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    A timetable for the Seder?

    How long should the Seder take?

    “Passover” by Arthur Szyk

    Let me tell you what our family does.

    We have a timetable for Seder night.

    The first hour brings us to the meal, then we eat (for which we allocate another hour), then the second part of the Haggadah brings us to Chad Gadya.

    All told, then, our Seder takes about three hours.

    Others take much longer but we don’t see the need to prolong the proceedings into the small hours. Our arrangement still allows plenty of time to talk about the time-honoured rituals and to inject explanations.

    Not only is there a timetable; there is an agenda. One of the great things on the agenda is the links between ancient rituals and modern applications.

    Think for instance of the four sons. What would happen if the text spoke of four daughters? Would a feminine perspective be different? Indeed, is there a female take on freedom as a whole?

    Another idea – the ten plagues. What do the plagues tell us that connects with ecology, conservation and pollution?

    The slaying of the first-born – is there anything we should be talking about in relation to family dynamics (oldest child syndrome? youngest child? middle child?).

    Dayyenu: what sort of Jewish world would we like, and is it up to God, to human beings… or to both in partnership?

    Hallel: our praise of God for His boons. Instead of obsessing about our problems, what good things do we enjoy? Are we sufficiently grateful for our blessings?

    Afikoman: are some things in life always present even when we can’t see them?

    The more we search for new meanings, the more the Seder comes alive.

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