As we were plodding our way through the Haggadah (well, I suppose this is before most of the plodding, really), I noticed something rather puzzling about the Ma Nishtana - the 'four' questions. It starts off, "ma nishtana halayla hazeh mikol haleilot?" which most people translate into, "why is this night different from all other nights?" But if you look at the actual language, what it really seems to be asking is, "what is changed on this night from all other nights?" The passage then goes into a list of the different things, "shebichol haleilot, that on all other nights..." etc. So this list seems like an answer to the question of what is different. But those four things are not the ONLY things that are different! On all other nights, we don't normally drink four cups of wine. We don't normally invite people in to eat with us. Etc. etc. etc.
Also, if the question is "why is this night different from all other nights?" we don't really get an answer in the Haggadah. "Avadim hayinu l'Paroh b'Mitzraim - We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt" is not really an answer to the Ma nishtana. True, each of the things spoken about in the Ma Nishtana can represent our journey from bondage into freedom, but that's only inferred. The Haggadah never specifically answers it. Later on in the Haggadah, when we talk about Pesach, Matzah, and Marror, it goes into why we have each of those things, but what about the dipping? And the leaning while we eat? Where is that answered?
This is not a dvar Torah, this is a question. What is up with the Ma Nishtana? What is it really asking and where are the answers?
Also, I appreciate the idea that the children are supposed to ask questions at the Seder, but does anyone else feel like it's a cop out every time in the Haggadah where there is a commentator's question about why something is done a certain way, why wine is poured at a specific point, etc. and the answer is merely, "to get the children to ask?"