I decided to try something new—something VERY new—at the start of our most recent TSTI Board of Trustees meeting. Instead of a traditional Dvar Torah at the start of the meeting I decided to let the latest technology do it for me. I launched one of the artificial intelligence writing services that have garnered so much attention lately and instructed it to: “Retell the teaching of the four children from the Passover seder from a modern perspective.”
Within a few moments this is what came back.
A New Take on an Ancient Story: The Four Children of Passover Retold
Passover is a celebration that has been around since the time of Moses, and every year families gather together to retell the story of the four children. But what if we look at this beloved story with some modern insight? This text will explore how each of the four children can be reimagined in a contemporary context.
The Wise Child: The wise child is described as the one who understands and appreciates the story. To bring this child into a more modern light, think of them as someone who takes time to understand and appreciate their heritage, culture, and identity. In today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all we have access to, but taking a step back and being mindful of our history can be incredibly rewarding. For example, recognizing where our ancestors came from or learning about different cultures can help us build better relationships with those around us, which in turn leads to greater understanding and appreciation for our shared experiences. Ultimately, becoming a wise child means using knowledge as a tool to connect us all together.
The Wicked Child: The wicked child is described as someone who rebels against tradition without understanding why they are rebelling in the first place. In today’s world, this could be seen as someone who makes decisions without considering how those decisions may affect others or themselves. For example, making choices that do not consider their consequences or thinking about short-term gains over long-term investments are two examples of how someone could be considered “wicked” in this day and age. If we want to move towards creating a better society for everyone involved, then it is important that each person take responsibility for their actions and think before they act.
The Simple Child: The simple child is described as someone who does not ask questions but accepts things at face value—someone who follows instructions without considering any underlying meaning behind them. In modern terms, this could be seen as someone who blindly follows rules or trends without ever questioning why they exist in the first place or if there are any alternatives available that would benefit everyone involved. Remembering to stay curious and ask questions can help us better understand our own beliefs and values, while also helping us make more informed decisions when it comes to our actions—both individually and collectively!
The One Who Does Not Know How To Ask: Finally, there is the one who does not know how to ask; they simply don’t have enough information available to them in order to form meaningful questions about something completely foreign. This kind of person could exist in any number of contexts today—from someone new to a concept or idea that needs more education on its basics before they can form meaningful questions about it (such as understanding what SEO actually means), or even just people unable to access certain resources due to socio-economic factors. In either case, providing access to resources such as mentorships or educational opportunities can help empower people by giving them the tools necessary for success no matter their background!
The Four Children of Passover is an ancient story with lessons applicable even today—lessons to remind us that knowledge should always be pursued no matter what context we find ourselves in, whether it’s through asking questions or seeking out resources available to us! By doing so we create an environment where everyone has equal opportunity for success, while simultaneously respecting tradition and creating meaningful connections between individuals from all walks of life!
Some people are “all in” with the new technology and are excited to see what can be achieved using artificial intelligence. Others are deeply concerned by the implications of AI and the ways it might be abused. I think the tech is interesting, but am generally neutral on its implications. There will be people who use AI to cut corners and do as little work as possible. But those same people already have ways to do just that and AI will just be one more means to cheat. Others will use it as another tool to aid their research and writing. They understand that content generated by AI is no replacement for the personal connection when teaching a lesson, the family anecdote when trying to drive home a point, or the raw emotion that draws the reader or listener in. AI content may be “informationally” accurate (one should still fact check the generated content) but it lacks the personal element. It lacks a soul.
In the end, artificial intelligence is just another tool. The wise child will find it to be one more tool they can use to generate their own unique content. The wicked child will cut corners and try to pass AI content off as their own. But, like all new technologies, now that this genie is out of the box, we will have to come to terms with how and when to use it appropriately.
Whether you use the Maxwell House Haggadah, one of the myriad “modern” Haggadot, a Haggadah you created for your own seder, or one you created, I pray that this Passover season will be a meaningful one. May our Seders celebrate the ancient lessons of freedom and renew our commitment to bringing those lessons into our world.
Rabbi Daniel Cohen