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How is this Night Different From All other NIghts?

04/02/2020 12:00:21 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

How will this night be different from all other nights? Indeed, there are potentially many answers. But to back up a bit, even though all of us will not be privileged to have the usual Seder with family and friends in person, that does not mean that Passover is canceled. It is not. It is always good to give the house a spring cleaning, although for many, the disinfecting and cleaning has been ongoing for quite a bit of time. I have read of many who have been utilizing their time at home cleaning and organizing, so Passover cleaning fits in perfectly!

The absence of guests for the Passover Seder will be jarring to many, even though it is a necessary precaution to keep everyone safe and well. The good news is that for those of you who might be interested, I will be hosting a Virtual Seder, live streaming from my dining room table. If you wish to join me, register in advance to receive the Zoom link and download the Haggadah.

The themes of slavery, freedom and plagues keep swirling in our heads, as we are finding new ways to relate to this ancient tale of the beginning of the Israelites. Perhaps with our new understanding might come increased sensitivity to those who do suffer in slavery, lack freedom, or have been impacted by this plague. The Torah commands us thirty-six times to remember the stranger, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt. What ways might we reach out, despite our imposed quarantine, to remember the stranger? How can we help those most severely impacted in ways that are meaningful? For those in a position to do so here in Pittsburgh, a donation to the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, or the East End Cooperative Ministry. If you are familiar with Mazon, you can go on-line and donate to them as well. With so many layoffs, these organizations are facing incredible challenges to serve a burgeoning population as well as keep their staff and clients safe.

The Haggadah remains an organic, living tapestry that reflects new challenges in each generation. Witness the availability of more than 500 potential Hagadot that one might purchase. To return to my opening question, I felt that we needed to append some fresh thoughts to the texts. Thus here is my collection of contemporary thoughts that you might include in your Passover Seder as food for thought. As you gather electronically, may your Passover be sweet, and may you be privileged to tell this new chapter to later generations.

Sun, May 24 2020 1 Sivan 5780