Opinion: Here Is Why I Am Staying Home For Pesach This Year

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The Pesach Seder table (Photo by Flash90)

NEW YORK (VINnews) — As Pesach draws nearer, and the Coronavirus pandemic is still here, many people are faced with a tough reality. The reality that they will be forced to spend Pesach at home.

For some this is the first time they will have to make Pesach.

Even for those with experience, this means that they will have to spend Pesach without guests.

The following piece was submitted to VINnews, which offers a different perspective:

Like everyone else out there, I’ve been joining in the discussions of Pesach plans for many weeks already. We had planned to go to my parents first days. Almost 2 weeks ago I did a big grocery run and then planned to hole up in our apartment straight through to Pesach so that we could safely join my parents, who have also been staying home. But then we got sick anyway (maybe from that grocery run!), with too few days between now and Pesach to safely consider ourselves no longer contagious by the most extreme measures.

I’ve seen all the statements one way or another. Wait 72 hours, wait 14 days, wait 21, it doesn’t help to wait at all because the doctors and scientists still don’t really know…. so many statements out there. The underlying one from all angles-
JUST. STAY. HOME.
We don’t really know and the risks aren’t worth it, so just stay home.

So I’ve spent the last few days slowly coming to terms with the fact that we will be staying home for Pesach. But as much as I kept telling myself and others that we will be home for Pesach, my mind kept frantically scrabbling for other options. Maybe this, maybe that. Maybe they’ll actually release quick-acting tests that tell whether you’re still contagious or not, maybe they’ll release tests that show whether you have the antibodies and are safe, etc. etc. Truth is, I just didn’t want to mentally commit myself to the hard fact that we’d be staying home for Pesach, because I so don’t want to. I so, SO don’t want to. I think about all the work involved, and the loneliness of a seder with just the two of us, and the long, long days with no one else for company and flinch away from the whole idea of it.

And so yes, while I have technically accepted that we’ll be staying home, I just couldn’t make my peace with it because I am just so frustrated and disappointed and worried and downright scared to make Pesach myself, only our 2nd Pesach together, who ever dreamed we’d have to do it ourselves, this whole thing is nuts.
Insane. And I’m not happy about it.

And then, tonight, just now, 2 am on April 1st, I made peace with it finally.

I’ve been lying here sleeplessly thinking about all the deaths R”L we’ve heard about so far. One after the next, it’s impossible to come to grips with it, young and old alike, it’s horrifying. Families in pain, communities badly shaken, and there’s unfortunately more to come.
And I wanted so badly to go back a few weeks and smack myself in the face and say SKIP PURIM THIS YEAR! Skip it!! Stay home! Don’t go to that party, don’t meet up with that friend, don’t hug that aunt, just DON’T!!
JUST STAY HOME!!

How many people would still be alive if we had all skipped Purim? Dressed up in our costumes and stayed in our living rooms and sent each other pictures and that’s it?

But we didn’t want to do that. We love Purim. Nobody wanted to cancel it. So we ignored the advice that had already started trickling out about avoiding large gatherings, and we partied. Boy, did we party.

And then people died.

How many of you agree with me that if we could go back in time we’d shake our past selves and yell STOP!!

How many of you agree with me that NONE OF IT WAS WORTH IT.

How many of you wish we had just made our peace with skipping Purim this year, so we could all celebrate it next year?

And it sounds so obvious now but that’s when it clicked for me.

I don’t need a me from 2 weeks in the future to come and smack me in the face and say SKIP PESACH THIS YEAR!
JUST STAY HOME!

I already learned my lesson. I don’t need any more deaths. I’m done.

So yes. We’ll be staying home for Pesach. And I will not be miserable and depressed over it. I will focus on the fact that I love Am Yisroel and I am doing this for everyone, for my parents and family and neighbors and friends. I am skipping Pesach this year so that next year we can enjoy Pesach fully, together.
I am staying home and being happy about it.
I am staying home and being at peace with it.
I am staying home so that I don’t risk a single other person in this deadly pandemic.

Are you?


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