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?


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,