The paragraph in the Haggadah which immediately follows the Four Questions contains the response to the four questions. A modicum of thought suffices to uncover the answers inherent in its words:

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the L-rd, our G‑d, took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm....

Let's review the four questions and demonstrate how our transition from slavery to freedom which is discussed in this paragraph is the reason for all the "strange" practices referenced in the questions. Each one of these practices is symbolic of our slavery, freedom, or both:

1) On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice!

Slavery: The salt water into which we dip the karpas (potato, onion, or other vegetable) represents the tears we cried while in Egypt. Similarly, the charoset (fruit-nut paste) into which the bitter herbs are dipped reminds us of the cement we used to create the bricks in Egypt.

Freedom: Dipping food is considered a luxury; a sign of freedom — as opposed to the poor (and enslaved) who eat "dry" and un-dipped foods.

2) On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah!

Slavery: Matzah was the bread of slaves and poor, it was cheap to produce and easy to make.

Freedom: Matzah also commemorates the fact that the bread did not have enough time to rise when the Jews hastily left Egypt.

3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror!

Slavery: The maror (bitter herbs) reminds us of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.

4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!

Freedom: We commemorate our freedom by reclining on cushions like royalty.

Click here for more on the Four Questions, and don't forget to visit our comprehensive Passover study section.

Have a kosher and happy Passover!

Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski,