This post covers questions and answers for the following topics:

  • Tzafun
  • Bareich
  • Hallel
  • Nirtzah

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8 Answers 8


Are you supposed to do the responsive parts of Hallel at the Seder?

Isaac Moses asked: At a Pesach Seder, when you get to the parts of Hallel that are done responsively in a congregation, are you supposed to do them responsively? Does the answer depend on how many people are at the Seder?

Ahron said: If there are three people who recite the Hallel together, the two responsive readings (the four verses ending "Ki LeOlam Chasdo" at the beginning of Psalm 118 and the four "Ana Hashem" verses toward the end of that psalm) are recited as in the shul: the leader recites each of the "Ki LeOlam Chasdo" verses and the others answer "Hodu" [and the next verse quietly; in some communities the leader recites "Hodu" quietly with the others], and the leader recites each of the "Ana Hashem" verses followed by the others.

For all Hallel recitations throughout the year, only men are obligated, and it is indeed preferable to ensure that there are at least three adult men at the Seder to recite the Hallel (Shulchan Aruch 479:1). However, at the Seder, women are also obligated to recite the Hallel; thus, they -- and children who have reached the age of beginning to learn (chinuch) -- can be counted at the Seder in the count of the three people for these recitations (Magen Avraham and Taz ibid.).

If there are only one or two obligated persons at the Seder, one should not use the repetitive reading (Mishnah Berurah 479:11).

Original question: Are you supposed to do the responsive parts of Hallel at the Seder?


  • Hallel​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 4:37

How can we drink wine after the Afikomen?

Gershon Gold asked: Mishna Berura 478:1:2 says that you should not drink anything other than water after the Afikomen in order not to lose the flavor of the Matza. How then can we drink cup 3 and cup 4 of wine after the Afikomen? Does that not take away the flavor of the Matza?

Fred said: The gemara (Pesachim 119b) mentions the prohibition against eating after the the final matzah (which is known nowadays as the afikoman). There are different opinions among the poskim as to the reason for this and whether this also implies a prohibition against drinking. The Rashbam (ad loc., s.v. אין מפטירין אחר המצה אפיקומן) writes that the reason to not eat afterwards is to prevent weakening the taste of the matzah. Apparently on that basis, the Rif (Pesachim 27a) and the Rambam (Hil. Chametz uMatzah 8:9,10) prohibit eating or drinking anything aside from water after the afikoman.

The Mordechai (on Arvei Pesachim, 38b) writes that a significant amount of the matzah taste survives the seder even if someone forgot to eat the afikoman. He rules (commentary on the Seder, 34a) that the problem with drinking more wine is that it would give the appearance of adding to the mandated four cups. He therefore rules that one may drink more wine after the meal is over and the table is cleared. The Ran (Chidushei HaRan, Pesachim 119b) agrees with the Mordechai's reasoning.

The Rosh (Pesachim 10:34) rules based on the Yerushalmi (Pesachim 10:6) that the reason for not drinking more wine is to remain sober enough to stay awake and expound on the exodus from Egypt. Therefore, he rules, drinking anything aside from alcoholic beverages is permitted after the afikoman. The Tur (OC 481) quotes the same ruling in the name of Rabbeinu Yonah.

We see that the four cups of wine instituted by the sages take priority over the objective of not drinking after the afikoman; despite the Yerushalmi's statement to not drink wine between the third and fourth cups so as not to become inebriated, the Yerushalmi requires drinking those third and fourth cups. Even according to the opinions that prohibit drinking wine because of it's attenuating effect on the matzah taste, the required final two cups of wine that were explicitly instituted by the sages (Pesachim 99b) take priority over the gemara's implicit prohibition against drinking after the afikoman. Still, one should avoid drinking more than that and thereby preserve whatever matzah taste survives the last two cups.

Note that the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (481:1) writes that it is proper to be stringent on the first night of Pesach if possible, and that, aside from the third and fourth cup of wine, only mild drinks like water, ginger ale, tea, or mild apple juice should be consumed after the afikoman. The Mishna B'rura (481:1) endorses this ruling.

Original question: How can we drink wine after the Afikomen?


  • Bareich or possibly Hallel.
    – Fred
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 0:09
  • Were there really two different Freds involved?
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 6:03
  • 1
    I recommend only linking the second Fred account, which is the main one.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 6:11

How do we understand "I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned…"?

