Why is this night truly different from all other nights? Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers?
On this night, when a new challenge threatens our collective well-being on an unimaginable scale, we are called to respond with the complete power of our humanity as a people, with the strength of hope and determination that we will prevail and this crisis will soon “pass over” us.
We pray for those at-risk, the stricken and the isolated. We pray for the First Responders and medical personnel, who dedicate their lives every day to fighting for our lives, even while putting their own at risk. We are grateful for the grocery store clerks and delivery people who are still doing their jobs to help us through this dark time.
On this Passover night, when so many of us are separated from family and loved ones at a traditional time of being together, we strive to find new ways to reach out to each other with renewed compassion and love. We may find new opportunities for connection – and new interpretations of the rituals so familiar in other years. Through the ages, it has often been the case that Passover has been the most meaningful when the circumstances were the most challenging, when we were not free, just as it was from the very first Passover, when we were escaping Egypt, or when it was observed in dark hiding places during the Spanish Inquisition, or the Crusades…or the Holocaust. While our circumstances are not be nearly as dire, they pose new challenges – and we can find new understandings and ways to ease the suffering of others.
Pesach represents the idea of rebirth and a release from the darkness into the light – and the faith that together as a people we are stronger than we are as individuals, creating our positive destiny. There may be personal sadness and even fear, but as a community we can lean on each other, and find fortitude, solidarity – and most of all, hope that a brighter day is coming. We entered the Red Sea as a large group of individual Israelites…but when we arrived on the other side, we emerged as one stronger Jewish people.
We pray in the tradition of our people:
“Spread over us Your canopy of peace. Shelter us in the shadow of Your wings. Guard us and deliver us. Grant us life and peace. Now and forever.”
Wishing you and your loved ones a Chag Pesach Sameach – a Happy and meaningful Passover holiday.
And always know, that we are here.
Ruth Steinberg, LCSW
Director, Jewish Family Service
P.S. A Seder Suggestion: Mark this unusual year by adding an item to your Seder plate tonight. Perhaps a lemon to remind us to make “lemonade from lemons” as we move forward with our Passover rituals the best we can, maybe even creating new traditions.