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What Kind of Pesach is it Going to be this year?

04/02/2020 05:11:11 PM


It’s pretty hard to believe that this time next week it will be Passover when it feels like the world as we know it has changed so much as we face our fears, our solitude, our anxiety, our sadness and so much more.  How is this Passover different to all other Passovers?  Well, in just about every way possible. So, how do we deal with all this change and still celebrate this holiday that is important and precious to so many of us?  First of all I think we really have to chill out, be gentle on ourselves and give ourselves a break.  By now, many of us would traditionally be frantically cleaning out our spaces, scouring our surfaces, throwing out anything that may be infected with the dreaded chametz virus and filling shelves with Kosher for Passover goodies.  I encourage us to see this as a year of minimalism and simplicity and let ourselves off the hook that everything has to be just right. We have never lived through a global pandemic crisis in lockdown before, so let’s accept the situation and do what we can and practice self compassion.

Most of us have spent way more time in our homes than we are used to and maybe noticed clutter and interference that is bugging us and this might be a good opportunity to shed it. Dayenu!

Let’s not waste food that does not need to be thrown out – we can donate, or put stuff away until after the Holiday, or even use opened stuff that has no hametz in it. Dayenu! 

Let’s accept that any place where hametz has never been does not need to be attacked with chemicals and blow torches. Dayenu!

Let’s do the minimum and not the maximum; enjoying the process of cleaning and kashering in a way that feels manageable and realistic. Dayenu!

Let’s consider simple, nutritious food for our Passover meals. (Fresh produce does not need any kosher certification!)  Some matzah, some soup, some salad, fruit and vegetables. Dayenu!

Let’s let ourselves off the hook that we have to have the most relevant, creative, meaningful, technological, engaging, joyful, spiritual seder ever and be content with something simple, even boring (or sh’vach as a colleague has called it.) Dayenu! 

Many of us will be having virtual online seders with family and friends for the first time this year, which is great, and some of us might be feeling that we should be doing that, but aren’t sure or don’t really want to. Maybe a seder with just two or even one is perfectly fine too.  Dayenu!

For those of you wanting more guidance on how to achieve some of this within the framework of our movement, below are two links: one from the Rabbinical Assembly and one for Masorti UK, written by my rabbi and mentor, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg.

Rabbinical Assembly Pesach Guidelines

Pesach during Coronavirus from Masorti UK

(written by Rabbi Marc’s rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg)

For Virtual Seder Resources

Join workshop Friday at 9am here

USCJ Webinar on leading a virtual seder here

Online haggadah resources here

Blessings for moments of joy, simplicity and gentleness throughout this scary time.

Let’s all continue to do what we have to do to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy


Rabbi Marc

Physical distancing, social connecting, spiritual deepening.


Sun, November 28 2021 24 Kislev 5782