1. Our great sages teach us that Passover is about historical empathy. We empathically remember slavery in Egypt; we empathically remember the pain the Egyptians faced while experiencing the plagues. COVID-19 is also about empathy. We empathically think about the first responders, medical providers – including technicians, orderlies, and even those hospital workers who provide food to admitted patients – and truck drivers working extended hours and those who work at markets. How can we use the practice of empathy as we understand the meaning of Passover?
2. In a traditional Passover Seder, we drink four cups of wine to describe God taking the Israelites out of slavery. In Modern Passover Seders, it is customary to add a fifth glass of wine to be thankful for the State of Israel. If you decide to add a sixth cup of wine, how would you dedicate this cup as we experience COVID-19?
3. Many traditional Haggadot do not mention Moses. This suggests that we understand the Exodus story as the work of God; our rabbis do not want us to worship Moses. Others suggest that we do not mention Moses because we all must be leaders; we must bring peace and freedom to others. How can we be leaders during and after COVID-19?
4. Many of us are celebrating Passover without our family and friends; some of us will experience a Passover Seder through electronic conferencing programs. Still, even with the advancement of technologies, our Seders will look and feel differently. But, perhaps, this can be the year where we experience something new in Judaism. In the Torah, we learn about the “Pesach Sheni – the Second Passover.” God enacted the Second Passover for those individuals who cannot partake in the regular Passover celebration because of health reasons. Would you consider participating in a “Second Passover” once we are safe from this virus? Do you think engaging in a “Second Passover” can help complement your Jewish practice?
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