We’ve done our best to find substitutes, to whatever extent possible, for our routines of davening and learning. Leyl seder, though, is going to be a hard one. We’re resigned to a seder without a few generations gathered around the table. We’ve learned to accept that, and are at home with the idea that what we will be able to do is what HKBH asks of us, and nothing more. Rabbi Pini Dunner’s moving piece about the Lubavitcher Rebbe certainly made that easier.
Still, there are two things gnawing away at us. All of us know people who just don’t have the wherewithal to function for Pesach, let alone conduct a seder in solitude. Older people, widows, geirim, baalei teshuvah? What will happen to them?
When we recite kol dichfin, inviting others to our seder because we all grew up understanding that inviting in others was a key part of the Yom Tov, what will we be thinking?
In ordinary times, many of us would go out of our way to ensure that there would be guests at the seder. We can’t do that this year.
Here, too, there is a substitute. Lev Chabad services hospitals around the country. We American types are used to Shaarei Tzedek and Hadassah, with multiple chesed organizations that cater to the patients and their families. But there are dozens of hospitals, especially outside the largest cities, where this is not the case. Lev Chabad places couples in these hospitals, and equips them with what they need to be with patients and families over Shabbos.
They would be doing large communal sedorim, but obviously can’t this year. Not to be frustrated by some puny virus, their Plan B is to do thousands of private sedorim – giving each patient/family matzoh, wine, a kaarah, a full meal.
I know of their work personally. One of the people in charge is my good friend and neighbor – a Vishnitzer Chasid (only in Israel!) This is an organization worthwhile supporting any week of the year, but it offers an opportunity to bring a seder to those who would not have – the very closest we will get this year to inviting guests into our homes.
One seder kit runs them 90 NIS. That translates into approximately 4500NIS for a ward, and 36K NIS for an entire medical center. The best place to donate is here.
May we soon see the geulah shelemah, and partake of the korban pesach in large groups!