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) Kadesh U’r’chatz: Atonement for the Garden of Eden There are good reasons for the customs of Israel which are based on the Torah. The things we do are surprising for those who lack knowledge and an understanding of what makes this night different from all other nights. Flour, wine, meat for the Passover offering and festive offering and apples and nuts for charoset are understood by the sages of truth to be a way of ridding Israel of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. We seek to repair through that which we sinned.
(10) We take out the middle matzah, break it in half and hide the broken piece for the Afikomen. According to the Maharil, we should set aside the larger piece of the broken matzah for the Afikomen. The broken middle matzah is an allusion to the fact that the night of the Passover was divided into two parts. It was during the first half of the night that God helped Abraham overcome the five kings who took Lot captive, and it was during the second half of the night that God performed the miracle of the Passover, striking down the first born. In the wilderness Moses called the altar that he built Adonai Nisi, God is my miracle is a reminder of the miracle in Egypt. This implies that we too must perform some act as a reminder of the miracle of the tenth plague; we don’t take the upper or the lower matzah but the middle one as a reminder of miracles in the time of Abraham and Moses.
(11) We hide away the Afikomen as an allusion to the Midrash on “It was for the Lord a night of watching.” (Exodus 12:42) This means that it is set aside for watching until the final redemption which will also take place on Passover. The Shach also explains it this way; the night of Passover is divided into two parts – the first half for the miracles with which Israel was redeemed from Egypt and the second half for the future redemption. We hide the Afikomen for the future redemption. The broken matzah, then, is allusion to both sets of miracles: Abraham and Moses, and the past and future redemptions. We can now understand why the Maharil said that the Afikomen must be a larger piece of matzah. The sage taught that after the final redemption, the exodus from Egypt will become secondary while the final redemption will become essential – the Afikomen is larger for this reason. The piece of matzah remaining on the Seder plate is an allusion to the Exodus; it is smaller since in the time of the final redemption the Exodus will be of less importance as well.
(2) There is a controversy about whether the fruit which our Adam ate was from the vine or wheat or fig tree or an etrog tree. Since we do not know with which one he sinned, we consume all of them as part of the seder. For those who say it was from the vine, we drink four cups of wine – through this mitzvah we repair the sin of the Garden of Eden, wine for vine. Since there is a question if it was wheat that they ate, we make matzah from fine flour. Since there is still a doubt, we make charoset from apples since the etrog is sometimes also referred to in Hebrew as a tapuach, an apple . Some people add figs to the charoset for this reason as well, in order to remove the sin of the tree of knowledge. In Midrash Rabbah we learn that afterwards Adam and Eve ate all types animals; therefore we use the lamb for the Passover offering and a cow for the festive offering.
(3) We eat the Passover offering roasted and we eat it leaning to one side is a reference to the fact that Adam used to lean in the garden of Eden while the angels roasted meat for him and chilled the wine. The serpent saw this and was jealous of the fact the Adam HaRishon was free of the angel of death. The serpent knew that as long as human beings did not sin they (?) would continue to eat the roasted meat; for this reason the Passover offering must be roasted and consumed while leaning.
(4) Why do we eat greens? Before Adam sinned he was not permitted to slaughter animals for food in order to eat since the animals were not in need of repaire. Therefore Adam only gathered vegetation for food, as the Bible tells us “the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.” (Genesis 1) After Adam sinned, animals needed to be repaired and it was permissible for humans to slaughter them. We eat greens first, just as Adam did, and then have wine and meat as part of the Passover meal to atone for the sin in the Garden that took place afterwards.
(5) Why do we call the greens karpas? 600,000 souls were affected by the sin of Adam HaRishon; they went down to Egypt and suffered from oppressive servitude as is hinted at by the word karpas. Why do we dip the karpas in salt water? Because the Egyptians cast the children of the 600,000 in the River, all of them were brought out of the River through the merit of Moses. Some people dip the karpas in vinegar; this symbolizes that their deeds were as harsh as vinegar; they went down to Egypt to be purified and to go out pure.
(6) Why do we eat an egg? Just as an egg is round so too death comes around because of the deeds of Adam HaRishon, as it says in the Torah: “you shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you shall surely die.” Death shall be for generations to come. The double reference to death in this expression, mot tamut, “you shall surely die,” is a reference to the two temples which would be destroyed. That is why we eat bitter herbs. Tisha B’av always falls on the same day of the week each year as the first day of Passover. Therefore Passover is an allusion to Tisha B’av.
(7) The nuts which are mixed in the charoset are an allusion to a Midrash which says: just as all the nuts rattle around when you take one out of the many (unlike other types of fruit), so too as a result of the sin of the one human being in the world who sinned (Adam), all of humanity suffers and becomes angry at him.
(8) We add red wine to the charoset as an allusion to blood. When Eve ate from the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, she experienced the first blood of menstruation; therefore we also add a bit of red wine.
(9) It is customary to wear a kittel at the Seder. The Torah says that Adam was commanded to till and tend the garden (literally to serve and to guard). Adam not only tilled the garden but offered sacrifices to God. He was like the high priest who served God in the Temple. Just as the High Priest wore four linen garments: the tunic, headdress, pants and a sash, so too we wear a kittel with a belt so as to separate the heart from the sinful lower parts of the body.
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) The Symbolism of Karpas Why was it necessary to tell us that one must make a blessing on the karpas ‘boray peri ha’adamah,’ since we are obligated to make a blessing on any food which we consume? The reason is based on a principle of Halacha: for anything which would normally be improved through cooking, we say the sh’hakol blessing when it is uncooked and the appropriate blessing (in this case ha’adamah) when it is cooked. Based on this the Maharil wonders why, if one uses parsley for the karpas, one would say boray peri ha’adamah? There is a great lesson to be learned from the fact that we say this blessing even though we eat it raw.
This is an allusion to a Midrash: when the Israelite women gave birth in the fields and the Egyptian soldiers would come to kill the children, the ground would swallow up the infants. The Egyptians would then bring oxen to plow up the ground in order to find them. After they left, they broke through the ground and sprouted up like weeds, as it says “I caused thee to multiply as the plants of the field.” (Ezekiel 16:7) In order to remember this great miracle, we eat greens and recite the blessing boray peri ha’adamah even though it is not necessary to recite this blessing under these circumstances.
The sages instruct us to remove the Seder plate from the table; children will wonder why we are doing this even though we have yet eaten, and they will ask questions. This is not our custom; rather we lift the plate up when we say ha lachma anya and afterwards we put it back on the table where it originally was. This is an allusion to the waving of the omer up and down in order to avoid the bad dews . Why is it necessary to wave it up and down? It should have been enough to simple wave it upward since the dew comes from above. Originally there was a place in the firmament in which the bad as well as the good dew dwelled. David prayed to God that only the good dews should dwell above as we see: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not sojourn with You.” (Psalm 5:5) Because of David’s prayers, the wicked dew was stored down below and the dew of blessing above. So when we wave the omer in an upward direction it is to ask that we be blessed with the good dew, and we wave downward it is to ask that God cut off the bad dew. Passover is, of course, the time of year when the world is judged regarding the productivity of the wheat harvest. That is why it was customary to bring an omer of barley at this time of year to the temple. Now that we do not have an altar or a temple, our dinner table is our altar; we reenact this ceremony at the dinner table with the waving of the Seder plate. By lifting up the matzah along with the plate it is meant to mimic the waving of the omer offering.
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, Rachzah The ‘order of the Seder’ begins kadesh u’rechaz...maggid rachzah. Why do we first say rachaz and then rachzah after maggid? What is the significance of the extra letter hay at the end of the word rachaz? This is a way of reminding us of the significance of second washing. In point of fact, one washing should have been enough before a meal. However, there can not be any type of interruption between the time we wash and the beginning of the meal. Since the meal is preceded by the maggid, the telling of the Exodus as well as passages of praise, there is an interruption here. It is necessary for us to wash again before we begin the meal. The letter hay is an allusion to haggadah havay hesech hada’at b’hay: “the telling is an interruption with the letter hay.” Each of the words in this phrase begins with the letter hay.
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 There are several surprising things about this passage. First, why does the child wait to ask his father questions until the pouring of second cup of wine? Why not ask the questions upon pouring the first cup of wine? If you say the reason is that he has not witnessed any differences until now, hasn’t he already watched as we dipped the karpas? In any case, even after the second cup is poured, he has not yet witnessed the eating of the matzah or the maror. Also the order of the statements in Mah Nishtanah is not in the correct order: dipping should have come first, then the eating of the matzah and the maror. And yet in the Mishnah in Pesachim it is ordered the other way around! Finally, the statement which follows the Mah Nishtanah, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…” is an appropriate answer to the final question (leaning) but not to the other questions in the Mah Nishtanah.
The Mishnah suggests that it is precisely when the second cup of wine is poured that the child should ask; that is when the question arises, “why do we eat matzah on this night?” Also it was out of the first question that the second question arose, and so on with the rest of the questions. Each question inspires the next.
What is it about the second cup of wine that inspires the child to ask? At the beginning of the Seder, the perceptive child has no reason to question his parents since logically he concludes that matzah is associated with slavery. Since we can only eat matzah during the first half of the night and not after midnight, we conclude that matzah is a symbol of slavery. We begin the Seder by saying that matzah is ‘the bread of affliction’ further emphasizing this point. Once the second cup is poured, however, the child realizes that the matzah also symbolizes freedom! The four cups of wine symbolize the four promises of redemption: I will bring you out… I will save you, etc. The reason for the matzah is that Israelites had to leave Egypt in great haste; had they stayed in Egypt even one moment longer they would have sunk to the fiftieth level of impurity and could not be redeemed. That is why the Halachah is that even a little bit of hametz is strictly forbidden on Passover. The symbolism of the second cup (“I saved you from the impurity of Egypt”) suggests that matzah symbolizes freedom and the haste with which they left Egypt!
Now we can understand why the child does not ask his parent until the second cup is poured. He is now confused: is matzah a symbol of freedom or slavery? And if matzah is a symbol of freedom then why don’t we eat it after midnight, the hour at which Israel was freed? We do say, “why is this night (Kulo) entirely matzah? We should either eat matzah either the first half of the night (for slavery) or the second half of the night (to celebrate freedom).
This leads the child to a second question: “Why, on all other nights we dip other vegetables but tonight we dip maror?” Note that we don’t say “only maror” in the four questions just as we say “only matzah.” The first time we dip we use other vegetables while we use bitter herbs for the second dipping. The child sees that his father is dipping other vegetables for the first dipping and he wonder; if the matzah symbolizes slavery and we eat only matzah, why don’t we use bitter herbs both times we dip at the Seder? The second question, then, is a response to the first. The child wonders why we eat other vegetables for the first dipping – why don’t we eat maror for the first dipping since it symbolizes slavery, just like the matzah?
In the end matzah, is actually a symbol of freedom. Even though Israel did not leave Egypt until the next day after the Passover, the redemption began at night – that is why we eat matzah even during the first half of the night as a symbol of freedom and not slavery, and that is why we only dip the bitter herbs once and not both times.
(2) Matzah and Maror: Another question: if matzah symbolizes freedom, and maror the bitterness of slavery and oppression, why don’t we eat the maror first and the matzah second at the Seder? This would seem to support the opinion of those who believe that we should also use bitter herbs for the first dipping; that way we would taste the bitterness of slavery occurs before we eat matzah, a symbol of freedom. If this is the case, then the language of the second question should also have been kulo maror, ‘on all other nights we eat other vegetables but tonight we eat only maror.’
