The words of my friend Irit and Vice President Biden on this first night of Passover speak to the heart and resilience that is asked of us all now. I have taken the liberty of reprinting VP Biden’s message, published on Medium.
Passover in the middle of a plague
by Irit Umani, Austin, TX
How does one celebrate Passover in the middle of a plague? And especially one that does not pass-over anyone?
There are parts of the Seder that were never comfortable or easy for me to begin with. So how is this Passover different that all other Passovers?
The journey toward freedom is an inner journey of cultivating compassion toward one another and coming ever closer to the One. We are asked to let go of that which separates us. While in isolation, there is no need to be in separation.
Can we move from being chosen FROM all people, to being chosen WITH all people? It seems to me that if there is anything that this plague is teaching us, it is how inter-dependent we all are. It teaches us that all of us, of all faith traditions, are God’s beloveds and are praying for God’s grace.
And if I get closer to this realization, in real ways—dayeinu, it is enough.
May all beings be free. May all beings know peace.
Passover message from Vice President Joe Biden
In these difficult times, the message of Passover resonates with us as never before. At its heart, this is a holiday about coming together to overcome the sternest of challenges — and meeting adversity with generosity, optimism, and faith. The story of the exodus from Egypt is a call to resilience, but also a call to empathy; it recounts how God delivered the ancient Israelites from bondage, but carries vital lessons about the values of community and connection that make freedom worthwhile. And while the Haggadah is grounded in the past, it also sheds light on how we might rise above the crises of the present and future with our humanity intact.
Jill and I know how hard it is for so many families, friends, and communities to not be physically together at Passover this year. The thought of all those grandchildren and grandparents, siblings and cousins, neighbors, and strangers in need who will mark their Passover seders alone this year tears at our hearts. But we also know that you are still together in the senses of the word that matter most; blocks away or miles apart, across virtual connections and the connection of common faith, you nevertheless celebrate as one.
If Passover teaches us anything, it’s that a united and open-hearted people can come through any challenge and emerge stronger on the other side. The American people and the people of all nations are facing down a new challenge today — a treacherous journey across unfamiliar terrain. And like the heroes of the Passover story, we will survive that journey by calling upon the values that define us: our caring for strangers, our strength in unity, and our faith in better days.