Seder Here, Seder There, Seder Everywhere!

A person I love very much suggested that I conduct a Seder (if you don’t know what a Seder is, perhaps you shouldn’t continue reading) here for family and friends, making it fun and interesting.  This was to be in contrast to the typical Chabad Seder which serves pretty bad food, has a service that cannot be heard due to their spurning of electronic amplification during the sabbath or religious holidays, and is conducted in a manner which challenges those who cannot speak Hebrew/Aramaic.

Come to think of it, I don’t consider Passover (Pesach) to be a religious holiday any more than Lag BaOmer, but that can be the subject for another blog–not now.

My response to my loved one was this:

“You are probably right, but trying to share a Seder with family and friends would not work.  I tried to share Thanksgiving with people here and it was a waste of time.  Even in America, when I tried to make Seders that were fun and more traditional than religious, I found little success.  Only my children, and some cousins who were not Jewish, appreciated being able to understand what the seder really meant and enjoy the music and joy of freedom from slavery that the original Israelites felt.  My wife at the time complained that the new dishes I bought (I wanted to mollify her “religious” uncles who kept kosher at home and ate pork and shellfish outside their homes, and who really did not understand the Hebrew/Aramaic that they conducted THEIR seders in) did not match.  The following year the uncles resumed holding their boring, unintelligible seders, and my wife had the pleasure of discarding the unmatched dinnerware.

Years before all this I participated in a seder at a not-very-religious Israeli’s home.  It was all in Hebrew which I did not understand at the time, but I shared the joy and exuberance of everyone and I had a great time.  A few years later, I enjoyed a Seder on my Kibbutz, and by that time I did understand the Hebrew.  On all but the ultra-orthodox Kibbutzim they tell the history of their Kibbutz, not about slavery but about freedom and building and independence.  It is a wonderfully joyous celebration of life, and to me that is the real meaning of Pesach, and the true honor and pleasure of being a Jew.  I did my duty and instructed my children in the ritual of the Seder, both from a religious and not-so-religious perspective. It seems to have worked because both still observe Passover in whatever way they are comfortable with–and that makes me very happy.  Like me, neither is too religious, altho they both observe more strictly than I do (ex:  fasting on Yom Kippur), and both are proud of their being Jewish.
As we say, “Di-yaanu!”  It is enough.

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