The Blessing of Diversity: David Moss, The Moss Haggadah
(U.S.A. and Israel, 1996)

Artist and calligrapher David Moss explains his depiction of the Four Children: "Every child is unique and the Torah embraces them all. The iconography that I've chosen here is based on playing cards. As in a game of chance, we have no control over the children dealt us. It is our task as parents, as educators, to play our hand based on the attributes of the children we are given. It is the child, not the parent, who must direct the process. This, I believe, is the intent of the midrash of the four children.

Each child's question appears on his card, and the Haggadah's answer appears below the card. The gold object in each picture denotes the suit of the card. The staves, swords, cups and coins used in Southern Europe developed parallel to the more familiar hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades of Northern Europe. The figures are likewise taken from archaic systems of playing cards which included king, knight, page, and joker or fool. The king image here represents the wise child wearing the crown of Torah. The knight represents the wicked child. In almost all old Haggadot the wicked child is shown as a soldier, sometimes mounted, sometimes on foot.

The page is the simple child, and the joker or fool is the child who is not even capable of asking. I got the idea of representing the children as cards, by the way, from the tradition dating from the Middle Ages of depicting the simple child, or the child who doesn't know how to ask, as a jester or fool. I drew a book in each picture and positioned it to reflect each child's attitude to the tradition.

The text of the Haggadah introduces the four children with a short passage in which the word baruch (blessed) appears four times. I have designed these two pages to correlate each of these four "blessings" with one of the four children: every child is a blessing. Diversity, how we deal with it, and how we can discover the blessing within it, is perhaps the theme of the midrash of the Four Children."

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