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Foreword to Ki Yishalcha Bincha — When Your Child Asks...

Foreword to Ki Yishalcha Bincha — When Your Child Asks...

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Is there a need for yet another Haggadah? This question may be asked by many who will take this sefer in their hands, for in the past 500 years the Haggadah has been printed throughout the world, in thousands of editions and millions upon millions of copies. It has been translated into the language of almost every country where Jews have sojourned, and it has become so popular that it can be found in many a home that does not even have a complete set of Chumashim.

If so, why am I going through the effort and expense to print another one? The reason is the following: A most eagerly anticipated event in a Jewish home is the Seder table. The parents have an opportunity to shep — derive — nachas from their children, and the children have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and intelligence. Permeated with joy, the parents listen to their little ones say the Mah Nishtanah,” and with excitement and awe the children tune in to the wisdom of the parents and relish every nuance of family history they may convey. The experience leaves an indelible mark on all present. As the children grow up and are blessed with families of their own, they nostalgically reminisce about Zeidy and Bubby’s Seder.

According to King David it is a blissful experience when, “Your children will be like olive shoots surrounding your table” (Psalms 128:3). Although the commentaries give deep and profound interpretation to this, literally it means that it is the traditional blessing in the eyes of every parent to have his children sitting together with him around the table.

Like any other Zeidy and Bubby, we would love to have all our children and grandchildren around our Seder table, but unfortunately, geographic distances, lack of adequate space and facilities, etc., make this a virtual impossibility.

In a sense, we can achieve our desire of having our entire family with us at the Seder table through publishing this Haggadah, in which they will find many of the thoughts they heard in their younger years when they were with us. While reading it, their imaginative powers will bring them to our Seder, and hopefully it will also help them share with their children and spouses the Torah thoughts and memories of the wonderful times they experienced around Zeidy and Bubby’s Seder table, and thus, they will all be together with us in spirit.

This Haggadah, however, is not only limited to our family. It is customary to have guests at the Seder, and the more the merrier. Dear readers, I would love to also have all of you join us Pesach night for the Seder. Thus, I invite you to read this Haggadah, and through dwelling on the thoughts therein, the unifying power of Torah will unite us all.

* * *

This Haggadah follows the same style as the five volumes of Vedibarta Bam on the Torah. Every thought is presented in a question and answer format in order to facilitate comprehension and encourage lively conversation and discussion. I hope that this will be particularly appropriate on Pesach, when the Torah says, “Ki yishalcha bincha” — “When your child asks you,” and “Vehigadeta lebincha” — “You shall tell your child.”

* * *

As mentioned in the introduction to Vedibarta Bam, my primary intention in publishing sefarim, is to link my family with my predecessors through Torah. Consequently, in this volume too, some Torah thoughts from my grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Hakohen z”l Kaplan and my father, Rabbi Shmuel Pesach z”l Bogomilsky, are included.

* * *


Why The Name Ki Yishalcha Bincha — When Your Child Asks...?

When I told Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, of Sichos In English, that I plan to call the Haggadah, “Ki Yishalcha Bincha...”“When Your Child Asks...?” — his immediate reaction was, “There must already be numerous Haggadot with that name; why not pick something more original?” My curiosity took me to the Rebbe’s library (which is one of the most extensive private libraries in the world and which is now under the auspices of Agudat Chassidei Chabad and open to the public).

There I saw “Otzar Haggadot” — a bibliography of Passover Haggadot from the beginning of Hebrew printing until 1960 by Isaac Yudlov, which list 4,715 Haggadot — and how interesting, not one had the name “Ki Yishalcha Bincha.”

But it was not a seeking for originality that prompted me to choose this name. And in fact, how can anyone, except Hashem, claim originality to a pasuk in the Torah? This name was chosen for a general reason and also a very personal one.

The Torah tells parents to anticipate their child’s questions on Pesach. Thus, not only is the practice of asking questions appreciated, but encouraged. Taking into consideration the question and answer style used throughout this sefer, it was deemed appropriate to name it Ki Yishalcha BinchaWhen Your Child Asks. This is the preface in Devarim (6:20) to the questions asked by the chacham — wise child — and it is possible that many a wise child asks his father some of the questions in the book or the father would deem it appropriate to discuss these questions with his wise son. As King Shlomo says, “Give the wise man [knowledge] and he will become even wiser” (Proverbs 9:9).

