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Chametz U'Matzah - Chapter Seven

Chametz U'Matzah - Chapter Seven

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1

It is a positive commandment of the Torah to relate the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, as [Exodus 13:3] states: "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt," just as [Exodus 20:8] states: "Remember the Sabbath day."

From where [is it derived that this mitzvah is to be fulfilled on] the night of the fifteenth? The Torah teaches [Exodus 13:8]: "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: 'It is because of this...'"FS" [implying that the mitzvah is to be fulfilled] when matzah and maror are placed before you.

[The mitzvah applies] even though one does not have a son. Even great Sages are obligated to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. Whoever elaborates concerning the events which occurred and took place is worthy of praise.

א

מצות עשה של תורה לספר בנסים ונפלאות שנעשו לאבותינו במצרים בליל חמשה עשר בניסן שנאמר זכור את היום הזה אשר יצאתם ממצרים כמו שנאמר זכור את יום השבת. ומנין שבליל חמשה עשר תלמוד לומר והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא לאמר בעבור זה בשעה שיש מצה ומרור מונחים לפניך. ואף על פי שאין לו בן. אפילו חכמים גדולים חייבים לספר ביציאת מצרים וכל המאריך בדברים שאירעו ושהיו הרי זה משובח:

It is a positive commandment of the Torah -- Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 157), Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 21)

to relate -- Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:3 mentions that it is a mitzvah to recall the Exodus from Egypt twice daily. The Rambam makes no further mention of that mitzvah in the Mishneh Torah, nor does he mention it in Sefer HaMitzvot. There is a basic difference between these two obligations. Throughout the year, a brief recollection is all that is required. On Pesach night, we must elaborate, relating the entire story of the Exodus.

the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt on the night -- In Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.), the Rambam states "the beginning of the night," implying that we should begin telling the story of the Exodus in the first portion of the night.

of the fifteenth of Nisan -- the night of the plague of the firstborn, when Pharaoh gave the Jews permission to leave Egypt.

as [Exodus 13:3] states: "Remember this day -- the fifteenth of Nisan

on which you left Egypt" -- implying that we are commanded to commemorate the day of the Exodus.

just as [Exodus 20:8] states: "Remember the Sabbath day." -- This addition is a quote from the Mechiltah and Shemot Rabbah. Nevertheless, the commentators have questioned its necessity. Some explain that the word זכור does not follow the grammatical form usually used for commandments, and hence the comparison with the Sabbath is valuable.

Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 21, explains that Shemot Rabbah states that the remembrance of the Sabbath is זכר למעשה בראשית, "a commemoration of the work of creation." The remembrance of the exodus, it continues, must also emphasize the wonders and miracles that God performed.

What is the common point between the Sabbath and the exodus? Both emphasize how God is above nature and, hence, can change nature according to His will.

This quality is also reflected in our service. At the very beginning of Hilchot Shabbat, the Rambam emphasizes how the observance of the Sabbath is connected with a positive mitzvah: rest. A Jew steps beyond his weekday activities and devotes his energies to spiritual activites bond with God.

Similarly, the recollection of the exodus from Egypt must take us beyond our everyday activities to the extent that as stated in Halachah 7:6 "He presents himself as if he, himself, is leaving the slavery of Egypt."

From where [is it derived that this mitzvah is to be fulfilled on] the night of the fifteenth? The Torah teaches [Exodus 13:8]: "And you shall tell your son on that day -- relating the story of the Exodus

saying: 'It is because of this...'"FS" -- The Mechiltah interprets this as a reference to matzah and maror. Thus, the verse is

[implying that the mitzvah] -- of relating the story of the exile

[is to be fulfilled] when matzah and maror are placed before you -- i.e., on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, when it is a mitzvah to eat matzah, as explained in Halachah 6:1.

[The mitzvah applies] even though one does not have a son -- This clause is necessary because from the expression "and you shall tell your son," one might imply that the mitzvah only applies to a person with children.

Even great Sages are obligated to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. -- to quote the Haggadah: "Even if we are all wise, all men of understanding, all Sages, all knowledgeable about the Torah, it is a mitzvah incumbent upon us to relate the Exodus from Egypt." Many commentaries explain that the story the Haggadah quotes concerning Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, and the other Sages is brought to demonstrate and prove this point.

Whoever elaborates concerning the events which occurred and took place is worthy of praise -- Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.) praises: "Whoever adds further statements and elaborates more on the greatness of what God did for us and the wickedness and violence with which the Egyptians treated us, and how God took His revenge upon them..."

2

It is a mitzvah to inform one's sons even though they do not ask, as [Exodus 13:8] states: "You shall tell your son."

A father should teach his son according to the son's knowledge: How is this applied? If the son is young or foolish, he should tell him: "My son, in Egypt, we were all slaves like this maidservant or this slave. On this night, the Holy One, Blessed be He, redeemed us and took us out to freedom."

If the son is older and wise, he should inform him what happened to us in Egypt and the miracles wrought for us by Moses, our teacher; everything according to the son's knowledge.

