As we head into Passover, my thoughts turn to the most important obligation of this holiday. Is it celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery? Is it the establishment of the Jewish people as a true nation? Is it the receiving of the Ten Commandments? No, it is the obligation to tell the story of Passover to our children. To pass along the story of the Jewish people down through the generations so that we never forget the good and, perhaps more importantly, the bad. When we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
In fact, teaching our children is a prime obligation of all Jewish parents (all parents really). As a father, I take this obligation quite seriously. I make certain, that despite some grumbling at our Seder table, that we read through the entire story of Passover and that we take the time to stop and discuss its meaning. Reading and saying the words is good, but it’s not really teaching, is it? The discussions, the explanations, the opportunities for my son to question are where the true learning takes place. I make it a point, as I do for every holiday and Shabbat, to seek out new commentary from various sources so that I can learn something new and pass it along. One of the great benefits of this, beyond the obvious, is that through discussion I invariably learn something new.
This year, instead of racing through the story portion of the Seder and rushing to get to Bubby’s famous Matzoh Ball Soup, take some time explore the important messages of our forebears and what they endured in our people’s path to freedom.
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