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The End of a Unique Passover

April 16, 2020 | by Emuna Braverman

What do you want your list of accomplishments to be when this “stay-at-home” mandate is lifted?

I feel sadder than usual that Passover has come to an end. This year, I feel like it’s given real focus and meaning to my days, real hope and, if truth be told, real distraction in light of the events unfolding around us.

I’ve been able to channel my energy and anxiety into Passover preparations. I’ve been able to concentrate on the holiday and delve deeper into its meaning particularly because of the challenges facing us. I’ve taught more classes about it and thought about it in new and interesting – and hopefully life-changing ways.

And now that Passover is over that intense focus will dim. There will be a loss and I’m concerned about how to fill that vacuum. Because, unlike past years, we aren’t returning to business as usual. And I hope, in some ways, that I never will. Not that stores won’t reopen and employment won’t resume and that schools won’t be back in session. But I hope I (and all of us) will emerge changed from this process.

I hope that the more “alone” (as opposed to lonely) Passover experience this year allowed us to focus more on the story and its meaning and less on the goings on at the end of the table and who finished the last piece of brisket.

I hope that the smaller wedding and bar mitzvah celebrations allowed us to reflect on the simplistic beauty of those celebrations and make some important decisions for the future about how to allocate our resources.

I hope that the lack of communal prayer experience helped us realize how important praying at shul is and reminded us that we don’t want to waste that daily opportunity to connect with the Creator of the world but discussing our stock options with our neighbor. (I hope that we still have stock options to discuss with our neighbor!)

I hope that having our children home from school leads to greater frustration, I mean appreciation of the preciousness of our time with them. I hope that we use the time to educate them about the ideas and concepts that really matter – both through our words and deeds. And that we give them an extra hug, no matter how challenging the day.

I hope that in working from home, with all its tensions and comic moments, we are reminded that we are lucky to have a job and that we are able to be creative in our strategies for being productive and effective.

I hope that we use this time to learn and grow so that the opportunity, such as it is, isn’t wasted.

I want to have a list of accomplishments when this “stay-at-home” mandate is lifted. I want to have learned, I want to have grown, I want to have worked on my character and deepened my relationship with the Almighty. But it won’t happen if I don’t make a decision and a commitment. It won’t happen if I don’t have a carefully thought-out strategy. It won’t happen if I don’t map out my days and stick to my plan. It won’t happen if I don’t pray to the Almighty as ask for His help.

The end of Passover is here, and we are one week into counting the daily omer. It’s the time to make our individual journey towards Mount Sinai and working on integrating the new insights we received during this unique Passover.


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