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Preparing for Passover

On Shabbat HaChodesh, the Shabbat on or immediately preceding the month of Nisan – the month in which we celebrate Passover, we read a special maftir portion from the Torah (Exodus12:1-20).  This year, Shabbat HaChodesh falls on April 6, and it is also Rosh Chodesh Nisan.  The maftir contains a description of Passover, and it is a good reminder that Passover is just two weeks away (the first seder is Friday night, April 19), and it is time to start preparing.

I am struck by the beginning of the maftir reading.  God says to Moses, “Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take a lamb to a family, a lamb to a household.  But if the household is too small for a lamb, let him share one with a neighbor who dwells nearby.”  In other words, there is no need to do this alone – share with your neighbor, invite your friends over for this ritual meal.

We do this at our Sederim.  The seder is a time to invite guests or to be a guest, to share a ritual meal with others – to connect, to create history, and to make sure that everyone has a place to go and enough to eat.

At the beginning of the seder we say the words, “Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol – Let all who are hungry, come and eat.  Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal.”  It is a beautiful invitation, but not one that necessarily includes an expectation of an RSVP.  That said, there are plenty of ways to help those who are in need of something to eat.

As we begin (or continue) to clean our pantries in order to prepare for Pesach, please consider bringing your unopened, non-perishable food to Beth David.  Your non-Passover items will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank, and your Kosher le-Pesach food donations will go to Jewish Family Services, who will distribute the items to community members who otherwise would not have a Passover meal.  In addition, there is a Passover tradition of giving Maot Chittim – literally “money for wheat” or money for those who need help buying matza for the holiday.  Please consider making a donation to help those who would otherwise go hungry by the food that they need.

1 in 4 people in Silicon Valley are food insecure – that means that 720,000 people in the area are at risk for hunger.  1 out of 10 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties rely on Second Harvest Food Bank for food.  Hunger and food insecurity are real.  It is not enough for us to say the words “kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol – Let all who are hungry, come and eat” at the seder – we must take action to feed those who are hungry.

Please join me in taking action to feed the hungry in our local community, so that at the seder, we will truly be able to say,