Wednesday, January 08, 2014

why does the aino yode'a lishol get the same answer as the rasha?

We all know from the haggadah shel Pesach that in giving the mitzvah of sipur yetzi’as Mitzrayim the Torah addresses itself in four different ways to the paradigmatic “four sons.”  In speaking to the son who is “aino yode’a lishol,” who cannot or does not ask, the haggadah uses the same pasuk from Parshas Bo (13:8) of “V’higadta l’vincha…” which Rashi tells us alludes to the answer to the wicked son.  Why does the son who cannot ask deserve the same response as the rasha, the son who openly rebels?

Ksav Sofer answers that the haggadah is warning us that chinuch needs to start on the ground floor, before a child is even old enough to ask.  If not, an “aino yode’a lishol” is a rasha in waiting.

I love the Maharal in Gur Aryeh here.  The “aino yode’a lishol” is not a two year old who is too immature to know how to ask and is not a simpleton who can’t ask.  The “aino yode’a lishol” is the person who is simply too disinterested and/or distracted to be bothered to ask.  In other words, he/she is your typical American Jew.  What sin is he/she guilty of that warrants a response akin to that given to the rasha?  Answer: the sin of apathy. 

It’s a sin to go through life without asking questions, without pausing to wonder and think about our lot as individuals and as a community. 

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