The Sydney Beth Din suggests a Zoom rehearsal for Seder

March 31, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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A dress rehearsal of the Seder’s highlights is a way to get around the restrictions of people gathering during these difficult times.

The Sydney Beth Din states: “It goes without saying that one must strictly adhere to the guidelines given by the government and Beth Din. This means that Seder this year will not be able to be held with our extended families and friends but only with the members of one’s household. Although difficult, it is a necessary reality for all of us.

However, this does not mean that there is not a way in which we can get together as families. We propose the following as has similarly been suggested by other rabbis including Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

Of course, we are not permitted to use technology on Yom Tov but it can be used prior. On Wednesday late afternoon, we can prepare ourselves to be ready for Yom Tov some time before candle lighting, grandparents in their homes and children and grandchildren in theirs.

We set up a zoom or WhatsApp link connecting our families wherever they may be,  all ready and sitting at the set Yom Tov table. This time in Temple times was when the korban pesach sacrifice was brought and Hallel said in the Temple. It is a uniquely holy time.

An Israeli family during the Passover seder on the first night of the holiday in Tzur Hadassah. Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90.

We can talk to each other and exchange good wishes and blessings. We can symbolically go through meaningful parts of the Haggadah which we usually say or sing together like Ma Nishtana, and Avodim Hayinu as well as singing the songs at the end of the seder. The children can make their seder presentations as they do every year. Any part of the Haggadah can be said except for all blessings including those on matzah and wine etc, and without consuming any Matzah or wine.

We reiterate that it prohibited to do this during Yom Tov. This must be completed prior to candle lighting time at 5.23 pm in Sydney.

Before candle lighting we wish everyone a good Yom Tov, turn off the technology and put it away until the end of Shabbos.  The candles are lit and we pray Maariv (the evening service) and then begin our own seder (earliest commencement time not before 6.06 pm).

A concluding thought. In ancient Egypt, on the night of the tenth plague, the night of their redemption, the Jews were all huddled in their homes. They were told they should not go out lest they be struck down by the plague. This year we too are commanded to stay in our homes and not to go out. As they ate Matzah and Maror on that night, so we too will eat Matzah and Maror. Let us pray that G-d finally takes us out of our exile, the world from this plague, and rebuild our Temple speedily when we will eat again from the Paschal Lamb.

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