Pesach 5780

Why is this night different from
all other nights?

On all other nights
guests wedge themselves
around dining tables,
seated thigh to thigh
like rush-hour subway riders.

On this night we Zoom. 

On all other nights
sideboards and tables
muster muscles in offering.
Verne’s gefilte fish,
Lynne’s charoset,
Tim’s soups,
Paul Cohen’s Chocolate Oblivion,
and LemonTorte.

On this night we eat small.

On all other nights
we open the door
to family,
the stranger.

On this night to Elijah alone. 

On all other nights
we read of plagues
and miracles, of parting seas.
We dip fingers into wine
reducing our joy in the face
of other’s tragedy.

On all other nights we
are our ancestors
retelling and reliving
bitterness and bricks
salted tears and sacrifice.
And renewal — the egg and parsley

On this night, too
we will retell
and recount
and relive.
We will dip twice, and question and lean.

We will do what we have done
ever since a Mighty Hand
stretched out and parted the seas
for a terrified and liberated people
who walked upon dry land
to the other side.

— Debra Darvick