Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Passover
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Love of Money or Money of Love?

Guest contributor: R' Gavriel Prero

"Ha Lachma Anya... This is the bread of affliction that our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. All that are wanting should come and eat, all that are needy should come and join in the Pesach offering. Now we are here, next year we should be in the land of Israel. Now we are slaves, next year we should be free men."

So begins the portion of the Seder known as Maggid, the section in which we relate the story of our enslavement to and exodus from Egypt. We begin our Seder with an invitation and a wish: we invite those who are in need to come celebrate with us, and we wish that next year we should be free to serve G-d in the land of Israel. Rav Baruch Frankel in Margenisa D'Rav writes that the link between the invitation and the wish is actually a cause and effect relationship. The Talmud (Baba Basra 10a) states that "Charity is great, as it brings closer the redemption." By extending our charitable hand to those who lack the bare necessities to make a proper Pesach celebration, we are bringing close to actualization our living in the land of Israel as free men.

However, giving charity is not an activity confined to the Pesach season. If we are charitable year round, we continuously bring ourselves closer to the end of our exile. Yet, this message has been given a prominent place in the Pesach celebration; it is recited as the very first passage in the Maggid liturgy. The reason for the conspicuous placement of this message is provided by Talmud as well. In further describing attributes of charity, the Talmud states that "all who neglect the commandment of giving charity, it is as if they themselves have worshiped idols." Benevolence is to be part and parcel of our personalities. Just as G-d is benevolent and giving, so are we to be. If we, instead, are miserly, or merely fail to make an effort to be charitable, it is as if we have denied G-d's very existence by worshiping idols.

On Pesach, we recall how the nation of Israel, when in Egypt, was commanded to take a sheep to use for the Paschal offering. The sheep was the god of Egypt, an animal that they revered and deified. This action was a clear rejection of the idolatrous practices the nation witnessed during their servitude in Egypt. We were given the commandment to have a Paschal offering every year, to recall our embracing of G-d as the One and Only, and our rejection of idolatry. If, on Pesach, we fail to be charitable, we are in essence regressing to the very state that we rejected while in Egypt. It would be hypocritical to, at one moment, eat a Korbon Pesach or recall one during the recitation of the Hagadah, while simultaneously be a person who neglects his needy brothers and sisters. Either we recall and embrace the rejection of idolatry the Korbon Pesach commemorates and act charitably, or we act without compassion for those in need and reject all that the Korbon Pesach stands for. Because we cannot begin to recite the Hagadah without clearly indicating that we have accepted the dominion of G-d, we must begin by affirmatively demonstrating that we are indeed concerned with the needs of the poor and needy, thereby demonstrating that we have spurned the idolatry that Egypt epitomized. Hence, Ha Lachma Anya needs to be at the beginning of the Maggid liturgy.

R' Gavriel Prero


For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Unity and Conformity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Investing in the Land
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Miracles Can Happen Slowly
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Internal Beliefs Have External Effects
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

ArtScroll

Why We Keep Sinning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

What a Deal!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

> In a Heartbeat
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

G-d's Message for All Humanity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Gevuros and History
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Meaning of Noach
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Raising Children: The Secret of Success
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Tire of Babel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Choosing Sides
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information