Unusual times

Rowan Polovin, national chairman, South African Zionist Federation

We enter Pesach in unusual times.

We are plagued by a virus that preys on many aspects of who we are as Jews: our closeness with each other, our instinct to pray together, to gather communally and to have our large multigenerational family do a seder and eat together.

We are forced to do much of this separately during this Passover festival where we commemorate our transition from Jews in slavery to emancipation in our promised land.

Although currently we feel slaves to circumstances we cannot control, our current situation seems trivial against the backdrop of Jewish history. We were once enslaved in Egypt, and persecuted in other lands, until we could return to Eretz Yisrael and be free.

When we say “Why is this night different from all other nights?”, without some of our loved ones sitting next to us while we remain in lockdown, we will indeed be more mindful of this question than ever before. We should nevertheless consciously remind ourselves, in this difficult hour, that we are living in the best possible time in the history of our people. This plague will impact us all significantly but, hopefully sooner than later, it will also pass over.

We have been through far worse and survived. We will come together again and thrive. Wishing you and your families a peaceful and mindful Pesach.

Next year in Jerusalem.