Don’t forget the land flowing with milk and honey

Dov Halickman
Dov Halickman

The Mishnayot in Pesachim, Chapter 10 outline the Pesach Seder. Mishna 4 states: “According to the intelligence of the son, his father instructs him. He begins with disgrace and concludes with glory, and he expounds from ‘Arami oved avi’, ‘a wandering Aramean was my father’ (Dvarim 26:5) until he concludes the whole portion.”

What is the whole portion that the mishna is referring to?

The portion that is read and explained midrashically in our Hagadot is the portion of the Bikkurim, from Dvarim 26:5-8:

…The Aramean destroyed my forefather, then he descended to Egypt and sojourned there with a tiny community; and there he became a great people, powerful and numerous. The Egyptians treated us badly and oppressed us and they imposed hard labor upon us. We prayed to God, the God of our forefathers, and God accepted our prayer, and perceived our oppression, and our labor, and the pressure upon us. And God took us out of Egypt with a powerful hand and with an extended arm, and with great display, and with signs and with wonders.

Although the mishna said to conclude the entire portion, the next verse (9) which speaks about the entrance into the Land of Israel is not included in the Hagadah:

“And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Professors Shmuel and Ze’ev Safrai explain that the verse may have been left out since at this point in the seder, the Hagadah is focusing on Egyptian slavery and the exodus from Egypt.

Rabbi Mishael Zion, in his Haggadah Eretzyisraelit points out that now that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel, it makes sense to include verse 9 which concludes this portion which was read when the Bikurim (first fruits) were brought by the farmer to the Beit HaMikdash.

When did our true freedom really begin? When we left Egypt? When we received the Torah? When we arrived in the Land of Israel?

If your answer is when we arrived in the Land of Israel and now we are miraculously back to being a free people in our own land, then it is time to truly conclude with glory and add the words “And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Looking forward to seeing you in the rebuilt Jerusalem!

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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