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Written by Rabbi Norbert Weinberg

The Red Sea SplitIt is a well-known fact that all the “poor little children” have to practice a long time before Pesach to master the famous “Four Questions” which must be duly chanted at the Seder to give a lot of Nachas to the parents, grandparents and all others assembled around the table. 

I remember when, as a little boy, we came to America and spent our first Pesach in a hotel. My knowledge of English was almost non-existent at that time. I was accosted by one of the directors of the program to recite the “Four Questions.” I tried to cooperate until I came to the word “distinguished”  (“How is this night distinguished from all other nights?”) That did it – I quit.

In a more serious vein, however, these questions are essential to the proper conduct of the Seder. It is based on the formula in the Torah which states, “When your child will ask you…”. At that point, we are to answer the child’s question with the story of the Exodus. This clearly indicates that the entire Seder is a response. The children ask and the adults respond. Without those questions, the Seder is virtually meaningless. 

This is a great lesson for all of us. As adults, we must act as role models for our children. Even further, we must lead the type of religious lives which is stimulating to them and will always fill them with wonder, inspiration, and the desire to learn even more. 

So as we gather around our Seder table this year, we should realize that former and future generations sit with us in spirit. We must also be very aware of our children and always inspire them to be proud of us and fi ll our places in the future. 

Let us hope and pray that we are quickly approaching the time that Elijah, the Prophet, will enter one of our homes with the glad tidings that our redemption and that of the world is about to take place.


Rabbi Norbert Weinberg



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