These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Erev Seder

Posted on September 14, 2011 by Andrea Wiese

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Erev seders are not what some one might think a seder would be, and erev means night. So at first I thought it meant that we would be having seders once a week at night to learn how to set up and lead our own seders. Well, I was sadly surprised to learn that this is not the case. It is an extra two hours a week, on Monday nights from 7-9 that we’re suppose to come to school and study even more. Yes, I’m sure you would be thrilled about this too, but in all seriousness, considering how many nerds and people who love what they’re studying, it’s not a bad idea. Except, for the time. I despise being out of my house at night on a school night. I want to be at home, showers, relaxed, and in bed at 10. I know I sound crazy that I want to go to bed at 10, but I get up every morning at 6 so I can go to the gym before my full day of classes starts at 8:30. It’s the one time of the day that is really just for me, and I really like to prioritize it.

Anyway, being the good student and law-abiding citizen I am, I went. I had two great partners to study with, our teacher gave a great speech about how there should be no excuses in the way of studying Torah, (it was a great speech) I was ready to study!!! But really, I wasn’t. I was exhausted, my partners and I weren’t very efficient, we couldn’t think of references that we wanted to talk about. We were distracted. We all had tea or coffee to try to stay focused, and my friend had an open cup which was making me so nervous and I kept telling him to move it away from my brand new books…(I told him about 15 times, I’m not exaggerating. Then…….a teacher came over and asked us how we were doing…and DISASTER!!! He knocked over his tea all over my brand new Tanakh! I was really upset. Not really because of the tea, although it was sad. But because I really didn’t listen to myself. I knew I shouldn’t have gone, even if it was “required” I was so tired, I had a lot of other homework I needed to get done, I didn’t have any food at home to eat (I needed to go to the store), my apartment really needs to be cleaned, I have to do laundry, etc. The amount of anxiety that those two hours caused me was not worth what I was going to learn in those two hours, (which proved to be not too much) except that I have to take care of myself. No one was going to tell me not to go, so now, my tea stain on my Tanakh is going to remind me that I have to be my own advocate. As much as I love studying what I am studying and love doing what I’m doing, I have to put myself first and I have to be physically and mentally healthy. So if that means no more night seder, then no more night seder…