This year, Passover is different. Like last year, Passover still looks different than years past, but even comparing last year to this year, I think it’s different. Last year, we expected to be out of quarantine over and over again, and then we were confronted with the reality of the length of this situation. I can’t imagine that any of us understood how long this would last, and what it could take to change it. I think we may be more realistic this year.
In our Haggadah, our book that we use during Passover dinner, we still celebrate spring with greens, bitter herbs and egg on our seder plate, and the idea of spring as a time of rebirth. That hasn’t changed. Certinaly, this spring, along with the change of weather from the brutal snow to more mild temperature, I’m starting to be excited that as more and more people are vaccinated and seem safe from our common global fear. I miss hugs!
We tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. God intervened and the children of Israel were freed from slavery. Considering this global situation, the idea of freedom is tantalizing to me right now. Certainly I am not enslaved, and wearing a mask when I go out and washing my hands is a far cry from servitude. However, I personally feel we as a national community are not yet free. Between last Passover and this Passover, on a national scale we were again foncfonted with our abject national inequalities over race. For some of us, it took an angry mob for us to also understand the dangers that our men and women serving in our police force confront. Recently, we were also confronted with the violence specifically against four Asian-American sisters and brothers, our fellow citizens, that they confront. All of this may have been heightened in our national conversation because we have been home more, so we may catch the news more. None of these inequalities are new. We have a lot of work to do.
This Passover, let’s celebrate the rebirth of spring with gratitude. But this Passover, let’s also recognize that until all of us are treated equally, regardless of the color of our skin, none of us are free. And this Passover, let’s work toward creating a world where we can all be free.
Dubin is the cantor at Temple Am-Echad in Lynbrook.