I have spent many years at home making Pesach and have also gone away to a resort for many years.
After reading Rabbi and Nina Glick’s column (“Coronavirus and Us,” March 5, 2020), I felt a need to respond. I was disturbed by the negative comments regarding those that go away to “their revered Pesach programs.” They compare the aroma of the delicious foods being cooked to the aroma of the ocean.
The first year that I went away was the year that my mother-in-law, z”l, passed away. My husband wanted to be away because he had difficulty sitting at the table with the absence of his mother. I did protest and did say that Pesach cannot be the same at home, as the Glicks have stated. Taking my husband’s strong emotions into consideration, we did go away.
We did have a most enjoyable and meaningful Pesach. We requested a private room for the Seder and we were accommodated. That was a major condition for us to be away, for my husband was still in aveilus. At that time, we were not a large family, but unable to have help. So, all the work fell on me. That year I was able to sit at the table fully awake and completely attentive, as were my children, at our first Yom Tov away.
Unfortunately, my husband has also passed away and I have been fortunate to have remarried a wonderful man with a family. Baruch Hashem, my family has grown and we are now more than 60 people. It is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to be together and not have to divide our family for Yom Tov. Even with help, this is an amazing but challenging number just for buying food for this amount of people.
We do have a private Seder room with everyone seated comfortably. There are many contributing divrei Torah at the Seder with not just singing but also dancing around the room. The little ones perform plays relating to segments of the Haggadah. Even they help share in our joy. They have seen the beauty of family and our holiday celebration and respect our adherence to our faith. We also attend many of the different lectures that are offered by the resort. Davening for my family, even those with babies, is very well attended because it is right there.
There are also many people that find a large communal Seder important for reasons such as their not being able to conduct the Seder, may not have the background, or have baalei teshuva members in their family, or just truly enjoy having a chazan or being surrounded by people. One can choose what works best for their family.
Being away, and we are not near an ocean, gives my growing family an opportunity to be together in a secluded place with nowhere to go but be together. Yes, the coronavirus is a concern to us, not just because of the Yom Tov but for health reasons for all.
I will end this letter with an unsolicited copy of a text just sent by my granddaughter.
“Hi Bobby, I know that you are very stressed and have been working very hard on our Pesach plans. Just wanted to say THANK YOU! We all wait all year for this special time together and these vacations are some of the most special memories we all have together, so thank you! Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Love You!”
May we all be able to celebrate in good health.
Chag sameach to all!Lois Blumenfeld