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Haggadah -- A Different Night

A Different Night
Classic Edition

Haggadah Tour
Compact Edition
  Short Reviews      
  Long Reviews      

  4 Children      
  Art of 4 Children
Leader's Guide
Plagues Bags
CD: The Interactive Haggadah   


The Four Childen in the Haggadah

Reliving the Exodus - Haggadah in the classroom

Hanukkah -- A Different Light

Photos from A Different Light Hanukkah anthology

for children

Interactive CD-ROM from JeMM

Nevarech Illustrated Bencher

Poster -- Judaism in in Your Hands

A Woman's Voice

To order call 216-381-6744


Gallery #4:
Art of the Four Children,

These drawings, representing 500 years of The Four Children, are from A Different Night. To see a larger size version of any drawing, with commentary, click on it.

More art of the Four Children:  1526-1923 | 1927-1959 | 1960-1982

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Clay Children
Rory Oren, Animated Haggadah,
Israel, ©1985 Jonathan Lubell, Scopus Films

The Four Children as Four Books:
David Wander,
The Haggadah in Memory of the Holocaust, ©1988

The four children in The Haggadah in Memory of the Holocaust reflect different attitudes towards Jewish tradition as symbolized by a book for we are "the people of the book," in the phrase coined by the Muslims. For the wise child, Judaism is an open book with letters to be read and studied. For the wicked child, the tradition burns up as it is destroyed. The association with Nazi book burning is chilling. For the simple child the book is open since he asks questions, but the child himself is still blank, still unlearned. Finally, for the fourth child, Judaism is a closed book. This child awaits someone to "open" the book and the pupil to one another as the Haggadah advises "You will open up" the Exodus story for the child who does not even know how to ask.     

The Blessing of Diversity:
David Moss, The Moss Haggadah, ©1996

The artist and calligrapher David Moss explains his depiction of the Four Children:
    Every child is unique and the Torah embraces them all. The iconography that I've chosen here is based on playing cards. As in a game of chance, we have no control over the children dealt us. It is our task as parents, as educators, to play our hand based on the attributes of the children we are given. It is the child, not the parent, who must direct the process. This, I believe, is the intent of the midrash of the four children.
    Each child's question appears on his card, and the Haggadah's answer appears below the card. The gold object in each picture denotes the suit of the card. The staves, swords, cups and coins used in Southern Europe developed parallel to the more familiar hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades of Northern Europe. The figures are likewise taken from archaic systems of playing cards which included king, knight, page, and joker or fool. The king image here represents the wise child wearing the crown of Torah. The knight represents the wicked child. In almost all old haggadot the wicked child is shown as a soldier, sometimes mounted, sometimes on foot. The page is the simple child, and the joker or fool is the child who is not even capable of asking.

   I got the idea of representing the children as cards, by the way, from the tradition dating from the Middle Ages of depicting the simple child, or the child who doesn't know how to ask, as a jester or fool. I drew a book in each picture and positioned it to reflect each child's attitude to the tradition.
   The text of the Haggadah introduces the four children with a short passage in which the word baruch (blessed) appears four times. I have designed these two pages to correlate each of these four "blessings" with one of the four children: every child is a blessing.
    Diversity, how we deal with it, and how we can discover the blessing within it, is perhaps the theme of the midrash of the Four Children.
(David Moss, 20th C. artist, U.S.A. and Israel)        

A Teen Looks at Israeli Society:
2 Views from Tanya Zion (1994 and 1996)

Tanya Zion, an Israeli teenager from a religious Zionist family (and daughter of Noam Zion, author of A Different Night) offers two portraits of Israeli society using Four Children. In 1994 she looked at both choices and no choices. Most provocative is her view of the Child Who Does Not Know How To Ask — ultra-orthodox youth, who are taught NOT to ask critical questions about his relation to Zionism, to Western culture or to Torah. In 1996 she looked at choices for girls as role models change.