What’s Your Biggest Seder Issue?

The Seder is less than a week aways so we thought it is appropriate to ask What’s Your Biggest Seder Issue? If anybody has any solutions to some of the problems it would be greatly appreciated.

1) Not enough extended family

2) Hard to give the second half of the seder its due after the third cup and the meal

3) Finding the right balance between vortloches, keeping the kids interested and inspiring ourselves to get the most out of the night

4) Trying to fulfill the mitzvos in the best possible way leads to eating a lot of matzoh and maror

5) None of the Above

22 comments on “What’s Your Biggest Seder Issue?

  1. I think the hardest thing is keeping kids up for the whole Seder. Our very enthusiastic son missed everything after the soup course. So, we hid an afikomen for him and he started were he left off the next morning.

    My 8YO is an early riser by nature, so I started letting bedtime slide the day school ended (Wed. before Pesach). Didn’t help, she was still up early, and exhausted before I was sending people to bed. First seder she crashed by the 2nd cup, too tired to drink, 2nd night she made it as far as the beginning of the meal itself – with a 4 hour nap, as she couldn’t keep her eyes open after 2pm.

    With 3 kids and 2 sedarim, we split the afikoman “watching” jobs anyway, so she collected, and a sibling handed out.

    Our solution to ‘stealing’ or an adult hiding the afikoman, esp. with multiple seder plates, is that the kids each get a present for (A) participating in general, and (B) being in charge of collection and then distribution of the afikoman – they get very particular about handing the *right* one back to the right person :).

  2. We’ve done seder with both extended family, friends, and by ourselves. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Getting together with the cousins holds its own excitement. But, younger cousins can get lost in the midst of older cousins divrei Torah, Pesach projects, etc. Going to friends means you loose some control over the proceedings, but it can leave kids with all sorts of new questions and give them a chance to see new minhagim. And, Pesach is all about questions, right? Going it alone allows you to set the pace and really concentrate on the things you like best. Our baby somehow learned to say Dayeinu. So, that is where we put a lot of concentration. It made everyone energetic.

    I think the hardest thing is keeping kids up for the whole Seder. Our very enthusiastic son missed everything after the soup course. So, we hid an afikomen for him and he started were he left off the next morning.

  3. I’m a very last minute guy but when it comes to pesach prep, I really see how the earlier (within limits) the better.

    At least this year, you will have a shabbos rest (hopefully) before the seder.

  4. OK another question for the panel:
    Is there anyone who feels like me out there?

    I feel terribly guilty because I really do not look forward to Peasch. (unlike other Yom Tovim, such as Shavous which I really do look forward to) I get a feeling of dread right after Purim because of all the prep and how it totally stresses out my wife and myself. And from another recent post, we see how non-obsevant families can’t deal with the lateness of the meal. To tell you the truth, I am no fan of that either, I actually look forward to it being over. After sleep deprivation and four glasses of wine (I guess three by that point) Hallel sounds like a lullaby. By the sixth day or so I start to dream about bialys. Anyone out there care to start a support group?

  5. Hi Im Jewish: I have no problem with male participation with the dishes, and my husband is often quite helpful. But this is a yomtov stretching all the way back to yetzias mitzrayim and is packed with tradition, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the men over the ages weren’t the ones doing the dishes :) I guess if the male is officiating the seder it wouldn’t be too much fun for the other participants if he kept popping up to check on things in the kitchen. I once had a favorite Pesach apron that said on it: “ONCE? we were slaves?” I religiously wore it to the seder. Can’t find it anymore…Wonder if my husband got rid of it. I doubt it, somehow…

  6. From Albany Jew:

    “Anyone have any tricks to getting their young kids to nap during the day so they can be awake for the Seder?”

    Hard to do, as they tend to be pretty excited. We find that a glass of Coke works pretty well.

  7. Belle, I hope you can take advantage of this year, where Shabbos enforces a day of no preparation. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to a little pre-seder prep.

  8. I’m not adhd or anything but I find it very difficult to sit through the long seder! I’m glad I get to run to the kitchen to stir the food!

