A Bisl Torah

I Am Now Taking Questions

Every year I wonder what it is that someone should learn at the Passover seder. One might suggest that participants understand the entirety Passover story. Another might think that that every symbol be explained and the Haggadah deconstructed verse by verse. These are perfectly fine answers.

But I am struck by Maimonides’ “take away” of seder night. He writes, “And it is required to make changes during the night for the children to notice and they will ask, ‘How is this night different from all other nights’ until you answer them by saying, ‘This and this happened.’ What changes should be made? One should give them roasted seeds and nuts. The table should be uprooted (taken) from them before they eat and matza should be taken from each other, and other things like this.”

Meaning, create an atmosphere that cultivates curiosity and interest in the people attending your seder. If the meaning of the Passover festival is to understand the gift of freedom, what else could more freeing than providing a space where questions are welcomed and encouraged? What better conveys a sense of liberation than reminding family and friends that there are still so many places in this world where opinions are stifled, and change-makers punished. But in our homes, we will illicit questions because we are free; because we can.

How will the participants at your seder know that questions are welcomed? Switch the fork with the knife. Give everyone a riddle as they walk through the door. Ask your own big Jewish questions. Dress up. Dress down. Do anything that prevents boredom and stagnation.

How is this night different from all other nights? I can’t wait to hear your answers…I can’t wait to hear your questions.

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