Isn’t this particular week – a projected peak of a global pandemic – hard enough already? With current regulations in place around social distancing, quarantine, and isolation, must we also give up comfort food in order to remember our ancient plight? Do we really need to move all the normal dishes, pots, pans, and silverware downstairs, and all the pesach dishes, pots, pans, and silverware upstairs to understand the struggle?
I laughed knowing our mother would never go for it, and daydreamed briefly about what it would feel like for Passover to be just another day. But it didn’t feel right. Because slavery is only half of the Passover story. Growing up with privilege and comfort in the United States, my sister and I are lucky to often take for granted what it means to be free. Passover therefore typically becomes a lesson in humility, an opportunity to empathize with those all over the world stuck in physical, mental, and emotional narrow places. But this seder is different from all other seders. This year, when we say that each person should tell the story as if he or she came out of Mitzrayim (Egypt), I hope to focus on it as a reminder of what it is to be free, not enslaved, and perhaps more importantly, the journey that it takes to get there.