What Should We Tell the Children? (Pesakh 5784)

children sitting at a Passover table
This year,
what should we say to the wise child?
The child who is paying attention.
The one who is able to hold the nuance.
We should tell her
this is a time of stories,
and she should listen
We all should.
Not all stories
are easy to hear.
But all stories
are essential.
And only after
we listen –
truly listen –
can we hope
for freedom
and redemption.
“There is no hope,”
her brother responds.
“They won’t allow it.”
Some might call him
the evil child,
but do we really need
more name calling
in the world?
We must remind this child
of ours
that there is no them,
only us.
All of us.
Striving for peace
we hope –
no, we know –
we can achieve.
Even if he
doesn’t believe it.
And what about
the simple child?
The one who doesn’t know the details,
but knows all is not as it should be.
We should tell her that,
yes –
people are hurting
and suffering
and dying.
And the angel of death
has not yet passed over.
But we are working,
as hard as we can,
to rid the earth
of any more plagues.
“When do we eat?,”
asks the last child,
the one who doesn’t yet know
the trials of the world.
We should send this child
to the door.
They should be the one
to throw it
wide open.
To welcome
all those
who are hungry
to come and eat.
All those
who are weary
to come and rest.
And all those
who seek peace
to join in our seder.
Because if we can all
sit together,
spilling wine,
finding crumbs,
and singing
late into the night,
everything will,
be in order.

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