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The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Themes of the Haggadah 4

The Mishnah says that when a child asks his father the Ma Nishtana, the father answers with praises of God. To do so, he should begin with something negative and contrast it with something positive. However, the Mishnah doesn’t specify which texts to use for this praise, except for the verse that we read when we bring the First Fruits – “An Aramean destroyed my father…”

Rabbi Yaakov Ettlinger, the author of Melamed v’Mehalech, was asked why does the Haggadah include texts in addition to this verse? For example, why do we say, “We were slave to Pharaoh, and God took us out?” And why do we say, “Originally our ancestors were idol worshippers, and now God brought us closer to Him.” Why bother with those texts? Why isn’t the verse read at the bringing of the First Fruits enough?

His answer is similar to the Noda b’Yehuda. When we bring the First Fruits we say, “And You have brought us into Your land and given it to us as an inheritance.” But we cannot say this while we are in exile. Therefore, the Gemara finds additional texts to fulfill the requirement.

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