Title says it all, if the ben chocham is already wise, as proven from this itself that he asks "what are the adus, chukim and mishpatim..", implying he knows the difference between the three categories of mitzvos, and the gemara in general says this question is being asked by a ben chocham, then why would he need to ask what the specific commandants are? Doesn't he know Torah shebochsav and Torah shebal peh? If not, then what makes him a chochom, and if so, then what is he asking?

  • In this context chacham just means smart. He still has a lot to learn.
    – N.T.
    Mar 25, 2021 at 8:53
  • Great question.
    – The GRAPKE
    Mar 25, 2021 at 10:12
  • "he knows the difference between the three categories of mitzvos" "Doesn't he know Torah shebochsav and Torah shebal peh" I think plenty of people know those three categories without knowing all laws of pesach.
    – Double AA
    Mar 25, 2021 at 13:11
  • The mafarshim have different pshatim in the chachams questions.. super deep approaches
    – Shlomy
    Mar 25, 2021 at 13:52
  • @doubleaa many people know that there is a concept of three categories, but to know which mitzvos fall under which categories one has to know all of the mitzvos Mar 25, 2021 at 22:23

4 Answers 4


He's wise enough to know that the Haggadah was set up with a question answer format, so he obliges and asks. The fact that he knows the answer is irrelevant.


As per @N.T.

See https://www.sefaria.org/Berakhot.55a?lang=bi

אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: אֵין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נוֹתֵן חָכְמָה אֶלָּא לְמִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חָכְמָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״יָהֵב חׇכְמְתָא לְחַכִּימִין וּמַנְדְּעָא לְיָדְעֵי בִינָה״. שְׁמַע רַב תַּחְלִיפָא בַּר מַעְרְבָא וְאַמְרַהּ קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבִּי אֲבָהוּ. אָמַר לֵיהּ: אַתּוּן מֵהָתָם מַתְנִיתוּ לַהּ, אֲנַן מֵהָכָא מַתְנִינַן לַהּ, דִּכְתִיב: ״וּבְלֵב כׇּל חֲכַם לֵב נָתַתִּי חׇכְמָה״.

On a similar note, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, only grants wisdom to one who already possesses wisdom, as it is stated: “He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to they who know understanding” (Daniel 2:21). Rav Taḥalifa, from the West, Eretz Yisrael, heard this and repeated it before Rabbi Abbahu. Rabbi Abbahu said to him: You learned proof for this idea from there; we learn it from here: As it is written in praise of the builders of the Tabernacle: “And in the hearts of all who are wise-hearted I have placed wisdom” (Exodus 31:6).

From which is evident that being wise-hearted is a prerequisite to, and not the same thing as, wisdom.


Welcome to the site Josh, and thank you for your great question - looking forward to seeing you around more!

The first thing that comes to mind is the Mishna in Avos (4:1)

בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם - Ben Zoma said:Who is wise? He who learns from every man,

The wise son is the one who shows he wants to learn. He's not embarrassed to ask, and is looking to learn from whoever can teach him.


Most reishonim (based off Rashi )learn that the chacham is asking why do we eat the Chagiga before the Pesach if the Pesach is the main mitzva. Therefore the Pesach should be eaten first.

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