Rabbi Dovid Eisenberg of Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on the message of Passover.
Passover is a time that we all look forward to. The spring is approaching, the weather is becoming nicer and the time has come to spend the Seder together as a family. Even though the actual preparations are very difficult, most people will tell you that in the end it is well worth the investment.
What is it that we want to get out of our Seder? How do we make the most of this yearly ritual without it losing its beauty and efficacy over the years?
I think that there is one important preparation for the Seder night that sadly many people leave out. We will work on getting the nicest matza for our tables, some will try and get the hottest horseradish or the sweetest wine and others make sure that the crockery they use will be worthy of such a beautiful occasion.
The main point of the Seder night, however, is the passing on of the tradition to the next generation. This needs to be done in a way that is enjoyable for the people you are talking to. Children and adolescents today expect more entertainment than in previous generations. With the advent of instant communication and the internet, it has become a lot harder for teachers and parents to inspire their children and the methods we use must be more interactive and fun.
Another important point that people forget is that the Hagaddah is in Hebrew and many of us don’t understand what it is saying. If we are trying to impress the importance of the day on our children and to have them understand the significance of this event, it must be in a language that they can understand. If need be, read the Hagaddah in English and make sure the people around you understand what you are saying!
Lastly, don’t say the same things every year. We don’t like watching the same reruns, or hearing the same songs constantly. Why would your child be impressed with the same old story every year? Try and find something new to discuss or a new angle to present it from.
Judaism is a religion that is meant to be alive, vibrant and relevant. We, as parents and educators, need to pass this message on to our children and have a duty to tailor it to suit our children’s understanding and needs.
Have a lovely Passover.