Why is this night different from all other nights?
This question will be asked in households all over the world tonight as people of Jewish faith and tradition gather together for their Seder meals. The four questions – Why is this night different? Why only matzah? Why the bitter herbs? Why are we relaxing and leaning on cushions as if we were kings? –will be asked by curious children before the story of the Exodus is read and a lovely holiday dinner is shared.
I can’t help but think, this year, on Passover, that similar, yet profoundly different questions are being asked by other children all across this country, and world.
“Why is this night different from all other nights?”
“Why can’t we go home again?”
“Why do they keep blowing up our towns and killing my friends?”
“Why are we getting on this boat?”
“Why are those people screaming at us?”
“Why do we eat only matzah?”
“When will we get to eat again?”
“Can’t I have just a little bit more?”
“Mama, aren’t you hungry too?”
“Why do we eat bitter herbs?”
“Why does daddy hit me?”
“I wonder if mom will come home tonight?”
“Maybe he’s right…maybe I am stupid and worthless…”
“Why didn’t he stop? I asked him to stop…”
“Why are we relaxing and leaning on cushions as if we were kings?”
“Where are we going to sleep tonight?”
“How will I take a shower?”
“What if my friends find out I sleep in mom’s car?”
“What if we’re homeless forever?”
Tonight, as we remember the Exodus of the Jews and the hardship they endured, may we say a prayer for the children whose questions aren’t rooted in curiosity, but in fear, and say together,
Next Year, In Peace, Without Fear
May it be so for children, for all people, everywhere.