You never believed you would make it to the finish line, but here you are, and you’re pretty sure you aren’t dreaming. As you behold the dining room table adorned with your Pesach finest, you realize that you have overcome what once seemed to be a near-impossible feat. After weeks of backbreaking labor, you can relate to those who have climbed to the peak of Everest, for seder night has finally arrived.
At the seder, each person is supposed to feel as if they were redeemed from the harsh slavery of Egypt. For the Shaatra woman, whose raw hands are a testament to all the sweeping, spraying, sautéing and scrubbing that she has been up to, this is no problem. Just as the Jewish people witnessed Hashem’s miracles during the redemption, the Jewish wife and mother experiences Hashem’s miraculous hand in her Pesach preparations each year. So don’t fret. When you find yourself
knee-deep in the pre-Pesach pandemonium, rest assured that with the help of these tips, and of course with the ever present help of Gd, your seder will be spectacular.
Get it All Together
We’ve mentioned it in these pages before, but it is so crucial that it bears repeating: make a list of all the things that you will need on the seder table. Without a written list, the to-dos will be just a big mumbo-jumbo in your mind that will create loads of unnecessary pressure. So put pen to paper and you’ll be off to a successful start.
What if you can’t seem to remember exactly what the seder calls for? Well, here’s one way to refresh your memory. When making your “Things for the seder” list, take out a Pesach Hagaddah. While taking extreme caution to keep it far away from any food, sift through the pages. You’ll probably find a picture of the seder plate and all the significant foods to display, as well as the order of the seder. As you notice items you will need, write them down. (Some key items to remember: haroset, the shank bone, hardboiled eggs and celery, just to name a few!)
Once all your kosher-for-Pesach dishes have been undusted, washed and dried, you can begin setting your seder table. You’ll want to do this hours before the seder begins so you’re able to walk into the main event relaxed and prepared. An elegant white or ivory tablecloth makes for a stunning backdrop; just be sure to cover it with plastic, since you can expect several grape-juice spills. Rhinestone napkin rings are eye-catching accents, and they will complement all types of silverware. Complete the décor with a nice floral centerpiece, and your table is ready.
So the Children Should Ask
The purpose of the seder is to pique the children’s curiosity so they’ll ask questions and give you the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of telling about the Jewish nation’s redemption from Egypt. So, to prevent the kids from falling asleep on top of their marror-filled matzah sandwiches, make the seder kid friendly! Have incentives ready for children who ask great questions or say the Mah Nishtanah. Bring the Pesach story to life by investing in some bright, colorful Haggadot so the children can follow along. And don’t forget some prizes for he or she who discovers the afikoman! Before you know it, it will be 2am and your children will be awake singing the “Had Gadya” finale with gusto!
Getting Some Zzz’s…
Speaking of staying awake until 2am, which is likely to happen on seder night, it is a must for your children to take a nap pre-seder. You know how it goes: the kids will resist, but you must insist! This way, the children will be well-rested and ready for loads of fun and learning come seder time. Oh, and Shaatra moms are allowed to take naps, too. So if you can manage to find even a half-hour, try to squeeze in even a short cat-nap.
The seder is a magnificent time, but putting it all together can sometimes seem like an arduous journey. But you’ll be there soon enough, and you can pat yourself on the back knowing it’s the culmination of all your hard work. When you finally sit down and see the smiling faces of family and guests surrounding you, you’ll know that the hours of effort were well worth it.