Question #41 – Contentment and Striving


Bracha of Ga’al Yisrael, my favorite blessing all year, I wait for it. It is the climax of the redemption.

Blessed are You, God, our God, King of the universe, who has redeemed us and redeemed our fathers from Egypt, and brought us here this night to eat matzah and maror. So too, God, our God and God of our fathers, enable us to attain other holidays and festivals that will come to us in peace with happiness in the rebuilding of Your city, and with rejoicing in Your service in the Bet Hamikdash. Then we shall eat of the sacrifices and of the Passover-offerings whose blood is placed on the wall of Your altar for acceptance; and we shall thank You with a new song for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls. Blessed are You, God, who redeemed Israel.

It is striking that in its celebration of the imperfect sacrificeless pessach while maintaining the hope for a future more complete celebration. It is the very embodiment of the dictum: Who is the wealthy one? The one who is content with his portion. What is your portion? Are you content? Can a person be content while simultaneously striving for more? How?

Question #40 – From yachatz to afikomen


In the Very beginning of the seder we break a piece of matzah, this is called yachatz. The larger piece is set aside for use at the end of the seder (the afikomen) the smaller piece is set aside to eat before the meal.


What is the symbol of the broken matzah? Why do we set the big piece aside? What does it mean that the Seder behind with yachatz and ends with afikomen.

Question #39 -How many cups do I really have to drink?


Tossafot assert that the four cups of wine on Passover are just like Kiddush during the year. For a regular shabbat kiddush one person makes kiddush and everyone says amen. Only the person making kiddush must drink. Tosafot say that the same applies to the four passover cups, that by saying amen and seeing a person drink four cups you fulfill your obligation.

Maimonides however, asserts that each person must drink all four cups in order to fulfill their obligation.

What are they arguing about? What is kiddush about on the rest of the year? How is it the same and how is it different from the four cups of wine?

Question #38 – Levites were not enslaved.


We are taught that the tribe of Levy (this includes the Leviim and the Cohanim) was not enslaved when they were in Egypt. Why did the Egyptians not enslave the Levites? How would you have felt if you were a non-Levite who was enslaved and saw that some of your brothers and sisters did not have to labor? How would you have felt if you were a Levite who wasn’t enslaved and had to watch your brothers and sisters toil?

Question #37 – First fruits at the seder.

Thank you to Akiva Cohen my cousin for this question! I would love to include your questions as well!

The story of the exodus is found primarily in the book of Exodus (I know shocking!).

Surprisingly, when the rabbis built the Haggadah instead of choosing the narrative from exodus (the plagues, the offerings, the running out in the middle of the night, the sea splitting, etc.) they chose the text that is used when the first fruits are brought to the temple, and it’s from the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) not Shemot.

Go out and learn: What did Lavan the Aramean want to do to our father Jacob? Pharaoh had issued a decree against the male children only, but Laban wanted to uproot everyone – as it is said: “The Aramean wished to destroy my father; and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation – great and mighty and numerous.”

Why is it that the main body of the Seder is spent discussing a text that is not from the story of the exodus and is connected with the first fruits (Bikkurim). What is the mitzah of bikkurim all about? On top of that, what’s with the introductory phrase, “Tzay U’lmad go out and learn”?

Question #36 – Zeolotry at the Seder.

Elijah the Prophet appears at our Seders to drink the fifth cup of wine. Eliyahu is many things, he is the harbinger of the Messianic age as well as being the paradigm of an individual who zealously advocates for God.

Which of these attributes is the reason for his visiting us each year? Are there things that we should be more zealous about?


Question #35 – Five Rabbis, One Story.

The Haggadah tells the story of five rabbis who spent the seder night together in Bnei Brak. The rabbis are – Rabbis Eliezer, Yehoshua, Alazar Ben Azarya, Akiva and Tarfon. Is there some significance to that group?
The Chida point out that; R’ Yehoshua was a Levi. R’ Alazar ben Azarya and R’ Tarfon were Kohanim and R’ Akiva was the son of Converts.

What is it that this group has in common and why is it significant they they spent all night studying together?

See belo for a hint:



















the levites and the cohanim, according to the commentators were never fully enslaved in Egypt.