March 25, 2021 / 12 Nissan, 5781 • Parshat Tzav
Issue 659
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman



It was handed down in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that there are two versions to the introduction to the Four Questions:

1) "Father, I want to ask of you four questions";

2) "Father, I will ask of you four questions."

Each version, however, begins in an identical manner—"Father". This refers to our Father in Heaven—to whom all of Israel ask the Four Questions.

(Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch).

The child's asking stimulates G-d's love for us, like the love of parents for their young child, as in the verse (Hosea 11:1) regarding the time of the exodus: For Israel is a youth, [therefore] I love him....

The Torah in several instances describes us as being G-d's children.

The above verse, however, emphasizes that G-d's love for us is like a parent's love for a young child.

Parents love their children because the parent and child are of one essence.

But this love is most felt for young children. As children mature, the parents begin to love them for their accomplishments and qualities as well, for their wisdom, good character, or the honor and care they show to their parents.

This latter love obscures to some extent the innate, unconditional parental love.

The love for a young child, by contrast, who is not yet wise, or good, or helpful, is pure parental love, the unconditional love of two beings that are of one essence. The love for the young child is therefore stronger and more evident, since it is not obscured by a conditional love.

Similarly, when we speak of G-d’s love for us in the way a parent loves a young child, we refer to this essential, unconditional love borne of our inherent bond with G-d.

Staying Young

When we become “mature” and self-aware because of our wisdom and accomplishments, we obscure our essential oneness with G-d with our sense of self and separateness. But when we humble ourselves like a small child before G-d, when we see our wisdom and accomplishments as an extension of our service of G-d, the oneness is restored—we rediscover our youth and the special divine attention that comes with it.

(The Rebbe)

—Haggadah for Passover