Just Wondering asked: At the end of bentching (bircas hamazon) we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread".

How do we reconcile that with the poverty that we see all the time?

Alex offered a couple of possibilities, culled from midrashim and commentaries:

  • Keli Yakar to Deut. 15:10, and Malbim on this verse (Ps. 37:25), say that it means that you will never find that both the tzaddik and his children will be poor; it may be that one or the other of them will be, though.

  • The Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 35:2) takes נעזב, translated above as "be abandoned", in the active sense: "even though his children and descendants may be begging for bread, I have not seen this tzaddik [apparently referring to Yaakov] abandoning his fear of G-d."

  • Tanchuma (Miketz 6) similarly explains that it means that Hashem never allows the world to be bereft of tzaddikim.

Yosef added: In his Koren Sacks Siddur, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks renders it as, in paraphrase, "I never looked on while a tzaddik was abandoned…"; that is, it is a declaration (or aspiration) of the person who recites the prayer, of what his response to poverty will be.

Original question: "I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned..." - how do we understand this?

  • Barech. 15ch.
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 2:45
  • Oh, nice find/addition! Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 3:09

What do you do with Kos Shel Eliyahu?

yydl asked: The minhag is to fill up an additional cup towards the end of the seder known as Kos Shel Eliyahu. I was just wondering what the various minhagim are as to what to do with it after the seder is over.

Alex said: The Chabad minhag is to pour it back into the bottle after לשנה הבאה בירושלים. While this is being done, everyone at the table sings א-לי אתה ואודך to the tune composed by R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

Gershon Gold said: My father always used it the next day for Kiddush, and that is what I do.

JXG said: My great-grandfather's practice was to pour wine from the Kos shel Eliyahu into each person's fourth cup. (My grandmother used a spoon.)

I don't have a source or even a reason for the practice, but when I asked around I was told that it was an affirmation of early Religious Zionism, since Eliyahu's cup represents the fifth expression of redemption, "v'heveti," G-d's bringing us to the land of Israel. To show that this redemption has started again, everyone drinks from the wine.


Original question: What do you do with Kos Shel Eliyahu

  • Bareich or Nirtzah. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 20:17

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Monica Cellio asked: Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the moshiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for this multiple times per day.

In my head I know all that, but not what to do if I'm not feeling it. (Never have; this isn't a regression.) I'm actually pretty comfortable here in the American diaspora, and a part of me wonders if, had I lived then, I would have returned from Babylon -- not because I want to be "bad" but because inertia plus lack of yearning tends to mean you stay put.

I can't be the first person who's struggled with this, saying the prayers but doubting them as they pass my lips, trying to align head and heart in the correct direction. Has anyone who struggled with this and conquered it written about it -- what did he do that worked, what new perspective helped him, etc?

nikmasi said: I will tell you something that has completely changed my avodas Hashem. You have to stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on God. This sounds very simple but in practice is very hard to do. That means coming to terms with the fact that, in whatever way we can understand this, God is (k'vayachol) pained or unhappy that his children are in exile and that his house is gone.

In practical terms, for me, I have found that means talking to God, as often as possible. The idea is to "interact" with God in a real and meaningful way as often as possible and to verbally call attention to it when you do it. For example I walk past a delicious smelling treif pizza place and say, "God, that food smells delicious but you commanded me not to eat it, so I want you to know the reason I'm not going inside there right now is because I value your will and want to keep your commandments".

Over time I have found that this has made God a lot more "real" to me. Then you get to Tisha B'Av and it really starts to hit you, or you see tragedy in today's world and it hits you. This is not how things are meant to be. But now you see those things and it prompts you to dialogue with God. "Please God end the suffering of your people."

Suddenly there is a new perspective. Sure life is good for many Jews in the diaspora (Baruch Hashem) but when that happiness comes at the expense of another who is so saddened by the situation that is exactly what the gemarah (Gittin 58a) describes as the source for the exile in the first place. How petty have our lives become that having a nice house and physical comforts makes us forget that God Almighty has no home. Then it becomes much easier to relate to really wanting Moshiach.

