Preparing for a challenging and harrowing Pesach experience

Passover table (Jewish News)
Passover table (Jewish News)

I just experienced a rather strange sort of Shabbat. The Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol, The Great Sabbath, and it is usually the time I start churning over in my mind all the things I need to prepare and do before Passover. I didn’t do that…. My hubby and I sat pensively and quietly contemplating the previous difficult days.

As a rule of thumb, we entertain people for dinner on Friday night and enjoy the Friday night traditional evening meal with friends and family, but not this week or the week before. For so many of us throughout the world, this joy is currently no longer possible.

Furthermore, for over 2 years Howard’s father Len z”l (may his memory be blessed) would join us for Shabbat lunch. Latterly we welcomed Howard’s sister, too, and this gave us all some good family moments and comfort together.

Today, would have been my brother in law’s stone -setting, as he passed away tragically and very suddenly after Pesach last year.

So, I’m trying to get my head round Pesach which is going to be, for our family a rather challenging and harrowing experience.

As we remind ourselves of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom, and as we eat symbolic foods especially the Matzah, I know this year I will be asking only one question.

Why is this night different from all others?

We will speak of the 10 Plagues that G-d brought onto the Pharaoh and Egyptian nation but this year, I will be adding an 11th plague; that of the corona virus .A plague that has struck with such venom across the globe and is not discriminating between nations, gender, free or enslaved peoples, rich or poor, young or old and shows little sign of dissipating.

We will tell the story of our slavery as best we can and enjoy a meal, just the two of us, and will try and sing with a degree of gusto the Hallel, praises to G-d, in the hope that He hears the Psalms and remembers us all and provides succour to those who are unwell and those others still grieving.

We can take comfort in knowing that many others close friends and family will be raising their cup of wine at more or less the same time. with a big hurrah and a heartfelt LChaim – To Life.

Pesach Love and Nissan Miracles.

About the Author
Leonie is an ex charity and community consultant, and former director of the Jewish Volunteering Network