Rav Schachter: Teach the Poshut P’shat


rav-hershel-schachterDuring a kashrus webcast one year ago at OU headquarters in New York, NY, with OU Kashrus’ senior poskim, Rav Yisroel Belsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, and Rav Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon, Rav Schachter took a strong stand regarding teaching children the simple understanding of the Haggadah Shel Pesach.

Following a fascinating program of dozens of questions aimed at providing practical guidance for the Seder and for Pesach preparation, Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, the moderator, asked the rabbonim in which area do they see the most mistakes being made with regard to Pesach observance.

Rav Shechter responded that earlier, it had been asked how much time people should allow their children to spend on the sheets that they prepared in school.

“I think that that’s a major problem,” said Rav Schachter. “[At] all the different yeshivos and all the day schools, the rabbeim a lot of times teach the children gematrios and roshei teivos and pshetlach and vehi shemada…[that] it means this and it means that. They don’t tell them the poshut p’shat. I think it is a problem with Chumash as well…they teach all the children p’shetlach on all the pesukim.

“I think we should try to straighten out the yeshivos and the chinuch, and the day schools…should teach the poshut pshat, without the gematrios and without the roshei teivos. They should know what the pirush hamillos is. We shouldn’t have the children eat up so much time with all these roshei teivos and p’shetlach. And then we finish the Afikoman after chatzos and we finish the Arbah Kosos after chatzos. They should be…trained to say over the poshut p’shat.”

Rav Schachter also mentioned that it is his impression that many people are not aware of the chiyuv to drink at least rov kos during the Arbah Kosos – and lechtchilah the full kos – and that just taking a sip, as some people do – “they think it’s ┬álike under a chupah,” said Rav Schachter – is not correct.

He said that people exaggerate how hard it is to drink the Arbah Kosos. “If it wouldn’t be Pesach night, there wouldn’t be a yeitzer harah not to drink, so they would be able to drink Arbah Kosos.”

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Rav Schachter has been an advocate for poshut psaht for as long as I can remember; at least 25 years. In fact the first Torah I heard from him,as a senior in high school, included that admonition; to simply try to arrive as poshut pshat in the pasuk, the daf, the rishon . . . Indeed he further maintains that the Rav zt”l was also entirely concerned with poshut pshat, and nothing else.