, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְנָתַתִּי מוֹפְתִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
He puts down the cup from his hand and uncovers the matsa.
Go out and learn what what Lavan the Aramean sought to do to Ya'akov, our father; since Pharaoh only decreed [the death sentence] on the males but Lavan sought to uproot the whole [people]. As it is stated (Deuteronomy 26:5), "An Aramean was destroying my father and he went down to Egypt, and he resided there with a small number and he became there a nation, great, powerful and numerous."
"And he went down to Egypt" - helpless on account of the word [in which God told Avraham that his descendants would have to go into exile]. "And he resided there" - [this] teaches that Ya'akov, our father, didn't go down to settle in Egypt, but rather [only] to reside there, as it is stated (Genesis 47:4), "And they said to Pharaoh, to reside in the land have we come, since there is not enough pasture for your servant's flocks, since the the famine is heavy in the land of Canaan, and now please grant that your servants should dwell in the land of Goshen."
"As a small number" - as it is stated (Deuteronomy 10:22), "With seventy souls did your ancestors come down to Egypt, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky."
"And he became there a nation" - [this] teaches that Israel [became] distinguishable] there. "Great, powerful" - as it is stated (Exodus 1:7), "And the children of Israel multiplied and swarmed and grew numerous and strong, most exceedingly and the land became full of them."
"And numerous" - as it is stated (Ezekiel 16:7), "I have given you to be numerous as the vegetation of the field, and you increased and grew and became highly ornamented, your breasts were set and your hair grew, but you were naked and barren;" "And I passed over you and I saw you wallowing in your blood, and I said to you, you shall live in your blood, and I said to you, you shall live in your blood" (Ezekiel 16:6).
"And the Egyptians did bad to us and afflicted us and put upon us hard work" (Deuteronomy 26:6). "And the Egyptians did bad to us" - as it is stated (Exodus 1:10), "Let us be wise towards him, lest he multiply and it will be that when war is called, he too will join with our enemies and fight against us and go up from the land."
"And afflicted us" - as is is stated (Exodus 1:11); "And they placed upon him leaders over the work-tax in order to afflict them with their burdens, and they built storage cities, Pitom and Ra'amses."
"And put upon us hard work" - as it is stated (Exodus 1:11), "And they enslaved the children of Israel with breaking work."
"And we we yelled out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice, and He saw our affliction, and our toil and our duress" (Deuteronomy 26:7).
"And we yelled out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors" - as it is stated (Exodus 1:23); "And it was in those great days that the king of Egypt died and the Children of Israel sighed from the work and yelled out, and their supplication went up to God from the work."
"And the Lord heard our voice" - as it is stated (Exodus 1:24); "And God heard their groans and God remembered his covenant with Avraham and with Yitschak and with Ya'akov."
"And He saw our affliction" - this [refers to] the separation from the way of the world, as it is stated (Exodus 1:25); "And God saw the Children of Israel and God knew."
"And our toil" - this [refers to the killing of the] sons, as it is stated (Exodus 1:24); "Every boy that is born, throw him into the Nile and every girl you shall keep alive."
"And our duress" - this [refers to] the pressure, as it is stated (Exodus 3:19); "And I also saw the duress that the Egyptians are applying on them."
"And the Lord took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and with an outstretched forearm and with great awe and with signs and with wonders" (Deuteronomy 26:8).
"And the Lord took us out of Egypt" - not though an angel and not through a seraph and not through a messenger, but [directly by] the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself, as it is stated (Exodus 12:12); "And I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and I will smite every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from men to animals; and with all the gods of Egypt, I will make judgements, I am the Lord."
"And I will pass through the land of Egypt" - I and not an angel. "And I will smite every firstborn" - I and not a seraph. "And with all the gods of Egypt, I will make judgements" - I and not a messenger. "I am the Lord" - I am He and there is no other.
"With a strong hand" - this [refers to] the pestilence, as it is stated (Exodus 9:3); "Behold the hand of the Lord is upon your herds that are in the field, upon the horses, upon the donkeys, upon the camels, upon the cattle and upon the flocks, [there will be] a very heavy pestilence."
"And with an outstretched forearm" - this [refers to] the sword, as it is stated (I Chronicles 21:16); "And his sword was drawn in his hand, leaning over Jerusalem:
"And with great awe" - this [refers to the revelation of] the Divine Presence, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 4:34); Or did God try to take for Himself a nation from within a nation with enigmas, with signs and with wonders and with war and with a strong hand and with an outstretched forearm and with great and awesome acts, like all that the Lord, your God, did for you in Egypt in front of your eyes?"
"And with signs" - this [refers to] the staff, as it is stated (Exodus 4:17); "And this staff you shall take in your hand, that with it you will preform signs."
"And with wonders" - this [refers to] the blood, as it is stated (Joel 3:3); "And I will place my wonders in the skies and in the earth:
(1) We cried out to Adonai, the God of our ancestors, and Adonai heard our voice and saw our affliction and our hard labor and our oppression: Why did the Israelites “cry out” at this particular moment in time? The Haggadah quotes the verse: And it came to pass…that the king of Egypt died.” According to the Midrash, the first Pharaoh was afflicted with leprosy for ten years. He slaughtered Israelite children in order to bathe in their blood each day; in the end he died a shameful death. The Israelites thought that his successor would take this to heart and would not continue to oppress the people since it is the way of a new king to lighten the decrees of predecessor and to perform kind acts for his subjects when he first takes office. Instead the new Pharaoh made the oppression even harsher. That is why “they cried out to God.”
The people of Israel were supposed to be in exile four hundred years. Because of the severity of their servitude, the Israelites sighed and cried out to God, and their prayer rose up to God. The Torah says, “Their cry, because of the servitude (avodah), rose up to Elohim.” The name Elohim implies judgment - their prayer must have risen up on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment. “On account of the avodah:” Even though the Israelites ceased to work as slaves on Rosh Hashanah, they were not yet Exodus 2:24).liberated from Egypt. They could not leave Egypt until Passover after the full cycle of plagues had occurred.
Like King Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh decreed that the Egyptians should give the Israelites no rest or opportunity to pray to God. Both of them were fearful that if they did, God would turn from his anger and forgive the Israelites and thus redeem them. When the old Pharaoh died, however, it was the practice of the Egyptians to pause in order to mourn his passing, and for all the people and slaves to cry out and sigh as a sign of mourning for the king. This gave the Israelites the opportunity to cry out to God in response to their oppression. That is why the verse says they cried out on account of their slavery.”
The name elohim appears four times in this Exodus 2:23-25, the verses that are quoted here in the Haggadah. The word elohim also has the same numerical value as the word kos, cup. So this verse is another proof text for the four cups of wine, they are meant to protect us from Lilith, whose name has the numerical value of 480. There are 120 permutations of the divine name elohim so that four times the permutations of the divine name are equal to Lilith.
(1) The Israelites groaned because of the slave labor: The Midrash teaches that when Pharaoh became leprous, his magicians suggested that if he killed 150 Israelite children each morning and again at night, and bathe in their blood, he would be healed from this disease. The Israelites had accepted their oppression in Egypt because it also caused them to give birth to more children. But when they saw their children being killed so that Pharaoh could soak in their blood, “They groaned because of the slave labor.” The children that were killed by Pharaoh’s magicians, however, were not destined to reach adulthood anyway. We see that this is the case when Moses saved the Israelite from death at the hand of the taskmaster. Actually this person was one of the mixed multitude and was not worthy of being saved. From this we learn the teaching, “Don’t look at the pitcher but what’s inside it.”
(1) God heard our voice… and God remembered His covenant: After the old Pharaoh died, his advisors advised his son to carry on the policies that his father had made with the nation and to continue to oppress the Israelites. God paid him back ‘measure for measure,’ by punishing the generations to come for the sins of the fathers with the final plague.
The Torah says that God heard ‘our voice’ (in the singular). This is a problematic expression: how could they raise their voice and all their voices sound like a single voice? Elsewhere we learn, regarding the rebellious child, that he can only be found guilty if his parent’s voices are the same. Rashi explains that this is derived from the Torah. The Torah says, “He won’t listen to our voice” – it does not say voices. If the word koleinu means literally ‘our voice’ (and not our voices) in Deuteronomy, then it should have the same meaning here, too. But there is yet another problem with the expression here “God heard our voice.” We are taught, that “Anyone who raises his voice in prayer (instead of praying silently) lacks in faith.” Therefore the word, kol, here implies thoughts and meditation and not a physical voice, as in the expression, “The voice is the voice of Jacob.” The people prayed quietly and directed their hearts to their Father in Heaven, and as a result, God remembered His covenant with them. Since they prayed silently, their voices were all the same.
(1) And he saw our affliction- this refers to refraining from marital relations: The Torah reads the expressions, “affliction,” “hard labor,” and “oppression” in a counter intuitive way. Literally, what the verse tells us is that first, Pharaoh, “oppressed” the Israelites by making their life unbearable; then he “imposed hard labor” upon them by forcing them to perform tasks they couldn’t complete; and finally, Pharaoh “afflicted them” by beating them and forcing them to complete these tasks. So why didn’t the Torah reverse the order of these expressions. It should have been: “our oppressing, our hard labor and our affliction.” That is, the Haggadah explains, what each of these expressions implies. “Our affliction” refers to the forced separation of couples.
Some explain the expression “They saw our affliction” to mean that the Egyptians forbade the Israelite men from sleeping in their own homes so that they should be up and out early in the morning. This explanation is forced since we are not told that Pharaoh made such a decree, and if it was his intention to separate the men and women, he could have simply forbade them from marrying one another. Some of the commentators have suggested that the men voluntarily separated themselves from their wives so that they would not give birth to infants who would then be thrown in the Nile by the Egyptians. But this explanation is also difficult for we learn that when Amram divorced his wife following the Egyptian decree against the babies, Miriam convinced him to remarry Yocheved. As a result all the men took their wives back – suggesting that there was no “forced separation” of men and women except for a short period of time. The Haggadah suggests here that the forced separation lasted throughout the period of oppression.
Rather, it may be that the men chose not to dwell in their homes so that they would not feel desirous of their wives. In this way the Egyptians would not be suspicious of the Israelite women and check to see if they were pregnant. The Egyptians would say that the Israelite men did not go to their homes so they could go quickly to work each day. The Israelite women knew that they would not be redeemed until they had given birth to 600,000 children. What did these righteous women do? They would take two buckets to the well. They would draw out two buckets, one filled with water and the other with little fish. They would then go to the field to visit their husbands. They would help them wash and then they would feed them; then they would engage in intimate relations. When they became pregnant the women would go to their homes, and when the time to give birth, they would go and give birth in the field, as Rabbi Akiva explains.
It is to this story that the expression “And He saw our affliction” is referring. “God saw” what the Israelites were doing. And “God knew” is a reference to God’s knowledge of their relations, as in the verse, “Adam knew his wife.” Only God knew what the Israelite men and women were doing.
(1) And our hard labor – this refers to the infant boys: This comment is meant to explain why there was a forced separation of the sexes. The infant boys were being thrown into the Nile River; but what “hard labor” was there as a result of the boys? What is the connection between these “hard labor” and “infant boys?” We learn that the women gave birth in the fields and that God then sent an angel to care for them, as an animal cares for its young – so how can this be considered “hard labor?” We also learn that God provided the infants with two rings, one of honey and the other of oil, and when they were old enough they returned to the Israelite settlements in herds like sheep. However, when the women came to the fields to tend to their husbands, they found the men exhausted from their hard labors and unable to be intimate with their wives. Still, the men engaged in sexual relations with their wives so that the Egyptians would not be able to fulfill Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelites babies, as he said “All the male children shall be cast into the Nile.” This happened at the noon hour when they were allowed to rest – after eating, they engaged in relations with their wives when they should have rested, as the doctors had recommend. Afterwards, the men went back to their work, as the Midrash says, “And our oppression – this is the severe pressure.”
In Yalkut Shimoni the statement, “And our hard labor – this refers to the boys, as it is written: Every boy that is born you shall cast into the sea…” is followed by Rabbi Yehudah statement regarding the ten plagues: D’tzakh A’dash Ba’achav. Why does Rabbi Yehudah divide the plagues up into three groupings of three, three and then four? They could have been divided up into pairs or into two groupings of five? The Kol Bo and Abudraham both comment that in each grouping the first and second plague is prefaced by a warning while the third plague in each grouping occurs without a warning. The tenth plague is joined to the last three because it is one of a kind and separate from all the rest. This does not explain the connection between the final plague and the previous ones. A better explanation can be found in the interpretation of Psalm 136: “Who struck Egypt through their first born.” It should have said, “Who struck the first born in Egypt!” This is a reference to the firstborn - we learn that the firstborn killed more people than died during the tenth plague in Egypt. Before the tenth plague, the Egyptian firstborn told their people to free the Israelite slaves so that the they would not die. When the people refused to free the Israelites, the first born of Egypt took up their weapons and began killing their fellow Egyptians. This was in a sense, ‘an eleventh plague.’ There was no warning for the rebellion of the first born against the people of Egypt. This is how the Midrash explains Psalm 136:10 – God struck Egypt by fermenting a rebellion of the first born before the tenth plague. Like the other series of plagues, then, there was no warning during the tenth plague, and before the plague of the first born. The worst part of the tenth plague was the death caused by the first born; and this is why Rabbi Yehudah grouped the plagues as he did so, that the death caused by the first born was the climax of the plagues.
This also explains the Midrash which states that the tenth plague was just recompense for casting the Israelites infants into the Nile River. The tenth plague was an example of midah k’neged midah, measure for measure: just as the Egyptians cast the Israelite boys into the Nile, so God took the lives of the Egyptian first-born. The problem with this explanation is that it does not account for the singling out of the first born. Midah keneged midah should have applied to all the Egyptian males and not just the first born. So why did the tenth plague strike only the first born of Egypt? The worst part of the tenth plague was not just the death of the first born in Egypt but the revolt of the first born in which they killed many other Egyptians as well: so in the end between the death of the first born and the death of other Egyptians, the tenth plague was measure of measure recompense. There were two aspects to the tenth plague just as there were two aspects to Pharaoh’s decree against the Israelite babies: it was cruel to the babies and cruel to the parents who watched their children being killed. So in the tenth plague: there was the terror that the first born faced and the terror that the people of Egypt faced from the death of the first born. Finally, the revolt of the first born was a supernatural plague because it is against the laws of nature for sons to kill their fathers.
(1) And the Lord took them out of Egypt with a mighty hand… Above we mention five different afflictions which the Egyptians imposed on the Israelites: “Dealt ill with us,” “they oppressed us,” “our affliction,” “our hard labor,” and “our oppression.” In response to these different forms of persecution and suffering, God promised the Israelites five different forms of redemption: “a mighty hand,” “an outstretched arm,” “awesome power,” “signs,” and “wonders.”
All of the commentators question this bewildering statement, “Not by an angel nor a fiery being nor a messenger…” Elsewhere the Torah says, “God did not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home,” implying that God did not perform the tenth plague on His own; there was a “Destroyer.” Rabbi Yonatan Eibishitz suggests that the reference to a destroyer applies to the Egyptians who could not enter the Israelite homes and attack them as they slaughtered and ate the lamb which was one of the gods of Egypt. There is a problem with this explanation. God had already performed this miracle five days earlier when the Israelites set aside a lamb for sacrifice and announced to their Egyptian neighbors that they were going to slaughter it as a sacrifice as we learn in the Midrash . Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi (Ma’aseh Adonai) explains that the entire Egyptian people became ill during the final plague but only the first born died. “The destroyer” brought the illness but only God struck the first born. The term implies that not only did God protect the people from the plague, but from the illness which struck the Egyptian households. Thus, God carried out the tenth plague by Himself while the destroyer sickened the Egyptians. There is a controversy in the Midrash regarding the expression, “For when God passes through to smite the Egyptians…” According to one point of view, this implies an angel performed the deed, and according to the other point of view, it implies that God performed the tenth plague by Himself. According to the first point of view (that God was assisted by an angel) the word ‘smite’ implies that the pregnant Egyptian women who were ready to give birth miscarried on the night of the tenth plague so that God could take the lives of the new born first-born infants (thus showing that there were angels involved in this plague) while the other point of view God acted alone.
The first opinion which claims that God was assisted by an angel is problematic since the verse says, “God passed through Egypt (and does not mention an angel passing through Egypt).” What happened initially was carried out by an angel but ONLY God struck the first born.
According to the second opinion, that God struck the Egyptians all by Himself, we still have a problem. According to Psalms 78:49, Egypt was struck by, “wrath, indignation, trouble, and a band of deadly messengers.” According to Rabbi Ashkenazi, this verse does not apply to the first born but to all the other people who were struck by the plagues. God struck down the first born while the oldest (who wasn't a firstborn) in the household were stuck down by “deadly messengers.”
In my opinion, it is troubling to suggest that the impure firstborn of Egypt were struck down by the Holy One, since to have one’s life taken by a kiss from God is considered to be a blessing. Why would the exalted One bother with those who were uncircumcised and impure? Therefore (I think) that while God struck them with a plague, it was the “Destroyer” who actually killed the firstborn afterwards. This is the language of the Torah: “I struck all the firstborn;” this is a generic strike but not necessary a mortal strike. God struck each of the firstborn because only He could know which of the males in Egypt was actually first born and which were not. Then the angels of destruction smote the firstborn. We can now explain the verses in the book of Psalms, “He inflicted His burning anger upon them, wrath indignation, trouble, a band of deadly messengers. He cleared a path for His anger; He did not stop short of allowing them to by killed (by others), but gave them over to pestilence. He struck every first born in Egypt, the first fruits of their vigor in the tents of Ham.” The expression, “He cleared a path,” implies that God cleared the way but the angel of death did the deed.
(1) I will pass through the land of Egypt on this night: I and not an angel…nor a seraf…nor a messenger…I and not another: This is somewhat difficult. The original Passover would have fallen on a Thursday night at midnight. The tenth of Nisan, when the people were commanded to set aside a lamb for a sacrifice occurred on Shabbat. The 15th of Nisan would have been on Thursday. According to astrological calculation, this is when the star of recompense (kokhav hatzedek) would have risen…. It would have been a messenger bringing retribution to the world. That is why it was necessary for the text to say “I and not a messenger.” This is to point out that it is not through the stars but through the hand of God that the plague was carried out.
(2) I and not another: There are those who believed in the existence of two competing powers in the world: one good and one evil. Therefore the Haggadah makes a point of saying that there is only one power in the world: I and not another. Similarly, we read in scripture, “I deal death and give life; I wound and heal – none can deliver from My hand.” Everything is in the hands of the One. God showed this to Israel and to the other nations by destroying the firstborn and passing over the houses of the Israelites. That is why, God, Himself and with His own glory chose to carry out the final plague in Egypt. Why did God do it this way: to show that it is I and not another.
(1) I passed through the land of Egypt and smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt: The first “In the land of Egypt” in this verse is superfluous. This phrase is an allusion to the way in which God brought vengeance on the land of Egypt. According to the Rokeakh when the Holy One descended to take vengeance upon the Egyptians, 900,000 angels of destruction descended with him: some were angels of fire (eish), other angels of hail (barad) and still others were angels of terror (ratat). Anyone who saw them was seized with terror and trembling. They said: “Master of the universe – when a king goes to battle, he surrounds himself with soldiers to protect his person. How much more so should the King of kings do so! Isn’t it enough that we should do so who are your servants and the followers of your covenant – let us go and wreak vengeance upon the Egyptians!” God answered: “Stand aside! My feelings shall not be appeased until I go down by myself and bring vengeance with my own strong hand!” B’eretz mitzraim, is an abbreviation for “900,000 came to Egypt.” Bau (the letters bet aleph spell comes) revivot (ten thousand) tzadi (x90) mitzraim. It can also be an abbreviation for barad, esh, ratat, tzadi (90 ten thousands) in Egypt. Even so I struck them by my own person. “I and not an angel - an angel of hail; I and not a seraf- an angel of fire; I and not a messenger - an angel of terror.” Only God would carry out this act.
(1) With a mighty hand: this refers to the plague of pestilence: Rabbis Eibishitz and Ashkenazi have already raised some questions about this passage so it is not necessary to repeat them here. I will only say what I have noticed. Each of the plagues is referred to as a finger in the Torah and in the words of Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yossi Hagalili and Rabbi Akiva. So why is the plague of pestilence referred to as “a mighty hand?” Pestilence is referred to as a hand because of the verse in scripture, “Then the hand of the Lord shall strike your livestock,” and also because pestilence is the fifth plague – so it represents an entire hand. Also, God caused pestilence to strike five types of livestock.
(1) And with an outstretched arm – this refers to the sword: “An outstretched arm refers to the second set of five plagues which culminated with the death of the firstborn. The sword represents the death of the first born. The second five plagues were more severe than the first five plagues; that is why they were carried out with an arm and not just a hand. The sword might also be an allusion to the revolt of the first born who killed many Egyptians when they refused to free the Israelites.
(1) Fearsome acts – this refers to God’s revelation: The word mora (fearsome) can also be derived from the word mareh (vision).God revealed who was a first born from his mother and who was the first born of his father. Because of the ability to see what is hidden to everyone else the people became terrified to sin even in secret – realizing God could see. Revelation means that God has the ability to reveal even the most hidden things.
Another interpretation: this refers to the revelation of the divine presence at the Red Sea when the people sang: “This is my God and I will praise Him!” The Midrash says: “the lowliest maid saw more at the sea than the prophet Ezekiel saw in his prophecy” Rabbi Eibishitz explains that God was revealed in God’s great judgments against the gods of Egypt.
(1) Sign– this refers to the staff (of Moses): Moses’ staff was merely an instrument for the performance of the plagues and not a plague in and of itself. So why do we mention it here? According to the Midrash the ten plagues were engraved on Moses staff. According to the Ramban, they were engraved as Rabbi Yehudah’s abbreviation: d’tzakh adash bachav. Elsewhere we learn that the staff weighed 40 seah and was made of Sapphire into which the abbreviation of the plagues was engraved. The reason for this was so the Israelites would not say that without the plagues Israel could not have been redeemed. The staff proved that the plagues were part of a predestined plan. This is what we learn from the Torah: “I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers that I may display My signs among them…” The plagues were engraved into the staff to show that God planned to carry them out in Egypt before the Israelites left. And because the staff was to be used for the splitting of the sea, Rabbi Yehudah’s abbreviation is mention following the recitation of the plagues.
