Monday, April 18, 2011

Anticipating Passover

You can get a good idea of what our weekend was like by seeing the books and dvd my son picked out at the library this weekend:
  • The Elements: Hydrogen 
  • A Child's Picture Hebrew Dictionary 
  • A Seder 
  • Chanuka and Passover at Bubbe's (DVD)
    The upcoming arrival of Passover had Kai excited all weekend. He was still into the elements, but, for one weekend, his passions were shared with thoughts of Passover.

    Last year was the first time that he understood, at least a little bit, of what a Seder is about. He was enthralled with the entire ritual. I think he was hooked from the time he saw Bubbe’s booklet that gave the “20 easy steps” for a family Seder. The Seder plate, with its six symbolic foods, also fascinated him.

    We are not able to make it to Bubbe’s house this year so she sent us her Seder plate, the booklets, and the toy representation of the ten plagues.

    From our Saturday trip to the library, Kai was revved up about Passover once again. He spent much of the weekend watching and re-watching the dvd where muppet-like characters learn about Passover. He insisted that either Mom or I sit with him so that he could teach us about Passover, too.

    On Sunday morning, he told Mom that he wanted to go to the grocery store so that he could help her buy the foods for the Seder plate. When they got back, he wanted to set up the plate and eat some of the food. I tried to tell him that it wouldn’t be Passover until Monday night, but eventually decided that there was no harm in letting him try some of the foods ahead of time. Of course, being Kai, he spent much of the rest of the day asking us over and over which item on the Seder plate is our favorite.

    This was to be the first Seder that we would do on our own, which we likely would not have planned if not for Kai’s passionate interest. My wife was happy to have found all of the necessary food items, including gluten-free matzos. Later, however, we got a call from Kai’s aunt, inviting us over. It will be nice to celebrate this holiday with family beyond our immediate small group.

    Last night, after Kai went to bed, my wife and I were discussing our son’s interest in Passover. It doesn’t seem like the kind of holiday that would excite most kids. There are no presents like Christmas or Hanukkah or birthdays. There is no dressing up and collecting candy like with Halloween. There are no parades or fireworks like the Fourth of July.

    But, for Kai, it is glorious.

    There are numbers: 4 cups of wine (or grape juice, as the case may be); 10 plagues; 4 questions.

    There is the order of the Seder plate with each item in its proper place.

    There is structure in the ceremony, from the drinking of the wine, to dipping a vegetable in salt water, to reading the text of the Haggadah.

    And there is the story behind all of it, the freeing of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. The muppet version, at least, is so fascinating for Kai.

    And so, I realize, that if my son does not become a scientist, perhaps his calling is as a rabbi.

    Happy Pesach, everyone.


    1. Chag Sameach!

      Also, can I borrow Kai? Because my 16 year old sister said "I don't even know what passover is about" I think he may have a pupil in her.

      I used to go to Seders in college but my family doesn't do anything for passover. We're such good jews.. :-P

    2. Molly,

      Kai's Jewish relatives have said, only half jokingly, that Kai is the most Jewish person in the family. Not bad for a seven year old being raised by non-Jewish parents, eh?

      I'll have him throw you a Seder next year. ;)


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