There are certain times of the year when communal need seems to be at its greatest: Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover. Passover is especially challenging due to the greater expense of Passover foods. We have a responsibility as a community to see to it that everyone has the opportunity to celebrate Passover, from attending a Seder to being able to eat kosher-for-Passover foods. As always, there are some in our community that need our assistance.
If you would go to our website, www.tolols.org, you would find a form that can be filled out on-line to authorize me to sell your hametz. It is customary to include with the form a donation for the purpose of Maot Chittin, literally “coins of wheat”. This does not refer to wheat pennies, but funds to provide Passover food for those who need assistance. If you have not yet filled out the form, please do so and consider a donation so that those in need can receive our largesse. If you have filled out the form but not made a contribution, I ask you to reconsider and offer something so that others may benefit. The names of the beneficiaries will never be revealed, as this would lessen their dignity. Everyone should know that they are sincerely appreciative, not only of our assistance, but that they are not forgotten. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play here, for if we do not see someone in need, we might not realize that there are people who need our help.
An additional tzedakah that merits our attention is called Mazon, which is Hebrew for “sustenance”, as in Birkat Hamazon, better known as the “grace after meals”. They provide funds for communal organizations throughout the United States that serve the needs of those who struggle to put food on the table. Mazon offers support to all organizations that recognize the needs of all people in the community without excluding any. I regularly ask all attendees at my Passover Seder to consider a donation to Mazon. Not only can we express our gratitude to God by Birkat Hamazon, but we can also express gratitude for the food on our table by donating to Mazon. We have the tools and abilities to erase hunger in our country, if only we would use these tools wisely.