Pesach Matza Marror

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By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Pesach, matza, and marror are the three main focuses of the Haggada. The Emek Bracha brings down from the Griz that when Reb Chaim Brisker would say these three things in the Haggada, he would explain that there are three differences between the mitzvah of “sippur” and “zechira” of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Firstly, “sippur” is done via questions and answers. Secondly, “sippur” requires the entire story, including the parts that may not be flattering. That is why we are maschil bignus umesayem bishvach (we start with the bad and finish with the praise.) The third way that makes “sippur” different from “zechira” is that we are required to explain the reason we do things the entire night of the seder, hence the explanation of Rabban Gamliel who said that one is not yotzeh the whole seder unless he explains Pesach, Matza, and Marror.

The Maharsha in Pesachim, daf kuf tes vov, amud bais asks why is the explanation of why we do the mitzvah so important here? We do not find this concept concerning other mitzvos; making the bracha is usually sufficient to fulfill the commandment.

This can be explained by defining the many different types of mitzvos. There are chukim, mishpatim, eidus and pikudim. The Redak in Tehillim, Perek Kuf Yud Tesexplains that the mitzvos called eidus are mitzvos that are done to remind us of something. Shabbos, Yomim Tovim, tzitzis and tefillin are all done to remind us of something. The Avudraham, Maharal and the Gra all say that the mitzvos are here as a testimony, eidus,” that there were nissim that happened when we were taken out of Mitzrayim. With this explanation we could say that when we say Pesach, matza or marror al shum ma, it is not explaining the reason for the mitzvah. It is part and parcel of the eidus of what this mitzvah is supposed to remind us. That is an explanation why the sippur yetzias Mitzrayim is called the haggada. It is the lashon of haggadas eidus. It would therefore be very understandable why we need to say the three things for Pesachmatza and marror since it serves as eidus and is part of the mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim. This is why we need to have them in front of us when we say the sippur of the haggada.

The Rosh explores why we don’t need a bracha before the sippur. He explains that there are many mitzvos that are done to remind us about yetzias Mitzrayim. All the yomim tovim are a zecher for yetzias Mitzrayim. The Torah commands us to execute actions as a reminder of yetzias Mitzrayim. The haggada is an elaboration and explanation of the mitzvah since it provides the necessary questions and answers, but the ikkar mitzvah of “sippur” is really the activities that we do to remind us of the “sippur.” With this understanding, we can answer the Maharsha’s question. We are not giving reason as to why we do the mitzvos. We are just doing the mitzvah of “sippur yetzias Mitzrayim” with the proper props and we therefore need to explain the eidus while we do the mitzvah. So our saying the haggada is actually a hagaddas eidus and not a reason for doing the mitzvah.

May we all be zocheh to do the “sippur” with the Korban Pesach in front of us.

Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com

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