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Can I Have My Seder On a Different Night of Passover?

Can I Have My Seder On a Different Night of Passover?

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Question:

Can I have my Seder on a different night of Passover, to accommodate family who can’t make it on the first or second night?

Answer:

It is an age-old Jewish tradition to celebrate the Passover Seder together with family, so I understand well why you so wish to include your family in your Seder plans. But it seems that you might have to forgo this tradition this once.

The holidays are called moadim in Hebrew, from the word moed, which also means “appointment.” The Torah teaches us that the “appointment” for Passover is the fourteenth of the Jewish month of Nissan: that is when we must celebrate the Seder, and it cannot be postponed. If you were to have an appointment with a king or queen, would you push it off for some reason or another? In a similar vein, this and other holidays have specific appointments in time, and we cannot change them around to suit our needs. Our schedule must be tailored to the holiday, not the other way around, particularly considering that we do know when the holiday will occur, well in advance . . .

Spiritually speaking, a holiday is much more than a celebration of an event which occurred eons ago. Instead, it is a time when the divine energies which were present on that particular date so many years ago—the energies which were the reason for all the miracles which transpired—return every year on that same date. On these special days, we have the ability to tap into these powerful energies and make miracles in our own personal lives.

We can celebrate historical events on any date. But Passover is about experiencing liberation in our own lives, which can be done only on the actual date established by the Torah.

Perhaps you can explain the above to your family, and explain to them that you intend on making the Seder in its proper time, but that they are invited to join you for another meal on any of the other Passover days. (There are eight from which you and they can choose!)

For more insights on the matter, please see Appointments in Time.

Best wishes,

Chani Benjaminson,
Chabad.org

Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of Chabad.org.
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ellen shs brooklyn February 13, 2014

Thank you. Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org February 13, 2014

To Ellen Dear Ellen, thank you very much for sharing that precious memory.

May your son's memory be for a blessing. My heartfelt condolences on your loss. Reply

ellen shs Brooklyn, NY February 12, 2014

I had long forgotten about this post, but since I was subscribed to comments, the recent activity brought it back to my attention.

Though nobody responded in any way to my comment from last year, about moving our seder due to my son Caleb's battle with cancer, I will update anyway.

We did do our best to have a small 3 person seder at my son's hospital bedside on the first night of Pesach.

We did have a big family seder at my mother's house towards the end of Pesach. It brought my son, and all of us, great joy. He amazed us with his Hagaddah reading skills.

It was the last seder he would ever attend. He died suddenly right before Rosh HaShannah, at age 6.

I am very grateful that we had that last seder all together at my mother's house - right day or wrong day.

L'Chaim Mazal, long may he live in our hearts. Reply

Chani Benjaminson February 12, 2014

To Pearl So happy to hear that! Thank you for letting me know. Reply

Pearl Tulsa February 11, 2014

To Mrs. Benjaminson Thank you for your note.

I did not see it. And I did not see your email.

But I wanted to let you know that I decided to ask, tactfully, if I were indeed welcome and I was told that "OF COURSE!" they wanted me to come to the Seder up north.

So I went, and we had a great time. I am expected there again this year.

So thank you for your concern and your willingness to help.

And I am happy to know that I can get invited to a kosher seder here, if that is necessary. Reply

Peter Nelson La Mirada, CA January 28, 2014

Alternate Night for Passover G-d through Moses in the Torah provides for an alternate Passover on the 14th of the next month after the normal Passover of the 1st month in Numbers 9:9-12. The two reasons given to be eligible for this are: 1) being unclean because of a dead body, or 2) being away on a journey. I hope this helps in the discussion. Reply

Anonymous USA March 19, 2013

@YEHEZRIEL The search for hametz is Sunday night, March 24 2013, in the evening (after dark). Use a candle to search for pre-positioned, tightly wrapped small pieces of leavened products (usually bread).
The fast of the First Born (male) is from Monday Morning until Monday night but for most it can be cancelled by participating in a "se'um" - a completion of a portion of Law (Torah, Talmud).
The 1st Seder is Monday night (after dark), March 25. The 2nd Seder is Tuesday night; Tuesday night also is day one of the Omer. Check any (Jewish) calendar; Chabad has information on line. Check out this handy and printable guide, chabad.org/1723 Reply

ellen shs Brooklyn, NY March 19, 2013

a question of balance I am not an authority but will give my two cents nonetheless. :) Normally I would be vehemently opposed to rescheduling the seder for any reason. This year my 6 year old son is being treated for cancer and has been praying to be able to attend the seder. His doctors have said that it is highly unlikely for him to be able to attend the seder but that chances are good, kinehurhah, that he should be able to do so towards the end of Pesach. So we will make a seder on a different night of Pesach so that a very sick child's wish for religious and cultural observance may be met. I can understand if one would say "yes this is okay as long as you also make a seder on the correct night" (which we may or may not do) but I do not understand why we can't have an additional seder later in the passover week if that is the only time my son's immune system will be strong enough to be with family and eating Pesach food. I am not asking anyone's permission here, just sharing my situation. Reply

