- Torah and Jewish Thought
- Torah Teachings
I have been wondering about a particular Midrash in the Haggadah that has been bothering me and wanted to know if you could help me out in understanding it. I once heard that many Midrashim were actually written down with political situations of the time in mind and are not just ’fairy tales’ if you will. My question is what was the political or cultural background behind the paragraph of "Tzay U’lmad" (Lavan the Aramean), in the Pesach Haggadah, found right after the paragraph of "Ve’he She’amda." I heard that it had something to do with Egypt controlling Israel in the Second century BCE but I am not sure if this is accurate information.
I haven't seen the commentary you referred to. The Maharal of Prague explains the juxtaposition by relating Lavan, of the paragraph "Tze Ulmad", as an example of how in every generation our enemies try to destroy us ["Vehi Sheamda"]. More important is to understand that the Midrashim of our sages are Torah just as any other piece of Mishnah or Talmud and are definitely not "fairy tales". They expound on another layer of the written Torah and enclose deep ideas as well as morals and crucial teachings for life. It may as well be true that some Midrashim can be also looked upon within the personal and historical context.