(Please note I don't know you at all and nothing in this answer should be taken as a personal criticism. It is a general statement about the attitude of some Jews in Diaspora.)

Isaac Moses said: R' Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz poses a very similar question and quotes the following answer from Mesillat Yesharim, Chapter 7. (The translation is the one quoted by R' Yaklowitz)

ואולם האדם אשר אין החמדה הזאת לוהטת בו כראוי, עצה טובה היא לו שיזדרז ברצונו, כדי שימשך מזה שתולד בו החמדה בטבע, כי התנועה החיצונה מעוררת הפנימית, ובודאי שיותר מסורה בידו היא החיצונה מהפנימית.‏

The best advice for the person in whom this desire does not burn is that he consciously enthuse himself so that enthusiasm might eventually become second nature to him. External movement arouses the internal, and you certainly have more of a command over the external than the internal.

R' Yanklowitz goes on to interpret these instructions as a call to "take on spiritual practices which help to cultivate the internal desire for an ideal world and external practices that help to be makriv the geulah (bring near an ideal human society)."

He doesn't specify what these practices may be, but there are any number of suggestions out there. (As a seasonal starting point, R' Daniel Z. Feldman suggests selling your chametz! His books may provide even more to-the-point ideas.) If you do things that are prescribed for hastening the Redemption with that purpose in mind, it will help bring your emotions toward that purpose as well.

Kordovero said: When we return to Israel, it won't just be a matter of speaking a different language or living in a different house. Our entire existence of Jews will be completely different, and immeasurably better. All the infighting and divisions among the Jewish people will be gone. Achdut (unity) and brotherly love (ahavat Israel) will be complete. Our avodat Hashem, individually and communally, will be on an infinitely higher level in every way under Moshiach's leadership.

More generally, in the Messianic era all the unnecessary suffering in the world will end. The many millions of people who are killed or live miserable lives because of war, crime, oppression, (often preventable or treatable) illness, or unjust or incompetent governments will live lives of peace, happiness and spirituality. (The ones who were killed with have to wait until the Resurrection, of course.)

In sum, I relate more to the various Messianic era-related brachot in the Amidah by thinking of them as ways of imploring Hashem to bring about the completion and perfection of the world for the benefit of all people.

Dan added: This place is great. We are lucky to have it. But the presence of the shechina is mighty tempting and when I daven, I think about what I can do to get to that even better situation.


Original question: How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?


  • Nirtzah [15char] Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 20:17

Why is there Pesach Sheini - The Second Passover?

Yirmeyahu asked: What is the primary/basic reason why one has a second chance to bring the Korban Pesach (Passover Sacrifice) on Pesach Sheni (a month after Passover)? Other mitzvos, such as hearing the shofar or other special korbanos (sacrifices) do not have a similar way of making up for the missed opportunity.

Isaac Moses suggested: The first reason I can think of is purely historical.

The origin of this holiday is an episode recorded in the Torah (Numbers 9:1-14). On the first anniversary of the Exodus, God commanded the Israelites to once again bring a Korban Pesach. There was a group of people who were inelligible to participate at the time due to recent contact with human remains. They went to Moshe and Aharon and asked why they should be prevented from being part of this Korban along with the rest of the Israelites. God responded by commanding them and people who might have this problem in the future to perform a make-up Pesach one month later.

So, you could say that the reason this holiday in particular has a make-up date is because this incident happened when the recurring holiday was just being founded, which didn't happen with other observances.

Of course, you're left with a few issues:

  • Why did people make a fuss about this observance and not about others (at least as far as we can see in the Torah)?

  • Didn't God intend this to be part of the Torah's rules before the incident happened?

I'm sure that plenty has been written about this, but here's how I see it conceptually. The Korban Pesach demonstrates the bringer's membership in the Israelite Nation. One clue to this is in Exodus 12:26-27, where the Torah gives an explicit meaning for the observance: It represents God passing over the Israelite homes, which bore the blood of the Korban on their doorposts, when He smote the Egyptians.

Another clue is in the complaint of the people for whom Pesach Sheini was apparently founded. They specifically say "Why should we be prevented from bringing God's Korban ... among the Children of Israel?" Apparently, the tie to the community represented by this Korban was an important part of their concern.

So, I suggest that both these people's motivation and God's was to make sure that this central rite of affiliation was available to every Israelite.

