By now, I do not need to remind you of the obligation we have to provide for those who are in need at Pesach to have the wherewithal to observe the festival. Both organizationally and individually, the Jews of Northern Virginia have made provision for each other admirably. Your contributions to ma'ot chittim, the name for tzedakah for the holiday, help ensure that nobody goes hungry on Pesach.
There are other kinds of hunger, however, and so I ask you to consider opening your heart and a place or two at your table for others this year.
Almost twenty per cent of the households in this congregation have only one adult. Some have never married, some are divorced or separated, some are widowed. While attending synagogue is often a time of connection for them, too frequently too many who do not have extended family locally find themselves going home alone after services. They meet the festivities at a table for one.
The first observation of the human condition made by God was, it is not good for a person to be alone. By inviting someone or even someone and his/her children to your table, you can create a sense of wholeness for yourself, for your guests, and for our community. If you are so inclined and do not know someone who would enjoy your invitation, please let us know in the office, and we will make a shidduch (match) which may brighten your table long after Pesach is over. In doing so, you will sate the hunger for companionship.
Each year, any number of non-Jews seek my advice about a seder experience. The hunger for exposure to this ritual is deep among many. Some are looking to understand more about their own faith’s origins. Some desire a stronger connection with the experiences of the architects of their tradition. And some seek to know what Judaism is all about because of their own spiritual quest.
For the first time in many years, Pesach occurs long after Easter and Ramadan. In the absence of liturgical conflict, many non-Jews are available on seder night for an evening of exposure to one of the best items in our repertoire. By inviting a neighbor, friend or associate to your table, you will help to sate the hunger for knowledge and spiritual connection with God.
When you reach those words -- all who are hungry come and eat -- let them not be merely symbolic.