We’re in the last week of submissions for the Best Seder Ever contest. So if you’ve got a great Passover story, send it to us, quick. In the meantime, though, we’re sharing our own stories of favorite Passovers from the MyJewishLearning staff.
In the Passover Hagaddah, we read that each person is supposed to lirot the seder experience — that each person is supposed to envision the story of leaving Egypt as if we were part of the Exodus ourselves. Maimonides, however, read the word as “leharot” — that is, to show the story as if you were there for yourself.
Jordanna brought this up in the office the other day. She was telling us about her life in a yeshiva in Israel — and, in typical yeshiva fashion, she got so into Judaism that “excess” was just another way of saying “good job.”
And, because of that, she used to dress up in a costume for Passover every year.
When I was in Israel for the year, everyone at my yeshiva warned me, “Don’t give any dvar Torah at your seder; you’re just going to bore people.” The point isn’t telling over the story — it’s being the story. It’s making the Exodus happen for you at the actual seder.
The first year I was the yad chazakah, the “mighty hand” [like it says in the Hagaddah: “G-d took the Children of Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”] I dressed up like a huge hand, and I had a crown that was in the shape of fingers and I also had a piece of cardboard in the shape of a giant hand hanging around my neck. I wore all blue to be like the sea — like, G-d took us out to the sea).
My family thought I was insane. The next year, I dressed up as all the plagues at the same time.
Don’t waste time! Enter the contest! Because, before you know it, you’ll be drunk on four cups of wine…and remembering a little bit too much.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)
Pronounced: yuh-SHEE-vuh or yeh-shee-VAH, Origin: Hebrew, a traditional religious school, where students mainly study Jewish texts.