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All Who Are Hungry

Passover (first day) (Exodus 12:21-51 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

"This is the bread of our affliction. All who are 'hungry' (physically), come and eat. All who 'need' (spiritually, emotionally), come and celebrate."

With these words, we begin the Passover hagadda; we take ourselves back to 1313 BCE and begin the transition from slavery to freedom.

One possible reason that the Rabbis started the Seder this way is to teach us that through sharing with others, both on a spiritual and physical level, we can change ourselves. A person who can't share of his blessings, his time, or himself is really a slave to those things.

True freedom is to understand that the only meaningful choices we have in life is the ability to decide what to do with what the Almighty has given us. This could be why the Rabbis taught that if someone studies Torah and doesn't share it, he has missed the whole point. If someone only accumulates and cannot share, everything he owns is the bread of his affliction. He becomes a slave to himself.

One of the lessons we learned in Egypt was how to be concerned with the plight of those around us. As we celebrate our freedom, we should take the time to ensure that all who "need" and all who are "hungry" are taken care of. It is our chance to begin our journey from slavery to freedom, giving us the opportunity to make meaningful choices in life, to be a conduit through which God's blessings can enter the world.

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