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Though Corona and COVID-19 are quickly becoming a plague upon the world, we at Haggadot.com believe Passover does NOT need to be canceled! We can still let our people seder :)
With the help of video conferencing technology like Zoom and our online 2020 Haggadah Favorites, Haggadot.com is committed to helping you host a seder that is both community-oriented but also safety-first.
Passover has always been a holiday where space and time are like one of our favorite Jewish scientist heroes Albert Einstein said: relative.
Throughout history, Jews have been called to imagine what it was like to be in the same time and space as their ancestral, enslaved Jews in Egypt.
And after the Jews reached their homeland, but were dispersed in the diaspora, Jews have since imagined that next year they will be back in the space of Jerusalem.
This year, with extensive travel restrictions in place and with immuno-compromised family members’ health to take into consideration, your family may decide to gather online across the time zones to celebrate Passover.
Haggadot.com’s flexible resources allow families to create a meaningful holiday together by printing and using their customized haggadot from anywhere in the world.
When we end our seder saying, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” we might also want to add a wish of “Next year may we be physically together in the same space.”
Thinking of time and space, what else about the Passover story can be a metaphor for these concepts? What ideas about being present in your mind are there to consider? What freedom from too many grievances from the past can we attain? And what feelings about living too much in fear about the future can we clear?
While we hope to add content related to the current events, this Haggadah mostly includes our favorite content that transcends these particular times. Hope you enjoy!
Stay safe, joyous, and observant.
This year, besides removing chametz from our home, we will remove ourselves from each other.
By distancing ourselves from leavened bread products, and our friends and family, we are following the commandments of G-d and the sometimes equally important commandments of our collective humanity.
We are blessed to have pantries stocked with food and the choice to take a break from bread. But, if we decide to hang onto those precious carbs, that might be OK too, Together, we say:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al biur hametz.
In this time of corona/COVID-19, we are thankful that not only do we have the power of fire and light, but that we have the contemporary power of electricity. Without electricity we would not be able to connect over our phones for virtual seders or other virtual family gatherings.
Let’s light our candles and plug in our phones or computers if we need to :) and say:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.
The Shehecheyanu is a beautiful and gratitude-centered blessing. It thanks the Divine for sustaining us, maintaining us, and enabling us to reach this moment in life. Especially in these strange and sometimes trying times, we give thanks for the resilience and strength to endure.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu v'ki'manu v'higi-anu laz'man hazeh.
Kadesh is a time to sanctify the moment. No matter how difficult our current moment may be, we still can mark the holiness of our time and our dignity as individuals in a community of blessings. No matter how tough times may be, we're still fortunate to be able to sit and toast each other over a glass of wine :)
Some of you, in the back or forefront of your mind, might be feeling like you do not want to compromise your immune systems by drinking 4 glasses of wine tonight :) So maybe just have a sip! Or have some orange juice, or whatever kind of immune boosting cocktail you prefer! Either way, we will now say the Kiddush blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha'olam, bo're p'ri hagafen.
In many faith traditions, water is associated with purification and rebirth. It often marks a transition or a change in ourselves. During the seder, we use water to wash our hands not just before we eat, but earlier too. Urchatz, this first handwashing, does not include a blessing. We save that for Rachtzah, the second washing.
So for this first handwashing, instead of a blessing or singing happy birthday, use these 20 seconds to meditate. What are the transitions happening in your life right now? What are you cleansing from yourself? How do you want to be reborn?
Like many Jewish holidays, Passover connects to cycles in nature. Karpas, a green vegetable like parsley or celery, symbolizes springtime. We dip the karpas into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. As many of us shed tears due to loss of work or of our daily routines, it can be easy to lose sight of the new season beginning just outside our doors. We mix a bit of this symbol of hope and springtime with a little sadness as we say the blessing together:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha`olam, bo'rei p'ri ha'adama
Yachatz is where we break the middle matzah, which symbolizes the strength of the Jews to escape from their situation in Egypt no matter what. We, too, are being challenged to dig deep and be strong. Here’s to not breaking under the stress or discomfort of our current situation and maintaining hope that G-d will be there for us in our time of need.
Parents, how do we relate and talk to our children in the time of corona/COVID-19? When our children are already not yet used to cleaning themselves or taking necessary precautions? How can we help them grow up healthily, happily, and wisely?
Children, it may be time for you to take some more responsibility for your well-being if you are able to.
Be The Wise Child and follow the commandments of G-d, your parents and the CDC
Don’t be a Wicked Child and disobey and get yourself sick or others in your family and community.
And what of the Simple Child that isn’t aware that they need to stay safe or the Child That Doesn’t Even Know How To Ask A Question?
Parents, family, friends, community, siblings, Wise and Wicked children, we must look out for them even more during this time!
We are instructed every Passover to say that, “Not only one enemy has risen against us, but in every generation there are those who will rise against us.”
In 2020 or 5780, it seems a natural enemy has risen against us.
For the secular humanists among us, that means we, Jews, and we, the greater humanity, must rally together for the common good.
For the Orthodox, conservative, and traditionalists among us, that means we must have faith that G-d will deliver us from that that seeks to harm us.
And for the mystics or Kabbalists among us, that means we are looking both inward and outward to ourselves and to G-d to bring about the miracle of peace.
No matter who you are, or what your faith is, we, in this generation, are in this together.
We arrive at a second moment of hand-washing. A practical moment since we are about to begin our meal. However, in this time of constantly washing and sanitizing to protect ourselves and those we love, our hands may feel raw and chapped. We say a blessing after washing to sanctify the act and elevate from the hundreds of other times we have washed our hands today.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.
Plans cancelled, flights grounded, businesses closed, stock portfolios plummeting, people suffering. We all have reason to feel a little bitter these days. During Passover, we eat bitter herbs like horseradish to remind ourselves of the hardships of slavery. But we do not allow the bitterness to consume us entirely. After that sting, we mix a little sweetness from the charoset into the maror. We pause and bless the moment of confronting our difficulties, grateful that they too shall pass.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.
The Nirtzah marks the conclusion of the seder. At this time, we normally look forward to the future and offer a hope that “Next year, we will be in Jerusalem.” This year, with the plague of Corona/COVID-19, we might offer an extra prayer. “Next year, not just in Jerusalem, but also in person, together with our loved ones.”