So why do we eat maror after the matzah? The reason can be found in the following verse: “In a time of good fortune, enjoy the good fortune; and in a time of misfortune, reflect: the one no less than the other was God’s doing.” We learn from this verse that if we remember misfortune first, it will inspire sorrow and depression even if we remember the joyful occasions afterwards. Therefore we should remember the joyful occasions first and only then reflect on the sorrowful occasions. That is why we eat the matzah first which reminds of our redemption and God’s kindness first at the Seder and only then do we eat the maror. That is another reason why we don’t use bitter herbs for the first dipping – this would only cause us more sorrow.
It is for this reason that the third question in the Mah Nishtanah is about dipping. The question arises, why do we dip twice? We should dip either once or three times in the Seder! If the reason for dipping (according to the Talmud) is because there is ‘poison’ in the bitter herbs, then we should only dip once since we are not using bitter herbs for the first dipping. And if, as the Ma’aseh Adonai suggests, the dipping has opposite meanings; one for exile, and the other redemption, then this is troubling. Having opposite meanings for the same act (dipping) is confusing. What’s more, there are those who say that we should actually dip matzah in the charoset as well in which case we are dipping three times!
The second dipping symbolizes slavery: we dip the maror and we do so in charoset which is a symbol of the mortar with which the Israelites made the bricks. Therefore the two aspects of the second dipping both symbolize slavery and bitterness. For the first dipping we don’t use charoset because we are using other vegetables rather than bitter herbs (which don’t contain poison.) We therefore dip the vegetables in salt water so that neither of these symbols represent slavery or bitterness but rather redemption. The first dipping symbolizes redemption and the second dipping slavery so that joy precedes the sorrow so as not to dilute our joyful mood at this time as we explained above.
(3) On this night we lean We can now begin to understand why the question regarding leaning follows the question of dipping.
The Talmud in Pesachim discusses whether we should lean for all four cups of wine or not. There is an opinion that we should lean to our side for the first two cups of wine when we tell the story of the Exodus but not for the second two cups of wine when we have already completed the story of the Exodus. There are those who say it should be the other way around: we shouldn’t lean for the first two cups since we were still slaves in Egypt whole we should lean for the second two cups for they represent the time when we are free. Nowadays we don’t follow either of these opinions but we lean for all four cups of wine.
Having just ascertained that we dip once as a symbol of an expression of redemption and the second time as a reminder of slavery, then why don’t we also lean for two cups of wine and not for the other two as the Talmud suggests, either for the first two cups or the second two cups. Rather we lean for all four cups of wine and for the matzah as well!!
The Haggadah answers this question by saying Avadim Hayyinu: We were slaves in Egypt but the Lord took us out from there. These four cups are an allusion to the fact that God did not just redeem us once but he will redeem us four times from four empires, and God will give us four cups of redemption. Therefore all of the cups deserve to be consumed while we are leaning as a symbol of freedom. This opening statement also reminds us that this is still a night of slavery and freedom (We were slaves – slavery; the Lord took us out – freedom) – and that is why we have two dipping, one for slavery and one for freedom.
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) We Were Slaves to Pharaoh The Talmud tells us that in telling the story of the Exodus we should begin with genut, disgrace, and end with shevach, with praise. There are two interpretations of what this means . Rav says we begin with disgrace by saying, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.’ In what sense is this ‘disgrace?’ Furthermore, why is it necessary for the ba’al ha-Haggadah to tell us that we, our children and children might still be slaves in Egypt; the text could have simply said: If He had not taken us out we might still be slaved to Pharaoh in Egypt?’
To answer these questions we must begin with a discussion of a passage in Baba Kama. The Talmud discusses a controversy between Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Huna whether a person is allowed to use force to take back property which has been stolen from him or her, or if the person must go to court to retrieve the property? The Talmud concludes that if one is going to irrevocably lose the property, one can use force to take back one’s property. Where there is no loss, the sages disagree. Rabbi Yehudah says that if there is no loss one is obligated to go to a judge to retrieve one’s property, and Rabbi Huna is of the opinion that one may take it forcefully since one may be tempted to give up if one must be troubled by going to a judge. Ben Bag-bag states: One should not enter into someone else’s property to retrieve one’s property without the permission of the owner of the place but ‘one may break the teeth’ of the one who has one’s property if necessary to get back one’s property. This implies that one can take the law in his own hand and use force to retrieve his property.
We can now understand the discussion in the Talmud regarding the Exodus from Egypt. When God was about to drown the Egyptians in the Red Sea, Uzza, the guardian angel of the Egyptian, challenged the Holy One. God immediately called forth a case among the angels on High to decide between them. Why did Uzza wait until they reached the Red Sea to challenge the Holy One; why didn’t he challenge God while they were still in Egypt and God was about to kill the first born? And why did God convene a court case at the Red Sea? This case illustrates the law above. In Egypt there was no time to loose – if Israel had stayed in Egypt one more moment they would have been lost. God therefore took the law in His own hand and did what had to be done. Uzza knew that the law was that God did not need to convene a court to save His lost property – the people of Israel. God was therefore in His right to smite the first born in order to save the people of Israel. At the sea, Israel had already escaped the immediate threat so when Uzza challenged God, God convened a court of law.
We can now understand why Avadim Hayyinu represents ‘a beginning of disgrace’ in our telling of the story of the Exodus. It was disgraceful that the people Israel were not only slaves but servants of false gods. They were so enslaved by idolatry that they couldn’t wait any longer to leave Egypt without reaching the fiftieth gate of impurity. That is why “The Lord took us out with a strong arm” that is, with force (the death of the first born), just as one can use force to retrieve his lost property.
We can now understand the challenge of the Rasha later in the Haggadah. When the Rasha asks, “What does this service mean to you?” he is challenging the Halacha regarding retrieving lost property. He believes that God should have convened a court in Egypt rather than ‘taking the law into His own hand.’ But if God had done so, Israel would have been lost and unredeemed. We answer him in the same way that the Ben Bag-bag answered this question: One should try to go to a court but ‘one may break his teeth’ if there is a question of saving one’s property. That is why the answer which the Haggadah gives to the Rasha: “It is because of that which the Lord did for me…” God would take the law into His own hand for me but not for you since you are of the opinion that this is not proper. If you would have been in Egypt you would not have been redeemed – you would have sunk to the fiftieth level of impurity.”
(2) We, our children, and our children’s children: Why does the Haggadah speak of us being slaves for three generations: ‘Had God not taken us out of Egypt, we, our children and our children’s children would still be enslaved there.’ The Haggadah could have said, “Had God not taken us out, we would still be enslaved there.’ To understand this we must analyze the verse: “And they shall return here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Abraham was told that his children would be subjugated in Egypt three generations; each generation, we learn, would be seventy years so that they add up to a total of two hundred ten years. The children of Esau were also obligated to serve for three generations. If only Israel paid this debt, then Israel would have had to serve in Egypt yet another three additional generations to make up for the debts of Israel and Esau. This is what the author of the Haggadah is telling us. We were slaves in Egypt – and had God not taken us out when He did, we would have served yet another three generations in Egypt; that is, we, our children and our children’s children would have had to serve as well.
(3) Now even if we were all wise, clever, elders and even if we were all learned in the Torah, it would still be our duty to tell the story: To explain this passage we must begin with a rabbinic statement: “If one is wise, his son must still ask him; if not he should ask himself. If there are two Torah scholars who already know the laws of Passover, they should ask one another: How is this night different from all other nights?” Why was it necessary for the Torah to obligate a scholar to ask questions about the Exodus? Since both scholars were familiar with the Exodus, this would seem unnecessary.
The answer has to do with the two-fold commandment: zachor, remember, and shamor, guard. The Mishnah explains the meaning of these two terms: the word zachor means one should remember the Shabbat verbally, and shamor, one should guard it by keeping it in one’s heart. The commandment, “You shall remember the day of your going out from Egypt,” implies that one should remember the Exodus by mentioning it verbally and not just keeping it in one’s hearts. Since it is a mitzvah, it applies equally to all people - scholars of Torah as well as others.
But this raises yet another question. If one is obligated to verbally mention the Exodus from Egypt and not merely think about it, then one should also be obligated to recite a blessing for the performance of this commandment. One is not obligated to recite a blessing for the study of Torah if one merely thinks about Torah, but one must recite the blessing when it is recited out loud. But in the case of Passover, we are told zachor, which implies, to verbally mention the Exodus, so a a blessing is necessary. The statement in the Haggadah, then, implies that even great scholars who is familiar with the story of the Exodus can’t simply think about it; he is obligated to speak of it at length. So why don’t we recite a blessing when we perform this commandment?
Different answers are offered to solve this problem. First the Rif suggests that since we are obligated to mention the Exodus when we recite the Kiddush, it is not necessary to recite another blessing which speaks of mentioning the Exodus. One fulfills one’s obligation by reciting the Kiddush.
Another reason one does not need to recite a separate blessing for the telling of the story at the Seder is that we have already mentioned the Exodus in the third paragraph of the Sh’ma concerning tzitzit – so we fulfilled the commandment of mentioning the Exodus when we recited the evening service and therefore no other blessing is necessary. Since we are obligated to mention the Exodus at night (as we learn from Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, we recite the tzitzit passage at night (even though we are not obligated to wear fringes) to fulfill this obligation. If we didn’t have an obligation to mention the Exodus every night then it would be necessary to have a special blessing for Passover night. Since we do, Passover night should be no different than any other night! Therefore it is not necessary to say a separate blessing on this night.
The Tzror HaMor comments that the statement in the Sh’ma, “You shall see it and remember all my commandments…I am the Lord your God,” teaches us that we should remember the Sh’ma at night, and the passage “all the days of your life” teaches us that we should mention it at night.
We can now understand why we comment, “even if we were all wise, clever, and elders….we would still be obligated to expand on the story of the Exodus.” This statement raises the question of whether we should recite the blessing. But when we say that we are obligated to expand on the Exodus we are referring to the passages above which obligate us to tell the story of the Exodus. The obligation is not just tonight but on all nights!
The story which follows regarding Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Joshua and the others is an example of what the Haggadah just told us; that even the wise, the clever, the elders, and great scholars of Torah are obligated to expand on the story of the Exodus.
The discussion of Rabbi Elazar and the sages raises a contraversy regarding a special blessing for the telling of the Exodus. According to Rabbi Elazar, who follows Ben Zoma, we do not need a special blessing because we are obligated to mention the Exodus every night. This is based on the word kol – all the days of your life. But according to the sages, who interpreted the word kol - all the days of your life as a reference to even in the time of the Messiah – there is no obligation to mention the Exodus at night and therefore we would need a special blessing on the night of Passover when we are obligated to mention it.
We can answer this question the same way the Rash answered the question regarding charoset; why don’t we recite a blessing over the charoset. He explains that we don’t recite a blessing over the charoset because it is secondary to the maror over which we do recite a blessing. In Talmud Berachot we find a discussion whether we will mention the Exodus after the final redemption. The sages comment that in the Messianic era, we will not leave out the Exodus from Egypt all together; it will simply become secondary to the final redemption. This is compared to a person who encounters a lion and is saved from it and then a snake and is saved from it. He begins telling people about the lion but when he is saved from the snake he tells people how he was saved from the snake. The Exodus from Egypt is similar to one who was saved from a lion and the when the Jews were redeemed from Babylonia is similar to one who was then saved from the snake. The first story of redemption becomes secondary to the second story of redemption. Therefore in our time the Exodus, as important as it is, appears secondary – and so we don’t recite a separate blessing for this redemption according to the sages.
In the time to come when the final redemption takes place, we will forget both of these acts of redemption and they will both be secondary to the final redemption. By the time of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, which was, of course, after the return form Babylonian the Exodus already appeared to be secondary and less important. Following the opinion of the Rosh, then, we do not recite a blessing over that which is secondary to the essential mitzvah.
Now we can understand what Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah meant when he said “It is as if I were a man of seventy years old.” Rabbi Elazar disagreed with the sages. They saw the Exodus as secondary to the return from Babylonia. They had a reason for not reciting a blessing while he did not have a good reason. When Rabbi Elazar said that he was like a man of seventy years old, he was saying that he was like those who lived before the return from Babylonia – therefore the Exodus was still essential to him and was not of secondary importance. Therefore he had to find an answer to the question of why we don’t say a special blessing before we tell the Exodus from Egypt. Ben Zoma helped solve this problem – he argued that we are obligated to mention the Exodus every night (and not just on the night of Exodus) and so it is not necessary to say a special blessing at the Seder.
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) A Story of Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Joshua... Why were these five sages together on Seder night? They sages got together to discuss the Exodus but when they reached midnight they began to debate the controversy regarding when the Passover offering should be consumed. This controversy was between Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah and Rabbi Akiva; a similar controversy can be found in the Talmud between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua. The question is about what time the Passover sacrifice must be consumed – by midnight or by day break. Since we now eat the Afikomen in lieu of the sacrifice, this question influences the time by which we must eat the Afikomen.
According to Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah (and Rabbi Eliezer) the sacrifice must be eaten before midnight; according to Rabbi Akiva (and Rabbi Joshua) the sacrifice can be consumed all night long. Each brings a different proof for his point of view. According to Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, we learn that the sacrifice must be eaten by midnight based on a gezerah shavah. We find two verses: “You shall it the meat on this night,” and, “I passed through the Land of Egypt on this night.” Just as God passed through the land at midnight so the Passover offering must be consumed by midnight. Rabbi Akiva interprets the verse: “You shall eat it in haste” as a proof text for consuming the offering all night. Just as the Israelites ate the Passover offering ‘in haste’ that is, all night long, so we can eat the sacrifice all night long. Rabbi Akiva understands b’chipazon as a reference to the way the Israelites were supposed to eat the offering, with their loins girded, sandals on their feet and their staff in hand. B’chizpazon means they were ready to go at any minute. Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah, on the other hand, understands ‘in haste’ to refer to the Egyptians. At midnight, as the God passed through the land of Egypt, the Egyptians came and pressed the Israelites to leave. The Israelites ate in haste because the Egyptians were pushing them to leave as quickly as possible – this would have occurred at midnight
Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua bring other proof texts but the controversy, based on the verse: “You shall slaughter the Passover sacrifice in the evening, the time of day when you departed from Egypt.” Rabbi Eliezer understands this verse to mean that you shall offer the sacrifice in the evening and burn the remains in the morning – following the opinion of Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah. Rabbi Joshua understands the verse to mean you shall offer the sacrifice and eat it all night, following the opinion of Rabbi Akiva.
When the sages were together, the time for the eating of the afikomen arrived and the sages began to debate the correct time by which the matzah had to be consumed: Was it by midnight or could they eat it all night long? Each of the rabbis wanted to follow his approach to the law. As a general matter, Jewish law follows the opinion of Rabbi Akiva when his colleagues disagree with him; therefore the law should have been that the Passover offering could be eaten all night long. However, in order to distance us from transgression we say that we should still eat the Afikomen by midnight.
Rabbi Tarfon was among the sages in B’nai Brak and refused to allow a compromise in this matter; as the teacher of Rabbi Akiva, he felt a compromise in this matter was wrong and as a result this argument continued all night long. Elsewhere in the Talmud when Rabbi Tarfon took the more stringent point of view he was criticized by the other sages. As a result he was uncompromising in this matter and insisted that the sacrifice could be consumed all night long, taking a more lenient opinion. Rabbi Tarfon’s name appears last in the list of sages in B’nai Brak since he was the oldest of the group and apparently as a result he had the greatest influence in this discussion.
(2) Why does the Haggadah tell us that this incident took place in B’nai Brak? What difference does it make where the sages were when they had this discussion? We learn elsewhere in the Talmud that even if the sages disagreed about a matter of Jewish law, we follow the local authority even when his opinion is not the final ruling. Since B’nai Brak was the home of Rabbi Akiva the sages did not eat the Afikomen until the end of the night following his point of view. They did this despite the fact that the sages agreed that even though one could wait, one should eat the matzah by midnight in order to avoid transgression.
(3) And why was it necessary to tell us that they discussed the Exodus all night long? This is a way of telling us that while Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua disagreed about the time frame in which one was allowed to eat the Pesach (and later the Afikomen), whether it was all night long or only until midnight, they both agreed that the redemption began during the night. By discussing the Exodus all night long, they were able to celebrate the beginning of the redemption. The only thing they disagreed about is when was the period of chipazon, of hasting? Was it when the Egyptians pressed the Israelites to leave Egypt (according to Rabbi Eliezer, at midnight) or was it in the morning when the Israelites quickly left Egypt, ‘in haste’ (according to Rabbi Joshua – as a result they could eat the Passover offering all night long).
(4) Why are we told that the students came and told the sages, ‘The time for the Sh’ma has arrived?’ This seems odd: why weren’t the students with their teachers in the first place? If they were, the passage would have said, “The students told the sages, (and not came and told the sages).”
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) Blessed is the One who gave Torah to His people Israel. The Torah speaks about four types of children. Ma’aseh Hashem explains that the wise child is Isaac, the wicked one is Esau, the simple one is Jacob, and the one who doesn’t know how to ask refers to Ishmael. Why was it necessary to mention these four people in this statement? Furthermore, why does the Torah say that “God gave Torah to HIS PEOPLE, Israel” – isn’t the fact that Israel is God’s people obvious? The Haggadah could have said, “Blessed is the One who gave Torah to Israel.”
We learn that the Torah resided with God for the first two thousand years from the time of creation until the time of Abraham. It was only in the time of Abraham that the teachings of Torah were revealed. The Torah says, that “Abraham made souls in Haran;” the Aramaic translation explains that this means that Abraham taught Torah to others; it implies that the Torah began to be revealed in the time of Abraham.
If the Torah was to be revealed after two thousand years, why wasn’t it revealed immediately in the time of Abraham? Why wait until the Exodus? A poet, in one of the Yotzrot which is recited on Shavuot, writes that the Torah could not be given in the time of Isaac because he flattered Esau. Jacob was not worthy of receiving the Torah n the Bible says of him: “My ways are hidden from the Lord” It would appear, then, that Isaac or Jacob were both willing to accept it but they were not worthy of receiving. The Torah did not want to fall into their hands. Ishmael and Esau were both offered the Torah and they rejected it; Ishmael rejected it because he didn’t want to accept the commandment, “Do not commit adultery,” and Esau because he rejected, “Do not murder.” The Torah did not reject them; they rejected the Torah!
In Masechet Shabbat we learn that the reason the nations of the world are impure is because they did not stand at Mount Sinai: because Israel stood at Mount Sinai they were cleansed of impurity. Had God given Israel the Torah sooner we would not have been impure so long. So why did God wait? There are two answers. First, the Holy One waited until there were 600,000 Israelites, similar to the number of letters in the Torah. That way every Israelite could take hold of one letter in the Torah. The word Yisrael hints at this explanation; it is an abbreviation for, Yesh shishim ribbo otiot latorah,” there are 60 times ten thousand letters in the Torah.” And second, had God given it earlier who would have received it since Isaac and Jacob were not worthy and Ishmael and Esau rejected it?
Now we can understand the words of the Haggadah. We bless God who gave the Torah to an entire nation and not to a single individual such as Isaac and Jacob, or Ishmael and Esau for that matter. He goes on to say, the Torah speaks AGAINST four children. It was because of these four individuals that the Torah could not be given to the world sooner. The poet of the Shavuot poem also mentions Abraham; he too was unworthy of receiving the Torah since he questioned God. He said, “O God how am I to know if I am to possess it?”
(1) The Wise Child, what does he ask…So too you must tell him the detailed laws of Pesach: The word V’af, “so too…” seem unnecessary and extra in this statement. To explain this word, we begin with two relevant passages from the Talmud.
The first text is from Pesachim. The Talmud discusses whether the taking of the Passover lamb on the tenth day prior to the sacrifice was performed only at the time of the Pesach offering in Egypt or whether it was performed during subsequent observances of Passover in generations to come. Since the Torah says “On the tenth day of this month,” this is taken to mean on the original Egyptian Passover observance and not on later observances of Pesach. We also learn from the verse, “Any slave a man has bought may eat of it once he has been circumcised,” that if one is not circumcised one cannot eat the Pesach offering, and that if the son is not circumcised then the father cannot eat it either . The use of the word bo is taken to mean ‘it,’ that is, specifically the Passover sacrifice in Egypt, that is, the law applies only to Pesach Mitzrayim and not Pesach Dorot. This conclusion is rejected, however, because the Torah also says, “You shall observe in this month the following practice” which the sages take to mean that in this regard Pesach Mitzrayim and Pesach Dorot should be the same.
The second text is found in Yebamot. We learn that during the forty years in the wilderness, the people of Israel were not circumcised. The Tosafot ask, how, then, could they eat the Passover sacrifice since one must be circumsized in order to partake of it. They explain that the Israelite men were circumcised before they left Egypt but those who were born in the Egyptian were not circumcised, so could not eat the offering. But if we say that the non-performance of circumcision prevents not only the sons but even the fathers from eating the Passover offering and that this law applied to Pesach Dorot as well as Pesach Mitzrayim, shouldn’t the fathers also have been prohibited from eating the offering in the wilderness along with their children?
We can now understand the Wise Child’s question: “What is the meaning of the testimonies, statutes and judgments which the Lord our God commanded you?” The Wise Child presents his father with a problematic dilemma. The child sees his father eating the Passover offering and is surprised. He asks: “Did God really command you to eat this offering?” If on the one hand you are eating the Passover offering because you were commanded to eat this offering and I can’t because I was not circumsized in the wilderness, then, how is this correct since the non-circumcision of the son should also prevent the father from eating the sacrifice. But if on the other hand this law only applied during the Pesach Mitzrayim and not in later years, then shouldn’t the same be applied to the issue of circumcision – that non-circumcision only prevented someone from eating the Pesach offering in Egypt but not in subsequent observances of Pesac? You can’t have it both ways – either both laws apply after the Exodus – both circumcision and the prevention of the father – or both laws don’t apply, in which case the child should be able to eat the Pesach offering.
To this objection, the Haggadah answers, “So too you shall explain the detailed laws of Passover…” Since the Wise Child raised a dilemma (mah nafshach), we answer him with in a similar style. First, we explain to him that in all the years in the wilderness the Israelites only observed one Passover. And since the non-circumcision of the males was not by choice but because they were traveling in the wilderness, this was not a reason to prevent the men from eating the Passover offering. Since circumcision was prohibited in the wilderness, God in fact commanded those who were already circumcised but not those who weren’t. And if he holds the other point of view – that not being circumcised only prevented those in Egypt from eating the Passover offering but not subsequent generations – we can answer him that this is incorrect since the Torah says: “You shall observe in this month the following practice.” This implies that the practices of the Pesach Mitzrayim and Pesach Dorot are supposed to be the same in this regard.
That the laws of Passover are the same both for Pesach Mitzrayim and Pesach Dorot can also be proven from the statement in the Haggadah: “They do not proceed to any dessert after eating the Afikomen.” If the reason we do not eat after the Afikomen – that is the Passover lamb offering – is a concern that we might break the bones of the offering (which is prohibited by the Torah), then when the Afikomen is matzah in lieu of a sacrifice then we should not be prohibited from eating after the final bit of matzah which we eat as the Afikomen. Again, the rabbis apply the verse to this situation “You shall observe in this month the following practice” and conclude that the same law applies in all these situations. This supports the idea that that the laws of Pesach Mitzrayim and Pesach Dorot should be the same. We include this example in our answer to the Wise Child to teach him this lesson.
