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Friday, April 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Leil Seder

As we look forward to the seder Night, there are many familiar passages we will go over again, hopefully with a new understanding of the meaning behind the text. The saying goes that there are 70 faces to the Torah but when it comes to the haggadah, it tends to be more like 170. But every now and then it is interesting to take a passage we are familiar with and rethink the way it is even read in the first place.

Such was the mission of noted Weekly Shtikle contributor David Farkas in a recent post on the Seforim Blog which I will attempt to re-write in English. We all know the famous story of the five sages who were engrossed in the retelling of the story of yetzias Mitzrayim in B'nei Brak. There are indeed numerous intriguing questions which make this entire anecdote quite mysterious. One such question is how it could be that these sages would be oblivious to the onset of the time for recitation of keriyas Shema such that their disciples needed to interrupt and remind them. This question is based on the assumed reading of the text thusly: Until the disciples came and said to them, "Raboseinu, the time for recitation of keriyas Shema has arrived."

However, notes Mr. Farkas, a simple re-reading of this passage with an adjustment to the comma and the quotes could lend an entirely different understanding of the story. The term raboseinu appears to be part of the quote but perhaps it is part of the narrative resulting in the following reading of the text: …until the disciples arrived and raboseinu declared, "the time for recitation of keriyas Shema has arrived." It was not in fact the disciples who made the declaration but the sages themselves. Of course this only addresses one of the many mysteries of this passage. There is still much more to discuss. 

For a collection of previous seder night shtikles, please check out my archive of past Seder shtikles.

Have a good Shabbos and a Chag kasher ve'samei'ach!

Eliezer Bulka

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