Like the seder, the family dinner table during Passover is potentially a time for deeper connecting and for exchange of wisdom and focus on values through a variety of discussions. Here is a variety of Passover related topics that can be incorporated either into the seder or at the family dinner table during the eight days of Passover:
1. Shemot: Names
For whom were you named? Why did you name your children what you did? Honoring the midwives who rebelled. What women have been the most heroic in your life’s experience? What has been your Egypt?
2. Was Moses right to kill?
Who are your kinsmen?
3. Why do we remember that "we were strangers in a strange land?" at Passover. What is the benefit of welcoming strangers and guests into your home? Would you like to do it more? Have you ever been a stranger in a strange land? Are there any ways in which you are now?
What are the plagues that we have experienced in our lives? Did they ever move you to a more positive place?
When the plagues are happening; why do you suppose we don’t hear from the Jewish people? Remember the phrase "kotzer ruach and avodah kasha?" They couldn’t respond, we are told, because of "a lack of spirit and difficult work." Are there ever times when this applies to us? What can we do about it?
5. Who am I that I should go to Pharoah?
Why was Moses afraid? If he was also a hero what does this say about the way Jews remember heroes? Have you ever felt that you weren’t up to the task and you did it anyway?
6. What are you grateful for? To whom? To God?
7. What are you proud of from the past week, past month, in your life?
What are you proudest of in your children? Your parents?
8. Family Mitzvot discussion
All the Jewish people stand at Sinai and receive the commandments. How is your family involved in doing mitzvot? How could they be more involved in doing mitzvot?
9. Sharing the burden of the work.
Why doesn’t Moses know that relying on others help make for better decisions sometimes? What is Jethro’s wisdom? How could we pace ourselves better?
Teaching: the difference between priest and prophet.
10. Idol Worship. The Jews at Sinai were afraid to wait for Moses and they had Aaron fashion an idol. After reading the passage, what should Aaron have done?
Do we worship idols today? How is this harmful?
But in worshipping an idol at Sinai, it gave the people an opportunity to demonstrate their freewill and their capacity for worship and it gave the Holy One an opportunity to be forgiving. Both are key dimensions of being in Covenant with the Holy One: freewill and the capacity in the Holy One to be loving and forgiving?
How have we experienced God’s love and forgiveness in our lives?
11. Do you believe in miracles? What miracles have you experienced? What are the extraordinary moments? "God renews creation daily." "In Israel, if you don’t believe in miracles, you aren’t a realist."
12. Slavery and freedom
Make a paper midrash of slavery and freedom. Put your heart in it. What are the dimensions of your journey that have been trapped in slavery? What dimensions of your journey have been transformational and leave you appreciative of your freedom? Think in both personal and political terms.
13. Celebrating resilience. The word resilient means to bounce back. It’s the story of the Jewish people in the 20th century. But three years after Auschwitz, the Jewish people celebrated the rebirth of the State of Israel. How have you been resilient in your own life? What challenges have you faced? How have you bounced back? What have your resources been? Whom? How has Judaism been a part of those resources?
14. "Eved" means slave. It also means worshipper. It can also be used to mean "servant of God." How are we God’s partners and servants? What else could we be doing?
15. The word kadosh means to set aside or make different. It also means holy. What things do we do that set us aside and make us holy as people, as a family, as the people of Israel?