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Friday, February 3

פרשת בא - The good, the bad, and the wonderful

Moshe tells בני ישראל,
וְהָיָה כִּי יאמְרוּ אֲלֵיכֶם בְּנֵיכֶם: מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת, לָכֶם... וַיִּקֹּד הָעָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ
רש"י quotes the מכילתא that they bowed in appreciation of three things: the forthcoming exodus, the eventual entrance into ארץ ישראל and the kids they were going to have. What is bothersome about this רש"י is that in the הגדה, we use this passage to refer to the wicked SON of the four sons. Why then were בני ישראל bowing in appreciation of being told of the wicked sons they were going to have?

What I think might be the simple 'פשט' answer is that there is indeed a מחלוקת in the מכילתא on the previous pasuk. One opinion is that IT is referring to the wicked son. This is obviously the opinion that is adopted in the הגדה. But there is another opinion that it is referring to sons in general. Perhaps רש"י is simply in concurrence with that second opinion.
ספר רש"י השלם quotes from the תוספות השלם that the designation of this passage as the one referring to the wicked son comes only in comparison to the other three passages. But this passage, standing alone, does not insinuate wicked children. So, being that the other three passages had not yet been told over, they had what to appreciate from this passage. This explanation teaches us a very special lesson in chinuch. Indeed, as we see in the הגדה, it is important to be aware of the outside influences to guard and protect our children from the negative influences and guide them along the proper path. However, when it comes to the appreciation we have of and for our children, it is not a time to be comparing to other children. Our children must be appreciated for who they are and we must show appreciation to השם for the gift of children regardless.


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