Insight on the Haggada

By BJLife/Rabbi Binyamin Zedner

Posted on 03/22/18

We say in the Haggada, “Everyone who is hungry should come and eat.” The question arises then, why don’t we leave our doors open the entire Pesach night? If everyone is truly allowed to come and eat, we should at least show that all are welcome at our table! The answer can be understood by better explaining what this statement really means. Chazal explain that tzedaka brings geula, redemption, to the world. Before Pesach we have a custom to give tzedaka to the needy so that they can afford to have their own seder. Such charity takes the place of physically inviting the needy to our meal. We prioritize charity so that everyone has what they need, and in this way it is as if everyone who is hungry is being fed.

In this manner, we are also correcting for the sin of Bar Kamtza, who informed on the Jews after being embarrassed and kicked out of a wedding. His actions ultimately caused the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash. By prioritizing the act of tzedaka, we are emphasizing the importance of loving your fellow Jew and working to bring the ultimate geula.

A further question is asked from the Haggada: we learn that there are three things that a person must mention and speak about in order to fulfill the commandment of reading the Haggada, and they are Pesach, matzo, and maror. The obvious question is, why present them in this order? They should be presented to us as maror, Pesach, matzo, which is the chronological order of events. First, we were put through the bitter enslavement of Egypt, then Hashem redeemed us, and finally we ate matzo. The answer is that a person doesn’t realize the importance or relevance of their hard work and efforts until they finally taste the fruits of their labor. In this sense, the Jews did not understand the reasoning behind their years of enslavement until they were finally redeemed by the hand of Hashem! To draw an analogy, a student only truly appreciates the effort he or she puts into studying for a test once they receive their test grade and see that they scored well. With this we can understand why the Haggada presents the bitterness of maror only after discussing the redemption of Pesach and matzo.

On a final note, the Chatam Sofer asks why we don’t make a bracha on the Haggada?

The answer can be understood by looking into the situation of a ger, convert. A ger only makes a bracha after he fully converts accepts Hashem. So too by us, we only make a bracha of  redemption once we go through the entire Haggada and accept Hashem’s redemption .

Everyone should have a Chag Kosher v’simeach.