March 18, 2021

Dear Friends,

Who would have thought last year at this time that we would be celebrating a second consecutive virtual seder? As confusing as life was near the beginning of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, we were at least hopeful that Covid-19 would be a thing of the past a few months later. Yet, here we are, once again not fully able to gather together. However, unlike last year, we can see an end in sight. The rollout of vaccines is ramping up and restrictions are easing. We sense a return to “normalcy” in the near future. At this moment in time, we are not quite where we want to be. We are actually in a liminal state, or in-between mitzrayim and the Promised Land.

Nevertheless, our Jewish tradition in general, and Pesach in particular, has great wisdom to share with us as we navigate this liminality. Let’s consider the seder song, Dayenu. Dayenu is our yearly reminder to never forget all the miracles in our lives.

If we are free to celebrate Pesach in the comfort of our own home, but not with friends and family—Dayenu! It would be enough.

If we are able to celebrate Pesach with friends and family, virtually, but not in person—Dayenu! It would be enough.

If we are able to celebrate Pesach, in person, with some friends and family, but not with the whole community—Dayenu! It would be enough.

You see, Dayenu is a reminder that we never forget all the small miracles in our lives. No matter the circumstances, our Jewish tradition teaches us that we are always able to seek a new reason to be grateful, a reason to say Dayenu!

What an encouraging message during such challenging times. As we begin to prepare for our festival of freedom by cleaning our homes and making family recipes, may we also work on cultivating an attitude where we express appreciation for each and every goodness that is bestowed upon us. I cannot think of a better way to get ready for Pesach this year.

I hope you will join your Beth Israel family for our second night community seder on Sunday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. Andrea Shupack and I are looking forward to seeing you, even if it is through our computer screens.

If you would like to join our community, please reach out to the office for the Zoom and haggadah link.

Chag pesach sameach,

— Rabbi Joshua Samuels