The night of the Pesach Seder is, without a doubt, the most dramatic and monumental night of the year.

Forget about the weeks leading up to Pesach and all the preparations that go into making Yom Tov happen. Sure, they are intense and infinitely memorable in their own way, but the Seder is an epic event, one that follows an age-old script recounting our history as a people. As we spend several hours going through the Hagadah, eating symbolic foods and drinking four cups, the Seder becomes a hands-on experience, with each one of us celebrating our personal liberation from slavery.

That theme is an integral part of Pesach, which is also known as – z’man chayrusaynu – the time of our freedom. The concept of freedom is one we toss around lightly, and I can’t help but wonder what it actually means to us. Clearly if we have a Yom Tov that is designated as a time of freedom for all generations, there must be an opportunity in every generation to experience that sense of liberation. But how exactly do we do that in today’s day and age when, thankfully, we are no longer enslaved by a tyrannical king?

We know that Am Yisroel are rachmanim bnei rachmanim – compassionate children of the compassionate, and it is breathtaking to see how we live up to that legacy in so many ways. There is no demographic out there who can come close to us when it comes to acts of kindness, charitable donations, stepping up for those in difficult financial circumstances and helping the sick. Who can even count the number of organizations we have, staffed by amazingly dedicated people – both volunteers and paid employees - who give of themselves day and night to help others who are experiencing personal difficulties.

In the aftermath of the horrific attacks on October 7th and the subsequent worldwide explosion of anti-Semitism, our compassionate DNA was evident once again as Am Yisroel united to help others in so many beautiful ways. Sending items for our heroes in green, the brave men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces, assisting those who lost loved ones, combatting anti-Semitism and addressing the mental health needs of those impacted by the crisis proved yet again that we are living up to our reputation of being rachmanim bnei rachmanim.

We have every right to give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back for the wonderful acts of kindness that go on in our communities each and every day, and seeing the depth of goodness and giving in our communities makes me feel proud to be part of Am Yisroel. But at the same time, we need to remember that there is always more that can be done, and that there are needs in our communities that aren’t being fully met. Sadly, even after early 10 years of operations, Amudim is still finding that victims of abuse receive far less communal support than those who are suffering in other ways. Somehow, I don’t think individuals with cancer are ever asked “are you sure you are really sick?” while time and time again, we at Amudim have seen that people have no such compunctions when it comes to those who have been abused.

It’s not that I don’t get it. I understand that abuse is an uncomfortable topic, but we need to get past those feelings of unease and channel our inherent sense of compassion in that direction as well. As members of Am Yisroel, we have an obligation to help victims of abuse heal by giving them the tools they need so that they can live healthy and productive lives. And by helping victims become survivors, and ultimately thrivers, we are freeing them from the invisible shackles that have kept them enslaved, much like our ancestors were in Egypt all those years ago.

As we put the finishing touches on our Pesach preparations, let us all take notice of those around us who have yet to taste freedom, regardless of whether they are struggling with, abuse, addiction, mental health issues, poverty, loss of a loved one, medical ailments, or anything else. As a nation, it is our duty to ensure that all of our brothers and sisters are liberated from their pain and suffering.

This year, let’s all do our part to be true rachmanim bnei rachmanim, by helping each and every person in crisis. Living up to that standard will bring us one step closer to the ultimate redemption, and when we joyfully proclaim “Next year in Jerusalem” as the Seder comes to a close, we will know that we did everything in our power to make freedom a reality for each and every member of Am Yisrael.

Have a Chag Kosher V’sameach,

Zvi Gluck

Week Ending April 19, 2024

Each week, Amudim fields calls covering a wide range of crises and addressing various human concerns, including addiction, depression, abuse, health and domestic emergencies and many others. We track the calls and breakdown of issues for many reasons, foremost of which is to consistently improve and strengthen our knowledge and ability to address community’s needs.

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