I last hosted a Passover seder in 2018. In 2019 I couldn’t cook the seder, but B, a good friend, did the cooking and I sat with them. In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic meant that a seder was out of the question.
Now it’s 2022. We’ve got vaccines! We’ve got at-home COVID tests! We can do this!
I send out an email to my usual seder suspects. The email includes:
I’m immunocompromised, so I must ask that everyone test negative on an at-home COVID test before the seder. I’ve got plenty of tests that take only 15 minutes to give results. However, you may want to test before coming over to avoid an immediate return should you test positive. If you’re going to use one of my tests, please arrive by 7:15PM (and please wear a mask) to give yourself time for the test.
I’d been accumulating tests for the past few months in anticipation of the seder. I got all the free government ones, plus my insurance company allowed me to purchase eight tests every month at no net cost to me. Even with weekly tests on my own so I could visit some friends for gaming, I had the tests needed to accommodate any seder guests:
I get only three positive responses to the email (a fourth comes late, and it turned out that they couldn’t stay late enough for the meal to start). That’s a little low for a seder that takes place on a Friday night, but two of those positive responses were from couples. Along with B, at whose home we’d have the seder, that makes seven. That’s more than enough for a good Passover seder, especially considering that I normally make enough food for fifteen.
Then one of the couples cancels. They’ve overbooked. OK, but that leaves five. Besides, the couples pay me a visit last weekend to be sociable, so it’s not as if they’re stiffing me.
On Saturday I start unpacking Passover items from my closet. My seder plate, an admittedly cheap one that I purchased over two decades ago, slips out of its box and shatters. I order a new one from Amazon. Still, it’s ominous.
Then B gets COVID. That’s sad, and I wish her a swift recovery. But we can’t use her home for the seder. No problem; with only four people, I can host the seder at my place.
Yesterday (Tuesday), I do some preliminary shopping: eggs, carrots, onions, mushrooms, horseradish. The vegetables and chicken for the soup, and the beef for the roast, will wait until Thursday so they’ll be fresh. (I purchased the matzoh a couple of months ago. Pro tip: Buy kosher-for-Passover matzoh weeks in advance. By the time of Passover, the only appropriate matzoh in the supermarkets will be the ten-pack crates.)
The new seder tray arrives.
I unpack more boxes from the closet. It’s been about 20 years since I last hosted a seder in my apartment. I’d forgotten all dining items I had stored. Some of them have been in my family since I was a kid. I begin the process of organizing items for the seder table:
Today (Wednesday), one of the guests texts that she come down with a terrible, painful cold.
That leaves three people, including me. And the remaining two are driving from Pennsylvania.
What use is there being a Wiccan if you can’t read the signs?
There will be no seder this year.
I wish I knew this before I purchased 30 eggs.
Passover 2023 will be on a Wednesday evening. Passover 2024 will be on a Monday evening. It won’t be until Passover 2025 that the seder will fall on a Saturday night. It might be a while before I’ll host a well-attended seder again.