by Rabbi Alex FreedmanLeaders-supplement-2022 (1)
Here are four new Passover questions I have for you:
Leading the Seder conversation is a challenge. Let the Seder Supplement help you.
I prepared this updated handout to spark a table discussion. (A big thank you to Abby Lasky for the graphic design).
The Seder Supplement has two front-and-back pages. A few verses from the Torah tell the story of Moses calling for all the Israelites to be freed, not just some. Other verses use the pain of Israelite slavery as an engine to protect the strangers in their communities for all time. Both texts speak of equality.
The second page includes different quotes about equality, inspired by the Torah. Selected from a range of personalities and historical figures, these quotes spur us to think about equality in a more sophisticated way.
This first handout is for all the guests; print out a bunch for the table (or share the PDF with virtual guests) to start a conversation. Also print out one copy of the second handout for the Seder leader. This contains my insights on the Torah study, in order to dive a little deeper. It also includes a series of Seder trivia questions to keep things interesting throughout the night.
The Haggadah text itself is a conversation-starter, but sometimes it needs to be unlocked. That’s what the Seder Supplement is intended to be. The word “Haggadah” itself means “Telling the story.” So does the Hebrew word “Maggid,” the longest section of the Seder. The Torah tells us “You shall tell your child on that day [of a future Passover holiday], ‘It is because of what G-d did for me when I left Egypt’” (Ex. 13:8). The challenge – and ultimate satisfaction – is to create an experience and conversation that makes it feel as if we ourselves taste both slavery and freedom. So we’ve got to talk about it. The conversation itself is the experience of renewed liberation. After all, only free people can speak freely.
If you’re hosting, feel free to make copies for your guests (in-person and virtual) and adapt to your needs. The hardest part is starting a meaningful conversation. Once it begins, however, it’s as sweet as Haroset.
No Seder leader can control what the guests will say and who will participate. But every Seder leader can prepare for success by organizing in advance questions, stories, songs, games, and topics for discussion.
This Passover, let’s liberate the conversation too.