Of Four Daughters - A Midrash for Passover

In the Seder night, we discuss the four sons and their questions. Rabbi Dalia Marx and Tamar Duvdevani offer us the feminist version of the Four Daughters. 

by: Rabbi Dalia Marx & Tamar Duvdevani

The Torah spoke of four daughters:
One is wise, one is angry, one is simple, and one knows not how to ask.

The wise one, what says she? 

“What are the testimonies, statutes, and laws that our fathers and mothers passed down to you?” (H3)
You then shall tell her: "Testimonies" – because our mothers also witnessed that same miracle. “Statutes” – because we were given commandments and statutes to reflect on, as it says: "and I will reflect on Your statutes" (Psalms 119:48). "Laws" – these stand for the words, poetry, interpretation, improvement, and Tikkun to which we are committed.

The angry one, what says she?

What is this service of yours? 

You – reach out your arms to her and say: You too are a part of this night of Exodus from Egypt, as it says: "It was thanks to righteous women [...] that the Israelites were delivered from Egypt." (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 11b), and so your voice too deserves to rejoice in the song of freedom, like the prophetess Miriam: “And all the women went out after her with tambourines and dances” (Exodus 15: 20).

The simple one, what says she?

What is this? 

And you say to her: “In every generation, every man must regard himself as if he came out of Egypt” (Mishna, Pesahim 10:9). ‘Man – every individual, as it says: “Male and female created He them … and called their name Man” (Genesis 5:2). “Himself” – what does this mean? His essence – because in each and every one of us there is an Egypt, which we are commanded to be aware of, which we are commanded to depart from, which we are commanded to drive out from within ourselves.

The one who knows not how to ask 

You commence and tell her: “Lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid” (Isaiah 40:9) “For your voice is sweet, and your countenance is comely” (Song of Songs 2:14). Without your voice, our power is diminished, our conversation dwindles.
“We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds we will go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord” (Exodus 10:9) because we are all part of the Exodus.

This Midrash was first published in the Passover Haggadah of the Reform Rabbinical Council
The Midrash come from the book Dirshuni – Israeli Women Writing Midrash, edited by Nechama Weingarten-Mintz and Tamar Biala, Yediot Sefarim, 2009


Footnotes:

It was thanks to righteous women – Talmud Bavli, Sota 11B.
In every generation – Mishna Pesachim, 10, 5