In order to correct the Wise Child, then, we teach him all the laws of Passover. The laws regarding the breaking of the bones of the offering as well as the question of the uncircumcised male are the same for both Pesach Mitzrayim and Pesach Dorot. When we say, “So too you must tell him…” what the Haggadah is telling us is teach this law too so he will compare it with the question he raised.
(1) The wicked one, what does he say? The Wicked Child asks a question similar to the Wise Child. The difference between the two questions is that while the Wise Child asks because he wishes to be included in the observance of Passover, the Wicked Child asks in order to get his father not to observe the Passover offering. He asks, “If I can’t offer a sacrifice why are you bothering to offer one?” Why is he called a Rasha? He is called by this title because his attitude is not a generous one. Since he can’t give, he doesn’t want others to give others. We criticism him for this and ‘blunt his teeth.’
The Midrash teaches us that there were two types of blood which made Israel worthy of redemption from Egypt: the blood of circumcision and the blood of the Passover offering. If it was left to the devices of the Wicked Child, Israel would not have performed these two commandments and they would not have been worthy of redemption. Had he been there he would not have had these mitzvot to his credit and he would not have been worthy of being taken out of Egypt.
(1) The Simple Child, what does he say? What is this? The tam’s question (the Simple Child) appears in Parshat Bo, Exodus Chapter 13:14. The Haggadah assumes that this child is simple because of the simplicity of his question – one doesn’t have to dwell on his words. But there is more to the tam’s question if we consider their context: “And when your child asks you, tomorrow, saying, ‘What is this,’ then you shall say to him….” It is not what he asks but when he asks his question that is important. There are two questions. First, why does the simple child ask ‘tomorrow?’ Rashi and other commentators understand the word machar, tomorrow, to mean, ‘after some time.’ But there is no reason to understand this word in any other way than its literal meaning. If the simple child was curious about his father’s actions on the night of Passover he should have asked him about the ceremony immediately – he didn’t have to wait until the next day! Also, why does the verse include the word laymor, ‘saying’? This word would appear to be superfluous.
The tam is not as simple minded as he first appears to be. His question occurred literally ‘on the next day’ after the Passover offering. He didn’t want to ask his father at the time of the Passover offering. The following day he realized there was something curious going on when his father stopped eating the Passover offering. The word laymor hints at the nature of his true question.
The crux of the question here has to do with the controversy between Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah and Rabbi Akiva as well as the whole question of Pesach Mitzraim and Pesach Dorot. Even though the time of the original Passover offering is singled out, “On the tenth day of THIS month,” the sages concluded that, for the most part, the laws for Pesach Mitzraim are not so different from the Passover celebration of later generations . As we have already seen, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Akiva each deduce different lessons from the word hazeh, “THIS.” Rabbi Elazar concludes that this word teaches us that the Passover offering must be consumed by midnight while Rabbi Akiva concludes that this extra word, hazeh, teaches us that even though the Passover offering is a minor sanctity offering (kodshei kalim) , it still must be consumed by morning, since the entire night when the Israelites ate the original Passover sacrifice was the time of ‘haste’. Normally kodshei kalim can be eaten over the course of two days and one night, but this was not the case with regard to the Passover offering. It had to be consumed on that night before morning. Rabbi Elazar deduces the lesson of not leaving the Passover offering over from the verse: “You shall not leave any of it over until morning; if any of it is left until morning you shall burn it.” Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, understands this verse as a reference to other sacrifices of minor sanctity (and not the Passover offering). When the verse says “until morning you shall burn it,” it means that it must be burned on the second morning.
Returning to the original question – what caused the tam to ask question his father the day after the Passover offering was made? The first Passover that the Israelites celebrated after the left Egypt took place on a Saturday night. Now, while the Passover sacrifice could be offered on the Sabbath which was the eve of Passover, the hagigah could not. Therefore the hagigah had to be made on the eve of the Sabbath. Since it could be consumed over two nights and the day in between them, it could still be eaten on the Sabbath. We can now see why the tam was so curious about the offerings; he saw his father offer the hagigah and consume it the next night while the Passover sacrifice was offered on the Saturday night but was only consumed until midnight. Both were kodshei kalim, shouldn’t they both be consumed over two days. Still he remained silent and did not ask his father about this at the time of the offering. That is why we call him a tam. It was only the next day that he asked his father about the sacrifices when he saw that he was no longer eating the Passover offering even though it was kodshei kalim, like the hagigah offering.
The seemingly superfluous use of the word laymor, SAYING, in this Exodus 13:14 is a hint that that this law applies to the Passover offering. The word laymor emphasizes the uniqueness of the Passover offering – it cannot be consumed earlier than Passover eve and it can not be consumed later than midnight or sunrise depending on whose point of view you are following.
(1) As for the one who doesn’t know to ask: The Haggadah says that one should ‘open up’ for the one who does not know how to ask. It then goes on to quote a verse: “You shall tell your child on that day…” Finally the next passage in the Haggadah discusses whether one should begin telling the story from the beginning of the month…Who exactly is the person who is referred to as the one who doesn’t know how to ask and why doesn’t he know how to ask? By analyzing a discussion in the Talmud we come up with an intriguing answer to this question.
Talmud Pesachim discusses from when we become obligated to expound on the laws of Passover: is it thirty days before the holiday or two weeks before Passover? The tanna kama deduces the practice of expounding on the laws of Passover for thirty days from the Pesach sheni. Moses originally informed the people of the Pesach sheni on the fourteenth of Nisan, a year after the people left Egypt. Those who were unable to offer a Pesach offering because they were impurity on the eve of Passover were told that they could make the special offering thirty days later. This way they would have thirty days to expound on and study the laws of Passover.
Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel, on the other hand, concludes that one only has to expound on the laws of Passover for two weeks before the holiday. He deduces this from the verse, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months.” Because Moses informed the people of Passover on the first of Nisan, we too begin preparing for the holiday by studying the laws of Passover on the first of Nisan, two weeks before the Seder.
What practical difference is there between these two points of view? It would influence what questions a teacher should answer first from his students, and to what questions the student should give priority. During the thirty days before Passover (according to the tanna kama) questions about Passover take precedence over other questions of halachah. According to Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel, questions about Passover only take precedence during the last two weeks before the holiday.
The one who does not know to ask, then, is someone who doesn’t know which of these opinions represents the halachah. It is more than two weeks but less than thirty days before Passover, which question should he ask his teacher and to which question should the teacher give precedence? Do Passover questions take precedence over other Talmudic questions? The student’s silence is a sign of his confusion and indecision. The Haggadah advices: at p’tach lo - you should open the discussion for him by letting him know that you understand the reason for his confusion. By outlining the two points of view and their biblical proofs, the student will know which question to ask and you will inspire him to finally ask his question!
The Haggadah continues this discussion of when we can discuss the laws of Passover in the next passage: “You shall tell your child…” Does this mean from Rosh Hodesh? It teaches us : ‘On that day.’ Now if it says ‘on that day,’ it could also mean in the daytime! It teaches us, ‘Because of this.’ ‘Because of this’ means, that we only tell the story of the Exodus when the Matzah and Maror is laid in front of you.” This statement is not only a discussion of when we celebrate the Seder but when we expound on the laws of Passover. First the Haggadah presumes that we can discuss the laws of Passover from Rosh Hodesh, following the opinion of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel. The text then says: No, we follow the opinion of the tana kama, who bases his point of view on the expression bayom hahu , and concludes that this is actually also a reference to the story of the Second Passover. Now, having said we have to do it on that day – we raise another question with regard to Passover itself. If we are obligated to tell the story of the Exodus ‘on that day,’ does this mean we can even do so during the daytime – the fourteenth of Nisan, (and not at night)? The Haggadah answers this question: No, it must be done when we can have the Matzah and Maror laid before us!
This controversy brings us back to an earlier discussion: to what extent are the laws of Passover which we observe (Pesach Dorot) similar to or different from the laws of the Egyptian Passover (Pesach Mitzraim)? We have already seen that when the Torah says to set aside the Passover offering on the tenth of ‘this month,’ it is talking about the Egyptian Passover and not Pesach Dorot. This raises and issue for Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel, since he uses the word zeh, this, (as in ba’avur zeh) implies that the laws of this offering are more or less the same both for the Egyptian Passover and the Passover of the generations. We learn this from the verse: “You shall observe in this month this practice.” Therefore, since Moses gave the people two weeks to learn the laws of Passover we must do the same in our preparations for Passover.
The tanna kama, on the other hand, bases his argument on Moses’ statement the following year as the people prepared for the first Passover after leaving Egypt. The original two week period only applied to the original Passover, not Pesach Dorot. Since Moses gave those who were impure one month to prepare for the Second Passover, we too must take a full thirty days to prepare for Passover and to expound on the laws of Passover. If we do not connect the two Passovers as Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel did(?), we might conclude that we are allowed to eat the Passover offering even in the day time. Therefore the Haggadah adds the last bit to its argument: We can consume it ‘On that day’ but not in the day time; ba’avur zeh - only when matzah and maror are laid before us which would be at night.
Finally, according to the tana kama, one might conclude that the mitzvah for the Passover offering is separate from the mitzvah of matzah and maror; therefore, Matzah and Maror must consumed at night but the Passover offering can be consumed even in the day since our Passover offering is different from the Egyptian Passover offering. The tana kama would therefore conclude that this is not so since the Torah says: “They shall offer it in the second month on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight; with Matzah and Maror you shall eat them.” This verse implies that the Passover offering and the Matzah must be consumed at the same time – since the Matzah must be consumed at night so must the Passover offering!
Thus we have given the one who does not know the halachah an answer. We must expound on the laws of Passover thirty days before Passover, just as Moses taught the people in the wilderness. Also, even if we say the laws of the Egyptian Passover are different from later celebrations of the Passover, the law is still that the sacrifice must be consumed at night.
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].
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) Originally our ancestors were idol worshippers: Earlier we explained the Talmudic dictum: in telling the story of the Exodus we should begin with genut, disgrace, and end with shevach, with praise. Rav says that we do this by beginning with, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” and ending, “And He took us out from there…” while Samuel claims that we fulfill this dictum by beginning, “At first our ancestors were idol worshippers,” and continuing, “God has brought us near to serve Him.” We explained Rav’s opinion above; now we must explain Samuel’s opinion. Some questions arise: first what disgrace is there in the fact that Terach worshipped idols since this occurred before the giving of the Torah at Sinai? And second, Rashi explains that the praiseworthy conclusion to this statement is when we say: “Who redeems us and redeemed our ancestors.” This statement needs some explanation!
To understand Samuel, we must begin with the following statement from the Midrash: When God said to Moses, “I shall visit the sins of the ancestors on their children,” Moses said: ‘Wicked parents sometimes give birth to righteous children; why should good children have to bear the sin of their wicked parents? For instance: Terach was a maker of idols and yet his son, Abraham, was righteous! Should righteous children be flogged for their wicked parents? God said to Moses: By your life I will fulfill your words: “Parents shall not be put to death for children nor children for their parents.”
This statement is troubling. We have two statements in the Torah which contradict one another: one that says that children are punished for their parents’ sins and the other that says they are not punished for the sins of their parents. The Talmud tries to reconcile these statements by saying one is speaking about a situation where children remain wicked like their parents and the other when children do not follow in their wicked parents’ footsteps – then a child is not punished for his parents’ sins. And yet we do see situations in which good children suffer for their wicked parents’ deeds. There is another reason for this.