ב

מצוה להודיע לבנים ואפילו לא שאלו שנאמר והגדת לבנך. לפי דעתו של בן אביו מלמדו. כיצד אם היה קטן או טיפש אומר לו בני כולנו היינו עבדים כמו שפחה זו או כמו עבד זה במצרים ובלילה הזה פדה אותנו הקב"ה ויוציאנו לחירות. ואם היה הבן גדול וחכם מודיעו מה שאירע לנו במצרים ונסים שנעשו לנו ע"י משה רבינו הכל לפי דעתו של בן:

It is a mitzvah to inform one's sons even though they do not ask, as [Exodus 13:8] states: "You shall tell your son." -- Though Exodus 13:14 states: "And it shall come to pass that your son will ask you:...," the verse quoted demonstrates that the father's explanations need not necessarily come in response to his son's questions (Mechiltah d'Rashbi).

A father should teach his son according to the son's knowledge -- Commenting on this statement, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 473:6) relates that if a person's family is unable to understand the Haggadah in Hebrew, he should translate it into a language they do understand.

How is this applied? If the son is young or foolish, he should tell him: "My son, in Egypt, we were all slaves like this maidservant or this slave. On this night, the Holy One, Blessed be He, redeemed us and took us out to freedom." -- To this author's knowledge, this phraseology is the Rambam's original choice of words. He attempts to provide us with an easily applicable example of how to fulfill this mitzvah.

If the son is older and wise, he should inform him what happened to us in Egypt and the miracles wrought for us by Moses, our teacher -- The Haggadah (based on the Mechiltah) also explains that a wise son should be taught the halachot of Pesach.

everything according to the son's knowledge -- The latter phrase, a quote from Pesachim 116a, is interpreted differently by some other commentators. They maintain that the father teaches the son how to ask relevant questions, whose nature depends on the son's ability to understand. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (473:40,42) combines both these interpretations.

3

He should make changes on this night so that the children will see and will [be motivated to] ask: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" until he replies to them: "This and this occurred; this and this took place."

What changes should be made? He should give them roasted seeds and nuts; the table should be taken away before they eat; matzot should be snatched from each other and the like.

When a person does not have a son, his wife should ask him. If he does not have a wife, [he and a colleague] should ask each other: "Why is this night different?" This applies even if they are all wise. A person who is alone should ask himself: "Why is this night different?"

ג

וצריך לעשות שינוי בלילה הזה כדי שיראו הבנים וישאלו ויאמרו מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות עד שישיב להם ויאמר להם כך וכך אירע כך וכך היה. וכיצד משנה מחלק להם קליות ואגוזים ועוקרים השולחן מלפניהם קודם שיאכלו וחוטפין מצה זה מיד זה וכיוצא בדברים האלו. אין לו בן אשתו שואלתו. אין לו אשה שואלין זה את זה מה נשתנה הלילה הזה. ואפילו היו כולן חכמים. היה לבדו שואל לעצמו מה נשתנה הלילה הזה:

He -- the father or person conducting the seder

should make changes on this night so that the children will see -- have their curiosity piqued

and will -- thus, remain awake and

[be motivated to] ask: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" -- The question מה נשתנה and, similarly, three of the four questions asked by the children are mentioned in the Mishnah, Pesachim 116a.

until he replies to them: "This and this occurred; this and this took place." -- relating the story of the Exodus by reciting the Haggadah.

What changes should be made? He should give them roasted seeds and nuts -- Pesachim 109a notes that Rabbi Akiva would follow this practice.

the table should be taken away before they eat -- Pesachim 115b relates that one Pesach, Abaye was sitting before Rabbah, and the latter suddenly picked up the table as if he had finished eating. Abaye exclaimed: "We have not begun to eat and you have already picked up the table!" (See also Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:6. See Halachah 8:2.)

matzot should be snatched from each other -- The Rambam's statements are quoted from Pesachim 109a. However, Rashi, the Ra'avad, and others interpret חוטפים מצות to mean that the matzot are eaten hurriedly. The Rambam's interpretation is the source for the custom of stealing matzah at the Seder.

and the like -- The custom of pouring the second cup of wine directly after reciting הא לחמה עניא is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.:7) as another practice instituted to arouse curiosity.

When a person does not have a son, his wife should ask him. -- The Sages stressed that the Haggadah should be recited as a response to questions. We show greater interest in learning about a subject when questions have first been raised in our minds.

If he does not have a wife, [he and a colleague] should ask each other "Why is this night different?" This applies even if they are all wise -- as mentioned in the previous halachah.

A person who is alone should ask himself: "Why is this night different?" -- Since the question and answer approach is the most desirable way to recite the Haggadah, everyone must follow this pattern, even if he must ask himself the questions.

4

One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise. What does this imply? One begins relating how originally, in the age of Terach, our ancestors denied [God's existence] and strayed after vanity, pursuing idol worship. One concludes with the true faith: how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness.

Similarly, one begins by stating that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and [describing] all the evil done to us, and concludes with the miracles and wonders that were wrought upon us, and our freedom.

This [implies] that one should extrapolate [the passage beginning] from [Deuteronomy 26:5]: "An Aramean sought to destroy my ancestor..." until one concludes the entire passage. Whoever adds and extends his extrapolation of this passage is praiseworthy.

