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August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
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A Child-Centric Seder

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Every family needs to create realistic expectations for their seder in advance. Typically, couples do not discuss how the seder will work and how to create the best environment for the family and guests involved. However, doing so will ensure that you are both on the same page. You might consider including your children in some part of the discussion – it is a great way to learn what parts of the seder are important to them.

Finally, think about how wonderful you can make this Pesach for your children and guests and how that will ultimately decide how they will look at Pesach in the future. I recently heard a story from Rabbi Topp, rabbi of Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, that I found so meaningful and which I believe can be helpful to all of us as we plan our sedarim.

A man fell in love with a beautiful, silver kos Eliyahu but it would have been a financial stretch for him to purchase it. He asked his rav what to do and his rav told him that if he bought this kos, the rav personally guaranteed that Eliyahu HaNavi would come to his seder. Needless to say he purchased the kos and was thrilled as the seder approached. However, Eliyahu HaNavi did not appear. He visited the rav the next morning to relay the news. The rav asked him if he had many guests and did he engage much with his little children during the seder. The man replied that he did not. The rav assured him that the next year, if he followed through, Eliyahu would indeed grace his seder.

The following year, he invited many more people and he spent the majority of his time delighting his young children with wonderful stories of the Hagaddah but to his great frustration, Eliyahu did not show. He reported this to his rav.

“Did you have many guests?” his rav asked. He responded that he did. In fact, he explained that some of them would not have had a seder at all if not for his invite.

“Did you focus on your children?” the rav continued. He responded with an enthusiastic “yes” recalling the loving and meaningful time and energy he had focused on his kids.

“Don’t you see then,” the rav explained, “Eliyahu did attend your seder. YOU were Eliyahu to those guests and your children.”

Too often we wait for someone to bring joy and meaning into our lives, when we can assume the role of giver – helping and loving others. Spend some time not only making this Pesach a kosher one, but a festive and loving one as well.

About the Author: M. Gary Neuman is a psychotherapist, rabbi, and New York Times best-selling author. He is the creator of NeumanMethod.com video programs for marriages and parenting.


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