A well known Midrash tells us that before God would give the Torah to the people of Israel, God insisted on some type of guarantee in lieu of the Torah. After several offers, Israel chose to make their children their pledge for the Torah. When good children suffer because of their parents’ wrong doings, it is not that they are being punished in lieu of their parents but because they were given as a pledge for the Torah. But this idea is also problematic. How can parents obligate their children when they are minors and are not free to choose or reject the offer? Isn’t Jewish law that a person cannot obligate someone else without him being present or in the case of a minor without his explicit consent when he has reached the age of obligation? And yet we see in the book of Deuteronomy that Moses says that the covenant of Israel was made not only for those who were present at Sinai but those who were not present.
And yet to be Israel’s guarantor for the Torah is not considered an obligation but a privilege, and in Jewish law we have a principle: zachin l’adam she’lo bifanav: “One can accept a privilege for someone even if he is not present” (or is not of age to accept it himself).” We are allowed to accept something for a another person that will benefit the other person even if they did not expressly give us permission to do so. For instance, one can immerse a non-Jewish minor for the purpose of conversion even though he is not yet old enough to accept this on his own. Similarly, even though the pledging of Israel’s children for the purpose of receiving the Torah entailed obligations (and even punishments) it was considered a privilege and not an obligation.
Returning to our original question regarding the contradictory verses in the Torah: the statement that, ‘children are punished for the sins of their parents’ troubled Moses. It refers to the period before the giving of the Torah. That is why the Haggadah begins “At first (that is, before the giving of the Torah) our ancestors were idolaters.” That is why Abraham’s descendents had to suffer in Egypt in payment for the sins of their idolatrous ancestors. After the giving of the Torah at Sinai, the operating principle changed: children were no longer punished for the sins of the parents.
Sometimes, however, children are still subject to the behaviors and consequences of their parents’ actions. But this is not punishment but a matter of being our parents’ guarantors. The Haggadah tells us not to be surprised that we went down to Egypt and had to spend time ridding ourselves of our idolatrous parents’ sins. After the giving of the Torah we no longer were subject to our parents’ wrong doing, but we still had an obligation that went along with the privilege of accepting the Torah and worshiping God.
We can now understand why Samuel’s telling begins with “At first our ancestors were idolaters,” and why it ends with the statement thanking God for redeeming us and our ancestors. A slave might not be free but he does not have to observe the sexual taboos and boundaries set by the law. One could argue, therefore, that a parent is really obligating his children by making them observe the laws of the Torah However, the Midrash tells us that one of the reasons Israel was worthy of being redeemed is that they already observed many of these limitations – so this was not a new set of obligations. When we thank God, in the Haggadah, “who redeemed us and our ancestors,” we are making reference to this fact and proof that it was a privilege and not an obligation for Israel to now accept the Torah.
Returning to the earlier questions: Since Terach lived before the giving of the Torah, why should he be punished for not believing in God? The Midrash tells us that Abraham was 48 before he came to believe in God and that Terach did not convert until even later in his old age. Abraham was punished, therefore, for waiting so long to accept the existence of God. This might explain also why Job was punished: Job was none other than Uz, the grandson of Terach. He carried the guilt of his grandfather who waited so long to see the truth of God’s existence.
But why did Job have to pay for the guilt of his grandfather? According to the Kabbalists, Job held the transmigrated soul of Terach – so, in fact, through Job was Terach atoning for his sins!! Job, then, was not paying for his fathers’ or his grandfather’s sins but for his own sins which transmigrated with him into future generations. Abraham was fearful that he might have to atone for the sins of his father after having the vision of the pieces. He needed to be reassured that while he would have to atone for his own sins, he would not have to atone for the sins of his father
Abraham was actually very fearful that he thought that he would have to bear the suffering for his father’s reluctance to convert; God reassured him that Job had already been born and that he would bear this suffering instead of him. But Abraham’s descendents were still destined to suffer in Egypt for the sins of their ancestor, Abraham, for one of two reasons: either because he waited until he was forty eight to affirm his belief in God and as a result the Israelites in Egypt also continued to worship idols; or second, because he expressed a lack of faith in God’s promise when he said, “O Lord how am I to know that I am to possess it?” God response to this statement was: “Know well that your ancestors shall be strangers in the land not theirs…”
(2) Both of these explanations for the sojourn in Egypt are problematic. It doesn’t seem right that the people of Israel should suffer because Abraham questioned whether God would fulfill His promise. The Israelites, in fact, showed great faith in God when Moses returned to Egypt to tell them that God would redeem them. If we presume that God only visits the sins of the fathers on his children when they fail to repent, doesn’t the Torah say of Israel: “And the people believed when they heard that the Lord had taken note…?” On the other hand, if one argues that the reason for Israel’s sojourn in Egypt was Abraham’s failure to convert until he was forty eight, this too does not seem right. Then the purpose of the Exile was to purify the Israelites of the idolatry that they were still carrying in Egypt. Yet we know that the Israelites continued to worship idols until the redemption from Egypt!
We can now understand why the Haggadah continues with the statement, “Originally our ancestors worshipped idols.” This statement suggests that the reason for the descent into Egypt was Abraham and Terach. Abraham and Terach were idolaters and they were slow to affirm their faith in one God. As a result, we must bear the consequences of their actions and it was necessary for us to be purified of idolatry through the suffering in Egypt. Lest one say, ‘why should they suffer; didn’t they convert to monotheism,’ the Haggadah emphasizes the word ‘originally,’ to tell us that this is for their actions prior to their conversion. The text calls Terach ‘the father of Abram and the father of Nachor’ as a way of telling us that while we must bear the consequences of Abraham idolatry, Job (or Uz, as he is called) bore the consequences of Terach’s idolatry and late conversion to monotheism.
Finally we can return to the original question: in what way does this statement reflect our shameful origins? Because Abraham took so long to convert, we had to bear the consequences of his delay. In this way our story begins with genut, with shame. We also see that Israel suffered in Egypt not only because their forefather took so long to convert, but because our ancestors too continued to worship idols. Since they continued in the sinful ways of their ancestors, they were subject to the verse, “He visits the sins of the fathers on their children.” We can also understand the conclusion of this passage in which we bless God for redeeming us and redeeming our forefathers.” Israel helped to repair the sins of Abraham as well as their own sins through their time as slaves in Egypt.
(3) And Joshua said…God led them through all of the land of Canaan (Joshua 24:2-4) : This verse illustrates God’s great love for Abraham and his descendants. Normally one cannot acquire property by simply wandering through the territory. But God loved Abraham so much he allowed him to acquire the land of Canaan by simply ‘walking’ through the land. We see this in the verse, “Rise up and walk about the land, through its length and its breadth for I give it to you.” Similarly in the verse quoted in the Haggadah, Joshua tells the people that God led them through the land – thereby taking possession of the land. Only Jerusalem was in the territory bequeathed to Shem; the rest of the land of Canaan belonged to the descendants of Ham. By allowing Abraham and his descendants to walk through the land, they took possession of it.
One might ask: what benefit was there in this for Abraham since he did not really take possession of the land of Canaan? That is why the verse in the Haggadah says, “I took your father from the other side of the river and led him through all the land of Canaan and multiplied his seed and gave him Isaac .” Even though Abraham did not yet merit to take possession of the land, God gave him offspring so that there would be future generations to possess the land for him.
(1) …and I multiplied his seed and gave him Isaac: How is it that Abraham was capable of inheriting the land of Canaan? The Midrash teaches us that when Abraham checked the stars, he realized that he would not have children. (Children depend on the astrological signs and not human merit; this is an idea that might have been comforting for those who were unable to have children. It suggests that childlessness is not a punishment but a simple fact of destiny.) The Moharsha writes that even those things that are determined by astrological signs are overturned by the merit of the many. The greatness of Abraham is that his merit is similar to that of the many; even though the astrological signs suggested that he would never have children, he was able to overcome his own astrological destiny. In a discussion Talmud Rosh Hashanah, we learn that even though Sarah was an individual, she was considered to be like a multitude because she was destined to give birth to a great nation. In discussing which verses could be included in the Zichronot, the verses of remembrance in the Rosh Hashanah service, the sages teach that verses which deal of visitation such as “God visited Sarah,” could be included in the Zichronot service. This was the case even though we normally don’t include verses that talk about remembering or visitation when they are speaking about an individual. This is because of Sarah’s unique status as the mother of great nations. Since Sarah was compared to ‘many,’ so too Abraham was considered to be like the many. This is also suggested in the verse above. If the many were to come from Isaac then the verse should have said “I gave him Isaac and I multiplied his (Isaac’s) seed.” The verse in Joshua says: “I multiplied his seed and gave him Isaac” suggesting that Abraham was considered to be like the many. Abraham had only one worthy child; God, in fact, did not ‘multiply his seed.’ This expression would not seem to fit Abraham. What we learn here is that Abraham was meritorious because of the many that would eventually be born from his line through Sarah and it was the future generations that gave him the merit to overcome the astrological signs that suggested he wasn’t worthy of having children.
(2) And I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: Why does the verse mention Esau? This is a way of proving the genealogy of Isaac. Isaac and Rebecca gave birth to a righteous son (Jacob) and a wicked son (Esau). The righteous son was born to them because Isaac was a righteous man and the son of a righteous man. The wicked child was born to them because even though Rebecca was righteous, she was the daughter of a wicked father. The other nations had looked at the astrological signs and they saw that Abraham was not supposed to have children. When Sarah became pregnant they presumed that she was impregnated while she was in the house of Avimelech. By mentioning that Isaac and Rebecca gave birth to a righteous and a wicked child it became clear that Abraham was the grandfather of one and Rebecca’s father was the grandfather of the other. Had Avimelech been the father of Isaac then Isaac would have given birth to two wicked sons and not just one. The verse goes on to say: “I gave Esau Mount Seir as a possession but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.” This was further proof of Abraham’s lineage. Jacob and his family went down to Egypt in order fulfill the debt of his grandfather: “Your offspring shall be strangers in a land not their own and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.” If Jacob was not the descendent of Abraham he would not have had to go down to Egypt with his family and become enslaved. Similarly, God promised to give Abraham’s descendents ten nations. Seven were given to the children of Israel, one was given to Esau’s descendents, and two were given to Lot’s descendents. Even though Esau was unworthy of inheriting a land, he had to do so in order to fulfill the promise God had made to Abraham.
(1) And SHE IS THE ONE who has stood by our ancestors and us: What does the word V’hee, “And She” refer to here? In the Talmud Ketubot the question of a woman who is taken captive by gentiles is raised: Is she allowed to remain married to her husband or must they divorce (since she made have had illicit relations with another man? The Talmud suggests if the purpose of the kidnapping was ransom then she is permitted to remain with her husband, but if the purpose was physical force than she cannot remain with her husband. This rule applies specifically in times when the nations of the world have ascendancy over Israel.
The nations of the world might use this as an argument against Israel. They could argue that the time of the subjugation in Egypt was a time when the nations had ascendancy over Israel and if the Egyptians held the Israelite men captive, how much more so could they hold their wives captive and do as they wished with them! Therefore Israelite women should have been forbidden to their husbands after they left Egypt.
In order to silence the nations, God tells them: “My name testifies to the purity of Israel!” In Ketubot, we learn that while a man cannot ransom a woman and then marry her, one who ransoms her and then testifies that she was not abused is allowed to marry the woman since men do not throw their money away unless they are sure they can marry. Similarly, God redeemed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and placed Hhis name upon them as testimony for the purpose of marrying them. In each exile, the Shechinah, the divine presence, was exiled with the people Israel for the purpose of being able to testify to Israel’s purity at a time when Israel was under the domination of others. It is to the Shechinah that we are referring in the word V’hee, “and she.” The Shechinah was there when the Israelites were persecuted and their wives were subject to the abuse of the nations. Malchut, the seventh Sephirah is called Shechinah because she dwells with Israel wherever she is found in the exile. She was there for Israel in Egypt and she is there for the people Israel throughout the ages while Israel was in exile. That is why the Haggadah says: “She is the one who is there for our ancestors AND for us.” The Haggadah says, “IN EVERY generation they rose up against us.” God saved us by testifying for us of our purity.