ד

וצריך להתחיל בגנות ולסיים בשבח. כיצד מתחיל ומספר שבתחלה היו אבותינו בימי תרח ומלפניו כופרים וטועין אחר ההבל ורודפין אחר עבודת אלילים. ומסיים בדת האמת שקרבנו המקום לו והבדילנו מהאומות וקרבנו ליחודו. וכן מתחיל ומודיע שעבדים היינו לפרעה במצרים וכל הרעה שגמלנו ומסיים בנסים ובנפלאות שנעשו לנו ובחירותנו. והוא שידרוש מארמי אובד אבי עד שיגמור כל הפרשה. וכל המוסיף ומאריך בדרש פרשה זו הרי זה משובח:

One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise. -- This principle is taken from the Mishnah, Pesachim 116a. The commentaries offer several rationales in its explanation. Among them:

a) The contrast between our nation's humble roots and the majestic level they reached through the Exodus make us more conscious of God's great kindness (Tosefot Rid).

b) Mention of our roots prevents us from becoming overly haughty (Maharshah).

What does this imply? One begins relating how originally, in the age of Terach -- Abraham's father

our ancestors denied [God's existence] -- The Rambam is alluding to the passage "Originally, our ancestors were idol-worshipers."

and strayed after vanity, pursuing idol worship -- See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 1:1-3.

One concludes with the true faith -- The redemption from Egypt representing the birth of the Jews as a nation and the beginning of their service of God as a people.

how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness -- by giving us the Torah.

Similarly, one begins by stating that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and [describing] all the evil done to us -- The Rambam's statements are based on Pesachim 116a, which mentions a debate between Rav and Shmuel concerning the interpretation of "One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise."

Rav maintains that it is proper to begin from "Originally, our ancestors were worshipers of idols," placing the emphasis on our degrading spiritual roots. Shmuel (according to the Maggid Mishneh, Ravvah) maintains that we should begin from "We were slaves to Pharaoh, stressing the humble material origins from which our people stem. Customarily, we follow both opinions in our recitation of the Haggadah (Rav Yitzchak Alfasi), and hence the Rambam includes both opinions in this halachah.

There is, nonetheless, a certain difficulty with the Rambam's statements. All texts of the Haggadah begin with "We were slaves," and then relate the passage "Originally, our ancestors were idol worshipers." Here, the Rambam reverses that order. Perhaps he made this choice because the Talmud uses this order when mentioning these two opinions. Alternatively, chronologically, our ancestors' worship of idols preceded the Egyptian exile.

and concludes with the miracles and wonders that were wrought upon us, and our freedom -- relating the story of the Exodus.

This [implies] that one should extrapolate -- bringing other verses to explain and clarify the statements of this passage as found in the Haggadah.

[the passage beginning] from [Deuteronomy 26:5]: "An Aramean sought to destroy my ancestor..." -- This passage served as the statement of thanksgiving recited by the farmers bringing bikkurim (the first fruits) to the Temple. The Mishnah (Pesachim 116a) mentions that it was instituted as the basis of the Haggadah.

until one concludes the entire passage. -- i.e., until Deuteronomy 26:8.

Whoever adds and extends his extrapolation -- beyond the accepted text

of this passage is praiseworthy.

5

Whoever does not mention these three matters on the night of the fifteenth has not fulfilled his obligation. They are: the Paschal sacrifice, matzah, and maror.

The Paschal sacrifice: [It is eaten] because the Omnipresent passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt as [Exodus 12:27] states: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God.'"FS"

The bitter herbs: [They are eaten] because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.

The matzah: [It is eaten] because of the redemption. These statements are all referred to as the Haggadah.

ה

כל מי שלא אמר שלשה דברים אלו בליל חמשה עשר לא יצא ידי חובתו ואלו הן. פסח מצה ומרור. פסח על שום שפסח המקום על בתי אבותינו במצרים שנאמר ואמרתם זבח פסח הוא לה' וגו'. מרור על שום שמררו המצריים את חיי אבותינו במצרים. מצה על שם שנגאלו. ודברים האלו כולן נקראין הגדה:

Whoever does not mention these three matters on the night of the fifteenth has not fulfilled his obligation -- to relate the story of the Exodus. The commentators question if a person who does not mention these three concepts is not considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah at all, or rather, is the intent that he has not fulfilled the mitzvah in a desirable manner?

They are: the Paschal sacrifice, matzah, and maror. -- From the verse quoted below: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God,'"FS" Tosefot, Pesachim 116b, derives that the Paschal sacrifice must be among the things spoken about on Pesach. Since the Paschal sacrifice must be eaten "with matzot and bitter herbs," there is also an obligation to mention them.

the Paschal sacrifice: [It is eaten] because the Omnipresent passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt -- saving them from the plague of the slaying of the firstborn

as [Exodus 12:27] states: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God.'"FS"

The bitter herbs -- Here and in Halachah 8:4, the Rambam changes the order found in our text of the Mishnah and in the Haggadah (including even his own text of the Haggadah). Rabbenu Manoach maintains that this was the order found in the Rambam's text of the Mishnah.

[They are eaten] because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt. The matzah: [It is eaten] because of the redemption. These statements -- the questions asked in Halachah 3 and the explanations referred to in this and the previous halachah.

are all referred to as the Haggadah.

