Bringing Torah To Life: Making Pesach Meaningful #15-Part III

2 04 2012
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

The last topic to discuss with middle grade kids is the plagues. Show them the pictures in the Hagadah. Talk to them about what happened and help them visualize it in their minds. Emphasize the concept of midah kneged midah (Hashem repays a person according to his conduct). When you get to makkat bechorot point out the concept of beni bechori yisrael. Just like a firstborn son turns his parents into parents, we bring Hashem into the world. Point out that the plagues came from Hashem and that they were supernatural.

With older children and teens, it depends if they are willing to listen to you. At the seder, they may be more open to discussion. So as you are cleaning and preparing for Pesach, try to give them a sense of the simcha (happiness) of the holiday. Find a few quite moments as you are preparing for yom tov together to talk to them. Explain that true joy is being part of something larger than yourself. The simcha of getting married is moving on to something better and bigger and building something greater. When the Jews left Mitzrayim they grew spiritually. They became a people for whomDivine Providence and miracles are common.

Older children might ask,” If Hashem sent us to Mitzrayim, what’s the big deal that he took us out?” At this point, you should explain the continuum of galut (exile)and geulah (redemption). You can talk about people who survived the Holocaust and rebuilt their families. Explain that growth involves overcoming your limitations. You have to experience first-hand what you don’t want to be in order to know what you do want to be.

 Talk about geulah. “If you were in Egypt and Moshe came, would you start packing or would you think it wasn’t going to happen? If someone told you, Mashiach had arrived, would you believe him?” Often they may answer that they wouldn’t believe. Then you have to say, “Life is full of unexpected curves and Hashem can do anything.” Share with them surprising occurrences in your own life. Teach your children that all possibilities are in Hashem‘s hands.

When you talk about the plagues, emphasize how Hashem demonstrates his love through hashgacha pratit. Hashem won’t perform open miracles like he did in Mitzrayim because he wants us to attain our sense of faith on our own. Your goal should be to get them to understand that Hashem is there, that he cares and can do anything. It is especially important to teach them to be truly happy to be a part of His nation.

Create an aura of happiness at the seder. Think about what would make your family happy. Encourage your husband to tell stories of the exodus. Invite the children to sing.

I find that Chol Hamoed can easily disintegrate to externals. Let the Pesach spirit flow into the week. At least when you are eating together, mention something about yetziat mitzrayim, infuse a bit of simcha, sing, help your kids feel Hashem‘s goodness.

Discuss Hashem‘s malchut (kingship)and try to make your children feel important. Older kids need this desperately. Throughout the year, the feeling of being a link to something bigger than oneself is hard to latch on to. Pesach could be a big tikun (rectification) in connecting us to the joy and majesty of being a part of the chosen people.

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