By 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?