6

In each and every generation, a person must present himself as if he, himself, has now left the slavery of Egypt, as [Deuteronomy 6:23] states: "He took us out from there." Regarding this manner, God commanded in the Torah: "Remember that you were a slave [Deuteronomy 5:15]" - i.e., as if you, yourself, were a slave and went out to freedom and were redeemed.

ו

בכל דור ודור חייב אדם להראות את עצמו כאילו הוא בעצמו יצא עתה משעבוד מצרים שנאמר ואותנו הוציא משם וגו'. ועל דבר זה צוה הקב"ה בתורה וזכרת כי עבד היית כלומר כאילו אתה בעצמך היית עבד ויצאת לחירות ונפדית:

In each and every generation, a person must present himself -- Pesachim 116b explains that the mitzvah of relating the story of the Exodus cannot remain on the intellectual level alone. Rather, it must affect a person to the extent that he personally feels that he is leaving Egypt.

There is a slight difficulty with the Rambam's statements. Pesachim (ibid.), the commonly accepted text of the Haggadah, and even the Rambam's own text of the Haggadah, read לראות (see himself), and not להראות (present himself) -- i.e., show others that he feels this way. Why does the Rambam alter the text here?

Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XII, notes that the following halachot emphasize how the obligation of recalling the Exodus applies, not only to the recitation of the Haggadah, but to all the practices performed on Pesach. Since we must recite the Haggadah to others, as implied by the question-and-answer approach required by Halachah 3, the manner in which a person performs all the other Passover practices must also demonstrate to others his personal experience of the Exodus.

as if he, himself, has now -- the words, "himself" and "now" are also additions to the Mishnah.

left the slavery of Egypt -- Here, also, the Rambam alters the text, adding the words "the slavery." Since the Rambam is addressing people who may never have seen the physical land of Egypt, it is not possible to demand that they feel as if they left that country, but rather, that they left backbreaking slavery as experienced by our people in Egypt.

as [Deuteronomy 6:23] states: "He took -- This and the verse quoted below were stated forty years after the redemption from Egypt, to the Jews who were prepared to enter Eretz Yisrael. They had not tasted Egyptian slavery.

us out from there." -- This verse is quoted by Ravvah, Pesachim 116b. However, the Mishnah (and our text of the Haggadah) derive this concept from Exodus 13:8: "And you shall tell your son...: 'It is because of this, that God acted for me...'"FS" Nevertheless, the Rambam's text of the Mishnah and the Haggadah do not include that verse.

Regarding this manner, God commanded in the Torah: "Remember that you were a slave [Deuteronomy 5:15]" -- It is necessary to quote this verse in addition to the one mentioned previously. The previous verse teaches us that the redemption from Egypt is a continuous activity, affecting us at present as well. This verse emphasizes that we are obligated to recognize and recall that fact.

i.e., as if you, yourself, -- even though physically, you did not experience this slavery.

were a slave and went out to freedom and were redeemed.

7

Therefore, when a person feasts on this night, he must eat and drink while he is reclining in the manner of free men. Each and every one, both men and women, must drink four cups of wine on this night. [This number] should not be reduced. Even a poor person who is sustained by charity should not have fewer than four cups. The size of each of these cups should be a quarter [of a log].

ז

לפיכך כשסועד אדם בלילה הזה צריך לאכול ולשתות והוא מיסב דרך חירות. וכל אחד ואחד בין אנשים בין נשים חייב לשתות בלילה הזה ארבעה כוסות של יין. אין פוחתין לו מהם. ואפילו עני המתפרנס מן הצדקה לא יפחתו לו מארבעה כוסות. שיעור כל כוס מהן רביעית:

Therefore, when a person feasts on this night -- The meal served at the Seder should be festive. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 472:2, states that a person should set the table with the most attractive utensils he can afford.

he must eat and drink -- The Talmud mentions two practices as characteristic of freedom: reclining and drinking four cups of wine. The Rambam mentions the general principles applying to these obligations in this halachah, and explains each of the practices in particular in the following halachot.

while he is reclining -- on couches

in the manner of free men -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 10:1), the Rambam relates that this was the practice of "kings and great people."

The commentaries quote the Rambam's expression as a proof that reclining (הסיבה) is not merely a particular law, describing the manner in which the matzah and the four cups of wine must be eaten and drunk, but rather a unique requirement on its own. Therefore, as explained in the following halachah, it is praiseworthy for a person to eat the entire Seder meal while reclining.

each and every one -- Even a person who has difficulty drinking wine must observe this practice. Nedarim 49b relates that Rabbi Yehudah bar Illai would have to bind his sides from Pesach to Shavuot because of the aftereffects of the four cups of wine he drank at the Seder. Nevertheless, each year he fulfilled the mitzvah.

both men and women -- Generally, woman are not bound to fulfill any mitzvot that have a specific time limitation. However, an exception to this principle is made regarding the mitzvot associated with the Seder night. Since the women had a full share in the miracles of the Exodus - indeed, Sotah 11b states that the redemption came about because of their merit - they must participate fully in the commemoration of the Exodus (Pesachim 108b).

