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The Crown of Halacha

Pesach 5777 – Tell Me About the Clueless Son

Pesach 5777

Tell Me About the Clueless Son

Before we begin the story of our Exodus from Egypt, we take a moment to address “The Four Sons” who are sitting at our table. In essence, they represent four types of people: Wise, Wicked, Simple, and Clueless.

Four Questions, Three Answers

Each son asks a question that reveals his inner nature and correspondingly we give an answer that best addresses his question. For the Wise son we give a detailed answer and for the Simple son, we give an answer that is on his level of understanding. To the Wicked son, we speak harshly, “It is because of this that God did for me when I left Egypt” (Shmos 13:8). Furthermore, we blunt his teeth for speaking with such insolence.  Lastly, we address the Clueless son, the son who asks nothing. How do we deal with such a person?  We also tell him, “It is because of this that God did this for me when I left Egypt.”

A Harsh Reply to Remaining Silent

Why did the Bal Haggada choose this pasuk as an answer to the Clueless son? If the Clueless son is overly shy or easily embarrassed, giving him the same pasuk as we do the Wicked son is counterproductive because it is established as a harsh answer.  Such an answer will scare him and close him up more!

Who Cares?

However, according to the Kol Bo the Clueless son is not Clueless by nature, rather he is choosing to be that way by distancing himself from what is going on around him. If he were in Mitzrayim, he would have witnessed the miracles but would never have taken them to heart.  “All this is strange and different,” he might have thought, “but who cares? When do I get to eat the grilled lamb?” Such a person would not have been redeemed.

Pay Attention! Don’t You Have Even One Question?

So too, at the Passover Seder, the Clueless son is the person who is not really involved. There are so many unusual things going on at the Seder and yet he makes himself oblivious and does not even feign a question. Why won’t he ask, “What does this mean?” Even a child of three years old will ask something!

Inattentive: Letting a Child “Fall Through the Cracks”

In fact, the challenge to m’karev the Clueless son is greater than the Wicked son. Even though we “break the Wicked son’s teeth”, we at least have a relationship with him. We acknowledge his presence by talking tough when he challenges our avoda. Perhaps through interaction, he will change.

However, in the case of the Clueless son, all we can do is show we care by keeping the door open. We accept him in the hope that he will eventually search for God. When the time comes that he does finally ask a question, we must be ready to get involved.




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