Just some quick Pesach thoughts from a guest contributor. In memory of Rabbi Pluchok sl
Rav Hirsch points out that the answer given to the wicked son is not addressing him at all. Rather the father exclaims, “If he were there he wouldn’t have been redeemed!”
The father isn’t addressing this child? Why not?
Rav Hirsch says that there is a generation that has become more enlightened than its parents’ generation. In “light” of this, there is little to teach them. The only answer is an answer to ourselves. That we received something brighter and more splendid than any enlightenment will ever bring. We received the heart and the soul of life, the sweet Torah and its mitzvoth that strengthen us and, indeed, enlighten us daily.
The “Brisker Hagadah” gives this over with a more Eastern European form of an anti-Haskalic tone. The Beis Halevi was asked to give an approbation to a book of dikduk by a maskil. He refused stating that there were mistakes. The author protested that many young scholars have mistakes in their books and receive approbation. The Beis Halevi retorted, “But yours is a book about dikduk, and it needs to be grammatically perfect.” The maskil stormed out.
The Beis Halevi told his students that this is why the father doesn’t address the wicked son directly…because he has already stormed out! (Perhaps if he doesn’t he isn’t the wicked son after all?)
Perhaps we can add a thought. The answer that the wicked son receives in absenta is that “It is for these things that G-d took me out of Egypt.” Rashi there explains that “these things” refers to the mitzvoth at the seder. G-d too us out so that there will one day be a seder. Some have asked that this seems like a stretch that Egypt and the whole slavery was staged to make the mitzvah of seder. (Rabbi Yakov of Lissa says that this isn’t a stretch at all, since mitzvoth were the reason for the creation…)
But perhaps we can add a twist:
Rashi might be saying that Hashem took us out of Egypt because He KNEW that the Jewish people will be faithful to the traditions and thank Him and cling to him through all the generations. This is why we are free, because we can be counted on to do these mizvoth. We have never stormed out of the room, and if we did, we came back because we are reliable students of our great Father and Teacher in Heaven.
Particularly in this year where many will be having the seder alone and in stressful circumstances (compared to our regular freedoms and luxuries…) we need to remember that we are “old reliable”. Hashem knows that He can rely on us to adapt to the circumstances and fulfill the mitzvoth of the night.