What Kind of Pesach Is This Going to Be?

It’s pretty hard to believe that this time next week it will be Passover when it feels like the world as we know it has changed so much as we face our fears, our solitude, our anxiety, our sadness and so much more. 

How is this Passover different to all other Passovers?  Well, in just about every way possible.

So, how do we deal with all this change and still celebrate this holiday that is important and precious to so many of us?  First of all I think we really have to chill out, be gentle on ourselves and give ourselves a break. 

By now, many of us would traditionally be frantically cleaning out our spaces, scouring our surfaces, throwing out anything that may be infected with the dreaded chametz virus and filling shelves with Kosher for Passover goodies. 

I encourage us to see this as a year of minimalism and simplicity and let ourselves off the hook that everything has to be just right. We have never lived through a global pandemic crisis in lockdown before, so let’s accept the situation and do what we can and practice self compassion.

Most of us have spent way more time in our homes than we are used to and maybe noticed clutter and interference that is bugging us and this might be a good opportunity to shed it. Dayenu!

Let’s not waste food that does not need to be thrown out – we can donate, or put stuff away until after the Holiday, or even use opened stuff that has no hametz in it. Dayenu!

Let’s accept that any place where hametz has never been does not need to be attacked with chemicals and blow torches. Dayenu!

Let’s do the minimum and not the maximum; enjoying the process of cleaning and kashering in a way that feels manageable and realistic. Dayenu!

Let’s consider simple, nutritious food for our Passover meals. (Fresh produce does not need any kosher certification!)  Some matzah, some soup, some salad, fruit and vegetables. Dayenu!

Let’s let ourselves off the hook that we have to have the most relevant, creative, meaningful, technological, engaging, joyful, spiritual seder ever and be content with something simple, even boring (or sh’vach as a colleague has called it.) Dayenu!

Many of us will be having virtual online seders with family and friends for the first time this year, which is great, and some of us might be feeling that we should be doing that, but aren’t sure or don’t really want to. Maybe a seder with just two or even one is perfectly fine too.  Dayenu!

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About Rabbi Marc Soloway

Marc is a native of London, England where he was an actor and practitioner of complimentary medicine before training as a rabbi in London, Jerusalem and Los Angeles. He was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies at the American Jewish University in 2004 and has been the the spiritual leader at Bonai Shalom in Boulder ever since. Marc was a close student of Rabbi Zalman Schechter Shalomi and received an additional smicha (rabbinic ordination) from him in 2014, just two months before he died. He has been the host and narrator of two documentary films shown on PBS; A Fire in the Forest: In Search of the Baal Shem Tov and Treasure under the Bridge: Pilgrimage to the Hasidic Masters of Ukraine. Marc is a graduate of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, has traveled to Ghana in a rabbinic delegation with American Jewish World Service and co-chair of the Rabbinical Council and national board member of Hazon, which strives to create more sustainable Jewish communities. In 2015, Marc was among a group of 12 faith leaders honored at The White House as “Champions of Change” for work on the climate. Marc is a proud member of Beit Izim, Boulder’s Jewish goat milking co-op.

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