Whether you include in your seder the classic version of k'neged arba'a vanim dibra torah ("the Torah speaks of four sons") or you offer any of the creative interpretations of it, the mandate to see yourself as being in the story begs the question "which child are you?"
The four offspring are identified with labels - types, if you will - that are illustrated by their words. The wise child asks a question that seems to ask for an explication and interpretation of the words of Torah. The wicked child is so called for seeming to stand apart from the community that was redeemed. The simple child declares - simply - "what's this?" And the one who can't even ask. . . . well, the responsibility to open this one's mouth falls on us.
Perhaps you aspire to be the wise one, well-enough versed in Torah to ask intellectually stimulating questions. Perhaps you see yourself as simply uneducated, or as someone who just doesn't know what to ask. I hope no one takes some perverse pride in being the bad seed.
Our reliance on translation (and not just into English) may have distracted us from one possible meaning of the story, a meaning I find particularly compelling. K'neged literally means "against." The Torah speaks against the idea that there are four separate children. Echad chacham, rasha, tam u'she 'eino yodei'a lish'ol - the wise, wicked, simple and silent are all one. That is, each of those characteristics is within each person.
There are times when the rich intellectual heritage of Judaism defines our commitments. There are tunes when feeling like an outsider - thanks to the still-abundant prejudices of some folks - makes us understand Jewish pride as a response to wickedness. There are times when simple and unadorned expressions of wonder, mystical responses, are the essence of the Jewish experience. And there are times when no words can capture the ineluctable sense who we are - and probably many more.
The haggadah makes it clear that every child is at the table. No one is turned away. To be sure, some approaches are declared better than others; relying on anti-semites to define my Jewishness cedes a lot of power to those who would do me evil. But every aspect of our relationship to Jews and Judaism is affirmed. Which child are you? All of the above.
PLEASE NOTE: It has long been our custom not to hold services on the first two evenings of Pesach. Most people are gathered at their sedarim at the usual 6:30 start time. This year, the first seder occurs on Friday night, which raises the question about whether we will hold Friday/Pesach services. The answer is NO. We encourage you, as always, to conduct the evening service before your seder. Likewise, since ma'ariv will not occur on Saturday/second night until 8:20, there will be no service at the synagogue that night.
ANYONE IN NEED OF A PLACE FOR SEDER, PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE AND YOU WILL BE INVITED TO A HOST HOME. ANYONE WITH SPACE AVAILABLE FOR EITHER NIGHT IS ASKED LIKEWISE TO CALL. THANKS!