(1) And marvels - this refers to the blood: There were many signs that resulted from the plague of blood. First, even if an Egyptian and an Israelite drank from the same cup, one received blood and the other water. Second, the first plague enriched the Israelites, since the Egyptians tried buying water from the Israelites. Also, the plague of blood was the beginning of all the plagues. The Nile which was filled with blood also became like a boiling cauldron; that is why we say, “Water and fire and pillars of smoke.” During the final plague, when the firstborn became ill, smoke rose from their mouths as their blood was being shed. When the Israelites arrived at the sea, they followed a pillar of fire and smoke which protected them. That is why the Torah says moftim, “signs,” in the plural. The plague of blood was both the beginning and the end of all the other plagues. Concerning the final plague we read: “Pharaoh will not heed you that My marvels (moftim) may be multiplied in Egypt.” “Signs and marvels” are plural, unlike the first terms in this verse because they refer to numerous acts that took place in Egypt. These are all signs and wonders that took place not only in the past but will take place again in the future at the time of redemption.
A sign is something that has a delayed affect while a marvel has an immediate effect. Concerning the signs, the Torah says, “Tomorrow this sign shall come to pass,” while regarding the marvels the Pharaoh says, “Produce your marvel” and Moses does so immediately. The ten plagues were signs since they were inscribed on the staff ahead of time, while the blood was considered a marvel since Moses carried it out immediately – it was the first of the plagues.
(2) Another interpretation: With a mighty hand – that is two plagues… Everyone knows that there were ten plagues. This is not an interpretation about the ten plagues but about the ten aspects of the tenth plague. The tenth plague affected ten different people: (1) the firstborn of the father; (2) the firstborn of the mother; (3) the oldest member of the family; (4) the oldest member of the household; (5) the firstborn of the enslaved; (6) the firstborn of the slaves; (7) Egyptian firstborn living in foreign lands; (8) the firstborn of other lands living in Egypt; (9) the firstborn of the cattle; (10) the revolt of the firstborn in which others were killed in Egypt. The tenth plague, then, was equal to all the other plagues, combined. This statement alludes to the horror of the tenth plague. This verse is interpreted as referring to the tenth plague which was equal to ten plagues since it includes ten different plagues.
Magen Avraham quotes Darchei Moshe regarding the proper method of pouring a bit of wine from the cup when we mention the ten plagues. He claims that it is customary to pour or to sprinkle 16 drops of wine from one’s wine cup at this point: three for “Blood, fire and pillars of smoke;” ten for the plagues; and three for D’ztakh Adash Ba’achav. These 16 drops are for the Holy One’s sword which is called Yohakh (Yud Hei Vav Kaf). Yo – God- hakh – strikes. The truly pious do not dip their fingers into the cup when they remove wine from their cup; instead they pour a bit directly from the cup.
The sixteen drops of wine represent the plagues, themselves: this is ‘revealed’ meaning of this practice. There is a connection of three the plagues: lice (kinim), boils (sh’chin) and darkness (choshekh). The letters that make up the names of these three plagues are interchangeable so that if you write one on top of the other you will see that they spell out each other’s names in different directions.
ח ש כ
ש ח נ
כ נ ם
This suggests that these three plagues are connected to one another; each plague contains a manifestation of the other two plagues. Each plague represents three plagues – instead of three plagues, they would then be nine plagues. Along with the other seven plagues that would make sixteen plagues! This would also explain, why, when it came to the third plague, the magicians of Egypt were unable to perform the plague like Moses, and they declared, “It is the finger of God!” The magicians of Egypt were able to perform one magical act at a time; they were not able to recreate two or three plagues at the same time. It was then that they realized that Moses was not performing miracles. Rather he was acting with the help of God.
Why did the Egyptian magicians say, “It is the finger of God,” during the third plague? According to a Midrash there were fourteen types of vermin in Egypt during the third plague – the smallest of which was the size of an egg. The Egyptians could not replicate this plague because they could not perform so many acts at the same time. That is how the magicians knew that it was the ‘finger of God,’ and not an act of magic.
But there is problem with the claim that darkness, lice and boils are interconnected. We learn elsewhere that blood, frogs and lice were performed by Aaron; wild animals, pestilence and the death of the first born by God; hail, locust and darkness by Moses. Boils was performed by all three of them together. If this is so, then lice and darkness should also have been performed by (all three) Moses, Aaron and God, since boils was part of lice and darkness. It therefore stands to reason that the plague of boils must have been performed by God as well.
Earlier, we saw that there is an issue with including the death of the first born along with the last grouping of three plagues in d’tzakh, a”dash and ba’achav. In each of these groupings of plagues, the third (lice), sixth (boils) and ninth (darkness) struck without warning; in the case of the tenth plague there was a warning. We have answered this question by pointing out that though Pharaoh was warned of the tenth plague, he was not warned of the attack of the first born against Egypt. The final plague was against the first born as well as all those who were killed by them. Also, just as there were two aspects to the plague of the first born, so there were multiple aspects to the plagues of lice, boils and darkness, as we have seen above. (We do not count the attack of the tenth plague as two separate plagues since both involved the first born.)
Hidden in the abbreviations D’tzakh, a”dash and ba’achav is the entire story of Israel’s redemption from Egypt: When combined, the final letters of these three abbreviations spell kesev (lamb). The first letters of the abbreviations spell eved (slave). And the middle letters spell tzei chad (in one go out). Hidden in the abbreviation, then, we learn that the people of Israel would have been slaves forever had they waited one more second in Egypt. They would have descended below the forty-ninth level of impurity; ‘they went out because of one more second.’ It was because of the merit of a lamb (that is, the Passover sacrifice) which they offered that they were worthy of being redeemed from Egypt. The letters kesev also spell kavash – because the Israelites sacrificed the lamb in Egypt, they vanquished the angelic prince of Egypt and could be redeemed. This is why the verse in Psalms says, “He struck Egypt through their first born,” and not “He struck the first born of Egypt.” By striking down the prince of Egypt who is called the first born of Egypt, God redeemed the people of Israel. In exchange for this God said, “Sanctify for me your first born.”
This also explains the law of Passover: unlike the regular dietary laws, even a bit of leavening renders food chametz. Just as the words, chametz and matzah are only distinguished by a tiny bit, so even another second in Egypt would have rendered Israel unredeemable. All of this is hinted at in Rabbi Yehudah’s abbreviation.
There is another aspect to the final plague that makes it similar to the third, sixth and ninth plague. This plague struck not only the people of Egypt but the first born Egyptians who were born outside of Egypt or who were living in other lands. Like the final plagues in the other groupings, they were struck without warning. In this matter, Rabbi Yehudah disagrees with the previous statement in the Haggadah, which says, “These are the ten plagues which the Holy one brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt…” This statement implies that the plagues only struck those Egyptians in the land of Egypt while Rabbi Yehudah was of the opinion that the plagues struck Egyptians no matter where they lived.
(1) Go and learn what Laban sought to do to our ancestors: Why does the Haggadah begin by talking about Laban’s plot against Jacob instead of Esau who also sought to kill Jacob and even sent Eliphaz, his grandson, to kill Jacob years later. Esau had reason to want to kill his brother since he had cheated him; Laban, on the other hand had no reason to hate Jacob. Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright and his blessing while Laban’s hatred of Jacob was without cause or reason. Another reason for discussing Laban is that, according to one a liturgical poem , Laban pursued Jacob and his family on the eve of Passover. Two miraculous redemptions happened on Passover eve.
One of the reasons we begin by speaking about Laban in the Haggadah is to point out that the Covenant between the Pieces was not just about the Exodus from Egypt. In Aram, Laban sought to destroy Jacob and his sons even though they were his grandsons, and Jacob went forth with great wealth, just as the Israelites did from Egypt. We see here that hatred is expressed in many ways – and the worst of all hatred is the hatred of another’s faith. Rashi explains that the very thought of destroying Jacob and his family was considered the same as having carryied out the deed. Also, Laban was a mighty wizard, the grandfather of Bila’am (one of Israel’s greatest enemies) and his hatred of Jacob was deeply rooted in his heart. According to the Zohar he also advised Pharaoh regarding the children of Jacob, and he was among the magicians of Egypt – for all these reasons we make mention of him in the Haggadah.
The author of Ma’aseh Adonai makes the case that Laban was deeply immersed in idolatry that Jacob refused to send his sons back to Aram to seek food during the famine. He was afraid that Laban would corrupt them and get them to worship idols. He was forced as a result to send them to Egypt. This may be another reason why Laban is included in the Haggadah. Yalkut Reuveni claims that Laban’s flocks were a product of transmigration. By taking them to Egypt, they were able to transmigrate into human beings. That is why the Israelites were so fertile in Egypt; the flocks transmigrated from sheep to human beings.
(2) My Father was a wandering Aramean…and there he became a great nation, mighty, and numerous: One of the similarities of the Passover Seder and the Bikkurim ceremony, the first fruit ceremony, is the custom of lifting up the Seder plate just as the first fruits were lifted up when it was brought to the temple. It is for this reason that we recite the Bikkurim declaration as part of the Seder. The author of the Haggadah then expounds each passage in this declaration.
(3) He went down to Egypt: We have already seen that God reassured Jacob that he would go down to Egypt with him. But why was Jacob afraid? He knew that it was destined that his descendents would be slaves in Egypt before they were redeemed. The Zohar explains that he was afraid that his family would bury him in Egypt instead of returning him to the land of Canaan. He was also afraid that the divine presence would not accompany his family to Egypt, an impure land. God therefore reassured Jacob not to worry – that He would accompany him there. According to Rabbi Menachem Azarya of Fanot God promised Jacob that he would not die before he witnessed that he had 600,000 descendents in Egypt.
(4) And He sojourned there: Jacob hoped that his family would not suffer from subjugation and oppression but that they would simply be sojourners in a foreign land. He also didn’t want his family to become too settled in an impure land. That is why he said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land because there is no pasturage in Canaan, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan.” This is what Nachmanides writes. If it had been their intention to remain in Egypt a long time, they would have spread throughout the land and become more assimilated in the country. They remained within a small prescribed area so that when the time came to return to Canaan it would be easy to organize the return trip. That is why all the people lived in the land of Goshen.
(1) Now let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen: Jacob wanted his family to dwell together in Goshen so that they wouldn’t intermingle with the rest of Egypt. Also, the land of Goshen technically belonged to his family because it was given to Sarah by Pharaoh during Abraham’s brief sojourn in the land of Egypt many years before. So Jacob made two requests of Pharaoh; the first, to remain in Egypt and second, to dwell in the land of Goshen. Pharaoh had already given Joseph permission to allow his family to remain in Egypt. Jacob now asked to dwell in Goshen
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “As regards your father and brothers…settle…in the best part of the land…put them in charge of my live stock.” We see here that the Israelites went down to Goshen so that they could care for Pharaoh’s flocks. Since they were charged with caring for his flocks, they ruled over the lamb, which was considered one of the gods of Egypt. We learn that the Israelites went down to Goshen because of the flock and they left Egypt because of the flock, as it is written, “Go, pick out lambs for your family and slaughter the Passover offering.”
(1) Few in number: There were seventy members of Jacob’s family parallel to the seventy proverbial nations of the world. The angelic Prince of Egypt ruled over the angelic princes of all the other nations so when Israel vanquished Egypt’s angelic prince, Israel would rule over all the other nations of the world.
There is another explanation why the Israelites served 210 years in Egypt: each member of the family was obligated to serve a minimum of three years each, so that together the family would have served 210 years in total. These years of servitude began after the death of Joseph. Since the seventy who came down to Egypt were obligated to fulfill a minimum of three years each and did not, their children had to fulfill their obligation in order to pay their debt to Egypt – a total of 210 years.
(1) And there they became a great nation – this indicates that the Israelites were distinguishable there: How did they become distinguishable from the Egyptians? According to the Midrash, they did not adopt the Egyptian language or the Egyptian way of dress. It is my opinion that the children looked exactly like their fathers, thus the Egyptians could not say that they ruled over their women. We find another example of this idea: “Abraham begot Isaac.” This can help us understand the verse, “I let you grow as numerous as the plants of the field…and you came in herds.” According to the Talmud, after seducing their husbands the women gave birth in the field where the children were hidden until they were old enough to return to their family. Miraculously, every child knew his parents. One might argue that there was confusion, and the children did not return to the correct parents. A further miracle happened – since the children resembled their fathers, one knew that the parents and children were reunited. In this way the scoffers could not claim that the wrong parents were raising children.
(2) And mighty – the Israelites were fertile and prolific, multiplied and increased greatly: Prior to Pharaoh’s decree, the Israelites gave birth to their children openly so that the entire land was filled with young children. Every Israelite woman gave birth to sextuplets. According to the Midrash, every woman gave birth to twelve children at a time. This may be the source of the statement, “This is my God and I will praise Him.” With the birth of twelve children, they were reminded of Jacob who had twelve sons. Normally when one gives birth to twins, the children are not as strong or as large as single births. Also generally a woman is weakened after giving birth for at least 24 months, especially when she gives birth to twins because of all the nursing she must do. This was not so in Egypt; the mother and the children were strong and resilient. It is for this reason that the verse in Exodus uses double language: b’mi’od mi’od, “greatly, greatly.” Both the mother and the children were strong!
(3) And the land was filled with them: Immediately upon birth, the children were strong and they were running around!
(4) And great: the author of the Haggadah was curious why the word, rav, “great,” comes after the word atzum, ‘mighty” in Deuteronomy 26:5. Earlier the words appeared the other way around. Pharaoh says: “Look, the children of Israel are great (rav) and mightier (v’atzum) than us.” Also in the book of Joel, we read: “A great, mighty nation.” The word rav here is an allusion to the verse “I let you grow like the plants of the field,” and the explanation found in Sotah11b. Rabbi Awira expounded:
As the reward for the righteous women who lived in that generation, were the Israelites delivered from Egypt. When they went to draw water, the Holy One, blessed be He, arranged that small fish should enter their pitchers, which they drew up half full of water and half full of fish. They then set two pots on the fire, one for hot water and the other for the fish, which they carried to their husbands in the field, and washed, anointed, fed, gave them to drink and had intercourse with them among the sheepfolds… After the women had conceived they returned to their homes; and when the time of childbirth arrived, they went and were delivered in the field beneath the apple-tree… The Holy One, blessed be He, sent down someone from the high heavens who washed and straightened the limbs [of the babes] in the same manner that a midwife straightens the limbs of a child; ….He also provided for them two cakes, one of oil and one of honey…. When the Egyptians noticed them, they went to kill them; but a miracle occurred on their behalf so that they were swallowed in the ground, and [the Egyptians] brought oxen and ploughed over them, as it says, “The ‘ploughmen’ ploughed upon my back.” After they had departed, they broke through [the earth] and came forth like the herbage of the field, as it is said: “I caused thee to multiply (r’vava) like plants of the field;” and when [the babes] had grown up, they came in flocks to their homes, as it is said: “And thou didst increase and wax great and didst come with ornaments,” - read not with ornaments (ba'adei 'adayim) but in flocks (be'edre 'adarim). At the time the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself by the Red Sea, they recognized Him first, as it is said: “This is my God and I will praise Him.”
Why do we read ba’adei adayim as ‘flocks’ instead of the plain sense meaning of the words, ‘ornaments?’ If the expression means ornaments, then how can the verse also say, “You were naked and bare;” if they had ornaments then they weren’t naked. Therefore the expression must mean, ‘flocks.’ There wore their ornaments, that they were easily recognizable to their parents as we have said above. Everyone immediately knew that these children were not the offspring of loose Egyptian women. The expression “mighty and great,” then, is a reference to this. They not only increased in number but they were only numerous in their numbers but they were born like the plants of the field and protected by God.
According to the Midrash ten thousand babies were cast into the Nile, “I let you like ten thousand plants of the field.” The verse from Ezekiel is used elsewhere to explain how the Israelite babies were saved in Egypt. The children that were thrown into the Nile were carried away and ejected into the wilderness – this too is, “I let you grow like ten thousand the plants of the field.”
(1) And the Egyptians dealt with us in an evil manner, as it is written, “let us deal wisely with them: It seems strange that the author of the Haggadah would choose Exodus 1:10 as the proof text for, “The Egyptians dealt ill with us.” There are other verses that are more explicit in illustrating this point such as: “The Egyptians…ruthlessly imposed hard labor upon the Israelites, embittering their lives with hard labor, with mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field.” By using “Let us deal wisely,” we learn that worse than physical oppression is causeless hatred. When a person thinks ill of his fellow or when the person has never had such evil thoughts, then he begins to hate him and seeks to kill him – this is causeless hatred. This is the meaning of this passage. The verse does not say, “The Egyptians dealt ill with us (lanu);” rather it says, “The Egyptians thought of us in an evil manner (otanu).” That is, the Egyptians treated them as if they were evil and that they had evil intentions in their hearts even though the Israelites had no such intentions. That is why the text divides the two parts of the verse from one another: “They thought ill about us,” and “they oppressed us.” These two phrases could easily have been together as one. Once Pharaoh began to worry about the Israelites’ intentions, he began to think about how to convince the rest of Egypt to go along with him. He knew that the Egyptians had fond memories of Joseph and were not likely to turn against the Israelites. Therefore, he began by implanting paranoia in the hearts of his people. He told them that the Israelites were planning a rebellion and that they would take all the wealth out of Egypt that Joseph had amassed. Only then did the Egyptians agree to oppress the Israelites when they began thinking about the Israelites great wealth and how they could steal it.
He also declared war on the Edomites (the children of Esau), forcing the Israelites to go along to help in the battle. At the last minute, the Egyptians withdrew leaving the Israelites to fight with the Edomites. This upset the Israelites greatly, and some Egyptians were killed in retaliation, thus turning the Egyptians against the Israelites. It was only then that the advisors of Egypt gathered together and Pharaoh said, “Let us deal wisely with them.”
(1) And they oppressed us, as it is written, “They set task masters over them to oppress them:” In the previous verse, “Let us deal wisely with them,” the verse is written in the singular (hava) instead of the plural (havu); why is this? Pharaoh had three advisors: Jethro, Job, and Bila’am. He addressed all of them together as a single unit (hava, let us deal wisely). Their responses were different from one another. Jethro fled and eventually converted to Judaism. Job remained a silent bystander and was thus punished for not protesting, and Bila’am encouraged Pharaoh to oppress the Israelites. But in this verse, “They set task masters over them,” we see Pharaoh’s wicked and scheming heart. Pharaoh said to the Israelites, “I cannot let you live in my land as citizens unless you pay taxes like everyone else. I will give you a choice: you can pay taxes or you can help build my cities. The Levites warned the people not to enter into the service of the king but the people did not listen. As a result, the Israelites were enslaved but the tribe of Levi was not enslaved. Pharaoh entrapped the rest of the nation and thus was able to oppress them.
(2) Taskmasters: After asking the people of Israel to assist in the building of Pitom and Ramses, and promising to reward them from his treasury, Pharaoh enlisted the people in this project. At first all of Egypt joining in the building project, but then after some time, the Egyptians all fled and the task masters forced the Israelites to continue working. They were oppressed and forced to work with ruthlessness.
(3) Pitom and Ramses: According to the Midrash, when Joseph arrested Benjamin, Judah was filled with rage he roared so loudly that all of Pitom and Ramses collapsed. Pharaoh, therefore, decreed that the Israelites must now rebuild the cities.
(1) They imposed heavy labor upon us – as it is written, “The Egyptians made the Israelites serve with rigor (bifarekh).” We don’t use the following and more harsh verse as a proof text, “And they embittered their lives,” because initially Pharaoh invited the Israelites to assist in his building projects as a personal favor, and only later did he force them to work with ruthlessness and oppression. This is the meaning of the verse, “The Egyptians made the Israelites serve bifarekh.” The word can be read b’pheh rakh, with a smooth (or a soft) tongue.
(2) The Egyptians made the Israelites serve with rigor: The reason for Israel’s oppression can be deduced from two hermeneutic rules of Torah interpretation: a Gezerah Shavah and a Kal vaChomer. Two reasons that are given in the Midrash to explain why Israel was enslaved and treated so severely in Egypt. One explanation, attributed to Rabbi Elazar, is that the Israelites were punished with 210 years of slavery because Abraham subjected his students to forced service when he took them in his posse along to rescue the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. A second reason is found elsewhere for the severity of the slavery: “Rav said: ‘A person should not treat his children differently from one another for we see that it was because of some material worth a couple of coins which Jacob gave Joseph that his children went down to Egypt.” The Tosafot write that were it not for Jacob’s favoritism, it would not have been decreed, “They enslaved them and oppressed them.”
We see, then, that there are two explanations for the severity of slavery in Egypt: one is the lack of equality in the way Jacob treated his sons and the other had to do with the forced service that Abraham imposed on his students. Why the severity of punishment for these two sins? Pressing scholars of God’s law into service is wrong! The sages taught: “One who uses the Torah for personal gain should perish,” and elsewhere, “We learn that the dignity of the Torah scholar is greater than a Sefer Torah from a Kal Vachomer: if we must stand before the Torah scroll, how much more so should we stand in the presence of those who study it. The other point of view – that Israel was oppressed because Jacob’s favoritism is based on a gezerah shavah. Here, however, the term is understood literally: ‘a decree of equality.’ Because Jacob did not treat his sons equally, his family was punished.
כשאומר דם ואש ותימרות עשן, עשר המכות ודצ"ך עד"ש באח"ב - ישפוך מן הכוס מעט יין:
דָּם וָאֵשׁ וְתִימְרוֹת עָשָׁן.
דָבָר אַחֵר: בְּיָד חֲזָקָה שְׁתַּיִם, וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְאֹתוֹת - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹפְתִים - שְׁתַּיִם.
אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל-הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם, וְאֵלוּ הֵן:
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הָיָה נוֹתֵן בָּהֶם סִמָּנִים: דְּצַ"ךְ עַדַ"שׁ בְּאַחַ"ב.
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלָּקוּ הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת? בְּמִצְרַיִם מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּם אֶל פַּרְעֹה: אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא, וְעַל הַיָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה' בְּמִצְרַיִם, וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת-ה', וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּיי וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדוֹ. כַּמָה לָקוּ בְאֶצְבַּע? עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה: בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת.
