Who Wouldn't Want Matzah?

Friday, 19 April, 2024 - 4:23 pm

A philanthropist once asked the Rebbe for guidance stating that he wished to fund a “major project” and he wanted the Rebbe’s advice as to which project to get behind. He assumed the Rebbe would direct him to a building project or major new undertaking that Chabad was initiating. The Rebbe’s reply was “if you wish to get involved in a “major project” then fund the distribution of Shmurah Matzah before Pesach.

Today is the Rebbe’s birthday. Chabad of Louisiana and our affiliates around the state are very proud to gift to the Rebbe that in Louisiana nearly 2,000 Jewish households received Shmurah Matzah. Teams of volunteers assisted the Shluchim of New Orleans, Metairie, and Baton Rouge in this effort. May everyone who was involved in this project be blessed knowing that the Rebbe considers this a “major project.”

The vast majority of recipients responded positively when the volunteers arrived at their homes. We hope that these packages of Shmurah Matzah will grace the Seder tables of Jewish households throughout the state. We did encounter the sad image of enemy flags flying in front of several households in our community. The juxtaposition of that symbol flying alongside a Mezuzah, with a box of Shmurah Matzah on the doorstep, may just be one of the stranger images of this season.

We also encountered some Jews who have gotten involved in other religions. That is a painful thought, especially at this time of year, when our ancestors were killed and persecuted during blood libels while being falsely accused by some members of those same faiths.

The Zohar says that Matzah is Food of Faith and Food of Healing. May Hashem bring healing and faith to all those who have “wandered off” in one direction or another.

The most curious reaction was from those who declined the packages of Matzah. While most were polite and friendly, we did get some harsh responses. One individual was particularly angry in their reaction. When I inquired as to the reason for the antipathy, the individual replied that “when the Witnesses or the Latter Day Saints come to the door I can ignore them or tell them I am not interested. But when Chabad comes, that means somebody is assuming what I should believe and what I should be doing and trying to impose their practices on me.”

I actually found that fascinating. If this individual really didn’t care they would just ignore the delivery like they do when the other groups come. For some reason the delivery of Jewish paraphernalia touched them deeply enough to be upset by it. Perhaps the Neshama doesn’t allow them to just blow it off. Either you embrace or reject, you cannot just be apathetic or dispassionate about something Jewish.

May the day come when all Jews are passionately embracing of their Yiddishkeit, infused with faith, joy, and meaning.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin     

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