Passover Prayers During Pandemic – Original Version

“. . . I will spare you, and no plague shall come upon you to destroy you.” (Exodus 12:13)

Let it Pass Over
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

On this sacred night
Divided in space
United in voice
As we start our Seder
We cry out to You, God,
From our place of confinement and worry.
Hear our Passover Prayer:

Let it Pass Over, God
Let this plague Pass Over us.
Let it Pass Over every nation, every people,
The young and the old.
Let it Pass Over
Every city and every village
All across Your world.
Let it Pass Over,
Heal those stricken
In every hospital bed
And in every home.

Let this night of Liberation
Mark the birth of a great healing.
Give all souls the wisdom and the strength
To sacrifice their freedom of movement
For the sake of life.
Send healing to all who are ill.
Fill doctors and nurses and all those in the front lines of this battle
With the full force of their sacred healing powers.
Watch over them, God.
Enlighten scientists all across the world
With insight and discoveries
That will lead to effective treatments,
And some day soon,
A cure.  

Free us, God,
From this plague.
Shelter us with your comforting presence.

On this Passover Night
We pray to you, God,
Let it Pass Over us.
Hear us God,
Heal us God

Dayenu – Enough, God!
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Let those who are ill find healing – Dayenu
Let our worries be calmed – Dayenu
Let the weak and the vulnerable be protected – Dayenu
Let all healers find paths to bring healing – Dayenu
Let scientists grasp a higher knowing
That will lead to a cure – Dayenu
Let there be an end to this plague, God – Dayenu
Fill our hearts with hope
And our souls with faith,
Our bodies with health
And our homes with love.
Unite our world to bring on a day of freedom
Let the seeds of rebirth take root tonight
And grow in blessings
In Your light.
Dayenu – Enough, God.

God Does Not Bring Plagues
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

At every Seder, as we recite the ten plagues over Egypt we pour out a drop of wine to symbolize our sadness.  We are heartbroken that any soul had to suffer, even those who hated us,
tormented us and enslaved us.
And still, we sing lighthearted songs with our children about “frogs here, frogs there.”
And as we enumerate the plagues we find ourselves muttering the final plague beneath our breath, not wanting to frighten our own children,
not knowing what to make of a God who would murder innocent children.

Tonight, more than ever, it is time to liberate the God of the Universe from “Acts of God”.  There was a time in history when we didn’t understand what caused earthquakes or floods or fires or contagious viruses. In order to feel less helpless in the face of nature’s fierce capricious power, religions found comfort in blaming the victims of plagues for their own suffering. The Torah ascribes mass slaughter to God as divine punishment for sin: “They brought this upon themselves, they had it coming.”  

But God is praying to be freed from this monstrous portrayal.
Tonight is the time to liberate God from this twisted, sadistic depiction.
Tonight is the time to proclaim God as the One who lifts us up, frees us,
shelters and blesses us each day.
Passover will survive without a belief in a God who visits plagues upon any soul. 

The key to Passover is a belief in rebirth, a belief that tomorrow can be better than today;
a knowing that we each have a critical part to play in the unfolding of hope.
Freedom begins with open eyes and ears and hearts.
Seas will part, answers will come, cures will emerge,
New ways of believing will sprout up and take root,
A universal love that mirrors God’s love for every living creature
And for our world.

In the book of Exodus we are told that Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to replicate the plague of frogs. The only difference between Moses and the sorcerers was: only Moses could remove the plague.
When the sorcerers witnessed Moses reverse the plague they cried out: “This is the hand of God.”

The truth is, it doesn’t take any great supernatural powers to bring about a plague. We all have the power to destroy life and to destroy the earth and our atmosphere. But it does take great holy powers to reverse a plague, to heal the sick, to heal our planet, to heal hatred and war.  The Healing Hand of God acting through us is what will save us and lead us from constriction to wide open spaces,
from fear to faith, from darkness to light, from worry to peace of mind,
from economic hardship to abundance, from illness to health.

Let us raise a glass and drink a Cup of Praise to the Soul of Souls
who fills us with the power to end all plagues.
And let us say, Amen. 

Ma Nishtana Halayla Hazeh?
Why is this Passover Night Different From all Other Passovers?
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

  1. On all other Passovers we eat leavened or unleavened bread and food to our hearts’ content – But tonight we are keenly grateful for every morsel of food we eat. With supermarket shelves running low and a fear of even going to shop in a market we recognize our frailty tonight and we give thanks for the blessing of this sumptuous meal on our table. We give thanks for those who grew our food, we give thanks for those who risked their lives to sell us our food. We give thanks to those who did the shopping. We give thanks for those who prepared our feast. And we give thanks to our Creator who sustains us each day and is beside us in this challenging time.

