Zeida at the seder table

Zeida at the seder table/Aaron Koster/Pastel and pencil on paper

Why was my family’s seders different from most other family’s? My father had a stern, intimidating demeanour. Honestly, he scared the heck out of me sometimes. From what I have heard, his parents were just as intimidating. He was quick to anger, but admittedly, just as quick to forgive. Passover seders were serious business to him. He was finicky about details and needed everything to be just right. One seder night, being the youngest, it was expected of me that I would recite the four questions that I had memorized in Yiddish. My father seemed to be looking forward to my performance. Instead I let him down. My voice quivered, I forgot words, and he blew his top. He stood straight up out of his chair, pointed to the front door melodramatically, and ordered me out of the house. I can’t help but wonder now if he was treated similarly by his parents.  Ours was apartment number one, just off the building’s lobby, with four or five steps leading up to our front door. I sat on those cold marble steps in the lobby for what seemed an interminable amount of time. Finally, the front door opened for the prophet Elijah to be welcomed in. I walked in with him. My mother was over-joyed to see me, my father asked me in a concerned tone if I was hungry.

1 Comment
  1. Hi Arron,

    Your painting is wonderful, your Dad a bit unnecessarily stern but I’m sure he truly believed his treating you as he did was just, probably a learned behavior from his own father’s generation. In comparing my seders, it seems the question, “Was Moses circumcised before or after the bull rushes?” gets everyone in the right mood, whatever that is for a family seder. But it works.

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