Noticing Different – מה נשתנה

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ברכה ראשונה

What’s the most routine thing you do on a regular basis?

What throws you off from your routine?

What makes a day feel different for you?

גמרא פסחים קטו-קטז

The second cup is poured, and here the son asks his father the questions. And if the son can't ask, his father teaches him:

Why is this night different from all other nights? As on all other nights we eat leavened bread and matza as preferred; on this night all our bread is matza. As on all other nights we eat other vegetables; on this night we eat bitter herbs. On all other nights we eat either roasted, stewed, or cooked meat, but on this night all the meat is the roasted meat of the Paschal lamb. On all other nights we dip the vegetables in a liquid during the meal only once; however, on this night we dip twice


The Gemara asks: Why does one remove the table? 

The school of Rabbi Yannai say: So that the children will notice that something is unusual and they will ask

The Gemara relates: Abaye was sitting before Rabba when he was still a child. He saw that they were removing the table from before him, and he said to those removing it: We have not yet eaten, and you are taking the table away from us? Rabba said to him: You have exempted us from reciting the questions of: Why is this night different [ma nishtana], as you have already asked what is special about the seder night.

מַתְנִי׳ מָזְגוּ לוֹ כּוֹס שֵׁנִי וְכָאן הַבֵּן שׁוֹאֵל אָבִיו. וְאִם אֵין דַּעַת בַּבֵּן אָבִיו מְלַמְּדו

מָה נִשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכׇּל הַלֵּילוֹת. שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה — כּוּלּוֹ מַצָּה
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה — מָרוֹר
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בָּשָׂר צָלִי שָׁלוּק וּמְבוּשָּׁל, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה — כּוּלּוֹ צָלִי
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין פַּעַם אֶחָת, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה — שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים






לָמָּה עוֹקְרִין אֶת הַשּׁוּלְחָן? אָמְרִי דְּבֵי רַבִּי יַנַּאי: כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּכִּירוּ תִּינוֹקוֹת וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ 

.אַבָּיֵי הֲוָה יָתֵיב קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבָּה, חֲזָא דְּקָא מַדְלִי תַּכָּא מִקַּמֵּיהּ, אֲמַר לְהוּ: עֲדַיִין לָא קָא אָכְלִינַן, אָתוּ קָא מְעַקְּרִי תַּכָּא מִיקַּמַּן 

.אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבָּה: פְּטַרְתַּן מִלּוֹמַר ״מָה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה״

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What are the different types of things we are encouraged to notice and ask about? 


  1. What’s the goal of מה נשתנה? What impact could it have on the person asking the question? On others?


  1. What makes it easier or harder for you to be curious about things happening around you? About yourself and your decisions?


  1. What happens when you are curious- when you start asking questions? What happens when you don’t? (Are there certain times when one approach is better for you than the other?)


  1. What could help you be more genuinely curious this Pesach? What could you pay attention to or what questions could you ask that might help?


  1. What could help you be more curious or pay more careful attention to your Judaism or relationship with Hashem in general?
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