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The Passover Question Box

March 14, 2013

a Passover question boxThis morning my kids and I pulled out The Passover Basket. It's a large bin stashed away in the back of our storage closet and filled with relics of Passover pasts. Homemade matzoh covers made of faded fabric and labeled in wavering preschool handwriting; Elijah and Miriam cups delicately etched in the finest of silvers; and a white tablecloth lined in intricately braided golden edging. And in the middle of it all is our question box.

The tradition of Passover is telling the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and the tradition of Judaism is questioning our stories told. Our question box weaves both of these musts together.

Our family started a Passover Question Box when our kids were small, just talking and barely understanding the seders we were trying to involve them in. We printed coloring sheets and doled out snacks and bought small finger puppets representing the infamous ten plagues. But we realized that while all of our involving made our seders more fun, we didn't know if our kids were learning about Passover.

At that very same time, we were also trying to include both of our families — Jewish and not — in our seders. We so wanted everyone to be a part of things, to feel comfortable and be able to ask questions about what they didn't understand, without feeling put on the spot.

All of this wanting and including and weaving led us to a small bowl (or box or Mason jar) set on our seder table, covered in that white, gold-trimmed tablecloth, with paper and pens near every spot so our guests — young and old — could (literally) throw their questions into the seder.

And every year, throughout the evening, we read and answer the questions together, as a family, often opening discussions that carry over into more wine and more dessert and more questions.

So this morning as I laid out the purple matzoh cover and the silver kiddish cups and the empty question box, I couldn't help but think that this is one tradition that we've started in the best of interfaith traditions: filled with questions and answers and then often, even more questions.

Hebrew word for an unleavened bread, traditionally eaten during the holiday of Passover.
Galit Breen

Galit Breen is a Minnesota writer. On any given day she can be found juggling three kids, one husband, one puggle, and her laptop. Galit writes women's fiction, is the series editor of Pens and Paint, an anthology of children's poetry and artwork, and is co-producing Listen to Your Mother Twin Cities 2013. Galit blogs at These Little Waves and (it has to be said) tweets and Facebooks a lot.

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