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֲר אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל-מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל אַרְבַּע מַכּוֹת? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְשַׁלַּח-בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. עֶבְרָה - אַחַת, וָזַעַם - שְׁתַּיִם, וְצָרָה - שָׁלשׁ, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - אַרְבַּע. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה: בְּמִצְרַיִם לָקוּ אַרְבָּעִים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ מָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת.
רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל-מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ מַכּוֹת? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְִשַׁלַּח-בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצַרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ- אַחַת, עֶבְרָה - שְׁתָּיִם, וָזַעַם - שָׁלוֹשׁ, וְצָרָה - אַרְבַּע, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - חָמֵשׁ. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה: בְּמִצְרַיִם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּות וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת.
And when he says, "blood and fire and pillars of smoke" and the ten plagues and "detsakh," "adash" and "ba'achab," he should pour out a little wine from his cup.
"blood and fire and pillars of smoke."
Another [explanation]: "With a strong hand" [corresponds to] two [plagues]; "and with an outstretched forearm" [corresponds to] two [plagues]; "and with great awe" [corresponds to] two [plagues]; "and with signs" [corresponds to] two [plagues]; "and with wonders" [corresponds to] two [plagues].
These are [the] ten plagues that the Holy One, blessed be He, brought on the Egyptians in Egypt and they are:
[The] Mixture [of Wild Animals]
Slaying of [the] Firstborn
Rabbi Yehuda was accustomed to giving [the plagues] mnemonics: Detsakh [the Hebrew initials of the first three plagues], Adash [the Hebrew initials of the second three plagues], Beachav [the Hebrew initials of the last four plagues].
Rabbi Yose Hagelili says, "From where can you [derive] that the Egyptians were struck with ten plagues in Egypt and struck with fifty plagues at the Sea? In Egypt, what does it state? 'Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: ‘This is the finger of God' (Exodus 8:15). And at the Sea, what does it state? 'And Israel saw the Lord's great hand that he used upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord; and they believed in the Lord, and in Moshe, His servant' (Exodus 14:31). How many were they struck with with the finger? Ten plagues. You can say from here that in Egypt, they were struck with ten plagues and at the Sea, they were struck with fifty plagues."
Rabbi Eliezer says, "From where [can you derive] that every plague that the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt was [composed] of four plagues? As it is stated (Psalms 78:49): 'He sent upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and fury, and trouble, a sending of messengers of evil.' 'Wrath' [corresponds to] one; 'and fury' [brings it to] two; 'and trouble' [brings it to] three; 'a sending of messengers of evil' [brings it to] four. You can say from here that in Egypt, they were struck with forty plagues and at the Sea, they were struck with two hundred plagues."
Rabbi Akiva says, says, "From where [can you derive] that every plague that the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt was [composed] of five plagues? As it is stated (Psalms 78:49): 'He sent upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and fury, and trouble, a sending of messengers of evil.' 'The fierceness of His anger' [corresponds to] one; 'wrath' [brings it to] two; 'and fury' [brings it to] three; 'and trouble' [brings it to] four; 'a sending of messengers of evil' [brings it to] five. You can say from here that in Egypt, they were struck with fifty plagues and at the Sea, they were struck with two hundred and fifty plagues."
(1) Arov - Wild Animals: There were wild animals in the air and on the ground. The Midrash says that if they locked themselves in their homes, there was an animal that went up on the roof and bored a hole into their roof with its horn and gave birds of prey entrance.
(1) Dever – Pestilence: God struck the livestock because the Egyptians forced the people of Israel to care for their livestock. Yet if God struck down the livestock during this plague, how is it that livestock were struck down again during the plague of hail? During the plague of pestilence only those livestock the Israelites cared for were affected; the rest of the livestock in the fields were struck down during the plague of hail.
(1) Sh’chin – Boils: This was unlike regular boils – it was dry and burning on the center. And it only affected the Egyptians and their livestock. If a cow was owned jointly by and Egyptian and an Israelite, or if there was a question to whom the livestock belonged to, it was not struck by boils. In this way the Egyptians knew who the law favored.
(1) Barad – Hail: If a shepherd tried to raise his staff so that the flocks would flee before the hail, the hail came down and broke it. Also the hail formed a barrier so that the flocks could not escape. This is the meaning of “He gave their flocks over to hail.” The Egyptians slaughtered their flocks and tried holding them over their heads to protect themselves, but birds flew down and snatched the carcasses up!
(1) Arbeh – Locust: Concerning this plague, the Torah says: “Locust invaded...Egypt and settled within the territory; never before had there been so many nor will there ever be so many again.” Yet we know that there other plagues of locust in Egypt at later times – but none like this one.
(1) Choshekh – Darkness: There were seven days of darkness: three days during which a person who was standing could still sit down and vice versa, and three days when the darkness was so great the people could not move from their place. The seventh day of darkness took place at the shore of the Red Sea as the people fled from Egypt. This is the meaning of the verse: “He sent darkness” – in Egypt; “it was very dark” – at the sea. Further the Midrash asks, where did the darkness come from? Rabbi Yehudah said that it was the darkness from above which was created on the first day of creation – it was not just an absence of light but a darkness that had its own substance. Rabbi Nehemiah said that the darkness was the darkness of hell (Gehenom). But in the homes of the Israelites there was light. Just as there is an imperceptible division between the heaven and hell, so the darkness of the Egyptians was separated from the light that filled the Israelite homes. During those three days of darkness, the Israelites buried their own wicked who had been struck dead. In that way the Egyptians would not know what happened. The Rokeach claims that this took place on the 13th of Adar. Furthermore, we learn that the darkness was so thick that it could be touched, ‘like the thickness of a coin.” How do we know this? The Torah says “a darkness that can be touched (vaymesh).” The word vaymesh has the same numerical value as k’dinar av, ‘as the thickness of a coin.’
(1) The Plague of the firstborn: When the plagues are first listed, the final plague is called makat bechorot, “the plague of the first born,” while Rabbi Yehudah simply refers to the tenth plague as bechorot. What is the significance of this difference? The first listing of the plagues refers to the plague and not to the one who was affected by the plagues. Therefore, the essential word is makat, “the plague of,” emphasizing that the firstborn were struck by God but then died at the hands of the angel of death, as stated earlier. Rabbi Yehudah, on the other hand, says bechorot, because he was of the opinion that the first born were not only the victims of the tenth plague but the source of the tenth plague as well. They were not only struck down by God but they attacked and killed many Egyptians.
(2) Makat Bekhorot- The Plague of the Firstborn: We have seen that the usage of both words makat and bechorot is significant here. Not only is this plague equal to all the others, but this plague struck ten types of people who had the status of first born. Not only that, it refers not only to the attack on the first born in Egypt, but the attack of the first born on the rest of Egypt. That is why we say bechorot – the firstborns (plural). Also the term refers to the angelic prince of Egypt who was considered to be the first born of all the angelic representatives of all the other nations. God struck the firstborn in the heavens above and here below on earth.
(1) D’tzakh, a’dash ba’achav- Tosofot Yom Tov, in questions whether there is some special meaning to these abbreviations his commentary on Pirke Avot, 5:4. We can find meaning in these words when we consider that the letters aleph and ayin are interchangeable and that letter combinations in Hebrew words are interposable – we have the same word that is sometimes written mem lamed and sometimes lamed mem. A’dash can be written with an aleph as in: “You have tread (tadush) the earth with anger.” Ba’achav is related to the verse: “At all the gates I have appointed slaughter by the sword (b’ichvat cherev).” It is as if God is saying, through the plagues “I will cut down and tread with the sword by slaughter.” But this is extremely difficult and forced since it involves changing letters!
A simpler explanation of this abbreviation relates to the story of Esau and Jacob. Jacob convinced Esau to sell him his birthright by telling him that if he held on to it he would suffer for four hundred years as a slave in Egypt. When the children of Jacob were enslaved in Egypt they were deeply distressed by the suffering that was imposed on them by Jacob’s decision to buy the birthright. When the plagues occurred, they realized that Jacob would be vindicated and they rejoiced that their redemption would finally take place. This is the meaning of D’tzakh, a”dash ba’achav: d’zakh comes from the word ditzah, your rejoicing. A’dash is from the word adashim, lentils; the food which Jacob gave his brother. And ba’achav is b’ach bet, the second brother. Your rejoicing results from the lentils, the food which Jacob sold to his brother, Esau. We can now understand why the final plague struck the first born of Egypt. God had vindicated Jacob’s purchase of the birthright earlier by saying, Israel is my first born, and now God struck down the first born of Egypt!
(1) Rabbi Yosi the Galilean: Rabbi Weil’s father has given the following reason for the different ways we pour wine when reciting dam va’esh vitimrot haashan, the ten plagues, and Rabbi Yehudah’s abbreviation. One opinion is that we do not take the wine directly from the cup since this would be disrespectful of the ‘cup of blessing; instead we pour wine into a spoon and pour the wine out from the spoon. Others suggest we should do so with the forefinger and still others suggest we should do so with our pinky. There are those whose custom is to do it with the kamitzah, the ring finger. Rabbi Weil’s father explains that these different practices are related to the different interpretations of the number of plagues of Rabbis Yosi, Eliezer, and Akiva. The one who says to use the forefinger agrees with Rabbi Yosi who says ten plagues in Egypt and fifty at the sea. Each plague in Egypt was an etzba, a forefinger, according to the language of the Torah. The one who says it is the ring finger agrees with Rabbi Eliezer who argues that each of the plagues in Egypt was like four plagues – the ring finger is the fourth finger. And those who suggest we should use the pinky agree with Rabbi Akiva who said that each plague had five attributes – so the pinky is the fifth finger. While there is a basis for each of these statements it is our custom the follow the practice of Rabbi Akiva.
There are other explanations for Rabbi Yosi, Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva’s rabbinic mathematics. Rabbi Yosi felt there had to be fifty plagues at the sea in order to free the Israelites from the forty nine levels of impurity into which they had fallen in Egypt. Rabbi Eliezer felt there had to be 240 plagues – forty in Egypt and 200 at the sea to repay the Egyptians for the bitterness of Israel’s oppression. In Hebrew letters bitterness is written mar, which equals 240. When reversed, the letters mem reish spell ram, exalted; through the plagues God’s presence was exalted above all the nations. And Rabbi Akiva believed that the plagues were the embodiment of the ‘finger of God (elohim).’ When we add up the gematriah of the full names of the letters of elohim (aleph, lamed, hei, yud, mem ), it equals 250; together with the 50 plagues in Egypt, the number of plagues comes to 300, in agreement with Rabbi Akiva.
What is the difference between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva’s interpretation of Psalms 78:49? Why does Rabbi Eliezer understand this verse as suggesting that the plagues in each had four dimensions to them while Rabbi Akiva said there were five dimensions to each plague? It could be that Rabbi Eliezer was suggesting that the four “dimensions” as a reference to the four weeks in a month. Or it could have to do with the law of four or five time fines in repayment for the robbery of live stock. Rabbi Eliezer suggests that Israel was God’s flock; therefore, the Egyptians should have to pay four times (like the payment for stealing a sheep). Rabbi Akiva says that the fine should be five times (like the pay for stealing an ox)
Yet another explanation has to do with the reason for the punishment of the Egyptians. Israel was redeemed because they didn’t engage in adultery, gossip, they didn’t change their names to Egyptian names, they maintained their own language, and they dressed distinctively. Rabbi Eliezer counts these as four reasons for Israel’s redemption because he considers the choice of not changing their names and clothes as one, while Rabbi Akiva counts them separately and arrives at five reasons. It was in merit of these practices – four or five that the Egyptians were punished.
Many commentators related the four fold or five fold dimensions of the plagues to the four elements of the world (air, water, fire, and earth); Rabbi Akiva adds a fifth element – the spiritual dimension from the upper world.
The Maaseh Adonai suggests that the four fold punishment was to make up for the four fold debt of the Egyptians: damages, suffering, disability and embarrassment that they caused the Israelites. But they were not held liable for healing since Israel was not healed by the Egyptians. Rabbi Akiva adds healing as the fifth element in their fine.
(1) Rabbi Akiva said each plague was equal to five plagues: Above we learned that “Mighty hand” is a reference to dever - pestilence, and “wonders” is a reference to dam - the plague of blood. These two plagues were singled out because the gematriah of dam and dever is 250 – alluding to Rabbi Akiva’s calculations. Also we make reference to blood, first of the plagues, and pestilence, the fifth (and middle) plague, to show that the final plague is not singled out as equal to all the other plagues according to Rabbi Akiva. Rather the ten plagues are equal to the events at the Red Sea.
At the sea, what does the verse say? “And Israel saw the great hand of the Lord that Adonai wielded against Egypt.” Rabbi Yosi’s statement compares the plagues in Egypt which are referred to as “the finger of God” with the events at the Red Sea which are said to be “the hand of Adonai” at the sea. Yet we find the expression, “the hand of Adonai” is also used to describe the fifth plague, pestilence. So the word ‘hand’ is used to describe the individual plagues and not just the splitting of the sea. The Egyptians were able to copy the first two plagues. It was only with the third plague that they failed to repeat Moses’ actions. Now, with the fifth plague, Moses acknowledged that all the plagues were the power of God.
Why do we say “hand” when we speak of pestilence? This plague is different from all the others. There are five plagues about which we are told that animals were affected: lice, pestilence, hail, boils, and the first born. Of these, four were against humans and animals; only pestilence is an attack solely against animals. Since pestilence affected only animals, Moses made a point of pronouncing that it was the hand of God. The five plagues were the five fingers of the hand of God. The other five plagues only struck human beings.
“The hand of Adonai will strike your livestock.” The Torah says “hand” because it mentions five types of livestock: horses, asses, camels, cattle and sheep, which were affected by this plague. Surely, however, the plague of pestilence affected other types of livestock! By mentioning five it suggests something about the unique nature of this plague – it only affected these types of animals.
(1) These are the ten plagues that the Holy One brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt: Two questions are raised regarding the plagues by this statement. First, why was it necessary to say “upon the Egyptians in Egypt?” And second, why does the Haggadah say “Rabbi Yehudah said that (God) placed signs upon them?” In these verses the expressions, “upon the Egyptians,” and, “upon them,” are superfluous. The Torah states: “Go to Pharaoh for I will harden his heart and the heart of his servants in order that I might place My signs within them…that I performed in Egypt and the signs which I placed upon them.” Here too we find redundant language: first the verse states “I placed within them,” and then, “the signs I placed upon them.” This implies that God literally placed “His signs upon them,” that is, their bodies. Yalkut Shimoni, a midrashic work, states that Rabbi Yehudah’s abbreviated version of the ten plagues was incised into the skin on their bodies. This is what the Haggadah means when it states: “On the Egyptians in Egypt,” and what the statement “asher - that (God) placed upon them,” means; literally on them. The word asher, “that,” has the same gematriah (numerical value) as d’tzakh, a”dash ba’achav.
(1) Dam - Blood: All the water in Egypt turned to blood; not just the river but the water in the wells, the water in the pitchers, and even the water in the mouths of the Egyptians. This is how the Israelites became rich. If an Israelite had a pitcher full of water he could drink from it. The Egyptian asked for some water but as soon as the Israelite poured the water into his hands it turned to blood. The same occurred if they drank from the same utensil. Only when the Egyptian bought the water from the Israelite did it remain water.
(2) Why was the first plague blood? The Egyptians kept the Israelite women from immersing themselves in a Mikveh so that they could not engage in relations with their husbands and thus become pregnant. In retribution, the Egyptians source of water turned to blood.
(1) Tzfardeah - Frogs: Tz’fardeah, frogs, is written in the singular while kinim, lice, is written in the plural because there was one giant frog that attacked Egypt; when the Egyptians struck it, it broke up into many small frogs. A simpler explanation is that the word tzfardeah, though written in the singular, it refers to many frogs. We find this disagreement between Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Akiva. It is also possible that kinim, lice is written in the plural because it refers to many different species of lice but there was only one type of frog that attacked Egypt so it is written in the singular. The Midrash says much more about this plague. We learn that frogs were the most deadly plague since they found their way into the Egyptians beds, attacked them, and mocked the them by saying their gods were destroyed! The Torah says, “The frogs shall come among you and your people;” literally this verse says, “in you and your people.” Rabbi Aha explained that Pharaoh drank a bit of water – it entered his heart and became a frog and burst forth there. Rabbi Yohanan said that where there was dust and water, it turned into a frog. There are many other explanations as well.
(1) Kinim - Lice: Unlike the other plagues which only affected the Egyptians, the plague of lice struck the Israelites. The only difference was the lice did not sting the Israelites. This is the meaning of the verse, “He spoke and there were swarms of insects (arov); lice (kinim) throughout the land.” The reference to arov here is not the fourth plague (wild animals) but to swarms of lice. All the plagues are not mentioned in Psalm 105 – arov (wild animals) is not mentioned but neither is the fifth plague, dever (pestilence).
כַּמָה מַעֲלוֹת טוֹבוֹת לַמָּקוֹם עָלֵינוּ!
אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת-בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת-בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-מָמוֹנָם, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת-הַיָּם, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת-הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בַּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בְּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת-הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת-הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-הַשַׁבָּת, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-הַשַׁבָּת, וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְלא נַתַן לָנוּ אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה. דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ נַתַן לָנוּ אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, דַּיֵּנוּ.
אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת-בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ.
עַל אַחַת, כַּמָה וְכַּמָה, טוֹבָה כְפוּלָה וּמְכֻפֶּלֶת לַמָּקוֹם עָלֵינוּ: שֶׁהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְעָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים, וְעָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, וְהָרַג אֶת-בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם, וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-מָמוֹנָם, וְקָרַע לָנוּ אֶת-הַיָּם, וְהֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, וְשִׁקַּע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ, וְסִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בַּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וְהֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת-הַמָּן, וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת-הַשַּׁבָּת, וְקֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְנַתָן לָנוּ אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה, וְהִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וּבָנָה לָנוּ אֶת-בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה לְכַפֵּר עַל-כָּל-עֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ.
How many degrees of good did the Place [of all bestow] upon us!
If He had taken us out of Egypt and not made judgements on them; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had made judgments on them and had not made [them] on their gods; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had made [them] on their gods and had not killed their firstborn; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had killed their firstborn and had not given us their money; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had given us their money and had not split the Sea for us; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had split the Sea for us and had not taken us through it on dry land; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had taken us through it on dry land and had not pushed down our enemies in [the Sea]; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had pushed down our enemies in [the Sea] and had not supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years and had not fed us the manna; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had fed us the manna and had not given us the Shabbat; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had given us the Shabbat and had not brought us close to Mount Sinai; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had brought us close to Mount Sinai and had not given us the Torah; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had given us the Torah and had not brought us into the land of Israel; [it would have been] enough for us.
If He had brought us into the land of Israel and had not built us the 'Chosen House' [the Temple; it would have been] enough for us.
How much more so is the good that is doubled and quadrupled that the Place [of all bestowed] upon us [enough for us]; since he took us out of Egypt, and made judgments with them, and made [them] with their gods, and killed their firstborn, and gave us their money, and split the Sea for us, and brought us through it on dry land, and pushed down our enemies in [the Sea], and supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years, and fed us the manna, and gave us the Shabbat, and brought us close to Mount Sinai, and gave us the Torah, and brought us into the land of Israel and built us the 'Chosen House' [the Temple] to atone upon all of our sins.
(1) Had God not provided all our needs in the wilderness…: This is a reference to the statement, “Your clothing did not wear out upon you.” Because the cloud of glory wrapped itself around them, their clothes did not wear out during the forty years in the wilderness. Also the clothing grew and changed to fit them, and it was naturally cleaned by the cloud of glory so that it never smelled of sweat or dirt.
(1) If he had not given us manna…: It was a special food which fed all 248 parts of the body. There is also a tradition that the manna tasted like whatever food one desired.
(1) If He had given us the Sabbath…: It was through the gift of Manna that the people came to understand the meaning of the Sabbath. Before the Sabbath they collected a double portion (and on the Sabbath there was no manna to collect.)
(1) If He had brought us close to Mount Sinai: Why was so significant about being brought close to Mount Sinai? All of their injuries and illnesses were healed when they came to Mount Sinai. Also, 600,000 angels descended at Mount Sinai and crowned each of the Israelites with two crowns, and placed the dew of resurrection upon them. At the moment that Israel declared ‘we will do and we will listen’ there was not a single leper, nor was anyone afflicted with any other illness or disability. At that hour, God said, “Every part of you is fair, my darling; there is no blemish in you.”
(1) How many favors God has bestowed upon us: This entire poem is attributed to Rabbi Akiva. He decreed fifteen favors for the fifteen passages of Shir HaMa’alot in the book of Psalms which David composed. Also, according to Rabbi Akiva each miracle and plague had five dimensions and it is repeated three times in this passage (twice in the first passage and again in the following passage) so that the number fifteen is an expression of God’s beneficent favors which were doubled and redoubled….
(1) If he had executed judgment but not done so against their gods, dayeinu; if he had not done so against their gods but killed their firstborn, dayeinu; if he had killed their firstborn but not given us their wealth, dayeinu: Everything in this passage is in chronological order except for the first two statements! It should have mentioned the ‘killing of the firstborn’ immediately after ‘executing judgment’ and only then mentioned, ‘doing so against their gods.’ We see this in scripture: “I struck down the first born of Egypt and against all the gods of Egypt I executed judgment.”
We see, however, the judgment of Egypt’s gods actually took place before the plague of the first born. Initially, God instructed the Israelites to set aside a lamb on the Sabbath before the first Passover, tied to their bed post. When the Egyptians asked the Israelites what they were doing, they told them that they were setting aside a lamb that would be sacrificed to God. Even though the lamb was the god of Egypt, there was nothing the Egyptians could do about this. Thus, the Israelites were able to vanquish the god of Egypt four days before the first born were struck down.
Why does the statement “But not given us their wealth…” follow “If he had killed their first born?” We learn from the story of Gebiha ben Pesisa that the Israelites were paid for their many years of service to the Egyptians. But the law is that when there is a physical punishment for a wrong doing then the monetary fine is cancelled. The fact that God caused the firstborn to die might lead us to conclude that we do not have a right to collect a monetary fine as well. The death of the firstborn should have been “enough.” The silver and gold went even farther than they deserved.
