#PesachPrep T minus 6 Days: Lean in – Bareich Hallel Nirtza

I learned an expression a few years ago: “Leaning in”. It means that when faced with some difficulty, don’t try to avoid it, but lean into it, like pushing head first into a strong wind blowing in your direction. Don’t let the force push you backwards, because then you’re more likely to fall down.
That’s how I understand “leaning in”: When confronted with something likely to make you weaken, don’t just grin and bear it, grab it by the collar and crush it!
That has been our attitude at Part II of the Seder for many years now.  Sometimes, some relative would kvetch, or would notice a guest rolling his eyes.  But I love it, and last year one of my children said it was her favorite part of the seder.  I found that rewarding but a bit surprising, given the late hour (or early hour of the morning). I knew they liked it, which was what I would have hoped for.  But it was the FAVORITE part.
Sure it’s late, but it’s so late that another 15 minutes won’t matter.
Here is some of what we do: YMMV
We sing through the entire bentching, to the very end, clearly.
Hallel has so many beautiful niggunim (tunes) that any part of Hallel that has a tune associated with it (that we know) is sung.  There was a devoted member of my old shul in Virginia that had this beautiful but extraordinarily long niggun to “Shuvi Nafshi” in the full Hallel. He would sing it whenever he was Chazan. The minyan wanted to kill him. I would never do it during davening.  So it’s our Seder treat, and tribute to our beloved friend Larry Diamond A”H.  My kids love the tune.  An adult at the table nags and moans about it every year, but now those complaints are part of the traditional sounds of the Festival.
A few years ago, one of us discovered that “Who knows one” fits perfectly into the tune of “The Twelve Days of…”  I feel guilty for the irreverence.  So we sing it only at “Who knows 13.”  During “Who knows 9?” my father-in-law goes into labor.
The poems after the fourth cup are savored.  Chad Gadya has sound effects and paraphernalia.  When someone mentions the cat, someone meows. At water, I pour water from a height, from one glass to another.  At the Angel of Death, we sing the Darth Vader theme.  When Abba, the father, is mentioned, someone says “Ask your mother.”
As you can see, this requires planning ahead. And don’t feel the need to do this all of a sudden in one year.  We’ve been making our own sedarim for 15 years now, taking ideas from our families, and adding some ideas every year.

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