Tuesday, March 27, 2007

merciful matza

Pesah - Haggada

seder - maggid

Ha Lachma Anya... Kol Dichfin Yaisai V'yaichol.. hashata hacha l'shana habaa b'ar'aa d'yisrael.

We announce at the beginning of maggid that the matza is the poor man's bread and we invite anyone who wants to join us and partake in the meal and we wish for next year to be in rebuilt Jerusalem in Eretz Yisrael.

We are imaging ourselves as poor people by eating poor people's bread, but we are, at the same moment, inviting anybody who wants to come partake in our food! That is not the behavior of poor person. Poor people are carefull with their food and generally do not share it. They do not know when they will have food again so they are careful with the food they do have.

Maybe that is why we are inviting people at a time when they cannot hear and accept the invitation! We are poor so we are not really offering the invitation!

In all seriousness, how does this jibe with our attitude represented by the matza?

We are meant to remember the days of slavery by eating "poor man's bread". But we also want to show that we are not selfish but are generous and רחמנים - merciful and gracious. Even though we are "poor" we still offer to share our little food with other people.

We are all famiiar with the stories from the time of the Holocaust. You know - those stories where someone just had a crust of bread and he shared it with someone else who was weaker than himself. Why are thos stories retold in awe? Because that is not the natural action of someone who himself is needy. It is exceptional and is a sign of great rachmanus and care that one person has for another, despite the hardships he himself is enduring.

We try to show Hashem that we are now in the situation of slavery and destitution and only have "poor man's bread" to eat, but we would be so willing to share it with anybody else who might need a morsel of food. We wish to arouse the mercy of hashem by doing so and hope that He would show us the same compassion.

That is why we conclude the paragraph by a wish for next year in rebuilt eretz Yisrael. That has nothing to do with the beginning of the paragraph, so why is it said here? Because after we show the extreme mercy we would show others by offering them part of our little food, we wish Hashem would also show such mercy to us and allow our return to rebuilt Jerusalem.

4 comments:

yingerman said...

The Chasam Sofer has a write up on the continuity of this piece.
He writes that tzadaka will be a major item for the geula.
In short, give charity and next year we'll in in Jerusalem.

Rafi G said...

shkoyach for the addition

Neil Harris said...

This thought was beautiful!

Rafi G said...

thanks