I found it illogical that we / the kids ask Mah Nishtana before the actual Seder Pesach. MiMah Nafshach:

  1. If they don't know the answers to their questions and didn't experience a Seder, how come they know what will follow at the Seder?

  2. If they already experienced a Seder, how come they ask those questions?

How this contradiction can be reconciled?

  • They saw their parents buying matza and maror and bringing and roasting the Pesach.
    – Heshy
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 11:22
  • 4
    Why do you have a problem with them asking questions if they already know the answers? It’s very clear that even in such a case (even if one is having a Seder all by himself) it’s important that the Seder be given in a question-and-answer format. Is your question just why it’s so important that it be in a question-and-answer format?
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 11:49
  • Besides @DonielF's independently conclusive point, see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/56695/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


Ma nishtana is only an example of questions. When we ask questions, this is a proof that our attention is good. There are procedures in the Seder made to enhance our awareness. After a good starting, the attention remains good at the time of sipur yetsiat mitsrayim.

Gemara says in Pesachim 115b

אביי הוה יתיב קמיה דרבה חזא דקא מדלי תכא מקמיה אמר להו עדיין לא קא אכלינן אתו קא מעקרי תכא מיקמן אמר ליה רבה פטרתן מלומר מה נשתנה

Abaye did seen that they clear the table, and asked "he still not begins to eat and you already cleared the table? This question fulfilled the role of ma nishtana. So, to ask questions early enhance attention. To wait for the end make concentration difficult and the ceremony boresom.

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