    My biggest challenge, though, is that I am SO busy in the weeks prior to pesach, with cleaning, work, children (who still need to eat and want me to do homework with every night), chessed activities, then with menus, shopping, cooking, haircuts and clothes for the kids, etc., that I rarely have time to review divrei torah and remind myself why I am doing all of this. So when I get to the seder I feel somewhat empty.

    Still in all, I love yomtov. The smells (of matzah and marror) and rituals are divine.

  9. I try to wear my kids out (of course with it being Shabbos, that might be harder). I also remind them of the kind of things that happen at the seder and say “you know if you fall asleep, you’ll miss out on X, Y, and Z, right? It worked in the past, but recently for Purim, my 4 year old didn’t take any of the bait, and as a result was really grumpy towards the end of the night. I’ll just keep on trying.

  10. And from the female side…the dishes! Serving, rushing back to make sure nothing is burning, stirring, running back in when someone hollers: “Hey, Ellen (or “hey, ma), we’re saying…” Weighing someone’s need to finish fast with a guest’s need to perform his high school rendition of Tevye singing “If I Were a Rich Man” (this was actually the highlight of last year’s second Seder). OK, back to the kitchen for me.

  11. Pesach used to be my absolute favorite was I as young and my kids were keen. But now it beset with obsessive-compulsion, wine induces sleep rather than joy, teenage kids are bored. Grape juice is too bland. May be a low-powered mix is most effective. Extended family is a two-way street. A colleague complains his problem is too many secular family members nagging “are we there yet?” I am shocked at his rebuttal to tell them “don’t feel obliged to come”. But has become harder over time; an uphill battle. I guess I will offer greater rewards for greater participation. Greed and desire to show off need to be exploited. You’re trying to sell an abstract product: heritage. It’s not the flavor of the month so don’t be too pure for gimmicks.

  12. Beyond BTers!

    Anyone have any tricks to getting their young kids to nap during the day so they can be awake for the Seder? (besides wine please)


  13. The stress about getting everything done k’halachashiurim, z’manim… After doing it myself for over 15 years, though, I am finally getting the hang of it.

    This is one area BT’s are frequently ahead of their BBT friends and neighbors: Being a veteran seder leader by your 40’s!

  14. How about thinking of Divrei Torah that those of us in Chutz LaAretz can use for both nights?

  15. I always want more out of my seders. I would love to have a seder where time is not an issue and have always wanted to do shir hashirim with some one after the seder. But I often have people suggesting we speed things up and after the meal rush through Hallel.

  16. My biggest issue is that I’m usually all pumped up to say my best, deepest, most meaningful divrei Torah which I’ve been working on for a month – but there are other family members who remind me (throughout the month) that perhaps I should spread some of those insights throughout the week and have the seder move faster. I end up accommodating and everyone appreciates that but I always look back and wonder if I maximized the golden opportunity the night of the seder offers.

  17. I find that it is often difficult to squeeze in everything I want to say and still move the seder along and keep everyone interested. Along those lines, I try to sift through what I want to say, remove half of it making this decision by asking myself, is this something that will make sense to the seder participants or at least one particular participant? If you have kids at the seder, especially school age, they will likely have a plethora of their own divrei torah. I try to get to my kids in advance and ask them to pick their top 6 divrei torah. I then ask them what topic they are on and I make a note in my haggadah. This way, each kid gets to say their 6 favorite things, three at each seder. I also find that if you know what parts of your seder drag (in the eyes of the participants), you should look for interesting things to say in these areas as opposed to areas where everyone is enjoying.

  18. There is no direct solution to a lack of extended family—if they won’t or can’t come, or don’t exist, that’s that. However, small families in this predicament can invite each other over (home-and-home) or invite local guests not already taken. The much-maligned option of Pesach at a Kosher resort/hotel works for some.

    Alcohol puts me to sleep, which wouldn’t do much for the last part of the seder. However, there are suitable low-alcohol wines and grape juicee around.

    Note on koher wine: Make sure it’s mevushal unless you’re sure that non-mevushal wine bottles can be handled by all present without halachic complications.

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