You might have heard: The legendary University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith in his will left $200 to each player he ever coached to go out and have a nice dinner “on him.” There were 180 team players.
180 x $200 = $36,000. These are Jewish numbers, multiples of “chai” or life.
All of this got me thinking about the Passover seder, and providing food for those who are hungry.
In a philanthropic sense, you do it year in and year out, both locally and abroad. Because of you, thousands of food packages are distributed to elderly Jews in Ukraine through the amazing partnership we have with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Locally, we partnered with a food bank in Hillside that recently served as the home of an incredible Hallah Bake for families in need.
But hallah won’t be seen around too much this week, will it?
Rather, you will gather with family, friends, and neighbors Friday night for the Passover seder. You will recite the words “Let those who are hungry come and eat,” knowing that as part of our Jewish DNA you provide for others throughout the year. You have history on your side.
Just over 800 years ago Maimonides observed that “when a person locks the door to his home and does not provide food or drink to the poor, his happiness is not the happiness associated with a holiday meal but the happiness of his gut.” The joy of a holiday meal, he taught, began after others were fed.
What Coach Smith did for his Tar Heels, to be sure, was incredibly kind and thoughtful. It was not surprising to read about it in the newspaper.
But what you do — and have done like clockwork for years — is make sure those who are hungry can eat. You don’t make the news doing so, and no one is going to write a story about it. And that is precisely why it’s so admirable: Your compassion, simply put, is who you are and have always been.
Wishing you a sweet Passover,
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