Do you still remember your childhood?

The answer is “of course”-how can you forget what are the most significant years, the ones that turned you into you (for better or worse)? Even as a rather spoiled precocious only child I remember thinking that childhood is over-rated. Sure, you have no financial responsibilities, only as much academic responsibility as you want, and your social life is continually changing. It sounds carefree, but stress was still part of the picture. The fate of a misplaced piece of a game can take up as much emotional space as a major financial loss. Watching the faces of the captain of a dodge ball team who clearly didn’t want to get stuck with you can be as painful as hearing the shadchan tell you that, “he really thinks you are very special” when you know that the next phrase must be bad news. What makes childhood so wonderful is the optimism and energy that makes everything feel possible and real. If jumping on the couch looks like fun, there is no reason not to give it a try (unless you have already done that and been there, and encountered some parental limits). This may leave you fascinated with one of the Hagaddah’s most interesting passages, the “four sons”. The wise, wicked, simple sons, and their companion, the son who doesn’t know how to ask a question are presented as archetypes. They are “sons” not men. The word for son (ben) is related linguistically to the word banyan (building). A son is still in process; an adult is a finished product. At least for the night of the Seder, try to see yourself as still a child, still in process, still optimistic about the possibilities that your life may offer.

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