On mindfulness and matzah
This week's portion: holiness and bugs


The time comes for the Four Questions, and we look around the table. "Who's the youngest one here?"

The answer, obviously, is the toddler in attendance, who just turned two. It's her first seder. I'm the next youngest, so I chant the questions.

All evening, the toddler plays quietly in her chair, or in the living room near enough to see and hear us.

But every time there is singing or chanting she runs back to the table, eyes wide as saucers, listening intently.

"And the one who does not know how to ask: for her you must show the way."

"Can I ask a question?"

"Of course. That's what seders are for."

"How long were the Israelites in Egypt?

"Well, 'another Pharaoh came into power who hadn't known Joseph' --"

"But how long did that really take? I mean, realistically speaking?"

"Wait, I remember -- God told Abraham his descendants would go down into a land not their own and be enslaved for 400 years."

"But lifespans seem to have been different then."

"And don't forget, Moses was raised as a Prince of Egypt. So when he went to tell Pharaoh 'let my people go,' he was talking to Dad."

Had I grown up reading the words, but not knowing the meanings. Had I grown up knowing the meanings, but not asking the questions.

Had I grown up asking the questions, but not learning the stories. Had I grown up learning the stories, but not opening doorways.

Had I grown up opening doorways, but not been brave enough to walk through them. Had I been brave enough to walk through them, but not had company on the journey.

Had I had company on the journey, but not faith in the destination. For all these things and more, I say dayenu!


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