Who doesn’t remember the first time they asked the Four Questions? I certainly do. It was at my grandparents’ Seder in Oklahoma. For a couple of minutes I was the star as I stumbled through the unfamiliar Hebrew words. Being that I was always the only child at their Seder my chance at stardom lasted quite a few years, up until my grandfather was bedridden in an old age home. Then the venue of the Seder changed to my home in Kansas and many of my mother’s side of the family joined in. I was replaced and my younger cousins became the stars. If I remember correctly I wasn’t jealous. I’d had my years of glory and, anyway, the little ones were so cute.
In the first couple of years of my marriage my husband and I hosted Seders without any children and we wondered who would ask the questions. There was a simple solution. One of our guests was a recent convert, making her the youngest Jew at the table. All of us found her recitation very meaningful.
When our children became old enough to do the asking that added a whole new dimension to the Seder. It was when the grandchildren began asking, however, that I was truly touched. As I watched them proudly recite the questions in their native tongue I envisioned my father sitting next to me on our couch and patiently teaching me what his parents had taught him. Thankfully, my family was carrying on the train of tradition that began centuries earlier.
Several years ago when my special needs grandson was three-years-old it was his turn to ask the Four Questions. Although he knew them well at home with just his mother or father we weren’t too sure that he’d be able to handle the attention of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents focusing only on him. There had been no need to worry, though. In a halting, melodious voice he made us proud. As he finished we passed around the box of tissues, wiped away our tears, and congratulated him on a job well done.
All children are special whether they have specific needs, talents, or problems. It is my prayer that all our children will find their place full of love at their Seder table.
As I write these words I cannot stop thinking about Adiel Kalman’s children. Adiel, h’yd, was murdered less than two weeks ago on his way home from work by an Arab terrorist . His four children have joined the hundreds of other orphans who’ve lost their parents to hate. They are four more on a long list who will not have their parent at the Seder to hear them recite the Four Questions. May they be the last to suffer such a loss. May this be the year that Eliyahu truly announces the coming of the Moshiach.