I meant to post this on Pesach, but I never got around to it... until now.
So, just think of this as a "time-warp"... :-)
We didn't mean to start so late.
We came back from shul, threw a few things into a soup pot, and set the table. Everything else was prepared in advance.
But there we were, starting Seder after 10:00 pm.
We tried to stay focussed. We really did. But everyone had what to say...
At around 1:30, my mother mentioned something about the seudah (festive meal)....
Y, my eldest, quipped: "The food is not important!"
My other kids all agreed.
(Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have the greatest kids in the world?!)
We went on.... focussed, but not in a rush.
Sometimes we listened quietly to Moshe's explanations. Other times we were all clamoring to be heard.
It was fun.
It was dynamic.
We said maggid in the living room, all sprawled out on chairs and couches, and none of us fell asleep! (well, my parents might have dozed off here and there, but not for long...)
At one point, MD said we should take a long time, so that we would finish at sunrise, so we could say Sh'ma (morning prayers), like the tana'im (Rabbis). We laughed and firmly declared that "We are not going to talk all night!" (little did we know....)
At almost 3:00 am, we finally reached the end of maggid, and read "B'chol Dor VaDor..." (In every generation, each person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt). At that point, the kids jumped up to present their play: "The M****** Family Leaves Egypt".
(I was notified in advance that the kids were going to make fun of our family....)
The play opened with Y (clearly playing me) sitting and staring at a (virtual) computer. She is "reading" and "typing", occasionally laughing, and oblivious to what is going on around her. MD and A, playing themselves, are trying to get "my" attention. "We are hungry," they say repeatedly, "What's for dinner?" Their voices grow louder and louder. Y finally notices them and says "There is food in the sink... no, the television... no, the refrigerator..." The kids finally find the food and sit down to eat....
Then, "Moshe" (played by Y) comes home and whisks the kids off to bed. As he says the Sh'ma with them, MD keeps spacing out. "Moshe" repeatedly snaps his fingers in MD's face, to keep him focussed. Then, as "Moshe" is singing the kids to sleep, it is "Moshe" who keeps dozing off in the middle, and the kids who have to wake him up to keep singing.
When the kids are asleep, Moshe tells RivkA that "Moshe (Moses) has been talking to Par'oh (Pharaoh) again.... We are leaving Egypt tomorrow."
RivkA jumps up, and exclaims hysterically "What?! We have to pack!"
In the morning, it is difficult to wake MD up. Then, the children are fighting to get in the shower. "A, hurry up already!!" "Y, are you ready yet???"
Then we see Y struggling to decide what to wear... She has many clothes but does not like any of them. "I have nothing to wear!" She shouts in desperation.
Finally, we see the family with knapsacks on their back.
"What do you have in your bag?" They ask each other. Moshe pulls out a bottle of coke.... another bottle of coke.... the remote control for the air conditioner.... and another bottle of coke."
(the real Moshe is laughing so hard, his eyes are tearing...)
Then we see the family trudging, exhausted, pushing themselves forward.... out of the kitchen.
They open the front door, see all their friends, and, with a sudden burst of energy, run to catch up....
We begin singing Hallel.... We eat.... We go back to the living room....
I start to doze off towards the end (or maybe it was in the middle) of benching. Moshe wakes me up and says "We are finishing Hallel, if you want to sing, now's the time."
I semi-sit up and start singing. Y & A are drifting off on the other couch. MD is next to me and singing along. The more I sing, the more I wake up. By the end of Hallel, I am on a roll! We zip through the end of the Seder and I am ready for more. So we sing all the songs at the end as well.
We finish at.... (drumroll, please)..... 5:30 in the morning.
The sky was already light!
All joking aside, I asked Moshe if he wanted to daven "Neitz" (pray at sunrise).
He looked at me as if I had fallen out of the sky. "I just want to go to bed," he said.
We all stumbled into bed.
As I was drifting off to sleep, Moshe whispered, "You know, I was joking about singing Hallel. I never expected you to actually wake up and start singing!"
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Free Offer for All CNN and BBC Journalists
6 hours ago