The Passover Seder is one of the most commonly-observed Jewish rituals today. People who neglect lighting candles in honor of Shabbos, or fasting for Yom Kippur, will gather around the table on Passover to retell the story of the Exodus. There is clearly something compelling about this special occasion, even if it is, for some, little more than a sort of “Jewish Thanksgiving.”

In recent years, there have been a number of efforts to create a “modernized” Seder. Someone referred me to a community list which featured Freedom Seders, Women’s Seders, Humanist Seders and more.

The tragedy is that they lose much more than they gain: the very magic which has kept the Seder on the top of the list for Jewish family events. The word “Seder” has a message — it means “order.” The Passover Seder carries that name because there is an order to the evening. When people abandon the order, it is no longer a Seder. It might be a freedom event, feminist conclave or celebration of humanity, but it is no longer that which has carried with it a universal message for Jews in all generations.

The Seder ties us in to the birth of our nation, and has helped keep us together for thousands of years.  It speaks about the hatred directed against Jews and our deliverance. When we look at the world today, is the message of the Seder not as relevant as ever?

This year, let’s celebrate something truly special: the Chosen People Seder. Let’s read, share and discuss the words of the Haggadah, and ponder how relevant it is to our lives today.

And if this is your first experience with a traditional Seder, we offer a step-by-step guide to help you plan and execute a successful event.

May this night indeed be different, and a step towards our final redemption.

Wishing all readers a Happy and Kosher Passover,

Yaakov Menken

Share This