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Thursday, Nissan 5, 5781 / March 18, 2021


Questions & Answers about the Passover Seder


Q.  On Shabbat and holidays, after reciting the Kiddush blessing over a cup of wine, we can drink as many cups of wine we want, without reciting another blessing over each cup. Yet, at the Seder we drink four cups of wine and we recite the blessing over wine (“Borei Pri Hagafen”) before eachcup.  Why?  


A.  The reason we drink four cups at the Seder is to commemorate the fourexpressions of redemption which G-d used for the Exodus. Each cup is a separatemitzvah, thus a separate blessingis required for each cup.


Q.  At the Seder, when we eat the matzah and drink the four cups of wine, we are required to be in a reclining position. What is the reason for this?


A.  In ancient times, noblemen would eat in a reclining position.  The average person, especially a servant, did not recline.  At the Seder, when we celebrate our freedom from slavery, the Rabbis instituted that we demonstrate our freedom and recline as noblemen, when performing the special mitzvot at the Seder.


Q.   Why do we recline to the left side, not on the right side?


A.  Our sages established that we recline on the left side so that the food should not accidentally enter the upper part of the windpipe, which may cause chocking.


Q.   Before reciting the Hagadah, we break the middle matzah.  We hide the bigger part for the Afikoman, to be eaten at the end of the meal.  The smaller piece we put back onto the Seder plate.  Why do we break the middle matzah before reciting the Hagadah?


A.   Matzah is called in the Torah, “Bread of affliction.”  Although, at the Seder, we celebrate our freedom, we also remember and recall our slavery and affliction.  One can appreciate the miracle of freedom even more, after remembering the pain and suffering before becoming free.  Thus, we recite the Hagadah over the broken matzah – which represents the bread of affliction.


Q.  The order of the “Four sons” mentioned in the Hagadah are, 1) Wise son; 2) Wicked son; 3) Simple son; 4) One who does not know to ask.  Why is the wicked son placed second rather than last? 


A.   We place the wicked son next to the wise one, so that the smart son will influence him to better his ways. This teaches us that we shouldn't give up on any child. Instead, the wise son should try and influence the wicked one so that he, too, will become wise and go in the right path.