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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 4/2/21

A Seder is not meant to be a spectator affair, even if it is held virtually. At our community Zeder on Sunday night, there were lots of opportunities for interaction. Many different people read parts of the Haggadah. We even followed our TBT custom of holding a contest to see who could sing the final stanza of Chad Gadya in one breath.

To engage everyone’s participation, I interspersed 4 Questions throughout the Haggadah. After each question, I invited people to respond in the chat. Then we reviewed what people wrote.

The first question was, “In Hebrew the word for Egypt is ‘Mitzraim,’ which means ‘narrow place.’ What is one way that you wish for our society to be more open?” The second question was, “Who is a champion of social justice who inspires you? The third question was, “The Haggadah says that in every generation of Jewish history enemies have tried to eliminate us. What are the biggest threats to Judaism today?”

The first three questions elicited thoughtful responses. But that wasn’t the case with the 4th question. Maybe it was because we had already consumed 3 cups of wine. After we welcomed Elijah by singing Eliyahu HaNavi, I posed this question: “If the prophet Elijah walked through the door and sat down at your table, what’s the first thing you would ask him?”

Within seconds, this response appeared: “I would ask him, are you vaccinated?”

I saw this and burst out laughing. The fact that it came from my son, Carmi, and his fiancé, Chaney, made it all the more delicious.

Someone else wrote “Where’s your mask?” Another asked, “What took you so long? The food is cold.”

Yes, a Seder is a time for reflection, thanksgiving, prayer, and song. And it is meant to be humorous and joyful. During Passover, we wish one another Moadim L’simcha. May all our festivals be filled with simcha, with joy.


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