Paul Magy’s Shabbat Torah Study Blog–Shabbat Pesach 5772–Rabbi Aaron Bergman–Which of the 4 Banim Are You? Maybe All of Them?

We are all familiar with the 4 Banim (children) in the Seder Haggadah:  the wise, the wicked, the naïve/simple, and the child who knows nothing and cannot even begin to ask anything intelligently. I am sure that your family jokes, as does ours, going around the Seder table as to which category each of us falls under. I read once, from someone much smarter than I, that we each have attributes of all 4. They are us. In some areas we are very knowledgeable and understanding. In some we may be selfish or rebellious. In others we are naively hopeful. Finally, we must all admit to areas in which we have no knowledge and do not even know what we don’t know.  None of us are just one type of individual. We are complex creatures. Our challenge and struggle is to always try to be better ones. The key is recognizing that none of us have to be stuck where we are physically or mentally. This is the festival of freedom—Zeman Chayrutaynu. The message of this holiday is that we have the freedom to unleash ourselves from our personal Mitzrayim—the symbolic Egypt—literally the narrow places—the straits. Each of has enormous potential. Even more, each of has numerous opportunities—FREE ONES—to learn the secrets of happiness and contentment contained in our faith.   The 4 Questions I propose for my personal Seder journey are:

1)    Tonight I come to the Seder with limitations that I have set upon myself. How can I transcend them?

2)    Tonight I come to the Seder with burdens that I have allowed others to place upon me. How can I overcome them?

3)    Tonight I come to the Seder feeling that I have so much to more to offer to help others. How can I be more giving?

4)    Tonight I come to the Seder recognizing that I have so much more to know. Where will I go to learn?   

 Sometimes asking the questions and searching for answers produces more anxiety than merely being stuck. Maybe that’s why our people were enslaved for as long as they were.

 What would your personal 4 questions be?

 My prayer for each of us is that we at least start to ask the questions and that the questioning process will lead us to the answer that each of us holds the key to our own personal freedom and opportunities for growth. Find the key and unlock your future. 

Best wishes for a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Kasher V’Sameyach,


 P.S. Shabbat Torah Study will be led by Rabbi Aaron Bergman. I have always found his teaching and philosophy truly liberating. How appropriate for this Shabbat Pesach. 10:00 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel.   

P.S.S. You can read my present and past Shabbat Torah Study notes on my blog As always, feel free to let me know if you would like to not receive this email. Also feel free to suggest my adding anyone who you think might enjoy this.

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