After analyzing the pasuk “Ki yishalcha bincha machor leimor” (כי ישאלך בנך מחר לאמר) — “When your child asks you tomorrow saying” — it struck me that the numerical value of these words in mispar katan (singular numerals, not counting tens and hundreds) is 46, which is also exactly the mispar katan of my name — Moshe — my wife’s name — Bracha — and our family name — Bogomilsky (משה, ברכה, באגאמילסקי).

Taking this a step further, the number 46 is also the numerical value of the two words לב and יד — heart — hand. Our family name, Bogomilsky, is of Polish-Russian origin. The first four letters of the name is the Polish-Russian version for G‑d. And Bogomil, I was told, means “dear to G‑d” or “precious to G‑d.” The last three letters — sky — are a common suffix in Polish-Russian names.

The way to be dear and precious to G‑d is by, “Love G‑d, your G‑d, with all your heart,” and “Serve Him with all your heart” (Devarim 6:5, 11:13). It is our fervent wish and prayer that we and our offspring always conduct ourselves in such a way which will make all of us be worthy of the meaning of the name Bogomilsky: Dear and precious to G‑d, and that He reciprocate with bestowing upon us and them from His open, holy, and generous “yad” — “hand” — materially and spiritually.


Acknowledgements

To say that everything connected with this sefer is my doing would be presumptuous and somewhat removed from the truth.

Like Vedibarta Bam, it originated from the booklets on the Haggadah I made annually at the United Lubavitcher Yeshivoth before Pesach. Of great assistance in this venture was my assistant Principal, Rabbi Sholom Baras. I liked him many years ago when he was a student in my class and appreciated his qualities even more when I was fortunate to have him as a co-worker. May he enjoy much success in his avodat hakodesh and merit to go from strength to strength.

This is the sixth sefer I am publishing with the editorial assistance of Dr. Binyamin Kaplan of New Orleans, LA. To work with a person of his stature is a highly rewarding experience. In addition to his expertise in his respective field of English, his knowledge of Torah matters enhances his skill. To say that his pen and patience enriched this book is an understatement. He deserves profuse thanks and I wish him much success in all his endeavors to accomplish in his field. May he and his wife enjoy an abundance of Yiddish and chassidish nachas from their family.

To my daughter, Yehudis Leiter, who was my secretary in the making of this book, I say of her the words of King Shlomo, “Many daughters have done valiantly but you surpassed them all” (Proverbs 131:24). Our Sages say of the mother of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya, “Ashrei yoladeto” — “Happy is she who bore him” — because when she was pregnant she would visit places of Torah study and ask the scholars to pray that her child be a talmid chacham (Pirkei Avot 2:9, Rashi). She, too, during all the months of pregnancy sat in front of me to hear and write up all theDivrei Torah in this volume. May she together with her husband, Shimon, merit to see in good health a “Dor yeshorim yevorach” (Psalms 112:2) — a generation of upright who shall be blessed — children and children’s children, etc., who will be engaged in Torah study and yirat shamayim.

Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, Director of Sichos In English, has most generously extended to me the services of his organization and worked indefatigably to disseminate my sefarim to the broad public. May all his efforts for Torah and chassidut be crowned with success, and may he be rewarded with the heavenly blessing reserved for those who are “oskim betzarchei tzibur be’emunah — “involved faithfully in the needs of the community.”

A major key to the success of Sichos In English is having on their staff Yosef Yitzchok Turner, a master of computer graphics. The layout of this volume was not like all others. It required much skill, innovation, and patience. He has been blessed with these qualities and indeed the work of his hands praises him. His patience, easy-going attitude and mentchlichkeit made it a pleasure to work with him. He is not a person of many words and shies away from honors, so I just say “thank you,” and pray that he knows that I really mean it.

Acharon acharon chaviv” — “The most beloved are put at the end” (Bereishit 32:2, Rashi). I thank Hashem for giving me my wife Bracha. As her name indicates, she is a true blessing to me and our family. Her understanding and encouragement were valuable assets in the making of this volume, and also the many other milestones I have reached. She is a great source of inspiration to our family, and has assisted in making Pesach and many other events memorable and inspiring. I pray to Hashem, that “biz 120” He grant us good health in which to reap much Yiddish and chassidish nachas, materially and spiritually, from our dear children and their families, to all of whom this volume of Ki Yishalcha Bincha on the Haggadah is a gift from us.

Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky

Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky has been a pulpit rabbi for over thirty years, and is author of more than ten highly acclaimed books on the Parshiot and holidays. His Parshah series, Vedibarta Bam, can be purchased here.
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