pronouns: they, them, their

Why Is This Year Different Than All Other Years?

Jewish Holiday

Rev. Chani Getter

April 8, 2020

A Passover Reflection

As I prepare for Passover, I think about what it means to me this year and I notice that I have no idea. It feels so different than years past. We’ll have a small seder without many of the dishes we usually make, our friends won’t be gracing our table, and for the first time in her life – our youngest daughter will not be coming home. 

The Biblical name for Egypt is Mitzrayim from the root “Metzar” or narrow place. We are each navigating the narrow space of this worldwide pandemic in our own individual ways. Within the collective experience, our personal life circumstances are uniquely ours. Even when our experiences may look the same, we have various coping mechanisms and triggers that inform our feelings, reactions and responses. 

Some of us are alone, and are craving human contact, while others feel that they have no alone time as they are with people all day, every day. Some of have lost our jobs, while some of us are working non-stop. Many of us are praying for loved ones on the front lines, or sick in a hospital. Some of us are losing family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and for some of us the stark reality of grieving alone with no shiva or memorial service is the hardest part of all of this.

So… How do we step into the holidays of this week? How do we embrace Passover, and/or Easter, when our standard and usual celebrations will not happen this year?

I must admit that I simply don’t know. This year, I have many more questions than answers. This year, I have many more concerns and prayers than feelings of liberation and freedom. At a time where every day brings new challenges, where every night is different from all other nights, I go back to childhood to find my path forward. 

As a young child, I clearly remember my parents’ Rebbe saying during one of the Passover Seders that during the time when we recite the four questions is a window of opportunity for everyone to ask God the deep questions that we don’t dare to ask during the year. We get to sit with those questions, and ask, “Why _______??”, Why this night? Why am I alone? Why can’t I be alone? Why this plague? Why me? Why Us? Why? Why? Why? 

What are the questions stirring deep inside of you during this time? What would YOU ask God / Power Greater than Self/ Divine Spirit/ Mother Earth/ Father Sky? 

Do we have the bravery to ask ourselves these questions? Can we sit without the answers? How can we notice our own doubts and fears, our own insecurities and our own longings and just be with it all?

For tonight, my invitation is to trust that we have permission to ask and that in asking we may just find the faith that all narrow spaces will eventually open up, along with our hearts – as they always do.

I bless us all as we enter Passover and Holy Week to have the courage to ask the questions that live in our hearts and to sit with the unknowing of it all. 

May we be blessed with security, comfort, friendship, safety, love, compassion, gentleness, and above all, may we be blessed with health and may this world heal. 

A Fraylichen Pessach

Happy Passover

Chag Somayach

Happy Easter


Passover begins tonight, April 8th at sundown.

audio version - listen now