This is not the post you might think it will be. It may, however, be the funniest “multicultural moment” I have experienced in a long time.
First, I will tell you that ever since the Temple Har Shalom Community Seder on the second night of Passover, Seth has been obsessed—obsessed, I tell you—with the song Dayenu. (I think it has something to do with the overall “party-on” tone of the event—truly one of the most fun seders I have ever attended. Each child received a goody bag upon arrival, complete with props for the ten plagues–think finger puppets, toy frogs, and Plague Masks. Check out my guys, below—if there is such thing as a fitting plague costume, it’s Seth in the Wild Animals mask. That’s for sure.)
Anyway, back to Dayenu…If you are not familiar with this #1 Passover hit, it details all the miracles G-d granted the Jews, but argues that just one would have been enough for us.
The refrain of the song is the Hebrew word that means “it would have been enough for us,” and you will have to trust me that the repeated singing of the word Dayenu is nothing short of catchy.
It goes something like this: Di, di-eynu, di-diyenu, di diyenu, dayenu dayenu.
Click on the link, above, to get the drift.
So, at the seder, we were introduced to a tradition that Rabbi Aaronson told us began with Afghani Jews: As you sing the chorus, you hold a scallion by the bulb and hit your neighbor with the greens. Naturally, the kids in the room (and, yes, the adults) were thrilled with the idea of Rabbinically-endorsed vegetable weaponry. My kids, especially.
And it’s probably why, nearly two weeks after the seder, my son was singing Dayenu all morning, today.
At breakfast, in the shower, and, yep, during carpool. Seth and his carpool buddy get into very animated debates about things like whether Legos are for boys or girls–or both. Come to think of it, they have a pretty decent feel for current events.
But here’s how this morning differed from all other mornings:
On this morning, Seth announced to our little blond, braided friend: I am going to teach you a song…in HEBREW.
He launches into the chorus, and then says, “You get to hit your mom with a scallion when you sing this!” To my ear, it was reported with just a bit more enthusiasm than made me comfortable. But whatevs.
After they exhausted Dayenu, the little girl said, “Now I’m going to teach you a song!”
“If you’re sexy and you know it, clap your hands!”
That’s right, sexy.
In these moments, I try to play it cool—I don’t want to create a ruckus of shame and self-doubt in a four year-old’s psyche. I don’t want to have some crazy over the top reaction about how four year-olds should not know the word “sexy.” Four year olds hear stuff. They repeat it. Especially if they have older brothers.
I’m sure that people smarter and more PC than I am would have just ignored it.
But I laughed. Hard.
And I couldn’t leave it there. I had to ask how she arrived at this lyric!
Still, I kept my tone light—”Hee hee, sweetie, where did you learn that song?”–Because I knew she was just repeating something innocently, and since I know her mom to be one of the good ones, who keep childhood child-like, I knew that the explanation would be totally innocent. Or would have something to do with her older brothers, ages 6 and 8, who are precocious and hilarious and just as innocent. But not free of mischief.
I was, it turned out, half-right:
And I won’t lie: her matter-of-fact response has had me chuckling aloud all day:
“Oh, I learned ‘sexy’ from my brothers…” which she pronounces, ‘brudders” –“and I learned the clap your hands part in Church school!”
I just want to know if she’s going to turn up to Sunday school with a scallion to accompany her mashup.
Of course, now, when I see her mom, the only acceptable greeting is, “Clap Your Hands!”
And, now, I will direct you to the top of this post, in order to inspect the mashup of tags I never dreamed I’d create.