Furthermore God promised Abraham that his descendents would leave Egypt with great wealth after 430 years of slavery. They did not serve so many years, so had they left without the wealth would have been enough – and yet God rewarded them with great wealth.
(1) He split the sea: According to Pirke Avot 5:5, there were ten miracles at the Red Sea: (1) God split the sea into two parts. (2) He caused the water to be like a great tent over their heads. (3) He caused the sea floor to be completely dry. (4) When the Egyptians entered the sea the floor turned to mud. (5) The water became frozen like small building blocks, to honor the Israelites as they passed through the sea. (6) It became hard like rocks. (7) The sea split into twelve isles for the different tribes. (8) It became clear like glass so there was light and the people could see one another. (9) Sweet, good water spurt forth like a fountain for them to drink. (10) Whatever they didn’t drink afterwards piled up, thus blocking he way of the Egyptians.
According to the Midrash there were other miracles at the sea as well. We learn that trees grew on each side with all types of fruit, and even when the Israelites allowed their feet to touch the water, it immediately became completely dry. To all of this, we say, “If God had given us wealth but not split the sea – that is, if God had brought us out of Egypt by way of the Philistines instead of splitting the sea, it would have been enough. Or if God had allowed us to defeat the Egyptians and not split the sea, it would have been enough. These other ways of leaving Egypt could have taken place naturally without any miracles – that would have been sufficient. Instead God performed many miracles in the way He took us out of Egypt so that people would come to say - God is fighting for them! We say in dayeinu that God literally took us “into the dry land of the sea” - implying that the sea was like a tent and that it was a like blocks of glass through which they could see.
(1) Had He not caused our foes to sink in it, it would have been sufficient: This is an example of midah kineged midah , punishment, measure for measure. The Egyptians embittered our life with mud, so they sank in the mud as they crossed the sea. In the Song at the Sea we say: “The depths (tehomot) covered them.” (The word, tehomot, is plural to teach us that) the upper and lower depths came together causing the water to battle and bring all types of punishments upon the Egyptians. There was a mud barrier between the two depths – the Egyptians were trapped in it. That is what the statement means, “Our foes to sink, b’tokho, in it. They sank into the mud between the depths.
רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל הָיָה אוֹמֵר: כָּל שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר שְׁלשָׁה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ בַּפֶּסַח, לא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן: פֶּסַח, מַצָּה, וּמָרוֹר.
פֶּסַח שֶׁהָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אוֹכְלִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָּם, עַל שׁוּם מָה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁפָּסַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל בָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח הוּא לַיי, אֲשֶׁר פָּסַח עַל בָּתֵּי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְרַיִם בְּנָגְפּוֹ אֶת-מִצְרַיִם, וְאֶת-בָּתֵּינוּ הִצִּיל? וַיִּקֹּד הָעָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחווּ.
אוחז המצה בידו ומראה אותה למסובין:
מַצָּה זוֹ שֶׁאָנוֹ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מַה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹּא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וּגְאָלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת-הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם עֻגֹת מַצּוֹּת, כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ, כִּי גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ, וְגַם צֵדָה לֹא עָשׂוּ לָהֶם.
אוחז המרור בידו ומראה אותו למסובין:
מָרוֹר זֶה שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מַה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁמֵּרְרוּ הַמִּצְרִים אֶת-חַיֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְמָרְרוּ אֶת חַיֵּיהם בַּעֲבֹדָה קָשָה, בְּחֹמֶר וּבִלְבֵנִים וּבְכָל-עֲבֹדָה בַּשָּׂדֶה אֶת כָּל עֲבֹדָתָם אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ בָהֶם בְּפָרֶךְ.
בְּכָל-דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת-עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרַיִם. לֹא אֶת-אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶלָּא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם, לְמַעַן הָבִיא אוֹתָנוּ, לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשָׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ.
Rabban Gamliel was accustomed to say, Anyone who has not said these three things on Pesach has not fulfilled his obligation, and these are them: the Pesach sacrifice, matsa and marror.
The Pesach [passover] sacrifice that our ancestors were accustomed to eating when the Temple existed, for the sake of what [was it]? For the sake [to commemorate] that the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the homes of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 12:27); "And you shall say: 'It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for that He passed over the homes of the Children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and our homes he saved.’ And the people bowed the head and bowed."
He holds the matsa in his hand and shows it to the others there.
This matsa that we are eating, for the sake of what [is it]? For the sake [to commemorate] that our ancestors' dough was not yet able to rise, before the King of the kings of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed [Himself] to them and redeemed them, as it is stated (Exodus 12:39); "And they baked the dough which they brought out of Egypt into matsa cakes, since it did not rise; because they were expelled from Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they made for themselves provisions."
He holds the marror in his hand and shows it to the others there.
This marror [bitter greens] that we are eating, for the sake of what [is it]? For the sake [to commemorate] that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 1:14); "And they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; in all their service, wherein they made them serve with rigor."
In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 13:8); "For the sake of this, did the Lord do [this] for me in my going out of Egypt." Not only our ancestors did the Holy One, blessed be He, redeem, but rather also us [together] with them did he redeem, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 6:23); "And He took us out from there, in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers."
(1) Rabban Gamliel used to say: This is the proper version of the text, similar to the one that is found in the Mishnah. It implies that it was Rabban Gamliel’s practice to make this statement on Passover night. The other version which says, “Rabban Gamliel says…” implies that there were those who disagreed with Rabban Gamliel in this matter. Rabban Gamliel believed that one must explain the Seder customs based on the verse: “No, the thing shall be close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.” This verse teaches us that when the matter is explained in your mouth it will also be in your heart. The statement is then followed by, “Each person is obligated to see himself as if he went forth from Egypt,” and then the actual performance of the commandments takes place – the eating of matzah and maror. That is, we make the statement about experiencing the Exodus and then perform the commandments, just as the verse speaks of the mouth first followed by the heart.
The statement, “Has not fulfilled his obligation” is not meant to be a deterrent to performing the commandments. Whether one makes the statement or not, one has fulfilled the commandment if one has consumed matzah and maror. Rather, if one wishes to fulfill the commandment properly and completely, one will explain the reason for each commandment.
It is possible that Rabban Gamliel disagrees with Rabbis Yose, Eliezer, and Akiva. It is possible that they are stating that we are only obligated to tell the story of the Exodus (the enslavement of the Israelites and the ten plagues) and not the reason for the commandments. He follows their statements by saying, “That is not enough. If you haven’t explained the reason for pesah, matzah and maror, you still haven’t fulfilled the obligation of the night.” If this explanation is correct, then the proper reading of the text is, “Rabban Gamliel said….” Even so, those who fear God will fulfill both practices: Telling the story of the Exodus and explaining the different Seder practices. That is why we say Rabbis Akiva, Yose and Eliezer’s statements as well as Rabban Gamliel’s statement in our Seder.
Another explanation: It is possible that Rabban Gamliel’s did not accept the suggestion that the Torah speaks of four types of children as we saw above. He explained that the so-called wise child’s question has nothing to do with Passover since it is a general question about why God gave us so many different types of commandments. The other three statements to explain Passover to the children, apply not to the type of children but to the three main practices at the Seder: pesah, matzah and maror.
(2) Fulfilled his obligation: Since the Torah says: “You shall say, ‘it is the Lord’s Passover offering’” the Tosafot conclude from this verse, that one must explicitly mention the Passover offering and they then draw a similar conclusion based on this for matzah and maror. Yet it was unnecessary for the Torah to say that it was “the Lord’s Passover offering,” here. The Torah could have said, it is the Passover offering. The name of God comes to tell us about the purpose of this offering and where it would eventually lead the people of Israel. The statement that the Passover offering should be put aside on the tenth day (yud) and the offering was eaten five days (hay) after this which is written hay. Yud-hay are also the final letters of halleluyah. The Five (hay) Books of Moses were given on the sixth of Sivan (vav) together these two spell out vav-hay. We have in these allusions Yud Hay Vav Hay, the unpronounceable name of God. This is the meaning of the statement, “It is the Lord’s (Yud Hay Vav Hay) Passover offering.”
(1) Pesah, which our ancestors ate at the time when the Temple existed: What was the purpose of Rabban Gamliel’s first question since the Torah already explains the purpose of the Passover offering> Also, why do the verses from the Torah which explain the purpose of this offering end with the words, “And the people bowed in homage?”
The reason for this has to do with the connection between the Passover offering and the matzah which we eat now. Normally, the Passover offering is consumed after the Festive offering. Yet the Talmud explains that if one has already recited the blessing for the Passover offering, he is exempted from the Festive offering. The Passover offering is presented twice. It was brought to the celebrant after pouring the second cup of wine but it is not consumed until the end of the meal. The reason for this is to reflect its double meaning. Similarly, today we eat matzah twice during the Seder: at the beginning of the meal (when we recite the motzi) and at the very end of the meal (the afikomen). The question al shum mah, then, is meant to point to the two reasons we eat the Passover at the Seder: it is a symbol of our redemption from Egypt as well as the promise of our entrance into the land of Canaan. Here the verse is meant to answer both reasons for the Passover offering: first to remind us that God took us out of Egypt and second – of our eventual redemption and entrance into the land (“And the people bowed down in homage.”) Both explanations are hinted at in our answer to Rabban Gamliel’s question, al shum mah?
(1) This matzah which we eat, for what reason: Again, one might say the reason for the matzah is explicitly stated in Scripture. Yet, Scripture explains that in Egypt, matzah was consumed for one day. It was only with the later observance of Pesach that we began to eat it for a whole seven days. Rabban Gamliel’s statement would then be an answer to the question of why we eat matzah for seven days and not just on the first day. Yet the Torah tells us this as well; in Exodus, chapter 12, Scripture says we should eat matzah for seven days. Here Rabban Gamliel explains a second reason we eat matzah: first we eat it because it is ‘the bread of affliction,’ and the second time (at the end of the Seder) we eat it is as a reminder of the ‘redemption from slavery.’
There are different traditions about which matzah one should hold up when reading Rabban Gamliel’s statement. According to some opinions, one should hold up the middle broken piece of matzah since it symbolizes the bread of affliction. Others claim that the hidden piece of matzah is considered to be the bread of affliction. Still others claim that one should hold up the top whole matzah as a symbol of redemption. Rabbi Weil is of the opinion that one should lift up the broken piece of matzah when reciting Rabban Gamliel’s statement, and that the hidden piece of matzah is the part that is called lechem oni, the bread of the poor.
(1) This maror which we eat, for what reason: Why do we mention matzah which symbolizes the redemption before mentioning maror, a reminder of the oppression? It would have made more sense to mention these two symbols in reverse order! Rambam mentions them in reverse order. Yet he still suggests that one must recite the blessing for the matzah before the maror. We also find that in scripture matzah precedes maror, “Matzot and Maror you shall eat.”
Maror gains its significance because of its connection to the giving of the commandments at Mount Sinai. We, therefore, mention it after the matzah. Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (Shelah) offers the following explanation: The reason matzah is mentioned before maror is that Israel could not receive the Torah until there were 600,000 Israelites (like the number of letters in the Torah) to receive the Torah. The essence of the redemption was the giving of the Torah to Israel. The Torah tells us that oppression and bitterness brought about an increase in the number of Israelites. The bitterness of oppression brought about the events at Mount Sinai. Without the bitterness of oppression they would not become worthy of receiving the Torah.
(1) In every generation: All of this is part of Rabban Gamliel’s statement. It explains why matzah is considered a Torah law (d’oraita) while eating maror is rabbinic (d’rabbanan). Why is there a difference in the status of these two symbols? According to Rabban Gamliel we are obligated by the Torah to see ourselves as if we went forth from Egypt. The matzah serves as a reminder of this biblical mandate while maror reminds us of slavery (which we are not obligated by the Torah to remember.) Matzah allows us to see ourselves in this fashion.
Yet, what purpose is there in “seeing ourselves” as if we personally went forth from Egypt; many generations have passed since the Exodus - what good is there is in seeing the redemption in this way? This teaches us that the purpose of the redemption was not just the liberation from slavery in Egypt but also the fact that we could enter the land of Israel, build the temple, and seek atonement for our sins. Also the matzah alludes to the future redemption as well. The afikomen is an allusion to the final redemption, which is called tzafun bareikh, the hidden blessing. It is because of these hopes that scripture made matzah an obligation, “You shall eat matzot at night,” This is an allusion to the fact that we eat matzah during the night (of exile) which comes before the light (of redemption.)
(2) To see himself (atzmo) as if he went forth from Egypt: The statement here could have been “To imagine that he went forth from Egypt;” the word atzmo was unnecessary. Why was it necessary to say, ‘himself?’ We learn in the Talmud that if a one’s father experienced a miracle, his children and offspring must continue to give thanks. The redemption from Egypt goes much farther than that. We are grateful not just because of our ancestors but because we ourselves benefited from God’s redemption. We are the direct recipients of God’s goodness in the Exodus (otherwise ‘we might still be slaves.’) We are commanded to give thanks not because it affected our forefathers but because we directly benefit from God’s redemption.
יאחז הכוס בידו ויכסה המצות ויאמר:
לְפִיכָךְ אֲנַחְנוּ חַיָּבִים לְהוֹדוֹת, לְהַלֵּל, לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְפָאֵר, לְרוֹמֵם, לְהַדֵּר, לְבָרֵךְ, לְעַלֵּה וּלְקַלֵּס לְמִי שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ אֶת-כָּל-הַנִסִּים הָאֵלּוּ: הוֹצִיאָנוּ מֵעַבְדוּת לְחֵרוּת מִיָּגוֹן לְשִׂמְחָה, וּמֵאֵבֶל לְיוֹם טוֹב, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹר גָּדוֹל, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה. וְנֹאמַר לְפָנָיו שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה: הַלְלוּיָהּ.
הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי ה', הַלְלוּ אֶת-שֵׁם ה'. יְהִי שֵׁם ה' מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד מְבוֹאוֹ מְהֻלָּל שֵׁם ה'. רָם עַל-כָּל-גּוֹיִם ה', עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם כְּבוֹדוֹ.מִי כַּיי אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַמַּגְבִּיהִי לָשָׁבֶת, הַמַּשְׁפִּילִי לִרְאוֹת בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ? מְקִימִי מֵעָפָר דָּל, מֵאַשְׁפֹּת יָרִים אֶבְיוֹן, לְהוֹשִׁיבִי עִם-נְדִיבִים, עִם נְדִיבֵי עַמּוֹ. מוֹשִׁיבִי עֲקֶרֶת הַבַּיִת, אֵם הַבָּנִים שְׂמֵחָה. הַלְלוּיָהּ.
בְּצֵאת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִצְרַיִם, בֵּית יַעֲקֹב מֵעַם לֹעֵז, הָיְתָה יְהוּדָה לְקָדְשׁוֹ, יִשְׂרָאֵל מַמְשְׁלוֹתָיו. הַיָּם רָאָה וַיַּנֹס, הַיַּרְדֵּן יִסֹּב לְאָחוֹר. הֶהָרִים רָקְדוּ כְאֵילִים, גְּבַעוֹת כִּבְנֵי צֹאן. מַה לְּךָ הַיָּם כִּי תָנוּס, הַיַּרְדֵּן - תִּסֹּב לְאָחוֹר, הֶהָרִים - תִּרְקְדוּ כְאֵילִים, גְּבַעוֹת כִּבְנֵי-צֹאן. מִלְּפְנֵי אָדוֹן חוּלִי אָרֶץ, מִלְּפְנֵי אֱלוֹהַ יַעֲקֹב. הַהֹפְכִי הַצּוּר אֲגַם-מָיִם, חַלָּמִיש לְמַעְיְנוֹ-מָיִם.
He holds the cup in his hand and and he covers the matsa and says:
Therefore we are obligated to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, lavish, bless, raise high, and acclaim He who made all these miracles for our ancestors and for us: He brought us out from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to [celebration of] a festival, from darkness to great light, and from servitude to redemption. And let us say a new song before Him, Halleluyah!
Halleluyah! Praise, servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. May the Name of the Lord be blessed from now and forever. From the rising of the sun in the East to its setting, the name of the Lord is praised. Above all nations is the Lord, His honor is above the heavens. Who is like the Lord, our God, Who sits on high; Who looks down upon the heavens and the earth? He brings up the poor out of the dirt; from the refuse piles, He raises the destitute. To seat him with the nobles, with the nobles of his people. He seats a barren woman in a home, a happy mother of children. Halleluyah! (Psalms 113)
In Israel's going out from Egypt, the house of Ya'akov from a people of foreign speech. The Sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned to the rear. The mountains danced like rams, the hills like young sheep. What is happening to you, O Sea, that you are fleeing, O Jordan that you turn to the rear; O mountains that you dance like rams, O hills like young sheep? From before the Master, tremble O earth, from before the Lord of Ya'akov. He who turns the boulder into a pond of water, the flint into a spring of water. (Psalms 114)
(1) Therefore we are obligated to give thanks: The older version of this passage contains seven terms of thanksgiving, for the seven levels of the firmament. Our version of this statement contains nine terms, for the seven firmaments, the sun and the moon. Others explain that the nine terms are a reference to the nine supernal Sephirot and the tenth, Malchut is reference to the term l’mi sh’asa la’avoteinu, “to the one who did for our ancestors.” The tenth Sephirah, like the moon, receives its radiance from the other heavenly bodies; so too, Malchut receives its flow of justice and mercy from the other Sephirot. The nine terms of thanksgiving are for the six blessings: miracles, freedom, joy, festive day, light, redemption. Together these six blessings contain fifteen words, like the fifteen verses of dayeinu, and the name of God (Yud Hei). To this we conclude Hallelu-YAH (Yud Hei)!
(1) Psalm 113
Halleluyah! Praise the servants of Adonai, Praise the name of Adonai: As long as we are in exile we cannot be called “servants of Adonai,” as we learn in the Talmud: We do not recite Hallel on Purim because it refers to us as servants of Adonai and we were still servants of Achashveros following the events in Shushan. We will only become true servants of God following the final redemption. Similarly, in exile God can only be referred to as Yah and not by His full name, YHVH. That is why we say, “The entire soul shall praise Yah,” “On that day Adonai shall be one and His Name one.” That is, in the Temple God was referred to by His whole name and in the future redemption we will begin to refer to God by His full name. This is the meaning of the passage from Psalms: When we become true servants of Adonai in the future, then we will be able to praise the (full) name of Adonai. Similarly in the future we will no longer respond to prayers with Amen, but with the words, “May the name of Adonai be blessed from now and forever,” as was the practice in the Holy Temple.
Another interpretation: This Psalm is all about the hope for redemption and the role we play in our own redemption by “completing the name of God.” We begin by saying “Praise the servants of Adonai,” - during a time of exile, those who fear God are called “servants of Adonai.” During the future redemption those who fear God will come to be known as “children of Adonai.”
Even during this time of bitter exile, we are obligated to give thanks and praise God for we still put our trust in Him and His great name. God’s name proves that we will be redeemed. YHVH is a verb of being: it can mean was, is or will be. Just as God told Moses that His name was, ‘I will be what I will be,’ so this name proves that God will not abandon His people for the sake of His great name. Any time we make mention of God’s name in exile, we arouse the memory that God’s name is not complete. As a result the Holy One forgoes His glory in order to bring about our redemption. In exile, therefore, we must glorify God’s name; by doing so we remind God of His compassion.
This is the meaning of this Psalm. “Let the servants of Adonai Praise,” in exile.
What should the praise be? “Praise the name of the Adonai.”
Then God’s compassion will be aroused for the sake of His name, and we will respond, “Let the name of Adonai be blessed.”
“Let the name of Adonai” – be complete: “From now” – in this time of exile; “And forever” – until the time in the future when “God will be one and His name will be one.”
We must bless the evil along with the good, and acknowledge that all that God does is ultimately for the good. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so God has compassion on those who revere Him, and God never removes His providence from us, watching us and constantly keeping an eye on us.
(2) The Psalmist now gives a proof of Divine Providence: “From the eastern rising of the sun to it setting in the west, the name of God is praised.” Actually the sun and the stars are supposed to rise in the West and set in the East. The sun is like a king it is the like a king because it is the largest and most influential of all the heavenly bodies; it appears 365 days a year, and its place in the heavens determines the length of days and the seasons. Yet it is forced against its will to rise in the East and to travel toward the west which is the location of the Shechinah, the divine presence. It is through this process that we learn that that there is a higher power that determines all things in the universe. And because of this power, the sun must offer and sing praises to God. We see this as well in the story of Joshua and the battle of Gibeon in which the ‘sun stood still.’ The sun was forced to stand still against the natural process. Therefore we say: “From the rising of the sun in the east to its setting in the west God’s name is being praised” – it is being praised at every moment in the present because its movement is a sign of God’s power. Similarly, we say: The heavens declare God’s glory and the firmament recount the work of his hands.” The commentators explain that God cannot be known by His essence; we can only know God through His actions. Thus we see through the cycle of the sun God’s providence upon all His creations, and that God is the creator of everything; God even determines the cycle of the planets and the stars. As we learn in the works of the Jewish philosophers there is no movement without a Prime Mover. The Movement of the sun (against its natural order) is sign that God is the Prime Mover. God is praised because God is always present and is the creator of all things.
(3) Those who deny Divine Providence say: “God is far above all the nations; His glory is far above the Heavens.” There are those among the nations who claim that there is a God in the universe but that God is far removed from the world and does not influence the doings of this world. They deny the reality of Divine Providence. God is “far above nations” and does not involve Himself in the doings of this lowly world. Therefore they can feel that they can act in an evil fashion toward the people of this world and that they do not have to worry about fearing God or facing punishment. We have been given proof that God’s providence can be experienced in this world. We have four proofs: (1) The Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai; (2) God lowered Himself and dwelled over the Holy ark; (3) God brought Israel into the land of Israel and helped them to succeed; (4) In the future, God will dwell among the community or righteous and pious people. These four proofs are contained in the continuation of the Psalm.
(4) Who is like Adonai who caused God to lift up (hamgbihi) to be seen: This is an allusion to the Exodus and to the theophany at Mount Sinai. On these occasions God lowered Himself so that the people could perceive God’s presence. As we read: God went before them by day…” and “This is My God and I will glorify Him.” God also set up a perimeter around Mount Sinai and then came down on the mountain so that all Israel could “see the sounds” and sights of the revelation. God appeared to them like an old sage who sat and taught. This is what is meant by the verse, “God will stoop down low.”
