Thursday, March 28, 2013

Better late then not at all: Seder 2013

Time Finished
Around 1:30 the first night and about 1 am the second night. Both seders seemed a bit rushed, but otherwise were (were otherwise?) good. The kids participated. The songs were sung. I spoke some Torah. No one seemed bored. All good. (I like Pesach!)

Potato, of course. I prefer to have it sliced thin, almost like a chip, and roasted in the oven. (This is allowed; the roasting prohibition applies to meat dishes only.) Usually, we're guests at a house where nothing is cooked in the oven on seder night. The hosts use radishes for karpas, but the lady of the house always boils a potato for me. Nice, but not the same. This year, we stayed home, so hopes for a proper potatoes were high.  My good wife roasted them for me but being that she has world-class logistical skills they were done hours ahead of time.  As a result, my karpas neither hot nor crispy. I know: First world problems.

As a change, let me start by telling you what we didn't have: No kugels. At all. No matzo concoctions. At all. We also didn't have my proposed menu. (That post's comments are gone, but this post suggests people hated my proposal) (PS: I know he's called the Shaagas Aryeh; the misnaming was part of an ongoing inside joke-thing that probably seemed funny six years ago.) Instead, we had a roast (it went into the oven sitting in a bath of wine, tomato sauce, and water so it was not actually roasted), kolachol (cooked in soup) glorious fluffy matzo balls, chicken paprikash, lemon chicken, and the perfect salmon (salt and pepper the fish, then sear it in a very hot pan) We also had several different vegetable dishes: potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and various salads. (As the nonstupid readers have figured out the preceding list covers all four meals)

Defeated arguments:
One guest tried to convince me that each of the four questions belongs to one of the four sons. The simple son asked, "why are we leaning." And so on. The guest had an elaborate justification for each of the question assignments he made, but I wasn't buying it. Someone else at the table argued that that the Wicked Son is supposed to be a Christian. No sale on that one either.

Great answers:
Ha Lachma Anya really isn't as Scrooge-like as it seems. We're not announcing that guests are welcome after we've already sat down and no guests are in earshot. Rather, we are recreating that original Seder, and announcing that anyone who is still hungry should eat. Why? Because the Peasach sacrifice can't be eaten on an empty stomach. So we're not saying, "Hey guests, please join us." We're saying "Hey, fellow members of this Habura, please finish up so we can move on to the lamb." This also explains why we say, "This year we are slaves, next year we will be free" and "Next year we're here, next year we're in Israel" The point of Ha Lachma Anya is to put ourselves into the frame of mind of those who left Egypt ("In each and every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as though he actually left Egypt") and those who left Egypt were counting on being in Israel within the next year.

When we sign Dayenu we aren't telling God we'd have been perfectly happy had He e.g. taken us to the edge of the Sea and left us there to deal with the onrushing Egyptians ourselves. What we mean is any of those favors would have been enough to justify the recitation of Hallel.

Some questions for you
Do you make a fetish out of forbidding anyone to pour their own cup of wine, or are you lax on this point? Do you eat an egg course after korach or not? Do you stand when the door is opened for Eliyahu? Do you let the children lean? Do you sing halel? Do you stick to the text of the haggadah, or do you add family songs and family readings? What's different or especially good about your seder?

   Search for more information about the annual DovBear seder wrap up


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