Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

Download print

Pesah- Our Response to the Wicked Son

The Haggadah famously speaks of four different types of sons, instructing us how to fulfill the obligation of Sippur Yesi’at Misrayim (telling the story of the Exodus on Pesah) to each one. The wicked son, the Haggadah says, asks the question, “Ma Ha’aboda Ha’zot Lachem” – “What is this service to you?” He looks at the Misvot observed at the Seder and asks his parents what this is all about, what they are bothering with these special observances. The Haggadah instructs us to respond by citing the verse in Sefer Shemot (13:8), “Ba’abur Zeh Asa Hashem Li Be’seti Mi’Misrayim” – “It is because of this that Hashem acted for me when I left Egypt.”

This verse seems very difficult to understand, and it seems even more difficult to understand how this answers the wicked son’s question. As the commentators note, the verse seems to say that G-d took Beneh Yisrael out of Egypt so that we can perform the Misvot of Pesah. This appears to be the opposite of the actual sequence of events. We would have thought that after the Exodus, G-d commanded us to perform the Misvot of Pesah in order to remember this seminal event. But this verse seems to be saying that to the contrary, G-d took us out of Egypt so we can perform the Pesah sacrifice, eat Masa and Marror, and so on.

How could that be? How could the purpose of the Exodus be to perform Misvot which commemorate the Exodus? And what does this have to do with the wicked son?

The Bet Ha’levi (Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik of Brisk, 1820-1892) explains that the wicked son questions the relevance of the Pesah sacrifice when its primary purpose is no longer necessary. The ancient Egyptians regarded the sheep as a deity of sorts, as they worshipped the zodiacal sign of Aries, which is symbolized by a sheep. The Pesah sacrifice was required as a public rejection of Egyptian paganism, and a statement of belief in monotheism. The wicked son claims that this statement was necessary only in the ancient world, when paganism was rampant and many people believed in the worship of cattle. But once the world no longer followed such foolish beliefs, there should no longer be any reason to observe this Misva. The wicked son thus asks, “What is this service to you” – meaning, how is it relevant now? Why should we still be required to observe this ritual?

The answer to this question is that the Torah in fact preceded the world’s creation. Even though many Misvot have reasons that we understand, there are also other reasons which are inaccessible to us. And therefore, even if the reason of a certain Misva – as we understand it – no longer applies, we are nevertheless bound by that Misva, because all Misvot are eternally relevant, binding and applicable. The proof is that even the patriarchs observed the Misvot of Pesah, despite the fact that the Exodus had not happened yet. This demonstrates that the Misvot are significant and relevant irrespective of their apparent reasons, because they preceded even the world’s creation, and are therefore not contingent on any particular time or place.

This is why the Haggadah tells us to respond to the wicked son by citing the verse, “Ba’abur Zeh Asa Hashem Li Be’seti Mi’Misrayim” – “It is because of this that Hashem acted for me when I left Egypt.” This verse teaches us the very point with which we are to respond to this challenge – that the Misvot of Pesah are not dependent upon any particular time and place. Hashem brought the redemption so that we can fulfill the Misvot; He did not command these Misvot because the Exodus happened. The Misvot stand independent of any reason or rationale, and are binding in every day and age. This is our response to the wicked son, and this is one of the vitally important lessons of Pesah which we are to emphasize to ourselves and to our children on this special night.


Sefer/Parasha:
Parashat Devarim- The Root Cause of the Hurban
Parashat Matot- Word Power
Parashat Pinhas- The Missing Day of the Bein HaMesarim
Parashat Balak- The Jewish home
Parashat Hukat- The Well of Miriam
Parashat Korah: “It Is Not From My Heart “- The Torah is From God
Parashat Shelah- The Importance of the Sadik
Parashat Be'Haalotecha- Cultivating Cravings
Parashat Naso- Marital Harmony
Shabuot – The Holiday of Torah She’be’al Peh
Parashat Behar-Behukotai- The Torah’s Concept of “Freedom”
Parashat Emor- Man and Beast
Kedoshim: Kedusha – A Group Effort
Parashat Tazria- A Gossiper’s Prayer
Parashat Shemini: The Inherent Value of Preparation
Page of 46
679 Parashot found