If you’ve had a boring Passover before, I’m sorry. There’s lots to love. And even if you are not the leader of the Seder, there are plenty of things to do to make the whole Passover season fun and rewarding. And if your Seder leader is boring, maybe by example (not nagging) you can inspire creativity.
I mean, at least you can do a “bag of plagues” or put some nice dark chocolate on the table for bitter herbs or do some Passover art with the kids or collect cool haggadahs from ebay or collect Passover children’s books or read Exodus each day of the month of Nisan or search the category “Passover” on Messianic Jewish Musings and read until Messiah comes . . .
Livening Up Passover With Creativity
(1) Get a “bag of plagues” at your local Judaica shop. Great for the kids on the 10 days leading to Passover. Or do your own “plagues” activities each of the 10 days leading up (be creative: put red food coloring in the mashed potatoes on the 1st of the days, raisins as flies in the oatmeal, and so on).
(2) Put out dark chocolate on the Seder table as an alternative or as a second helping of “bitter herbs.” Or, on the second or third night, have a “chocolate Seder.” Google it.
(3) Post Passover art made by the kids all over the house.
(4) There are many cool Passover haggadahs for sale used on eBay. I have about 60 of them. Start your collection today. Even having 5 or 6 old haggadahs, especially ones with cool pictures or antiquated pictures, is awesome. Since I already have my collection, I’ve no worries you’d be competing with me on eBay!!
(5) Collect Passover kids books. eBay has plenty and so does your local Judaica store. You don’t need to have kids to enjoy Passover kids books.
(6) Read from Exodus daily starting anytime or on Nisan 1.
(7) Learn about the Five Biblical Scripts of Passover in the haggadah (to be featured in MJ Musings posts to come).
(8) Read three or four different haggadahs before Passover. Be informed.
(9) Study a Haggadah Commentary such as The JPS Commentary on the Haggadah or My People’s Passover Haggadah, Vols. 1-2. I especially recommend the second one.
(10) Get Creating Lively Passover Seders by David Arnow. You’ll thank me.
(11) As a family, write your own versions of some Passover stories including: “Slaves in Egypt,” “The Plagues,” “The Exodus,” “The Sages of B’nei Barak,” “The Song of the Sea,” or “The Manna.”
(12) Just before Psalm 113, shortly before the meal, the haggadah describes a story “from slavery to freedom, changing anguish to joy, mourning to festivity, darkness to great light, and bondage to redemption.” Arnow (Creating Lively Passover Seders, pgs. 260-269) describes a great study or group project on this using various commentators’ opinions on the specific meanings from Israel’s history.
(13) Four cups of wine. Four. Yeah. And some find various reasons to add a fifth…
(14) Food. My fave: homemade chicken soup with lots of meat and Manischewitz Matzo Balls (if you tell me yours are better, I’ll be skeptical). Brisket is awesome too.
(15) Singing at the table. It isn’t just for Shabbat. Learn some Passover tunes. I think Vine of David will have a CD with their haggadah, for example.
(16) Learn about Elijah and liven up the Elijah part of the Seder a bit. See 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2.
(17) Invite someone “poor” or who might need to be invited for various reasons: widow or widower, divorcee, single parent, a single, a retired couple who enjoy kids, someone in financial hardship, etc.
(18) Study the Last Supper and Yeshua as the Lamb whose body (matzah) and blood (wine) is given for us.