Friday, March 29, 2013

Trix Are For Kids

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach
19 Nissan 5773 / March 29-30, 2013

Some Passover Reflections:

Did you know that there was actually debate originally by the ancient rabbis over whether or not there should be 4 cups of wine vs. 5 cups of wine at the Seder?  Maybe with time they recognized that our standard bottle of wine possesses enough for only 4 glasses (assuming a 6oz pour)…

Have you ever introduced a new ritual at your Passover Seder or put a new object on the Seder plate?  Some are familiar with the practice of putting an orange on the Seder plate – but maybe not for the reason you think.  Check out the real story behind the Orange custom here.  Some also put olives on their Seder plate to signify their hope for peace in the Middle East.  What would you add to the Seder plate and why?

At the Seder, we traditionally talk about 4 sons (or children), and the commandment of intergenerational transmission.  What do we do if there are no children at the Seder?  How do we make sense of that portion of the Hagaddah and still find meaning in it?  Is the Seder, like Trix cereal, really just for kids?

We read in the Haggadah that we’re obligated to view ourselves as if we had been the ones to depart Egypt.  I found out from a friend that she was at a Passover Seder this past week in Cairo celebrating the liberation of the Jews from Egypt, while viewing that liberation as one she personally experienced, while sitting at a Seder table in Egypt.  Talk about confusing! 

What does it really mean to view ourselves as if we had been the ones to depart Egypt?  We’re instructed to tell our children that the whole reason we’re having the Seder “is because of what the Divine did for me when I went out of Egypt.”  What does it mean for our narrative to constantly recall our enslavement?  Does it help us empathize with those still in bondage?  Or does it make us focus on our issues and ourselves rather than on those who are far worse off than we are?  Can it be both?  Note the tension.  How do we deal with it?

Wishing you a joyous and matzah-riffic Passover!

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