Apr 02 2020 DVAR TORAH

Rabbi Ceitlin 270x306
Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin

Is this Passover Really Different?

This Passover, Jews around the world are asking the question, "Why is this Passover different from all others?". Some humorously reply, "Don't ask." In Israel, there are advertisements that respond less whimsically, "This year we all stay home," it instructs.

This year, instead of gathering with our loving grandparents, we are told to love them "from a safe distance."

This year, instead of celebrating with all friends and family, we are told to stay within our own households.

This year, instead of getting out and having fun over the middle days of the holiday, we are told to skip the leisure trips and leave off visiting parks.

The "Stay Home - Stay Alive" rule will be practiced by Jewish people in the U.S. and around the world, as the global pandemic continues to threaten our health and our lives.

But is this night really different?

If we look back at the very first Passover, this description may sound very similar.

On that fateful night, the 15th of Nissan, 3332 years ago, our people were instructed to remain in their homes in isolation for their safety. Outside, there was a raging plague killing people.

And that is how the tradition of Passover began. G-d passed-over the Jewish homes during the 10th and final plaque, punishing the Egyptians for decades of enslaving, torturing and killing the Jews.

Passover is called the Festival of our Freedom, but in reality, it is the ultimate celebration of faith. It is the story of how our people remained optimistic when the future seemed hopeless and trusted in G-d even when they felt they He has forsaken them.

And though G-d has not spared the Jews from this COVID-19, nor has He told us why humanity is being assaulted with these devastating blows, He is the one behind this wheel as He is behind all others.

Our faith brought us salvation during the first Passover in isolation and we pray that it brings salvation to the world during our upcoming Passover in isolation.