Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rant #487: Do the Matzoh! (Part 2)

Tonight is the second night of Passover.

Like the first night, Jews get together with relatives and friends and hold a traditional seder to celebrate the holiday.

The second night gives me a chance to reflect on seders, now and then, in my family.

In the old days--or when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s--we had the first seder with my fraternal grandparents and the second seder with my maternal grandparents.

The first seder was very traditional, as my grandparents were orthodox. Everything went by the book, literally, and the ceremony took more than an hour before we ate our meal. Not only were we there, but my aunts and uncles on my father's side attended.

And then there were the Four Questions.

The Four Questions are traditionally asked by the youngest member of the family. These questions basically ask the reasons why we are celebrating the holiday, and the answers explain the who, what, where, why and when of this festive occasion.

As a kid, during the first night of Passover, my sister and I studied the Four Questions as if we were studying to be in a play. We would read them over and over in the back seat of my father's car, making sure that we knew them, in Hebrew, backwards and forwards.

We did this because we did not want to embarrass ourselves in front of my grandfather. He was a fine man, but he insisted on certain things, and one of them was knowing the Four Questions without any errors.

During the second seder night, it was a little more laid back. My maternal grandparents were more modern Jews, and since it was just my family and my grandparents, there was a lot less ceremony. By the second night, my sister and I knew the Four Questions inside and out, so there weren't any problems.

As my sister and I got older, and my grandparents got older, we held the seder at my mother's house. My grandfather was there, so we did things by the book, although it was a bit looser than it had been.

Now, the two seders I attend, one at my sister's house and the other with my parents, are pretty loose, pretty modern, but very effective.

I kind of think my grandparents would be proud that we continue to carry on this tradition into the 21st century. I don't know if they would go for the looseness, but once my nephews and my son (and when she is there, my daughter) do the Four Questions, I know that in heaven, they are all smiling from ear to ear.

And wait until the younger brood has their own children! The smiles will be as large as the appetites we bring to this annual ritual.

No comments:

Post a Comment


yasmin lawsuit