It’s been a long, difficult year. We’ve mourned loved ones, shared our victories, and learned to make sense of what has become our new normal.
As spring is blooming and many have been vaccinated, it feels as if there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Yet for a variety of reasons, many of us are still isolated, either alone or with one or two close family members, and preparing to celebrate Pesach in isolation for a second time.
With you in mind, we’ve prepared the following list of tips for making this Passover as positive, meaningful and memorable as possible!
1. Clean for Passover
If you’ve had relatively few people trekking through your house, then your clean-up may be easier than usual, since we need only clean places where we could have conceivably brought chametz (leaven) in the first place.
Have magazines been stacking up on the coffee table and have you neglected to empty the garbage cans as often you did pre-pandemic? This is the perfect opportunity to give your house a much-needed freshening up.
2. Sell Chametz Online
A traditional part of the Passover prep is coming to the rabbi and appointing him as your agent to sell (to a non-Jew) any chametz items that you will not eat or otherwise dispose of before the onset of the holiday.
For those of us still at home, the good news is that (like every year) Chabad.org provides this service online. It’s fast, easy, and free, Plus you can do it now in advance.
3. Cook Up a Kosher-for-Passover Storm
Thank G‑d, unlike last Passover, this year we have generally access to the groceries and supplies we need to make our Seders beautiful and expansive, even if we will still be physically distant from some of those we wish could share our tables.
Once you’ve koshered your kitchen for Passover, cook up your favorite Passover recipes, both to have at your Seder and to share with friends and family who will not be with you. Just knowing that they’ll be enjoying the same memory-rich treats as you is an act of connection.
4. Make Calls Before Passover
We have learned early on in the pandemic how powerful a phone call or video chat can be. Hearing and seeing our loved ones, we give and gain strength, power, and positive feelings.
While we do not make phone calls on the holiday itself, it is a great idea to make a list of people to call before the holiday, taking the time to inquire about their wellbeing and share wishes for a kosher and happy Passover.
5. Make It Beautiful
True you may not be putting out as many settings as usual, but that should be no excuse for not bringing out the heirloom Passover china and finest table wear.
We can also make our homes look special in honor of Passover. There are wonderful adult coloring sheets out there, which enable anyone with a set of colored pencils to make true works of beauty before the onset of the holiday.
Let your craftiness shine as you create centerpieces and wall hangings to add a festive ambiance to your Seders.
Note to families with kids: Send handmade decorations to Bubby and Zaidy. They will be glad to look at them and think of you all Passover long.
Print: Fun Passover Coloring Pages
6. Treat Yourself to a New Haggadah
No matter how many times we say the timeless words of the Haggadah, we can always peel back the layers to find fresh meaning, insights, and inspiration.
This year, Chabad.org is delighted to share our all-new Passover Haggadah, as a free download for you to print before the holiday.
7. Be Aware That This Year Is Unique
This year (2021) is the first time in more than a decade that Passover begins on Saturday night. This means that many of the activities typically done on the eve of Passover are advanced to Friday and even Thursday.
Get yourself up to speed on what you will need to do—and when—in this unusual setup, including details on how to hold your Shabbat meal in a house that is already cleaned for Passover.
8. Pray Like a Pro at Home
At this point we have had a year to absorb the concept that G‑d is everywhere, and that we can connect to Him from anywhere in the world. As we have been doing for so long, remember to hold Passover services at home.
Some elements of the prayer service that are especially easy to forget:
● According to Chassidic and Sephardic custom, Hallel is said following evening services on the Seder night(s).
● Starting from Musaf on the first day of Passover we stop mentioning (and requesting) rain during the Amidah (silent prayer).
● Starting from the second night of Passover, we count the Omer each night, adding up the days until Shavuot.
9. Do Both Seders
It may seem like a repeat, especially without any new faces to freshen things up, but the fact remains that the second Seder is a mitzvah, which we should embrace with the same enthusiasm and joy as the night before!
10. Ask The Four Questions
There’s no question that Seder was built around the dynamics of parents educating their children and transmitting our nation’s Divinely orchestrated history and heritage. At the same time, it remains meaningful and relevant to every single Jew, even those who are celebrating without the presence of the next generation.
For example: Ask the Four Questions aloud. If you are with others, address the questions to them. And if not, address the questions to our Father in Heaven. You can be sure He will be listening.
11. Be Grateful That We Made It
As we sing Dayenu, the traditional litany of praises in which we express our gratitude for the kindnesses He showered upon us as we made our way out of Egypt, pause and think of the many blessings He has bestowed upon us during this past year.
The vaccines are rolling out, we are healthy, technology allows us to communicate with the outside world and keep abreast of latest news, we have a roof over our heads and food in the kitchen. The list goes on and on… There’s so much to be thankful for. We need only think about it!
12. Double Dip on Yizkor
On the final day of Passover, in synagogues all over the world, we hold Yizkor, the memorial service for our dear departed. A year ago, virtually no one in the entire world said Yizkor in the synagogue. Now, thank G‑d, synagogues have reopened and many will be saying Yizkor together. If you will not be able to attend, it may be a good idea to ask a dear friend or rabbi to say Yizkor for your loved ones, and at the same time, you may recite the prayer from home as well.
Print: Yizkor at Home
13. Print Out Lots to Read
It’s a beautiful time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, and we can look forward to enjoying the lovely spring weather, replete with quiet walks on isolated nature trails and other safe outdoor activities.
Yet it is probably a good idea to make sure you’ve printed up enough Torah content and Passover-themed inspiration to keep you engaged throughout the holiday.
Should you wish for a boost of inspiration specifically for those of us celebrating alone, print up some goodies here.
With wishes for a healthy and happy Passover!
Your friends at Chabad.org