Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Passover Thoughts, Covid-19 Edition

I've been mulling over what it means to celebrate Passover in a world wrestling COVID-19. For one thing, it meant trading a raucous multi-family seder for a quaint (and delightful!) one between Shira, Myself and our 11 week old.

Like the first Passover our ancestors went through, we find ourselves under a stay at home order, with an unseen force lurking outside ready to do harm. Sure, the CDC has called for social distancing, and not smearing lamb's blood on your doorpost, but the message remains the same: stay home, heed the instructions of experts, and stay safe.

I'm also gaining fresh perspective on what it means to have your life dramatically altered seemingly overnight. We look at the Jews leaving Egypt as going from slaves to free men and women. But that's with the benefit of a hefty dose of hindsight. In the moment, you can appreciate how it must have felt like trading one precarious situation for another. That is, to go from a slave to a wandering people unsure where your next drink or meal could be found.

While COVID-19 restrictions didn't go into effect at the stroke of midnight, they have descended on us at an alarming rate. Suddenly, parents are home-schooling teachers; office workers are work-from-home employees, and a massive number of people are simply unemployed. Basic human interactions, like sharing a meal or giving a hug are now off limits. The science tells us this is all for our own good. But like those Israelites heading into the desert and being told how fortunate they are to be free, you can be forgiven for wondering: what the heck did we get ourselves into?!

Here's to enduring the scourge that is COVID-19 with as little hardship as possible, and diligently looking for ways to use it as fuel for good. Like our ancestors, may we be able to look back at these events and see more than just the challenges. And next year in Jerusalem! Or really anywhere, as long as it's together in the same room.

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