Halacha Date: 2 Nissan 5781 March 15 2021
The primary Mitzvah of the Seder night is that of recounting the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Hashem commanded us to be glad on this holiday and tell our children and anyone who wishes to listen the story of the Exodus.
At the beginning of “Maggid” when we begin reciting the paragraph of “He Lahma Anya” (“This is the bread of affliction”), one should raise the platter containing the Matzah. After reciting this paragraph, one should instruct that the Matzah be placed at the edge of the table, as though we have concluded the meal. One should then tell the children that they may not eat the Matzah until they recount the story of the Exodus.
Women are likewise obligated in this Mitzvah of recounting the story of the Exodus and they must therefore read the Haggadah on their own (or listen to it being read by someone else who intends to have them fulfill their obligation). Chazon Ovadia- Pesach, page 147
In the home of Maran zt”l, the custom was that everyone seated at the Seder table gets a turn to read a portion of the Haggadah out loud and while doing so, everyone else reads along in an undertone. They would take turns going around the table and Maran zt”l would take part as well. Maran zt”l would remain awake all night long after the Seder studying the topic of the Exodus from Egypt until it was time for Shacharit prayers.
One should not rush through Maggid, anxiously awaiting the festive meal. One should likewise not stretch it out needlessly and overburden the members of one’s household. Rather, one should take the middle path, reading the Haggadah at an average pace, with concentration and some additional commentary, while encouraging the children to participate by probing them to ask and inquire. It is even commendable to give the children treats in order to pique the children’s interest in the story of the Haggadah.
One must be exceedingly careful to maintain a calm and joyous atmosphere in the home throughout the Seder night. One must likewise not become angry at one’s family on this night; rather, one should be patient, relaxed, and understanding so that one may perform the Mitzvot of the Seder night with joy and tranquility.
Our Sages taught that on the Seder night, Hashem sends his holy angels to this world and instructs them to go see what His children are doing. The angels then return to Hashem and report, “Fortunate is the nation who have it so, fortunate is the nation whose G-d is Hashem! We found your nation sitting around tables in the manner of kings recounting Your praises to their children.” Maran zt”l expounded on this further and explained that the angels mean to say to Hashem, look at Your children who are behaving in this manner even after thousands of your in bitter exile. This is especially true in our generation when the spiritual exile is almost too great to bear and who would have believed that the Jewish nation would have withstood these difficult tests? Yet, in spite of the tremendous materialistic abundance surrounding us everywhere and the revulsion of religion in the eyes of so many, nevertheless, the Jewish nation sits together, in a beautiful show of love of Hashem, His Torah, and those who learn it, and rejoice during this holiday while educating their children to love Hashem whole-heartedly. At this moment, Hashem becomes filled with mercy and it is for this reason that this night is called “A Night of Protection,” for when Hashem sees the Jewish nation sitting at the Seder, he is filled with love for them and designates the time for their Ultimate Redemption. Indeed, our Sages taught, “In Nissan they were redeemed and in Nissan they shall once again be redeemed,” for the days of Pesach usher in our salvation.