It has been pointed out that there are five extra yud’s at the ends of the verbs in this passage: hagbihi (He lifted up) hamashpili (He stooped), mikimi (He lifts up), l’hoshivi (to cause to dwell), and moshivi. (He causes to dwell). The yud at the end of each of these words is a poetic flourish and unnecessary. What can we learn from them? There are those who explain the hidden meanings of the Torah who say that the five yudin equal fifty – they come to replace the missing verse in the Ashrai which should begin with a nun (50). Others explain that God never descended more than ten tefachs (a measure) to appear to the people. But the most literal explanation has to do with the name of God which begins with a yud. When God reveals Himself to the people of Israel, His name (which begins with a yud) is joined to the name Israel (which also begins with a yud). The letter yud, then, symbolizes the connection between God and Israel, between heaven and earth. Yud is also the last of the single digits and the first of the multiples of ten. That is what we mean when we say “I am the first and I am the last.” God’s name begins with a yud to teach us that God is the beginning and end of all things. Similarly God is the beginning and end of all the nations. The Divine Presence which is one is connected to Israel which is one are expressed by the word hamagbihi lirot, “Who is like Adonai who caused God to lift up to be seen.”
(5) He will stoop down low (hamashpili) to see what happens on earth and in heaven: This is an allusion to Tzimtzum, God’s contraction in the world. God contracted Himself so that He could dwell between the posts of the ark. Similarly, Solomon said: “Behold, the heavens and the heavens of the heavens cannot contain You…” But because of God’s great love, He lowered Himself and He caused His presence to dwell among us. “The world is full of His glory; yet God caused his Yud/presence to be contracted – that is, His Divine Presence in the Temple.
(6) He raises (mikimi) up the poor from the dust: This is a reference to our entrance into the land of Israel and all the miracles that were revealed to us. In the desert we were like homeless and needy people; God brought a great and mighty nation which was like the dust of the earth into the land of Canaan. God never left the people from the time they entered into the land until the destruction of the first Temple. Thus the verse says, “God raises up the yud which symbolizes the partnership of God and Israel. During the time of the Second temple this partnership did not exist in the same way that it did during the first temple. That is why the second half of the verse, “From the dung hill he lifted the needy.” (The verb in the second part of the verse does not contain the extra yud - yarimi -like the first part of the verse). Ashpot, the dung hill refers to the refuse that is thrown away after one has eaten. It is a refuse to exile. We pray that God will lift us up because, “In every generation there are those who rise up against us to destroy us…” but the holy One saves us from them with God’s Divine Presence.
(7) To cause us to dwell among the nidivim (princes): This is a reference to the pious and righteous of the community. They are called nidivim because they do more than is required of them by the law. This is the difference between nedavah (free will) and hovah (obligatory). The righteous give freely of themselves; not because they are obligated to do so. They are the great ones of the generations who arouse others to repentance like prophets and seers. We hope that God “will cause the childless of the household…” Israel is called the childless of the household because she has not yet given birth. Sometimes a woman is childless for reasons that are not related to her ability to give birth but rather because of her husband. If she does not have a womb then it is obvious that it is because of her. Similarly, in the exile, Israel’s childless was caused by her and not her husband.
Akeret also comes from the same root as akira, to uproot. We were uprooted from our Holy Temple where we could rejoice with the greatest of joy. And we hope for a day when Israel will again be a mother – that is, the people will again have Jerusalem and a Temple.
(8) The happy mother (eim) of children: The word for mother is eim. It is a reference to those who will bring about Israel’s redemption: In Egypt there was Aaron and Moses; in the time Purim there was Esther and Mordechai; and in the Messianic era, Elijah and the Messiah.
This verse is also a reference to the story of the Exodus. Yocheved was called “childless of the household” when Amram divorced her; but when he took her back she was called “happy mother.”
The Talmud offers another interpretation. Akeret is from eekar, the essence or the mainstay. In the Talmud we learn: “And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that He made them houses. Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]; one said they are the priestly and Levitical houses, and the other said they are the royal houses. One who says they are the priestly and Levitical houses: Aaron and Moses; and one who says they are the royal houses: for also David descended from Miriam.” That is, Yocheved was the eekar, the main member of the household. When Amram took Yocheved back Aaron and Miriam danced with joy and the angels rejoiced – that is why the word eim is an abbreviation for Aaron and Miriam. “Halleluyah” can be read as two words: hallelu (praise) and Yah, the name of God. God dwells in the midst of a couple who love one another; the Yud is from the word eesh, husband, and the hay is from the word eeshah, wife.
(1) Psalm 114
When Israel went forth from Egypt, the House of Jacob from a foreign tongue: We are commanded: “Let him share one (lamb) with his neighbors who dwell nearby, in proportion to the number of persons; you shall contribute (tachosu) for the lamb according to what each household will eat.” The word tachosu contains the same letters as the word kosot. But what is the connection between the four cups of wine and the Passover offering. Elsewhere we learn that the four cups of wine were in celebration for the four mitzvot which the Israelites performed while they were slaves in Egypt: (1) They were never suspected of sexual immorality. (2) They were not suspected of gossip or slander. (3) They continued to use the Hebrew language in Egypt. (4) They did not take on Egyptian names so that they had a distinctive identity. It was for these four reasons that there are four promises of redemption and four cups of wine. So what is the connection to the Passover offering? The words tachosu al seh, “Let them share one lamb” Tachosu refers to the kosot, the four cups of wine. And al seh stands for arayot (sexual immorality); lashon harah (gossip); shem (their names); and hadibur (their speech).
(2) We can now interpret Psalm 114. When Israel went forth from Egypt – Israel the people who hadn’t changed their names. The house of Jacob – the women of Israel who maintained the highest standards of behavior. From a foreign tongue – the people did not change their language. Judah became His holy one – they did not desecrate God by speaking gossip and slander. And because of these four qualities, Israel became their dominion…
(3) Another Interpretation: In Psalm 114 why do we first refer to the Jewish people as ‘Israel’ and then as ‘the house of Jacob?’ And why do we first say ‘Egypt’ and then, ‘a foreign tongue?’ We learn that one of the reason for that Israel had to spend time in Egypt was to redeem the holy sparks that were still present there and to convert those who had such holy sparks in them. Thus, the House of Jacob refers to the converts. We say, Israel went forth from Egypt and the converts from among the people who spoke in a foreign tongue… The prohibition against living in Egypt only applied in ancient times when these holy sparks had already been taken out of Egypt. But today, once again there are sparks in Egypt so we must live their just as we live throughout the Diaspora to bring about this redemption of sparks. Rabbi Isaac Luria explains the verse: “At the end of 430 years the host Israel went forth from Egypt.” We do not say ‘children of Israel went for the Egypt’ in order to teach that the Israelites had liberated all the divine sparks which are referred to as the host of Israel. Israel had gathered up all the holiness that was to be found in Egypt. That is why they were able to leave earlier than they had been told before – they had completed the purpose of the presence in Egypt.
(4) Psalm 114 is a psalm about the splitting of the Red Sea, and later the Jordan River when the people entered the land of Canaan. The psalmist asks: “What alarmed you that you fled?” According to one Midrash the sea fled when it saw the casket of Joseph which the Israelites had taken out of Egypt. “O Lord in the presence of the Adonai” – another Midrash teaches that the sea refused to split until God Himself appeared. But in Dayyenu we say “If God had split the sea but not taken us through it on dry land, it would have been enough for us.” This implies that the sea spit immediately. However, it was still covered with mud and not completely dry. The Holy one wanted to show through the Exodus a completely different type of act of creation, that there would not remain even a drop of water when the Israelites passed through the sea, and this could not happen until God appeared in all His glory; only then could the people of Israel pass through the sea ‘on dry land.’
Also, normally the sea floor is full of high and low places. But when God appeared at the sea, God not only dried up the sea but flattened the sea bed so that the people could easily walk through the sea from one side to the other. Israel was also able to drink water from the sea – the water that spurt forth was fresh and sweet – it came forth from fountains deep beneath the earth. There was also all types of delicious fruit that came from the mountains and hills that was growing on the sea floor so that there was food for them to eat as well.
מגביהים את הכוס עד גאל ישראל.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר גְּאָלָנוּ וְגָאַל אֶת-אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְהִגִּיעָנוּ הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה לֶאֱכָל-בּוֹ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר. כֵּן ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ יַגִּיעֵנוּ לְמוֹעֲדִים וְלִרְגָלִים אֲחֵרִים הַבָּאִים לִקְרָאתֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם, שְׂמֵחִים בְּבִנְיַן עִירֶךְ וְשָׂשִׂים בַּעֲבוֹדָתֶךָ. וְנֹאכַל שָׁם מִן הַזְּבָחִים וּמִן הַפְּסָחִים אֲשֶׁר יַגִּיעַ דָּמָם עַל קִיר מִזְבַּחֲךָ לְרָצון, וְנוֹדֶה לְךָ שִׁיר חָדָש עַל גְּאֻלָּתֵנוּ וְעַל פְּדוּת נַפְשֵׁנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל.
שותים את הכוס בהסבת שמאל.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
We raise the cup until we reach "who redeemed Israel"
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who redeemed us and redeemed our ancestors from Egypt, and brought us on this night to eat matsa and marror; so too, Lord our God, and God of our ancestors, bring us to other appointed times and holidays that will come to greet us in peace, joyful in the building of your city and happy in your worship; that we should eat there from the offerings and from the Pesach sacrifices, the blood of which should reach the wall of your altar for favor, and we shall thank you with a new song upon our redemption and upon the restoration of our souls. Blessed are you, Lord, who redeemed Israel.
We say the blessing below and drink the cup while reclining to the left
Blessed are You, Lord our God, who creates the fruit of the vine.
נוטלים את הידים ומברכים:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם.
We wash the hands and make the blessing.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us on the washing of the hands.
יקח המצות בסדר שהניחן, הפרוסה בין שתי השלמות, יאחז שלשתן בידו ויברך "המוציא" בכוונה עַל העליונה, ו"על אכילת מַצָּה" בכוונה על הפרוסה. אחר כך יבצע כזית מן העליונה השלמה וכזית שני מן הפרוסה, ויטבלם במלח, ויאכל בהסה שני הזיתים:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה.
He takes out the matsa in the order that he placed them, the broken one between the two whole ones; he holds the three of them in his hand and blesses "ha-motsi" with the intention to take from the top one and "on eating matsa" with the intention of eating from the broken one. Afterwards, he breaks off a kazayit from the top whole one and a second kazayit from the broken one and he dips them into salt and eats both while reclining.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the ground.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us on the eating of matsa.
(1) Motzi Matzah: A person should remove (motzi) controversy (matzah) from his heart. This is particularly true during meal times as we learn in the Talmud: “Elijah once said to Rabbi Nathan: Eat a third and drink a third and leave a third in case you get angry, and then you will have had your fill.” Righteous people who don’t lose their temper, however, are permitted to eat until they are full since they don’t get angry. This is the meaning of Scripture: “The righteous person can eat to his heart’s content but the belly of the wicked is empty,” and, “They were fools who suffered for their sinful ways and for their iniquities, all food was loathsome to them; they reached the gates of death.” One should leave one’s stomach one third empty since eating too much and then becoming angry upsets the stomach. It is, therefore, fitting to stay away from conflict when one eats, and there is no utensil more precious than peace.
כל אחד מהמסבִים לוקח כזית מרור, ּמטבִלו בַחרוסת, ּמנער החרוסת, מברך ואוכל בלי הסבה.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מָרוֹר.
All present should take a kazayit of marror, dip into the haroset, shake off the haroset, make the blessing and eat without reclining.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us on the eating of marror.
(1) Maror Korekh: Even if some disagreement or bitterness burns in his heart, let him ‘wrap up’ (hikhrikh) any hurts with love and let him judge all people favorably, as we learn in Masekhet Shabbat: “Our Rabbis taught: He who judges his neighbor in the scale of merit is himself judged favorably,” and elsewhere in the Talmud. The sages of blessed memory also quote the following verse: “Better to be forbearing than mighty; to have self control than to conquer a city.” There are those who remain calm even when their body is aching, a fire is burning in them and bitterness is dripping within them – such people are subject to terrible diseases. Others, however, remain completely calm and do not allow their hearts to become angry. This is a great quality – greater than conquering a city. The body is called a city as Ecclesiastes said: “Better a poor youth than an old but foolish king who no longer has the sense to heed warnings.” This is a pillar of worship; and now I will speak about acts of kindness.
כל אחד מהמסבים לוקח כזית מן המצה השְלישית עם כזית מרור,כורכים יחד, אוכלים בהסבה ובלי ברכה. לפני אכלו אומר.
זֵכֶר לְמִקְדָּשׁ כְּהִלֵּל. כֵּן עָשָׂה הִלֵּל בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָּם:
הָיָה כּוֹרֵךְ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר וְאוֹכֵל בְּיַחַד, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרוׂרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ.
All present should take a kazayit from the third whole matsa with a kazayit of marror, wrap them together and eat them while reclining and without saying a blessing. Before he eats it, he should say:
In memory of the Temple according to Hillel. This is what Hillel would do when the Temple existed:
He would wrap the matsa and marror and eat them together, in order to fulfill what is stated, (Exodus 12:15): "You should eat it upon matsot and marrorim."
(1) Shulchan Arukh: One’s house should be wide open and the needy should be guests in one’s household, especially when one says, ‘all who are hungry come and eat.” Those who enter one’s house hungry should leave satiated as we find in the case of Yoav who called his house a midbar, a wilderness; that is, like a wilderness it is open to all and free to anyone who wants to enter it and join in the meal without an invitation. Great is one who quenches the thirst of a guest – such a person merits having the divine presence dwell in his midst. We learn this in Sanhedrin 104a, where we learn that a false prophet was given a portion in the world to come because he offered hospitality to Iddo the prophet.
אחר גמר הסעודה לוקח כל אחד מהמסבים כזית מהמצה שהייתה צפונה לאפיקומן ואוכל ממנה כזית בהסבה. וצריך לאוכלה קודם חצות הלילה.
לפני אכילת האפיקומן יאמר: זֵכֶר לְקָרְבָּן פֶּסַח הָנֶאֱכַל עַל הָשוֹׁבַע.
The Concealed [Matsa]
After the end of the meal, all those present take a kazayit from the matsa, that was concealed for the afikoman, and eat a kazayit from it while reclining.
Before eating the afikoman, he should say: "In memory of the Pesach sacrifice that was eaten upon being satiated."
(1) Tzafun Barekh: A person should walk humbly and give charity secretly, since,” Giving gifts secretly assuages anger.” What’s more, even if he is hard pressed he should do so and should not let his reverence for God leave him since his portion is hidden (tzafun) and is not given in this world. He should loan to a needy person in his hour of need, even though times are tough for the lender himself. He should not refrain from lending – it is as if he is bringing an offering to God. We learn this from an abbreviation: Milvad olat haboker, ‘You shall present these in addition to the morning offerings.” The word milvad stands for, Milaveh Le-ani B’sha’at Dochako, lend to the poor person in the hour of need.
מוזגים כוס שלישִי ומבָרכים בִרכַת המזון.
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת, בְּשוּב ה' אֶת שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים. אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה. אָז יֹאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם: הִגְדִּיל ה' לַעֲשׂוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה. הִגְדִּיל ה' לַעֲשׂוֹת עִמָּנוּ, הָיִינוּ שְׂמֵחִים. שׁוּבָה ה' אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב. הַזֹּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה, בְּרִנָּה יִקְצֹרוּ. הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶךְ הַזָּרַע, בֹּא יָבֹא בְרִנָּה נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו.
שלשה שֶאכלו כאחד חיבים לזמן והמזַמן פותח:
יְהִי שֵׁם ה' מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.
בִּרְשׁוּת מָרָנָן וְרַבָּנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי, נְבָרֵךְ [אֱלֹהֵינוּ] שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ.
בָּרוּךְ [אֱלֹהֵינוּ] שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִינוּ
המזמן חוזר ואומר:
בָּרוּךְ [אֱלֹהֵינוּ] שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִינוּ
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים, הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדוֹ. וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ, וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל, כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל, וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.
נוֹדֶה לְךָ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה, וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, וּפְדִיתָנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים, וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בְּבְשָׂרֵנוּ, וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חֻקֶּיךָ שֶׁהוֹדַעְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶסֶד שֶׁחוֹנַנְתָּנוּ, וְעַל אֲכִילַת מָזוֹן שָׁאַתָּה זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָנוּ תָּמִיד, בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה:
וְעַל הַכּל ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ, אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים לָךְ וּמְבָרְכִים אוֹתָךְ, יִתְבָּרַךְ שִׁמְךָ בְּפִי כָּל חַי תָּמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. כַּכָּתוּב: וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבַעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֵיךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶּׁר נָתַן לָךְ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן:
רַחֵם נָא ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאַל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ וְעַל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד מְשִׁיחֶךָ וְעַל הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא שִׁמְךָ עָלָיו: אֱלֹהֵינוּ אָבִינוּ, רְעֵנוּ זוּנֵנוּ פַרְנְסֵנוּ וְכַלְכְּלֵנוּ וְהַרְוִיחֵנוּ, וְהַרְוַח לָנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מְהֵרָה מִכָּל צָרוֹתֵינוּ. וְנָא אַל תַּצְרִיכֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ, לֹא לִידֵי מַתְּנַת בָּשָׂר וָדָם וְלֹא לִידֵי הַלְוָאתָם, כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה הַפְּתוּחָה הַקְּדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה, שֶׁלֹא נֵבוֹשׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.
רְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּמִצְוֹתֶיךָ וּבְמִצְוַת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַשַּׁבָּת הַגָּדול וְהַקָּדוֹשׂ הַזֶּה. כִּי יוֹם זֶה גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ לִשְׁבָּת בּוֹ וְלָנוּחַ בּוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה כְּמִצְוַת רְצוֹנֶךָ.וּבִרְצוֹנְךָ הָנִיחַ לָנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁלֹּא תְהֵא צָרָה וְיָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה בְּיוֹם מְנוּחָתֵנוּ. וְהַרְאֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּנֶחָמַת צִיּוֹן עִירֶךָ וּבְבִנְיַן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ כִּי אַתָּה הוּא בַּעַל הַיְשׁוּעוֹת וּבַעַל הַנֶּחָמוֹת.
אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא וְיַגִּיעַ וְיֵרָאֶה וְיֵרָצֶה וְיִשָּׁמַע וְיִפָּקֵד וְיִזָּכֵר זִכְרוֹנֵנוּ וּפִקְדּוֹנֵנוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד עַבְדֶּךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן כָּל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאַל לְפָנֶיךָ, לִפְלֵיטָה לְטוֹבָה לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים, לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה זָכְרֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ בּוֹ לְטוֹבָה וּפָקְדֵנוּ בוֹ לִבְרָכָה וְהושִׁיעֵנוּ בוֹ לְחַיִּים. וּבִדְבַר יְשׁוּעָה וְרַחֲמִים חוּס וְחָנֵּנוּ וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ, כִּי אֵלֶיךָ עֵינֵינוּ, כִּי אֵל מֶלֶךְ חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָתָּה. וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', בּוֹנֶה בְרַחֲמָיו יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. אָמֵן.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הָאֵל אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אַדִירֵנוּ בּוֹרְאֵנוּ גּוֹאֲלֵנוּ יוֹצְרֵנוּ קְדוֹשֵׁנוּ קְדוֹשׁ יַעֲקֹב רוֹעֵנוּ רוֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאַל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב לַכּל שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הוּא הֵטִיב, הוּא מֵטִיב, הוּא יֵיטִיב לָנוּ. הוּא גְמָלָנוּ הוּא גוֹמְלֵנוּ הוּא יִגְמְלֵנוּ לָעַד, לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וּלְרֶוַח הַצָּלָה וְהַצְלָחָה, בְּרָכָה וִישׁוּעָה נֶחָמָה פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם וְכָל טוֹב, וּמִכָּל טוּב לְעוֹלָם עַל יְחַסְּרֵנוּ.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִמְלוֹךְ עָלֵינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁתַּבַּח לְדוֹר דּוֹרִים, וְיִתְפָּאַר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְנֵצַח נְצָחִים, וְיִתְהַדַּר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְפַרְנְסֵנוּ בְּכָבוֹד. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁבּוֹר עֻלֵּנוּ מֵעַל צַּוָּארֵנוּ, וְהוּא יוֹלִיכֵנוּ קוֹמְמִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵנוּ. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ בְּרָכָה מְרֻבָּה בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה, וְעַל שֻׁלְחָן זֶה שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ עָלָיו. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ אֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא זָכוּר לַטּוֹב, וִיבַשֶּׂר לָנוּ בְּשׂוֹרוֹת טוֹבוֹת יְשׁוּעוֹת וְנֶחָמוֹת. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בַּעֲלִי / אִשְתִּי. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת [אָבִי מוֹרִי] בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה. וְאֶת [אִמִּי מוֹרָתִי] בַּעֲלַת הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, אוֹתָם וְאֶת בֵּיתָם וְאֶת זַרְעָם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם. אוֹתָנוּ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָנוּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְכוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב בַּכֹּל מִכֹּל כֹּל, כֵּן יְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בִּבְרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה, וְנֹאמַר, אָמֵן. בַּמָּרוֹם יְלַמְּדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְעָלֵינוּ זְכוּת שֶׁתְּהֵא לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת שָׁלוֹם. וְנִשָּׂא בְרָכָה מֵאֵת ה', וּצְדָקָה מֵאלֹהֵי יִשְׁעֵנוּ, וְנִמְצָא חֵן וְשֵׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱלֹהִים וְאָדָם. בשבת: הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ שַׁבָּת וּמְנוּחָה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ טוֹב.[יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ אָרוּךְ. יוֹם שֶׁצַּדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם וְנֶהֱנִים מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה וִיהִי חֶלְקֵינוּ עִמָּהֶם]. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְזַכֵּנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ וּלְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. מִגְדּוֹל יְשׁוּעוֹת מַלְכּוֹ וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְדָוִד וּלְזַרְעוֹ עַד עוֹלָם. עשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו, הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאַל וְאִמְרוּ, אָמֵן. יִרְאוּ אֶת ה' קְדֹשָׁיו, כִּי אֵין מַחְסוֹר לִירֵאָיו. כְּפִירִים רָשׁוּ וְרָעֵבוּ, וְדֹרְשֵׁי ה' לֹא יַחְסְרוּ כָל טוֹב. הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ, וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חַי רָצוֹן. בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בַּיי, וְהָיָה ה' מִבְטַחוֹ. נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַם זָקַנְתִּי, וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב, וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם.יי עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן, ה' יְבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם.