We can now understand the comment in Talmud Berachot on the verse: “Tell the people, PLEASE, to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold.” The nations might have construed the reason for the booty one of two ways: it could have been a fine for the defamation of character (if a man accuses his new wife of having relations with another and it was not true, he was fined 100 zuz) or it might have been payment for sexually abusing her (in which case there would be a fine of 50 zuz). In taking silver and gold from the Egyptians there was reason to construe this as a fine one way or the other. The Israelites were not sure what to do. If Israel took the booty, the nations might have seen this as proof that in fact the women of Israel were sexually abused by the Egyptians. And when God told Abraham about the taking of booty, Abraham refused to mention it for fear that Israel’s actions would make them look guilty. That is why God requested but did not demand that Israel ask for silver and gold. Like the case of Sarah and Avimelech, it would become apparent that this was a fine meant to appease the people of Israel for having defamed their reputation during the years of slavery. By asking it would become clear to others that they didn't simply take the possessions of the Egyptians as a fine but rather asked for it as an appeasement for having humiliated the Israelite women.
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) The Plague of a Mixture of Wild Animals: There are three reasons given for the plague of Arov, the fourth plague. All three reasons are based on the interpretation of the next two passages of the Haggadah: “Great mighty and populous…” which in turn the Haggadah quotes the following verses, “the Children of Israel were fruitful and multiplied abundantly…” and I have caused you to multiply as the bides (?) of the field, you did grow in stature and beauty, your breasts were fashioned and your hair grew long…” These verses speak of the effect of the persecution of the plagues upon the Israelite women in particular and the miraculous fact that despite the fact that they were oppressed, they miraculously continued to have large numbers of women, even though the persecution had a biological effect upon them.
So what are the three reasons for this plague?
First, the Egyptians would terrify the Israelites each day to make them do their job much in the same way that wild beasts terrify human beings when they confront them. God, therefore, terrified the Egyptians by sending a mixture of wild beasts to chase them in Egypt so that they would be terrified in the same way that the Israelites were terrified.
Second, the Egyptians, young and old, would lord over the Israelites and order them around and frighten them, so God sent wild beasts large and small to snatch up the Egyptians, young and old in payment for their harsh treatment of the Israelites.
These two passages are talking about two types of fear which the Israelites experienced and which were visited upon the Egyptians during the plague. The first type was terror (harada) and the second was fright (ay’mah.) These two emotions have a different affect upon women. Terror causes women to have heavier menstrual bleeding, and therefore causes her to be separated from her husband for longer (though it also means she will be more fertile) while fright diminishes a women’s menstrual flow and thereby decreases her ability to have children. The miracle was despite the natural affect of the oppression on the Israelite women they continued to have many children.
Understanding which explanation one chooses for the plague of arov can help us understand the purpose of another plague, shechin, boils. If one argues that the Egyptians tried to separate the Israelite men and women by making the men sleep in the fields and not at home, then the purpose of the boils was to make the Egyptian men odious to their wives so that they would not want to have relations. If that is the case, then the plague of arov was in retaliation for causing fear and worry which decreased menstrual blood and would have allowed couples to have relations.
On the other hand, the terrorization of the Israelites might have actually increased their menstrual flow and their fertility. The boils were a punishment for making the Israelite women servants in the baths (which also would have increased their fertility); the boils, then, would have discouraged the Egyptians from going to the baths and would have freed the Israelite women from servitude. This in turn would have allowed the Israelite women to have more children.
Finally there is a third reason for the plague of arov. The Israelite women were forced to be nurse maids for the Egyptian infants and to carry the children around all day. God sent the plague of wild animals to take the infants as prey for the sins of the parents! Depsite this hard work, the Israelite women developed with physical beauty (your breasts were fashioned) – and this was part of the miracle with the way in which God watched over the Israelite women in Egypt.
Why did the Israelites increase with such unnatural speed, giving birth to sextuplets? God realized that the longer it took for the children of Israel to increase to the number of 600.000 the longer they would have to remain in Egypt. God therefore caused them to increase especially fast so that he could take them out of Egypt before they would succumb to the temptations of idolatry. No matter what the Egyptians tried to do they could not slow down the fecundity of the Israelites since this was part of God’s will to remove them from Egypt as soon as possible. Normally in times of distress and troubles couples refrain from having intimate relations. But here the people of Israel understood were facing a crisis and continued to have relations, just as one who has not fulfilled the mitzvah of ‘be fruitful and multiply’ are allowed to continue to have relations in time of crisis and distress…
(1) And many: If you desire to eat the fruits of Genosar, you’ll find them in Parshat Shemot!
(1) And with wonders: this is the blood… ‘I will show wonders in heaven and on earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke.’ The Kabbalists explain that if the Sefirah of binah is considered to be absolute compassion in relation to the lower Sephirot, how is it possible that this Sephirah aroused judgment from the aspect of binah? They explain this through a parable. If a fire is burning and there is a tree nearby, the fire will singe the branches and create smoke. It is from the fire and the heat of the yetzer hara which is below it that binah creates smoke and that the wrath of judgment arises from it. Blood is related to water which is compassion (rachamim) while the fire finds its source in gevurah, severity and judgment. The combination of these two qualities hesed and gervurah, water and fire, is smoke. This smoke rises up along with the heat it generates a fire even in the Sephirah of binah.
(1) He went down to Egypt: Compelled by the Divine Word: Rabbi Moshe Alshich explained that our forefather Isaac wished to go to Egypt in order to begin the four hundred years of slavery as foreigners in a strange land which had been predicted to Abraham, but God would not allow him to do so. He said: “Don’t go down to Egypt; dwell in this land and I will be with you.” Even though Isaac dwelt for some time in the land of the Philistines, this was actually part of the land that was promised to his descendents. Isaac knew that the promise made to Abraham could not be fulfilled until one of Abraham’s descendents went down to Egypt. That is why the verse says My father (Jacob) was a wandering Aramean and he went down to Egypt to dwell there – he went down to become the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Isaac was compelled by God’s commandment not to go down but Jacob was compelled by God’s commandment to go down to Egypt!
(2) They went down to Egypt: Not to settle there but to sojourn there: This teaches how shrewd Jacob was. When children of Jacob went down to Egypt they (and their father) were fearful that their descendents would intermix with the Egyptians and become entrenched there. Jacob chose a set place for his family to live so that if one of them chose to leave the community, they could no longer return even to work. This is what the Torah means when it tells us Vayagar Sham, “they sojourned there,” that is, they chose to sojourn there and not dwell permanently among their neighbors. The land that he chose was Goshen: “Now, let your servant dwell in the land of Goshen…”
Despite this plan, it does not appear that Jacob succeeded. When the children of Israel arrived in Egypt they were a quantifiable number of which they could easily keep track – there were only seventy people. But as the generations passed the people multiplied in a unnatural fashion (the Midrash says that every woman gave birth to sextuplets) so that within a short period of time there were so many Israelites that they were too numerous to keep count of. In such a case it would have been hard to keep track of the people and hard to keep them from assimilating into their environment. It would have been hard to keep everyone living in one confined area. Thus the Torah says, “With seventy souls your ancestors went down to Egypt but now I have made you more numerous than the stars in the heavens.” As a result the people would no longer have been in the category of a quantifiable number, and not capable of being tracked or counted.
In the Talmud Sanhedrin, we find a story in which the emperor who asked Rabban Gamliel what was so impressive about the fact that God could count the stars; even he can do this. Rabban Gamliel made the emperor aware that this is no easy matter since the stars and the heavens are constantly revolving. The insight of this story applies here as well: God compared Israel to the stars because while human beings cannot count the stars, God can; therefore when the Israelites were as numerous as the stars, they were still quantifiable! Jacob, then, did succeed since God could keep track of the people of Israel even as they multiplied in Egypt. Rashi also points out that since Israel was compared to the stars in the heavens, each and every Israelite remained important and significant in the eyes of God. As long as each Jew is counted none will be lost!
(1) And the Egyptians dealt ill with us: “Come let us deal wisely with them…” All of this is explained in the Haggadah.
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) D’tzakh, Adash, Ba’achav: Beginning with the abbreviation for the plagues, we have a series of mathematical interpretations of the number of plagues: first, Rabbi Yossi HaGallili who said there were ten plagues in Egypt and fifty at the sea; then, Rabbi Eliezer who said there forty plagues in Egypt and two hundred at the sea; and finally, Rabbi Akiva who claimed there were fifty plagues in Egypt and two hundred fifty at the sea. If God struck Egypt during the plagues with “a finger” and at the sea it was the “hand of God” then the plagues at the sea were five times more than the plagues in Egypt. But what purpose do these mathematical calculations serve?
To understand the significance of the number of plagues, we must look back at a discussion in the Midrash and the Talmud between Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Meir. The Torah tells us that there were seventy descendents of Jacob who went down to Egypt, but when we actually count the number we find there were only sixty nine! Rabbi Meir suggests that Yocheved, the mother of Moses, was born on the way into Egypt and that she was the seventieth descendent. Rabbi Yehudah argues that Dan had two, and not one, descendant, making the number that went down to Egypt seventy in the first place.
There are many places in our literature in which a difference of one is ignored, both in the Bible and in later rabbinic literature. For instance we are told to count fifty days in the Omer, and yet we really only count forty nine days. The R’ash (1270-ca 1340), a respected Torah authority, suggests that this is a common practice in the Bible. When the Bible says seventy people went down to Egypt, it simply ignores the missing seventieth. Similarly, we are told that when a person is flogged for breaking a negative commandment, he receives thirty nine lashes in stead of the forty which the Torah seems to prescribe.
Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yehudah, however, disagree on this last matter, Rabbi Yehudah insisting on forty lashes and Rabbi Meir suggesting consistent with his earlier opinion that we only administer thirty nine lashes, similar to the perspective that the R’ash presented. According to Rabbi Meir, the number must be thirty nine since the number of lashes must be divisible by three since they were administered in three equal groupings, while Rabbi Yehudah says we administer three groupings of plagues and one extra lashing in the middle his back.
We can now return to the subject of the plagues in Egypt. The plagues were similar to lashings, and the same disagreement regarding the counting of the plagues can be found here as we saw with Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Meir. According to Rabbi Yehudah, each plague was like four plagues, thus making forty plagues similar to the number of lashes – and, like Rabbi Yehudah’s opinion, it is not necessary to divide them into thirds so the number forty stands. It is for this reason that Rabbi Yehudah divides the plagues up into three groupings - d’tzakh, adash, ba’achav - that are not equal in number – they simply represent the forty ‘lashes’ that the Egyptians received in Egypt.
But what is the reason that the plagues at the sea were so much greater than the number of plagues that the Egyptians experienced in Egypt? This is based on a rule in Jewish law: if an Israelite is sold as a slave and his value increased in the course of his servitude, and then he was sold to a non-Jew, his Jewish master must reimburse him for the increase in his value. Similarly, the Israelites were few in number at the time of their descent into Egypt and they increased so greatly in the course of their sojourn. The Egyptians were only entitled to enslave the number of people who would have been born by natural increase and not the full population increase. The Midrash tells us that every woman gave birth to sextuplets. The five times that the Egyptians were punished at the sea was meant to make up for the extra five children born in to every woman!!
