Food for Thought by Ezra Frazer


   Throughout the Jews' enslavement in Egypt, Moshe repeatedly demands that פרעה allow him to take the Jews into the desert for three days of sacrifice to God.  He never mentions that the Jews were leaving for good.  Did he simply deceive פרעה, or did he give פרעה some message which we are not told about?

   The generally accepted reason for eating matzah is to commemorate that the Jews left Egypt so quickly that they did not have time to let their bread rise (כי גורשו ממצרים ולא יכלו להתמהמה).  However, the Jews were already commanded regarding matzah before leaving Egypt (שמות).  Why was matzah necessary for the קרבן פסח in Egypt, if the Jews had not yet experienced the incident which matzah commemorates?

   We mention in the הגדה that R. Yehudah used to divide the plagues into three groups (דצ"ך עד"ש באח"ב).  It is safe to assume that R. Yehudah had a good enough memory that he did not do this merely as a mnemonic to remember what the plagues were.  Why, then, did he divide the plagues into these groups?

   As the Jews leave Egypt, we are told ויהי מקץ שלשים שנה וארבע מאות שנה, that they were leaving after a 034 year enslavement.  How can this be reconciled with Hashem's promise to Avraham that his sons would be slaves merely for 004 years, the fact that the lives of Kehat (who was born outside of Egypt), his son Amram, and his grandson Moshe (who was 08 when he left Egypt) only add up to 053 years,  and the tradition that the Jews only were in Egypt for 012 years?

   Read the questions and answers given to the four sons.  They come from פסוקים in the Torah.  However, the questions and answers are arranged differently in the הגדה than they are in the Torah (in Bo and Va'etchanan).  Why were the פסוקים taken out of their order and context in the Torah in order to form the four sons?

   Why is it that when we read Shirat HaYam during the year (פרשת בשלח), we read Shirat Devorah as the haftarah, yet when we read Shirat HaYam on the seventh day of Pesach, we read Shirat David as the haftarah?

What Begins Badly Ends Well by Duvie Nachbar

Reclining Together by Rabbi Yosef Adler