Pessach 5778

RABBI BENZION MORGENSTERN

רשע מה הוא אומר? מה העבודה הזאת לכם? לכם, ולא לו! ולפי שהוציא את עצמו מן הכלל, כפר בעקר כו’. (הגדה של פסח)

What does the wicked son say? “What is this service to you?” To you and not to him!
And because he disassociated himself from the society, he denied Hashem…
(Pesach Haggadah)

There is a famous question. Why do we regard the wicked son as disassociated for using the word לכם, to you, while the wise son says אשר צוה ה’ אלקינו אתכם, that Hashem our Hashem commanded you – seemingly excluding himself – yet we don’t deem him as disassociated?
The Chasam Sofer explains that understanding the reasons of Mitzvos is proper, as long as it doesn’t delay or prevent the performance of the Mitzvah. For we must do the Mitzvos because they are the command of Hashem, not because we understand, like, approve or feel it is the right thing to do. Picking and choosing among the Mitzvos is heretical.
When the time comes for performance, the wise son does the Mitzvah as his father has taught him. That is not the time to question. Then is the time to unconditionally continue his ancestors’ heritage. Before or after he may seek to query, to probe, to understand better.
On the other hand, when the time to perform draws nigh, the wicked son vacillates. What does he ask? “מה העבודה הזאת לכם?”, “What is this service for you?” The word הזאת demonstrates that the Mitzvah is before him, that he can refer to it as “this”. This Rasha says, I will not condescend to its performance unless I understand it and it is proper in my eyes. If not, then it is your service and not mine(העבודה הזאת לכם).
The Haggadah therefore statesולפי שהוציא את עצמו מן הכלל, and because he disassociated himself from the כלל. The word כלל means entirety or totality. Here it is referring to the entirety of the Mitzvos, not the people, the Jewish congregation. He does not keep the totality of Mitzvos, only the ones he chooses. This is why he is labeled as כפר בעקר, a denier of Hashem. It is not Hashem’s will that he fulfills, only his own.
There are Mitzvos for which we may understand even many reasons. Still, we do not know all those that may fall within the realm of human reason, and certainly not those which are beyond. One who has little knowledge of a Mitzvah and disapproves of it is compared to someone with scant knowledge of architecture or construction. He may study a blueprint and approve removal of a certain wall to make the room more spacious. His lack of understanding of how it relates to the rest of the building may cause the upper floor that bears on it to sag or collapse when it is removed.
Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, in the grand scheme of human history to become His servants, even more so His slaves, His property to command as He see fit. We therefore must keep His command unconditionally, whether we understand it or not.


RABBI SHLOMO NUSSBAUM

At every Seder across the globe, Jews will follow the prescribed order of “Matzo, Maror, Korech.” This is sourced in the Gemara (Pesachim 115a), in which there is a disagreement between the Chachomim and Hillel as to whether Matzo and Maror should be eaten together or separately. The Gemara ends as follows: “Now that the Halacha has not been established, not like Hillel nor like the Rabbanan, one recites the Brachaעל אכילת מצה and eats Matzo. Then, he recitesעל אכילת מרור and he eats Maror. Then, he eats Matzo and Maror together, “זכר למקדש כהלל”, “as a remembrance of the Beis Hamikdash, as Hillel did.”
The accepted practice is to introduce Korech with the proclamation, “זכר למקדש כהלל”, “this is a remembrance of the way Hillel did in the Beis Hamikdash!” This is mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (OC, MZ, 175:7) and appears to be based on the concluding sentence in the aforementioned Gemara.
The Pri Migadim questions the purpose of such an announcement. After all, today we are still obligated to eat Matzo MiD’Oraysa and Maror MiD’Rabbanan. Why then, would Korech be only a remembrance of the Beis Hamikdash and Hillel? Do we not need to satisfy Hillel’s opinion to eat Matzo and Maror together, just as it was necessary back then?
The Pri Megadim then explains that the potency of this question is really dependent on the different opinions in the Rishonim. There is a Machlokes whether Hillel held that one must eat the meat of the Korban Pesach in the Korech bundle. Rashi (Pesachim ibid.) holds that the Pesach meat was also included in Hillel’s Korech. Hence, today, in lieu of a Korban Pesach, there would be no obligation to bundle the other two ingredients together. Accordingly, the entire purpose of Korech today is in fact to only commemorate the Beis Hamikdash-era obligation.
The Rambam (Hilchos Matzo 8,6), however, details the Halachos of the Pesach Seder in the time of the Beis Hamikdash, including the Korban Pesach. He does not include Pesach in his Korech. Tosafos in Pesachim (ibid.) also discusses Korech today as the proper D’Rabbanan fashion of eating Maror, according to Hillel. Then they too must hold that Hillel’s mandate was just Matzo and Maror together and therefore would still stand today. Following this opinion, says the Pri Megadim, it is indeed difficult to understand the proclamation of “זכר למקדש כהלל”, as we are actually obligated to eat Korech today as per the direction of Hillel’s opinion.
The Pri Megadim suggests an explanation based on the concept of Taam Mivatel Taam (literally, taste dilutes taste). This principle says that if one is eating something for a Mitzvah and he has another food in his mouth at the same time, the “Mitzvah food” taste is consider diluted and he does not fulfill his eating Mitzvah. The Gemara (Pesachim 120a) says that the Torah only obligates one to eat Maror when he actually brings a Korban Pesach. Maror today is only D’Rabbanan. Matzo, however, is D’Oraysa even today (Shemos 12:18), independent of the Korban Pesach. Based on this, Tosafos (Pesachim 115a) explains that in the time of the Beis Hamikdash, one could skip Matzo and Maror, go straight to Korech, and fulfill the Mitzvos according to both Hillel and the Chachomim. Today, because Maror is D’Rabbanan, if one would eat it along with the Matzo he would not fulfill his Mitzvah of Matzo, because M’Dioraysa the Maror is considered non-Mitzvah food. Now, for the next step, according to Hillel one could simply eat Korech, as that is the fashion in which to properly eat Maror. However, we eat plain Maror first, since according to the Chachomim the Matzo of Korech would be considered non-Mitzvah food, as the Mitzvah of Matzo has already been fulfilled. Finally, we eat Korech to satisfy Hillel’s opinion.
This is why, suggests the Pri Megadim, we inject our proclamation. It explains that the way we are eating at Korech is the proper “זכר למקדש”, because in the time of the Beis Hamikdash, when there was a Korban Pesach and Maror was M’Dioraysa, one could satisfy all opinions simply by eating Korech.