U’rchatz in a time of Covid 19  (updated 3/5/2020)   written by Rabbi Debra Hachen

This year, the symbolic washing of the hands in a basin of clean water has taken on new meaning.  Yes, our seder table is an altar; our prayers an offering hearkening back to the priests of the Temple centuries ago.  Yet that altar – the plates and dishes and foods laid out so carefully – need protection.  Even our own hands are capable of physically bringing danger or illness or death into our homes.  Holy One of Blessing, bless our hands this night and through the weeks ahead.  Let us learn to use them not only to keep ourselves and others healthy, but to do the tasks that are still within our grasp. 

These are the hands that have turned ordinary acts into sacred ones: cleaning our homes, teaching our children, collecting or creating masks for those in need, typing messages of comfort to family and friends, dropping off food to those more isolated than ourselves.  Bless these hands.

These are the hands that patiently care for those within our very walls:  our family or friends, the animals whose lives are entrusted to us, or just ourselves.  Bless these hands.

These are the hands that are longing to hold the hands of loved ones closed off in nursing homes or assisted living or memory care or hospitals. Bless these hands.

These are the hands that now have time to tend a garden, turn the pages of a book that sat too long on a shelf, sort through old photos, knit a gift for others.  Bless these hands.

O Sustainer of Life, the one who makes hope possible even in dark times, bless our hands that when the time comes to emerge again into the world, we may extend them more gently to hug a friend, shake hands with our neighbor, walk side by side with a stranger, or stroke the face of a grandparent or grandchild, mother or father, sister or brother, partner or lover. Let our hands be instruments of your compassion and love in this imperfect world.

haggadah Section: Urchatz
Source: Rabbi Debra Hachen