Hi, this is Etta Einschlag, AmpleHarvest.org’s Administrative Manager. I wanted to share my thoughts with you as I get ready to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover which is this Friday. Passover commemorates our freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt, and the miracles that made that possible. We begin the celebration with a Passover seder – a traditional service including rituals, story-telling, and feasting.
Last year, at my Passover seder, one particular line stood out to me: “All who are hungry, come and eat!” Sounds like a wonderful invitation, but this line is in the middle of the story-telling portion of the seder. We had already drank a cup of wine, washed our hands, eaten fresh greens, broken the middle matza, and started talking about the meaning of Passover. Just who were we going to get to join our seder in the middle?? On a rare occasion, a poor stranger actually hears this declaration and pops in, but we can’t all be that lucky.
Story-telling is arguably the most important part of the Passover seder. Each line is chalk full of lessons: What we went through and what is our purpose in the world today. The Passover story is about the journey from slavery to freedom, and what that journey means. The Sages teach us that not only did we each personally become free on the night of the first Passover, but that we must again make the journey from slavery to freedom each year on that night. The declaration “All who are hungry, come and eat!” is a reminder that even while there is a feast in front of us, our neighbors are hungry. Our journey to freedom must include our neighbors. We can never truly be free until each and every one of us is food secure.
As we approach the Passover season, we must keep in mind these people in need. Don’t wait for that line to be your wake-up call. Make plans to help! The best thing that you can do is actually invite people in need to join with you in the seder. Of course, logistically, that is not always easy. Fortunately, AmpleHarvest.org has a wonderful solution! Join our Centerpieces for Pantries campaign this Passover: Instead of buying flowers (that will wither and die) for your centerpiece, buy (or arrange) a beautiful basket of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can then donate to your local food pantry. How wonderful will it be when you get to that line in the story, and you can actually say – look, right there on our table, we are helping those who are hungry!