HaRav Nachman Kahana on Pesach, Part 2: The Fifth Son
Pesach 5776 Part 2 By Rabbi Nachman Kahana
The Fifth Son
While the taste of the Afikomen still lingers and the songs and words of Torah still resonate, I decided to take advantage of the moment and the memories to give vent to the thoughts which came to my mind when considering the “Four Sons”.
It occurred to me that there is a fifth son, who is far far different from his other siblings.
The four sons include the clever one, the evil son, the simpleton and the one who is totally ignorant of his Jewish environment. The fifth one, who like the other four exists in every generation, is such an embarrassment that the editors of the Hagada that they excluded him – while he too prefers not to be included. He is the son whose appellation is – the “Traitor”.
The first four, despite their fundamental differences still constitute a family. The father relates to each one in a manner and language suitable for that son and his spiritual level. The traitorous son turns his back on the family and feels degraded by any association with them.
He is the son who abandoned his unique heritage by renouncing the Jewish God. He wants no part of Jews or of our 3500-year history. The most significant mark of today’s traitor is his estrangement and disaffection with anything that rings of Medinat Yisrael.
The traitor son takes two forms.
1- He can be found in every Reform-Conservative temple led by “rabbis” of both sexes, and certainly among unaffiliated Jews. The unaffiliated and Reform-Conservatives will without a second thought marry out, and are not perturbed by the thought that they and their offspring will be erased from the collective memory of our people.
They are ideologically liberal, able and willing to understand and forgive every criminal and terrorist act, but condemn the loyal Jews who are struggling to renew our national life in the land that was given to us by HaShem. The Land that is being squatted on by enemies and strangers who have declared their intention to finish what Hitler began 77 years ago.
2- The second form of traitors include the seemingly observant Chassidic and other sects in the galut who condemn and degrade any mention of our holy Medina. They cringe at any of the many great successes of the Medina. If they would not press the trigger against the Medina, they would not prevent anyone else from doing so.
Both segments of the “traitor” son – the assimilationist and the Satmar et al Chareidi groups – would make amazing clients for psychiatrists specializing in the malady of denial. Why does the first segment turn its back on a 3500-year history of their own families who have contributed more to humanity than any other nation? And why does the second segment deny, misinterpret and misrepresent HaShem’s mastery over human events as they evolve in the Holy Land on a minute to minute basis, when the hand of HaShem is present right in front of their eyes even as they pray to HaShem daily. Why do they refuse to acknowledge the reality of our redemption?
Unless, of course, there is an on-going Godly agenda being implemented from behind the curtain that divides the spiritual and material worlds. It could be that it is not the two segments of the “traitor” son who have initiated their denial, but rather our Father-in-Heaven who has decided to deny these people the merit to participate in the redemption of His holy nation in the Holy Land!
The “Four sons” will be with us at sederim well into the future, because even the evil son wishes to remain part of the family. The “traitor” son, by actively harming the Jewish State through word or deed, has declared himself to become one with the enemies of HaShem and the Jewish nation will regurgitate him.
However, we believe in the power of Teshuva. A piece of Chametz can never return to a state of Matza, but a Jew who has strayed beyond the red line can return to be a “son” and daughter of the chosen nation.
Granted, it is difficult to save the two segments of the fifth “son” through education and musar. Nevertheless, what is beyond the abilities of the normative “Four Son” family to influence their renegade fifth brother, is in the power of the anti-Semite to bring these people to their Jewish senses.