Barbara Cooper

We will not be alone. Pesach will be WITH us…

complete with the customs and observances.  We will not keep the holiday out despite the fact that family and friends will not be able to gather in the same way that we have in the past.

When something bad happens I immediately say “Baruch Hashem.”  Why?  Because I am thankful that whatever the “bad” is, it could have been worse.  And my assumption, of course, is that it is Hashem’s doing—to only allow a certain level of “bad.”

While I am not at all thankful for this global pandemic, the scope of which is beyond anything that we have ever experienced, I still say Baruch Hashem.  With all the disruption and suffering and grieving that we are doing, what do we have to be thankful for?  It takes a bit of thought….

Imagine if we didn’t have the modes of communication that we have nowadays.  While we are limited in our normal daily activities by social distancing and isolation, we are still able to reach out through cyber means to maintain some semblance of—what?—contact.  My Ulpan which has been suspended—as have all schools—is able to connect on Zoom.  Although in a different mode, our “classroom” instruction continues, and we receive “shiur bayit” by email.  It was Hashem’s Plan that caused us to develop our “cyber legs” to the extent that we are not cut off completely in this horrific situation.  Baruch Hashem.

I don’t mean to minimize what we are going through.  I have my share of nerve-racking issues as I am sure most of us do.  Have you ever wondered if you have done a good enough job of sanitizing?  I have.  Have you ever wondered if you missed anything that you should have sanitized?  I have.  Have you ever worried about the young people who have shopped for you being exposed to this insidious bug—even with the assumption that younger people aren’t as susceptible?  I have.  Have you ever wondered if those nasty coronas that won’t show themselves before attacking have flown into the house when you opened the door to receive your groceries?  I have.  Do you think I suffer from paranoia?  Surely I do.  But I bet I’m not alone.

…which brings me to another issue.  Being alone.  Those of us who live alone and are adhering to the stay-at-home directive have been in solitary for as much as a few weeks.  When you have been active and then suddenly are restricted—even when the option was available to take longer walks than 100 meters—the limitations are downright confining in more ways than the physical aspect.

But Baruch Hashem…Being at home for a few weeks before Pesach with no obligations other than some Ulpan zooming means Pesach preparation is that much more “comfortable” without the pressure of the everyday routines that interfere with complete concentration.

And although our seders this year will be different from ever before, I say again, Baruch Hashem.  Families will miss being together as they have been year after year.  People who have never led a seder before will fill that necessary role.  And despite my sadness at being alone this year for the seder, I still say Baruch Hashem.  Why?  Because there are some advantages….

1)  Setting the table will be very quick.

2)  I can sit wherever I want.  No fighting over who sits next to whom.

3)  Nobody will be reluctant to ask the four questions or participate in any way.

4)  Refilling the CUP will be very quick.

5)  Only a “smidgeon” of chrain and charoset will be needed.

6)  “Discussion” need not be kept to a minimum.

7)  If I make a mistake nobody will care.

8)  If I like, I can read from as many special haggadahs/commentaries as I want without anybody becoming bored.

9)  The seder can end early or run as late as I want.

Wishing you all a chag kasher v’sameach.  L’shana ha-ba-ah coolum b’simcha!

About the Author
Once a stay-at-home mother of four children, and now grandmother to 15, Barbara spent 50 years 'children watching.' For a decade, she provided childcare in her home and was also a substitute teaching assistant at Gan Ephraim Preschool in Columbus OH. Over a period of 23 years, she made 19 trips to Israel, finally fulfilling her dream of making aliyah in 2019. She pursues ongoing independent study of Torah.
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