Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Tale of Two Seders (er, Sedarim)

Okay, so I was off by about 10 years when I posted a comment to Mark/PT’s post “The Seder: Which do you prefer?”: Our host for the first Seder was someone we’ve known for closer to 30 years rather than 20. Her Sedarim are always a joy. There’s tons of singing and, as the assorted children have gotten older, tons of commenting, as well. As I commented to Mark’s/PT’s post, “at one of our sedarim, the host/leader, who designates other readers, always gives everyone at least 2 haggadot--1 that matches everyone else's and one other one--so that people can read the various commentaries and discuss them as we go along. Obviously, this works better with older children and/or adults.” I ran into a bit of an Attention-Deficit-Disorder problem with the Lehman Haggadah that ended up at my place: I’m afraid that I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by any book that has 1 inch of text and 4 inches of commentary. (Shira to self: Are you sure you want to study Chumash Rashi when your Hebrew improves? Er, maybe a different text would be better for you.) The hubby, on the other hand, found a jewel in his Haggadah: Apparently, the Vilna Gaon’s minhag (custom) was to break the top matzah. I learn something new every year.

The best comment of the evening was made by the creator, as far as we know, of the phrase “user-resistant packaging.” He’s of the opinion that the Wise Child is just a kiss-up telling his/her parents what they want to hear. He much prefers the challenge of the so-called Wicked Child. “What is this service to you? All year round, you don’t keep kosher, you don’t go to synagogue. Now, all of a sudden, this Jewish ritual stuff is a big deal? And/or, all year round, you don’t feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick, give tzedakah (charity), pursue justice. So why now?” Much discussion and many rounds of singing Hallel and everything else that you can sing in the Haggadah ensued, we stuffed ourselves silly, sang Birkat haMazon/Grace After Meals, many more rounds of Hallel and everything else that you can sing in the Haggadah (included our host’s adult children’s favorite from their childhood, Chad Gadya with sound effects—baaah, ka-ching [for the two zuzim], woof-woof, me-ow . . .), and we went home a pair of very tired but very happy campers.

For the second Seder, we went to Ansche Chesed, where Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky did the honors. This one was more of a Haggadah Highlights version of the Seder. We did all the big stuff—for the kids, Ma Nishtanah and the redeeming of the Afikoman, for all, the Four Cups, the two central paragraphs of the Maggid/Telling of the Story of the Exodus from Egypt (“We were slaves” and “My father was a wandering Aramean”), the central symbols (“Pesach, Matzah, u-Maror"), etc. But mainly, the younger kids ran around the lobby and the next-door playroom while the older kids and adults engaged in serious discussions of the text and of current social-justice issues. As I said to my husband, our second Seder was Rashi to our first Seder’s Chumash.

I'd love to hear what you discussed and/or tales of what your kids were up to at your Sedarim.

Moed tov.


Blogger Unknown said...

My kid mostly slept. :)

Mon Apr 17, 02:15:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Well, she's a bit too young to recite the Fir Kashes. :)

Mon Apr 17, 08:23:00 AM 2006  

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