THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) A SON WHO IS NOT ABLE TO ASK THE FOUR QUESTIONS
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that the son should ask the four questions of
the Mah Nishtanah. If the son is not wise enough yet, says the Mishnah, "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, and 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 not yet capable of asking, 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)
ANSWER: The HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM says that when the Mishnah says "his father
should teach him" ("Aviv Melamdo"), it does not mean that the father should
teach the son how to ask the four questions. Rather, it means that the
father should teach the son the *answers*, and that the father himself
should ask the questions. Since the child is too young to understand the
questions, it is pointless for the father to teach him how to ask. The whole
point is for the father to tell the son about Yetzi'as Mitzrayim.
(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,
the Shulchan Aruch had a slightly different Girsa in his Gemara, the Girsa
of the Rosh and other Rishonim. The text of their Gemara read, "The son
should ask, and *if not* (instead of "if *the son is not able*), the wife
should ask," meaning that only if there is no son, then the wife should ask.
But if he does have a son, he should try to teach him how to ask the four
2) THE LOGIC BEHIND THE ORDER OF THE HAGADAH
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah discusses the order of the Seder and the Hagadah. It
quotes Raban Gamliel who said that one who does not explicitly state the
reasons that the Torah gives for the Mitzvos of Korban Pesach, Matzah, and
Maror does not fulfill his obligation. We recite this part of the Mishnah in
the Hagadah in order to fulfill Raban Gamliel's dictum.
(a) What is Raban Gamliel's source for his rule? (TOSFOS, DH v'Amartem, says
that the source is from the verse dealing with the Korban Pesach, which
says, "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.
Rather, the source is Shemos 13:8, but in that 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 would
suffice to recite "the Matzah which we eat is because..." without the
specific word "*this* Matzah.". Why does Raban Gamliel require us 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 Pesach offering is brought. But at a
time when there is no Pesach offering, there should also be no obligation to
recite these statements regarding Matzah and Maror either.)
ANSWER: The author of the MALBIM HAGADAH (apparently Rav Naftali 'Maskil
l'Eisan') proposes a brilliant approach to answer all of these questions, as
well as many others involving the order and content of the Hagadah. He
suggests that the order and content of the Hagadah were based on the verse
which is the source for the Mitzvah of recounting Yetzi'as Mitzrayim:
"V'Higadeta l'Vincha ba'Yom ha'Hu Leimor, ba'Avur Zeh Asah Hashem Li
b'Tzeisi m'Mitzrayim" -- "And you shall relate to your child on that day,
saying: It is because of this that Hashem acted for me when I came forth out
of Egypt" (Shemos 13:8).
(b) In theHagadah, this paragraph seems to be placed in the wrong 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 m'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 us to discuss!
(c) The Mishnah, after discussing 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." Why? One paragraph has no connection with the other! The compiler
of the Hagadah should have placed "b'Chol Dor va'Dor" *before* "Raban
Gamliel Hayah Omer," because the paragraphs which precede "Raban Gamliel
Hayah Omer" list the abundant acts of kindness Hashem performed for the
Jewish people ("Dayeinu"), and they mention the obligation to praise and
thank Hashem 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 obligation mentioned in our Mishnah is the obligation to recite
praises of Hashem, "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?
Although there are other verses in the Torah which command us to recount
Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, this is the only verse which requires us to tell the
story regardless of whether or not our children ask us about it. Since the
commandment of this verse applies whether or not a child asks, 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
(2) On that day (3) Saying (4) It is because of this (5) Hashem acted for me
(6) When I came forth out of Egypt.
The central section of the Hagadah (called "Magid"), too, is divided into
six sections, corresponding to these six phrases. As such, this verse serves
as the basis for the content and order of the Hagadah!
