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Pesachim 115


OPINIONS: The Gemara says that the custom was to remove the tables from before all of the people at the Seder (like the opinion of Rav Huna). The RASHBAM explains that nowadays, there is no custom to remove the table because we eat at one large table, whereas in the time of the Gemara they used to eat at small, individual tables. Rather, it suffices to move the Seder plate to the other end of the table. What is the practice today?
(a) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 473:4) rules like the Gemara's conclusion according to the Rashbam, that the Seder plate should be moved across the table before reciting Mah Nishtanah so that the children will be aroused to ask questions.

(b) However, the MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 473:25) writes that it is not necessary to do this nowadays. The purpose of removing the plate is to get the children curious by moving away the Seder plate before the meal, and this will not be accomplished today, because everyone knows that the Seder plate does not contain the food that will be eaten during the meal, but rather its contents are merely symbolic. Moving it will not arouse their curiosity.

Even though the ELIYAH RABAH points out that some of the things on the Seder plate *are* eaten, such as the Matzos, and thus when the children see them being removed they will ask why, nevertheless many of the Poskim make no mention of moving the Seder plate because of the Magen Avraham's contention.

Even though the MISHNAH BERURAH (Sha'ar ha'Tzion 473:78) writes that the VILNA GA'ON and PRI MEGADIM did not rule like the Magen Avraham, (and therefore the Chafetz Chaim does not mention the opinion of the Magen Avraham in the Mishnah Berurah), nevertheless the grandson of the Chafetz Chaim, Rav Hillel Zaks, affirmed that the Chafetz Chaim himself did not move away the Seder plate. This is the practice in many households today.

(c) The practice of the Yemenite Jewish community is to cover the entire table and everything on it with a tablecloth, a practice which is certain to arouse the curiosity of the children.

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