This letter was addressed to R. Shlomo Palmer, a philanthropist from Chicago.

B”H, 4 Nissan, 5706

Greetings and blessings,

Today the printing of the pamphlet for youth concerning the holiday of Pesach published by MerkosL’InyoneiChinuch was completed. [Together with this letter,] we are sending you one copy. In a separate package, we sent you several copies which I am sure you will wish to distribute to the students of the Talmud Torahs through your agents. Would you please advise us how many more copies should be sent to you?

Our esteemed colleague, R. Dovber Chaskind informed us of his telephone conversation with you with regard to undertaking financial responsibility for the publication of this pamphlet. On the basis of his statements and directives, and taking note that there is only a little time left until Pesach and there is no opportunity to debate the matter, we ascribed the printing of the first edition of this pamphlet to your merit. And based on our Sages’ statement that the Torah also records and publicizes the identity of those who perform a mitzvah (the responsum of the Rashba as quoted by the Magen Avraham 154:22), we inscribed this as a remembrance in the pamphlet itself.

In the order of the Seder, one of the first matters is the recitation of the passage Hei Lachma Anya in which we invite “all those who are hungry [to] come and eat,” [a practice which parallels] maos chittim, [the Pesach collections for the poor]. Before this, however, we perform Urchatz and Karpas, [customs instituted] to interest the children and arouse their curiosity so that they will ask questions about Jewish laws and practices. And directly after reciting [the passage], we remove the Seder plate in order to puzzle the children and motivate them to ask questions.

A person might say: It is enough for me to give my money, my energy, and my time for the sake of a wise son who is involved with and inquires about the Jewish faith. Or he will extend himself to his broadest limits [and consider giving] for the sake of the simple son. For although he is not wise, he feels the uniqueness of the Jewish people and asks a question:1 “What is this?” He does not have any intent to rebel against [the Torah].

[To negate such an approach, the Haggadah] immediately gives us the answer: “The Torah speaks concerning four sons: a wise son, a wicked son, a simple son, and one who does not know to ask.

Moreover, the Torah does not speak concerning the wise son until the Book of Devarim.2 The simple son is mentioned in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Shmos.3The beginning of the matter, [at the very start of the commandment to bring the Paschal sacrifice,] Shmos, ch. 12,4 speaks about saving, drawing close, and correcting the son who does not know to ask, and the wicked son.

(The answer to the wicked son is the verse concerning the son who does not know how to ask. For, in truth, all Jews are “believers, the descendants of believers.” The reason one acts wicked is that temporarily, he is not aware of this. Nor does he know even to ask about it, because a spirit of folly has entered him.”)

This is [the mission] initiated by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, in the mission of MerkosL’InyoneiChinuch to involve itself in drawing close even those who are not familiar with Lashon HaKodesh, nor even Yiddish, nor even with the customs most publicized among the Jewish people. According to the painstaking effort will come the reward5 and the satisfaction.

There is no sufficient means to explain the greatness of the merit of those involved in these efforts. For persons like yourself, it is unnecessary to elaborate on this. Therefore, we are certain that our intent in the above matter is appropriate to your desires. And [hence we followed the Talmudic motif:]6 “Acquisitions that are to a person’s benefit may be concluded outside his presence.”7

With blessings for goodness in all matters, [and with the blessing,] “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Executive Director

With regard to the sources for the concepts mentioned concerning the Seder, see the Haggadah Im Likkutei Minhagim published by Kehot.8