Wednesday, March 28, 2007

difference between wise and wicked son

Pesah - Haggada

Maggid - 4 sons

What is the difference between our reponse to the wise son relative to the response to the wicked son? The wise son asked what are these rules for you and the wicked son asked what is the service for you. Why do we react so harshly to the wicked son when his question was not so different form that of the wise son?

The wise son, while maybe not being perfect, is still interested. He is searchign for answers. he is looking for the truth, in his own way.

The wicked son is a scoffer. He is a rejectionist. he is looking for ways to reject Judaism and show us that he is rejecting it. he is not lookign for answers. he is motivated and fueled by personal interests.

That is someone who you cannot give an answer to. It is wasting your breath to try. Nothing you say will be heard. So the wicked son requires a harsh response.

7 comments:

shaya g said...

famous question - so so answer. The problem is, the style and meaning of the 4 sons is not fitting for that answer. The 4 sons are not discussed or addressed from an "emotional" standpoint. your answer addresses the feelings behind the question. But that's not how the haggaddah poses the questions. and there are no feelings behind the other 2 sons being addressed. I've not been comfortable with this answer for years. Taken by itself, it's a cutsey feely answer, but doesn't "tzu-shtel" with what's going on (pashut pshat-wize) in the haggadah.

Rafi G said...

I think the "famous question" you are referring to is a different nuance than what I am asking.
The questions posed generally are looking at the wicked son for an explanation. I am looking for an answer and explanation for the wise son.

I agree the answer is not as good as the question though

shaya g said...

your question is " what is the difference in the questions, that the wicked deserves such a harsh answer". that is the old question.

either way, I haven't yet found an acceptable answer.

Neil Harris said...

Heard something from R Efraim Twerski before Shalosh Seudos over Shabbos. He said if the wise son is so wise, then why is he asking what the halacha is? R Twerski seemed to contrast being 'bonim'(children) and being 'evadim'(slaves). On Pesach we go from being children of Hashem to becoming true avdai Hashem. A child doesn't need to ask for anything b/c their parents desire is to give to their children. An eved on the other hand, has to ask if he wants anything. That's why the wise son asks what's the halachal (chukim u'mishpatim).
Our answer is that "You should also say to him the laws of the [Korban] Pesach, [up to the law] that we do not eat any dessert after the Pesach." We tell him that the taste of the afikomin (the taste of asking questions and asking for things from Hashem) should last all year.

Rafi G said...

it is a great vort.
I would answer the question differently though on a much simpler level - he asks because he sui wise. Wise people ask questions. Wise people strive to learn more and that can only be achieved by asking questions. Ain Ha'Bayshan Lomed. A person should learn from here that he should not be ashamed to ask his questions, no matter how simple the question seems.
This kid is called a hacham even thoguh he is asking a basic and seemingly simple and straightforward question...

Neil Harris said...

" A person should learn from here that he should not be ashamed to ask his questions, no matter how simple the question seems."
This is how I became frum. Thanks for reminding me. :)

aoc gold said...

Sweet And Low

(1)

Sweet and low, sweet and low,

Wind of the western sea, ,

Low, low, breathe and blow,

Wind of the western sea!

Over the rolling waters go,

Come from the dying moon, and blow,

Blow him again to me;

While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

(2)

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,

Father will come to thee soon;

Rest, rest, on mother's breast,

Father will come to his babe in the nest,

Silver sails all out of the west

Under the silver moon;

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

-----by age of conan