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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:02 am
So my husbands friend comes over for meals sometimes, he’s divorced.
Now with corona I wasn’t sure if I should invite him. I decided not to but at the end I couldn’t not call him. It’s so sad to think of him being alone all week. I called my rav and he said that we should make sure to wash hands and keep apart and I can call him. So he came the last few week.
It is also hard for him because pesach programs closed, he sometimes goes there. And there are no kiddishim or simchas to go to, so it’s very lonely.
I’m very careful with going out. I canceled cleaning help, no play dates, no shopping or errands.... but I don’t feel like I can give this up.
On one hand I feel like it’s a mitzvah to have him. But then I think, so is davening with a minyan and yet it was cancelled.
With pesach coming up, what do I do? To add we are bh your and healthy and so is he. And also he’s not so super careful about social distancing at work or in the streets. He’s not sitting home all day.
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amother




Mustard
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:11 am
I can't believe this is even a question. Please do the right thing. Of course it's so sad to be alone at such a time. But better alone then sick and sorry and worse! Every day I think of those who are alone. I try to keep up with phone calls, with emails, facetime, etc. It is not an appropriate chesed at this time to invite lonely people into your home.
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amother




Forestgreen
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:14 am
It's sad and he may be lonely, but it's just one Pesach that he'll have to be alone. If rabbeim are telling us not to have family over, how is this any different? This pandemic is not going to end if people don't follow the guidelines.
I sound like a broken record, but come on! Enough already! He'll survive on his own, and as a result, you won't risk getting your family sick.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:18 am
I get it I get it.
I’m being home, making Seder first time....I’m not sticking my nose out.

It’s such a hard phone call to make, to cancel him. He has no one to talk to...
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amother




Mustard
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:20 am
This has been going around, but for anyone facing being alone for seder who may not have seen it...


When the Lubavitcher Rebbe Self-Quarantined for Pesach
Rabbi Pini Dunner

One of the issues that has been coming up again and again in the past week during phone calls I have been having with my community, and with others from further afield, is the fact that people will be on their own for the Seder this year, or their Seder will be drastically reduced in numbers, with children or parents elsewhere, all isolated in the midst of the current coronavirus social-distancing self-quarantine situation which is so important to prevent the spread of the disease.

Some people will literally be by themselves, solitary, with no one to do the Seder with at all.

“How can we do Seder by ourselves?” they ask me. “Doesn’t the Pesach Seder need to be done with family and guests?”

I have thought about this a lot, and would like to address everyone’s concerns by sharing an extraordinary conversation with you that I had about eighteen months ago.

I just happened to be in New York at the time, and a friend of mine messaged me that his daughter had become engaged. I texted him back that I was around and would be able to attend the engagement party, and that night I drove to Monsey to celebrate the simcha.

While I was at the party, I bumped into a friend of mine, Rabbi YY Jacobson, a well-known inspirational speaker on the East Coast. I knew that Rabbi Jacobson grew up on Montgomery Street in Crown Heights, in the heart of the Chabad community, just a few blocks away from the home of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe.

There is an aspect of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe’s life that I feel is often overlooked, and we got to talking about it. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was incredibly down-to-earth, and, together with his late wife Rebbetzen Chaya Mushka, the Rebbe led a very simple life. Indeed, as hard as it may be to believe, their life together was very private.

Rabbi Jacobson often tells stories about the Rebbe when he speaks to audiences, so I asked him if he ever focuses on this particular aspect of the Rebbe’s greatness. Namely that the Lubavitcher Rebbe had no airs and graces at all, nor was he interested in the pomp and ceremony that is often the hallmark of other Hasidic leaders and ‘courts’.

“For example,” I asked Rabbi Jacobson, “do you ever tell audiences that in their sixty years of marriage, the Rebbe and his wife ate every Shabbes meal together on their own? No guests, no attendants, no public spectacle… just a married couple eating together – bringing the food in, eating, clearing the table, doing the washing up. A man who had literally tens of thousands of people at his beck-and-call! What a powerful lesson!”

Rabbi Jacobson paused for a moment, and then he smiled. “I’ve got one better for you,” he said. “A few weeks ago, I led a workshop for single mothers, and at the end of the session, I took questions from the women and encouraged them to ask any question that was on their mind. One of the ladies put her hand up, and this is what she asked me… it’s a crazy story.”

“A few months ago,” she said, “it was Pesach. The thing is, my ex-husband and I went through a very difficult breakup. After years in court over our kids, we finally settled on a shared custody arrangement, which means that we alternate Jewish holidays. This past Pesach it was my turn – my children were coming to me for Seder and I was so excited. I changed over my home for Pesach and prepared everything beautifully; it was going to be just me and the kids.”

