web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Beware The Fourth Son

Kupfer-032913

The inability to ask goes hand in hand with the inability to give. The fourth son cannot comprehend altruistic behavior, like helping and giving of one’s time, effort or money. Receiving is the only concept he understands, as he has a universe-sized sense of entitlement. The attitude is that the world revolves around me and “kimt mir alles” (everything is coming to me). To that end he and those like him are incapable of appreciation. If someone does do them a service, even something as minor as opening the door for them, they do not think a thank you is warranted. After all, they are special and deserve to be treated this way.

They are the husbands who enjoy laundered clothes and delicious meals – but do not thank their wives. Rather if anything isn’t perfect, they are quick to criticize and insult. They are the bosses who will not acknowledge a job well done; they are the men and women who cannot appreciate the efforts and mesirat nefesh of the friend, relative, neighbor or stranger who has gone “the extra mile” on their behalf in whatever endeavor or capacity.

A valuable insight in how to deal with an indifferent, self-absorbed individual (or community) is in the response the Haggadah directs us to give the fourth son. Whereas the simple son is told, “With a strong hand Hashem took us out of Egypt, from the house of slaves,” the response to the son who doesn’t “know” how to ask, is, “You open for him, (at pitach loh), as it is written, ‘You shall tell your child on that day, it is because of what Hashem did for me when I came out of Egypt.’”

The key words here are “that Hashem did for me.” For they convey to this oblivious son the concept of an action done on behalf of someone – and appreciation for said action. He is being told that all this effort (preparing for and celebrating Pesach) is hakarat hatov – a show of gratitude, thankfulness and indebtedness – a foreign notion for this young man.

It is quite eye-opening to note that the response begins with, “at ” -the feminine word for “you” and then continues with the male “vehagadita -you shall explain.” Both men and women -all segments of the community – have the responsibility to reach out and try to “turn on” this apathetic, emotionally distant son and turn him into a mentsch.

And ourselves as well.

Sadly, as individuals and a community we are at risk of exhibiting self-absorbed behavior and detachment from issues that don’t affect us personally. It is imperative that we collectively not fall into the tragic category of one “who does not know to ask” and be oblivious to the harsh, soul destroying events and situations befalling less fortunate members of the community – be they the poor, agunot, older singles, or hapless victims of abuse (in all its nefarious incarnations).

We must not remain ignorant, unconcerned or uninvolved, unable to even ask – as the simple son does – “mah zeh? – what is going on?”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Beware The Fourth Son”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of the English-language Al Arabiya
President Obama, Listen to Netanyahu on Iran
Latest Sections Stories
Yarden Merlot

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/beware-the-fourth-son/2013/03/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: