A Passover Seder (according to a nine-year-old)

English: Jews Celebrating Passover. Lubok, XIX...

English: Jews Celebrating Passover. Lubok, XIXth century. Русский: Празднование Песаха. Лубок XIX века. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It seemed to stretch on forever. They were all moving now, leaning forward and swinging a little finger from glass to plate in a hypnotic, swaying motion. Hannah dabbed her finger on her plate and then put it in her mouth, sucking off the grape juice and holding the tart sweet flavor on her tongue. She was sweeping her pinky back across the surface of her juice when she caught a sharp look from her mother, and hastily poked the purple drops onto the plate instead.

It wasn’t even her turn to read for another few paragraphs, so she read on. Uncle Teddy was still droning about the babies in the reeds and all the dead little Jewish boys and the Pharaoh’s daughter and Moses’ sneaky sister. Hannah was bored. She knew the story already, so she skimmed the whole rest of the page, and then the next. Moses grew up, he killed someone, he herded sheep and saved the slaves, God made Pharaoh mean and then killed a whole bunch of kids, they all end up even. She knew it already, and she (quietly, so nobody would notice) flipped over another page so that she could read more.

The words of “Dayenu” were lovely and familiar. If God had brought them out of Egypt, but nothing more, it would have been enough. If he had done the plagues, but nothing more, it would have been enough. If he had killed the Egyptian firstborn, but nothing more, it would have been enough – Hannah thought that she actually might have preferred the rescue without the deaths of so many children, but God wasn’t as nice as she was.

Her mother was looking at her again – the whole table was looking at her. “Joey’s younger!” she said. He was only six, and she hadn’t been supposed to sing the Four Questions for years now.

“No,” her mom said patiently. “Your turn, sweetie. To read, it’s page eighteen and the third paragraph down.”

“Oh.” She flushed and shuffled pages, and read. Her paragraph was short, and then Joey read. His piping voice was so annoying, thought Hannah, and he definitely didn’t really lisp anymore. He only did because he knew it was cute. She never did stupid stuff like that when she was little, and she was almost ten now so she was too old to be cute anyway.

She turned pages again, giving the rows of text a bitter stare. They hadn’t even gotten to the wise and wicked children, which was her favorite part. It was going to be forever before they got to eat.



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