Torah For Today! This week: Coronavirus and celebrating Pesach

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Torah For Today! This week: Coronavirus and celebrating Pesach

Rabbi Zvi Solomons reflects on how the community should mark Passover during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken so many lives

Passover table
Passover table

Pesach. The very word stirs our memories from our earliest moments and deepest origins right up to this year. We have been cleaning the house for a month, and now it is only a few days away.

But we all know how this Pesach will be different from every other.

Coronavirus has blighted our celebrations. For weeks we have been avoiding contact with others and vulnerable people are staying indoors.

The presence of a killer bug has turned our normal life upside down, and Pesach preparations harbour lower expectations.

The pandemic has cast its
shadow over us this year, and we are staying firmly at home to take shelter from this particular “angel”, hoping it will pass us over.

Some of my family members, who are not religious, are simply ignoring Pesach this year.

This is a shame and utterly unnecessary. After all, supplies are available, and with a little common sense we can still celebrate a kosher Pesach by following these rules:

Do not go to large external sedarim, because that risks your health and that of others.

Support kosher shops and in cases where it is hard to get hechshered supplies, use the approved list of products from the Beth Din.

If you are in an at-risk group, get your food delivered if possible.

Additionally, Zoom has been permitted for use on seder night by the Israeli Sephardi communities, as long as it is set up in advance – a must for any grandparent not wanting to miss their youngest grandchild saying Mahnishtanah for the first time.

Ashkenazi rabbonim have however not permitted this.

Above all, life comes first.


Wishing you chag kasher v’Sameach.


u  Zvi Solomons is Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Berkshire,


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