Rabbi Shimmy Silver
We find ourselves in extraordinary times. On the one hand, we have unprecedented miracles being performed for our people. We see the greatest superpower and the leader of the free world moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem, there in effect recognizing the fact that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the land of Israel that Hashem has bequeathed to his children, the Jewish people. Furthermore, we see recently on Purim day a declaration that it is time for America to recognize that the Golan Heights is a part of Israel.
However, on the other hand, anti-Semitism is on the rise and is infiltrating the halls of congress and becoming main stream and normalized. Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise around the world and specifically here in New York City.
So, you ask, what can we do?
If there are those who are spewing hate towards the Jewish people and our Torah, then our response must be more love, friendship and warmth towards our people and our heritage.
Several years ago, shortly before the Holiday of Pesach, the leaders of an international Jewish organization approached the Lubavitcher Rebbe with an idea for a campaign to honor the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.
They proposed that every family sitting down to their Pesach Seder add an empty chair at their table to memorialize the six million martyrs.
The Rebbe refused to endorse the campaign. He said, “If you really want to memorialize the six million, why do it with an empty chair? Let every family add another chair to their Seder table but let them fill that chair with a Jewish child or an adult who might otherwise not participate in a Seder.
Reach out to those people you know who have been out of touch with their identity and invite them to sit at your table. Fill those chairs with hundreds, with thousands, with millions of participants. That would be a fitting memorial to those we tragically lost. That would be a campaign I can get behind.
And so, this year we must increase our efforts to ensure that every Jewish person attends a Seder and eats Matzah and drinks the 4 cups of wine.
And may Hashem help, that through our commitment to do so, we will merit to celebrate this year with bringing the paschal offering in the third temple rebuilt in Jerusalem with the coming of Moshiach.
Wishing you and your family a happy and kosher Passover,
Rabbi Shimmy Silver