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Monday, Adar 20, 5780 / March 16, 2020


Passover this year will begin Wednesday night, April 8.


The Passover Seder is a unique experience in that we follow a particular order throughout the Seder. We recite passages from the Hagadah telling the story of our freedom and perform special mitzvot, like drinking four cups of wine, eating matzah, maror and afikoman.


Q.  Why is the night of Pesach different than other holidays, where after reciting the Kiddush over the wine, we enjoy the holiday meal. But on Passover we recite passages from the Hagadah and tell the stories of the Exodus before the meal?


A.   The Torah (Exodus Chapter 13) commands, “Remember this day when you went out of Egypt, from the house of bondage, for with a mighty hand G-d took you out of here… And you shall tell your son on that day saying, ‘because of this (the matzot and maror) G-d did this for me when I went out of Egypt.. “


On other holidays we celebrate a miraculous event of the past, but the Exodus is an ongoing miracle.  We say in the Hagadah, “If G-d would not have taken our forefathers out from Egypt, we would still be enslaved there.”  Even if we wouldn’t be enslaved physically, we would be enslaved spiritually. 


The miracle of the Exodus was not only that G-d took us out of Egypt, but that He took Egypt out of usThis we have to remember forever. Thus, we have a special mitzvah on Pesach to tell and re-tell the story to ourselves and to our children and grandchildren, so that, they too, will feel part of this great miracle.


Q. Why is the book from which we recite at the Pesach Seder called, “Hagadah”?


A.    “Hagadah” means to “Tell.”  As mentioned above, the Torah commands “And you shall TELL your son on that day (Passover).”  Because it is the book from which we recite this special mitzvah of telling the story of Passover, it is called “Hagadah.”


Q.  What is the reason and significance of the four cups of wine which we drink at the Seder?


A.  According to one opinion in the Talmud, they represent the four expressions of redemption (Exodus 6:6-7) which G-d used regarding the liberation from Egypt.


The four expressions are: "I will bring you out... I will deliver you... I will redeem you... I will take you."  They represent four different stages in the redemption.  We commemorate and celebrate the four expressions of our redemption and freedom through the drinking of four cups of wine.