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Tuesday, April 11

The Weekly Shtikle - Leil Seider

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my dear Zadie and Bubbie, HaRav Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak and Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.
    In the beginning of Maggid, we recite "Avadim hayinu." In this paragraph, we say that if not for the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu had taken us out of Mitzrayim, we would still be slaves to Paroah in Mitzrayim. Therefore, even if we are all wise, understanding knowers of the Torah, we have a Mitzvah to tell over the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. To say that there are two questions to be asked on this paragraph would surely not be the whole truth. However, there are two questions on which I wish to focus. First, why would we have thought that wise sages would be exempt from the mitzvah? Second, how is the first statement a reason for the second?
    As an introduction, I would like to quote a piece from R' Chaim Kunyevsky on Chanukah in Ta'ama D'kra. He asks why there is no mention of the miracle of the oil in the text of "Al HaNisim." He answers that the theme of Al HaNisim is hoda'ah, giving thanks. When it comes to giving thanks, the obligation only exists if it is something that affects us. For a miracle that only affected those at the time and has no effect on us now, there is no obligation of hoda'ah. We find that Succos is built around the miracle of HaShem's protecting us. However, since this miracle does not affect us, we don't find anything along the lines of hoda'ah in Succos. So, too, the miracle of the oil has no effect on us today. On the other hand, had B'nei Yisroel been destroyed in the war, we would not be around today. Therefore, we must give thanks for the winning of the war.
    Perhaps, what the paragraph of "Avadim Hayinu" is telling us is that we might have thought that the mitzvah of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim is strictly an educational one, that there is an obligation for the wise to teach those who do not know as the main source of this mitzvah is "vehigadta levincha," a requirement for the father to teach the son. Had this been so, if we were all wise sages, there would be no need to do this mitzvah for no one needs to be educated. However, this is not so. Attached to the mitzvah of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim is the concept of hoda'ah. We are giving thanks to HaShem for Yetzias Mitzrayim, whether we've learned about it previously or not. The Haggadah, therefore, starts by showing how the miracle affects us today, that if not for Yetzias Mitzrayim, we would still be beholden to Paroah in Mitzrayim. Because of this, there is an obligation to thank HaShem and therefore all of us are commanded to tell the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim.
Have a chag kasher ve'samei'ach!
Eliezer Bulka



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