May the Israelites of today once again demonstrate to God that we can't bear to be prevented from bringing the Korban Pesach, and may He respond by once again giving us an avenue for bringing it.

Barry deflected: Actually, it isn't the only one. The korbanot brought on each festival also come with make-up days (7 or 8 days after the onset of the obligation).

Missed tefillah, which were modeled on korbanot, can be made-up for one period after the cessation of the previous period. For example, if one missed Ma'ariv, it can be made up the following morning up until the end of the Shacharit period.

The mitzvah of Milah is primarily the 8th day after birth, however if one misses it it can be made up afterwards. This is referred to as "Tashlumin" by the Rokeach and others.

The mitzvah of Havdalah can be made up for 3 days after the closing of the Shabbat. If one misses the night Seudat Shabbat, it can be made up the next day.

Fasting, if one couldn't do it, can also be made up on any subsequent day, preferably the very next day. (Today it isn't considered obligatory any more, due to the weakness of our generation).

Many other examples exist as well.

Menachem responded: One could perhaps argue that all those make-ups are an extension of that mitzvah (e.g. one is required to make a separation between shabbos and the weekday - this obligation extends till tuesday night). Pesach Sheni, on the other hand is a separate mitzvah.

The Sefer Hachinuch has it as Mitzvah 380. He says that celebrating Pesach is so important because it showed the whole world that G-d is in control and powerful, and has the power to renew/create the world ex nihilo. G-d gave us Pesach to celebrate this. Since this lesson is so important, if one missed the opportunity G-d gave him another opportunity to celebrate this.

Original question: Why is there Pesach Sheini - The Second Passover?

  • Section: Tzafun
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 16:56
  • @Monica oops. Thanks for fixing that.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 17:01
  • You're welcome. I assumed you'd prefer a bulleted list to, say, a block quote, but feel free to do whatever you like. Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 17:02
  • @MonicaCellio, There's a trade-off between copying the markdown and then remembering to strip off the unwanted formatting and copying the plain text and remembering to add back in the wanted formatting. I did the latter here, but forgot these bullets.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 17:05
  • Why at tzafun?
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 21:31
  • @msh210 Tzafun is where we're supposed to be eating the korban Pesach, but aren't.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 21:55
  • ...and therefore where we think about what to do instead, in a month? I suppose. I, for one, have never thought about pesach sheni at tzafun, but that's probably my own spiritual weakness rather than the lack of relevance.
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 22:33
  • @msh210, I'm not sure that I've ever thought about Pesach Sheini at Tzafun before, myself. We can make the suggestion without imputing spiritual weakness on those who, like us, haven't thought of it yet in the moment. ... Also, I feel like stretching just a bit to see if we can get at least one entry for each Seder stage. We're four away right now. ...
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 22:35
  • A worthy goal.‎
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 22:45

Who made this?

If you will ask: Who wrote and put together this Hagada supplement? All of the questions and answers have names associated with them, but most of them aren't full names, and some of them don't look like normal names at all. Also, someone must have tied it all together into this beautiful volume. Who?

One could answer: This project would not have been possible without the efforts of many people, starting with the people in the Mi Yodeya online Jewish Q&A community who wrote the questions and answers. The names on the questions and answers are the usernames the authors chose for use on Mi Yodeya. Some of them are real names, while others are pseudonyms. The members of the community choose how much information to share about themselves in their user profiles on the website. Here are the web addresses of the authors' profiles:

