PRAYER FOR PESACH 5774 / 2014
Rabbi Jonathan E. Blake
“This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
Let all who are hungry come and eat….”
As we sit this night at Seder tables,
Tables of family, tables of plenty,
We lift up this curious bread,
Bread of affliction, bread of poverty,
and declare: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.”
Tonight in America and Israel, millions of men, women, and children go hungry:
Unable to make it all come together: food, housing, education, medicine;
Sacrificing one for the other. Not just tonight. Every night.
This is the bread of affliction. The poor person’s bread. The bread of poverty.
When we say, this year, “Let all who are hungry come and eat,”
What will it mean?
Will we open more than a door for an invisible Elijah?
Will we open our eyes, our hands, our hearts?
We too are hungry, this Seder night
(And not just the children):
Hungry to lead lives of purpose,
Hungry to experience the light of God
That shines through us
Whenever we shine our light into dark corners.
We too are hungry:
Hungry for spiritual nourishment,
Hungry for the work that makes the world a better place,
Hungry for the learning that makes our religious heritage come alive.
We too are hungry:
Hungry for leaders who care more about principle than politics.
Hungry for lawmakers who seek mutual benefit above self-preservation.
Hungry for peacemakers who will sacrifice for the sake of shalom.
From America to Israel and everywhere in between,
Wherever a People destined to be a light unto the nations now gathers at Seder tables of plenty,
Let us say,
and let us mean,
“Let all who are hungry come and eat.”
Please consider asking a Fifth Question at this year’s Seder. After the youngest person reads the four questions from the Haggadah, ask, “Why are millions still going hungry in this country tonight?” Reflect as a group upon the crisis of hunger, why it persists and what you individually and collectively could do to end it.
Further resources on this subject, and opportunities to support Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, are found here: http://mazon.org/fifthquestion/