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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Making Room at Our Pesach Tables

When I was in Israel, I had the incredible opportunity to attend two consecutive large sedarim both years. Both years, the first seder was held at my cousin's apartment in Sanhedriya Murchevet, while the second was at one of my roshei yeshiva in Harnof. Both were between 20 and 30 people, both were incredibly lively, and divrei Torah were flying back and forth.

[Argh. I can't concentrate long enough to write a real post. Busy season stinks.]

The point of this post was to point you to an amazing letter to (and follow-up by) R' Yakov Horowitz. Please, PLEASE, think about this. Thank you.

Quick sum-up of what I was going to write: My cousin is a charedi Rosh Yeshiva. He surely would love to be spending his seder discussing Torah with his brilliant sons, who I seriously think will be leaders in the future (as he is becoming now). Yet he spent the seder focusing on his divorced sister's little kids, bringing them the most joyous seder they could have, playing games and cracking jokes, pretending to be different makkos (plagues), and handing out candy for correct answers to basic questions about Pesach. I don't think he gave or heard more than one typical dvar Torah the entire meal... the closest was when the 12-year old son of hers wanted to tell over what he had learned. That was his focus - her kids first, so they could feel comfortable, then his own, who were already. They were the most amazing and memorable sedarim of my life.

Pesach isn't just about being neurotic or about one's own self and family and own minhagim and chumros and what explanations we can come up with for the different topics in Maggid. It's about inclusiveness, about ALL of the Jewish nation leaving Egypt together. So include others, especially those who may be feeling a bit alone, a bit down. It's the prerequisite to starting the seder, anyway:
Kol dichfin yaysay v'yaychal. All who want, come and eat.
Don't just think about it. Actively search and call those who may be looking for a little company. It's not charity - it's kindness. Chag Sameach, everybody!!

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