So here's the thing about a seder. If you read any of the haggadah, the traditional prayer-story-guide book for the seder, you read about the ten plagues. And unless you make it into a huge play and then your kids forget about them except for the fun part, it's hard to make sense of the ten plagues. Our own seder was a bit of fiasco, but the plagues were discussed and this morning my son asked to hear about "the bad stuff" that was in the haggadah. After some very dramatic reading of the ten plagues -- a reading, I would add, that left off any mention of God hardening Pharoh's heart after each plague (I dare you to explain that to a four-year-old), my daughter turned to me and said, "Why is God so mean?"
What could I say but "Oy!" On the inside, out loud I think I just stammered. And when I came up with something about how hard it is to be free and how mean the Pharoh was, Helen said, "No, mommy, I have to understand it for myself." At least I didn't have to answer the question.