My son asks:

The Hagada mentions, toward the end of Magid, three opinions on how many plagues the Egyptians suffered in Egypt and on the Red Sea:

  • R' Yose Haglili: 10 and 50
  • R' Eliezzer: 40 and 200
  • R' Akiva: 50 and 250

But there's a fourth opinion that isn't mentioned in the Hagada! In Avos 5:4, the unnamed tana says that ten plagues were suffered in Egypt, and ten on the Sea.

Why is this tana's opinion not included in the Hagada?

  • 2
    The compiler of the hagada probably didn't have that girsa, just like Rashi and Rambam apparently didn't. Bartenura who did have that girsa says it is a drasha based around the ten expressions of falling in shiras hayam. The bal hagada seemed to be focusing on specific pesukim, and not those.
    – user6591
    Mar 27, 2018 at 1:40
  • 1
    @user6591, why not post an answer?
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 27, 2018 at 1:43
  • 2
    Because it's based on an assumption of who had what girsa that I don't have time to investigate now. There are other users here who are better at checking up old girsaos. Hopefully one of them will find something. +1 nachas from the kids:)
    – user6591
    Mar 27, 2018 at 1:48
  • 4
    The likely source text doesn't have that opinion either. Are you interested specifically in the Hagada, or also in the fact that that midrash omits that opinion?
    – magicker72
    Mar 27, 2018 at 2:27
  • 2
    Moses Jr, you have a bright future following your father here on MY. :)
    – DonielF
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:21

3 Answers 3


The opinion in Avos is fundamentally different from those in the Haggada. The opinion in Avos is simply stating that 10 things happened in Egypt and 10 things happened by the sea. The opinions in the Haggada however, are explaining how each thing was really multiple makkos (based on expounding certain words and then using a 1:5 ratio from finger to hand). Perhaps the purpose of these passages in the Haggada is to highlight how not only did God redeem us and perform wonders, he even kept on adding more and more to it (this fits the theme of dayeinu that immediately follows). The opinions quoted in the Haggada demonstrate this, while the opinion in Avos does not. Thus that opinion was not cited.


Perhaps the Mishna in Avos is consistent with all three opinions in the hagadah. All three opinions in the hagadah must agree that there were ten plagues in Mitzraim, yet they argue if there were ten, forty or fifty. The idea is obviously that each plague can be counted for more than one, if broken down into more detail. This would mean, that the given is that there were sets of ten and ten plagues, then the question would be how many each plague of each set would count for. And I'll attempt to prove this.

If you notice, the one to five ratio is derived from the fact that the plagues in Mitzraim are referred to as the finger of G-d and the splitting of the sea as His Hand. This may be hard to understand, since only one plague was referred to as a finger of G-d, not all of them combined, so perhaps the Mitzraim Plagues totaled ten, and the Sea Plagues totaled five?

The answer is, that the actual amount of plagues, when counted broadly as in the Torah, is non-negotiably ten and ten. The question remains as to the severity of each set. So if a Mitzraim Plague can be called a finger, and a Sea plague a hand, then the consensus is that these refer to severity and not amounts, and it can be inferred that the ten of the Sea can be counted as five times that of Mitzraim.

[sorry, this is just an oversimplified version of Alex's answer, with a proof]

  • I've wondered for a while now, it was the Egyptian sorcerors not Moshe or Hashem who said that the first plague was the finger of Hashem. So how can you bring a raya for amounts of severity or anything? Basically how do they know that these have a ratio and aren't just phrases? Different people said these things.
    – Orion
    Mar 27, 2018 at 16:18
  • @Orion, I encourage you to post a new question!
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 27, 2018 at 16:46

Another possibility re Avot.

Frequently in Talmudic literature, multiple ideas that fit a pattern or theme are clustered. Chapter 5 of Avot is a "classic" example. You have groups of 4's, and, as you see, here, groups of 10's. So, this was placed in Avot.

Likewise in the Hagaddah, you find a pattern of different rabbis all using the same verse to compare the number of plagues. So they included these 3. The one from Avot doesn't fit the Hagaddah's pattern.

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