June 20, 2024
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June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

During the Passover Seder, one of the highlights is the reading of the four questions. In most Haggadahs, the four questions are attributed to four types of children including the wise, evil, simple and clueless. However, not every child neatly fits into these four categories. Some require more nuanced classifications to properly capture the idiosyncrasies that make each child special. With this in mind, the following are additional types of children who, whether you like it or not, often appear at the Seder:

The child who shows up at the Seder in shorts and flip-flops and is immediately ordered to change into something far less comfortable.

The child who, five minutes into the Seder, starts (i) irrationally complaining that the Seder is too long and (ii) unreasonably comparing the Seder to slavery in Mitzrayim.

The child who vehemently insists on eating matzah and cream cheese at every single meal and therefore spends most of the Seder in the kitchen.

The child who tries to impress by sharing every single tidbit learned in school about the Seder, which at first is sweet and endearing but eventually forces the increasingly impatient audience to enforce a time-limit for each dissertation.

The child who refuses to read in Hebrew for fear that the table is filled with the usual cast of perfectionist nudniks who get twisted satisfaction by mercilessly correcting an obviously nervous and insecure child who is attempting to read in public in a second language.

The child who reads Hebrew so beautifully and mellifluously that the same parents have to make the same unoriginal comment every year about how such glorious reading singlehandedly justifies the yeshiva education price-tag.

The child who (i) as part of a wholly unnecessary rites of passage, and despite a chorus of warnings, insists on loading up a piece of matzah with copious amounts of sinus-searing maror, (ii) initially claims that the maror is not that hot and (iii) subsequently goes absolutely berserk when the heat and attendant nasal agony kick in.

The child who (i) has a different Haggadah than everyone else at the table (because that child made a Haggadah in school and insists on using it) and (ii) spends the entire evening yelling: “What page are we on?!?!?” When a slightly irritated adult politely asks the child to use the same Haggadah as everyone else, the offended child misconstrues the helpful suggestion as a negative referendum on the school-made Haggadah and spends the rest of the evening sulking inconsolably in the corner.

The child who is not the youngest at the table but nonetheless demands to sing the “Ma Nishtana” in desperate hopes of being discovered as though the Seder is the Jewish version of American Idol.

The child who (i) is super shy, (ii) every year refuses to sing the “Ma Nishtana” and (iii) every year gets really upset at those who are begging the child to perform. However, when they stop begging and instead assign the recitation to another child, the super shy child throws a fit, which triggers a semi-witty joke about how the child has been “passed over.” Such accidental insensitivity unfortunately sends the mercurial child plummeting into despair and possibly years of therapy.

The child who (i) keeps asking when the main meal is going to be served, (ii) falls asleep right before the meal is served, (iii) wakes up right after the meal is over and (iv) blows a gasket when confronted with the missed meal realization.

The child who always misguidedly goes upstairs to search the bedrooms for the afikoman even though the adults have repeatedly announced that the hiding place is on the ground floor.

The child who never finds the afikoman and always throws an epic and graceless temper tantrum in defeat.

The child who falls asleep during Hallel but annoyingly wakes up right after “Chad Gad-ya” with tons of renewed energy just as the adults are falling on their faces with exhaustion.

The child who (i) happily opens the door for Eliyahu Ha-Navi, (ii) eagerly rushes back inside and (iii) naively falls for the same old “Eliyahu was really here” trick, i.e., someone at the table surreptitiously took a few sips from Kos Eliyahu while the unsuspecting child was on door duty.

The child who innocently disrupts the impressive around-the-table, sing-songy flow of “Echad Me-Yodeya” by constantly forgetting his/her assigned number.

The child who intentionally tries to drag out the Seder in order to claim bragging rights in shul the next day for having the longest Seder.

The child who honestly and adorably believes that the first Seder is merely a dress rehearsal for the second night.

Final thought: It takes a village to raise a child but it takes only one incredibly dysfunctional Seder to ruin a child.

Send comments and kichel to [email protected].

By Jonathan Kranz

 

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