An Adaptation of "The Four Children"
This was the interpretive reading we used the Passover that was the last one we had with my mother-in-law. I wish I could remember where I got it, but I don't. I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I do.
The Torah commands parents to tell the Passover story to their children. The traditional Haggadah talks about the four types of children, with different questions and attitudes about Passover and Judaism.
Tonight, as we share our table and our tradition with generations of our family, we have adapted the questions for four generations.
The future generation asks, “What will I inherit?” While each future generation will have to make its own commitments, if we could speak to them, we would say, we will preserve the Order of the Seder and the wisdom of our fathers and mothers for you. We would say to this generation, “We will keep alive the message of the Haggadah about the nature of freedom and justice, and about the need to act to make the world a better place for generations to come.”
The children’s generation asks, “What does all of this mean to me? What of myself will I bring to the Seder? How shall I maintain and add to my tradition?” In doing so, this child commits himself or herself to our community. Say to this child, “We are thankful that you are fully here. Be assured, because you sing and read and drink and eat with us, you will know and you will add to the meaning of the Seder. Take confidence from your presence here.”
The parents’ generation says, “Where have we come from?” We have merged from the ashes of the Holocaust, seen the birth of Israel, the release of Jews from Russia and Ethiopia, the shattering of the Communist empire, the re-emergence of hate and bigotry in a hundred forms. We have struggled with our own concepts of Judaism.” Tell this generation, “You are celebrating and learning because you are now free. Because you have struggled with your tradition and have enriched it with your selves, it will last as a gift to your children and your children’s children.”
And what about the grandparents, whose question is almost too difficult to ask? “What have we accomplished?” To the grandparents, you shall say, “Look around the table. All of this…. and more.”
“And the old shall dream dreams and the youth shall see visions
And our hopes will rise to the sky
We must live for today, we must build for tomorrow
Give us time, give us strength, give us life”