by Rabbi Yehudah Prero
Dr. Laurence Lovat of London, England sent in a couple of ideas he is going to try this year to keep the children involved:
- I have bought some little toys and some chocolate money, and will
give them as a prize to anyone asking a question. (The money can be eaten or
exchanged for hard cash after Yom Tov)
- I have made a glove puppet of a sea animal (it's very easy) and will
see if I can make it pop up at appropriate times to amuse and inform (Don't
quite know how but I am working on it)
A more serious idea, based on the Malbim's Introduction to the Haggadah,
which has just been translated into English is:
- Malbim explains that the order of the Maggid in the Haggadah is in 7
sections and is based on the passuk: Vehigadata Levincha... I plan to make
7 flash cards with the relevant parts of the passuk on them and ask the
- Put the parts of the passuk into the right order
- Tell me when we reach the beginning of the next section of Maggid. For each of these, they get a prize!
He adds that the Malbim's Overview in English is put out as a Special Edition from Ohr Somayach and is available at http://www.virtual.co.il/orgs/ohr/special/books/feature.htm.
Marcel Berenblut, also of England, offers the following:
- Make them responsible for telling the Ba'al HaBayit when to do various
things, eg pouring cups. Obviously, many "children's haggadot" don't contain
all the information needed, so a bit of work by the parents, to provide a
written list may be needed. This is based on the idea that "responsibility is
fun". If the kid really believes that the Seder will go wrong if he doesn't
do his job properly......
- (for older kids) Instead of encouraging the kids to ask questions, prime
them with Qs + As and get them to ask the adults the questions. There are few
things more enjoyable to kids than feeling like you've outsmarted the
wrinklies. Also, if the question is specific to a part of the Seder, the
child will be alert, waiting for the right moment, to make sure they don't
miss their opportunity.
Tova Taragin of Baltimore, Maryland wrote:
Being a teacher, I naturally looked for ways to involve the children at the
seder. When our children were small -- in fact,
until my oldest got engaged, I assigned "assignments" to all the
children(ours and nieces and nephews, and even children of guests). They had
to 'research" and discuss different parts of the Hagaddah, different parts
for the two nights (here in galut)...this way they were the "star" for that
section of the Hagaddah, we didn't have arguments of "but my morah, rebbe,
teacher, etc. said" , no one read explanations straight out of the Artscroll
Hagaddah and they "rested" on erev Pesach -- while they did their preparing.
It got to a point where in latter years I got phone calls from the nieces
and nephews demanding their "assignments" -- to add to the excitement I
printed a "Schedule" going through the "steps of seder" -- and writing all
their names and the assignments...starting off with MC = Zaydie...etc....(I'm
into desk-top publishing)...it worked real well -- and maybe we didn't stay
up a whole night like the rabbonim in Bnai Brak -- but none of the kids got
bored, left the table etc....they all looked forward to participating -- even
the youngest ones who got billing for what they could do -- even if it was
only Ma nishtanah or the "frogs" song from nursery school. Hope this helps
those with children at the seder...it made ours very enjoyable...
Amy Davis , at Tulane U. suggested that I mention a problem which faces many
college students, as well as people who travel away from home before Pesach.
The question that concerned her is, as she is leaving her apartment before
Thursday night, which is the proper time to conduct the Search for Chametz,
when should the search be conducted, and when should one burn the Chametz? In
general, one should conduct the search the night before one is leaving their
home/apartment/dorm. For example, I am departing to Chicago Wednesday
afternoon. I therefore would check for Chametz Tuesday night. Regarding
burning the Chametz, this is done on Friday morning, at the same time that
everyone else will be burning the Chametz. You do not have to take Chametz
along with you on your trip, and burn it on Friday morning at your final
destination. This is especially true if you might misplace that Chametz in
the shuffle. One can acquire Chametz (or take some from your parents,
children, hosts) and use that to burn at your final destination. You are
prohibited from eating Chametz on Friday morning, at what ever time is proper
for your locale. I hope this helps.
In the last posting on Maggid, we mentioned a reason for why we say Hallel
at the end of Maggid. Neil Parks of Beachwood, Ohio asked: if we say Hallel
as part of the Seder, why do we also say it during Ma'ariv before the Seder (as is the custom in many places)?
The Ta'amei HaMinhagim quotes the Chok Ya'akov 487:8 who gives the following
reason: Because we do not make a blessing on the Hallel we say at the time of
the Hagada, we therefore say Hallel in the synagogue, with a blessing, so
that we would not need to make blessing on the Hallel we say later in the
evening (during the Seder). In fact, the Ta'amei Ha'Minhagim further quotes
the Orchot Chaim 487:6 who says that even in a place where the custom is not
to say Hallel, it is a mitzva to change that custom, and to impress upon the
congregation that they should say Hallel, and that is what many Rabbis have
A question which should have been addressed, and that I unfortunately must
answer briefly ( as time is limited), is who compiled the Hagada, when was it
composed, and are there different variations of the Hagada. To answer this
question, I will quote part of the introduction of the Yeshiva University
Hagada. "The actual content of the Hagada has evolved over the centuries. The
first known edition to appear in its present form , approximately, was
introduced in the Siddur of Rav Amram Gaon (ninth century). The material in
his Hagada was collected from a variety of Biblical, Rabbinic, Talmudic, and
Medrashic sources...the ritual of the four cups of wine and of Karpas is
Mishnaic in origin. The inclusion of the Hallel service in the Hagada is also
found in the Mishna. The various sources and traditions regarding the Pesach
service have given rise to innumerable commentaries, customs, and
interpretations surrounding the Hagada. this, too, has resulted in the
plethora of different editions which the centuries have witnessed."
My family and I wish all of you a Chag Kosher, V'Sameach, a Happy Passover,
and L'Shana Ha'ba'ah B'Yerushalayim!!! Next year, may all of our e-mail
addresses end in .il !!!
Check out all of the posts on Pesach and the Hagadah! Head over to
http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov to find the newly redesigned YomTov Home Page, and click on the holiday you are interested in to find all of the archived posts on that topic.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.
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