Ahron - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/139/ahron
Alex - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/37/alex
andrewmh20 - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/2246/andrewmh20
Ari A - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1208/ari-a
b a - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1569/b-a
Barry - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/71/barry
Dan - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1362/dan
Double AA - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/759/double-aa
Dov F - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1601/dov-f
Eytan Yammer - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1351/eytan-yammer
Fred - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1442/fred
Gershon Gold - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/200/gershon-gold
Isaac Moses - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/2/isaac-moses
jabal - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/561/jabal
jake - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/489/jake
Jeremy - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/456/jeremy
Jewish Jon - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/80/jewishjon
josh waxman - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/458/josh-waxman
jutky - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/205/jutky
JXG - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/494/jxg
Kordovero - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/2384/kordovero
Madeleine - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/819/madeleine
Menachem - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/603/menachem
Michoel - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1535/michoel
Monica Cellio - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/472/monica-cellio
msh210 - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/170/msh210
Nathan - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/508/nathan
nikmasi - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/2110/nikmasi
nute - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/659/nute
Seth J - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/5/seth-j
Shalom - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/21/shalom
shlomo - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/107/shlomo
Shmuel Brin - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/732/shmuel-brin
shy"k - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/114/shyk
SimchasTorah - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/87/simchastorah
SLaks - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/420/slaks
vulcandeathgrip - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1561/vulcandeathgrip
WAF - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/3/waf
Yahu - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/68/yahu
YDK - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/145/ydk
Yirmeyahu - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/899/yirmeyahu
Yitzchak - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/679/yitzchak
Yosef - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/91/yosef
yydl - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/128/yydl

The following people compiled and edited this publication:

Double AA - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/759/double-aa
Fred - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/1442/fred
HodofHod - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/883/hodofhod
Isaac Moses - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/2/isaac-moses
Monica Cellio - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/472/monica-cellio
msh210 - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/170/msh210

Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank Stack Exchange for making its design team available to turn a collection of text into an attractive and well-designed book:

Jin - https://judaism.stackexchange.com/users/417/jin
Sean Gallagher - https://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/169846/sean-gallagher
Stack Exchange, Inc. - http://stackexchange.com

  • Put this at the very end. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:04
  • 2
    Wow; that is an impressively long list of authors. Suggestions: 1) Find and replace "judaism.stackexchange.com" with "mi.yodeya.com". 2) Put a correctly-formatted username in front of each URL (e.g. Monica Cellio - http://mi.yodeya.com/users/472/monica-cellio)
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:08
  • 1
    And we need to add a thank-you to Stack Exchange. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:10
  • 2
    Anyone who's got time to make those changes, please feel free. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:10
  • I didn't prepend the first "fred" link because I'm hoping that the account will end up getting merged, and this link deleted.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 20:26
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses, well-done on your edit! Thank you very much. Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 1:55

Why do we sing "Echad Mi Yodeya"?

shy"k asked: Why do we sing the song "Echad Mi Yodeya" at the seder?

b a said: Rabbi Y. L. HaKohen Maimon (Chagim UMo'adim pp. 171-192, especially p. 191) suggests that the reason why we say Echad Mi Yodeia at the seder is to strengthen our belief in the oral Torah.

In the times of the ge'onim, Karaites were disputing the authenticity of our traditions. For this reason, the ge'onim arranged to say things such as Rabbi Yishma'el's thirteen rules every day, to say a hataras nedarim at the beginning of the holiest day of the year (Karaites deny that it is even allowed by the Torah to annul vows, disputing the weak exegesis of הוא לא יחל דברו אבל אחרים מוחלים לו), and other such things, in order to instill in the nation the firm belief in G-d's Torah, written and oral.

Along these lines, they established that we should say "Echad Mi Yodeia" in which we say: Our G-d is one, and He doesn't have a son or any other partner in running the world; the only two and three we have are the two tablets and the three patriarchs. He especially emphasizes the connection between the five books of the Torah and the six orders of mishnah.

In conclusion, we say "שלושה עשר מדיא." Rabbi Maimon suggests that these are not G-d's thirteen attributes of mercy as they are normally understood to be, but rather Rabbi Yishma'el's שלוש עשרה מדות שהתורה נדרשת בהן.

SimchasTorah said: I heard all of the niggunim in Nirtzah are since you are supposed to be busy with Yetzias Mitzrayim the whole night( A halacha unlike Shavous where it is a Minhag )this is a riddle that we are supposed to figure out its deeper meaning (Haggadah Shlall Rav)

yitzchak said: Another answer given by various Chassidish rebbes, though I have yet to find it in print, is that Echad Mi Yodea is nothing more nor less than a drinking song. It's late at night, you've had four cups of wine (probably larger than the minimum size). In that state people tend to sing loudly and off-key about whatever is on their minds and -- so the chassidish teaching goes -- what is on a Jew's mind other than God. I doubt this was the original intention of the composer, but it's an interesting perspective.

Original question: Why do we sing "Echad Mi Yodeya"?

  • Nirtzah (songs) Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 3:34

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