The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Karpas as Introduction to Maggid
By the way, this idea is also in Magid. We go through ninety percent of Magid telling over what God did for us, and then we say, “Whoever doesn’t say these three things hasn’t fulfilled his obligation: Pesach, why are we eating it? Matza, why are we eating it? Maror, why are we eating it?” This paragraph ought to have been right after Ma Nishtana! After all, the kid asked! Why don’t we answer him? The reason we read the three obligations here is that now that we have told the story and spoke about everything that God had done for us, now we want to know what we have to do for God. That’s why the meal has to be later. That’s why the big mitzvot – Matza, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, and Afikoman –can’t be done before Magid.
It seems ridiculous! You have to keep your kids up until 1:00 AM before you can eat the meal? Have the meal, and then you can the rest of the Seder. But the whole idea is that it is only after we have been involved, that we understand that we have to something. We are doing something that isn’t finished yet. Our job is to be part of the ones who finish. That’s why you begin the first two paragraphs of Hallel in the middle of Magid, but finish Hallel in the section of Hallel. Again, what began is not finished until later. The idea is that you are involved in a process. That’s what Seder means – Process. Not just order. Process – I’m going from step to step. Later, we’ll see more how powerfully this is portrayed in the Zohar. I’m sorry to spend so much time on Karpas, but there are more concepts here than you can imagine.