It’s amazing to me that it has been almost a year since we canceled our on site temple activities beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020. The first holiday
that truly affected us was Passover. For the first time we were not together
for our Seder as a congregational family. Some families were able to be
together in person, some were together on Zoom and others read the
prayers and ate their Hillel sandwich alone or with their spouse. This year
we are still in the same situation, but hopefully we will feel more positive
about the months to come.
Recently we received a brochure from Hillel International entitled “Mah
Nishtanah” Four NEW Questions for Your Seder this Passover”. Even if you
don’t use these questions at your Seder, they are worth thinking about and
perhaps your personal answers will put this year in a different perspective.
Question 1: What does this Seder mean to you? You might recognize
this as the question from the wicked child, but its importance rings true for
us all. We often fall into the habits of ritual without conveying their
meaning. Activity: Ask those at your Seder what the meaning of the
celebration is to them.
Question 2: What are your stories? At its core, Passover is the story of
the Jewish people’s passage from slavery to freedom. While we personally
may not have been slaves, we each have a story of moving from hardship
to better times. Activity: Tell a story of resilience from your personal or
Question 3: What have these last 12 months taught you? “Mah
nishtanah” literally means “what is different”, relying on the differences of
the Seder table to draw out lessons and meaning. These last 12 months
have been very different for all of us. Activity: Share one thing that has
been different this year from previous years, and one lesson you might
draw from this difference.
Question 4: What are your “Dayenus”? At the completion of the Passover
story, we sing Dayenu, a song of gratitude: gratitude for our freedom, for
being brought out of Egypt and for the beauty of Jewish life. Activity: Tell
those you love three things you are grateful for, or write them down and go
around the table (or Zoom call) so that each participant in the Seder has a
chance to share.
Let us raise our glasses together and toast together:
Next year in Jerusalem
L’shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim
לְ שָׁ נָׁה הַ בָׁ אָׁ ה בִּ ירּושָׁ לַיִ