It is curious that the Rambam does not mention whether wine should be given to children below Bar-Mitzvah age. Many authorities maintain that it is unnecessary for the Rambam to mention this fact, for we can assume that the all-encompassing obligation to educate one's children in Torah practice applies in this regard as well. (See Shulchan Aruch 472:15 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 472:25)

Other commentaries, however, maintain that the omission is significant. They note that in Hilchot De'ot 4:12, the Rambam writes that wine is harmful to young children. Hence, they maintain, the Rabbis would not require a father to train his children in Torah practice at the expense of their health.

must drink four -- The Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 10:1 explains that these four cups of wine are associated with the four promises of redemption given to the Jews in Egypt (Exodus 6:6-7). Alternatively, it is suggested that they refer to:

the four cups mentioned in the narrative of Pharaoh's butler;

the four exiles in which the Jews will suffer;

the four cups of retribution God will force the gentiles to drink in the Messianic age; and,

the four cups of consolation He will offer to the Jews after their redemption.

In Halachah 8:10, the Rambam also mentions a fifth cup of wine. See the commentary on that halachah.

cups of wine -- Most halachic authorities require that this wine have some alcoholic content. Hence, grape juice alone should not be used.

on this night. [This number] should not be reduced -- However, during certain portions of the Seder, it is possible to drink additional cups of wine.

even a poor person who is sustained by charity should not have fewer than four cups. -- Just as the Jewish community must supply him with his physical needs, they must also provide him with the necessities required to fulfill his halachic obligations.

The size of each of these cups -- i.e., the amount of liquid they must contain

should be a quarter [of a log] -- There is some controversy about the conversion of that figure into modern measure. The most commonly accepted figure is 3.35 fluid ounces. Some authorities require even larger cups.

8

Even one of Israel's poor should not eat until he [can] recline. A woman need not recline. If she is an important woman, she must recline. [Even] a son in the presence of his father or an attendant in the presence of his master must recline. However, a student before his teacher should not recline unless his teacher grants him permission.

Reclining on one's right side is not considered reclining. Neither is reclining on one's back or forwards.

When must one recline? when eating the כזית of matzah and when drinking these four cups of wine. While eating and drinking at other times: if one reclines, it is praiseworthy; if not, there is no requirement.

ח

אפילו עני שבישראל לא יאכל עד שיסב. אשה אינה צריכה הסיבה. ואם אשה חשובה היא צריכה הסיבה. ובן אצל אביו והשמש בפני רבו צריכין הסיבה. אבל תלמיד בפני רבו אינו מיסב אלא אם כן נתן לו רבו רשות. והסיבת ימין אינה הסיבה. וכן המיסב על ערפו או על פניו אין זו הסיבה. ואימתי צריכין הסיבה בשעת אכילת כזית מצה ובשתיית ארבעה כוסות האלו. ושאר אכילתו ושתייתו אם היסב הרי זה משובח ואם לאו אינו צריך:

Even one of Israel's poor should not eat until he [can] recline. -- The word "even" is used to include people who one would presume would not be obligated. Tosefot, Pesachim 99b, explains that it obligates even a poor person who cannot afford a couch or pillows to lean on. He also must try to recline to the best of his ability - e.g., leaning on a colleague's side. See Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 472:3.

A woman need not recline. -- Rabbenu Manoach and other commentators explain that this refers only to a woman in the presence of her husband. The Sh'eltot d'Rav Achai (Tzav 77) states that it applies to all women, since women do not generally recline.

If she is an important woman, she must recline. -- The Ramah, Orach Chayim 472:4, and other Ashkenazic authorities write: "All our women are considered important. Nevertheless, it is not customary for them to recline."

[Even] a son in the presence of his father or an attendant in the presence of his master must recline. -- A son is obligated to honor his father, and thus it would not be respectful to recline in his presence. However, we may assume that the father foregoes his honor in this regard. This applies even if the father is also his tutor in Torah studies.

Though an attendant is bound to fulfill the duties required of him by his master, the obligations required of him by God take precedence.

However, a student before his teacher -- i.e., one who teaches him Torah

should not recline -- for a person's fear of his teacher must parallel his fear of God (Pesachim 22b).

unless his teacher grants him permission. -- Should he desire to do so, a teacher may forego the honor due him. In such an instance, a student must recline.

Reclining on one's right side is not considered reclining. -- This refers to a right-handed person. Since he must eat with his right hand, it would be uncomfortable for him to recline on that side (Rashbam, Pesachim 108a). Alternatively, this refers to all people for reclining in this manner is dangerous, lest the food go down the windpipe rather than the esophagus (Ramah 472:3).

Neither is reclining on one's back or forwards. -- Pesachim 108a explains that פרקדן is not considered as a desirable manner of reclining. Most commentaries explain that refers only to leaning on one's back. However, even leaning forward is not acceptable, since this is not a comfortable manner of eating and cannot be regarded as a symbol of freedom and liberation.

When must one recline? when eating the כזית of matzah -- At present, this obligation applies also to eating the korech (sandwich of matzah and maror) and the afikoman.

and when drinking these four cups of wine. -- for these were ordained particularly to celebrate the redemption from Egypt.

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 472:7, writes that a person who ate matzah or drank from the four cups of wine without reclining is not considered to have fulfilled his obligation and must repeat the act.

