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Who Knows One?

By Rabbi Label Lam

How can we get the most out of our Pesach Seder? That’s a good question to ask before the commencement of the Seder? The answer is not to prepare speech. No one likes lectures, especially ones that begin with words such as, “When we were kids…we had respect…we used to walk to school 7 miles in the snow up hill, both ways etc., even if it’s true. The mind of the listener will immediately close up and the sacred obligation to “relate to your child” will be lost.

Maybe we should come armed with tons of fun and interesting facts about Pesach! Well we live in what’s called, “the age of information” and wisdom is still the rarest of qualities. Did you ever wonder why? One anonymous philosopher once said, “There is nothing more irrelevant than the answer to a question that was never asked!” Love is the answer to what question? G-d is the answer to what question? Pesach is the answer to what question? Without a question the most amazing things in the universe are rendered meaningless. Once the “quest” or “go” or “search” button is pressed then everything in G-d’s world becomes our teacher. A question is a vessel of sorts. It’s an invitation for real knowledge and true wisdom.

Not less than Albert Einstein, the icon of secular Jewish genius said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” For that reason our sages prepared for us the most successful and brilliant of lesson plans of all time, which is built entirely on questions. Therefore it could very well be that the most important ingredient at a Pesach Seder, besides Matza and Marror and 4 cups of wine is a holy curiosity inspired by questions! In that spirit here are just a few questions to ponder?

1. Are there more than four questions at the Pesach Seder?

2. Why is four such a prominent number at the Seder?

3. Why was Lot serving Matzos to his angelic guests exactly 401 years before the exodus?

4. Why do people in Jerusalem also declare, “Next year in Jerusalem”?

5. Why are there only four sons and not a fifth?

6. Is there a difference between “asking a question” and “questioning”?

7. Why wise then wicked? It should rather be wise to foolish or righteous to wicked! No?

8. Why is the word “one” before each of the four sons?

9. Are Matzos “poor man’s bread” or “a boarding pass to freedom”?

10. Is there a connection between the word Matzos and Mitzvos made from the same letters?

11. If Chometz is so poisonous why do we eat Matza, made from the same 5 grains?

12. Why do we eat Matza and then Marror if the bitter slavery preceded leaving Egypt?

13. Why do we lean for the Korech (which also has Marror) and not for the Marror?

14. Why is this period of dietary restriction called in Kiddush “the time of our freedom?

15. What would have been the value of coming to Mt. Sinai and not getting the Torah?

16. Why do 75% of American Jews keep a Seder if more than 60% have no Shul affiliation?

17. After 3325 years can you name an older- still vibrant human institution as the Seder?

18. Could it be that there really is something different about this night?!

19. “How can I repay HASHEM for all kindliness he has bestowed upon me?! (Hallel)

20. “Who knows One?”

DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and



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