|The Four Sons
||[Apr. 21st, 2014|03:48 pm]
This just popped into my head. Would have been nice if I'd thought of it last week in time for the Seder, but I'll put it down now so I don't forget it....|
The Haggadah speaks of four children:
The detail-oriented rules-lawyer geek: what does she ask? Wow! There are a lot of rules here, a lot of traditions, a lot of history! Can we talk about some of them? What's the exact definition of "se'or"? What makes something chametz or not? What's the history behind kitnyot? Why do Ashkenazic Jews use horseradish for maror, even though it's hot, not bitter? Where do THOSE rules come from?
You shall say to her: Yeah, there's a lot of cool stuff, isn't there? And, if you're a detail-oriented rules lawyer type, you'll go digging into this with her yourself, or you'll pair her up with another friend who's also a rules-grognard type, because that sort of intellectual digging is one way to connect with stuff, and, for some of us, it's deeply satisfying.
The holistic experiential type: what does he ask? How does this feel, what is the experience of the seder, what is the spiritual experience I connect with?
You shall approach the seder with guided meditations, and songs, and prayer, and find ways to feel what we connect to -- find ways to experience the journey to slavery to freedom, because that sort of spiritual and emotional experience is one way to connect with stuff, and, for some of us, it's deeply satisfying.
The disengaged, even possibly hostile to this person: what does she ask? Why are you doing this -- what's the point of it all?
You shall startle her sharply by acknowledging that that is not only a valid question, but a vital one, and you shall answer by explaining what it means to you, on a personal level. You shall talk about your own experience, and encourage her to be open to the idea that she may someday find her own personal connection to this.
And for the one who doesn't know how he interacts to this -- the one to whom this is all new, you shall do some of all of the above. You'll talk about the rules and the physical actions, you'll talk about the spiritual sense and the feeling, you'll talk about your own experiences, so that he may see in what way or ways this is meaningful to him.