Pesach preparations are underway here as we get closer and closer to the holiday. I don't usually start months in advance as some do. Because with many little children and my current living quarters, it's just not practical or realistic to do that. We don't do spring cleaning either, only the necessary cleaning for
Pesach, see Rav Scheinberg's Cleaning list here. We are starting to do some food and other shopping too. The kids were enthusiastic about coloring some Pesach coloring pages to decorate the room, if only I could get my printer to work:) They were very enthusiastic about cleaning. So we turned on some Pesach music - a Children's Village of Jerusalem fundraiser CD from years back and got to it. The older ones helped, the little ones played and are now learning the words to all the different Haggadah songs as an added bonus. We love Pesach here and try to make it as beautiful as possible. Not perfect but enjoyable and meaningful, I hope. As always we try to keep it simple. I don't think any major Pesach projects are going to happen this year. There is just too much going on, but one never knows. I also try to get something every year to make the Seder more beautiful, a new table cloth or napking rings or something for the table. This year I got some new couch covers, we needed some anyway and it will make the room look more royal for the Seder. The kids already put in requests for favorite Pesach delicacies. I don't mind getting new illustrated Hagaddahs for the kids, over the years we acquired some really beautiful ones and it makes things come alive for the children and makes the Seder more meaningful for them and us. I am looking forward to looking at the whole collection once we bring out all the Pesach things. I finally sat down with the little ones and we went through the Artscroll Illustrated Haggadah with them, explaining all the different parts of the Seder, speaking about the pictures, singing the different songs, etc. I worried if I managed to get in as much information as I wanted and if I got the right ideas across. But then, I listened to Reb. Tziporah Hellers lectures on how to make Pesach meaningful for children(see bottom of post) and even though my presentation wasn't quite as dramatic as her's, based on what my daughter said I could tell that the message of that G-d was there and that He cared and that He is stronger than our oppressors and can do anything and that in the end there is justice( listen to the lectures for more on the subject) did get through. In general, I found the experience of going through the Hagaddah with the children very moving as some parts really spoke to me like never before. The messages were really timely too. That's the beauty of the Seder, discovering new layers of meaning year after year in the familiar words and rituals. I am sure things will continue to be very busy and at times chaotic and stressful but then there will be excitement as we put away the regular dishes and bring out all the pesach boxes and I hope there will be joy and meaning and freedom and redemption as we celebrate this important holiday. Chag Kasher V'Sameach!!!