The Ramah qualifies this law, explaining that since, in the Ashkenazic community, certain opinions do not require reclining at present, one need not drink another cup of wine if the third and fourth cups of wine were drunk without reclining. However, he suggests that a person repeat the eating of matzah and the drinking of the first two cups of wine if they were consumed without reclining. The Magen Avraham (and the subsequent authorities) declare that the drinking of the first cup should also not be repeated.

While eating and drinking at other times -- during the Seder meal

if one reclines, it is praiseworthy -- for, as mentioned in the previous halachah, reclining is one of the signs of freedom and liberation, and thus, has an importance of its own, independent of its connection to the eating of matzah and the drinking of the four cups of wine.

if not, there is no requirement. -- for, in particular, reclining was obligated only for those acts that were specifically instituted as symbols of our liberation. One should not recline while eating the maror, for it was ordained as a remembrance of our people's oppression and not of their liberation (Pesachim 108a).

9

These four cups [of wine] should be mixed with water so that drinking them will be pleasant. [The degree to which they are mixed] all depends on the wine and the preference of the person drinking. [Together,] these four [cups] should contain at least a quarter [of a log] of pure wine.

A person who drank these four cups from wine which was not mixed [with water] has fulfilled the obligation to drink four cups of wine, but has not fulfilled the obligation to do so in a manner expressive of freedom.

A person who drank these four cups of wine mixed [with water] at one time has fulfilled the obligation to drink wine in a manner expressive of freedom, but has not fulfilled the obligation of four cups of wine.

A person who drank the majority [of the cup] from each of these [four] cups has fulfilled his obligation.

ט

ארבעה כוסות האלו צריך למזוג אותן כדי שתהיה שתיה עריבה הכל לפי היין ולפי דעת השותה. ולא יפחות בארבעתן מרביעית יין חי. שתה ארבעה כוסות אלו מיין שאינו מזוג יצא ידי ארבעה כוסות ולא יצא ידי חירות. שתה ארבעה כוסות מזוגין בבת אחת ידי חירות יצא ידי ארבעה כוסות לא יצא. ואם שתה מכל כוס מהן רובו יצא:

These four cups [of wine] should be mixed with water so that drinking them will be pleasant. -- In Talmudic times, the wines were very strong and had to be mixed with water before being drunk. At present, most commercially produced wines have already been diluted with water. Nevertheless, in many communities, it is customary to mix a small amount of water with the wine when pouring the cup, to fulfill the obligation of mixing the wine with water oneself.

[The degree to which they are mixed] all depends on -- the strength of

the wine and the preference of the person drinking. -- Nevertheless, the Sages placed some limits on the extent to which wine may be diluted.

[Together,] these four [cups] should contain at least a quarter

[of a log] of pure wine. -- i.e., the sum total of pure wine contained in all four cups must be at least a quarter of a log at least 3.35 fluid ounces, as explained above. A person may thus add three times this quantity of water to the wine to produce four cups, each containing a quarter of a log of mixed wine.

We may not dilute the wine any further. Shabbat 77a states: "Any wine that is less than a third of the quantity of the water [mixed in] is not considered wine."

This factor is significant at present, when the wines commercially produced are substantially diluted with water in the factories. Hence, when adding water to them at the table, one must take care not to exceed the above limits.

A person who drank these four cups from wine which was not mixed [with water] -- In Hilchot Mamrim 7:4, the Rambam writes that drinking wine in this manner is considered as an accidental occurrence, and no one, not even a glutton, will continue doing this.

has fulfilled the obligation to drink four cups of wine, but has not fulfilled the obligation to do so in a manner expressive of freedom. -- i.e., he has not fulfilled the mitzvah in its proper manner. However, as stated above, at present many commentaries do not require further dilution with water.

A person who drank these four cups of wine mixed [with water] at one time -- without waiting to drink them as prescribed in the Haggadah

has fulfilled the obligation to drink wine in a manner expressive of freedom, but has not fulfilled the obligation of four cups of wine. -- The Rabbis ordained that the cups be drunk in the prescribed order. (Note the following halachah.) A person who does not drink them in this order does not fulfill his obligation.

A person who drank the majority [of the cup] from each of these [four] cups has fulfilled his obligation. -- The Taz (472:7) explains that it is desirable for a person to drink the entire cup of wine if possible. Accordingly, the Magen Avraham suggests using smaller cups, so that it is easy to drink the entire contents. Some opinions maintain that even if a person is using a very large cup, he is obligated to drink the majority of the cup. However, the prevailing opinion (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 472:19) is that for the first three cups, it is sufficient to drink the majority of a quarter of a log (i.e., at least 1.68 fluid ounces of wine). For the final cup, one should drink an entire quarter of a log.

The source of the latter law is Pesachim 108a, which mentions a person who drinks wine from his cup and then gives to his children and the members of his household. The Talmud concludes that he fulfills his obligation if he drinks the majority of the cup. The Rambam quotes only the conclusion of this statement, for he maintains that all adult members of the household, both men and women, should be given their own cups of wine and he does not mention the obligation of giving wine to children. (See Halachah 7.)

