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Let The Hungry Eat -- Chronicle Online/The WORD 03/30/23

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

March 30, 2023

8 Nisan 5783

Shabbat Hagadol

Parashat Tzav

One of the best traditions of Passover is that in the synagogue on the Eve of Passover, we do not recite the Kiddush (sanctification over wine). Every Friday night and every other Festival Eve (except Yom Kippur!), we recite the Kiddush in the synagogue. But, on Passover we don’t. Now, I don’t love this tradition simply because it makes services shorter—even rabbis want services to be a little shorter. I love this tradition because it is rooted in the assumption that everyone will have a Passover Seder to attend—and therefore, everyone will recite the Kiddush at home. This idea of everyone having a place at the table is reinforced at the Seder table when we recite the prayer called “Ha Lachma.” We loudly declare, “Let everyone who is in need, come and eat!” Sadly, it is only one night a year that we can assume everyone has someplace to go and eat. On all the rest of the nights of the year, there are people who do not have a place at the table. There are people who do not have enough to eat. Perhaps that is why the ancient rabbis created the tradition of “Ma’ot Hittim”—literally “grain money.” In anticipation of Passover, if we are able, we are supposed to contribute to a fund that will provide food for those who can’t afford it. Right here in Summit, we have multiple organizations doing this important work of feeding the food insecure, and they can all use our support. SHIP (Summit Helping Its People) – provides breakfast and lunch to individuals who are currently unhoused and also food insecure. They need volunteers as well as financial support. GRACE (Giving & Receiving Assistance and Community Essentials) – distributes groceries primarily to Summit residents who cannot afford all the groceries their families need. They serve nearly 300 families each week. Family Promise – helps unhoused families find a permanent housing solution and offers support in finding jobs so that families can be independent. If you don’t live in the Summit area, and you want to help, there other options. Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry – based in South Orange, it provides kosher food to families who are food insecure. Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger – works to fight hunger across the US and in Israel. So, as we prepare for the elaborate meals with which we celebrate Passover in our homes, please consider supporting some families and individuals who may not know where their next meal may be. Best wishes for a Happy Passover! Shalom, RAF.

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