Pesach 5781 begins at sundown on Saturday, March 27, 2021
“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 in the sanctuary, or host guests in our homes this year.
For your home seders, please consider the following:
- Host or Be Hosted: To ensure everyone’s safety, we encourage everyone to “seder in place” again this year. In order to ensure that we fulfill the mandate of the Hagaddah “Let all who are hungry come eat,” we seek hosts and guests to join in online seders. A couple, family or individual can volunteer to serve as host and use Zoom or Yahad (see below) to bring in guests who aren’t able to go to a seder with others. If you would like to host or be hosted, please email Hope Kott at email@example.com.
- Special considerations for this year from the Rabbinical Assembly can be found HERE.
- Opportunities from around the country to prepare for Pesach and participate in communal online s’darim can be found HERE.
- Instead of using zoom, considering having your family seder on https://yahad.net/, which will host an unlimited number of people with a personal link and your choice of numerous online haggadot.
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’s Siyyum Bechorim will be virtual and will take place on Thursday morning, March 25 at 8:00 am. In order to conclude on time and participate in this session, we will begin Shacharit at 7:15 am that morning. You can register individually HERE or join us at minyan on the TI Zoom where we will broadcast it via screen share.
~ An Authorization to Sell Chametz form (must arrive to the Tikvat Israel office by noon Tuesday, March 23). 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 note that it is customary to give a monetary donation, which will be directed to a local charity that helps to feed the hungry.
~ Biyur Chametz (burning chametz) takes place on Friday morning. If you have set aside challah or other chametz to eat on Shabbat, remember to exclude (in your mind) such chametz when the rest is nullified.
~ 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 2021 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
Pesach Schedule 5781/202
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