|Sources for interpreting the Wicked Son's Seder question as excluding himself from the story of enslavement rather than from the ritual of the Seder meal. Sources for understanding "afikomen" as an admonishment to stay awake the night of the Seder.|
|Rabbi Mitchell Levine reserves the rights to all original texts and translations used in this source list. Reuse in most circumstances is acceptable with citation and link to the landing page of this section of the Agudas Achim site.|
A New Approach to the Wicked Son and the Wise Son of the Pesach Seder
1. The Pesach Haggadah:
The wise one, what does he say? “What are the testimonies, the statutes and the laws which the Lord, our God, has commanded you?” You, in turn, shall instruct him in the laws of Passover:
אין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן
The wicked one, what does he say? “What is this service (העבודה) to you?” He says ‘to you,’ but not to him! By thus removing himself from the community he has denied that which is fundamental. You, therefore, blunt his teeth and say to him: “It is because of this that the Lord did for me when I left Egypt”; ‘for me’ – but not for him! If he had been there, he would not have been redeemed!”
2. Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla (Spain, 1248-1310):
What wickedness or blameworthiness may be found in the Wicked Son’s question? Is it really because he used the words “to you” and the Haggadah interprets this to mean “and not to him” according to which he separates himself from the community? If you answer that he called the mitzvoth of Pesach "עבודה" as if it wereעבודת פרך"" like Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla …
3. The Pesach Haggadah:
We wereעבדיםfor Pharaoh in Egypt…
4. Sheiltot, P. Acharei Mot, Ahai Gaon, Pumbedita (680-752 CE):
Does a really fat baby require an additional circumcision because of מראית העין or not? It is written “Every male amongst you shall be circumcised (Gen. 17:10)” and after all, he has been circumcised; or perhaps, since he does not appear to have been circumcised, it is as if he has not been circumcised? Our rabbis taught us: Any time that the community is immersed in distress, and an individual separates from them, two angels place their hands on his head and declare, “This person who has separated himself from the community shall not see the redemption of the community.” Let a person not see the community in distress and say, “I will go and eat and drink and peace be unto me!” And should he do so, Scripture portrays this wicked disposition as evincing, “Come, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be as it has been, only even more plentiful.’ The righteous one perishes, and no one lays it to heart. Kind people are gathered away, and none realize that it is due to the evil that the righteous one is gathered away (Isa. 56:12-57:1).” Even a totally righteous person must cause himself discomfort along with the community. Thus we find Moshe Rabbenu caused himself discomfort along with Israel, as it is said, “The hands of Moshe grew heavy and they took a stone and placed it under him, and he sat upon it (Exodus 17:12).” Was there no cushion or pillow for Moshe Rabbanu to sit upon rather than a stone? Moshe conveyed, “Since Israel is immersed in distress, even I will be with them in distress.”
5. Exodus 14: 15:
The Lord said to Moshe, “Why are you crying out to me? Speak to the Israelites and move out!”Rashi: We learn that while Moshe stood praying, The Holy One blessed be He said to him, “Now is not the time to tarry in prayer; when Israel is in distress.”
6. Mishnah Pesachim, 10:8:
There is no dismissal after/concluding with the Pesach afikomen. If some of them fell asleep, then they may all eat. If they all fell asleep, then they may not eat. Rabbi Yosi says, “If they dozed off, they eat, if they fell into a deep sleep then they may not eat”.
7. ἐπικοιμ-άομαι: Fall asleep after a thing; or, over a thing (Liddell- Scott)
8. Exodus 12:42:
It is a night guarded for the Lord to bringing them out of the land of Egypt; this night for the Lord is guarded for all Israelites for their generations.
- BT Rosh HaShanah 11b: Rabbi Yehoshua interpreted this to mean that in Nisan they were redeemed; the future redemption will be in Nissan. This night has been “guarded” for this purpose since the first 6 days of creation.
9. Gospel of Mark (Late 1st century, CE):
14.37And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 14.38Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 14.39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 14.40And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. 14.41And he came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
10. ThePesach Haggadah:
It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarphon were having the Seder in B'nei Berak (circa Late 1st – early 2nd century). They were recounting the exodus from Egypt all that night, until their students came and told them, “Rabbis, the time hasarrived for the morning Shema!” Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah said: "I am like a man of seventy years old, yet I did not merit that the exodus from Egypt should be recited at night until Ben Zoma interpreted it: “It is said, ‘That you may remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life;’ now ‘the days of your life’ refers to the daytimes, ‘all the days of your life’ includes the nights.” The sages said: “The days of your life” refers to this world; and ‘all the days of your life’ (להביא)the days of Mashiach.”