“Whole or broken?”

That’s our favorite Passover game.

One of us holds up a matzah piece that is either one solid piece or a piece that we had previously secretly cracked into two and then fitted them back together again, hiding the crack.

“Is it whole or broken?” we ask each other.

We look for clues on the matzah no less than we look forWe look for clues clues on the matzah-holder’s face and fingers. Is he clutching it tightly? Must be broken! Are her eyes calm? Ah, surely it’s a whole piece. Did he just turn his hand over without thinking? Did she blush when she got to the word “broken”? And let’s not forget about each one’s history and style. Who is the lazy type? Who has repeatedly tried to hide the crack, what is it now, 11 times in a row? Who was busy fumbling on the side before running back to the table to ask to play?

So simple and so entertaining for a family sitting together for hours surrounded mainly by wine and matzah.

As I started my Passover preparations this year, I grinned in fond reminiscence of our family traditions and customs.

Though this year is looking very different, very quiet, very alone and very separate, I still am blessed to have a treasure box of memories and teachings.

“Whole or broken?” I softly repeat to myself in the sing-song chant we’d use.

That’s what this whole universe feels like, right now.

Are we whole or broken?

On the one hand, we are all isolated.

On the other hand, we are all in this together.

On the one hand, we have lost access to so many services, facilities, and essentials.

On the other hand, we have gained so many new and healthy perspectives and habits.

On the one hand, so many families are deep in mourning.

On the other hand, so much kindness is being extended.

Are we whole or broken?

As individuals, as communities, as a nation.

Many people are feeling that their sense of self, their wholeness, has been broken. Especially in light of our upcoming holiday of Passover, they feel fragile, insecure, alone, afraid.

“How can I conduct a Passover Seder if I don’t know how to read Hebrew?”

“How can I clean my whole house if I’ve never done this before?”

“How can I feel happy during the holiday if I’m going to be all alone?”

“How can I act like it’s a celebration when my family is so far?”

“How can I know I’ve prepared properly without my rabbi at my side?”

It does sound very broken, indeed, and we cannot rely on any outsiders to fill the gaps that we have.

Does this mean that G‑d wants thousands of broken Seder nights?

Did G‑d orchestrate all of this to prove how fragile and incompetent we are?

Is the point of this pandemic simply to break us?

They say “to know G‑d is to be G‑d” so I cannot profess to know why G‑d has sent Covid-19 to His universe.

What I can declare with confidence, though, is that as a result of G‑d being Good, I know that everything He does is Good.

And I don’t think G‑d is holding up the world now to tell us that we are all broken, doomed to have broken Passovers.

I think G‑d is holding up the world to tell us that we are all whole. That deep inside each of us is a pure holy soul, literally a piece of G‑d, that is perfect and whole. And from that G‑dly soul that we each possess, we can draw forth wholeness into our lives.

At a time when G‑d has taken away so many of the things weHe trusts us to connect to the wholeness we possess within normally lean on to feel confident and complete, He is showing us that He trusts us to connect to the wholeness we possess within.

When we zoom into our soul, zoom into our wholeness, we will discover strengths we never knew we had.

And then, even without our local rabbi, synagogue, and dishes mikvah; even without our parents, siblings, and children; even without our friends, guests, and neighbors; even without our usual dishes, outings, and activities; even without our new clothing, accessories, and decorations, we will see that we do have what it takes to create and to celebrate a most kosher and joyous Passover, whoever and wherever we are.

This Passover, it is G‑d holding up the world, asking “Whole or Broken?”

And this Passover, we will answer, “We are whole, G‑d. We are whole. As individuals, as communities, and as a nation, we are whole.”

And then, G‑d, please reveal the wholeness in all of Your world, by sending us our wholly righteous Moshiach to redeem us from this final exile, amen!