The Passover Seder: When we all must become children | Morethodoxy | Jewish Journal

On JewishJournal.com we found an essay by Rabbi Hyim Shafner, "The Passover Seder: When we all must become children" which captured part of what we taught at our Seder this year. He starts off,
“One is obligated to see themselves on the Seder night as if they are actually now leaving Egypt.” -Maimonides
“The child at the Seder asks: “Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened or unleavened bread but on this night only unleavened. On all other nights we eat regular vegetables but on this night bitter herbs….”” -The Talmud
If the Passover Seder meal is one of remembering that God redeemed the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery, why not do precisely that? Read the Biblical account of the Exodus (which we do not); ask about slavery and freedom, divinely brought plagues and miracles, nationhood and history. Why all the questions about why this night is different?
Children live in the present, their questions straight forward; they observe and ask, observe and ask. According to some Jewish sources we do strange actions at the Seder meal, like dipping our food, drinking many cups of wine and delaying the meal, precisely so that the children will notice and ask: “Why is this night different?”...
We put it differently at our Seder and a bit more dramatically. When the time came for the four questions I explained that now we all, children and adults, must become meditators, looking closely at our immediate actions and surroundings. (The meditator is one of the six primary archetypes that I develop in my book, God's Favorite Prayers)

And I distributed to the children magnifying glasses and told them that they were all appointed Pesach detectives. But they were so well rehearsed and anxious to recite the four questions that this idea did not get much traction, although the point was made -- and it is obvious. Part of the Seder is reflexive and meditative.

Another part of the Seder is triumphalist and we were not about to avoid that this year. We went with the flow. We gave out "We're number one" foam fingers to the kids and at three occasions we had them wave the cheering fingers in the air. (When we said “at first our forefathers were idolaters..." and shortly thereafter we became monotheists, when we said, "Therefore..." we give praise, and when we greeted Elijah and recited the passage about pouring out wrath...

And do you know what? Triumphalists are childlike in an altogether other way. (The celebrity triumphalist is one of the six primary archetypes that I develop in my book, God's Favorite Prayers).

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