“I was so happy about them being with me, that I told everyone: my family, my friends, my neighbors. Then, one hour before yomtov, I got a phone call from my ex – for some reason, the kids were not going to be coming. I almost fainted from shock and heartache. I was also so ashamed. I guess I could have called my parents, or I could have called my neighbors – and gone to them for the Seder. But how could I actually do that? I had told everyone my kids were coming! Truth is, I did not have the energy to even be with anyone. I felt completely and totally numb – dry and lifeless.”

“So I did the Seder by myself. On my own. It was the worst and most bitter Seder I have ever had. I just sat there crying the whole way through. Weeping. It wasn’t Pesach. It was Tisha B’Av. I did not have to eat Maror. I—my entire life!—was Maror. Yes, I went through the Haggadah and ate the Matzah; but the entire Seder took me 25 minutes.”

“Rabbi Jacobson, did I do the right thing? Did I fulfil my Seder obligation? Was it even called a Seder? Because it did not feel like a proper Pesach.”

Rabbi Jacobson told me – and believe me, as a public speaker, I know exactly what he means – sometimes your most inspirational moments in a speech are not prepared. They are a gift from God. You can prepare for hours. And then inspiration drops into your lap. Right then and there, Rabbi YY Jacobson had such a moment.

“Lady,” he said, “in 1988 the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wife died, and he was left on his own, as they sadly had no children. She passed away in February, and two months later was Pesach. Every year the Rebbe and his Rebbetzen had Seder together, but this year he was on his own, totally by himself. Who would the Rebbe conduct the Passover Seder with?”

“I recall that a young boy, Ari Halberstam – who was later tragically gunned down on Brooklyn Bridge, in 1994 – approached the Rebbe after Maariv on the first night of Pesach and, on behalf of his mother, invited the Rebbe to his home for Seder. Ari’s family lived at 706 Eastern Parkway, just one block away from ‘770’. The Rebbe smiled at Ari, and shook his head. He thanked him profusely, but told Ari he would be having the Seder in his private office in ‘770’.”

“I was a yeshiva student at the time,” continued Rabbi Jacobson, “so I am a first-hand witness to this story. In fact, the Rebbe’s longstanding assistant Rabbi Leibel Groner offered to stay with the Rebbe, but the Rebbe sent him home to have Seder with his wife and children.”

“And so, the great Lubavitcher Rebbe – the man who inspired countless people around the world for their Seders, who personally undertook to provide a meaningful Pesach Seder for Israeli Army personnel who were on duty on the first night of Pesach via his shluchim in Eretz Yisrael – had the Seder on his own. Not one other person was present. As the Talmud says: if you are on your own, you ask yourself the ‘Ma Nishtana’ questions, and then you answer them to yourself.”

“A few of us yeshiva boys did not go home that night; we waited outside in the street – and after a couple of hours, the Rebbe opened the door to welcome Eliyahu Hanavi and recite Shefoch Chamatcha. He walked outside holding a candle and his Haggadah, said the prayer, gave us a wave, and then went back inside to finish the Seder — by himself.”

“My dear lady,” said Rabbi Jacobson, “if it was good enough for the Lubavitcher Rebbe to have the Seder on his own, trust me, your Seder was perfect!”

“He could have had his Seder with 100 people, 1000 people, or 10,000 people. He personally arranged for all the army Seders in Israel to be sponsored. He was responsible for hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Pesach on Seder night, from Kathmandu to Alaska, from San Francisco to New Zealand. But at the end of the day, he went and did the Seder on his own. He didn’t need anyone else to be close to God. He didn’t need adulation. He didn’t need validation. He sat alone and relived the Exodus from Egypt.”

“I was only 15 at the time,” concluded Rabbi Jacobson, “but despite my youth, I felt sad that the Rebbe had nobody to be with for the Seder. Why did he not invite even one person to be with him? But today, after hearing your story, I may have discovered the answer—and it is just a personal feeling. As a true Jewish leader, the Rebbe wished to empower all those souls who would ever need to do their Seder alone. He wanted them to know that their solitary Passover Seder was powerful, meaningful, and real. Jewish history and the Divine presence would dwell at their Seder just as it does at a Seder that has many people there.”

Over the past couple of weeks, as the coronavirus crisis has unfolded across the world, and the reality of our isolated situations has become ever more evident – this incredible and very moving story about the Lubavitcher Rebbe has been at the forefront of my mind.

