15 Nissan 5760
Sorry I haven’t been around for a while, but things have been BUSY (as they say in e-mail speak). But if Rivka is determined to get a newsletter out in time for Pesach, then I guess I can find some time too.
Now my column is supposed to deal with how to answer questions, and since this is an Erev Pesach JEMSEM I guess the most appropriate thing to answer is what to answer at the seder. So let me start with some basic seder tips.
1. QUESTIONS ARE BETTER THAN DIVREI TORAH
If you ask a thought provoking question chances are people will respond better than if you say a vort. People love to give opinions and participate. You do better by moderating than dominating.
2. CHOOSE YOUR VORTLECH WELL
If you MUST say a vort, ask yourself if you were sitting at the seder, would you necessarily want to hear it from somebody else. If so BE BRIEF! You do better making them wish you had spoken longer, than shorter.
3. BE RELEVANT
Questions or vortlach should not be deep chakiros in dinei Korben Pesach. Rather they should inspire people to make applications to their own lives.
Is the Exodus something we care about today, or is this just a cultural experience like a Navajo Rain Dance (only less fun)?
Why do we attack the Rosha instead of trying to mikarev him like the sheano yodea lishol?
“In every generation someone rises up to destroy us”. Isn’t this just inspiring Jews with a sense of paranoia? We have it great in America. (Don’t tell me how great we had it in Germany – there was always official anti-Semitism.)
We eat Matza today, 3300 years later because their matzas didn’t have a chance to leaven. Why didn’t they just let it leaven when they arrived at their destination? All they had to do was wait before they baked it?
4. BE PATIENT
Not everyone cares at the Seder like you. Smile. DON’T MEASURE YOUR KZAISIM OSTENTATIOUSLY! Make pleasant conversation. When you’re married (pooh pooh pooh) you’ll do it differently. For now, as they say in Yiddish grin and bear it.
That’s my middle of the night cleaning for Pesach and stopping to e-mail Rivka a Pesach message meanderings. I would be happy to get feedback from you of what you have done and how it worked. Next issue I hope to get back to answering the accumulation of questions I have been ignoring till now. And to the girl on the ledge considering jumping, I hope you’re still there. Be patient.
Chag Kosher V’Someach