10

On each of these four cups, one recites a blessing of its own. In addition:

On the first cup, one recites the kiddush pertaining to the day;

On the second cup, one reads the Haggadah;

On the third cup, one recites the grace after meals;

On the fourth cup, one concludes the Hallel and recites the blessing for songs [of praise].

Between these cups, should one desire to drink, one may. Between the third and the fourth cup, one should not drink.

י

כל כוס וכוס מארבעה כוסות הללו מברך עליו ברכה בפני עצמה. וכוס ראשון אומר עליו קדוש היום. כוס שני קורא עליו את ההגדה. כוס שלישי מברך עליו ברכת המזון. כוס רביעי גומר עליו את ההלל ומברך עליו ברכת השיר. ובין הכוסות האלו אם רצה לשתות שותה בין שלישי לרביעי אינו שותה:

On each of these four cups, one recites a blessing of its own -- i.e., one recites the blessing בורא פרי הגפן, blessing God for creating wine, before partaking of each cup of wine. Generally, when one continues drinking wine in one sitting, only one blessing is recited in the beginning. However, in this instance, since each of the four cups was ordained as a specific mitzvah, it requires a blessing of its own.

The Ma'aseh Rokeach quotes Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son, as stating that after each of the four cups, his father also required the recitation of the blessing על הגפן (the blessing recited after drinking wine). Nevertheless, both Sephardic and Ashkenazic custom today is to recite על הגפן only once, at the end of the Seder (Ramah 474:1).

Also, -- each of the four cups is associated with another blessing(s).

on the first cup, one recites the kiddush pertaining to the day -- as on every Sabbath and festival, as stated in Halachah 8:1.

On the second cup, one reads the Haggadah -- and concludes with the blessing אשר גאלנו, which praises God for redeeming us, as stated in Halachah 8:5.

On the third cup, one recites the grace after meals -- which, throughout the year, should be recited over a cup of wine, as the Rambam writes in Hilchot Berachot 7:14 and as stated in Halachah 8:10 below.

On the fourth cup, one concludes the Hallel -- which is begun before partaking of the meal, as stated in Halachah 8:5.

and recites the blessing for songs [of praise]. -- i.e., the blessing יהללוך, generally recited after the Hallel, as stated in Halachah 8:10.

Between these cups, should one desire to drink, one may. -- However, the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:3, recommends not drinking between the first and second cups. The Darchei Mosheh states that this is the accepted Ashkenazic custom. See also Mishnah Berurah 473:13-15.

No restrictions are placed on drinking between the second and third cups, since this is the time of the Seder meal.

11

The charoset is a mitzvah ordained by the words of the Sages, to commemorate the clay with which [our forefathers] worked in Egypt. How is it made?

We take dates, dried figs, or raisins and the like, and crush them, add vinegar to them, and mix them with spices, as clay is mixed into straw. This is placed on the table on [the first two] nights of Pesach.

יא

החרוסת מצוה מדברי סופרים זכר לטיט שהיו עובדין בו במצרים. וכיצד עושין אותה לוקחין תמרים או גרוגרות או צמוקין וכיוצא בהן ודורסין אותן ונותנין לתוכן חומץ ומתבלין אותן בתבלין כמו טיט בתבן ומביאין אותה על השלחן בלילי הפסח:

The charoset is a mitzvah ordained by the words of the Sages -- This statement represents a change of opinion by the Rambam. Pesachim 10:3 states: "The charoset is not a mitzvah. Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok declares: 'It is a mitzvah.'"FS" In his commentary on that Mishnah, the Rambam writes:

According to Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok, who maintains that charoset is a mitzvah, one is obligated to recite a blessing "...who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the eating of charoset." This is not the halachah.

A change of opinion of this nature is not extremely uncommon. However, the question can be raised: why does the Rambam not require a blessing to be recited over the charoset? Among the answers given is that the charoset is considered secondary (טפל) to the substances which are dipped in it. Hence, we follow the principle of reciting a blessing upon the essential item (the maror or the matzah) and not on the charoset (Lechem Mishneh).

to commemorate the clay -- i.e., mortar. Pesachim 116a offers a second opinion: "to commemorate the apple trees" - i.e., the manner in which the Jewish women made themselves attractive to their husbands and convinced them to continue rearing children. They would then hide in the apple orchards and give birth to their children without difficulty (Rashbam).

with which [our forefathers] worked in Egypt -- making bricks.

How is it made? We take dates, dried figs, or raisins and the like and crush them -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (473:32) suggests using apples, nuts, or pomegranates and fruits used as metaphors for the Jewish people in the Bible.

add vinegar to them -- The Ramah (473:5) suggests using red wine to recall the Jewish blood spilled by the Egyptians.

and mix them with spices -- ginger or cinnamon (However, in certain communities, it is customary not to use these spices on Pesach). Pesachim (ibid.) quotes Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok as saying "the spice-merchants of Jerusalem would call out: 'Come and get spices for the mitzvah.'"FS"

as clay is mixed into straw -- to commemorate the making of bricks.

This is placed on the table -- according to our custom, on the Seder plate

on Pesach nights.

