Enough Maror! Dayenu! Enough!

A message from Rabbi David J. Gelfand

On all other Passover’s we eat maror, bitter herbs, remembering our ancestors hardships. Amidst the Coronavirus every headline speaks of maror stories. Dayenu! Enough! Normalcy is not for this Passover. This Passover will be like no Passover before.

This will be a Passover that we’ll never forget! We’ll be homebound to avoid doing harm to ourselves, our families and all around us. The rituals will take on new meaning and the prayers will have a new urgency. Though smaller, even with limited seders, rituals and food, for many of us, it can also be powerful. Like the Biblical plagues in Egypt, no one will be unscathed and there is much to talk about. This Passover will be like when our grandparents or parents told us about how their seder lasted late into the night, or how high the snow was when they were little kids, or how far they walked to school or some other almost unbelievable story.

Here and now let us affirm that this Passover we will wish our loved ones and friends good health and courage during this 11th Plague. When in the future you will be asked what you did in these trying times, will you be proud of what you did and did not do? Did you live by our values, even while you hunkered down? Were you a good friend? Did you support those enslaved by fear and anxiety amidst the darkness of the pandemic?

On all other Passover’s we are surrounded by family and dear friends, and a guest or two, but this year we FaceTime and Zoom and call, and even as it breaks our hearts and it feels so unnatural to be apart, let us pray for when are doors will be open again and our homes filled with loving voices and a shared meal. Let us remember others and reach out. May we have the strength and courage to make and sustain connections, even if it’s not ideal. No matter how difficult, alone or lonely we may feel, we still have the power to share love, to give and to receive. May God heal us this Passover and may we do what we can to heal those who need our support and our love. And, let us be free of our anxiety to help those on the frontlines who help others at risk to their own lives. May that time come soon and may Elijah, who heralds redemption for all people, come soon. And while we wait, let us be grateful for our blessings

Like the Jews wandering in the desert who knew not when their journey would take them to the Promised Land, we are wandering this year with much uncertainty, but also with many blessings. Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh? Why is this night/this Passover different? It’s we who are different, yet we can make Passover and our lives have meaning, purpose and even inspiration. Passover arrives just in time this year to remind us of what we need most and what’s truly most important: freedom for all forms of darkness. Darkness and maror – Dayenu! Let’s rededicate ourselves to rekindling our Passover values.

After all, God made us to make light against the darkness, especially at Passover! Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

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