Carton upon carton of matzah greeted me as I entered the grocery store this morning. Hamantashan stales on deep discount; Passover’s iconic bread stands like boxed soldiers in its place.
For the weeks leading up to Passover, the supermarkets team with slightly uncertain, yet determined teenagers. They aren’t looking to buy after-school snacks or to sell something for the scouts; they are hoping to collect. As they meander around the store, they ask to glean from the harvest found in each family’s basket. Depending on the day, the bags of donated groceries overflow their allotted area near the entrance-exit before the teens can schlep them into the waiting pick-up vehicle.
Here in Israel, it is the season to remember the hungry.
Indeed, food plays an important role not just at the seder table, but within the Passover narrative itself. Part of God’s promise of freedom involves the assurance of good and plentiful food once the Israelites eventually arrive in their homeland. In Exodus 3 alone – as God convinces Moses to lead the Israelites to redemption – God highlights the abundance of delicious foods not just once but twice.
Tomorrow, March 1st, a new documentary about the state of hunger in the world’s last remaining Western super-power comes out. Available in theaters, on iTunes, and on OnDemand, A Place At The Table is only the latest to bring light to the issue of food insecurity and the problem of improper nutrition. Each Passover, the Haggadah intones “let all who are hungry come and eat.” Perhaps this year, amongst all of our questions during this season, we can ask: How can we ensure that those who are hungry have a place to come and eat?
Rabbi Lauren Ben-Shoshan lives in Tel Aviv, Israel with her two loving children and wonderful husband, none of whom can even begin to think about cleaning for Passover.
Originally posted at Kol Isha