As this planet traversing the cosmos copes with the lethal marauder of COVID-19, human celebrations both secular and religious are casualties in this ever expanding onslaught. COVID-19 is changing the human landscape of behavior.
As one studies history, these armies of pestilences or plagues of the past wreaked havoc on a very unprepared populace. These “plagues” were viewed as divine judgements from their capricious gods, and unfortunately religious charlatans drove into these superstitious views of the people like the spectacular Brown Pelican catching their unsuspecting prey.
Enhancing this analogy, COVID-19 has swooped down on unprepared humans. Like the swimming fish going with the natural flow, humans are easy pickings for these shadowy microbes which pop up like the inquisitive prairie dogs.
Unlike the prairie dogs COVID-19 is ubiquitous in its tentacles. These tentacles are altering the human way of life.
Going back to celebrations, with Passover and Easter in the next few days, shelter in place and lockdowns are causing many people to reconsider what is important in celebrating a religious holiday. Some hoped COVID-19 would be a closed chapter by now, but it seems to be like War and Peace which continues page after page without the enjoyment of reading the indefectible Leo Tolstoy.
Based on history, life will eventually return to normalcy, but the new normal after COVID-19 may be a bit more surreal. For many families their loved ones and friends will be gone, and those empty chairs at work and around the family table will be a stark reminder that the high expectations and plans for 2020 have become faded hopes lost in those drained Waterford flutes of champagne at the stroke of midnight on December 31.
One person described COVID-19 as “a selfish thief”. This rapacious robber does not discriminate who it robs of life.
Perhaps in closing, these words may be a reminder of what we are losing daily in this herculean struggle against the novel harpies of the unseen world of today and tomorrow:
“When those of us fortunate enough to stay home with our loved ones do so, it is instead a recognition that there are no distinctions to the disease except our own age, health and other factors that are not points of identity. And we each know that whatever we do is not primarily for us, but for our neighbors and coworkers and others we do not know. We do not say to the invisible killer go get someone else, but to each other we are in this together, flattening a curve which commands us in a way more abstract, yet just as urgent as the One who told Moses and Aaron what was about to occur.
“Our houses have no blood on the doorpost, neither for protection nor identification. Our meals are different, our fears and expectations vary, yet our prayers across faiths, beliefs, and doubts are almost the same. We await not a personal or communal salvation, but an all-clear for everyone.
“As I imagine sitting at my Passover table with many fewer people in my house, but perhaps many more connected to us from theirs, I think about what we might do when we get to the part about the plagues that struck Egypt. As we take a drop of wine out for each in order to symbolize diminished joy, perhaps we will think also of those who have suffered and succumbed to Covid19. And we will recognize, please G*d, the blessing of being able to once more recount and relive the story of the Israelites and the meal they ate in haste awaiting redemption.
“However, most poignant about having a Seder in a house closed off because of the threat of the coronavirus will be the unmistakable teaching that, unlike that midnight in Egypt we, all of us, are in this together.”
Our sable midnight in Egypt will pass. On December 31, 2020 we will soberly reflect on the events of the year and the promise that experience has better prepared us for 2021.
We will remember those who lost the battle against this barbaric vandal because we must remember them. We are one race on this lonely planet in the vastness of the cosmos.
“We have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace.” Pope Francis, March 27, 2020
G. D. Williams © 2020
Passover 2020 will be celebrated from April 8-April 16
The first Seder will be on April 8 after nightfall, and the second Seder will be on April 9 after nightfall.
Passover is celebrated by eating matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs).
For the duration of the 8 (or 7 days in Israel) of Passover, chametz (leaven) is strictly avoided.
Passover, or in Hebrew, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel and commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. Its name comes from the miracle in which God “passed over” the houses of the Israelites during the tenth plague. Centered on the family or communal celebration of the (ritual meal), Passover is one of the most beloved of all Jewish holidays.