We pour the third cup and recite the Grace over the Food
A Song of Ascents; When the Lord will bring back the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers. Then our mouth will be full of mirth and our tongue joyful melody; then they will say among the nations; "The Lord has done greatly with these." The Lord has done great things with us; we are happy. Lord, return our captivity like streams in the desert. Those that sow with tears will reap with joyful song. He who surely goes and cries, he carries the measure of seed, he will surely come in joyful song and carry his sheaves.(Psalms 126)
Three that ate together are obligated to introduce the blessing and the leader of the introduction opens as follows:
My masters, let us bless:
All those present answer:
May the Name of the Lord be blessed from now and forever. (Psalms 113:2)
The leader says:
With the permission of our gentlemen and our teachers and my masters, let us bless [our God] from whom we have eaten.
Those present answer:
Blessed is [our God] from whom we have eaten and from whose goodness we live.
The leader repeats and says:
Blessed is [our God] from whom we have eaten and from whose goodness we live.
They all say:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who nourishes the entire world in His goodness, in grace, in kindness and in mercy; He gives bread to all flesh since His kindness is forever. And in His great goodness, we always have not lacked, and may we not lack nourishment forever and always, because of His great name. Since He is a Power that feeds and provides for all and does good to all and prepares nourishment for all of his creatures that he created. Blessed are You, Lord, who sustains all.
We thank you, Lord our God, that you have given as an inheritance to our ancestors a lovely, good and broad land, and that You took us out, Lord our God, from the land of Egypt and that You redeemed us from a house of slaves, and for Your covenant which You have sealed in our flesh, and for Your Torah that You have taught us, and for Your statutes which You have made known to us, and for life, grace and kindness that You have granted us and for the eating of nourishment that You feed and provide for us always, on all days, and at all times and in every hour.
And for everything, Lord our God, we thank You and bless You; may Your name be blessed by the mouth of all life, constantly forever and always, as it is written (Deuteronomy 8:10); "And you shall eat and you shall be satiated and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land that He has given you." Blessed are You, Lord, for the land and for the nourishment.
Please have mercy, Lord our God, upon Israel, Your people; and upon Jerusalem, Your city; and upon Zion, the dwelling place of Your Glory; and upon the monarchy of the House of David, Your appointed one; and upon the great and holy house that Your name is called upon. Our God, our Father, tend us, sustain us, provide for us, relieve us and give us quick relief, Lord our God, from all of our troubles. And please do not make us needy, Lord our God, not for the gifts of flesh and blood, and not for their loans, but rather from Your full, open, holy and broad hand, so that we not be embarrassed and we not be ashamed forever and always.
On Shabbat, we add the following paragraph
May You be pleased to embolden us, Lord our God, in your commandments and in the command of the seventh day, of this great and holy Shabbat, since this day is great and holy before You, to cease work upon it and to rest upon it, with love, according to the commandment of Your will. And with Your will, allow us, Lord our God, that we should not have trouble, and grief and sighing on the day of our rest. And may You show us, Lord our God, the consolation of Zion, Your city; and the building of Jerusalem, Your holy city; since You are the Master of salvations and the Master of consolations.
God and God of our ancestors, may there ascend and come and reach and be seen and be acceptable and be heard and be recalled and be remembered - our remembrance and our recollection; and the remembrance of our ancestors; and the remembrance of the messiah, the son of David, Your servant; and the remembrance of Jerusalem, Your holy city; and the remembrance of all Your people, the house of Israel - in front of You, for survival, for good, for grace, and for kindness, and for mercy, for life and for peace on this day of the Festival of Matsot. Remember us, Lord our God, on it for good and recall us on it for survival and save us on it for life, and by the word of salvation and mercy, pity and grace us and have mercy on us and save us, since our eyes are upon You, since You are a graceful and merciful Power. And may You build Jerusalem, the holy city, quickly and in our days. Blessed are You, Lord, who builds Jerusalem in His mercy. Amen.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, the Power, our Father, our King, our Mighty One, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Shaper, our Holy One, the Holy One of Ya'akov, our Shepard, the Shepard of Israel, the good King, who does good to all, since on every single day He has done good, He does good, He will do good, to us; He has granted us, He grants us, He will grant us forever - in grace and in kindness, and in mercy, and in relief - rescue and success, blessing and salvation, consolation, provision and relief and mercy and life and peace and all good; and may we not lack any good ever.
May the Merciful One reign over us forever and always. May the Merciful One be blessed in the heavens and in the earth. May the Merciful One be praised for all generations, and exalted among us forever and ever, and glorified among us always and infinitely for all infinities. May the Merciful One sustain us honorably. May the Merciful One break our yolk from upon our necks and bring us upright to our land. May the Merciful One send us multiple blessing, to this home and upon this table upon which we have eaten. May the Merciful One send us Eliyahu the prophet - may he be remembered for good - and he shall announce to us tidings of good, of salvation and of consolation. May the Merciful One bless my husband/my wife. May the Merciful One bless [my father, my teacher,] the master of this home and [my mother, my teacher,] the mistress of this home, they and their home and their offspring and everything that is theirs. Us and all that is ours; as were blessed Avraham, Yitschak and Ya'akov, in everything, from everything, with everything, so too should He bless us, all of us together, with a complete blessing and we shall say, Amen. From above, may they advocate upon them and upon us merit, that should protect us in peace; and may we carry a blessing from the Lord and charity from the God of our salvation; and find grace and good understanding in the eyes of God and man. [On Shabbat, we say: May the Merciful One give us to inherit the day that will be completely Shabbat and rest in everlasting life.] May the Merciful One give us to inherit the day that will be all good. [The day that is all long, the day that the righteous will sit and their crowns will be on their heads and they will enjoy the radiance of the Divine presence and my our share be with them.] May the Merciful One give us merit for the times of the messiah and for life in the world to come. A tower of salvations is our King; may He do kindness with his messiah, with David and his offspring, forever (II Samuel 22:51). The One who makes peace above, may He make peace upon us and upon all of Israel; and say, Amen. Fear the Lord, His holy ones, since there is no lacking for those that fear Him. Young lions may go without and hunger, but those that seek the Lord will not lack any good thing (Psalms 34:10-11). Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever (Psalms 118:1). You open Your hand and satisfy the will of all living things (Psalms 146:16). Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord and the Lord is his security (Jeremiah 17:7). I was a youth and I have also aged and I have not seen a righteous man forsaken and his offspring seeking bread (Psalms 37:25). The Lord will give courage to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace (Psalms 29:11).
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
ושותים בהסיבה ואינו מברך ברכה אחרונה.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
We drink while reclining and do not say a blessing afterwards.
מוזגים כוס של אליהו ופותחים את הדלת:
שְׁפֹךְ חֲמָתְךָ אֶל-הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדָעוּךָ וְעַל-מַמְלָכוֹת אֲשֶׁר בְּשִׁמְךָ לֹא קָרָאוּ. כִּי אָכַל אֶת-יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת-נָוֵהוּ הֵשַׁמּוּ. שְׁפָךְ-עֲלֵיהֶם זַעֲמֶךָ וַחֲרוֹן אַפְּךָ יַשִּׂיגֵם. תִּרְדֹף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי ה'.
We pour the cup of Eliyahu and open the door.
Pour your wrath upon the nations that did not know You and upon the kingdoms that did not call upon Your Name! Since they have consumed Ya'akov and laid waste his habitation (Psalms 79:6-7). Pour out Your fury upon them and the fierceness of Your anger shall reach them (Psalms 69:25)! You shall pursue them with anger and eradicate them from under the skies of the Lord (Lamentations 3:66).
לֹא לָנוּ, ה', לֹא לָנוּ, כִּי לְשִׁמְךָ תֵּן כָּבוֹד, עַל חַסְדְּךָ עַל אֲמִתֶּךָ. לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם אַיֵּה נָא אֱלֹהֵיהֶם. וְאֱלֹהֵינוּ בַּשָּׁמַיִם, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ עָשָׂה. עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם. פֶּה לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ, עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ. אָזְנָיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעוּ, אַף לָהֶם וְלֹא יְרִיחוּן. יְדֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְמִישׁוּן, רַגְלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְהַלֵּכוּ, לׁא יֶהְגּוּ בִּגְרוֹנָם. כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם. יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּטַח בַּיי, עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא. בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בִּטְחוּ בַיי, עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא. יִרְאֵי ה' בִּטְחוּ בַיי, עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא. יי זְכָרָנוּ יְבָרֵךְ. יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית אַהֲרֹן, יְבָרֵךְ יִרְאֵי ה', הַקְּטַנִים עִם הַגְּדֹלִים. יֹסֵף ה' עֲלֵיכֶם, עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל בְּנֵיכֶם. בְּרוּכִים אַתֶּם לַיי, עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. הַשָּׁמַיִם שָׁמַיִם לַיי וְהָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִבְנֵי אָדָם. לֹא הַמֵּתִים יְהַלְלוּ יָהּ וְלֹא כָּל יֹרְדֵי דוּמָה. וַאֲנַחְנוּ נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. הַלְלוּיָהּ.
אָהַבְתִּי כִּי יִשְׁמַע ה' אֶת קוֹלִי תַּחֲנוּנָי. כִּי הִטָּה אָזְנוֹ לִי וּבְיָמַי אֶקְרָא. אֲפָפוּנִי חֶבְלֵי מָוֶת וּמְצָרֵי שְׁאוֹל מְצָאוּנִי, צָרָה וְיָגוֹן אֶמְצָא. וּבְשֵׁם ה' אֶקְרָא: אָנָּא ה' מַלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי. חַנוּן ה' וְצַדִּיק, וֵאֱלֹהֵינוּ מְרַחֵם. שֹׁמֵר פְּתָאִים ה', דַּלוֹתִי וְלִי יְהושִׁיעַ. שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי, כִּי ה' גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי. כִּי חִלַּצְתָּ נַפְשִׁי מִמָּוֶת, אֶת עֵינִי מִן דִּמְעָה, אֶת רַגְלִי מִדֶּחִי. אֶתְהַלֵךְ לִפְנֵי ה' בְּאַרְצוֹת הַחַיִּים. הֶאֱמַנְתִּי כִּי אֲדַבֵּר, אֲנִי עָנִיתִי מְאֹד. אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי בְחָפְזִי כָּל הָאָדָם כּזֵֹב.
מָה אָשִׁיב לַיי כֹּל תַּגְמוּלוֹהִי עָלָי. כּוֹס יְשׁוּעוֹת אֶשָּׂא וּבְשֵׁם ה' אֶקְרָא. נְדָרַי לַיי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגְדָה נָּא לְכָל עַמּוֹ. יָקָר בְּעֵינֵי ה' הַמָּוְתָה לַחֲסִידָיו. אָנָּה ה' כִּי אֲנִי עַבְדֶּךָ, אֲנִי עַבְדְּךָ בֶּן אֲמָתֶךָ, פִּתַּחְתָּ לְמוֹסֵרָי. לְךָ אֶזְבַּח זֶבַח תּוֹדָה וּבְשֵׁם ה' אֶקְרָא. נְדָרַי לַיי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגְדָה נָּא לְכָל עַמּוֹ. בְּחַצְרוֹת בֵּית ה', בְּתוֹכֵכִי יְרוּשָלַיִם. הַלְלוּיָהּ.
הַלְלוּ אֶת ה' כָּל גּוֹיִם, שַׁבְּחוּהוּ כָּל הָאֻמִּים. כִּי גָבַר עָלֵינוּ חַסְדּוֹ, וֶאֱמֶת ה' לְעוֹלָם. הַלְלוּיָהּ. הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. יֹאמַר נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. יֹאמְרוּ נָא בֵית אַהֲרֹן כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. יֹאמְרוּ נָא יִרְאֵי ה' כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ, עָנָנִי בַמֶּרְחַב יָהּ. ה' לִי, לֹא אִירָא - מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָם, ה' לִי בְּעֹזְרָי וַאֲנִי אֶרְאֶה בְּשׂנְאָי. טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיי מִבְּטֹחַ בָּאָדָם. טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיי מִבְּטֹחַ בִּנְדִיבִים. כָּל גּוֹיִם סְבָבוּנִי, בְּשֵׁם ה' כִּי אֲמִילַם. סַבּוּנִי גַם סְבָבוּנִי, בְּשֵׁם ה' כִּי אֲמִילַם. סַבּוּנִי כִדְּבֹרִים, דֹּעֲכוּ כְּאֵשׁ קוֹצִים, בְּשֵׁם ה' כִּי אֲמִילַם. דָּחֹה דְּחִיתַנִי לִנְפֹּל, וַיי עֲזָרָנִי. עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה. קוֹל רִנָּה וִישׁוּעָה בְּאָהֳלֵי צַדִּיקִים: יְמִין ה' עֹשָׂה חָיִל, יְמִין ה' רוֹמֵמָה, יְמִין ה' עֹשָׂה חָיִל. לֹא אָמוּת כִּי אֶחְיֶה, וַאֲסַפֵּר מַעֲשֵׂי יָהּ. יַסֹּר יִסְּרַנִי יָּהּ, וְלַמָּוֶת לֹא נְתָנָנִי. פִּתְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק, אָבֹא בָם, אוֹדֶה יָהּ. זֶה הַשַּׁעַר לַיי, צַדִּיקִים יָבֹאוּ בוֹ.
אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה .אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה. אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְראשׁ פִּנָּה. אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְראשׁ פִּנָּה. מֵאֵת ה' הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ. מֵאֵת ה' הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ.
אָנָּא ה', הוֹשִיעָה נָּא. אָנָּא ה', הוֹשִיעָה נָּא. אָנָּא ה', הַצְלִיחָה נָא. אָנָּא ה', הַצְלִיחָה נָא.
בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם ה', בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית ה'. בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם ה', בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית ה'. אֵל ה' וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ. אִסְרוּ חַג בַּעֲבֹתִים עַד קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. אֵל ה' וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ. אִסְרוּ חַג בַּעֲבֹתִים עַד קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ, אֱלֹהַי - אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ. אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ, אֱלֹהַי - אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ. הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
יְהַלְלוּךָ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ כָּל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ, וַחֲסִידֶיךָ צַדִּיקִים עוֹשֵׂי רְצוֹנֶךָ, וְכָל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרִנָה יוֹדוּ וִיבָרְכוּ, וִישַׁבְּחוּ וִיפָאֲרוּ, וִירוֹמְמוּ וְיַעֲרִיצוּ, וְיַקְדִּישׁוּ וְיַמְלִיכוּ אֶת שִׁמְךָ, מַלְכֵּנוּ. כִּי לְךָ טוֹב לְהוֹדותֹ וּלְשִׁמְךָ נָאֶה לְזַמֵּר, כִּי מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל.
Not to us, not to us, but rather to Your name, give glory for your kindness and for your truth. Why should the nations say, "Say, where is their God?" But our God is in the heavens, all that He wanted, He has done. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have a mouth but do not speak; they have eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear; they have a nose but do not smell. Hands, but they do not feel; feet, but do not walk; they do not make a peep from their throat. Like them will be their makers, all those that trust in them. Israel, trust in the Lord; their help and shield is He. House of Aharon, trust in the Lord; their help and shield is He. Those that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; their help and shield is He. The Lord who remembers us, will bless; He will bless the House of Israel; He will bless the House of Aharon. He will bless those that fear the Lord, the small ones with the great ones. May the Lord bring increase to you, to you and to your children. Blessed are you to the Lord, the maker of the heavens and the earth. The heavens, are the Lord's heavens, but the earth He has given to the children of man. It is not the dead that will praise the Lord, and not those that go down to silence. But we will bless the Lord from now and forever. Halleluyah! (Psalms 115)
I have loved the Lord - since He hears my voice, my supplications. Since He inclined His ear to me - and in my days, I will call out. The pangs of death have encircled me and the straits of the Pit have found me and I found grief. And in the name of the Lord I called, "Please Lord, Spare my soul." Gracious is the Lord and righteous, and our God acts mercifully. The Lord watches over the silly; I was poor and He has saved me. Return, my soul to your tranquility, since the Lord has favored you. Since You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before the Lord in the lands of the living. I have trusted, when I speak - I am very afflicted. I said in my haste, all men are hypocritical. (Psalms 116:1-11)
What can I give back to the Lord for all that He has favored me? A cup of salvations I will raise up and I will call out in the name of the Lord. My vows to the Lord I will pay, now in front of His entire people. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His pious ones. Please Lord, since I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have opened my chains. To You will I offer a thanksgiving offering and I will call out in the name of the Lord. My vows to the Lord I will pay, now in front of His entire people. In the courtyards of the house of the Lord, in your midst, Jerusalem. Halleluyah! (Psalms 116:12-19)
Praise the name of the Lord, all nations; extol Him all peoples. Since His kindness has overwhelmed us and the truth of the Lord is forever. Halleluyah! Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever. Let Israel now say, "Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever." Let the House of Aharon now say, "Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever." Let those that fear the Lord now say, "Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever." (Psalms 117-118:4)
From the strait I have called, Lord; He answered me from the wide space, the Lord. The Lord is for me, I will not fear, what will man do to me? The Lord is for me with my helpers, and I shall glare at those that hate me. It is better to take refuge with the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge with the Lord than to trust in nobles. All the nations surrounded me - in the name of the Lord, as I will chop them off. They surrounded me, they also encircled me - in the name of the Lord, as I will chop them off. They surrounded me like bees, they were extinguished like a fire of thorns - in the name of the Lord, as I will chop them off. You have surely pushed me to fall, but the Lord helped me. My boldness and song is the Lord, and He has become my salvation. The sound of happy song and salvation is in the tents of the righteous, the right hand of the Lord acts powerfully. I will not die but rather I will live and tell over the acts of the Lord. The Lord has surely chastised me, but He has not given me over to death. Open up for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them, thank the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous will enter it. (Psalms 118:5-20)
I will thank You, since You answered me and You have become my salvation. The stone that was left by the builders has become the main cornerstone. From the Lord was this, it is wondrous in our eyes. This is the day of the Lord, let us exult and rejoice upon it. (Psalms 118:21-24)
Please, Lord, save us now; please, Lord, give us success now! (Psalms 118:25)
Blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord, we have blessed you from the house of the Lord. God is the Lord, and He has illuminated us; tie up the festival offering with ropes until it reaches the corners of the altar. You are my Power and I will Thank You; my God and I will exalt You. Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever.(Psalms 118:26-29)
All of your works shall praise You, Lord our God, and your pious ones, the righteous ones who do Your will; and all of Your people, the House of Israel will thank and bless in joyful song: and extol and glorify, and exalt and acclaim, and sanctify and coronate Your name, our King. Since, You it is good to thank, and to Your name it is pleasant to sing, since from always and forever are you the Power.
הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. הוֹדוּ לֵאלהֵי הָאֱלהִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. הוֹדוּ לָאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְעֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת גְדֹלוֹת לְבַדּוֹ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְעֹשֵׂה הַשָּׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְרוֹקַע הָאָרֶץ עַל הַמָּיִם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְעֹשֵׂה אוֹרִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת בַּיּוֹם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. אֶת הַיָּרֵחַ וְכוֹכָבִים לְמֶמְשְׁלוֹת בַּלַּיְלָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְמַכֵּה מִצְרַיִם בִּבְכוֹרֵיהֶם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וַיוֹצֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל מִתּוֹכָם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.לְגֹזֵר יַם סוּף לִגְזָרִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וְהֶֶעֱבִיר יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹכוֹ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וְנִעֵר פַּרְעֹה וְחֵילוֹ בְיַם סוּף כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְמוֹלִיךְ עַמּוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְמַכֵּה מְלָכִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וַיַּהֲרֹג מְלָכִים אַדִּירִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. לְסִיחוֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וָנָתַן אַרְצָם לְנַחֲלָה כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. נַחֲלָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדוּ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. שֶׁבְּשִׁפְלֵנוּ זָכַר לָנוּ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וַיִפְרְקֵנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. הוֹדוּ לְאֵל הַשָּׁמַיִם כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
נִשְׁמַת כָּל חַי תְּבַרֵךְ אֶת שִׁמְךָ, ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ, וְרוּחַ כָּל בָּשָׂר תְּפָאֵר וּתְרוֹמֵם זִכְרְךָ, מַלְכֵּנוּ, תָמִיד. מִן הָעוֹלָם וְעַד הָעוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל, וּמִבַּלְעָדֶיךָ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ גּוֹאֵל וּמוֹשִיעַ, פּוֹדֶה וּמַצִּיל וּמְפַרְנֵס וּמְרַחֵם בְּכָל עֵת צָרָה וְצוּקָה. אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ אֶלָּא אַתָּה. אֱלהֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְהָאַחֲרוֹנִים, אֱלוֹהַּ כָּל בְּרִיּוֹת, אֲדוׁן כָּל תּוֹלָדוֹת, הַמְּהֻלָּל בְּרֹב הַתִּשְׁבָּחוֹת, הַמְנַהֵג עוֹלָמוֹ בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרִיּוֹתָיו בְּרַחֲמִים. וַיי לֹא יָנוּם וְלא יִישָׁן - הַמְּעוֹרֵר יְשֵׁנִים וְהַמֵּקִיץ נִרְדָּמִים, וְהַמֵּשִׂיחַ אִלְּמִים וְהַמַּתִּיר אֲסוּרִים וְהַסּוֹמֵךְ נוֹפְלִים וְהַזּוֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים. לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים.
