Taking Care of our Community with Maot Chitim
Whenever I go shopping these days, I am in a state of disbelief. Who would have ever thought that basic necessities such as eggs, milk, and bread would be priced like nonessential items? With Pesach around the corner and the realization that eggs are nearly $4 a dozen, one wonders, what are we going to eat? Most recipes call for a copious number of eggs. It is one of the staples of the holiday!
To compound the problem, Walmart is advertising 5 boxes of Manischewitz Matzo for $15.72. Last year, you could buy the same item for $5-$7. Gefilte fish has also risen exponentially. People are going to have to make tough decisions when preparing for the holiday. And, in reality, it’s not just for Passover, but indeed every day that prices remain elevated. People are having to make hard choices.
According to Halacha (Jewish law), when serving a meal, we are supposed to withhold some of our fancy dishes in order to remind ourselves of the churban beit hamikdash (destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem). But on Pesach, we are not supposed hold anything back, demonstrating that this was the holiday in which Hashem made us a free nation who, ultimately, would voluntarily agree to follow Hashem’s Torah. And free people celebrate with all of their niceties, demonstrating their trust that Hashem will provide all of our needs.
Simultaneously, at the beginning of our Seder, we announce, “All who are hungry, let them come and eat!” We don’t want any of our brethren to feel as if they are not part of our family and celebration. We want everyone, at least for one day to feel like a rich man.
As a result of this mandate of taking care of our extended families, the Rabbis instituted that everyone should contribute to the Maot Chitim (“money for wheat”) fund, thus ensuring that everyone in our community would have enough money to purchase matza, wine, and food for the seder. This fund allows the individual to purchase what they need to celebrate our Independence Day.
At present, our Virtual Food Pantry is operating at over $21,000 a year, helping our local Jewish community feed their families. We need your help to continue this worthwhile and necessary program.
In that vein, this year, due to the price increase in food costs, we have raised the fundraising goal for our Passover Appeal for the Virtual Food Pantry to $7,500. G-d willing, we will easily hit this goal and go far beyond.
On behalf of Jewish Family services may we all have a chag kasher v’sameach (happy and healthy Pesach)!
Rabbi Fred Nebel
Director of Jewish Family Services,
Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
Phone: (574) 233-1164 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org