Why This Night Is Different From All Other Nights

“Traditionally, families hold large multi-generational seders to which they also invite friends. This tradition hearkens back to the original Passover night when all gathered to eat a lamb, the paschal lamb (from the Hebrew word for Passover, “Pesach”), and it was supposed to be consumed completely so that, if the family did not have enough people to eat all of it, they were to invite neighbors (Exodus 12:4). This year, because of social distancing, enforced quarantining, and dire warnings that children inadvertently may endanger the lives of their beloved parents and grandparents who may be more susceptible to COVID-19, Passover Seders will be smaller in size, sometimes only a married couple, sometimes only an individual alone in his or her home. In a way it will be a Seder that is different from all other Seders, but it actually will be a night that is truer to the account in Exodus 12 of the original Seder on the night the Jews got out of Egypt. Outside their doors that night death lurked, as G-d smote the first-borns of Egypt. But inside they were safe. Those were their explicit instructions: stay inside and do not venture out tonight, and G-d will pass over  your homes as He visits punishment on Egypt and on its gods (Exodus 12:12-14). And so it will be this year. Outside, the lurking dangers. Inside, the sense of solitude and mortality mediated by the comfort of knowing that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, were slaves to Rome, later were slaves to Hitler, to Stalin, to Hafez al-Assad in Syria and to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And today we are free.”  Dov Fischer, “Why This Night Is Different From All Other Nights,” The American Spectator, 4/8/2020.

 

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