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Be Strong, Be Strong and We Will be Strengthened!

Friday, 20 March, 2020 - 2:12 pm

This week Synagogues around the world will not be reading from the Torah. The Parshah that we would read concludes the book of Shemot – Exodus. The custom is to proclaim at the end of the reading “Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek – be strong, be strong and we will be strengthened.” While we cannot proclaim this together, each of our homes must reverberate with the sound of that powerful message of strength.

This is also the Shabbat in which we would bless the upcoming month of Nissan in front of the Torah scroll. Since, by Divine design, we cannot gather in a Minyan, it behooves Hashem alone to bless the month on our behalf. Indeed, may this month of liberation and freedom herald liberation and freedom for each and every one of us from everything keeping us down, beginning with the disruptive coronavirus, and exile in general.

Under the current circumstances, it appears that everyone of us will be celebrating Pesach in our own homes. How ironic, that the Seder opens with the declaration “all who are hungry should come and eat,” and now we are forced into isolation and social distancing. In that vein, I strongly encourage each of you to start (if you haven’t already) making concrete Passover preparations to have your own Seder at home by yourself.

Kosher Cajun has assured me that they are adequately stocked to be able to supply our community’s many new Seders with the Seder needs. They will have the seder plate items, Passover products, and wine in abundance. You can also order catering from them for the Seder. Contact Joel or Mary at or see the menu online at Dvash Catering is also offering to help with you Passover catering – Do not wait! Take action now to ensure that you will have a meaningful Pesach.

2000 homes in the New Orleans area will be receiving a Passover guide in the mail this week from Chabad. It includes a step by step how to for the Seder. You can also use online resources at We will be delivering Shmura Matzah to hundreds of homes in the area in the near future. But you must move now to get your Passover seder in place. It will be different and strange – but it must be done. The faster we accept this, the better prepared we will be. We can make this a very meaningful Pesach if we regulate our expectations, and adjust ourselves to the circumstances.

Chabad of Louisiana, all of our branches, are joining forces to be as helpful as possible as can be with getting you set for a stay-at-home Seder. Feel free to reach out to us – Uptown, Metairie, & Baton Rouge, if there is anything we can do to help.

In the meantime, join us for one of our virtual gatherings. Each morning at 8:30 for morning services on my Facebook page, Malkie’s nightly Torah and tea on Facebook, Chabad Metairie positivity moment and Torah class each day on Facebook, Chanie Nemes is having a book review on Zoom, we will be having more and more opportunities for community gathering with time. Also has a lot of resources as well.

In the meantime Chazak, Chazak, V’Nitchazek!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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