Pesach 5780 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 9, 2020
“B’khol dor va-dor [in every generation],” the Haggadah tells us, “chayyav adam lir’ot et atzmo k’illu hu yatza mi-mitzrayim [we are obligated to view ourselves as if we came out of Egypt].” Pesach is our opportunity—our challenge—to vicariously re-experience the bitterness of slavery and the triumph of liberation. At the seder and throughout the week of Pesach, we learn the lessons of freedom—the importance of the freedom that we achieved thousands of years ago, the importance of the freedom that many of us achieved years or generations ago, and the importance of the freedom for all people that we are obligated to strive for even today.
The Jewish calendar helps give structure to time – daily prayer, weekly Shabbat celebrations, Rosh Chodesh (the new month) and the holidays combine to give us a sense of regularity and routine. This is even more important during a time period such as this, where COVID-19 has disrupted any sense of regularity or routine. Passover will fall on the 15th of Nissan regardless of the coronovirus and the restrictions that have been put in place. However, we need to think differently about how we observe it.
Regrettably, we will not be able to host a Communal Seder, hold services in-person, or host guests in our homes this year.
For your home seders, please consider the following:
- To ensure everyone’s safety, everyone must “seder in place.” We recognize that this can be lonely. Therefore, we seek hosts and guests to take part in virtual seders. A couple, family or individual will volunteer to serve as host and use Zoom to bring in guests who aren’t able to go to an in-person seder. If you would like to host or be hosted, please email Hope Kott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- People over 60 years of age who want to go to a supermarket in order to obtain Pesach provisions should do so at the special “seniors only” hours. For a list of stores and their hours, click here. I will be contacting Moti’s and Shalom to see if they are offering something similar and will let you know.
- Try to plan more basic meals during the festival to limit the number of trips to supermarkets.
The Tikvat Israel Pesach Guide includes the following to help you with your observance and enjoyment of Pesach:
~ The Fast of the Firstborn is observed on the day before Passover. It commemorates the salvation of the Israelite firstborns during the tenth of the ten plagues when “God struck every firstborn in the Land of Egypt.” It is a universal custom to break the fast at a siyyum, a celebration occasioned by the completion of study of a classical text. This year the siyyum will take place after 7:00 am online Shacharit services on Wednesday, April 8, online. Log on to TI’s Zoom. For the siyyum, we are going to join with JTS Scholar Rabbi Marcus Mordecai Schwartz, who will be completing his study of the Yerushalmi Talmud, Masechet Brachot. This will begin at 8:00 am and can be accessed at https://zoom.us/j/676308467
~ An Authorization to Sell Chametz form (must arrive to the Tikvat Israel office by noon Tuesday, April 7). We welcome forms that are filled out and signed electronically and emailed back to Tikvat Israel or printed and mailed to the synagogue. NEW: The “Authorization to Sell Chametz” form can now be filled out completely online by clicking HERE. Please DO NOT bring forms in-person to the office. Please note that it is customary to give a monetary donation, which will be directed to a local charity that helps to feed the hungry.
~ A schedule of holiday preparation, candle lighting and service times throughout the eight-day holiday. It includes service times, in case we are able to meet in-person or are able to livestream by that time.
~ Our Tzedakah Chavurah’s 2020 allocation list . Those who give Tzedakah before the holiday are encouraged to contribute to these charities and others in need. All of the blue links in the PDF document are live and will take you to the home page of the charity listed, from which you can access the donation page.
Finally, a word for those concerned that following these directives will mean it “won’t feel like Pesach.” As real as today’s struggle is, our people (indeed, some of us) have celebrated Pesach in difficult and even more dire circumstances than we find ourselves today. In many cases, they were in hidden basements or in concentration camp barracks and they still found ways to mark the seder. The sense of captivity that some of us are feeling can also help us appreciate the freedoms we enjoy at most other times. Indeed, that is the very essence of the holiday. To ensure that we all “choose life” – an active command – we must follow the advice of health experts.
– Rabbi Marc Israel
- The Rabbinical Assembly’s Annual Passover Guide, which you can access and download HERE.
- Ruling permitting the consumption of kitniyot on Pesach
- Eruv Tavshilin –Preparing food for a Shabbat that immediately follows Yom Tov presents a difficulty, which can be
resolved by cooking some food before Yom Tov and setting it aside (along with a piece of matza) for Shabbat. On
Wednesday, April 8, before candle-lighting, recite the appropriate berakhah and declaration (found on page 78 of Siddur Lev Shalem), then set aside the plate with these foods to eat on Shabbat. This procedure allows you to cook other food on Yom Tov for Shabbat. (Otherwise, tradition teaches that food cooked on Yom Tov should be eaten that same day.)
Pesach Schedule 5780/2020
To download and print the schedule click here
May the taste of captivity we experience during this crisis help us better appreciate the gift of freedom we normally enjoy and enhance our understanding of the meaning of this holiday.
Chag Kasher v’Sameach!
The officers, Board, clergy, and staff of Tikvat Israel Congregation