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Thoughts on the Haggadah

Insights on the timeless message presented in the words of the Haggadah.

At Passover, More to Say About the ‘Wicked’ and the ‘Wise’
The four sons represent the kaleidoscope of perspectives we all bring to the table.
Haggadah Tidbits
Give everyone something to say
Fifteen short and juicy explanations to accompany your seder. Includes a printout with one tidbit per page, so you can hand these out to your participants.
The Four Children Explained
An anthology of classic and kabbalistic teachings
Why G-d Didn't Delegate
People in trouble don’t have the time or luxury to wait while you quibble over the command structure; they’re waiting for you to rescue them from evil.
All Who Are Hungry...
We announce on Passover night, "All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy come and celebrate Passover." What is the point of making grand invitations when the truly needy can't hear it?
The Educator's Handbook
The Haggadah teaches us how to respond to the unique needs of four different types of children, or possibly the same child, depending on the circumstances and the motivation behind the question.
There, Here, and Nowhere
How do we deal with the "Wicked Son"? And who is the elusive "Fifth Son" that's not even mentioned in the Haggadah?
The Real Haggadah
Is it really necessary, more than 3000 years on, to commemorate our ancestors’ freedom from slavery? Can’t we move on to pressing contemporary issues?
The Wise Son
(by the Wicked Child)
Schwartz, the Wicked Son
What gets me about Schwartz is that he ain't stupid. He has brains, but all he does with them is tickle his own brains. Schwartz' brain stands outside life peering in, like a surgeon examining a cadaver...
Next Year in Jerusalem . . .
Here’s one I always wanted to know: What if you’re living in Jerusalem? Do you say the prayer/wish, “Next year in Jerusalem!” or just leave that line out?
Where's Moses?
Why is the there hardly any mention of Moses in the Passover Haggadah?
A Fifth Son
At the seder we discuss the "Four Sons": the Wise Son, the Wicked Son, the Simple Son, and the Son Who Doesn't Know How To Ask. Modern society has produced a fifth son...
The Vegetarian Era
Matzah represents the bare necessities of life. The Passover offering represents luxuries whose function is solely to give pleasure. Maror represents a middle ground between these two extremes...
Our Children, Ourselves
Here is the popular take: The Wise Son is the one who turned out right. The Wicked One? Well... enough said. The Simple One? Alright, not every hamentasch turns out the way you want. The One Who Doesn't Know to Ask? Oy...
Your Inner Teenager
Peel away the layers of the “wicked” child and the question is quite chilling. It is not a condemnation of what we are doing. It is a condemnation of what we are not doing.
The Wicked Son
Behind his wickedness there is a story, a reason why he allowed his innocent soul to become corrupted and his pure mind twisted by lower tendencies. Identify the root cause, and then neutralize it...
Unity Alone
What would be the point of going to Mount Sinai if not to receive the Torah? What other point is there in being there? After all, at this particular mountain there is neither food, nor water, nor skiing . . .
The Wicked Son’s Perceptive Question
I am a wicked person, he's declaring. I enjoy food, I live in order to indulge in the pleasures of the world. It makes perfect sense for me to be a part of this grand feast... but what does it have to do with you guys?
A Lesson From Grandpa Laban
Laban was truly family! Yet, his anti-Semitism was legendary. In other words, attempts to break down the walls between Jews and non-Jews by assimilating and intermarrying will not fix anti-Semitism.
Why the Emphasis on Telling the Passover Story?
Why is such a strong emphasis placed on telling the Passover story? Couldn’t we simply sit around the table, relax, lean back in our chairs, and enjoy our current state of freedom?
Hillel’s Passover Sandwich: A Dose of Positivity
What does Hillel's custom teach us.
Let’s Keep on Talking!
The transmission from one generation to the next is the key to healthy Judaism
Aren’t the Wise Child and the Wicked Child Essentially the Same?
Wicked children and post-modern parents
From reading the Passover text it seems that the wise child and the wicked child pose the same question.
The Plague Count
. . . and how human beings affect their environment
We’re almost finished the Haggadah, and here are two rabbis debating the plague count. Why? Because it makes a big difference. How deeply can human beings affect their environment?
Would We Still Be Slaves in Egypt?
I read in the Passover Haggadah reader that had G‑d not taken us out of Egypt thousands of years ago, we would still be slaves today. Do we really believe that?
Why Do We Spill Wine on Passover Night?
Here’s one we argue over every year at our Passover Seder: Why do we spill the wine when we mention each one of the Ten Plagues, and what are we supposed to do with the spilled wine?
Why Does This Child Not Question?
Therapy for the inquisitively challenged
How is it that a perfectly capable and intelligent person can have no questions on a night rigged for questions?
When Your Child Will Ask
On the question asked by wisdom itself
Wisdom, it turns out, is prototyped not by its answer, but by its question. But what is the question that wisdom never ceases to ask?
What's So Wise About the Wise Child?
A skit in four parts, with four siblings and four questions.
If the Haggadah Is Right, We’ve Got Jewish Education All Wrong
Crucial lessons to take from the Haggadah for the whole year
From a child's answers, you might know something about what the child knows. From a child's question, you know who the child is.
Three Matzot & Four Cups of Wine
Our sages established that we drink four cups of wine at the Seder, recalling the four expressions of redemption
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