Reclining Together by Rabbi Yosef Adler


           The מגיד section of our Haggadah begins with the four questions.  As to precisely who is to ask these questions has been discussed in another section of Kol Torah.  I would like to focus on the last question concerning הסיבה.  Rambam suggests in הלכות חמץ מצה that at the time of the Beit HaMikdash there were actually five questions.  The fifth one focused on the consumption of the Korban Pesach.  Why, on all other nights can we eat boiled, broiled, fried or roasted meat and tonight on Pesach must we roast the Korban Pesach.  In the absence of the Mikdash, this question has been deleted and we remain with four questions.  Most other Rishonim, however, feel that initially there were only four questions.  The question of צלי existed, whereas our fourth question concerning מסובין replaced the one focusing on צלי.  Most authorities believe that no correlation exists between the two questions.  מסובין is simply a question that identifies the חרות experience on Pesach.  However, the Rav זצ"ל suggested that we understand the question of מסובין as a direct replacement of the question of צלי as related to the קרבן פסח.  The משנה in פסחים states אין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן.  Most of us are familiar with Shmuel's interpretation that אפיקומן means dessert, indicating that no dessert should follow the Korban Pesach or, in our times, Matzah today.  Rav,  however, stated that אפיקומן means שלא יעקרו מחבורה לחבורה, that once one has joined one group, one should never leave that group and join another group.  The Torah statesבבית אחת יאכל , the halacha states אין הפסח נאכל אלא למנויו, that the Korban Pesach must be eaten in one house and the consumption of the Korban Pesach hinges upon being designated with that group.

            During the time of the Mishnah, the manner in which one communicated the fact that a group setting, חבורה, had been created was through הסיבה, reclining. It is for this reason that most Poskim are of the opinion that one should sit during Kiddush to enable the group to be formed to allow one to be מוציא one another with the Beracha of בורא פרי הגפן, a ברכת הנהנין generally not included in the rule of שומע כעונה. 

            In reality, then, our question of כולנו מסובין is not an entirely new concept having abandoned the Korban Pesach as a theme, but rather a different dimension of the law of the Korban Pesach.  All year, we can eat while reclining or sitting, in group or individual fashion.  On Pesach night, however, כולנו מסובין, we all recline, thus relating a united group - אין הפסח נאכל אלא בחבורה.  The symbolism is most obvious as well.  As the people in Egypt were transformed from a slave to a nation, they were obligated to offer the Korban Pesach eaten exclusively within the group.  We cannot survive if each Jew believes that one can shape the destiny of עם ישראל as a יחיד.  We all must play an active role to enhance the חבורה of עם ישראל.  Only then can we experience the חרות and the גאולה.

Food for Thought by Ezra Frazer

Food for Thought by Ezra Frazer