Prologue:            Why not from Rosh Chodesh? Or at least early?

The Pesach Seder demands that we recite the Haggadah in the evening when Matzo and Maror are before us. But the question needs to be asked, why? Why must we wait to fulfill the obligation until such time as the Matzo and Maror are before us? Let the story begin earlier – after all, we need to recall it constantly each day of our lives?

The Tosefes Beracha explains that we tend to perk up when we notice something different. Whether it is a different noise, a different sight or just a different style, differences shake us up. When we suddenly become attuned to those differences, we are open to the greatest opportunity to learn.

Therefore we wait until Matzo and Maror are out and about us. By putting the Matzo and the Maror out, we are priming the people around us to notice the differences and ask.


The Tefillin of the Head: All Knotted up


                When the Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 32: 52) notes that one must place the strap through the compartment of the Tefillin Shel Rosh, he concludes that one must then tie the strap into a Daled formation. How does one make the Daled? What does one do when the Daled he has is not the same as the knot of his neighbor?

                It should be noted that there are three basic opinions as to the style of the knot we call the Daled. The first style is called the “Double Daled” or “Kesher Pashut”. This style is based on a knot that is easy to make (hence it is called “Pashut”). It is identified as the knot that was used by Rav Yehonasan Eybeshutz and Rav Yedidyah Weil (see also Shut Teshuvah MeiAhava II:27) and the Chasam Sofer (Minhagim i:6) and his rebbe, Rav Nosson Adler (Shut Lehoros Nosson IV:4). Shut Beit Dovid, whom the Chida assails as a special Tzaddik, recommends it as well. Zichron Yehuda (16:3) adds that the practice in the Tefillin of the Jews of Yemen was to have a double Daled knot.

                The second position also identifies a double Daled shape though it is open in the middle. This type, which finds its origins in the writings of the Ari (See Mishnas Chassidim, Pinchas 258a) is doubled as a Daled inside.

                The potential difficulty with these approaches is that the Mogen Avraham (O.C. 27:16) takes a sharp position against these types of knots and it is unclear if he opposes both styles or only the latter. It should be noted that the Gra (Siddur, Kavannos Tefillin seems to demand a double Daled .

                It seems that Rashi had a third type of Tefillin knot. Rashi (Chullin 9b) seems to prefer a knot that resembles a Daled. The Terumas HaDeshen (179) and Mogen Avraham note that L’Halacha this is required and some have taken this position to the point of writing extensively against anyone who has “a new minhag” not in conformity with this approach (See the questioner to Tzitz Eliezer 9:9). Some argue that this was the position of the Rambam as well, though he speaks of a knot being a Daled and also being a square at the same time.

                The Mishna Berurah (32:233) notes that there are multiple legitimate ways to make the Daled knot but states a preference for this last approach. Beis Yosef cites the position of the Orchos Chaim, Maharil and Ittur as being in concert with the idea that a simple knot (Kesher Pashut) should be made.

                One thing does become apparent – that the knots are all based on a solid Mesorah. Both Rav Shlomo Zalman (Halichos Shlomo, IV:95)and Rav Waldenberg decry those who challenge the legitimacy of any of the Minhagim.