Opinion: Should Schools Stop Preparing Students for the Seder?


pesachBy Dr. Yitzchok Levine

For many years, I have felt that the yeshivos “spoil” the Seder. From the Gemara, it seems to me that younger children are not supposed to know very much about what to expect at the Seder. However, today they come home “armed” with thick booklets, ready to say the Torah of their teachers. They not only know what will happen, but, if allowed to say all that they have in their booklets, there would be no time for anything else. Now, this may have been the way to go when many parents had very limited Jewish educations, but it does not seem appropriate for children who come from homes where the parents are well educated Jewishly. 

I found support for my position in this week’s Hamodia Magazine, which features a very well written and interesting article about Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l. In the article the author writes:

Rav Yaakov had a novel, focused approach to the mit zvah of v’higadeta l’vincha, recounting the story of the Exodus from Egypt to one ‘s children on Pesach night. We are all familiar with the bulging notebooks and binders that children bring to the Pesach table, hours’ worth of divrei

Torah all seemingly set to music with refrains. Rav Yaakov was against this practice. He held that boys should not be prepared in advance in any significant way for the Seder.

“There are two mitzvos aseh, affirmative commandments, on Pesach. One is to eat matzah, and the other is v’higadeta l’vincha. If the child takes over the table, the father loses the mitzvah of sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim!”

Dare one suggest that it is time for the yeshivos to stop preparing their talmidim for the Seder and follow Rav Yaakov’s approach? 

 {Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Perhaps instead of taking away our pride in our children’s accomplishments in seder preparation, we need to educate all to be sensitive to the needs each person brings to the table, to “be in the limelight” in a different way, whether it is older bochrim who want deeper discussion, or fathers who want to do their best at educating their children, or young children, who are so proud of their accomplishements in learning haggadah.

  2. The mitzva asai is veheegadutaw levincha not leawveecha.It is a Torah requirement on the father at the seder. The children can show off their knowledge at the remaining 14 meals of Pesach.

  3. I hear your point. So what should the Yeshivo’s do leading up to Pesach? Every kid gets excited about the upcoming Yom Tov of Pesach. You can’t, NOT talk about it. I guess you could talk about the Halachos of Pesach.

  4. The principal in our Yeshiva told the children before they left for Pesach; that it is very nice that they are going home with booklets full of Divrei Torah. However, they have to remember that at the Seder it’s the father’s Chiyuv to give over to his family… and the should share thier Divrie Torah with the family at the rest of the S’udos.

  5. i have found yhat although the kids come home armed with divrei torah the bulk of the material is on the first half of the hagada. the actual pesukim that discuss yetzios mitzraim are not discussed that much. that leaves plenty with what the fathers can fulfill their obligation.

  6. ridiculous, what do you mean they shouldn’t know about the seder, then what do you from year 2 year? who said your not “yotzeh” from hearing your child speak and then adding clarification when necessary or able to, just by reading the hagada your yotzeh that mitzvah, and after all you do it every year, so you cant say that your 8 year old doesnt know it, let alone you, yet your still yotzeh every time you repeat it, so whats the difference if they first get the idea in school?
    P.S. i’m not arguing on R’ Kanievsky CH”V, rather i doubt the articals credibility, CHAG SAMEACH!

  7. As far as what schools should do, let them teach the kids questions, and fathers will try their best to answer.

  8. Its all about the parents or ones leading the Seder taking the initiative. The older children should be told that they should say the Divrei Torah during Shulchan Oirech and during the many other seudos. Meanwhile the parents should make sure to make the Seder exciting and child friendly, getting up to “go out of Mitzraim”, etc etc. Bring the Seder alive for the kids while leaving the Divrei Torah for S.O. and other Seudos and everyone will enjoy it!

  9. As a rebbe of the younger grades (15 years+) I can tell you that this is what parents (and hanhalla) want to see. To this end, I teach the entire ‘seder magid’ so the talmidim can take part in (not take over) discussions at the seder.