The Four Children as Four Books: David Wander
The Haggadah in Memory of the Holocaust, ©1988

The four children in The Haggadah in Memory of the Holocaust reflect different attitudes towards Jewish tradition as symbolized by a book for we are "the people of the book," in the phrase coined by the Muslims. For the wise child, Judaism is an open book with letters to be read and studied. For the wicked child, the tradition burns up as it is destroyed. The association with Nazi book burning is chilling. For the simple child the book is open since he asks questions, but the child himself is still blank, still unlearned. Finally, for the fourth child, Judaism is a closed book. This child awaits someone to "open" the book and the pupil to one another as the Haggadah advises "You will open up" the Exodus story for the child who does not even know how to ask.
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