Since everyone else is recovering from various broken bones this year, I'm doing the Seder at my house. So I took the opportunity to try to add a few creative ways to tell the story of freedom. Oy vey, did my brother-in-law fuss. He says we must do the "real" Seder.
I want to do a Seder that is meaningful to us, so we'd be involved instead of biding our time until the meal. I want the idea of freedom to translate to our lives today from the Sages of the past. Should I feel guilty about this?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
Regarding the content of the Passover Seder and unlimited creativity, I would like to make the following suggestion:
Keep to the traditional Seder, and also make time for creative adventure.
Why? Not to placate your brother-in-law. But in order to preserve the true message of the Seder.
National redemption from the shackles of Egyptian oppression by the All Powerful Creator of the World, Who subsequently gave us the Torah, the guide to life that teaches us how to free ourselves from our own personal shackles of oppression and live a life which brings true joy - which is closeness to the All Powerful Creator of the World.
With all due credit and admiration for creative input, the concept of freedom can easily be misunderstood. For some people, "freedom" might mean releasing oneself from God's rules - exactly the opposite of what the Passover Seder is supposed to mean!
Sticking to the traditional Seder guarantees that God will be part and parcel of the freedom. And frankly speaking, any Seder that He isn't part of, is not a Passover Seder.
I'm all for creativity. At my own Seder we act out different parts of the Haggadah and we all have a blast. We have big plastic animals and ping pong balls (hail) flying around the room during the Ten Plagues. But we have the basic structure of the Haggadah there to preserve the integrity of the message that has been passed on for thousands of years. A time-tested message, woven with the self-sacrifice and devotion of countless generations. A priceless message which is the key to Jewish identity and survival.