(1) The first eight paragraphs, beginning with "Avadim Hayinu" and
concluding with "The son who does not know how to ask," were placed at the
beginning of the Hagadah to correspond with "V'Higadeta l'Vincha -- And you
shall relate to your child," the first phrase. (See Malbim Hagadah for
With a single, clear, simple answer, we have discovered an overwhelmingly
logical and organized order in the Hagadah. The order of the Hagadah is the
order of words in the verse which stands as the source for the Mitzvah of
relating the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, "(1) And you shall relate to your
child (2) on that day, (3) saying: (4) It is because of this (5) that Hashem
acted for me (6) when I came forth out of Egypt." (From the "Ma'amar Yesod
Mosad," printed in the MALBIM HAGADAH, 1894 Vilna edition, and translated by
J. Taub and Y. Shaw, Targum Press, 1993.)
(2) The second section of the Hagadah discusses *when* to fulfill the
Mitzvah of recounting the story of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim and says, "Yachol
m'Rosh Chodesh." This section corresponds to the second phrase of the verse
"v'Higadeta," which says, "ba'Yom ha'Hu -- on that day," teaching *which*
day this Mitzvah is supposed to be performed! The Hagadah derives from the
words "ba'Yom ha'Hu" that the obligation of telling 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 corresponds to the third phrase in
Shemos 13:8, "Leimor" -- "saying." This phrase is the actual commandment to
talk about Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, and thus the compiler of the Hagadah places
the actual fulfillment of the Mitzvah of discussing Yetzi'as Mitzrayim 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").
This section begins with "Mit'chilah Ovdei Avodah Zarah" and concludes with
"Al Achas Kamah v'Kamah," and contains the actual telling of the story of
the Exodus. It appropriately corresponds to the third phrase of verse upon
which the Hagadah is based, the phrase "Leimor" -- "saying."
(4) The fourth section of the Hagadah corresponds to the fourth phrase,
"Ba'avur Zeh" -- "it is because of this," in the verse "v'Higadeta." With
this assumption, we can answer question (b) above.
Raban Gamliel's rule that one must explain the Pesach, Matzah, and Maror
corresponds to the phrase "Ba'avur Zeh," which is why the compiler of the
Hagadah placed the paragraph of Raban Gamliel at this point in the Hagadah.
What is the source for this rule? His source is none other than the phrase
to which this section of the Hagadah corresponds -- "Ba'avur Zeh!"
How does Raban Gamliel derive from these words the obligation to recite the
explanation of the Pesach, Matzah, and Maror? Raban Gamliel reads the verse
"v'Higadeta" differently from the common reading. The common translation of
the verse is, "And you shall relate to your child on that day, saying: It is
because of this that Hashem acted 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 Hashem
acted for me when I came forth out of Egypt."
Raban Gamliel translates "Ba'avur Zeh" as "this is because," meaning, "the
reason for this is," which is indeed an accurate, simple translation of the
Hebrew phrase "Ba'avur Zeh". (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") 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", and as if the verse reads, "And you
shall relate to your child on that day, saying: This is because of what
Hashem did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.")
What does "this" refer to? "This" is the object on the table to which one
can point and say, "*This* is because...", referring to 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 of relating 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 of our
fathers in Egypt"), the reason for the Matzah ("Because the dough of our
fathers did not have time to become leavened"), and the reason for the Maror
("Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt"). This
obligation is part and parcel of the obligation to recount the Exodus, as is
evident by its presence in the verse commanding us to recount the Exodus!
This answers question (a).
This also explains why we must say "*this* Matzah" and "*this* Maror", for
"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
Shemos 13:8, "Asah Hashem Li." These words are the source for the obligation
for each person to consider himself as if he personally had been redeemed
from Mitzrayim. Therefore, the compiler of the Hagadah placed the paragraph
"b'Chol Dor va'Dor," which discusses this obligation, at this point in the
Hagadah following the order of the verse. This answers question (c).
(6) The sixth section of the Hagadah begins with the paragraph "l'Fichach" -
- "Therefore we are obligated to give thanks," which 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 phrase "b'Tzeisi mi'Mitzrayim --
when I came forth out of Egypt," the sixth and final phrase of Shemos 13:8!
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," echoing the words upon which its inclusion
in the Hagadah is based, "b'Tzeisi mi'Mitzrayim". This answers question (d).
The author of the Malbim Hagadah adds that this is also the reason why the
Hagadah is called "Hagadah," when perhaps 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".