Rabbi Pesach Sommer
Here’s a brief thought I had:
Each year, when we say הא לחמא עניא it feels hollow to invite those who are hungry to come and eat. Nobody who is not already there can hear you. You’re not really feeding anyone but your guests. Yes, there all sorts of explanations, but on a surface level, it says what it says.
A friend, I think it was Reuven Bell, said that this year, where we cannot have guests, it feels particularly empty. While I certainly get that, I’d like to suggest that this year, takes on new meaning.
While we cannot give any guests food this year (although as always, there is kimcha d’pischa), we are giving them life. By choosing to stay home, and stay away from those who we most love, we are protecting them, and so many others.
Although nobody but those around our table will hear our words, this year we are indeed sharing that which is most precious with those who are not with us.
Rabbi Pesach Sommer is a member of the Judaic Studies faculty at the Ramaz Middle School in Manhattan, where he’s taught for the past 5 years. He lives with his wife and children in Passaic, New Jersey.