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Focusing on Our Children


Question:

Why does Passover seem to be so “children-oriented” as opposed to the other Jewish holidays? Thanks and happy Passover!



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

More so than any other festival, the Passover Seder is dedicated to children because the Torah dictates that we must tell the history of the Exodus to our children on this night. The Haggada, which we read, directs us to do many “unusual things” in order to awaken the children's curiosity. A main goal of the Seder is that they will want to know "why this night is different than all other nights” — and we should tell them. Each one according to what is suitable.

Immediately following Kiddush the “unusual things” begin. We wash hands as on each Shabbat or Festival, but on the Seder-night we wash without a blessing. This is because we first eat karpas (a vegetable such as celery or potato) and not bread as we normally do at the beginning of a festive meal. So, just as karpas whets our physical appetite for eating matzah, so too this unusual procedure “spiritually” interests us in the secrets of this night.

The four questions expressing the children’s interest are more than just a springboard for our discussion. They are part of the answer. The best story is one you want to hear! That is why our Sages teach that even if you sit by yourself on this night you should interest yourself in the material by asking the four questions. People, by nature, are inquisitive, and should not be afraid to ask. If you are embarrassed to ask, you will not learn.

Also, there is a widespread custom to provide treats for the children, such as chocolate chips. This not only helps keep them awake but also serves as a stimulus for their questions and as a reward for their participation. 

Happy Passover to you and your family!


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