QUESTION: The Mishnah states that the son should ask the four questions of the Mah Nishtanah. If he is not wise enough yet, "the father should teach him" how to ask the four questions. The Gemara cites a Beraisa which says that the son should ask, and if he is not yet capable, then the wife should ask. If one is not married, then he should ask the four questions himself.
The Mishnah and Beraisa seem to contradict each other. The Mishnah says that if the son is unable to ask, then the father should teach him. The Beraisa, though, says that if the son is unable to ask, then the wife or the father himself asks. Why does the Beraisa not say that the father should try to teach his son how to ask, as the Mishnah says? (SEFER BERACH MOSHE quoted by the HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM)
(b) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 473:7) records both the Mishnah and the Beraisa. The Shulchan Aruch writes that "if the child is not yet wise, the father should teach him to ask, and if he does not have a son, then the wife should ask, and if he does not have a wife, then he should ask." Apparently, his text of the Gemara was the same as the text of the Rosh and other Rishonim. The text of their Gemara read, "The son should ask, and if not, the wife should ask," instead of "*if the son is unable*." According to their text, the Beraisa is saying that if there is no son, then the wife should ask. If, however, he does have a son, he should teach him how to ask the four questions, as the Mishnah says.
2) THE LOGIC BEHIND THE ORDER OF THE HAGADAH
(a) What is Raban Gamliel's source for his rule?
(TOSFOS (DH v'Amartem) says that the source is from the verse, "You shall say, 'This is the Pesach offering...'" (Shemos 12:27). This answer needs elucidation, because (1) that verse is a response to a child's question, and mentions no obligation to say anything if a child does not ask, as Raban Gamliel requires. (2) That verse is not the source for the obligation to relate the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim on Pesach night; the source is Shemos 13:8. However, in the source verse there is no command to recite the phrases about Pesach, Matzah, and Maror. (3) Even if Raban Gamliel does derive his principle from the verse "v'Amartem," it should suffice to recite "the Matzah is eaten because..." without the specific word "*this* Matzah." Why does Raban Gamliel require one to say "this" in each of the three phrases of Pesach, Matzah, and Maror? (4) If there is a Hekesh from Pesach to Matzah and Maror, Raban Gamliel's rule should only be an obligation when the Korban Pesach is offered. At a time when there is no Korban Pesach, there should be no obligation to recite the statements about Matzah and Maror.)
(b) In the Hagadah, this paragraph seems out of place. Why did the compiler of the Hagadah place the paragraph "Raban Gamliel Hayah Omer" between the paragraphs "Kamah Ma'alos Tovos" and "b'Chol Dor va'Dor"? The statement of Raban Gamliel, that one must recite specific statements about the Korban Pesach, Matzah, and Maror, has nothing to do with either the preceding or following paragraphs. It should have been placed after the paragraph "Yachol me'Rosh Chodesh," which concludes with the words, "... at such a time when the Matzah and the Maror are in front of you," for these are two of the three features which Raban Gamliel instructs one to discuss.
(c) The Mishnah, after it discusses the dictum of Raban Gamliel, introduces another obligation and says that "in every generation, a person is obligated to view himself as if he personally left Egypt." The Hagadah, too, places this obligation ("b'Chol Dor va'Dor") right after the paragraph of "Raban Gamliel." However, these two paragraphs have no connection with each other. In fact, the paragraphs which precede "Raban Gamliel Hayah Omer" list the abundant acts of kindness that Hash-m performed for the Jewish people ("Dayeinu"), and they mention the obligation to praise and thank Hash-m for His benevolence. Therefore, it would have been appropriate to place "b'Chol Dor va'Dor" -- which discusses the obligation for every person to view himself as if he personally received Hashem's acts of kindness -- immediately after the list of those acts.
(d) The next topic mentioned in the Mishnah is the obligation to recite praises of Hash-m: "Therefore we are obligation to give thanks and to praise... the One who did for our fathers and for us these miracles...." What is the logical progression from the passage of "b'Chol Dor va'Dor" to the recitation of the Hallel?
ANSWER: The author of the MALBIM HAGADAH (apparently Rav Naftali Maskil l'Eisan) proposes a single answer to all of these questions (and more) about the order and content of the Hagadah. He suggests that the order and content of the Hagadah are based on the verse which is the source for the Mitzvah to recount Yetzi'as Mitzrayim: "V'Higadeta l'Vincha ba'Yom ha'Hu Leimor, ba'Avur Zeh Asah Hash-m Li b'Tzeisi m'Mitzrayim" -- "And you shall relate to your child on that day, saying: It is because of this that Hash-m did for me when I came forth out of Egypt" (Shemos 13:8).
Although there are other verses in the Torah which command us to recount Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, this is the only verse which requires that we tell the story whether the children ask about it or not. Therefore, it serves as the source for the Mitzvah of Pesach night for every Jew to tell the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim.
This verse has six parts:
1. And you shall relate to your child
Similarly, the central section of the Hagadah (called "Magid") is also divided into six sections, which correspond to these six phrases. As such, this verse serves as the basis for the order and content of the Hagadah.
1. The first eight paragraphs, from "Avadim Hayinu" until "The son who does not know how to ask," were placed at the beginning of the Hagadah to correspond to the words, "v'Higadeta l'Vincha" -- "And you shall relate to your child," the first phrase of the verse. Each paragraph addresses a specific detail relevant to these words of the verse, as the Malbim Hagadah explains in lucid detail.
