We are all familiar with the ‘four sons’, but have we ever taken the time to think about why this passage is in the Haggadah? In truth it embodies the essential Pesach message, relevant for all Jews, all the year round.

The Wise Son: In fact this son is not ‘wise’ per se but just well educated. He inquires over the nature of what he sees; he already knows that Pesach is filled with various laws, stories and lessons and naturally, he wants to know more than the basics. This child has been given the tools to ask the questions which will yield fruitful answers.

The Wicked Son: This son feels excluded from the proceedings, in fact, although he is aware of Pesach he has never truly engaged himself to see his own role in Judaism. Therefore he stands as an outsider looking inwards, wondering what he is missing out on.

The Simple Son: The simple son asks a simple yet tragic question, ‘What is this?’ He knows that he has a Jewish identity, which is the cause of his question, but beyond that, he has nothing else to say. This child still has a minor connection, but he is so far removed from his tradition that his question is beyond elementary. This child was not ‘simple’, his Jewish upbringing was.

The Son Who Doesn’t Know How to Ask: This is the final stage and an appropriate title. Here is someone devoid of Jewish identity and knowledge, blissfully unaware of Pesach and inevitably it passes him by without a second glance. So what lessons can be learnt? The four sons are meant to jolt us into action. It is no surprise that they are titled ‘sons’ and not men in their own right. This is because their statements are not only predicated on their personalities but rather on their Jewish upbringing and education. Jewish children all have the potential to be wise but it is not only up to them, it is up to all of us to make it so!

Add comment

Have something to say?
Please make your comment below!
All comments are reviewed prior to publication. Absolutely NO loshon hara or anything derogatory or hurtful to anyone will be permitted on the website.

Security code