Rabbinic and Kabbalistic literature speaks of three types of lashes. First, there are the lashes of an earthly court, which are thirty nine. This number is based on the fact that the lashes could not be given to an individual until he reached the age of 13 – and since the lashes were divided into three groups they were three times 13 or thirty nine. The second type of lashes was lashes of fire, or pulsa dinura. The heavenly court only gave this punishment to an individual when he reached the age of 20 – three sets of 20 equal 60 lashes. And finally, the third type of lashes is called the lashes of Samael. Samael, the demonic being, was punished with fifty lashes for trying to make himself like God. These were the type of lashes that were meted out to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They received this punishment for acting as if Samael was a divine being. Each form of lashes was for a different transgression, and, in the case of the different numbers of plagues, the mathematics suggests that each had a different opinion why the Egyptians were punished.
Rabbi Yossi HaGallili suggests that the punishment of the Egyptians was pulsa dinura. When we put together the plagues in Egypt and the plagues at the sea the equal sixty, just like the lashes of fire describe by the Kabbalists.
Rabbi Eliezer was of the opinion that the Egyptians were punished for transgressing the negative commandment, “You shall not work your firstling oxen. God said: “I have written in my Torah, do not enslave my firstling; Israel is my firstling. Therefore I will charge you with breaking this negative commandment and will punish you with lashes that come in the form of plagues.” First, Egypt was punished with forty plagues in Egypt. But the number forty is not divisible by three. When we add the two hundred plagues that Egypt experienced at the sea to this number, together they equal 240, so that the Egyptians were punished with three groups of eighty plagues each!
Finally, we have the opinion of Rabbi Akiva who believed that Pharaoh and Egypt were punished for making themselves like gods with fifty plagues – this is the lashes of Samael. Pharaoh and his country received fifty plagues in Egypt just as Samael was punished with fifty plagues. While fifty is not divisible by three, we can add these fifty plagues with the two hundred and fifty plagues at the sea, they equal three hundred plagues. This number is divisible by three as well.
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.
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 said: One who doesn’t mention three things on Passover has not fulfilled his obligation. They are pesach, matzah, and maror: All of these things are mentioned in the Mishnah which concludes: “In every generation each person is obligated to see himself as if he personally went forth from Egypt…” Rava adds: He must also say: “And us he freed from there that he might take us…” There are several surprising things about this passage!
The Talmud makes the following statement: In our time we do not eat the matzah and the maror together since matzah is a Torah commandment and maror is a rabbinic commandment – the rabbinic commandment would disqualify the Torah commandment. In the time of the Temple, however, when all three foods were Torah commandments and were consumed together then there was no question since they were all eaten at once. To understand this statement we must return to the earlier discussion regarding why we eat the matzah before the maror. Since the maror symbolizes slavery and the matzah symbolizes freedom, we should have eaten the maror before we ate the matzah. And nowadays when we eat them separately we must wonder why we eat them in the wrong order. This was not a question in the time of the temple since all three could be consumed together in a sandwich. The same question arises regarding Rabban Gamliel’s statement. Why does he say that we should mention pesach, matzah, and maror; maror should have been mentioned before the matzah. In the time of the Temple, while all three were consumed together, the same question could be asked about which should be mentioned first: the matzah or the maror?
The answer to this question can be found in the following statement in the Mishnah: “In every generation one should see himself as if he personally went forth from Egypt…” The Shach comments on the order in this statement by suggesting that it is not talking about the Exodus but about Israel’s future experience: matzah alludes to freedom. When our actions are proper we will be free but if not we will experience maror, bitterness. The Shach suggests that maror here is referring to Israel’s subjugation to the four great kingdoms. That is why maror is mentioned last in the verse. We begin then with matzah – because we are suppose to see ourselves as among those who went out of Egypt and are free. We then receive a warning – if our actions are not proper we will experience bitterness. Even though we are now living in exile and in bitterness, we do not mention this first because we are obligated to see ourselves as one of those who went forth from Egypt, just like the people of the generation of the Exodus.
What does Rava’s statement add to this discussion? We have already seen that for some people, matzah symbolizes slavery since it was the food which slaves eats (it is difficult to digest). If that is the case then matzah and maror are both symbols of slavery. Rava’s statement emphasizes that matzah is a symbol of freedom since ‘God took us out from there.’ When Rava suggests we should also make this statement, he is alluding to the fact that only one fiftieth of the Israelites left Egypt – the rest died because they became impure and worshipped idols. Therefore we say “And US He freed from there.” – We were freed and not the others who died during the plague of darkness.
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 it is our duty to thank, to praise…and a new song was recited before Him, Halleluyah! This translation is based on a variant reading of the Haggadah text. While most texts read v‘nomar lifanav shira chadasha, “Let us sing a new song before Him,” Rabbi Ginzburg reads the text v’ne’emar lifanav shira chadasha “A new song was recited before Him.” This interpretation is based on a discussion in Talmud which claims that several miracles took place on Passover eve throughout the ages, and in each case the words of Hallel were recited. At the shore of the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites said: “Not for us, Lord, not for us but for Yourself wine (we give?) praise;” to which God responded: “For my sake, My own sake, do I act –lest my name be dishonored, I will not give my glory to another.” This same conversation also took place in the time of Joshua as he fought against the other nations living in the land of Canaan, in the time of Hezekiah as he fought with Sennacherib, and in the generation of Mordechai and Esther as they dealt with Haman’s plot against the Jews. In each case the people of Israel cried out to God to save them for His own sake if not for their sake, and God responded that He would do so for His own sake.
We are taught by the Tur that when we come across a place where a miracle occurred we should mention all the other miracles that occurred in that place. And that is what we do in this passage in the Haggadah. That is why we say, “It is our duty to give thanks and praise…the one who did all the miracles for our ancestors and for us…” First we mention miracles in the plural – that is, we celebrate not just the miracle of the Exodus but all the miracles which took place on this day. Second we make a reference to the miracles which both we and our ancestors experienced as a way of saying that we are speaking not just about the miracles in Egypt but the miracles throughout the ages, as the Talmud suggests. And we make reference to all the miracles that took place at this time by saying a new song was recited on this day. Shira chadasha, a new song, is a reference to the song which was song at the sea. It is also called a shira, just as the song at the Read Sea is referred to as a shira. This was but the first of many songs which were recited on this day.
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.
(1) Praised are You, Lord …who redeemed us and redeemed our ancestors and enabled us to reach this night: Even though we are celebrating Passover, the festival of freedom, we are aware we are doing on this night of exile when we are not completely free. Why, then, do we say that God redeemed us and redeemed our ancestors? Had He not redeemed our ancestors we would never have been redeemed. Also we are supposed to see ourselves as if we personally went forth from Egypt – so God redeemed us as well. We must do the same as the generation which went for from Egypt – we eat matzah before we eat the maror – since at this time we are free and the bitterness is merely a threat if we fail to observe God’s laws!
(2) Even so…enable us to reach this night when we eat matzah and maror; so may we reach in peace other holy days and festivals when we may rejoice in the restoration of Zion…and find delight in serving You: Talmud Kiddushin discusses when and for whom the mitzvah of eating matzah applies. We find two verses in the Torah: “You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread,” and “And so when the Lord has brought you to the land of the Canaanites…you shall observe this month the following practice.” At first glance these two verses appear to be troubling because they place limits on when we are obligated to eat matzah. The first one suggests that we must observe the commandment of eating matzah only if there is also a Passover offering. The word ‘settlements’ suggests we should observe it in our dwelling places, that is, at all times even if there is no longer a Passover offering. The second verse suggests that we only have to observe the commandment of matzah in the land – but not outside the land. The sages, therefore, interpret this verse to mean by observing Passover, outside the land of Israel, we will merit the privilege of returning to the land of Israel. The sages reconcile the two verses in the following way: the first verse teaches us that we must observe the mitzvah of eating matzah even when we can no longer bring sacrifice within the land of Israel, and the second verse teaches us that we must eat matzah even outside the land of Israel when the temple.
The language of this blessing supports this interpretation of these two verses. First, we thank God who ‘enabled us to reach this night (during this time of exile) and eat matzah and maror;’ that is, we must eat them even when the Temple no longer exists and we can not offer the Pesach offering. And lest one say, ‘we are not obligated to do so outside the land of Israel,’ we go on to say, May we reach in peace other holidays...and find delight in serving you,” suggesting as the Talmud does that by observing Passover outside the land of Israel we will be privileged to return to observe the holiday in the land of Israel!
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) HaMotzi lechem: The sages decreed that we should say HaMotzi lechem min ha’aretz, but there is a question whether the blessing should be Motzi lechem…in stead of HaMotzi. Everyone agrees that Motzi implies past tense: “God brought forth bread from the earth.” The question is what the implications of HaMotzi: does it imply the past or the future? On the one hand, we learn that in the Garden of Eden, God literally caused the bread to sprout forth from the earth. On the other hand the same is predicted for the end of time; in the end of time, when the sin in the garden has been rectified, God will cause the bread to come forth from the earth. When we say HaMotzi, then, we imply that it refers to both the past and the future, while Motzi would only apply to the past.
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.
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) Hillel, and How we Eat Pesah, Matzah, and Maror: Hillel and the sages disagreed on this matter. Hillel said that during the time of the Temple in Jerusalem, one should eat pesah, matzah and maror together as a sandwich as the verse says, al matzot u’marorim; while the sages emphasized the last part of the verse, yoch’luhu, “You shall eat it,” meaning that each one can be consumed separately. In other words, Hillel emphasized the first part of the proof text while the sages emphasized the last part of the text. But the controversy between them is even more complicated than just the interpretation of this verse.
Elsewhere in the Talmud, however, Beit Hillel interprets the verse, “On the day when the Lord made the earth and the heavens,” to mean that God created the earth before He created the heaven, while the sages interpreted the verse to mean that the two were created simultaneously; since we can only recite one word at a time, heaven and earth are written separately. This controversy is relevant to our present discussion. According to Beit Hillel, that which comes first in a verse also comes first in action as well. But if that is the case then shouldn’t matzah take precedence over maror at the Seder since it is written first in the verse? The sages, on the other hand, seem to be presenting Hillel’s point of view. Like the earth and heaven being created simultaneously, we should eat the three elements of the Passover offering at once! So why, then, do the sages disagree with Hillel in the matter of eating the Hillel sandwich?
The sages would agree with Hillel; optimally, it is best to eat the three items together in a sandwich. After the fact, however, would disagree with Beit Hillel. The Sages would say it is ok to eat the Passover offering, matzah and maror separately from one another. Hillel, on the other hand would argue that in the time of the Temple one had to eat the three items together at once; otherwise why would the Torah place the matzah before the maror. This would make no sense since maror, a symbol of the bitterness of slavery, should come before the matzah, the symbol of freedom.
We can now understand why the Haggadah makes a point of emphasizing the fact that Hillel ate the pesah, matzah and maror together in the time of the Temple. One might have concluded otherwise based on his interpretation of the verse in Genesis. But because of the verse, “with unleavened bread and maror they shall eat it,” we conclude that in the case of the Passover offering we don’t follow the principle, “that which comes first in the verse also comes first in action as well.” If that was the case here then the verse would have also mentioned the bitter herbs before it mentioned the matzah since maror symbolizes slavery (which came first) and matzah symbolizes freedom (with came afterwards). If Beit Hillel was following its usual perspective here, then it would not have been necessary to mention this at all.
And how would the sages explain this? They would say that they are in agreement with Beit Hillel that pesah, matzah and maror should be eaten together but they would disagree with him after the fact. In other words, one should eat them together but if one doesn’t then that’s ok too. That is why the verse says “matzah with maror” implying that they should be consumed in a sandwich as Hillel suggested, but the final word “You shall eat it” implies, ‘but if you didn’t you can fulfill your obligation by eating them separately too.
