For some mysterious reason, this year, the Yachatz, the fourth step of the Seder, has caught my attention more than in previous years.
My sermon, tomorrow morning, will be focused on one aspect of that step.
I also shared on Facebook that I believe this year we should have partitioned the middle matzah in the Seder as even as possible, symbolizing that we need to be mindful of others and make sure we all have our needs covered on this pandemic time.

Since Yom Hashoah V’hagvurah is commemorated next Tuesday (a virtual commemoration will take place this Sunday, )I wanted to share with you a story that I received from Rabbi Frederick L Klein from Miami.

In Brooklyn there is an organization (Tomchei Shabbat) which delivers food packages to Holocaust survivors, very much like the more than 500 Seder meals distributed this year by our Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Services. On one occasion a volunteer could not deliver a package, and the organization called another volunteer, who reluctantly agreed to make the delivery. Upon delivering the package to the survivor, the volunteer noticed she was looking at her in strange way. Finally, she asked her, “Is there a reason why you are looking at me?”
“I do not mean to be rude, but are you related to Mrs. Schwartz?”
Startled, the volunteer answered, “In fact yes, that was my mother, of blessed memory!”
The survivor turned white, “Please sit down for a few minutes. I would like to tell you a story. Your mother and I were together in the concentration camp. In fact, we were in the same barrack. One day your mother came to me almost delirious from hunger. She told me that if she did not get more nourishment, she was sure she would not make it through another day, and begged me to give her my ration. Now I am sure you know, we had absolutely nothing, and yet, when I looked into her eyes, I knew what your mother was saying was true. Although hungry myself, I gave her the small ration I had. The next day your mother came to me with tears in her eyes. She told me that I had saved her life, and that she did not know how she could ever repay this kindness.”
Hearing the story, the volunteer began to cry, as it dawned upon her that if it were not for this woman, she may have never been born.
The Holocaust survivor continued. “I live very modestly and have little. Life has not been easy for me. When you walked in, I was reminded of this event in my life, an event that seems a lifetime ago. I see your mother standing before me again. Today- with you standing here before me and delivering this meal- the kindness has been repaid.”
This is the message of Pesach. The bread of affliction challenges us to go beyond our own suffering, our own needs, and to see the general good of all. It asks us to share whatever we have with others.
In these challenging times it is our moral obligation to continue remembering those who, with courage, rebelled against the Nazis, those who perished during WW2 and also to make sure we do not forget those who are struggling now.
From the comfort of our homes there are still many things we can do for others.
Chag Sameach.

Posted by Rabbi Fabián Werbin

1 comment

Sandra Pollen

Rabbi Werbin, I enjoyed reading your post so much. I didn’t change my toothbrush, but I’m pretty sure there was no chametz in my mouth because I floss my teeth.
Chag Sameach.
Sandy Pollen

Leave a Reply