When it comes to the Pesach Seder, it’s kind of hard not to notice the numbers.
- Three Matzos
- Four cups of wine
- Four expressions of Redemption
- Four sons
- Ten Makkos
- Fifteen steps in the Seder
- Fifteen stanzas in Dayeinu
What is the significance of all these numbers on the Seder night?
The first approach to the numbers enigma is that the Sfas Emes writes that the word ספר , which means to count, also means top clarify. Thus, we can suggest that the reason that we focus on the numbers at the Seder is that in this way we fulfill the mitzvah of סיפור יציאת מצרים, retelling and clarifying the story of the Exodus.
On a deeper level, however, we can understand the focus of numbers on Seder night with what Rashi teaches us in the beginning of Shemos. It is said (Shemos 1:1) וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה אֵת יַעֲקֹב אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ בָּאוּ, and these are the names of the Children of Israel who were coming to Egypt; with Yaakov, each man and his household came. Rashi writes: אע”פ שמנאן בחייהן בשמותם, חזר ומנאן במיתתן, להודיע חבתן שנמשלו לכוכבים, שמוציאן ומכניסן במספר ובשמותם, שנאמר המוציא במספר צבאם לכולם בשם יקרא, even though he counted them by their names in their lifetimes, HaShem counted them again after their deaths, to teach us how cherished they are, similar to the stars that HaShem brings out and brings in by number and by name.
Thus, we see that one counts something that he cherishes. Similarly, HaShem cherishes the Pesach Seder, to the point that the Zohar states that on this night HaShem and His Heavenly entourage go out and “dance on the rooftops” of the Jewish People. With this thought in mind we can approach the Pesach Seder knowing that HaShem loves us, cherishes us, and wants to bring us the ultimate redemption. All we need to do is reflect that love and endearment back to HaShem, as the Jews did when they left Egypt, cherishing the Matzah and Marror and the mitzvos that HaShem gave them.
HaShem should allow us to merit peace, prosperity, good health and all of His infinite blessings, and we should merit today the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a Cherished Shabbos, a Beloved Pesach and a Chag Kosher Visameach!