Passover signals the season of Haggadah supplements.
These past two weeks, my inbox has been flooded with pleas from various organizations to add a fifth question or special prayer to my Seder. And because I respect these groups and want to make them a part of the holiday, I print these pamphlets off and leave them on my desk.
I used to hoard them. I begged my parents to let me ask a question about the Righteous Among the Nations or about the Yiddish Book Center. And they let me, because isn't Passover about kids asking questions?
I wanted my holiday to be about everyone and everything. Recognize every possible person. And it was great until I realized that I didn't actually talk about, well, Passover.
Now my pile gets higher with kosher-cannabis-Haggadah-supplements and a fifth question to ask about LGBTQ+ Jews. There's the prerequisite AIPAC supplement and the addition of an orange for gender equality (?) or an olive for peace to the Seder plate. I want to be the best person ever on Passover, and ask about everyone and everything.
But the thing is that I never do. At least, during the Seder I don't.
I'm neither the simple son, the wicked son nor the good son. (Daughter, actually.) I'm the one who doesn't know how to ask.
Actually, I'm the one who says "dayenu."
I tuck my supplements into my family's Haggadahs are a reminder that-- hey! -- we have to learn about the plight of Kurds and Yazidis and Yiddish books and victims of terror, but that tonight, we focus on one miracle that is our liberation.
During dinner, sure. After the Seder, sure. Tomorrow morning, sure. Every day is a day to learn; but Passover is the time to remember and share our uniqueness with others.
Instead of focusing on others, we should use this holiday to focus on ourselves for a brief moment. We are commanded to experience Passover as if we had just left Egypt. So why does Egypt every year merit more Haggadah supplements?
(Because every year it faces a regime change. Bad joke.)
Naturally, make your Seder your own -- however you do so is up to you -- but remember that your Seder is also the story of your people, and that it's okay to focus on that for an hour.
And during dinner, you can get out your supplements. They're not going anywhere.
But during the singing and the story telling, keep it simple. We made it here.
אם אין אני לי-- מי לי?
If I am not for myself-- who is?