On March 13, I drove my 4-year-old to Pre-K for the last time before his school (temporarily) closed due to COVID-19. As we listened to NPR’s coverage of the crisis, my son asked questions: Why are so many people getting sick? How do doctors keep themselves healthy when they treat sick people every day? What will happen if the virus keeps spreading? Will we still be able to celebrate Passover?

I returned home and began thinking about Passover in the context of finding freedom from illness. How do we engage with our children when they ask us about COVID-19?

Part of the seder called “The Four Children” (sometimes called “The Four Sons”) describes how four children—The Wise, The Wicked, The Simple and The One Who Does Not Know How to Ask—grapple with the lessons of Passover. So, I decided to offer a timely twist on the traditional Four Children by creating “The Four Children and COVID-19: A Conversation for Your Seder Table.”

In this ritual, I describe questions that four other types of children—The Inquisitive Child, The Worried Child, The Compassionate Child and The Resilient Child—might ask during this time of uncertainty. Then I propose some ways we might be able to answer them.

The seder teaches that aspects of The Four Children exist inside all of us. During these long and weary days, many of us find ourselves swinging between curiosity, worry, compassion and resilience—or sometimes holding these feelings all at once.

No matter the ages of your seder guests—and regardless of whether your seders occur in person or via Zoom—I hope “The Four Children and COVID-19” will invite meaningful conversation as we strive together for freedom from illness and suffering all over the world.

Please click the image below to download the PDF.

The Four Children and COVID-19

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