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Monday, Nissan 10, 5779 / April 15, 2019


One of the mitzvot associated with Pesach (Passover) is the contributions for "Maot Chitim." 


Maot Chitim literally means "Money for wheat." It is monies collected for the sake of helping the needy with their Pesach provisions. 


The emphasis on collecting for the needs of the poor before Pesach is more than on other holidays because of the additional expenses associated with the Pesach holiday - the holiday meals, extra wine for the four cups, matzah, etc.  


Let’s not forget this important mitzvah.  When we help the needy for Pesach it also helps us fully enjoy the holiday.For only by helping others who are lacking can we properly feel happy and enjoy our own holiday of freedom.


Q.  The story of the Exodus took place 3331 years ago.  Today we are again in Exile.  What’s the point of celebrating our Freedom from Egypt, when we are again in Exile?


A.  The following parable explains it.  A poor man, who never had an education, won a great deal of money in the lottery.  The first thing he did was to hire teachers to give him the education he missed out on in his youth.   Over the years he became a very learned man.  Each year he celebrated the anniversary of the day when he won the lottery.


Unfortunately, as time went by, he lost all his money and was again the poor man he was before his winnings.  However, he still continued his custom of celebrating the day when he became rich. 


He was asked why he still continued to celebrate the day when he won the lottery now that there was nothing left of his wealth? 


He replied, “The money is gone, but the education and knowledge I acquired as a result of that winning is still with me.  That’s why I celebrate!”


The same is with our celebrating the Exodus from Egypt.  True, we are again in Exile, however, as a result of the Exodus, G-d brought us to Mount Sinai where He gave us the Torah. In fact, the purpose of the Exodus was so that we will receive the Torah, and the Torah we have to this very day.  The Torah, no one can take from us!”


Q.   What is the significance of the salt-water at the Seder?


A.  The salt-water is symbolic of the "tears" which the children of Israel shed as a result of their suffering during their enslavement in Mitzrayim-Egypt.