Chassidic Insights:
Why Do We Make Kiddush Right Away at the Seder?

One year, upon arriving home from shul on the first night of Pesach, the Shpoler Zeida’s son announced in the customary niggun, “Kadesh: Ven der tatte kumt aheim fun shul macht er bald kiddush” (Kadesh: When father comes home from shul on Pesach, he recites Kiddush right away). The Shpoler Zeide asked him why, but the boy replied that this was all his melamed had taught him. The Shpoler Zeide then told him the explanation that needs to be added, “kdei di kinder zollen nit ainshloffen un freggen di Mah Nishtana” (so that the children will not fall asleep and will ask the four questions).”

At the Yom Tov seuda the next day, the Shpoler Zeide asked his son’s melamed why he had not taught the reason for Kadesh, as this has been the minhag since the distant past. “I didn’t think it was necessary to teach this to small children, especially since this reason isn’t so important, for making Kiddush early applies to everyone, even if there are no small children at home.” The Shpoler Zeide strongly protested, “How dare you say that this reason is unimportant? Are you wiser than the melamdim of previous generations? You simply don’t begin to understand why they taught in this way. Don’t ever change their minhagim according to what you consider logical!”

The Shpoler Zeide then went on to explain that the words contain great secrets: “On the night of the seder, our Father, Hashem, comes home from shul where he has seen that although the Yidden are exhausted from the laborious preparations for Pesach, they have nevertheless come to daven, and sing Hallel to Hashem with their whole hearts. Seeing this, Hashem has to ‘recite kiddush right away’, to renew his kiddushin with his kallah and take the Yidden out of golus. He must do this without delay. Why?

“So that his little children, the Yidden, will not fall asleep in golus and despair of ever being redeemed. So ‘they will be able to ask the Mah Nishtana’, why is this night, this long golus, different from all other nights? It is being prolonged more than any other golus that we have endured!” With these words, the Shpoler Zeide broke out in tears and lifted his hands, crying out, “Hashem! Redeem us from golus while our hearts are still awake, and do not let us fall into a deep slumber!”

All present were roused with feelings of teshuvah, and some even fell to the floor, quietly sobbing. But their Rebbe soon revitalized them, “It is time to gladden our Father and show him that his young son can dance even in the ‘dark’!” The tzaddik directed his chassidim to begin a lebedike niggun, and together they danced with great simcha.

(סיפורי חסידים זוין מועדים, ע’ 361)

Reprinted with permission from Lma’an Yishme’u