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  4/1/2013, Nisan 21, 5773

Approaching the Second Son in the Haggadah


The Passover Haggadah traditionally recited at every Seder describes the derisive attitude of the second son, who has decided to reject family practices in his rebellious negativity.

Perhaps the Haggadah provides an insight for parents dealing with this adolescent phenomenon. “Neutralize his argument,” says the Haggadah. “My son, These practices of the Seder you seem to object to are the center of our Jewish identity, and the reason G-d ended our bondage. We are the Eternal Nation of G-d with these traditions we uphold.

“You are welcome to join us, son, but the choice is yours.”

By avoiding criticism, welcoming and accepting whatever behavior the maturing children choose to project, may, in fact create an unexpected reaction in the child. His rebellion could be a desperate offended response towards our criticism and condescension, demanding to make his own decisions. By simply presenting our pride in our way of life, while simultaneously lovingly accepting his personal choices, he may experience a reconciliation and even a longing to return to what his parents represent.