Wednesday, April 4, 2007

what you say and how you say it

Pesah - Haggada

seder - maggid - 4 sons

Torah reading - Bo

The Rasha, the wicked son, asks what is this service to you? The answer we respond to him is by striking him on the teeth and telling him that had he been in Egypt he would not have gone out with the rest of the Jews.

In Parshat Bo, in 12:26-27, the passuk says, "when your children say to you what is this service for you? You will say it is the Pesah sacrifice for Hashem who skipped over the houses of the Jews...etc.

Why is it that in the haggada when the Rasha asks this questions he is punched in the face but in the Torah we give the child an answer. What is the difference? And why in the haggada do we say the Rasha will ask this question when in the Humash it does not differentiate and it seems that it is a valid question?

I think the difference is in the attitude and the setting. In the Humash, the question is being asked out of interest and curiosity. In the haggada the question is being asked out of rejection and scoffing.

When the children ask because they really don't know but want to, the answer is about the Pesah sacrifice. Whenthe children ask and it is clear they are asking in a scoffing and rejecting manner, the answer has to be sharper.

As "they" say, it is not just what you say, but how you say it.


barry said...

We do not strike the rasha in the teeth. Note the kuf, not kaf in the word. It's hakheh, and the word is unrelated to makka/makkot.

We blunt his teeth, or set them on edge with our sharp retort. Rabbi Riskin and others note that the other use of this root is in a verse (Yirmiyahu?) --'the fathers ate sour grapes and the son's teeth are set on edge'--as if to say to the parent, if your child is a rasha, what did you do to make him so?

aoc gold said...


Rain is falling all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrella here,
And on the ships at sea. 。

-------- by aoc powerlevewling