It was Erev Yom Kippur in the DP camp. Everyone was waiting for Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, the Rebbe of Klausenburg, zt’l, to arrive and begin leading Kol Nidrei for them, the shearis hapleita, the broken souls who had lost everything. More and more time passed without his arrival. Finally, at a late hour, the rebbe entered and davened releasing the fire that burned within him. When davening was over, a line formed of people wishing the rebbe a gmar chasima tova, and someone asked what had delayed him that evening. The rebbe responded that he had been ready to leave on time, but as he was leaving, a young girl came over to him and said, “Rebbe, my father used to bless me on Erev Yom Kippur, but now I have no parents. Can you bless me?” As the rebbe blessed her fervently, more girls came over and said, “Rebbe we also have no parents. Can you give us a brachah too?” Soon a line of young girls formed as they waited for brachos that would bring them a measure of comfort before the holiest of days. By the time the Rebbe finished bentching them all, the hour was late. “How could we stand before Hashem on Yom Kippur when other people were in need of comfort?” the Rebbe asked.
My friends, Pesach is almost here. We all look forward to this time of year to share with our families, celebrating the season of redemption. Everything is plentiful, beautiful, and accessible. But before we begin to enjoy the Yom Tov, let us remember our friends and neighbors who can’t afford to purchase everything they need for Pesach. The JCCMP has been helping over 200 families each year before Pesach. How touching would it be when you come to your Seder to be able to tell your children, “Not only do we have everything we need, but we also helped our friends and neighbors have the same.”
Please visit jccmp.org to contribute.
Chag kosher v’sameach!