אִלּוּ פִינוּ מָלֵא שִׁירָה כַיָּם, וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה כֲּהַמוֹן גַּלָּיו, וְשִׂפְתוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבַח כְּמֶרְחֲבֵי רָקִיעַ, וְעֵינֵינוּ מְאִירוֹת כַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְכַיָּרֵחַ, וְיָדֵינוּ פְרוּשׂות כְּנִשְׂרֵי שָׁמַיִם, וְרַגְלֵינוּ קַלּוֹת כָּאַיָּלוֹת - אֵין אֲנַחְנוּ מַסְפִּיקִים לְהוֹדוֹת לְךָ, ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וּלְבָרֵךְ אֶת שִׁמְךָ עַל אַחַת מֵאֶלֶף, אַלְפֵי אֲלָפִים וְרִבֵּי רְבָבוֹת פְּעָמִים הַטּוֹבוֹת שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ עִם אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְעִמָּנוּ. מִמִּצְרַים גְּאַלְתָּנוּ, ה' אֱלהֵינוּ, וּמִבֵּית עֲבָדִים פְּדִיתָנוּ, בְּרָעָב זַנְתָּנוּ וּבְשָׂבָע כִּלְכַּלְתָּנוּ, מֵחֶרֶב הִצַּלְתָּנוּ וּמִדֶּבֶר מִלַּטְתָּנוּ, וּמֵחָלָיִם רָעִים וְנֶאֱמָנִים דִּלִּיתָנוּ.
עַד הֵנָּה עֲזָרוּנוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ וְלֹא עֲזָבוּנוּ חֲסָדֶיךָ, וְאַל תִּטְּשֵׁנוּ, ה' אֱלהֵינוּ, לָנֶצַח. עַל כֵּן אֵבָרִים שֶׁפִּלַּגְתָּ בָּנוּ וְרוּחַ וּנְשָׁמָה שֶׁנָּפַחְתָּ בְּאַפֵּינוּ וְלָשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתָּ בְּפִינוּ - הֵן הֵם יוֹדוּ וִיבָרְכוּ וִישַׁבְּחוּ וִיפָאֲרוּ וִירוֹמְמוּ וְיַעֲרִיצוּ וְיַקְדִּישׁוּ וְיַמְלִיכוּ אֶת שִׁמְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ. כִּי כָל פֶּה לְךָ יוֹדֶה, וְכָל לָשׁוֹן לְךָ תִּשָּׁבַע, וְכָל בֶּרֶךְ לְךָ תִכְרַע, וְכָל קוֹמָה לְפָנֶיךָ תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה, וְכָל לְבָבוֹת יִירָאוּךָ, וְכָל קֶרֶב וּכְלָיּוֹת יְזַמֵּרוּ לִשְמֶךָ. כַּדָּבָר שֶׁכָּתוּב, כָּל עַצְמֹתַי תֹּאמַרְנָה, ה' מִי כָמּוֹךָ מַצִּיל עָנִי מֵחָזָק מִמֶּנוּ וְעָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן מִגּזְלוֹ. מִי יִדְמֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יִשְׁוֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יַעֲרֹךְ לָךְ הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל, הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא, אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. נְהַלֶּלְךָ וּנְשַׁבֵּחֲךָ וּנְפָאֶרְךָ וּנְבָרֵךְ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשֶׁךָ, כָּאָמוּר: לְדָוִד, בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת ה' וְכָל קְרָבַי אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ. הָאֵל בְּתַעֲצֻמוֹת עֻזֶּךָ, הַגָּדוֹל בִּכְבוֹד שְׁמֶךָ, הַגִּבּוֹר לָנֶצַח וְהַנּוֹרָא בְּנוֹרְאוֹתֶיךָ, הַמֶּלֶךְ הַיּוׁשֵׁב עַל כִּסֵּא רָם וְנִשִֹּא. שׁוֹכֵן עַד מָּרוֹם וְקָּדוֹשׁ שְׁמּוֹ. וְכָתוּב: רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיי, לַיְשָׁרִים נָאוָה תְהִלָּה. בְּפִי יְשָׁרִים תִּתְהַלָּל, וּבְדִבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים תִּתְבָּרַךְ, וּבִלְשׁוֹן חֲסִידִים תִּתְרוֹמָם, וּבְקֶרֶב קְדושִׁים תִּתְקַדָּשׁ.
וּבְמַקְהֲלוֹת רִבְבוֹת עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרִנָּה יִתְפָּאֵר שִׁמְךָ, מַלְכֵּנוּ, בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, שֶׁכֵּן חוֹבַת כָּל הַיְצוּרִים לְפָנֶיךָ, ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, לְהוֹדוֹת לְהַלֵּל לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְפָאֵר לְרוֹמֵם לְהַדֵּר לְבָרֵךְ, לְעַלֵּה וּלְקַלֵּס עַל כָּל דִּבְרֵי שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבְּחוֹת דּוִד בֶּן יִשַׁי עַבְדְּךָ מְשִׁיחֶךָ.
יִשְׁתַּבַּח שִׁמְךָ לעַד מַלְכֵּנוּ, הָאֵל הַמֶלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ, כִּי לְךָ נָאֶה, ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שִׁיר וּשְׁבָחָה, הַלֵּל וְזִמְרָה, עֹז וּמֶמְשָׁלָה, נֶצַח, גְּדֻלָּה וּגְבוּרָה, תְּהִלָּה וְתִפְאֶרֶת, קְדֻשָּׁה וּמַלְכוּת, בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֵל מֶלֶךְ גָּדוֹל בַּתִּשְׁבָּחוֹת, אֵל הַהוֹדָאוֹת, אֲדוֹן הַנִפְלָאוֹת, הַבּוֹחֵר בְּשִׁירֵי זִמְרָה, מֶלֶךְ אֵל חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים.
Thank the Lord, since He is good, since His kindness is forever. Thank the Power of powers since His kindness is forever. To the Master of masters, since His kindness is forever. To the One who alone does wondrously great deeds, since His kindness is forever. To the one who made the Heavens with discernment, since His kindness is forever. To the One who spread the earth over the waters, since His kindness is forever. To the One who made great lights, since His kindness is forever. The sun to rule in the day, since His kindness is forever. The moon and the stars to rule in the night, since His kindness is forever. To the One that smote Egypt through their firstborn, since His kindness is forever. And He took Israel out from among them, since His kindness is forever. With a strong hand and an outstretched forearm, since His kindness is forever. To the One who cut up the Reed Sea into strips, since His kindness is forever. And He made Israel to pass through it, since His kindness is forever. And He jolted Pharaoh and his troop in the Reed Sea, since His kindness is forever. To the One who led his people in the wilderness, since His kindness is forever. To the One who smote great kings, since His kindness is forever. And he killed mighty kings, since His kindness is forever. Sichon, king of the Amorite, since His kindness is forever. And Og, king of the Bashan, since His kindness is forever. And he gave their land as an inheritance, since His kindness is forever. An inheritance for Israel, His servant, since His kindness is forever. That in our lowliness, He remembered us, since His kindness is forever. And he delivered us from our adversaries, since His kindness is forever. He gives bread to all flesh, since His kindness is forever. Thank the Power of the heavens, since His kindness is forever. (Psalms 136)
The soul of every living being shall bless Your Name, Lord our God; the spirit of all flesh shall glorify and exalt Your remembrance always, our King. From the world and until the world, You are the Power, and other than You we have no king, redeemer, or savior, restorer, rescuer, provider, and merciful one in every time of distress and anguish; we have no king, besides You! God of the first ones and the last ones, God of all creatures, Master of all Generations, Who is praised through a multitude of praises, Who guides His world with kindness and His creatures with mercy. The Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps. He who rouses the sleepers and awakens the dozers; He who makes the mute speak, and frees the captives, and supports the falling, and straightens the bent. We thank You alone.
Were our mouth as full of song as the sea, and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitude of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the breadth of the heavens, and our eyes as sparkling as the sun and the moon, and our hands as outspread as the eagles of the sky and our feet as swift as deers - we still could not thank You sufficiently, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, and to bless Your Name for one thousandth of the thousand of thousands of thousands, and myriad myriads, of goodnesses that You performed for our ancestors and for us. From Egypt, Lord our God, did you redeem us and from the house of slaves you restored us. In famine You nourished us, and in plenty you sustained us. From the sword you saved us, and from plague you spared us; and from severe and enduring diseases you delivered us.
Until now Your mercy has helped us, and Your kindness has not forsaken us; and do not abandon us, Lord our God, forever. Therefore, the limbs that You set within us and the spirit and soul that You breathed into our nostrils, and the tongue that You placed in our mouth - verily, they shall thank and bless and praise and glorify, and exalt and revere, and sanctify and coronate Your name, our King. For every mouth shall offer thanks to You; and every tongue shall swear allegiance to You; and every knee shall bend to You; and every upright one shall prostrate himself before You; all hearts shall fear You; and all innermost feelings and thoughts shall sing praises to Your name, as the matter is written (Psalms 35:10), "All my bones shall say, ‘Lord, who is like You? You save the poor man from one who is stronger than he, the poor and destitute from the one who would rob him.'" Who is similar to You and who is equal to You and who can be compared to You, O great, strong and awesome Power, O highest Power, Creator of the heavens and the earth. We shall praise and extol and glorify and bless Your holy name, as it is stated (Psalms 103:1), " [A Psalm] of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, His holy name." The Power, in Your powerful boldness; the Great, in the glory of Your name; the Strong One forever; the King who sits on His high and elevated throne. He who dwells always; lofty and holy is His name. And as it is written (Psalms 33:10), "Sing joyfully to the Lord, righteous ones, praise is beautiful from the upright." By the mouth of the upright You shall be praised; By the lips of the righteous shall You be blessed; By the tongue of the devout shall You be exalted; And among the holy shall You be sanctified.
And in the assemblies of the myriads of Your people, the House of Israel, in joyous song will Your name be glorified, our King, in each and every generation; as it is the duty of all creatures, before You, Lord our God, and God of our ancestors, to thank, to praise, to extol, to glorify, to exalt, to lavish, to bless, to raise high and to acclaim - beyond the words of the songs and praises of David, the son of Yishai, Your servant, Your anointed one.
May Your name be praised forever, our King, the Power, the Great and holy King - in the heavens and in the earth. Since for You it is pleasant - O Lord our God and God of our ancestors - song and lauding, praise and hymn, boldness and dominion, triumph, greatness and strength, psalm and splendor, holiness and kingship, blessings and thanksgivings, from now and forever. Blessed are You Lord, Power, King exalted through laudings, Power of thanksgivings, Master of Wonders, who chooses the songs of hymn - King, Power of the life of the worlds.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
וְשׁותה בהסיבת שמאל.
בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, עַל הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן, עַל תְּנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה וְעַל אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה שֶׁרָצִיתָ וְהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ לֶאֱכוֹל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְלִשְׂבֹּעַ מִטּוּבָהּ. רַחֶם נָא ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ וְעַל מִזְבְּחֶךָ וְעַל הֵיכָלֶךָ וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ וְהַעֲלֵנוּ לְתוֹכָהּ וְשַׂמְּחֵנוּ בְּבִנְיָנָהּ וְנֹאכַל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְנִשְׂבַּע מִטּוּבָהּ וּנְבָרֶכְךָ עָלֶיהָ בִּקְדֻשָׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה [בשבת: וּרְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ בְּיוֹם הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶּה] וְשַׂמְּחֵנוּ בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה, כִּי אַתָּה ה' טוֹב וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל, וְנוֹדֶה לְּךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', עַל הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
We drink while reclining to the left
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, for the vine and for the fruit of the vine; and for the bounty of the field; and for a desirable, good and broad land, which You wanted to give to our fathers, to eat from its fruit and to be satiated from its goodness. Please have mercy, Lord our God upon Israel Your people; and upon Jerusalem, Your city: and upon Zion, the dwelling place of Your glory; and upon Your altar; and upon Your sanctuary; and build Jerusalem Your holy city quickly in our days, and bring us up into it and gladden us in its building; and we shall eat from its fruit, and be satiated from its goodness, and bless You in holiness and purity. [On Shabbat: And may you be pleased to embolden us on this Shabbat day] and gladden us on this day of the Festival of Matsot. Since You, Lord, are good and do good to all, we thank You for the land and for the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are You, Lord, for the land and for the fruit of the vine
חֲסַל סִדּוּר פֶּסַח כְּהִלְכָתוֹ, כְּכָל מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וְחֻקָּתוֹ. כַּאֲשֶׁר זָכִינוּ לְסַדֵּר אוֹתוֹ כֵּן נִזְכֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ. זָךְ שׁוֹכֵן מְעוֹנָה, קוֹמֵם קְהַל עֲדַת מִי מָנָה. בְּקָרוֹב נַהֵל נִטְעֵי כַנָּה פְּדוּיִם לְצִיּוֹן בְּרִנָּה.
Completed is the Seder of Pesach according to its law, according to all its judgement and statute. Just as we have merited to arrange it, so too, may we merit to do [its sacrifice]. Pure One who dwells in the habitation, raise up the congregation of the community, which whom can count. Bring close, lead the plantings of the sapling, redeemed, to Zion in joy.
בליל רִאשון אומרים:
וּבְכֵן וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
אָז רוֹב נִסִּים הִפְלֵאתָ בַּלַּיְלָה, בְּרֹאשׁ אַשְׁמוֹרֶת זֶה הַלַּיְלָה.
גֵר צֶדֶק נִצַּחְתּוֹ כְּנֶחֶלַק לוֹ לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
דַּנְתָּ מֶלֶךְ גְּרָר בַּחֲלוֹם הַלַּיְלָה, הִפְחַדְתָּ אֲרַמִּי בְּאֶמֶשׁ לַיְלָה.
וַיָּשַׂר יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַלְאָךְ וַיּוּכַל לוֹ לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
זֶרַע בְּכוֹרֵי פַתְרוֹס מָחַצְתָּ בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה, חֵילָם לֹא מָצְאוּ בְּקוּמָם בַּלַּיְלָה, טִיסַת נְגִיד חֲרֹשֶׁת סִלִּיתָ בְּכוֹכְבֵי לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
יָעַץ מְחָרֵף לְנוֹפֵף אִוּוּי, הוֹבַשְׁתָּ פְגָרָיו בַּלַּיְלָה, כָּרַע בֵּל וּמַצָּבוֹ בְּאִישׁוֹן לַיְלָה, לְאִישׁ חֲמוּדוֹת נִגְלָה רָז חֲזוֹת לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
מִשְׁתַּכֵּר בִּכְלֵי קֹדֶשׁ נֶהֱרַג בּוֹ בַלַּיְלָה, נוֹשַׁע מִבּוֹר אֲרָיוֹת פּוֹתֵר בִּעֲתוּתֵי לַיְלָה, שִׂנְאָה נָטַר אֲגָגִי וְכָתַב סְפָרִים בַּלַּיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
עוֹרַרְתָּ נִצְחֲךָ עָלָיו בְּנֶדֶד שְׁנַת לַיְלָה. פּוּרָה תִדְרוֹךְ לְשׁוֹמֵר מַה מִּלַיְלָה, צָרַח כַּשּׁוֹמֵר וְשָׂח אָתָא בֹקֶר וְגַם לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
קָרֵב יוֹם אֲשֶׁר הוּא לֹא יוֹם וְלֹא לַיְלָה, רָם הוֹדַע כִּי לְךָ הַיּוֹם אַף לְךָ הַלַּיְלָה, שׁוֹמְרִים הַפְקֵד לְעִירְךָ כָּל הַיּוֹם וְכָל הַלַּיְלָה, תָּאִיר כְּאוֹר יוֹם חֶשְׁכַּת לַיְלָה, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה.
On the first night we say:
And so, it was in the middle of the night.
Then, most of the miracles did You wondrously do at night, at the first of the watches this night.
A righteous convert did you make victorious when it was divided for him at night [referring to Avraham in his war against the four kings - Genesis 14:15], and it was in the middle of the night.
You judged the king of Gerrar [Avimelekh] in a dream of the night; you frightened an Aramean [Lavan] in the dark of the night;
and Yisrael dominated an angel and was able to withstand Him at night [Genesis 32:25-30], and it was in the middle of the night.
You crushed the firstborn of Patros [Pharaoh, as per Ezekiel 30:14] in the middle of the night, their wealth they did not find when they got up at night; the attack of the leader Charoshet [Sisera] did you sweep away by the stars of the night [Judges 5:20], and it was in the middle of the night.
The blasphemer [Sancheriv whose servants blasphemed when trying to discourage the inhabitants of Jerusalem] counseled to wave off the desired ones, You made him wear his corpses on his head at night [II Kings 19:35]; Bel and his pedestal were bent in the pitch of night [in Nevuchadnezar's dream in Daniel 2]; to the man of delight [Daniel] was revealed the secret visions at night, and it was in the middle of the night.
The one who got drunk [Balshatsar] from the holy vessels was killed on that night [Daniel 5:30], the one saved from the pit of lions [Daniel] interpreted the scary visions of the night; hatred was preserved by the Agagite [Haman] and he wrote books at night, and it was in the middle of the night.
You aroused your victory upon him by disturbing the sleep of night [of Achashverosh], You will stomp the wine press for the one who guards from anything at night [Esav/Seir as per Isaiah 21:11]; He yelled like a guard and spoke, "the morning has come and also the night," and it was in the middle of the night.
Bring close the day which is not day and not night [referring to the end of days - Zechariah 14:7], High One, make known that Yours is the day and also Yours is the night, guards appoint for Your city all the day and all the night, illuminate like the light of the day, the darkness of the night, and it was in the middle of the night.
בְליל שני בחו"ל: וּבְכֵן וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
אֹמֶץ גְּבוּרוֹתֶיךָ הִפְלֵאתָ בַּפֶּסַח, בְּרֹאשׁ כָּל מוֹעֲדוֹת נִשֵּׂאתָ פֶּסַח. גִּלִיתָ לְאֶזְרָחִי חֲצוֹת לֵיל פֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
דְּלָתָיו דָּפַקְתָּ כְּחֹם הַיּוֹם בַּפֶּסַח, הִסְעִיד נוֹצְצִים עֻגּוֹת מַצּוֹת בַּפֶּסַח, וְאֵל הַבָּקָר רָץ זֵכֶר לְשׁוֹר עֵרֶךְ פֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
זוֹעֲמוּ סְדוֹמִים וְלוֹׁהֲטוּ בָּאֵשׁ בַּפֶּסַח, חֻלַּץ לוֹט מֵהֶם וּמַצּוֹת אָפָה בְּקֵץ פֶּסַח, טִאטֵאתָ אַדְמַת מוֹף וְנוֹף בְּעָבְרְךָ בַּפֶּסַח. וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
יָהּ רֹאשׁ כָּל הוֹן מָחַצְתָּ בְּלֵיל שִׁמּוּר פֶּסַח, כַּבִּיר, עַל בֵּן בְּכוֹר פָּסַחְתָּ בְּדַם פֶּסַח, לְבִלְתִּי תֵּת מַשְׁחִית לָבֹא בִּפְתָחַי בַּפֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
מְסֻגֶּרֶת סֻגָּרָה בְּעִתּוֹתֵי פֶּסַח, נִשְׁמְדָה מִדְיָן בִּצְלִיל שְׂעוֹרֵי עֹמֶר פֶּסַח, שׂוֹרָפוּ מִשְׁמַנֵּי פּוּל וְלוּד בִּיקַד יְקוֹד פֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
עוֹד הַיּוֹם בְּנֹב לַעֲמוֹׁד עַד גָּעָה עוֹנַת פֶּסַח, פַּס יַד כָּתְבָה לְקַעֲקֵעַ צוּל בַּפֶּסַח, צָפֹה הַצָּפִית עֲרוֹךְ הַשֻּׁלְחָן בַּפֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
קָהָל כִּנְּסָה הֲדַּסָּה לְשַׁלֵּשׁ צוֹם בַּפֶּסַח, רֹאשׁ מִבֵּית רָשָׁע מָחַצְתָּ בְּעֵץ חֲמִשִּׁים בַּפֶּסַח, שְׁתֵּי אֵלֶּה רֶגַע תָּבִיא לְעוּצִית בַּפֶּסַח, תָּעֹז יָדְךָ תָּרוּם יְמִינְךָ כְּלֵיל הִתְקַדֵּשׁ חַג פֶּסַח, וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח.
On the second night, outside of Israel: And so "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice'"(Exodus 12:42).
The boldness of Your strong deeds did you wondrously show at Pesach; at the head of all the holidays did You raise Pesach; You revealed to the Ezrachite [Avraham], midnight of the night of Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice.'"
Upon his doors did You knock at the heat of the day on Pesach [Genesis 18:1]; he sustained shining ones [angels] with cakes of matsa on Pesach; and to the cattle he ran, in commemoration of the bull that was set up for Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice.'"
The Sodomites caused Him indignation and He set them on fire on Pesach; Lot was rescued from them and matsot did he bake at the end of Pesach; He swept the land of Mof and Nof [cities in Egypt] on Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice.'"
The head of every firstborn did You crush on the guarded night of Pesach; Powerful One, over the firstborn son did You pass over with the blood on Pesach; so as to not let the destroyer come into my gates on Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice.'"
The enclosed one [Jericho] was enclosed in the season of Pesach; Midian was destroyed with a portion of the omer-barley on Pesach [via Gideon as per Judges 7]; from the fat of Pul and Lud [Assyrian soldiers of Sancheriv] was burnt in pyres on Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice'"
Still today [Sancheriv will go no further than] to stand in Nov [Isaiah 10:32], until he cried at the time of Pesach; a palm of the hand wrote [Daniel 5:5] to rip up the deep one [ the Bayblonian one - Balshatsar] on Pesach; set up the watch, set the table [referring to Balshatsar, based on Psalms 21:5] on Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice'"
The congregation did Hadassah [Esther] bring in to triple a fast on Pesach; the head of the house of evil [Haman] did you crush on a tree of fifty [amot] on Pesach; these two [plagues as per Isaiah 47:9] will you bring in an instant to the Utsi [Esav] on Pesach; embolden Your hand, raise Your right hand, as on the night You were sanctified on the festival of Pesach. "And you shall say, 'it is the Pesach sacrifice'"
כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
אַדִּיר בִּמְלוּכָה, בָּחוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, גְּדוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
דָּגוּל בִּמְלוּכָה, הָדוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, וָתִיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
זַכַּאי בִּמְלוּכָה, חָסִין כַּהֲלָכָה טַפְסְרָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
יָחִיד בִּמְלוּכָה, כַּבִּיר כַּהֲלָכָה לִמּוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
מוֹשֵׁל בִּמְלוּכָה, נוֹרָא כַּהֲלָכָה סְבִיבָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
עָנָיו בִּמְלוּכָה, פּוֹדֶה כַּהֲלָכָה, צַדִּיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
קָּדּוֹשׁ בִּמְלוּכָה, רַחוּם כַּהֲלָכָה שִׁנְאַנָּיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
תַּקִיף בִּמְלוּכָה, תּוֹמֵךְ כַּהֲלָכָה תְּמִימָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ ה' הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.
