The Meaning of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Eve of Passover

"There is nothing better than remembering that we must all find a way to express our collective responsibility to free ourselves of the danger we face today."

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dnaveh / Shutterstock
dnaveh / Shutterstock

“As Jews the world over sit down to their “isolation” Passover Seders on Wednesday April 8, 2020, I have been thinking about the name of the holiday. Pesach, Passover in English. The name is so relevant to what we are all experiencing. 

The bible tells us in the Exodus story that the Hebrews (Jews) were huddled in their homes, isolated from the world, in order to be saved from the plague that was passing over them and would kill the firstborn of every family.

Artwork by Alex Levin.

And then I thought, there must be meaning to the fact that this Passover we are staying safe at home so that the virus will pass by and miss our house. And this time we are aware that the ones that have the highest chance of being killed by the virus are the oldest in our communities. And that by staying home, even if you yourself are younger and probably would survive, you are protecting the oldest son in your family, and the oldest sons of the World.

What connects our staying at home, and those who are not at home because they are battling on the front line of COVID-19 — all the medical personal, the doctors and nurses who are out there defending us and defending our continuous existence as humankind —  is the fact that the story of Exodus was not the story of one hero that ran away from slavery. It’s the collective effort of a group of people who only together could cross the river.

Only by working together could the Hebrews move from their enclosed homes as slaves to a collective freedom. And this is exactly what I think we are doing now when we simultaneously put the sign TOGETHER, WE LIVE on our screens from our different locations around the world. 

This is the way we remember that in every generation each and every one of us should behave as if we were going out of Egypt today. There is nothing better than remembering that we must all find a way to express our collective responsibility to free ourselves of the danger we face today.

I want to wish everybody a wonderful holiday. May we get through this the best we can, “Together.”

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