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Mailing Address Only: 84 Senior Place Fairfield, CT 06825 | Phone: 203.583-9142 | Email: info@ahavathachim.org

Congregation Ahavath Achim logo Congregation Ahavath Achim

A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

Parashat Metzora

Dear Friend,
As we prepare our homes and our souls for the upcoming Pesach holiday, let us take a minute to recall the opening words of the central "Magid" section of the Haggadah.  In ancient Aramaic prose we declare, "all who are hungry, come and eat; all who are in need, come and celebrate Pesach."  Before we are able to praise the Almighty for redeeming us from Egypt, before we are able to recount the hardships of our servitude in Mitzrayim, and even before we ask the Four Questions, we must first do something even more basic and essential to our Jewish identity:
We must first ensure that all of our fellow community members have a place to celebrate the holiday.  Therefore, in the "Ha Lachma Anya"  paragraph we intone the time-honored invitation to our fellows, for how can we celebrate Passover without a guest, while our neighbor is looking for a Seder to join but has no host?  
It is in that spirit that we would like to ensure that everyone in our community is able to attend a Pesach Seder.  If you have not yet been invited to a Pesach Seder for this year, and do not have a Seder to attend, please be in touch with me.
Sadly, there are those individuals in our global Jewish community who, even if an invitation were extended to them, would not be able to respond to a Seder invitation this year.  I am referring to the 100-plus captives still being held hostage in the most dire of conditions by the vile terror group Hamas.  If we can't invite these hostages bodily into our homes this year, we can at least invite them into our hearts.  The Gaza hostages must be with us in spirit at our Pesach Seders.  We must keep their plight and their situation fresh in our hearts and minds.  We were shocked on October 7th; let's make sure that that shock does not wear off.  Let's make sure that at the Seder, as we intone themes of rescue, redemption, and renewal, that our thoughts remain locked on our brethren who are still in distress, struggling to survive in the most adverse of circumstances.
Once they are invited into our hearts, then let us respond in action.  Each and every one of us has the ability, on some level, to advocate for the hostages, for the safety of Israel's citizens, and for the legitimacy of Israeli military action in Gaza.  Even a small conversation can go a long way.  Several months ago, I was visiting a patient at one of the local hospitals.  I was wearing a kippa, and in the elevator on the way up to the patient's floor, one of the hospital workers, seeing that I was Jewish, engaged me in a conversation about the war in Gaza.  I tried, to the extent possible in a few-seconds-long elevator ride, to explain the Israeli side of the story to this individual.  Maybe that individual's attitude towards Israel was positively influenced in those few seconds?  Maybe they saw things in a different light?  And maybe they shared that positive attitude towards Israel with a friend?
Who knows what good might come from a conversation of a few seconds in a hospital elevator ?...
All the best,
 
Rabbi Peretz Robinson