12

According to the Torah, the eating of bitter herbs is not a mitzvah in its own right, but rather is dependent on the consumption of the Paschal sacrifice. It is one positive commandment to eat the meat of the Paschal sacrifice together with matzah and bitter herbs. According to the words of the Sages, [it is a mitzvah] to eat the bitter herbs alone on this night even if there is no Paschal sacrifice.

יב

אכילת מרור אינה מצוה מן התורה בפני עצמה אלא תלויה היא באכילת הפסח. שמצות עשה אחת לאכול בשר הפסח על מצה ומרורים. ומדברי סופרים לאכול המרור לבדו בליל זה אפילו אין שם קרבן פסח:

According to the Torah, the eating of bitter herbs is not a mitzvah in its own right -- In contrast to matzah, concerning which there is a separate commandment (Exodus 12:18): "On that evening, eat matzot," there is no specific Biblical commandment to eat bitter herbs alone.

Rav Chayim Soloveitchik explains that, accordingly, when eating the maror together with the Paschal sacrifice, there is no obligation to eat a

כזית. That measure is required only according to the Sages, who established a separate mitzvah to eat maror. Therefore, as in all other cases where eating is required, one must consume a כזית. However, since there is no Torah mitzvah to eat maror, merely that one should use it to embellish the Paschal sacrifice, that measure is not required by the Torah.

[Perhaps, this thesis may be questioned on the basis of Halachah 8:6, which requires a separate blessing for maror when it is eaten alone. As in Halachah 8:2, a blessing would not be required on a measure less than a כזית.]

but rather is dependent on the consumption of the Paschal sacrifice -- as Exodus 12:8 commands: "eat it together with matzot and bitter herbs." (See Halachah 8:6.)

It is one positive commandment to eat the meat of the Paschal sacrifice together with matzah and bitter herbs. -- Just as the four species taken on Sukkot are one mitzvah, similarly, although the Paschal sacrifice should be eaten with these three elements, it is considered only one mitzvah.

Furthermore, in Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 56), the Rambam explains that if it is impossible to obtain bitter herbs, it is still a mitzvah to partake of the Paschal sacrifice. However, there is no mitzvah to partake of bitter herbs alone. (See also Hilchot Korban Pesach 8:2.)

According to the words of the Sages, [it is a mitzvah] -- and thus, as mentioned in Halachah 8:8, we recite a blessing praising God for commanding us "concerning the eating of maror."

to eat the bitter herbs alone -- in contrast to our practice of eating them together with matzah (see Halachah 8:8), which is only a custom

on this night even if there is no Paschal sacrifice.

13

The bitter herbs referred to by the Torah are Romaine lettuce, endives, horseradish, date ivy, wormwood. All of these five species of vegetable are called maror. If a person ate a כזית of any one of these [species] or of all five [species] combined, he has fulfilled his obligation.

This applies while they are still moist. One may fulfill one's obligation with their stem even if it is dry. One cannot fulfill one's obligation if they are boiled, pickled, or cooked.

יג

מרורים האמורים בתורה הן החזרת והעולשין והתמכא והחרחבינא והמרור. כל אחד מחמשת מיני ירק אלו נקרא מרור. ואם אכל מאחד מהן או מחמשתן כזית יצא והוא שיהו לחין. ויוצאין בקלח שלהן אפילו יבש. ואם שלקן או כבשן או בשלן אין יוצאין בהן

The bitter herbs referred to by the Torah are Romaine lettuce -- Pesachim 39a explains that even though the leaves of this species are sweet, it is preferable to fulfill the mitzvah of bitter herbs with this species than with any other. Just as the Egyptian exile began in a favorable way and ended in bitter oppression, similarly the leaves of this plant are sweet, but its root bitter. Furthermore, its Aramaic name, חסא, also means compassion and alludes to God's mercy for our people. From a halachic perspective, it is easiest to consume the required measure of maror when using this species.

endives, horseradish, date ivy -- the precise English term for the latter species is a matter of question. In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 2:6), the Rambam identifies it with the Arabic "Kretzanah."

wormwood -- an extremely bitter tasting herb.

All of these five species of vegetable are called maror. If a person ate a כזית -- As mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 1:1, there is a debate between the commentators if a כזית is considered as one third the size of a ביצה, or one half. Hence, in regard to questions of Torah law, the more stringent opinion should be followed. However, in questions of Rabbinic law, the more lenient opinion can be relied upon.

Since the consumption of maror is a Rabbinic commandment, the more lenient view - in terms of modern measurements, between 16.6 and 24 grams, depending on different halachic opinions - may be relied upon.

of any one of these [species] or of all five [species] combined, he has fulfilled his obligation.

This applies while they -- their leaves

are still moist. One may fulfill one's obligation with their stem -- The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:5, excludes the use of roots. However, the Magen Avraham (473:11) maintains that the main root extending from them stem may also be used. Indeed, the most common custom in European communities where Romaine lettuce was difficult to obtain, was to use a horseradish root.

even if it is dry. One cannot fulfill one's obligation if they are boiled, -- these three activities detract from the vegetable's bitter taste

pickled -- in vinegar; alternatively, left in water for more than a day. Many have the custom of using horseradish as maror, but soak it before the Seder to minimize its sharpness. Based on this halachah, it is preferable for them to use one of the less bitter species of bitter herbs than to follow this practice.

or cooked.

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