Friday, March 23, 2007


by Reb Jay

Carpas is used as an appetizer. An appetizer whets one’s appetite for the coming meal. Why do we dip? The sages give a cryptic answer: “We dip in order that the children should ask.” The Maharal explains that one of our goals on Pesach is to clarify why it was necessary for us to have undergone slavery. He answers that one of the reasons we had to undergo slavery was in order to enable us to experience freedom. If one has never experienced the opposite of freedom, which is slavery, then one cannot truly appreciate freedom. (This concept is true of all pleasures. They can only be truly appreciated when one has experienced the opposite, and expended the necessary effort to achieve them.)

So when the children ask: “Why do we dip the vegetable?”, we explain what an appetizer is. That just as one cannot really enjoy food, unless a hearty appetite has been developed, so too one cannot enjoy freedom until one has experienced slavery. This concept can be explained on an even deeper level - that one cannot appreciate answers, until one asks questions. In order for Judaism to be meaningful in our lives, we must question, and put the same passion into it that we put into our jobs, families and recreation.
(Based on an idea from Rabbi Uziel Milevsky zt’l)

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