25 Mar 2014

Tuesday Morning Torah – March 25, 2014

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Seder Homework


Passover has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I have fond childhood memories of our large family gatherings where we would eat a crazy amount of food in between working our way through the Haggadah cover to cover.  While we read at a somewhat leisurely pace through the first sections of the Haggadah, when we finished our main meal we would race through the end of the Haggadah, “davening” through the words, and even racing through certain sections, competing to see who could sing the fastest.  The challenge is that while we had a good time “speaking” the Haggadah, we did not invite the Hagaddah to “speak to us.”


What do I mean? The Haggadah is not a book that is to be “read” through from cover to cover without any explanation, thought, or creativity.  The Mishnah teaches that we are to approach our sedarim, and use our Haggadot to “retell” the Exodus from Egypt in a personalized way so that we might find a deeper level of meaning in the “master narrative”  of our people.


How might we go about doing this? In a word- homework! There are three weeks until Passover and if you want to have a meaningful experience- you need to do a bit of preparation for the actual experience that is to take place at the Seder. The following are a few suggestions to help “spice up” your seder, There are literally hundreds of Haggadot, books about Passover, and Passover resources on the internet to help you get started. Here are a few quick suggestions.


1. Get rid of the Maxwell House Haggadah.  Blasphemous, I know, but consider buying a new Haggadah with commentary and activities for the Seder. Check out the following link to search for one that might work for you.


2. Read this article on Tips for Seders with Kids


3. Check out this advice from Dr. Ron Wolfson on making a meaningful Seder.


4. Don’t try and change everything. The goal should be to balance your family “tradition” and add some innovation.


5. If you are leading the Seder, think like a “teacher” and know your audience as you plan out your lesson.


And of course, if you have any questions, comments, or thoughts- feel free to e-mail me! Looking forward to seeing you at our Second Night Community Seder. Information can be found here. 




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