This year, we had our own small Seder the first night with just the fam. For the second Seder, we went to the large one at our temple. While it was joyful to be in a roomful of people singing Adir Hu, it was our home Seder that allowed us to go creative.
Typically, we do a Passover reenactment in the house during the Seder (when we get to the Maggid or Telling). Ahead of time, we label different rooms as Egypt, Midian, Red Sea, desert, etc.
Passover experience outside
But this year, we decided to take the reenactment outside.
While we read the same story that we wrote several years ago, we experienced it outdoors, sitting around a blazing fire in the fire pit.
Our reenactment begins with, “Imagine that we are in the desert . . .” Our younger grandson then painted a verbal picture for us – the sand is here, the blazing sun is over there, and there are cactus plants all around. Our older grandson, who can now read easily, was a narrator.
And while we took turns reading, our younger grandson beat on a little djembe drum, punctuating the highlights of the story.
After we ran through the imaginary Red Sea, we danced around in circles to the tune of Miriam’s Song, playing the tambourine and beating the drum.
In addition, still around the fire, we wove into our telling three ways that fire is part of the exodus story.
#1 Roasting the paschal lamb in fire
While we no longer sacrifice animals, the zeroa (literally, arm) symbolizes the Paschal sacrifice, which was roasted in fire.
For us, that meant putting a raw lamb shank into the fire pit. We also wrapped an egg in foil to put into the fire. When we moved inside for the sit-around-the-table part of going through the Haggadah, we took the shank bone and egg out of the fire and put them on the Seder plate.
#2 – Burning bush that is not consumed
When Moses was in Midian with his sheep (baa, baa, baa), he sees a burning bush that is not consumed by flame. It was there that G-d appears to him and tells him to go to Pharaoh and demand, “Let My people go.” (Of course, we stopped in our reenactment at this point to sing “Let My People Go!,” punctuated by drumbeats.)
#3 – Pillar of fire
In Exodus 13:21-22, it talks about a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, which accompanies the children of Israel on their way through the desert – a visible symbol of the presence of G-d. So when the Israelites left Egypt, they were protected from predators and pursuers.
We were able to introduce this concept in a very dramatic way, because we sat by the fire.
New idea at the Seder table
When we moved back inside, a new idea came to mind as we played the Passover Seder Steps Follow-Along game. Instead of using the red pawns from the game, we jumped from step to step using the small frogs sprinkled all over our table!