By Rabbi Shimon Kramer
A rabbi was asked what to feed a person quarantined due to COVID-19. “Matzah¨ of course” the rabbi replied.
“Well¨ does it help?”
“That I can’t tell you¨” said the rabbi. “But it slides easily under the door!”
(Of course, we must not make light of a serious situation; but incorporating some humor can help us retain our sanity in these trying times.)
The truth is that this is not the first Passover in history that Jews were quarantined. In fact, the night before the Exodus from Egypt, G-d instructed the Jews “Do not leave the entrance of you home until the morning. G-d will pass to strike Egypt… He will pass over the entrance and not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you” Ex 13:22–23).
But how, indeed, can one celebrate the Festival of Freedom in quarantine? It depends on how you define “freedom.”
At first glance, freedom means the ability to go where you wish, do what you wish, and act how you wish. Passover, however, teaches us that freedom is not a condition but a decision. Freedom means to realize that there’s a Supreme Being running the show¨ and no one else but Him —even a coronavirus— has the ability to decide your fate. When we submit ourselves to G-d and say,¨ “I know that only You are in charge of my future. I am in your hands” —that is true freedom.
So this April 8 and 9, make sure to attend Passover seders and express your freedom. In the event that you or someone you know will celebrate in private, we are here to help. Seder-togo kits are available, including the food items needed for the seder plate, hand-baked shmurah matzah, wine, a kiddush cup, a Hebrew-English haggadah, and instructions. (All matzahs were baked a while back, and will be delivered with all the necessary precautions.)
While people are waiting in line to stock up on long-lasting food items, make sure you stock up on handmade shmurah matzah, the one food item that is sure to last you all Passover! Indeed, the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah¨ describes matzahas “food of faith and food of healing”
Let us all remain positive. “Think good and it will be good!” Let us utilize this
time as a teachable moment for ourselves and our families to strengthen our faith and trust in G-d, and let us also pray for the wellbeing of all those who are affected and for all of humanity.
May G-d protect each and every one of us, among all residents of Merrick, Bellmore and Long Island, and give us all a year of health, tranquility, and freedom!
Rabbi Shimon Kramer is the director
and spiritual leader of the Chabad
Center for Jewish Life of Merrick-
For assistance,he can be contacted by email
at email@example.com or by
phone at 516-833-3057 x 100