There is still time to buy a new book and be ready for Passover. No, I am not talking about a new Haggadah although there are so many to choose from and every year more are added. Plus you can even design your own and print or send it to family you may be zooming with this year. But this is not about a new Haggadah — this is about a wonderful book ABOUT the Haggadah. Mark Gerson wrote a fantastic book on the Haggadah titled “The Telling — Judaism’s Essential Book Reveals the Meaning of Life.” By now, you know that I will buy any book but this one is a must have in order to prepare for your Seder this year and many years to come.
Some of you may be like me — I have to start the book reading the preface and then go all the way through. I’ve been known to finish books I don’t love just because maybe there is something I’m missing. Gerson tells you that you don’t have to read in order but you can pick and choose the chapters that sound interesting. Find a chapter that sounds good to you and I guarantee you will find something to add to your Seder this year. The book opens with background (fascinating!) and then the second section is about preparation. I don’t want to give it all away but the preparation is as important as the event. The third session is all about the various parts of the Seder.
Don’t say you know it all and this is what you have always done. Especially in this second COVID-19 Passover, we need to add some spice to keep people from “zooming out.” Here are a few of the chapter titles to get your mouth watering (not for the matzo):
· What We Can Learn from an Egg: The Logic of the Seder Plate
· Just Who Are You Calling a Stranger?
· The Jewish Secret of Parenting
·Judaism: A Religion of Character
And there is so much more! Here’s what you should do: 1) Go to Amazon and get your copy rushed to you. 2) Buy it for your phone or tablet and start reading right away (it is harder to skip around this way). 3) The J Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest had Mark Gerson interviewed live and it was recorded. I learned so much just from listening to an hourlong interview! Interested? Contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org and hopefully she can get you the recording!
Whatever you do this Passover, learn more and how do we learn? — by asking questions. Challenge everyone to come up with new questions this Passover and don’t forget to go online for the multitude of resources from every possible Jewish organization. You are guaranteed to find something new to make the ancient ritual ever evolving! Do you know that statistically speaking, more Jews have a Passover Seder than do any other Jewish ritual? Wonder why? That’s a good question!