(Many thanks to Jo Lisa Rosenblum for providing this illustration)

Would you like to be at a seder, but you’re confined to your home? Would you like to host a seder, but your guests can’t come? If the answer is “yes”, then you are members in a very large club—it’s called “the Jewish People”.

Sheila, Emily, and I are happy to invite the members of Temple Israel to join our second night of Passover seder (Thursday, April 9, at 6:30 PM)—virtually, that is. If you do not already have plans and would like to be part of our electronically-extended household, please contact the Temple Israel office, and you will receive the log-in information.

And now, for the sentence you expect a rabbi to say next: “This reminds me of a verse in the Torah.” Specifically, I am reminded of the biblical account of the ninth plague, the plague of darkness. The darkness was so thick, it was palpable. The Egyptians were immobilized by it. They simply sat in place, for three days: The LORD said to Moses, “Hold out your arm toward the sky that there may be darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be touched”… Thick darkness descended upon all the land of Egypt …People could not see one another, and for three days no one could get up from where he was; but all the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10:21-23)

Today, it feels just a bit like the ninth plague--- not a physical darkness, but an emotional one. The immobility of the Egyptians makes me think that they were depressed, as well as unseeing. After all, they could not summon the willpower or energy to kindle lamps in their homes? The Israelites, too, experienced darkness outdoors. Nonetheless, our ancestors were unbroken in spirit. They lit lamps in their dwellings. Indoors, even sheltering in place, they enjoyed light.

Reach out and join the seder of family, or of friends, or of fellow congregants. This year, let the glow of your computer screen be the light in the dwellings of the Israelites.

Sei Gesund!

Rabbi Michael Panitz