Every year around this time, we have the same discussion – are we really going to make the Monster observe Pesach?
And every year, we get bogged down in the same arguments. Personal meaning versus tradition, and the level of comprehension…
To be fair, the Monster does know (or at least can parrot to us) that Pesach starts tonight. He’s able to sing the Four Questions in Hebrew, and knows at least a little about the holiday from his various fragmented Hebrew School classes, but… it’s a question of what he actually understands, coupled with our understanding of what he understands and… (yes, for those who don’t have children with special needs, we get into these sorta-meta discussions frequently).
There’s a difference, now, more than in past years – the Monster will eat just about anything at this point. We’re not at the point where we were a few years ago, where he had a very limited diet, and we’ve allowed kitniyot into our home for a few years now. All of that together means there’s no dietary reason that he can’t observe with the rest of us, because we’re not afraid that he’ll spend Pesach starving. The actual issue is over pretzels, believe it or not. The Monster’s wired about how he asks for snacks, and pretzels are one of the first things on the list that he tends to ask for, and while I’ve pointed out that we could easily enough divert him to Passover-friendly snacks for the duration of eight days…
Now… the title of this post is probably misleading, since the Monster can ask, but we’re doubtful of his ability to demonstrate meaningful comprehension of the answers. Still, “the pretzel question” looms large.
I may go back and forth on whether I think forcing integration has any real value, but… in this case, I think it’s worthwhile for him to participate with the rest of us. My major argument is that, likewise, R might not see the ‘value’ or ‘meaning’ in the dietary changes for the holiday, but we don’t exempt him from it either, and that the only way for him to learn about it and potentially find meaning in it is to participate… and the same with the Monster. Especially now that we know the Monster won’t starve, so it’s not ‘punishing’ him, it’s harder for me to accept an argument that he should have a pass on it.
We’ll see how it shapes up over the week, but… in the meantime, to all who celebrate their respective holidays in the coming days, have a happy and meaningful holiday. 🙂