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    The other side of the Wicked Son

    The wise and wicked sons, as depicted in the Szyk Haggadah

    There is something wrong with the symmetry of the sons.

    There is a wise son – but his negative counterpart should be a foolish son. There is a wicked son – but his negative counterpart ought to be a righteous son. Yet what we get is a wise son contrasted with a wicked son, and vice-versa. It all seems very peculiar.

    Wisdom is an intellectual quality; wickedness a moral or rather immoral quality. Can cognition and morality share the same wave length?

    The answer somehow seems to be yes. Knowledge can go with wickedness; it depends on what we do with our brains. In the value system of the Haggadah, the son with the top billing, the wise son, is presumed to use his grey cells to become a tzaddik… and the wicked son is the prototype of intellectuality gone awry.

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