Apr 21, 2014
In honour of the Easter/Passover week, I’d like to present a little something I encountered at a Seder meal this past week.
The Haggadah is the Jewish text which instructs in the order of the Passover Seder.
In Odessa, in what's still the Ukraine as of this writing, the m'lamdim, the teachers whose duty it was to teach Jewish children in the Hebrew elementary schools, created their own version of the Haggadah. The Haggadah Lem'lamdim, the Haggadah of Teachers, was a parody of the Haggadah wherein they compared themselves to the slaves in Egypt.
Usually the youngest person at the table asks, 'Why is this night different from all other nights?' It is meant to express the child's confusion at the difference between a typical every-day or holiday meal and the unusual features of the Seder.
The m'lamdin in 1885 proposed their own interpretation, which I believe many teachers today will find still ring true:
How does teaching differ from all other professions in the world?
All the other professions enrich, and their practitioners eat and drink and are happy all the days of the year. But teachers groan and sorrow even on this night.
In all other professions the workers do not dare to be brazen before their employers. But in teaching the boys and girls constantly disrupt, and yet all find the teachers to be guilty.
In all other professions there is peace. But among the teachers the opposite is true.
All professions can earn their livelihood with honor and receive their salary in full. But teachers acquire only a crust of bread and water, along with insults and abuses, and instead of a salary they receive hunger and famine.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to you all!
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