Judaism’s Talmudic Passover
Research by Michael Hoffman
The goyim and crypto-rabbis such as the current pope of Rome imagine or teach that “Passover"as observed in Judaism is “Biblical." All kinds of statements about Judaism’s Passover by these "well-wishers,” addressed to the rabbis April 18-26, from the goyim of the worldly steeple-houses of Judeo-Churchianity, as well as from Pope Benedict XVI and his followers, will be framed in Biblical references and terms. The truth is something else, however. Passover as observed in Judaism is Talmudic Passover, not the Passover of the Bible. Take for example the "Four Questions."
The Four Questions
What makes this night different from all other nights?
1. On all nights we need not dip even once, and on this night we dip twice!
2. On all nights we eat leavened bread or matzah, and on this night, only matzah!
3. On all nights we eat various vegetables, and on this night, bitter herbs!
4. On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!
The Four Questions Talmudicized
We find many different versions of the Four Questions in the various manuscripts of the Talmud—not only in the order of the questions but in the number as well. Some versions, for example, omit the question about bitter herbs, others omit the question about the Paschal lamb even in Temple times.
The above would seem to indicate that initially there were various acceptable versions, or perhaps no fixed version at all. This was because according to Jewish law one need not ask all the questions.
As the Talmud relates, when Abbaye as a child saw the table being removed from before Rabbah, he exclaimed: “We haven’t eaten yet—and they come and remove the table from before us?!” Rabbah turned to the child and said: “You have exempted us from having to say the four questions”(Pesachim 115b, see Tosfot ad loc.).
At some point, however, the Sages consolidated the various customs and instituted a universal practice of reciting all the questions so that all of Israel would follow the same custom.
Another example of this sort of development is the way we blow the shofar:
The requirement is to blow a wailing sound, called a teruah, preceded and followed by a simple blast, called a tekiah. According to Rav Hai Gaon (cited in Beit Yosef, Orach Chaim 59049), for many centuries the definition of the “wailing” teruah remained unfixed, with various communities performing it in their own way. Some Jewish communities performed it as heavy groans. For others, it was very short“cries,” and yet other communities performed it as a combination of both.
In Talmudic times, the Sages sought to unify all of Israel with a universal custom. They therefore instituted that all Jews blow the shofar in a manner that included all three customs (The Rebbe’s Haggadah).
The Order of the Questions
This order of the questions—(1) dipping, (2) matzah, (3) bitter herbs, (4) reclining—is the order found in the version of the Mishnah as it appears in the Jerusalem Talmud, Alfassi, and Rosh (though the last two questions do not appear there). This is also the order found in the Siddurim of Rav Amram Gaon and Rav Saadiah Gaon, Rambam, Tur, Avudraham (by implication, since his commentary addresses the question about dipping before the others), Abarbanel, Pri Etz Chaim, Siddur of the Arizal, Mishnat Chasidim, and others. It is also the order found in the first printed Haggadah (Soncino, 1485).
SOURCE: The Passover Haggadah: With Commentary from the Classic Commentators, Midrash, Kabbalah, the Hasidic Masters and the Haggadah of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (the late Grand Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson).
Michael Hoffman is the author of the 1100 page textbook, Judaism Discovered
For additional research, cf. Baruch M. Bosker, The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism