Father, I’d like to ask you the Four Questions. Why is this night different from all other nights?
The first question is:
Why do we get generations together for the Seder?
Because the whole point of the seder is the Haggadah, which literally means, the telling. We’re commanded, “And you should tell your children on that night saying, ‘God took us out of the land of Egypt!'” Which essentially means that if you’re wondering when is the right time to sit your kid down and transmit what you know and care about Judaism, this is the night. So we get generations together so that one generation can transmit to the next what it’s all about. Being Jewish. Being a nation. Being free to be a Godly people.
The second question is:
Why is matzah so hard to digest?
This is a difficult question, my son. But I’ll do my best. You know how “wonderbread” was called that because it was so easy to digest? Matzah is the barest form of bread ever. It’s supposed to be rough stuff. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. If you don’t like it, that’s a good sign. Eat it anyway. For a week. And see how you do. That’s a teeny, tiny glimmer into being a slave. Kvetch if you must, but that’s the point.
The third question is:
Why do Passover and Easter always coincide?
You are a perceptive one, son. Good job. Easter was tied to the lunar calendar, not the solar one, and thus didn’t have a set date. Due to the way it was set up, it invariably coincides with Passover. More, the Last Supper was likely a Passover Seder – Easter is about Passover in its origin.
The fourth question is:
Why do so many Jews eat kosher food on Passover?
I don’t know the answer to that one, son. But I will say this: observing Passover in some way is an almost universal expression of being Jewish. 90% of Jewish couples attend a Seder, and 65% of intermarried couples do. This and lighting Chanukah candles are the two most widely observed Jewish rituals. Chanukah’s easy: it competes with Christmas. But Passover? Why Passover? Something tells me that Jews sense that this holiday is about our very identity, our infancy. About asking the older generation to give us something of meaning to take along. Even if we don’t identify strongly, we sense that tossing this ritual aside is something of a sacrilege. And maybe continuing the holiday throughout the week, by altering our eating habits, is a part of that.
Can I ask you a question, now, son?
How did I get so lucky to get a son like you, who asks such great questions about Judaism?
I dunno, dad, I guess the same way I got a dad like you, who can answer them.
Happy Passover to all my OOTOB readers! See everyone after Passover!