Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Passover

LeeJ and I attended a Passover seder yesterday. I found some interesting contrasts between the seder and rituals in the Christian church. One is that children are encouraged to ask questions and discussion of the story by attendees is part of the ritual. In the Christian rituals I remember, the structure was very top-down with the priest or pastor doing all the discussing and if children had any part to play, it was rote recital only. Another and a big plus in my book, is that wine is drunk. Christian communion replaced wine with grape juice long ago and that was a thimbleful anyway. Another is that the ceremony gets modified over time, which is not unique, but the instructions in the Hagaddah we read from encourage change to keep up with the present and the discussion around the table not be limited to a 4000-year-old story, but subsequent and current events be included too. So, I'm now puzzled. With a tradition that seems to encourage critical thinking and adaptation, how can orthodox Jews be so dogmatic?

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