Friday, April 3, 2009

Four plus a hidden one in The Haggadah

Each year at the Seder, my family try and find as many "Fours plus a hidden one" as we can within The Haggadah.

Previous lists have included:

Arba Kosos

The Four Cups of wine which represent the four expressions of Geula (Redemption) with which Hakodesh Baruch Hu took us out from Mitzrayim.

Shemos 6:6-7 contains the words:

Vehotsasi, Vehitzalti, Vegolalti, Velokachti.

Therefore say to Bnei Yisrael, 'I am Hashem. I will take you out from under the burdens of Egypt, and I will save you from their enslavement. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with acts of great judgements. [Shemot 6:6]
I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be to you Elokim. You will know that I am Hashem, your God Who is bringing you out from under the burdens of Egypt. [Shemot 6:7]

The fifth hidden expression is VeHavasi, found in the next pasuk.

I will bring you to The Land regarding which I raised My hand [in oath] that I would give to Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'acov and I will give it to you as an inheritance. I am Hashem. [Shemot 6:8]

This fifth expression is represented at The Seder by The Kos Shel Eliyahu Hanavi, the cup of wine which we don't drink which is the simon of the Geula Shlema (The Final Redemption) and Yamos HaMashiach (The era of Mashiach) which is yet to come.

The Five pasukim that the farmer is commanded to say whilst bringing the Bikkurim

Devarim 26:5-9 describe the mitzvah of Bikkurim. From the festival of Shavuas and onwards the farmer has a mitzvah to bring Bikkurim (his first fruits of the season) to the Beis HaMikdash and presenting them to the Cohanim. Whilst laying a hand upon the Mizbeyach he must relate the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim (the exodus from Egypt) to Hashem. As an introduction to this mitzvah in Devarim 26:3, the Torah uses the same word "Higadeti" - "telling the story" (of Yetzias Mitzrayim) as the pasuk in Shemos 13:8 "Vehigadata LeVincha" - "and you shall tell the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim to your son" which is the basis for our mitzvah on Leil HaSeder.

The story is told in five pasukim:

Devarim 26:5 "The Aramean sought to destroy my father. He (Yaakov) went doen to Epypt and dwelt there with few number. There he became a nation great, mighty and numerous"

Devarim 26:6 "And the Egyptians ill-treated us and they opressed us and imposed upon us hard labour"

Devraim 26:7 "We cried out to Hashem, God of our ancesters. And Hashem heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our opression"

Devarim 26:8 "And Hashem brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great visions, signs and wonders"

Devarim 26:9 "He brought us to this place [Eretz Yisrael] and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey"

Now instead of using pasukim from Sefer Shemos, the Haggadah actually uses these same pasukim in Devarim as the highlight to Magid as part of the fulfillment of the mitzvah of Vehigadata LeVincha.

Just as there are four cups of wine paralel to the four expressions of Geula with the fifth undrunk cup paralel to the fifth expression of Geula which is left out of the Haggadah.(See above) so too are there five pasukim in sefer Devarim but only the first four are quoted in the Haggadah. The fifth is missed out.

Both of these missing pasukim,  in Shemos 6:8 and in Devarim 26:9 complete the story by telling us that Hashem brought us to Eretz Yisrael.

The Four Questions

The four questions are:

Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat Chametz and Matzah; on this night only Matzah?

On all other nights we eat all types of vegetables; on this night Maror?

On all other nights we do not dip even once; on this night twice?

On all other nights we eat sitting up or reclining; on this night we all recline?

The fifth hidden question is the question which was removed from our Haggadah after the churban (The destruction of the Beis HaMikdash – The Holy Temple).

On all other nights we eat either roasted, boiled or cooked meat; on this night, only roasted?
(See Mishna Pesachim 10:4)

This question obviously refers to the korban Pesach – The Pesach offering, the delicious BBQ, eaten with Matzos, lettuce (Maror) and BBQ sauce (the charoses) which we cannot unfortunately eat until the Beis HaMikdash is rebuilt (may it be done speedily in our time).