H.A.Arnevet March 8, 2013

@YEHEZRIEL in Florida, PEARL in Tulsa The search for leaven (hametz) is Sunday (3/24) night.
The first seder is Monday (3/25) night.
Chabad usually has first & second seders - locate/contact a Chabad house. Go to your child's seder - the tickets were purchased; put aside differences - it's a holiday. And then you won't have to be concerned about the 2nd night.
To all: Hag Pesach kosher v'sameach, a kosher and happy Passover. Reply

Leonard Goff Los Angeles March 8, 2013

Rationalist concerned about 'energies'-thinking among my co-religionists Don't we exiles have a second seder?
Aren't the 'energies' there that night too?
And if they are, why aren't they there on the third night(1st chol hamoed), etc.? Reply

Feigele Boca Raton FL March 7, 2013

Pearl If physically possible, go to your son and ignore those feelings of being unwanted - It's for parents to teach their children and not the other way around. I'm sure your son will appreciate the efforts you are doing to be with him and his family. It is the most rewarding and enjoyable Passover you could have. Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org March 7, 2013

To Mavra: the Second Passover was an opportunity available to those who were ritually impure on Passover, a month later, on the 14 of Iyar they could offer the Paschal sacrifice. Nowadays we mark that day but no Seder is held. Please see Second Passover

To YEHEZRIEL: Exact times vary from city to citiy and town to town, for times in your location please see Shabbat times

To Pearl: I'm going to email you, I'm sure Chabad of Tulsa will be happy to help. Reply

Pearl Tulsa, Okla March 7, 2013

Problem I'm over 70 and recovering from a broken hip. Always before I made the Seder, & when my parents died I made both seders & invited 10-20 people.

My only child said to come to his seder & bought me plane tkts. But now he's upset with me. He hasn't said not to come, but I can't impose my unwanted presence on his household.

But I also can't handle making a seder here. I can get invited to one Seder that I trust. But I'm not up to cooking for a crowd, & I can't see going through the Haggadah all alone.

I'm thinking of skipping the 2nd Seder.

Anybody got a better idea?

Thanks. Reply

Feigele Boca Raton FL March 7, 2013

Let’s not start rearranging them or they will disappear in a shuffle forever. If everyone starts making their own rules, what prevents anyone else to decide they can celebrate the holidays anytime they want, not respecting the time provided in the Bible, which will lose the meaning of that special time in History. Past traditions cannot be altered and must remain as they developed thousand years ago, or we will lose our Jewish heritage. What is suggested is the proper way to handle this situation, as I will myself do since some of my children will not be able to attend the first two nights of Passover, but I will have a nice dinner for them and recollect the story of Passover, as we have done for years. Reply

YEHEZRIEL Florida March 7, 2013

Passover meal So my understanding is correct Passover this year falls at the closing of Sunday at 6:30pm (Twilight) right? Reply

Mavra Stark White Oak, PA March 7, 2013

An alternate Passover Seder date I had heard that there is a "second chance" Passover Seder night. This year, it's supposed to fall on the evening of April 42th. Is there any truth in that? Reply

Anonymous LI, NY March 6, 2013

mock seders You can have as many mock seders as you want and need, but the real seder is on the eve of the first day of passover, just like Kol Nidre is said on the eve of Yom Kippur, and the first candle of Chanukah at the appropriate time, etc.
You are confusing family get togethers with observance of our historical events. Both are important and both are possible at the proper time for each.
Why diminish one for the convenience of the other? Reply

Yohanon Florida March 5, 2013

Pesach S'ni פסח שני A second Passover, פסח שני, is authorized by Torah in מדבר ט, א-יג (Numbers, Chap. 9, V1-13) for people unable to keep Pesach at the appointed time (14 Nissan). The reasons allowed by HaShem (Verse 10) to hold the Passover one month later, on the 14th of Iyar, were if the person was (a) unclean on the 14th of Nissan or (b) on a distant journey. ANY OTHER EXCUSE WAS REJECTED (Verse 13). This site (Chabad) has several entries for a second Pesach: "Never too late" the article and also a video, and "The Second Passover." Reply

Arnie Korfine (Aron Noochum ben Josef Laib) Charlotte, NC March 5, 2013

Changing the date of the Seder The "age-old Jewish tradition to celebrate the Passover Seder together with family" began in an epoch when the family lived together in a village, at most a mule-ride apart. This is no longer the case. Frankly my children and grandchildren are more important to me than "an appointment with a king or queen". So we will have our Seder when we can and in the final reckoning, if this is my worst "sin" I will face the consequences. I think G-d is more flexible Chani and knows what is in my heart. Reply

Anonymous Indianapolis, IN March 5, 2013

appointment The English translation of the "Four Questions" is: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" One might well suppose this comes down to: 'not any old night you may choose", and "pick a day, any day". The obvious point of not taking the time to leaven the bread is, to put it colloquially, "hurry up, gotta go, don't wait", all of which boils down to a specific day and time.. One need not be a yeshiva bokher to figure this out. Reply

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