(1) Shulchan Orech, Tafun, Barech, Hallel Nirtzah: The order of events at the Seder can be understood based on the statement in Talmud: At the end of Yom Kippur, people would face in the direction of the burning alter (in the northern part of the Temple) so that they would be blessed with abundant grain; they would then face in the direction of the menorah (in the southern part of the Temple) so that they would be blessed with ample fruit. In this statement we do not specifically say wheat and grapes, but rather all types of grain and all fruits, as we see in other statements where wheat and grapes are a reference to all grains and fruits. Similarly, in the time of the Temple, the people would bring an omer of barley to the Temple on Passover so that all the grain production of that year should be blessed, and they would bring an offering of bread on Shavuot so that all the fruit of the coming year should be blessed as well. These offering would bring down the abundance and divine blessings from above.
Nowadays since we don’t have a Temple and an altar, the dinner table has become our altar. The offerings which we put out on the table bring the divine blessings from above. The wheat for matzah and the grapes for the wine are now our offerings. This is hinted at the poem which we sing at the beginning of the Seder and the order of events which take place on this night. We say, through the table that was set (in the Temple and now in our home) that was in the tzafon , the northern part of the Temple precincts, and that we now enact through the afikomen (tzafun), may we be blessed, barech, with abundant food from God in the coming year! And Hallel, Nirtzah means, as we recite the Hallel service over a cup of wine, may our offering be accepted (Nirtzah) so that we are blessed with an abundant year of fruit and food! The Talmud says that songs were only sung in the Temple at the time of the libations, the pouring of a wine offering on the altar. Similarly, the Talmud says that one who wishes to offer a wine libation should fill his throat with the songs of scholars; thus when we drink a cup of wine at the Seder it is like a libation.
While we’re on the subject, let’s look at a related matter. The sages tell us that we only sing songs of praise when we offer a wine libation. This is based on a verse: “And the vine said to them: Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, and go to hold sway over the trees?” Now this verse suggests that wine cheers both human beings and God, but the Talmud asks – in what way does wine cheer God? The answer is – it cheers God because we sing songs of praise to God when we drink wine and offer libations. And yet elsewhere in the Talmud we find a very different point of view. We are told that Jews find joy on the festivals not in wine but in meat, for men, and in fine clothing for women. It was only after the Temple was destroyed and there were no longer peace offerings that wine became the primary form of religious joy and celebration for us. This would suggest that the two forms of joy are independent and separate from one another – contradicting the verse above which says that God and man both rejoice in wine. In other words, in the time of the Temple, Jews rejoiced in the peace offering but God rejoiced in the offering of libations; after the Temple was destroyed Jews rejoiced in the drinking of wine but since the Temple had been destroyed and there were no offerings and no libations, how could God rejoice?
In the time of the Temple, however, the offering of the peace offering or any other animal offering was always accompanied by the offering of libations – so that God could rejoice in the singing of the Levites. So in fact the two always accompanied one another; when the peace offering was made the people also brought wine which would cause God to rejoice as well.
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."
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).
(1) Birkat Hamazon: It is written in the Zohar that by participating in the zimmun before the Grace after Meals, we weaken the demonic forces which might attack us in the world. This idea is based on the belief that doubles are unlucky. For instance, one should not drink two cups of wine – rather, one should drink a third. Similarly two people should not walk in the streets together lest they be attacked by spirits. Evil spirits have no power over threes. Perhaps the reason for this that the evil spirits are formed from two elements – fire and wind – therefore they have the ability to have control over twos, but not over things that are made up of threes. We learn that the Grace should be introduced by three from the verse, gadlu ladonai itee… “Ascribe greatness to the Lord with me.” Gadlu is plural so it counts for two and the word itee, “with me,” refers to one; together they equal three. We ascribe greatness to the lord in the presence of three. So when three are together blessing God we in fact weaken the sitra achra, the demonic realm.
The different blessings of the Birkat Hamazon resulted from historic events in Jewish history. The first passage, that, God feeds everyone, was composed by Moses in response to the bestowal of manna for the people of Israel in the wilderness. Joshua decreed the second paragraph, “For the good land and the food” when the people began the conquest of the land.
Jewish law discusses the obligation of a master toward his servant. Jewish law states that a person who has a non-Jewish slave can say to him, ‘you shall work for me but I am not obligated to feed you.’ For an Israelite slave, however, the master has an obligation to provide him with food, based on the verse, “But should he say…I don’t want to leave you…and he is happy with you.” This is the reason for the statement of the sages, “One who acquires an Israelite slave, acquires a master for himself.” The Torah tells us that we are like Israelite slaves in relation to God. The Torah says, “For it is to me that the Israelites are slaves: they are my servants who I freed from the land of Egypt.” Since we have the status of Israelite slaves in relation to God, God has an obligation to provide us with food. The Midrash tells us that it is the way of the world for a servant to serve his master: to carry a lantern before him, etc. God said, “I have changed the general custom of the world. Generally the slave does for his master; I do for my servants,” as it says “The Lord went before them…to give them light. It is generally the custom for the servant to carry the burden for his master, but with regard to Israel the Torah says, ”I shall carry you on the wings of eagles.” Following this line of reasoning, why did God change the general custom with regard to the Israelites and make himself a servant to them?
When the Israelites left Egypt God treated them like Hebrew slaves: God fed them manna, the food of angels, and he gave them fresh bread each day just as the master of servants would receive . Not only that, but he gave them food every day rather than once a year as one might do with slaves. But God also called the Israelites ‘children,’ a term which would have had a different status in the eyes of Jewish law. The Torah says, “Israel is my first born.” And yet a parent has no obligation to provide food for his son once he reaches the age of Bar Mitzvah. It is not an obligation but it is a mitzvah to do so if the child is going to study Torah. Similarly, the master of a non-Israelite slave has no obligation to provide food for his servant. The Israelite, then, received food from the perspective of an obligation but not as a son or as a non-Israelite. It seems strange that the son who is similar to one who serves out of love receives less than the Hebrew slave, who serves his master out of fear!
We can now understand the language of the first blessing of the Birkat HaMazon. The passage begins by saying that, “God gives bread to all flesh, with grace, with kindness and with compassion;” that is, God supports all human beings freely and unconditionally, be they non-Jewish slave or Israelites. He supports non-Jewish slaves out of compassion and He provides for Israelites who serve Him out of love because they are like His ‘children,’ even though he has no obligation to do so. And lest one think that God provides food because we are his servants who serve God out of fear rather than love, the first paragraph goes on to say, “You provide bread for all your creatures; as your love endures forever.” This is a reference to one who serves God out of fear. God provides because His kindness is ‘forever.’
So what is the difference between one who serves God out of love and one who serves God out of fear? The Midrash says that one who serves God out of fear is protected for one thousand generations while one who serves God out of love is protected and provided for two thousand generations. Both receive God’s love but the one who serves out of love is more deserving of God’s blessing.
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.
(1) Adir Hu, Mighty is He! “May HE build HIS Temple soon; speedily, speedily; in our life time may it be!” In discussing on what day the redemption would take place, the sages conclude that it would be on the fifteenth of Nissan – on Passover. In discussing this matter, Rashi wonders; since the building of the Temple does not take precedence over the observance of the Sabbath or the Holy Days, how can the third Temple be built on the fifteenth of Nissan which is the first day of Passover. He answers that this prohibition only applies to human construction and not the divine construction of the Temple. We read in the Bible, “The sanctuary of the Lord, which YOU shall establish.” Since the Holy One of Blessing will be the one to build the Third Temple this construction project can take place on the festival. That is why we can chant in the words of the poet, “Speedily, speedily in our day…” since the building of the Temple could conceivably begin right at this moment!!” “May HE build HIS Temple,” – we mean this quite literally!
Similarly, even though God swore never to let the Jewish people enter His Temple, “Therefore in my indignation did I swear never to let enter my (place of) rest,” we will be able to enter the Temple. This is like the parable of a king who banished his children from his palace and said he would never let them enter this palace. What did the King do? When he forgave his children he knocked down his old palace and built a new one so that they could enter without his having to break the oath that he made. We read, “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, they shall never hold their peace day nor night…who…take no rest, and give Him no rest, until He establishes and makes Jerusalem full of praise in the earth.’” And yet we also ask God to rebuild Jerusalem so that the remnant can enter it. Yet if God has set guards upon the walls of Jerusalem this would seem to suggest that it doesn’t have to be rebuilt! This suggests that the temple was not really burned down but was hidden away for future generations so that even God will not have to rebuild it on the festival! But brings us back to our first question: If the temple was not destroyed, how can we enter it since God swore never to let us “enter His place of rest.” Therefore we must ask God to rebuild Jerusalem so that His oath is no longer in effect and then to let those who are exiled enter the city.
So we are left with a controversy. If the Temple was burned and destroyed, then we don’t have to worry about God’s oath forbidding us entry into it. But if it is merely hidden away, then we cannot enter it even when He returns it to its place. Now we can understand why we ask God to personally rebuild the Temple (so we will not be excluded from it). That is also why on the festival of Sukkot we add an extra passage to the end of the Grace after Meals in which we ask the All-Merciful “to reestablish His fallen Sukkah of David for us.” The Holy Temple is referred to as the Sukkah of David.
We have a further objection to why Israel might not be able to experience the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish law teaches us that if a man divorces his wife she is not allowed to live in his neighborhood any more. In the case of our exile God has, in a sense, divorced us. If so what use is there in God rebuilding the Temple? As divorcees from God, we would not be allowed to dwell in His neighborhood, so we would not have access to God’s house or even the courtyard outside of His house. Adir Hu, says, “Your house rebuild,” emphasizing the words, baytcha, “Your house.” But since the Shechinah, the divine presence moved from this place, we are no longer forbidden from entering the Temple, and it is no longer a matter of divorce.
Finally, why does the author of Adir Hu add the word, bikarov, “soon” to the opening phrase of the song? This word seems to be redundant and unnecessary. This word teaches us an insight based on a discussion of the law regarding a woman who was raped in the Bible and in the Talmud: If a man rapes a virgin maiden, according to the Torah he must marry her and he is forbidden to ever divorce her. Even if he divorces her, he must remarry her and does not incur the punishment of lashings. He has not broken the negative injunction against divorcing this woman when he is no longer able to take her back.
Similarly, in a sense, God forced Himself on Israel at Mount Sinai: according to the Midrash, God held the mountain over the heads of the people and threatened them: He said “If you do not accept My Torah I will put this mountain down on you and this place will be your grave!” Therefore God can never completely divorce the Jewish people – He is bound to us by the same penalty as a man who rapes a virgin girl has according to the Torah! However since human life is limited eventually either the man or the woman in this particular marriage referred to above is going to die; if the man divorced his wife he would then be guilty of having divorced her. In the case of God whose life is forever, we might have to wait a very long time since God is not subject to mortality. Therefore we plead with him, “Rebuild Your house soon!” Don’t make us wait a long time to take us back as is Your obligation according to law.
The refrain of Adir hu, then, answers four reasons why Israel might have doubts about the rebuilding of the Temple: El b’nay baytcha bikarov: God, build your-house soon!
1. How can we rebuild the Temple on a festival? We answer, EL B’nay GOD will rebuild the Temple.
2. God took an oath never to allow us to enter His house – so how can we enter the Temple. To this we answer El B’NAY, “God will build the Temple” so that it will be a new Temple for us to enter and not the one about which he took an oath to exclude us.
3. But God divorced us and therefore we can never return to his neighborhood – so what good will it do to rebuild the temple? To this we say BAYTCHA, “your house.” There was no real divorce here; simply a separation in which the Shechinah left God’s House; therefore we are allowed back in.
4. Finally, even if God can never divorce us completely according to Jewish law (as in the case of a man who rapes a virgin); he can leave us alone and forsaken a very long time since His time is timeless. To this we say BIKAROV, “Rebuild Your house SOON.” That is why we ask God not to take to long in reconciling with us – we love Him and want to return to him 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.
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.