Sunday, April 12, 2020

Sakanat Nefashot vs. Kashrut l'Pesach

This is certainly not the way that I would have wanted to learn a new Hebrew word:  Sakanah = danger.

Sakanat nefashot:  Danger to human lives (rough translation).

Sakanat pikuach nefesh:  Danger to the saving of a life (rough translation).

Our son has been absolutely adamant--he insists that, since we're both over 70, we avoid shopping even locally, much less renting a car and driving out to a Jewish neighborhood to shop for kosher for Passover food, and rely entirely on what we already have in the apartment or can have delivered using his Amazon Prime account.

Good luck getting kosher for Passover food on Amazon.  :(

We sold all of our chametz online through the agency of the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel (the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) in Manhattan, and stashed whatever chametz was left in a plastic bag in a separate section of the freezer, since we're literally afraid to throw anything out.

But we have literally almost no food in our home that's labelled kasher l'Pesach.

We had or were able to get a five-pound box of matzah; a one-pound box of gluten-free oat matzah for yours truly ('cause I have to be able to say motzi over *something,* however vile it tastes); four bottles of kosher grape juice; seven cans of macaroons; some Pesach crackers, strawberry preserves, and canned tuna left in our lobby by a kind couple from our congregation; and enough kosher meat, delivered by two kind members of a different local synagogue along with a ready-made Seder plate, to stuff our freezer and keep us going for about a month.

That's all, folks.

It was really strange to clean and kasher our kitchen and entire apartment, then turn around and put all the chametz things right back in their usual places, but we had no choice--with me now retired and my husband retiring at the end of this semester, we didn't know whether we could afford to replace all our Pesach dishes next year after using them for whatever food we have this Pesach.

We have only two rules:
~ We will neither buy nor eat anything that's identifiably chametz;
~ We will neither buy nor eat any snack or "auxiliary" foods that are not labelled kosher for Passover, because we don't need these foods to preserve our health--we can live for all of Pesach without chocolate squares, and we can use matzah instead of rice cakes or buckwheat flatbreads to make our sandwiches.

I confess to being envious of those more-fortunate souls who posted on Facebook listing their four-course Seder meals and waxing eloquent about seeing their grandmother's Pesach dishes again.

I miss our old family-heirloom cut-glass salt cellars and the tiny silver spoons that my sister bought for them a few years ago, the Kos Eliyahu (Elijah's Cup) that was a wedding present from the choir in which we used to sing in our former synagogue, and the gorgeous matzah cover that was handmade by our oldest friend.

Never mind "Next Year in Jerusalem"--we'll settle for the ability to *safely* get a six-hour Zipcar rental and go shopping in Jewish neighborhoods and clean out the kosher supermarkets (and our bank account), so that we can use our Pesach things again and have a *real* Pesach.

All of that said, I was quite sincere when I recited the Shechayanu--I am very grateful that my husband, our son, and I have been kept alive and sustained and were able to reach this season.

Moadim l'Simchah!



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