Arba Banim

Everyone knows about the four sons, each very different from the others:

The Chacham (the wise son)
The Rasha (the evil son)
The Tam (the simple – straight forward son)
SheEino Yodaea Lishol (the son who does not even ask anything).

To each you must tell them about Hashem and how He took us out of Mitzrayim and why. However, each son must be told in a unique way, tailor made for each's level of understanding and spiritual level; There is no "one fits all" answer when we are performing the mitzvah of Vehigadata Levincha (Shemos 18:3).

By his question, you know that the Chacham wants to know everything so you tell him everything right up to the last halacha.

The Rasha is physically at the table but he isn't really asking a question at all. He is making a statement which expresses his wish to be excluded from the mitzvos of the night. He has made up his mind and now it is closed. You give him what he wants. There is no point in talking to him, he isn't listening. Therefore you don't speak directly to him as he has excluded himself. Instead you speak to the others at the table in the hope that he is perhaps listening, if only slightly.

The Tam has a simple straight forward question. Ma Tzos? This could mean that the son knows absolutely nothing and is simply pointing to the Matsos and saying "what's this?". He may not even be asking a question at all. He may actually only be saying "Matzos" as he points to the crackers on the table in order to show that he at least knows their name although he has no idea what they are. On the other hand, The Tam may be a Talmid Chacham – a Torah Genius. He doesn't ask the long complicated and drawn out question of the Chacham (who's question is designed to impress his father with his knowledge). The Tam may even be on a higher level and contained in the simple but all inclusive question "Ma Tzos?" is the desire to be taught everything. It is your job to really get to know the Tam and find out who he really is.

The fourth son, the one who cannot or will not ask any questions, is the most problematic. It is very difficult to know what the right thing to say is, to the son who will not interact with you. Therefore the Ba'al Hagaddah tells you that you must first open him up with love and only then will you get to know who he is and where he is coming from. He could be another Tam? He could be another Rasha? There is simply no way of knowing until you get him to open up.

So where is the fifth son to which you must tailor your knowledge to? At least the Rasha turned up at the Seder, if only to scoff. The fifth son hasn't even bothered to turn up. He is the lost (hidden) son to whom you must reach out and offer your unconditional love, whenever he decides to return.

The Five Rabonim

The Haggadah tells us that there were five Rabonim, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaryah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon who were reclining at the Seder. How do we know that they all considered them selves on the same madreigah (the same Torah level)? Because we have a halacha that a student is not allowed to recline in the presence of his Rav. Being that they were all reclining, this tells us that none felt subservient to the other. This is puzzling as we know that Rabbi Akiva was the student of these four other Rabonim. It is also puzzling why these four teachers decided to visit their student for the Seder. It should be the student who visits his Rav on Leil HaSeder! The answer to this puzzle can be found in Gemorah and Midrash. We know that Rabbi Akiva has already raised the spirits of these same four Rabonim once before. When they visited the ruins of the Beis HaMikdash, the four Rabonim cried when they saw a fox walking about the ruins. Rabbi Akiva laughed with joy. He told the others that this fox was the fulfilment of the nevuah (prophesy) of the Navi. Rabbi Akiva then concluded that if this nevuah had come to pass, so will all the rest and some day the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and Hashem's people will return to their land. The Seder took place a mere eight months after the Churban. Death and destruction lay everywhere in the land. The four Rabonim knew that if they were to fulfil the mitzvos of simcha and praise to Hashem, there was only one person who could inspire them to do these things. That's why they went to Bnei Berak. Rabbi Akiva was like a streak of lightning (berak) where all around was darkness. So this is actually a story about the four Rabbonim and the hidden one, the student Rabbi Akiva who they called Rebbeinu, our teacher!

The Five statements of power of Hashem with which He carried out the Makos

Just before the song Daiyenu, we have the conversation of the three Rabonim, namely, Rabbi Yossi HaGlili, Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Aikva. (See my previous post on this section). Rabbi Eliezer finds four statements of power with which HaKodesh Baruch Hu carried out the makos (the plagues) but Rabbi Akiva finds a fifth hidden one.

There are of course many other Fours plus a hidden one within the Haggadah. If you know of anymore, please leave me a comment.

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