Reflections on the Seder during the Corona Crisis

This year, as we enter into the seder night, we do not have to question why this night is different from all others.  We are overwhelmed with feelings concerning how different this seder night is from others in the past.  It seems that the Pesach story and the Haggadah are in many ways parallel to the corona crisis that now confronts us.

It is the story of plagues….It is the story of dealing with affliction and gathering strength and moving forward to the promised land….It is the story of finding a new life after the plagues…..

Perhaps we can take some time to reflect on the seder:

  1. Seder means order.  We have had to find a new order to our lives during these trying times. The Seder night has an order to it.  We follow this prescribed order in the Haggadah.  We are following a new order to our lives right now. The Haggadah teaches us that if we want to really find freedom, we have to leave behind what has been a bondage and find a new order for our lives.
  2. There is also the Hebrew expression  הכל בסדר  – everything is okay. Many of us are trying to find a way to be okay during these disturbing times.  How can we make our lives okay?  How can we stay safe and okay?
  3. Haggadah – means telling over.  Talking.  Telling our stories to our family, our children, our friends.  How often due to the fast-paced life we live in this world, we seldom have time to really talk to or tell our stories to our families and friends.  And yet, during these times, when we perhaps can’t be with our families and friends, many of us are finding the time to talk, really talk to them, whether through the phone or the newly discovered zoom.
  4. We read about the plagues during the seder.  In the past they were something distant that we couldn’t relate to.  Today we understand what a plague can mean and how it can run rampant and change the world.

I wish for you a meaningful and enjoyable seder – despite the fact that you are perhaps alone, or without family, or children or grandchildren.

I pray that we can all learn and grow from this crisis and perhaps even build a better world as a result.

Chag Kasher Ve’Sameach,


About the Author
Debbie Gross is the founder and director of Tahel - Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children. Debbie is the recent recipient of The Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize which recognizes the achievements of outstanding Anglo Olim.
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