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I'm going to be at a seder this year with other adults who are all relatively familiar with the text and structure of the haggadah. Most have heard many of the classic divrei torah many times. I'm looking for a way to "spice up" the seder.

Has anyone been to a seder with similar company and found it to be a new and invigorating educational experience? What techniques did they use? Longer divrei torah? Shorter divrei torah? Themed divrei torah? What about pausing the haggadah in the middle and switching texts to: Chumash? Talmud Pesachim? Shulchan Aruch? In what other unique ways can I "cause us to view ourselves as if we ourselves had left Egypt" and get involved in the seder?

All ideas and suggestions are welcome.

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I always find that Mussardik Vorts are at very appreciated (at least to me). –  Hacham Gabriel Mar 21 '12 at 12:46
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It seems like you wanted some practical tips. I have run many successful sedarim with differently engaged Jews. There are a couple of things that I do to engage people who may not be initially interested in sharing their thoughts.

  1. Go around the table and have everyone finish a sentence "slavery is..." "freedom is..."

  2. Do some prep work and print out a different quote fir each person at the table. It can be from literature, torah, art whatever. Last year I chose several about the value of stories telling stories. At the beginning of the seder I give each person a few minutes to read the passage and then ask them to speak up if it applies or if they find it relevant to the discusion taking place later in the seder.

  3. when you prepare think of questions more than answers. If you ask people and really listen to their answers they are much more likely to engage than if you tell them divrei torah.
  4. It may also be worthwhile to email the attendees a short essay/dvar torah/food for thought questions a week or so before the sedarim so that they come to the seder more prepared.
  5. There are some people who will connect more through art than through reading and words. Before Yom Tov print out several depictions of the four sons or the splitting of the sea and pass them around the table. People who are artistic will love that you are reacing out to them where they are as appose to presuming that they must come to you.

The More prepared you are the better you will be able to direct the conversation without taking it over.

I hope that this helped.

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+1 for item 5, particularly the 4 sons depictions. –  WAF Mar 23 '12 at 13:31
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FYI, this work was featured in meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1568/hagada-mi-yodeya –  Isaac Moses Mar 22 '13 at 3:49
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