They are all special children

April 8, 2011 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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In just over a week we will celebrate Passover, which begins with the Pesach Seder. One of the themes of the Seder is the “four sons”. We read that there are four different types of children that need to be educated and included in the Seder experience:

–          The wise son

–          The wicked son

–          The simple son

–          The son that cannot ask questions


Rabbi Michol Gourarie photo: Henry Benjamin

In Jewish tradition festivals are celebrated not by remembering historic events of the past, but rather by re-living them. Pesach is a time to experience true spiritual freedom.  The Seder experience infuses us with the desire to break free out of our own “Egypt” by embarking on a journey of true growth, taking the next step out of our comfort zone.


The four sons are not just four different children who come to the Seder. They are four children within our own identity. In order to grow and free ourselves from our own prison we need to identify our own “four sons” and see them as four basic components of spiritual development and personal growth:


1)      The Wise Son – Growth requires wisdom.  To develop and change we need to be open to new ideas, studying them and internalising their messages. Like the wise son we need to question, explore, analyse and be open to innovative concepts and different perspectives.

2)      The Wicked Son – Part of our journey is recognising that we are human and that at times we do fail. We are far from perfect and we make mistakes. But our failings are part of our growth. Our mistakes are opportunities to reassess and learn how to do things differently in the future. Setbacks can be channelled to become the catalyst for greater resolve and strength going forward.

3)      The Simple Son – At the core of every soul is a “simple son” – an innocence and a purity that can never be corrupted or damaged. Recognising and connecting with this essential purity allows us to take the next step and break loose from our own inhibitions and past experiences. It gives us a fresh start, wipes away the past and allows us to move forward with clarity and focus.

4)      The Son that Cannot Ask – There are times when we need to accept without asking questions. While learning and questioning is critical, we still need to acknowledge the limitation of human intellect. There are times when we need to submit to a superior voice of authority. Growing sometimes means being ready to do what is right even though we don’t understand why.

The child within you has four components. Welcome them all to your Seder experience.



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