I am a Rabbi and I drank Gin on the second day of Passover without checking whether it was chametz* and when finding out it was I didn't really care, while those around me were outraged. This year as COVID-19 has ravaged the world it was hard for me to focus in on the minutiae of Jewish law. While arguing with too many friends, colleagues and relatives about what it really means to social distance, virtually nursing others through illness, and worrying over my own health I was not in any mood to focus on beautifying my seder table or koshering my pots. But it was not the same for those around me. I watched as people continued to buy fancy dishes and check their rice, argued about whether after being in quarantine for two weeks they could visit their family and wonder whether they had to pay their housekeepers their full salaries if they were not cleaning their houses.
The purpose of a seder is to remind us of what was.
And although I am blessed with many privileges that my biblical ancestors were not; for me in this moment we are actually living through the narrowness that is alluded to in the Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim.
This is not a HOLIDAY this is Mitzrayim, we are back where we began.
And just like the Slonimer Rebbe teaches about the Israelites in Egypt, today, we are living in the belly of the beast and we are not aware of our own enslavement.
Enslavement to the capitalist, patriarchal, racist overlords that are running the show and pitting oppressed groups against each other.
We have been in the belly of the beast as we continue shopping from Amazon and ignoring #BlackLivesMatter and the #MeToo movement.
We are in the belly of the beast when white skinned Jews stand shocked and cry over mass shootings in synagogues, not recognizing that our black and brown brothers and sisters have been in more danger than our passing white skin.
We are in the belly of the beast when we think we can ignore the planets cries and continue as is.
We are in the belly of the beast when COVID strikes and we continue going to synogague.
We are in the belly of the beast when we think things will go back to how they were.
We are in the belly of the beast when we care more that I ate chametz on Pesach than seeing the true pain and suffering that is built into the oppressive systems that we choose to uphold for our personal gain.
If we believe we are celebrating a holiday called Passover and think God is looking down upon us with joy, we are wrong.
We need to stop reenacting the oppression of the past and start dealing with oppression in the present.
Stop speaking distorted versions of "torah" and start speaking truth.
Reality does not care for fancy seder plates.
God is crying, has been for a while now
* chametz- a grain based food forbidden on passover
Rabbi Esther Azar