CORAL SPRINGS, FL - My wife and I had a disagreement. We both grew up in homes always overflowing with guests. And we both live deeply with the values of sharing and hospitality so important to Judaism.
Yet this year is like no other. In many ways, our society and lifestyle have been shut down. Closing our beautiful Chabad Center has been a surreal, out-of-body experience. Despite doing all I can to remain engaged with my dear community through online classes and phone calls, it has still been difficult feeling so distant from those I care so much about.
But to have a Passover Seder without a single guest; it went against everything I had ever lived for.
My wise and sensitive wife Chana was worried about our young baby, only four months old. Her first priority is the safety of our family, and she didn’t believe that having guests was the right choice.
Do I need to tell you what our final decision was?
I went through denial, and then sadness. Every person I know who will be alone, every grandparent I know unable to join their grandkids for the Seder despite living just down the block… breaks my heart just a little more. Being so close, yet so far.
Yet I am finally ready to accept. To recognize that this year’s “Mah Nishtanah” question will be addressed directly at me: “How will this Passover change me?”
As a Rabbi, my holidays are always focused on inspiring others. (I regularly nourish my own soul, just not during holidays when everyone else needs me). This year I’m being challenged to do something unique.
This Passover Seder, I will need to inspire me. To discover who can I be, when there is no one to be.
This will be my challenge in quiet isolation. To connect with myself in celebrating a Pesach (Passover) that I will make life-changing.
Will you join me in mentally preparing ourselves to ensure we can find meaning in this Passover alone?
On Monday, April 6, at 7:30 pm I will be offering a free D-I-Y Seder Tutorial. In one hour you will gain the confidence and knowledge you need to make your Seder a meaningful experience.
To register and receive your Seder checklist and printable Haggadah go to:https://zoom.us/meeting/register/upItcOugrTooFGdhmqGza0fbwNz_vO4kxQ
Rabbi Yankie Denburg is the leader of Chabad Jewish Center at 11325 W. Atlantic Blvd. in Coral Springs.