April 8, 2020
All alone for Passover Seder? Don't despair!
When I think of a Passover Seder I imagine my family around the table, gathered together, retelling how we left Egypt as slaves and emerged as a free people. I can taste the tears as we pass the salt water around the table, I can hear the laughter as we connect and I can feel the comfort of being together.
But this year Passover will be very different. Not all of us will be surrounded by family and friends as we retell how we left Egypt. Some of us will be having a Seder for one.
I've asked around and have compiled some ideas on how to make your Passover celebrations meaningful, even if you're celebrating alone.
Set an extra place setting or a few
Who would you want at your Seder if you could have them? You are not limited by time! It can be someone from the past, present or future. It can be someone you know or someone you can't wait to meet (like your soulmate). Or perhaps you'll host a relative who passed away that you miss seeing.
We did this recently at our Shabbos table and set an extra place for my mom who passed away the day before Passover four years ago. It was a powerful moment to have a physical space reserved for her at the table. And somehow, we were all comforted in the moment.
So go ahead and set a place for someone or a few people at your Seder table. Don't just visualize having them with you, bring this to your reality by laying about plates and silverware. Set the table for you and the guests you'd most like to be with you.
Make some comfort food
Maybe it's matzah and matzah ball soup. It doesn't matter if it's a simple recipe or more complex. Whatever it is, make one food that's your comfort food, your happy food, the food that puts a smile on your face. It's your menu and your job to fill it with food that will help you to properly celebrate this holiday and bring you joy.
And if you're not a great cook or unable to cook kosher for Passover food, this is the time to cater a yummy meal, even if it's a bit pricey.
Sing out loud!
Is Dayeinu your favorite song? Belt it out! Sing and get into the moment. Make an effort to sing all the Passover songs you know; they will fill the silence and your heart.
Say it out loud!
The Haggadah is built around questions. In fact Jewish law states that even if you're alone at the Seder table, you should still say the Exodus story through questions and answers. Nothing opens your heart and mind to new ideas like a good question, even you're the one asking and answering!
Focus on something positive about this unique opportunity
"I will definitely finish the Seder before midnight for the first time ever!" said one single I know. Whether you're looking forward to moving through the Haggadah at your own pace or looking forward to buying or making exactly what you like to eat, remember to find the good in this moment. This is likely to be your first and last Seder for one. Look for something that makes you smile about this situation and write it down or make a mental note. This memory will help to carry you through your Seder for one.
L'chaim, drink my friend!
It's our obligation to drink 4 cups of wine to show our freedom. Make sure to have your favorite wine by your side. Enjoy your four cups of wine. Sometimes freedom looks different than what we imagined. True freedom is the ability to worship God. Thank God we live in times where we are free and not slaves. We are able to connect with God and observe our festival. So sit back and relax, lean to your left and embrace freedom as you have your 4 cups is of wine.
At the end of the Seder we say "Next year in Jerusalem." I'd like to add to that next year may you celebrate in Jerusalem, together with your soulmate.