As the Passover Seder approaches, I have been spending time looking through the Haggadah and deciding what I want to add to the Seder and what I want to skip, and everything in between. Perhaps like many people running a Seder, I have a challenge in terms of how long I go as people will want to get to the meal. In addition, dealing with certain medical issues, it is imperative that some people eat at a particular time.
What has worked well for me over the years is to tell me when we start that we will be at the meal by a certain time, or in a certain amount of time, such as within an hour to an hour-and-a-half. When my son was younger, I used to ask him to help me by chiming like a grandfather clock every 15 minutes so I had an idea of where I was at. He did and it was a good way to keep a four or five year old interested in the service.
I am tempted to move the wall clock in our kitchen to the Seder area this year. It was a beautiful clock my parents had hanging in their kitchen which, after they passed away, I claimed for my own. It would be one way to still ‘have them at my Seder’. The problem with moving it now is, I think it will invite people to keep an eye on the time too closely. I think this year I’ll make the announcement about the time frame but I won’t do anything in terms of having visible clocks nearby. Those who want to track the time will just have to rely on their own watches and will hopefully do it nonchalantly.