Last night we had a small seder with two families. Myself and my pre-bat mitzvah daughter and our friends Jessica and Levy and their 11-year-old daughter. In the press of time before the seder, I gathered several Maxwell house haggadot and three other types of haggadot (none of which was a matched set) and printed off a few copies of the HIAS haggadah supplement to make the seder a forum for thinking about refugees. This also was not a matched set because our printer ran out of magenta ink.
In opening the door to put the shoes out, one of the kids asked about the Elijah reference and was Elijah good or bad. I jokingly said we’ll need to ask Reb Siri. But as the three parents at the table discussed their knowledge of Elijah, we did eventually Google Elijah for more information. The same thing happened a few pages later when one of the children asked about logistics of the Messianic age.
I’m not advocating having a computer or cell phone at the Seder table, per se. But it did add something when we’d exhausted out knowledge base and we could take the children’s curiosity seriously and model active inquiry. As a general technophobe and anti-phones at the table person, I’m kind of shocked that we went this way, but it actually enhanced our discussion.
I know that if I research and get more caught up on the particulars of Elijah and the Messianic age for next year, the questions will be different then. My guess is that Reb Siri will be invited back.