Since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited.
Mighty in rulership, properly chosen, his troops shall say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Noted in rulership, properly splendid, His distinguished ones will say to him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Meritorious in rulership, properly robust, His scribes shall say to him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Unique in rulership, properly powerful, His wise ones say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Reigning in rulership, properly awesome, those around Him say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Humble in rulership, properly restoring, His righteous ones say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Holy in rulership, properly merciful, His angels say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
Dynamic in rulership, properly supportive, His innocent ones say to Him, "Yours and Yours, Yours since it is Yours, Yours and even Yours, Yours, Lord is the kingdom; since for Him it is pleasant, for Him it is suited."
אַדִּיר הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
בָּחוּר הוּא, גָּדוֹל הוּא, דָּגוּל הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
הָדוּר הוּא, וָתִיק הוּא, זַכַּאי הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
חָסִיד הוּא, טָהוֹר הוּא, יָחִיד הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
כַּבִּיר הוּא, לָמוּד הוּא, מֶלֶךְ הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
נוֹרָא הוּא, סַגִּיב הוּא, עִזּוּז הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
פּוֹדֶה הוּא, צַדִּיק הוּא, קָּדוֹשׁ הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
רַחוּם הוּא, שַׁדַּי הוּא, תַּקִּיף הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
Mighty is He, may He build His house soon. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Chosen is He, great is He, noted is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Splendid is He, distinguished is He, meritorious is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Pious is He, pure is He, unique is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Powerful is He, wise is He, A king is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Awesome is He, exalted is He, heroic is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
A restorer is He, righteous is He, holy is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
Merciful is He, the Omnipotent is He, dynamic is He. Quickly, quickly, in our days, soon. God build, God build, build Your house soon.
ספירת העמר בחוץ לארץ, בליל שני של פסח:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹֹּתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר. הַיּוֹם יוֹם אֶחָד בָּעֹמֶר.
The counting of the omer outside of Israel on the second night of Pesach:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us on the counting of the omer. Today is the first day of the omer.
אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁנַיִם מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנַיִם אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁלֹשָׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
אַרְבַּע מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַרְבַּע אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
חֲמִשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שִׁשָּׂה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁשָּׂה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שִׁבְעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁבְעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁמוֹנָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁמוֹנָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
תִּשְׁעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? תִּשְׁעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
עֲשָֹרָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? עֲשָֹרָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ. עֲשָֹרָה אַחַד עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַחַד עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא, אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁלשָׁה עֶשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר מִדַּיָּא. שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא, אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.
Who knows one? I know one: One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows two? I know two: two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows three? I know three: three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows four? I know four: four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows five? I know five: five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows six? I know six: six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows seven? I know seven: seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows eight? I know eight: eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows nine? I know nine: nine are the months of birth, eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows ten? I know ten: ten are the statements, nine are the months of birth, eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows eleven? I know eleven: eleven are the stars, ten are the statements, nine are the months of birth, eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows twelve? I know twelve: twelve are the tribes, eleven are the stars, ten are the statements, nine are the months of birth, eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth. Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen: thirteen are the characteristics, twelve are the tribes, eleven are the stars, ten are the statements, nine are the months of birth, eight are the days of circumcision, seven are the days of the week, six are the orders of the Mishnah, five are the books of the Torah, four are the mothers, three are the fathers, two are the tablets of the covenant, One is our God in the heavens and the earth.
(1) Echad mi yodeah and Dayeinu – the Connection
Rabbi Weil writes that Echad mi yodea and Chad gadya are two anonymous poems that were hidden away in the Beit Midrash in Germiza. It became the practice to recite them on Passover night. But what is the connection between Echad mi yodea and Passover. He interprets the verses of Echad Mi Yodeah as a celebration of the favors (ma’alot) which God bestowed upon Israel which we mention in the song, Dayeinu. We ask about the numbers because each number symbolically reminds us of the process of redemption from Egypt to the building of the Holy temple.
(10) Who knows nine? Nine months of pregnancy represent the ninth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God gave Israel manna. According to the Midrash, the manna revealed whether a new born child was a nine month baby from the first husband or a seven month birth from the second husband. Manna then was essential for identifying who the parents of a child were.
(11) Who knows ten? The Ten Commandments represent the tenth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God gave us the Sabbath. When God gave Israel the Torah, he said to the people, “If you will observe My commandments, I will give a portion in the world to come.” Israel asked, “Show us an example of the world to come.” To which He answered: “This is the Sabbath.” That is why the Sabbath is considered equal to all the other commandments. Also we learn, “If one observes the Sabbath, even if he worships idols, God overlooks this sin!” The Sabbath then is equal to the other commandments in the Ten Commandments. Also when Israel agreed to accept the Torah as a whole they were rewarded with the Sabbath, a small portion of the world to come.
(12) Who knows eleven? The eleven stars in Joseph’s dream represent the eleventh favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God brought us close to Mount Sinai. God brought the Israelites to Mount Sinai in order to weaken the forces of impurity which surrounded them. Had they not sinned by worshipping the golden calf, the power of purity would have spread forth throughout the world. There are eleven husks of impurity associated with the children of Esau. Parallel to them there are eleven types of incense used in the temple, and eleven verses that begin with a nun and end with a nun, that can help destroy the husks of impurity. When Joseph dreamed of eleven stars bowing down to him, this was a messianic vision of the end of time – for there will be a Messiah who is a ben Yosef. These eleven stars, then, are the powers of purity that would help make Israel worthy of the covenant.
(13) Who knows twelve? The twelve tribes represent the twelfth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God gave us the Torah. Why was the Torah given in the third month, and what special status is there in this? The third month is connected with the third tribe – Levi. Each of the tribes is associated with one of the twelve months of the year. Thus, this explains the connection between the twelve tribes and the giving of the Torah. Moses who comes from the third tribe had to be the teacher of Torah which was given in the third month.
(14) Who knows thirteen? The thirteen attributes of God represent the thirteenth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: He brought them into the land of Israel (and let them build the temple). This is the greatest favor of all – there is nothing higher! For through these favors, the divine presence came to dwell among the people. The land was divided among the twelve tribes (counting Ephraim and Menasheh) plus all of the cities of refuge were given to the tribe of Levi. Thus, there were thirteen portions to the land. These thirteen portions parallel the thirteen attributes of God. There are also thirteen days from Rosh Hodesh Nisan until the eve of Passover. These are days of redemption and are associated with these attributes.
(15) • The first day of Nisan is Rosh Hodesh, the first day of Nisan, is the day on which the Tabernacle was dedicated and the Holy one dwelled among the people, “In heaven and on earth”
(16) • The second day of Nisan falls on the same day of the week as Shavuot, the day on which the Torah was given to Israel. It is the day on which we received the two tablets of the covenant.
(17) • The third day of Nisan falls on the same day that Rosh Hashanah falls that year – it is a day when we recall the three Patriarchs.
(18) • The fourth day of Nisan falls on the same day as the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the eve of Yom Kippur and the second day of Sukkot, and Simchat Torah – it is associated with the four matriarchs.
(19) • The fifth day of Nisan falls on the same day of the week as Yom Kippur, the day on which Moses brought down the second set of tablets from Sinai and Israel knew that it had been forgiven for worshipping the golden calf.
(2) Who knows one? “One is our God who is in heaven and on earth” represents the first of the favors which God bestowed upon Israel: God executed judgment upon the Egyptians. This explains why the Ten Commandments begin “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt,” and not, “…who created the heavens and the earth.” Also, why the Shabbat is said to be a reminder of the Exodus in the Kiddush, and why we mention the Exodus in connection with Tefillin and the holidays: “that the generations to come may know that I am the Lord who caused you to dwell in booths when I took you out of the Land of Egypt.” The Ramban explains that the Exodus taught us the significance of Divine Providence over the earth. In that way, those who believe that all matters of the world are determined by the natural forces or that the world is eternal (and not created by God) will recognize the power and acts of God in the world.
The fact that God took Israel out of Egypt proves that God has power over nature, and that God can perform wonders and signs. Even the magicians in Egypt acknowledged the power of God when they said, in response to the third plague, “It is the finger of God.” In the first stanza of Echad Mi Yodea we begin by acknowledging God’s unity and power over heaven and earth. That is why, when Israel cried out to God, God “heard their voice.” This proves that God is in heaven and on earth. The Exodus taught us the first principle of faith.
The question “Who knows one” implies something else as well. Rabbi Bahya Ibn Pakuda in his philosophical work teaches that there are two types of “Oneness:” there is a numerical one – as in not two, not three, etc; and there is a qualitative one – as in the uniqueness and unity of God. The question then, is “Who knows the real one,” – not the numerical but the qualitative meaning of God’s oneness. The real One is OUR GOD. And how do we know the unity and uniqueness of God – we know God not by His essence (which is unknowable) but by his creations in Heaven above and on Earth. We know God through God’s deeds.
(20) • The sixth day of Nisan falls on the same day of the week as Purim. According to the sages, it was on Purim that the Jewish people accepted the Torah freely - this is the day on which they accepted the oral Torah as well as the written Torah (and so it is connected with the six volumes of the Mishnah.)
(21) • The seventh day of Nisan falls on the same day of the week as the eve of Passover. Since the people had to come to the temple to offer the Passover sacrifice they had to undergo a process of purification beforehand which involved purification on the third and seventh day. Thus it took the seven days of the week to purify themselves.
(22) • The eighth day of Nisan falls on the same day as the Eve of Shavuot and the end of the counting of the Omer. We must count seven ‘clean weeks’ just as a woman must count seven clean days before going to the Mikvah to immerse herself. Also after giving birth to a son, the mother must count seven days of impurity. On the eighth day the circumcision takes place! The eighth day, then is a day of great gladness and rejoicing.
(23) • The ninth day of Nisan is associated with the redemption. Even though the people were freed from servitude on Rosh Hashanah they still could not leave Egypt. The first to the ninth day of Nisan were like the nine months of pregnancy, and the redemption began on the tenth when they were told to put aside the Passover offering.
(24) • The tenth day of Nisan falls on the same day of the week as the second day of Shavuot. There are those who say that the ten commandments were given not on the sixth but the seventh day of Sivan (the second day of the holiday). Thus the tenth day is also associated with the Ten Commandments.
(25) • The eleventh day of Nisan is the day on which the astrological sign of the lamb fell from favor. Thus there were only eleven astrological signs
(26) • The twelfth day of Nisan was the day on which each of the princes of Israel brought gifts to the Tabernacle - and it was considered to be a festive day. It is connected with the twelve tribes.
(27) • The thirteenth day of Nisan has many associations. There are thirteen principles of interpretation in the Torah, thirteen is the age of Bar Mitzvah, and there are thirteen letters in the Hebrew names of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. The word echad, One, is equal to thirteen in gematriah. Each of the thirteen principles of interpretations are connected with the names of the Patriarchs, and one who breaks the laws is lashed thirty nine times which is three times thirteen – for the three patriarchs. Passover could not occur until after the thirteenth day – just as a Bar Mitzvah must wait until his thirteenth birthday to be called to the Torah.
(3) Who knows two? Two are the tablets of the covenant represent the second favor which God bestowed upon Israel: Our God judged not just the land but the gods of Egypt. The second commandment of the Decalogue is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Thus by judging the gods of Egypt God showed us that the gods of the land are mere idols. Both the living and the dead were judged during the tenth plague. God not only killed the first born of Egypt (who were the divinity of the land) but even the first born that had already died. The people of Egypt had grave stones for their diseased first born – but during the tenth plague these stones crumbled! God commanded the Israelites to go gather up the lambs of Egypt for sacrifice showing their disregard for the gods of Egypt. That is also why the Israelites were told that they could offer a ram or a goat – both were worshipped in Egypt.
Most forms of witchcraft are performed through seduction. That is why the commandments of no other gods and no adultery are connected to one another. There is a teaching that the first five commandments are connected in sequence to the second five commandments. Thus, the second commandment – you shall have no gods before me – is connected to the seventh commandment – you shall not commit adultery. Similarly in Proverbs, idolatry is connected to following after wanton women. These two commandments are connected to one another. This is the meaning of the statement: that the judgment of Egypt’s gods is connected to the two tablets of the covenant. The first tablet – no other gods before me; and the second tablet – do not commit adultery.
(4) Who knows three? The three Patriarchs represent the third favor which God bestowed upon Israel: he slew the firstborn of Egypt. God struck down three types of first born: those who are the firstborn of their mother, those who were firstborn of their father, and even the firstborn of the slaves. Abraham is described in the Torah as the firstborn of Terach, his father. (“Terach begat Abram, Nachor and Haran.” ) Isaac was the first born of Sarah though not his father’s firstborn. And Jacob had firstborn children not only with Rachel and Leah, but with Zilpah and Bilhah. The gematriah of the makat bechorot, the plague of the firstborn, has the same value as hayu b’zkhut Avraham, Yitzchak v’Ya’akov, “they were for the merit of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Both equal 1100. It was because of the merit of the forefathers that the Egyptian first-born were struck down.
(5) Who knows four? The four matriarchs represent the fourth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God gave us the wealth of the Egyptians. Why is it that the redemption of the firstborn is attributed to the mother’s firstborn and not the father’s firstborn, especially since the father’s firstborn were apparently struck down as well? This is because the loot which the Israelites took in Egypt was given to them as a reward for the righteous women of Israel. We learn that Israel was redeemed because of the righteousness of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. Sarah – because she allowed her husband to bed Hagar; Rebecca – because she left her father’s home and went to Canaan to marry Isaac; Rachel – because she allowed her sister Leah to bed their husband; and Leah – because she gave her concubine Bilhah to her husband when she was barren. The four promises of redemption were the rewards for the four matriarchs. Hotzeiti means I will take you out. Hitzalti – I will save you - means not only that they left Egypt but they took plunder (vayinatzel) from the Egyptians. Ga’alti – I will redeem you - means that I redeemed you by splitting the Red Sea. Lakachti - I will take – means that I allowed you to take plunder at the shore of the sea, from the Egyptians after they drown in the sea. These four terms are connected to the four matriarchs.
(6) Who knows five? The five books of the Torah represent the fifth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God split the sea. In Egypt the plagues are called the finger of God; at the sea God’s acts are called the hand of God; five fingers. It was though the merit of the five books of Moses that Israel was redeemed from Egypt at the sea with God’s mighty hand, and that they were brought to Mount Sinai. We learn that when the Israelites reached the sea, the angel Gabriel surrounded the nation and called out, “Beware! Israel is going to receive the Torah from the right hand of God!”
(7) Who knows six? The six sections of the Mishnah, the basis of the Oral Torah, represent the sixth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God led the people through the sea on dry ground. The Torah is sometimes referred to as ‘a great sea.’ For, “all the rivers go down to the sea, but the sea is never full.” The Torah was given to Israel; like the number of people who left Egypt, the Torah has 600, 000 letters. Each Israelite has one letter that he can uniquely hold on to. It is impossible to understand the Written Torah without the Oral Torah for each letter has thousands of meanings and interpretations. It is through the Oral Torah that we are able to pass through the great sea of the Written Torah. So too, when Israel crossed through the sea wherever the stepped immediately became perfectly dry so that there was no mud. This is how the Oral Torah is. It makes sure that we don’t get bogged down in understanding the Written Torah. Just as the people were 600,000, so the Oral law has six volumes.
(8) Who knows seven? The seven days of the week represents the seventh favor which God bestowed upon Israel: God caused the Egyptians to sink in the sea. After leaving Egypt, the people spent seven days suffering. They knew they were no better than the Egyptians; like them, they worshipped idols. During these seven days, then, they had time to atone for all the transgressions they had committed while in Egypt. By repenting, the Israelites changed their destiny. They had seven days to repent because there are seven days in a week. In this way a person’s destiny could change on the same day of the week on which they were born. The Egyptians tried to use their magic to undo these changes but their astrologic influences weakened, and as a result they sank in the sea when they arrived at the Red Sea. So when we ask “Who knows seven,” we answer ‘seven are the days of the week’ because these seven days were a time of repentance. Also the seventh day was Shabbat – which the Israelites observed even in the land of Egypt – it was due to the merit of observing the Sabbath that the Egyptians drown in the sea.
(9) Who knows eight? Brit milah on the eighth day of the week represents the eighth favor which God bestowed upon Israel: He provided Israel with all their needs in the wilderness. This refers to the statement that God did not allow their clothing to wear out during the forty years in the wilderness. During the sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites were protected by clouds of glory that surrounded them and led them through the wilderness. There were six clouds that surrounded the people – on all four sides, above and below as well as the pillar of fire and the cloud of glory that led them through the wilderness. These clouds not only protected their clothes but caused it to grow with them and kept it clean. There were eight clouds for the eight days before the making of the covenant. They eight days until circumcision symbolize the eight clouds.
חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא שׁוּנְרָא וְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא כַלְבָּא וְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא חוּטְרָא וְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא נוּרָא וְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא מַיָּא וְכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא תוֹרָא וְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא הַשׁוֹחֵט וְשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא מַלְאָךְ הַמָּוֶת וְשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא, דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְאָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא, דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי. חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא.
One kid, one kid that my father bought for two zuz, one kid, one kid.
Then came a cat and ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came a dog and bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came a stick and hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came fire and burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came water and extinguished the fire, that burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came a bull and drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came the schochet and slaughtered the bull, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came the angel of death and slaughtered the schochet, who slaughtered the bull, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
Then came the Holy One, blessed be He and slaughtered the angel of death, who slaughtered the schochet, who slaughtered the bull, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burnt the stick, that hit the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, one kid, one kid.
(1) Had Gadya – In Introduction
To the Symbolic Chart
Rabbi Yonatan Weil (father of the author of this commentary) offered the following comments on Had Gadya: “It has always surprised me that on this night when we are considered to be like royalty, are allowed to see ourselves as if we joyfully went forth from Egypt, and can be extravagant in the way we set the table, we don’t need to focus on the destruction of Jerusalem. Isn’t it written, I shall place Jerusalem above my greatest joy.” (We do mention of Jerusalem in Ha lachma anya, in the piyutim we recite at the end of the Seder and at the words of Nirtzah, “Let us return Zion joyfully as a redeemed people.”) We downplay the destruction of Jerusalem for the sake of the masses on this night but the remnant of Israel, those who have accepted the name of God upon themselves, recite this riddle in order to keep in mind the destruction of the Temple at the end of the Seder, after we have told the story of the Exodus and have fulfilled all of our obligations on this night. They do so because matzah is the lechem oni, not just the bread of affliction but the food that causes us to ask and answer many questions (onim). In this way we think of affliction amid the extravagance of the meal.
We begin by mentioning had gadya twice for the two temples that were destroyed, first in 586 BCE and the second in 70 CE. In the temple the people brought all types of sacrifices including goats. Fortunate is the one who witnessed these sacrifices as well as the special service on the eve of Passover….”
After offering his father’s interpretation, the younger Rabbi Weil writes: “This song is sung throughout the Diaspora. I have learned that it was discovered in the academy of the Rokeach in Germaize on a parchment. It became the accepted practice for the generations to sing it on the eve of Passover. This is no frivolous matter. If we think it is an empty song then the problem is with us and not with it. Many have studied it in depth to plumb meaning from its words – I have already presented my father’s interpretation of it. Now with my limited intellect I will present two other interpretations of this poem…”
1. Rabbi Yonatan interprets this poem as a lament for the destruction of the Temple. The gadya refers to the Temple, and the refrain is a lament in which we are in affect saying, Where is the Temple? Where is the Temple? He understands the poem as an explanation of the exile from the time of the second temple on. After living under the tyranny or Greece and then Rome, Israel lived in exile beneath the other nations. In order to overcome the other nations Israel must have the strength to overcome its evil inclinations as well as the seductions of the world. In the end of time God will slaughter the evil inclination and the Temple will be rebuilt.
2. Rabbi Yedidiah explains that Had Gadya is all about the sin against Joseph by his brothers. Israel carried this sin through the generations. Weil claims that Amon No, the God of Egypt had the form of a ram on its right hand and the form of a goat on its left hand. These were indictment of Israel – the Ram because Abraham sacrificed a ram in lieu of his son without purchasing it, and the goat for the goat the brothers used to make it appear that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Israel atoned for the ram by offering a ram in Egypt but the indictment of the goat remained through the generations – and will continue to be present until the rise of Messiah ben Joseph. According to one tradition in the Middle Ages there is a second Messiah who will rise before the Messiah ben David. With his death the atonement for the story of Joseph will be complete. Had Gadya…Had Gadya is understood as meaning’ one has fallen’ (the ram) and ‘one goat remains.’ Gadya has two meanings. Godu is to cut down and gadya is a goat.
3. The second interpretation of Rabbi Yedidiah understands Had Gadya as a reference to the nations under which the people of Israel had to live. The gadya is the people of Israel. In Song of Songs, we find an expression: “If you do not know, O fairest of women, go follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your kids by the tents of the shepherds.” Why do we repeat Had gadya twice? Whether or not Israel observes all of God’s commandments they will always be God’s ‘kid.’ Also Israel is one nation just as there is one ‘kid.’ God acquired Israel for two zuzim; the two here is a reference to the idea that Israel is ‘God’s possession.’ In the song at the Red sea we say: “In your love you lead the people you have redeemed (ga’alta),” and, “Till your people cross over whom You have ransomed (kaneeta)” Both of these words here and elsewhere imply to acquire.