Title: Haggadah for the Curious, Volume Three: Fascinating Ideas, Questions, And Answers For Teens And Adults
By Rabbi A. Levin
Feldheim, 153 pages
How is this Haggadah different from all other Haggadahs?
Every year, the Judaica stores are inundated with new Haggadahs to flank the older, familiar classics. Each one is geared to a different audience and is designed to mold a consistently enriching Pesach Seder experience.
Rabbi A. Levin, an educator from Melbourne, Australia, has crafted a Haggadah, the third in a series, that keeps the story fresh and the answers relevant. As he writes in his introduction, the best method for transmitting the story of the Exodus to the next generation in an exciting way is for the Seder leader to be “engaged and excited.”
Written in a question-and-answer format to pique the interest of “teens and adults,” the questions can seem to come from left field. The author’s answers, however, always come back to the Seder. What is the connection between sha’atnez and the Seder? The answer has to do with the custom to wear a kittel during the Seder. Why do we direct the rasha’s attention to his teeth? The answer has to do with preferring our time-tested customs over the vacillating, new-fangled ideas of each era.
Regarding the previous two volumes, the author tells me that boys and girls from bar/bat mitzvah age and up have been engaged by the Haggadah in a way that he could not have imagined. Instead of the Seder being a night that the kids feel they are “lectured to,” the entire family feels that they are participating, as all enjoy first hearing the riddle and then throwing out answers. This often serves to stimulate further discussion where others can bring up other answers or related matters, and thus engenders an engaging Seder. Parents tell him that they enjoyed spending the Seder in this format, and that it served to keep the kids at the Seder table throughout the evening.
This slim volume (152 pages) is designed to make the Seder approachable, not daunting. With a varied collection of sources, the author draws the reader to the table with ethical teachings, interesting halachos and customs, behaviors of our past leaders, gematrias, trivia, and just about anything to fascinate the curious layman and scholar of any age.