People have been asking me how will they be able to do Passover while in quarantine? A friend tells me “Rabbi this year we won’t be doing a Seder because the kids are not coming.”
Dear friends, Passover is a “Jewish Holiday” not a “Kids Holiday.”
True this year’s Passover is different. There will not be any big family get-together and no community Seders. But the Seder can be done with minimal ingredients and definitely can be done alone.
The preferred is to follow the 15 steps to the Seder in a Haggadah. You can print one with English text at: www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/4685320/jewish/Print-Haggadahs.htm
Here are the minimal ingredients to try and have: Passover matzah, Kosher wine or grape juice, white or plain horseradish root and something special to eat such as Kosher-for-Passover gefilte fish.
The main mitzvah in the Torah is to eat one ounce of plain matzah after dark. One ounce is only a minimum; plain means with no haroset or spreads; and after dark is after 8 p.m. in Rhode Island. Visit www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4361097/jewish/In-the-Evening-They-Shall-Eat-Matzot-The-Commandment-to-Eat-Matzot.htm to learn more.
We drink four cups of wine or grape juice (3½ fluid ounces each). We fill a cup before each recitation and recite the blessing and drink it while reclining after each recitation.
The four recitations are 1. Kiddush, 2. Haggadah – telling the Passover story, 3. Grace after the meal, 4. Reciting Hallel.
It is also a mitzvah to eat one ounce of bitter herbs such as white horseradish without the beets or romaine lettuce (romaine lettuce needs to be washed and checked to make sure there are no tiny bugs). Visit www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1749/jewish/What-Is-Maror.htm to learn more.
And then there is the mitzvah of telling the story, even if telling the story to oneself.
The exodus was not simply an event that happened to us in the past. It is an event that we became. It is who we are. It is the life of each one of us, occurring again and again, in our wrestling match with the world, in our struggle with our own selves. We embody freedom in a constant mode of escape. Perhaps that is why Jews have always been the rebels of society, the ones who think out of the box. The experience of leaving Egypt left such an indelible mark on our souls, we never stopped doing it. A Jew who has stopped exiting Egypt has ceased to allow his soul to breathe.
Let us hope and pray that this health crisis ends with a complete freedom and the final redemption, the coming of Moshiach and may we celebrate Passover THIS year in Jerusalem, Amen!
To hear a short message on leaving Egypt visit www.chabad.org/4691514
RABBI YOSSI LAUFER (RabbiWarwick@gmail.com) is the rabbi at Chabad West Bay in Warwick.