The wise son in the hagadah says "What are the eidus, chukim and mishpatim that Hashem, our G-d, commanded you {or "us" according to another version}?"

The question is:

It's known {don't have exact sources right now but it's throughout Rashi on the Torah and Rambam} that the mishpatim are the commandments that human intellect would think of even without the Torah {chos vishalom}, such as not to murder, or steal, and to honor ones parents etc...

And the eidus are mitzvos that are a testimony for something, that even though ones intellect doesn't think of them on it's own, but after the Torah commanded them ones intellect agrees with {the basic idea} such as Shabbos {commemorating Hashem creating the world in 6 days etc} Tefillin {commemorating the exodus} Sukkah {clouds of glory} etc..

And then the chukim are the commandments that even after the Torah commanded them, ones intellect still doesn't {naturally} agree with, like Rashi brings "A chok I have decreed, and you don't have permission to think after it", in general those mitzvos that are beyond human intellect, such as the Parah Adumah, shatnez, the sacrifices etc.

So the question is, if the wise son wants to list the commandments from the most understood to the least, then he should have said mishpatim, then eidus, then chukim, and if he wanted to list them from the least understood to the most, then he should have said chukim, then eidus, then mishpatim

So why does he say eidus, then chukim, and then mishpatim? What is this order corresponding to?

1 Answer 1


(Loosely based on the Lehmann haggadah.)

  1. Edus are mitzvos that testify based on historical experience, so this is what the wise son sees on Pesach, so he refers to these mitzvos first.
  2. Chukim are often religious ceremonies. In the case of Pesach, various religious ceremonies have been constructed around the basic notion of remembering yetzias mitzrayim, so he refers to these mitzvos second.
  3. Mishpatim as you say are logical mitzvos, the ordinary day-to-day observances. So the wise son asks first about Pesach with its ordinary and extraordinary ceremonies and then asks about the way we conduct ourselves the rest of the year.
  • I still don't understand the chukim here, what chukim are connected with pesach, and why does he put them before the mishpatim? Apr 10, 2021 at 0:19
  • @JohnGoshen Chukim could refer to the various halachos connected with the korban pesach which do not have an obvious symbolic meaning. These are before mishpatim since they have a direct connection with the holiday.
    – The GRAPKE
    Apr 12, 2021 at 6:13

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