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THE SEDER EXPERIENCE

By: Rav Mendel Blachman

Most people waste their Sedarim focusing on issues which are peripheral to what the Seder is supposed to be about. The average Seder has about two hours to focus on Magid which is the Sipur Yitzias Mitzrayim. Should we be spending that time analyzing how the four sons are different? That has nothing to do with yetzias mitzrayim! So, what should we do during our Magid time?
 
The Rambam spells it out clearly in the seventh perek of Hilchos Chameitz U’Matzah. 
He teaches that the most basic level of the mitzvah is to speak about “nisim” and “niflaos.” “Nisim” refers to the miracles which God performs which are supernatural. An example of this is the water turning to blood. They have completely different molecular structures and this cannot be explained in any natural terms. “Niflaos” refers to God manipulating nature like when he brought the plague of locusts. It is something which happens in nature which God made happen at that time. 
 
So, this is the most basic idea which we must relate during Magid. We should talk about these two types of miracles which God performed back in Egypt.
 
The Rambam then continues and explains that there is a higher level of Magid. We should discuss that which “ir’u” and “shehayu.” “Ir’u” refers to that which actually happened and “shehayu” refers to the background to what happened. Understanding the background in which the stories took place adds another dimension to our appreciation for what occurred.
 
Finally, the Rambam teaches that we should be “matchil b’gnut u’misayeim b’shvach” – “begin with negative and end with praise.” He explains this to mean that we should begin by discussing that our forefathers were pagans and, in the end, we came to recognize the true path with the true God. This means that our Magid should not simply relate what happened back then. We should talk about the miracles and discuss how the true God manipulates nature and can change nature even today. We should discussion our rejection of paganism and the ramifications of our embracing Monotheism including God’s involvement in the world, reward and punishment, and God’s all encompassing Oneness.
 

We should all prepare properly for Pesach and be prepared to discuss these meaningful ideas during our Magid.