April 8, 2020, - 6:15 pm

Passover in the Time of Coronavirus: It Could Be a Lot Worse

By Debbie Schlussel

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Passover begins. And even though the Coronavirus madness has struck, I see the positive. It could be a lot worse.

Passover is the festival of freedom, in which Jews celebrate our freedom from slavery. And I see this year’s celebration in that vein. As I said, it could be a lot worse: we could be slaves in Egypt. Or we could be inmates at a Nazi death or concentration camp, as my late maternal grandparents were, not only denied the opportunity to mark Passover, but worried if they would live to see tomorrow. I am lucky–we Jews are lucky–that we are not in such dire straits.

Yes, I am aware that many people are sick, others have died, and their loved ones have lost dear family members, and they are in my thoughts and prayers on this holiday. Also in my thoughts and prayers: the many, many people–Jewish and gentile alike–who are out of work, have not yet received unemployment or stimulus checks, and are worrying about having enough to eat and being able to pay rent to keep a roof over their heads, and their water and power going. I feel for you. Some of you are doing your best to keep Passover in the midst of all this.

In the Haggadah, the book that sets forth the order, procedure, and readings for tonight’s and tomorrow night’s Passover dinners, it states that “In Every Generation,” Jews encounter strife and those anti-Semites who would destroy us (at this time, it’s pestilence like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib . . . and also neo-Nazi Holocaust denier (and Jewish-American loyalty questioner and Israel boycott/BDS supporter) Michelle Malkin, about whom I warned people for years). But, as with the Egyptians, we survived and outlived them all. And the same goes for all of us with this virus. I promise you, just as in the many other generations in which we struggled to survive against an enemy, this too shall pass. We will survive. You will get through this, as sure as you can get through tonight’s and tomorrow night’s Seders.

Be well, stay healthy, and remember that at the Seder tonight, even though you may be alone–as I will eerily be for the first time in my life–we are all in this together Not “in this together” in the fight against the virus as the mindless, empty jingoism used by mansion-ensconced celebs and skin-deep media figures, keep preaching to us. But in this Seder–this ceremony–marking the Jews’ freedom from slavery and vanquishing of all past enemies with G-d’s help. We are in that together.

So, a Happy and Kosher Passover to you all. Be well.

The ten plagues passed over us and attacked only our enemies, the oppressive slavers, the Egyptians. And this eleventh plague shall pass over us, too. It would be a great birthday gift, as tomorrow (Thursday, the first day of Passover) is my 51st birthday.

With G-d’s help, we will get through this and we will celebrate again with others present and outside the confines of quarantines and stay at home orders, Next Year in Jerusalem.

11 Responses

I do not live in NYC but mayor deBlasio threatened religious groups and congregations with arrests, harassment and permanently shutting down their churches and synagogues. He of course did not mention Muslims or mosques. I pray that you and my family remain safe but I am very worried by the Stalinist tactics of deBlasio and Governor Murphy in New Jersey who has closed down public parks from people using them. And the economic damage to this country is going to be enormous and Trump is partially to blame I hate to say.

Concerned Citizen on April 9, 2020 at 9:52 am

A very nice piece Debbie!

Happy Passover !!!

Tom Kelly on April 9, 2020 at 10:18 am

Have a Happy Passover and Birthday. Many more good years.

Jack K on April 9, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Blessed Passover to you. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d love to remind everyone of the media hypocrites who referred to a deadly virus as middle eastern respiratory syndrome! I thought viruses had neither borders nor racial/ethnic limits: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/23/health/mers-england-case-intl/index.html

Dina Kim on April 9, 2020 at 12:11 pm

Happy Passover, Debbie, as well as many happy returns of the day. I agree w/ you – I can think of a lot of things worse than being forced to stay home 24/7

Hope to see more stuff from you, particularly on how Muslims are bent on spreading the Covid-19 everywhere b’cos they think themselves immune if they pray to allah, as opposed to socially distance from everybody, including each other

Infidel on April 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm

“… Next Year in Jerusalem … “

Darrell Hicks on April 9, 2020 at 4:07 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It is wonderful to see your E-Mails and comments again. Keep up the good work. It is hard to find the truth anymore but we can depend on you.

Joel C Crain on April 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Shalom Pesach to you and your family

Mark on April 10, 2020 at 12:16 am

Regardless of circumstances,
there is no better place to be than America.
There will never be a place better.

I thank God I was born in a nation
under God.

Darrell Hicks on April 10, 2020 at 2:38 pm

A belated happy birthday to you.

…and I will share a thought I had right before Passover started…

It was that very first Passover where HaShem put the Jewish people into quarantine. Take it for what its worth to yourselves, but it did make it easier for me to see His hand in all this.

YCHtT on April 17, 2020 at 11:09 am

Happy belated bday

Samuel on April 21, 2020 at 8:49 pm

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