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From the hagada:

חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר מָה הָעֵדֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה׳ א׳ אֶתְכֶם.‏
וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמָר לוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן.‏

The wise one, what does he say? "What are the testaments and decrees and rules that God, our god, has commanded you?"
And also you tell tell him like the Pesach rules: we do not tack on dessert after the Pesach.

Why "כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח", "like the Pesach rules"? Aren't we telling him the Pesach rules?

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7 Answers 7

At the seder I was at, a talmid chacham suggested the following answer tentatively.

The verse "מָה הָעֵדֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה׳ א׳ אֶתְכֶם" is D'varim 6:20. The context there is that of a son asking about mitzvos in general. And that's what the hagada means also: if a wise son asks this question, about any mitzva or mitzvos generally, tell him the rules. If the question is about the mitzva of Pesach tell him the Pesach rules, but that's just an example, whence "like the Pesach rules".

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There are very many answers to this question. First of all it depends what the chochom is really asking. Second of all it depends of how we translate afikomen.

One explanation. The chochom is asking since tonight we have come to such a high madrega why do we still need 'matan torah'.

The answer is that the way hashem works, he first 'gives' it to you, called 'mayim duchrin',(male water) but then takes it away from you and asks you to work on it yourself called 'mayim nukvin. (female water). The idea is to show you what is attainable.

So 'ain maftirim', one is not 'patur' by just having the 'pesach' which is 'given' to you but 'afikomen'. which stands for two words 'afik' bring 'men' mayim nukvim female water. You now have to work on it yourself and reach the madrega which was given to you with your own efforts.

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Please combine the many answers into one answer to this question instead of five. Thank you. (Also, sources will improve your answer.) –  Monica Cellio Apr 23 at 14:53

The chochom wants to know the whole torah. So we tell him tonight one only learns pesach dinim like one doesnt eat anything with the pesach one also doesnt learn anything else tonight.

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Why is it necessary to make the whole torah so difficult with eidus chukim and mishpotim. Why not just simplify it and tell us the halachot and mitvot. On that we answer the more 'omail' work one puts into it and understands it better the more one is likely to keep it.

Like the pesach we dont it eat it at the beginning only at the end and one has to make sure not to over eat at the beginning and afterwards one must not eat anything so that it should be on his mind the whole time. The same is with the mitvot.

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The chochom asks what is the point of eating the pesach. We reply to take out the holy sparks. The work 'afik man' translates to this. And after that one eats no more 'ain maftirin'.. The same as we dont return to Egypt since all the holy sparks have been taken out.

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The chochom is asking why are there so many mitvot on pesach unlike any other yom tov. On that we answer, It is to show our appreciation the same as we also dont eat afterwards to keep the taste in our mouths

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My favorite answer is that we teach him the entire מסכת פסחים - all the way to the last Mishna which is אין מפטירין לאחר הפסח אפיקומון.

In this case כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח is short for כל הִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח - all the laws of Pessach.

On a related note, we see from here that discussing the Halachot of Pessach is part of the Mitzva of the night.

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