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A Seder Filled With Meaning

03/31/2014 11:31:57 AM


Dear B’nai Jacob Family and Friends,

If we have a Seder, which uses the Haggadah as a speed read, and if the main question is “when will we eat?” then we have missed the entire reason for having the Seder. Judaism is a way of life that prods us to ask questions. The Talmud, housing our Oral Torah, is replete with questioning. So much of the Seder contains different practices to stimulate our children to ask: “Mah Nishtanah, Why is this night different?”

Did you know that there is no mitzvah to recite the Seder all in Hebrew, if you don't understand the original? It is a mitzvah to comprehend the Haggadah, and beyond this it is praiseworthy to dig deeply for meaning.

As a Rabbi, I enjoy teaching. I look forward to these opportunities, and I have such joy when I meet each Tuesday with our older youths. In our teen class, Havurat Noar, I asked: “What is the deeper significance of Passover?” At first, the class noted how it was so wonderful for family to gather together. I informed them that this holiday, more than any other, brought families from far and near to the Seder table. I then asked them why was this so? Why did Pesach attract this reaction, more than Sukkot, Shavuot, or even Rosh Hashanah?

I “shepped nachat” (felt such joy) as the discussion became animated. One of the students answered that this was the holiday, commemorating our freedom from Egypt. This was the beginning of our physical freedom that culminated with our people receiving the Ten Commandments and the Torah!

This was the occurrence of our deeper experience as Am Yisrael!

I feel this same joy when I teach our adults. Our last Pesach Workshop reflected the thirst for a deeper understanding of Pesach. We learned together deeper insights from the Haggadah, and shared an amazing Haggadah that was brought to my attention by Ron and Pam Friedman. It is entitled A Different Night and is a publication of the Shalom Hartman Institute. It is filled with tremendous explanations and insights. The “menu” can keep you learning the deeper spirituality of the Seder for years!

I am including a link for you that may help you with your Seder and Pesach experience:

Here you will see a total of 9 links that will help you, your children and grandchildren.

I am concluding this article with one story from the Shalom Hartman Institute Haggadah. By itself, it relates to us how living Judaism is filled with sensitivity and with love and respect for each other.

“Rabbi Akiba Eiger (Germany, 18th C.) used to be very strict about the mitzvah of hospitality especially on Pesach. Once when he was leading a large seder, one of the guests happened to spill a cup of wine. The clean white tablecloth was stained. Seeing the guest’s enormous embarrassment, Rabbi Eiger himself bumped the table spilling his own glass of wine. He exclaimed: “Oh this table must be off balance.”
- from p. 25, “A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah, c. 1997 by Noam Zion and David Dishon, The Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.

Penny and I wish you a Chag Kasher V'sameach and a very meaningful Seder!


Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782