    2.  On all other Passovers we eatmaror to cause ourselves to understand the bitter, we eat what’s bitter to remind us of the torments our ancestors endured – But tonight, we don’t need to be reminded of the bitter. Every headline speaks to us of bitter maror stories. As we eat maror tonight we pray for the day when our lives will return to normal so that we once again have to be reminded of the bitter.
  2. On all other nights we don’t dip things in water – But this Passover night we must remind ourselves to wash and to wash, to disinfect and to wash some more.
  3. On all other Passovers we sit surrounded by family and dear friends – But tonight we FaceTime and we Zoom, and together we pray for the day when our homes will be filled once more with the sweet sound of voices rejoicing and feasting in love to sing Your praise, God.

May That Day Come Soon, Amen.

Eliyahu Hanavi: Opening the Door for Elijah
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

The only guest we CAN safely invite into our homes tonight is Elijah.
Elijah the Prophet is the one who will herald in the Messiah.
Our tradition offers us many visions of what Messianic Days will look like.
Some say it will be a time of supernatural events and miracles.
But the Haftorah we recite just before Passover describes the great gift Elijah will bring this way: “And he will restore the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents.”
Restoring Love is the greatest miracle of all, it is a Messianic dream.
Elijah comes to every bris and baby naming to teach us this same lesson – that every single soul has a sacred role to play in the healing of hearts across this world.
Let that healing begin tonight in my home:

Come Elijah, bless us our hearts with love and forgiveness.
Come Elijah, now more than ever we are aware of how precious life is
and how fragile.
Come Elijah, enter this home, enter every home and drink from your honored cup.
Redeem us Elijah, free us from resentments, heal us from anger,
Bring an end to all war and bloodshed.
Let a new time of healing begin tonight.

Welcome Elijah, pull up a chair.
We need you tonight more than ever
Come Now, Elijah,
Heal our world.

The Bitter and the Sweet
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Take a piece of matzah, place some Haroset and some Maror on it and recite this prayer as you eat.

We are aware tonight that there is a sweetness lying inside our bitter conditions,
Just as there is a light forever shining for us in the darkness.
It is our mission to uncover the blessings hiding inside the curses tonight.
We are learning new lessons day by day.
We are filled with Gratitude:
For the food on our table.
For having a place to seek shelter in.
For doctors and nurses and all those risking their lives to save life.
For scientists seeking answers and treatments and cures.
For Zoom and FaceTime and all the technological advances that permit us to connect remotely tonight and each day.
For the love and support of family and friends.
For the kindness of souls volunteering to help.
For suddenly realizing how precious life is.
For the power to quiet fear.
For the courage to be optimistic and patient.
For nature’s beauty.
For inner strength and for inner peace.
For honest conversations that feel real and deep and true.
For time to slow down and take stock.
For quality time at home with those we love.
For the sacred space to go within and uncover wells of creativity that have been lying dormant…

Ask everyone participating in your Seder to share a blessing that they have uncovered
while sheltering in place during this coronavirus.

This Passover we choose to embrace the blessings that are waiting for us
even in the midst of this curse, Amen.

Tzafun – Finding and Eating The Afikoman
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Tzafun means the hidden.

This is the time in our Seder when we uncover, reveal and taste what’s been hiding in plain sight – the Afikoman. 

Somewhere in this world right now there is a cure waiting to be found.
An answer is coming.
The day is near.
Open the eyes of researchers, God,
Fill them with the humility to learn from one another,
With the generosity to share promising insights,
With the curiosity to ask the right questions,
The vision to see with new eyes,
The audacity to think outside the box,
The perseverance to try again and again and again.

We eat the Afikoman now as a prayer:
May the cure that is hidden soon be revealed!
And let us say, Amen.  

Next Year! LeShanah HaBa-ah!
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

We conclude our Seder with words of prayer, hope and uplift:

Next Year in Jerusalem!
Next Year in Health!
Next Year Free from Worry!
Next Year with Family and Friends!
Next Year Feasting!
Next Year Rejoicing!
Next Year in Laughter!
Next Year in Love!
Next Year filled with Song and Celebration!
Next Year with a Vaccine!
Next Year in Abundance!
Next Year in Peace!
Next Year in Blessings!


A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

We are frightened, God,
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused,
We turn to You
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.

Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak,
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus

Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
In the frontlines of this battle,
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
One people
Who will rise above this pandemic together.

Send us health God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.
Hear us God,
Heal us God,