Why is this night in quarantine different from all other nights in quarantine?
On all other nights, we stuff our faces with leavened or breaded foods. Why on this night do we forgo one of our best and most reliable coping mechanisms?
On all other nights, we consider cornbread a vegetable. Why on this night are we suddenly expected to have an array of greens ready to serve?
On all other nights, we start drinking before it’s socially acceptable to do so and don’t stop until we fall asleep. Why on this night are we encouraged to drink a mere four glasses of wine, and who do we talk to about restructuring the Seder so there’s less downtime between the first and second glass?
On all other nights, we eat sitting up in front of the TV, scrolling through streaming options until we are lulled into unconsciousness by the Planet Earth trailer playing on loop. Why on this night do we do the exact same thing except lying down?
On all other nights, we misplace our phone, accuse our loved ones of hiding it from us, tear the house apart looking for it, then remember we left it charging in the bedroom. Why on this night do we pay our nephew five dollars to find a piece of matzo that doesn’t even help us check Twitter?
On all other nights, we repress our feelings because if we don’t, we’ll waste two hours sobbing over a YouTube video of a grown man using color blind glasses for the first time. Why on this night do we dip our parsley into saltwater to commemorate the tears our ancestors cried thousands of years ago?
On all other nights, we decide we’re too tired to think about dishes, and eat dinner directly off the Dino Nuggets cardboard packaging. Why on this night are we required to use a plate, especially one that isn’t even dishwasher safe?
On all other nights, we complain about having to wake up early the next morning for a work call that requires neither participation nor pants. Why on this night do we exalt and compare ourselves to our ancestors who endured years of back-breaking labor?
On all other nights, someone interrupts us halfway through an anecdote about sponges to inform us we’ve already shared this sponge story with them, and we panic because we’re running out of topics of conversation, and what if we never make new memories and all we can talk about are sponges for the rest of our lives? Why on this night is everyone totally cool spending hours rehashing a story we’ve heard a million times before?
On all other nights, we forgo in-person gatherings and hold virtual hangouts with friends. Why on this night do we leave a seat empty and the door open for a stranger who doesn’t even bother to RSVP, let alone social distance?
On all other nights, we wonder if we’ll ever again be capable of making sustained eye-contact with a stranger at a party. Why on this night do we get jacked up on charoset and bitter herbs, and propose that in 2022 we throw an epic blowout bash in Jerusalem?
On all other nights, we try to avoid thinking about the mental and emotional repercussions of staying home for over a year. Why on this night do we celebrate something that forces those feelings into perspective?
And just for this year, why can’t we do it while stuffing our faces with delicious, yeast-filled bread?