Here are 3 messages especially relevant to Passover 2021:
First of all, the unusual timing of Erev Pesach falling on Shabbat (it happens next in 2025 but after that not again until 2045!) with the first Seder on a Saturday night. Erev Pesach is usually a very hectic time, there’s lots to do in preparing for the Seder. Not this year! Shabbat precludes many of those preparations which should to be done either before or after Shabbat instead.
This sense of “nothing we can do about it right now” during the Shabbat before the Seder, has a sense of equanimity & serenity to it, like a calm before the storm. It is the acceptance of a situation or reality without pressure & stress. This year’s Passover opens with this introduction and background and is especially relevant during Covid. Of course, we must do our utmost and not wait around for solutions to land in our laps. We must take initiative and be proactive, try out best and make things happen. Yet, at the same time Covid taught us how so much is out of our hands, we will not have everything figured out, there are some things that try as we may, we simply can’t control. We have to let go and just have faith.
Secondly, this Passover is over a year into Corona, now at a critical tipping point of vaccinations, at the cusp of a positive shift and Covid redemption. We are starting to get a glimpse of a better future, but with lots of uncertainty and unknowns still ahead of us. Obviously, this is no biblical Exodus, we’re not talking Splitting of the Sea here, but there is certainly relevance to our time:
Imagine the very first Seder, back in Egypt, on the night before the Exodus: Did the Jews know their dough would turn to Matzah or that the Sea would split? Did they imagine they would eat Manna and be protected by Clouds of Glory? No. They had no plan, no guidebook, no strategy. And yet, as the verse says, they went out triumphantly. Faith and trust allows and accords us not to be fazed or deterred by uncertainty, to go forth without having it all figured out, to venture beyond our comfort zone, limited horizon and understanding.
Matzah is called the “bread of faith” a tangible & edible (absorbable!) symbol of certainty amidst uncertainty, going forward with the clarity of conviction, proceeding determinedly with an inner known into and despite the murky confusion of the unknown, to Pass-over our doubts and hesitations with an uplifting and redemptive Exodus.
Thirdly, it so happens that the largest stimulus payment was deposited as we are all preparing for Passover 2021. Whatever your thoughts on the stimulus, the Baal Shem Tov taught to learn lessons from everything! One of the big questions you see going around is “What will you do with your stimulus?” Obviously this depends on each person and family, and their particular circumstances and situation. But the same can be true of Passover! Think of the holiday and all of its mitzvot and meanings as a spiritual stimulus package. The question is what will we do with these opportunities? How to best to utilize? In what do we spend its energies and mental, emotional and spiritual gifts? What should we do to take the most advantage of Passover? How to save, stretch and make the most of it?