Four Children? Nope! They're ALL US!
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Four Children? Nope! They're ALL US!
There is something else hidden tonight in addition to the Afikoman.
We generally think of the Four Children as distinct individuals, or personalities, or types.
Each asks (or doesn't ask) a different type of question and in a different tone. (This is the Haggadah's way of explaining why the Torah seems to say we should tell our children about the Exodus from Egypt in different words, and in differing levels of detail. The Book of Proverbs tells us to "teach a child in the way s/he can understand (appropriate to each age, intellectual and interest level), and as s/he grows older that knowledge will remain."
But just flip the list upside down, and a different picture emerges.
Suddenly, we see ourselves at all the stages of our human development from childhood to adulthood and beyond, reflected in this passage.
The one who doesn't know what or how to ask is too young - perhaps a pre-schooler, or simply incapable of asking.
The simple one. Simple questions from a young child just learning about life - just learning how to read and reason - require simple, declarative if not definitive, answers, without equivocation and as factual but unfrightening as we can make them.
The rebellious one - (often erroneously referred to as wicked) - that's us as teenagers, challenging authority, seeking our own answers, trying to make sense of things we now summarily reject out of hand that once we had accepted as revealed truth.
The wise one. Then, IF we survive our teenage rebelliousness, we FINALLY emerge into adult maturity, and hopefully, attain wisdom or something akin to it, that enables us to function in, if not make sense of, the world we inhabit.
If we are lucky, this last stage lasts a lifetime.
(For many, however, the ladder UP eventually becomes the staircase DOWN again, as we pass through the wisdom of adulthood, back to a a cantankerous stubbornness or rebelliousness, to simplicity, and finally, sadly, to the silence of no longer knowing how, or caring what, to ask.)
By: Rabbi Ari Weiss As we approach Berach and reflect and give thanks to God for the meal we recently consumed, let us pause for a moment and reflect on what a Jewish meal is. Having a meal according to the Jewish tradition is much richer and more complex then just consuming food. As William H. Gass  has noted, as animals we desire only nourishment. However, in the process of eating, other things happen. The...
You can look at the four sons as four generations of Jews in America today. The first generation of eastern European Jewry who emigrated to America at the turn of the century are represented by THE WISE SON. This is the Jew who grew up with a strong connection to the Jewish way of life. His commitment to Judaism is unshakable.
His son, the second generation, is represented in the Wicked Son. This is the rebel who...
We’ve been bound by a hardened heart
And our inability to see ourselves in each other.
We have been puffed up by ego and pride.
Enslaved by how things have always been.
And now it is time to go.
But fear threatens to paralyze.
How can we possibly exist any other way?
Our imagination falters
The attachment to what we know is so great
It doesn’t matter that it...
By Maya Kasowky
What follows are short descriptions of Seder customs from around the world. For this lesson each custom can be printed out on a separate card or strip.
Circling the seder plate over the heads of each participant, while saying “In Haste we left Egypt”. The response is “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt”
Where it fits in the seder: The very...
From Oppression to Liberation:
For the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice in this Generation
The four cups of wine we drink this evening are symbols of our freedom and God's presence in our lives. But,
as the seder ritual reminds us, freedom is an ongoing journey. True freedom can only be enjoyed when all our
sisters, brothers and others are freed of the many burdens that would...
Traditionally, The Four Sons (or Children) include a wise son, a wicked (or rebellious) son, a simple son and one who does not even know enough to ask. Each of the first three ask questions about the Seder, essentially "Explain all this to me - what are my responsibilities?" "What has all this nonsense you are babbling about got to do with me?" and "What IS all this anyway?" while the fourth is silent - requiring the...
By Avigayil Halpern
Blood: Young girls tuck tampons quickly into backpacks, secret them in purses, hide them in Ugg boots. It’s not blue dye that the river is running with, and periods are more trouble than the pamphlet in that goody bag from middle-school health class would leave one to believe. “It’s beautiful to be female,” we’re told, but nobody...
The central imperative of the Seder is to tell the story. The Bible instructs: “ You shall tell your child on that day, saying: ‘This is because of what Adonai did for me when I came out of Egypt.' ” (Exodus 13:8) We relate the story of our ancestors to regain the memories as our own. Elie Weisel writes: God created man because He loves stories. We each have a story to tell — a story of enslavement, struggle,...
“To approach the Other in conversation is to welcome his expression, in which at each instant he overflows the idea a thought would carry away from it. It is therefore to receive from the Other beyond the capacity of the I, which means exactly: to have the idea of infinity. But this also means: to be taught. The relation with the Other, or Conversation, is a non-allergic relation, an ethical relation; but inasmuch as...
More Clips from Gerald Weiss
How long should the ideal Seder last. Everyone is hungry; the kids are squirmy, guests are growing impatient. You're on step 5 of 15 and dinner isn't even in sight.
It might interest you to know that originally, the meal PRECEDED the recitation of the Passover story (Maggid - step 5 of 15) and now it's at step number 11!Why? Because the rabbis were wise enough to know that few would hang around for the...
Eggs are prominent and pervasive on Pesah. In fact, so prevalent are they during the holiday week that one might suspect that the ancient Greek name for Pesah actually may have been Cholesterol!
Let's start with the Seder Plate, where a roasted egg (Beitzah ביצה), said to represent the holiday sacrifice, or Haggigah (חגיגה) finds a prominent place on a plate otherwise filled with symbols of subjugation...