צו-הגדול

This week’s parsha continues to describe, in meticulous detail, the various types of sacrifices that are offered for different sins to the priest, and who gets to eat which parts and when.  Like the Sforno, I have little to say on the matter, and so I will uphold the tradition of using Shabbat HaGadol (lit. the Great Shabbat, referring to the Shabbat before Pesach/Passover) to speak about the upcoming holiday of Pesach.  One really interesting fact that I learned this week is about the four children of the Haggadah.  The tradition of having four children represented comes from the fact that there are four verses in the Torah that speak about children (sons) asking their parents about something related to the Exodus.  Since the questions are all worded somewhat differently, the Rabbis understood them as four different types of children.  What I did not know previously is that the braita that originally documents the idea of the four children is attributed to R’ Hiyya, who we know historically had four children!  Despite the fact that I think it is extremely helpful to consider the children as typologies that exist within each one of us (intelligent, rebellious, inquisitive, and in need of direction) it is fascinating on an entirely different level to consider that the author of this midrash himself had four children that he celebrated Pesach with each year.  For me, this really humanizes this part of the Haggadah, and encourages me to try to create midrashim that speak to my own life experience and the intersection with this timeless Jewish holiday.

The Rabbis teach

That stories make the seder

Come alive anew

Pesach Kasher v’Sameach!

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