2. The second section of the Hagadah discusses when to fulfill the Mitzvah to recount the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim and says, "Yachol me'Rosh Chodesh." This section corresponds to the second phrase, "ba'Yom ha'Hu" -- "on that day," and teaches on which day this Mitzvah is supposed to be performed. The Hagadah derives from the words "ba'Yom ha'Hu" that the obligation to tell about the Exodus must be fulfilled "on that day" -- the day "when Matzah and Maror are in front of you" -- i.e. the fifteenth of Nisan.
3. The third section of the Hagadah begins with "mi'Techilah Ovdei Avodah Zarah" and concludes with "Al Achas Kamah v'Kamah." This section corresponds to the third phrase in the source verse, "Leimor -- saying." This phrase is the actual commandment to talk about Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, and thus the actual account of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim was placed at this point in the Hagadah. Not only was the compiler of the Hagadah consistent with the order of words in the verse which is the source for the Mitzvah, but he also achieved a logical progression by first introducing the obligation to recount the Exodus ("v'Higadeta l'Vincha"), then instructing when to fulfill this obligation ("ba'Yom ha'Hu"), and then including the actual fulfillment of the obligation ("Leimor").
4. The next section of the Hagadah corresponds to the fourth phrase, "ba'Avur Zeh" -- "it is because of this." This phrase provides the source for the rule of Raban Gamliel.
Raban Gamliel rules that one must explain the Pesach, Matzah, and Maror at the Seder. The compiler of the Hagadah placed this paragraph of Raban Gamliel at the point in the Hagadah which corresponds to the phrase "ba'Avur Zeh."
Raban Gamliel derives the obligation to recite the explanation of the Pesach, Matzah, and Maror from the verse "v'Higadeta." The common translation of the verse is, "And you shall relate to your child on that day, saying: It is because of this that Hash-m did for me when I came forth out of Egypt." Raban Gamliel, however, translates the verse as follows: "And you shall relate to your child on that day, saying: This is because of what Hash-m did for me when I came forth out of Egypt."
Raban Gamliel translates "ba'Avur Zeh" as "this is because," which means "the reason for this is." This is indeed an accurate, simple translation of the Hebrew phrase "ba'Avur Zeh," and it also denotes that there are objects on the table to which one can point and say, "*This* is because..." -- i.e. the Korban Pesach, Matzah, and Maror.
(The difference between the common way of reading the verse and Raban Gamliel's way is whether the word "Zeh" ("this") is the subject or the object of the subordinate clause. Raban Gamliel learns that it is the subject ("*this thing* is because of...") and not the object ("because of this thing..."). To illustrate, it is as if the phrase reads "Zeh ba'Avur" instead of "ba'Avur Zeh." To what does "this" refer? "This" is the objects on the table to which one can point and say, "*This* is because..." -- the Korban Pesach, Matzah, and Maror.)
To summarize, Raban Gamliel's rule is clearly written in the verse itself. In order to fulfill the obligation to relate the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim to one's child, one must also relate the reason for the Korban Pesach ("Because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses in Egypt"), the reason for the Matzah ("Because the dough did not have time to become leavened"), and the reason for the Maror ("Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of the Jews in Egypt"). This helps to answer question (a) above, and it provides a reason as to why one must say "*this* Matzah" and "*this* Maror." "This" is the language of the verse, "ba'Avur Zeh -- this is because."
5. The fifth section of the Hagadah corresponds to the next phrase in the source verse, "Asah Hash-m Li" -- "Hash-m did for me." These words are the source for the obligation for each person to consider himself as if he personally had been redeemed from Egypt, which is the subject of the paragraph, "b'Chol Dor va'Dor." Therefore, the compiler of the Hagadah placed the paragraph "b'Chol Dor va'Dor" at this point in the Hagadah. This answers question (c).
6. The sixth section of the Hagadah begins with the paragraph "l'Fichach" -- "Therefore we are obligated to give thanks." This paragraph is the introduction to the recitation of Hallel. The recitation of Hallel was placed at the end of the Hagadah because it corresponds to the sixth and final phrase in the source verse, "b'Tzeisi mi'Mitzrayim -- when I came forth out of Egypt." The Hallel of the Seder commemorates the miracles of the redemption from Egypt and gratefully declares, "b'Tzeis Yisrael mi'Mitzrayim" -- "When Yisrael went forth from Egypt." This answers question (d).
The author of the Malbim Hagadah adds that this is also the reason why the Hagadah is called "Hagadah." One might ask that a more appropriate word would have been "Sipur," as it says in a number of places, "In order that you relate (l'Saper) in the ears of your children" (Shemos 10:2), as well as in the Hagadah itself, "We would nevertheless be obligated to recount (l'Saper)..." and, "They were relating (Mesaprim) the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim...." Since the book's foundation from beginning to end is based on the words of the verse "v'Higadeta l'Vincha," the most fitting title for this book comes from the first word of that verse, "Hagadah."
With a single and simple answer, the Malbim Hagadah explains the logical order of the Hagadah. The order of the Hagadah is the order of words in the verse which serves as the source for the Mitzvah to relate the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim. (-From the essay "Ma'amar Yesod Mosad," printed in the MALBIM HAGADAH, Vilna edition, 1894, and as appears in the English translation, "The Malbim Haggadah," translated by J. Taub and Y. Shaw, Targum Press, 1993.)
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