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The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Ma Nishtana: Reasons

Mitzvot (commandments) have their rational and reason. Some are easier to see than others. People sometimes mistakenly think that understanding the purpose negates the need for it’s practice.

One of the actual mitzvot of Pesach is to talk about the going out of Egypt. It would seem that this mitzvah’s purpose is to understand the lessons in the actual story. One might therefore think: Once I understand the lesson, there is consequently no further need to discuss the going out of Egypt. It would surely seem that there is a limit to what can be derived from any account in history, once that limit has been reached what purpose can there be in discussing it further. And so, most certainly, increasing this discussion is not only far from praiseworthy, but rather delving into the boring?

This thought is only folly and over confidence, for “And even if all of us were wise…” We may be wise and understand much, but if we think that we have understood the mitzvah so that we no longer need it’s performance, then unfortunately, we understand very, very little.

No matter how wise we are there is always a need on Pesach night to talk about the going out of Egypt. And furthermore, we are touching the heart of this mitzvah if we realize that lengthening the discussion is praiseworthy. And so, if we approach the seder as something to be tolerated in order to arrive at the meal, then, as the Hagadah intimates to us, we may have wisdom… but we do not understand.

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