In Ha lachma anyah we say;
“Kol dichfin yasei uyachal, kol ditzric yasei v’yifsach”.
All who are hungry let them come and eat; all who are needy let them come and celebrate.
The kashes (questions) are probably as old as the Haggadah itself, and the many answers could probably fill volumes. But that’s the greatness of Torah. It allows for a limitless amount of explanations. So let me add my own thoughts to the many other excellent pshotim (explanations) available. The three simplest questions that arise here are:
I) The two phrases seem to be repetitious. Isn’t come and eat the very same thing as come and celebrate?
2) We no longer have a korbon Pesach, so why celebrate by partaking of the korbon Pesach?
3) Why is this particular paragraph of the Haggadah written in Aramaic, rather than in loshon hakodesh (Hebrew), as is the rest of the Haggadah.
The fact that this particular paragraph was added later, after we were exiled into the Aramaic lands, still fails to answer the question. It could surely have been translated so that it matches the rest of the Haggadah. Or if the people only understood Aramaic, why wasn’t the entire Haggadah translated into Aramaic? (Artscroll did it into English!)
Since it’s Pesach night, why not add a fourth question, as is most customary.
4) What’s the difference between anybody who is hungry and anyone who is needy? Don’t they essentially both mean the same thing?
Now that I’ve asked the four kashas, please realize that the questions are certainly not original, so I take no credit for them. Yet, let me add my simple answer to the rest of the collection of answers to these particular questions.
When we see our unfortunate brothers standing outside, not knowing what Pesach is all about, we must begin by inviting them in to eat. Don’t tell him about mitzvos. Don’t tell him about Torah. Don’t tell him about Yiddishkeit. Just invite him in for a good delicious meal. That’s it.
The Gemorah (Sanhedrin) says “Great is the drink for it brings one close”. Inviting a person in, and just simply offering him a delicious meal, especially when we give him a quadruple of fine wine along with it, is a fantastic way to build up a warm relationship. Little do we realize the power of a good meal. Politicians and businessmen will tell you that some of their best deals were made over a hearty lunch. They understand that if you want to be very convincing it’s always easy to do it over the dinner table. No wonder Esther decided to talk to Achashveirosh over a good drink. She realized it would be much more effective. In fact, that party actually took place on the first day of Pesach.
In Tanach (Melcahim I) we find one of the most unusual stories ever. A false prophet invites a real prophet into his house for a hearty meal. Because of this one very great act of hospitality, the false prophet suddenly becomes a real novi. From this very unusual story, the gemorah proves the unbelievable power of hospitality – offering people something to eat. (For more details of this strange story, see Melochim 1, Perek 13.)
Only after he has enjoyed the meal, do you turn to religious matters. Then you may introduce him to what Pesach is all about. Tell him an interesting story. Do it slowly. First you must make sure to speak in his language and invite him in to enjoy a good meal. Once you get him there, the rest is rather easy. After two cups he’ll be much more relaxed and willing to listen.
In fact, Hashem too did not just throw the Torah upon us the moment we left Mitzrayim. First He fed us mon. Then He gave us water. He surrounded us with His protection. He showed us His great kindness. Then, and only then, was He ready to give us the Torah. It had to be a slow process. On each of the forty nine days we would be drawn just a little closer. You have to proceed gradually. Even the best of foods must be eaten slowly, otherwise, if you eat it too quickly, you may become sick. With kiruv (bringing one closer), we must be very careful not to overdo it from the start. Go gradually. In fact, this idea can be found in the following Medrash: “The Holy One blessed be He says, I am not so. I entered into My world and spread out carpets, I lit candles and spread out the waters, etc.”
This also answers the fourth question. When inviting someone into the house, we’re not interested whether he needs our help or not. Anyone and everyone is invited. We have a very open house, anybody who is hungry is welcome to a free meal. No questions asked. However, it’s only to those in need, that we must explain about Pesach. “v’yifsach” of course does not mean the korbon Pesach, but rather the Yom Tov of Pesach.
Why is it written in Aramaic? Because you must speak his language in order to invite him in. Once he’s there we’ll explain it all to him our way. Over a good delicious meal, with a couple of glasses of good wine, I’m sure he’ll be an interested listener.
A close friend of mine, by the name of Moshe S., had a neighbor that was a mechalel Shabbos. Yet, Moshe S. always made it a point to invite him into the house at every opportunity. He never ever even spoke to him about becoming religious. It was just a friendly chat. Simply because they were neighbors. It was always pleasure, never any business. This continued for many years. It was simply a social relationship. They would discuss everything and anything, but never religion.
One day Moshe’s neighbor come over to him with a very serious face, and said that he’d like to discuss something with him in private. Of course, Moshe as always – welcomed him into his private study and sat back to hear what it was his neighbor wanted to discuss. He nearly fell off his chair when his neighbor told him that he and his wife had decided they wanted to change their lives. They wanted to become baalei teshuva and wanted someone who could teach them a little more about religion. Of course, Moshe helped them make a new beginning. Today his children are chosheva Talmidei Chachomim and his grandchildren are among the top students of a prominent Yeshiva. And all this as a result of what? Simply inviting a person to share in a good meal.
This is the true meaning of the Gemorah “Great is the drink for it brings one close”. This is the method and approach we should use on the night of Pesach as well. First we just simply invite them in for a good meal and only later we begin to talk to him about the Yom Tov of Pesach.