This year, so many people – probably more people than at any other time in Jewish history – will be having the Seder on their own or without their families. All of our Seders will be diminished, and anxiety will be hovering in the air. And all of us will be thinking to ourselves – ‘is this really a proper Seder?’

I think Rabbi Jacobson’s story about the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1988 answers that question, and it eases any doubts we may have about our impending ‘depleted’ experience. After all, “if it was good enough for the Lubavitcher Rebbe to have the Seder on his own, trust me, your Seder is going to be just perfect!”
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amother




Bisque
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:36 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I get it I get it.
I’m being home, making Seder first time....I’m not sticking my nose out.

It’s such a hard phone call to make, to cancel him. He has no one to talk to...


Tell him he can pick up the meals from outside your door. Divorced men appreciate the home made meals very much. At least he'll get that.

Inviting is just not an option now.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:49 am
amother [ Bisque ] wrote:
Tell him he can pick up the meals from outside your door. Divorced men appreciate the home made meals very much. At least he'll get that.

Inviting us just not an option now.


He’s too proud. Officially he doesn’t come for the food.
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amother




Tan
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 12:50 am
We have a good friend who is divorced and had to quarantine himself for 2 weeks because he went to shul and came in contact with a Corona patient. Couldn't see his kids. My DH has been face timing with him and we drop off care packages at his door. But no way would I let anyone into my house right now. we love him, but health comes first.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:21 am
Thanks everyone. I needed to hear that I’m not the meanest person by closing the door on him.

Thanks
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:26 am
I am divorced, and I will be alone for Pesach.

I don't know how your friend is, but if it helps you to know, I'm not bitter or angry at anyone. I hope he understands that you would absolutely love to have him over if you could.

Let him know how much it pains you to know that he will be alone. The sympathy goes a long way, to make someone feel like they haven't been abandoned.

Please protect yourself and your family, so that we can all have many joyous holidays to come.
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WhatFor




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:29 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thanks everyone. I needed to hear that I’m not the meanest person by closing the door on him.

Thanks


If it makes you feel better... Think of it as being kind to another person in the universe who might not be able to get hospital resources if his company meant someone else in your home chv later needed hospitalization.
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banana123




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:31 am
You're not closing the door on him.

You're protecting him. And you're protecting your family. And you're doing your part to prevent the hospitals from collapsing.
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thunderstorm




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:32 am
OP, if I were you I’d deliver some Yom Tov food to his door on Erev Yom Tov just to show how much you care. Don’t call to offer the food , just bring it over and call to let him know you left it at his door.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:37 am
Thanks. I’ll do that. Put together a package and deliver it. He’ll probably eat it when it’s hot.
I can’t imagine that he’ll rewarm it later.
I wonder if he even has pesach utensils or place to cook. He’ll oribably eat matzah and cheese all Yom tov.
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amother




Green
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:38 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
He’s too proud. Officially he doesn’t come for the food.


You can convey that you wish you could have him, and it's hard not to, and this is the only way you can host, so will he accept the food?
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 8:42 am
amother [ Green ] wrote:
You can convey that you wish you could have him, and it's hard not to, and this is the only way you can host, so will he accept the food?


I’ll do that because I know that he really would appreciate home cooked food. Who doesn’t?
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amother




Peach
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 9:28 am
OP, my special needs brother can't come to us for Pesach. Likely it seems that he and two other special needs guys are gonna do the seder by themselves (they are high functioning). If that isn't the saddest....

..everyone has to do what they gotta do Sad. You probably should not have this guy over, sad as it is.
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amother




Pumpkin
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 10:33 am
amother [ Peach ] wrote:
OP, my special needs brother can't come to us for Pesach. Likely it seems that he and two other special needs guys are gonna do the seder by themselves (they are high functioning). If that isn't the saddest....

..everyone has to do what they gotta do Sad. You probably should not have this guy over, sad as it is.


That's so sad, I really feel for you. But I can't help thinking that their singing at the seder, their brachot on the matza and the maror, will go straight up to the highest place our tefillot can go.
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greenfire




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 10:43 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
he’s not so super careful about social distancing at work or in the streets.


you're putting your family at risk even before you described the details ... knowing the details you are just as careless as he is
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amother




Sienna
 

Post  Tue, Mar 31 2020, 10:45 am
Why do people think their newlywed kids or divorced or single friends/family are more important and more of the exception than my 70 year old widowed mother in law? She's way more lonely and way more elderly. And we are not having her for pesach. Because we love her and value her life.
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