We’ve basically stopped using our front door. Our shoes, jackets and hats have all migrated to the back of our house. Because when we go out, it’s now almost always into our yard.
Our red front door facing the outside world has started to remind me of the thresholds the Israelites painted with blood that night before leaving Egypt. They were seeking protection, praying that the terrifying plague would pass over their homes.
The list of what makes this Passover different from all other Passovers is long: Our gatherings will be small, our menu will be simple, the hand washing will be less obscure, and the story may feel closer to home.
I know it may be overwhelming to even think about gathering your household at the table for a seder of sorts this year. But I also know that, if we can create an opening, the ritual will bring new power, comfort and connection.
Because that’s how the Exodus began: with households gathered in their own homes for a special meal of gratitude, feeling both eager and anxious to leave their place.
Like us, the Israelites were confronting an unethical ruler driven by ego. Fed up and frustrated, they cried out for help, but didn’t understand exactly how liberation would be possible. Like us, they didn’t know how they’d get through to the other side of the sea or travel through the wilderness or what they’d find when they eventually reached the Promised Land.
Despite all these fears and unknowns, the people managed to band together, and recognize a larger Force in their lives. They navigated the way one step and one day at a time. And that’s my hope for all of us in the weeks ahead.
With this in mind, our upcoming Circles and Gatherings (see that page) will focus on the wisdom of Passover. We'll even make our own matzah, because all you need is flour, water and 18 minutes!
May we learn to blend bitter with sweet, fear with love, and the tears of so many losses with hopeful signs of spring.
May the courageous ones who cannot work from home stay safe and protected.
May all who suffer find relief.
Rabbi Bethie Miller writes periodic reflections on the state of our world and the Jewish project. She also writes about creative ideas for combining Jewish wisdom with our modern lives. Here are links to previous ones:
The Day is Short (6/16/20)
Spiritual Mountain Climbing Without Leaving the House (5/14/20)
Shabbat Peace, Love & Light (3/20/20)
Sources of Connection as We Practice Social Distancing (3/16/20)
Purim Has Never Felt So Resonant (3/9/20)
The Miracle of Chanukah (12/20/19)
To Be Jewish is To Be Grateful (12/2/19)
What I Learned During the High Holy Days (10/16/19)
New Year, New Project - Welcome to Sanctuary (10/3/19)