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Erev Pesach in Safeway

Friday, 30 March, 2012 - 2:46 pm

Erev Pesach 2008, I was at Safeway doing some last shopping before the dawn of the holiday. In my cart was some horseradish roots and other vegetables customary for Pesach. When I got to the cashier I was caught by surprise.

The lady ahead of me in line, which I have never met before, also had horseradish and parsley, evidently shopping for her Seder as well... When I glanced at her groceries, I noticed her hands slowly covering the items so they weren't visible to me - as if to say, "I'm celebrating Pesach but I'm not interested in being identified". 

Respectfully, I moved my eyes from the checkout counter and made as if I didn't see anything.

My first thought was "What an odd way to celebrate freedom! What's there to hide in our Jewish essence? Why not celebrate our identity proudly?"

But then there was a second thought. Look how amazing the Jewish people are! This lady seemingly had some negative experience that had made her run away from community life. She may have lived here for many years, but something may have distanced her so far that she wasn't interested in involving herself with other Jews. Nevertheless, she couldn't let Pesach go by without having her bitter herbs...

Comments on: Erev Pesach in Safeway

Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Dear Rabbi,
Thank you for reminding us to judge favorably with compassion.

Antonela wrote...

17 Donna|July 24, 2010 Lois,I enjoyed your book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus so much a year ago that I felt moved to caetre a summer Bible study using your book as the primary base, also two other books by David Blivin, plus a few other helps and some internet information. It was well received by the women who attended. Seeing women (and men) value God's word enough to participate in reading and studying the Bible consistently is the desire of my heart. How else will we as Christians learn to value the relationship we have with God that has been restored to us though the work of Christ?I usually wind up reading specific books like yours and then caetre questions so that people will not depend on a book other than the Bible for their answers. I have found that we people can become proud easily and begin discussing the greatness of authors, competing and comparing, rather than the greatness of our Lord. So with this in mind, I have tried to focus on finding good and godly books, such as yours, doing the research, and developing the questions myself in such a way that students must look for answers in Scripture. This has caused them to do some of the thinking themselves and connect with the Word. Then after we have gone over what they have discovered, I present a lesson gleaning information the Scriptures as well as my outside resources, thus adding to what they have gleaned first from Scripture on their own. In this way, students connect with the Scriptures more, and less with the author of a book. I hope you are not offended by my approach. I always include a reference list at the end, in case anyone wishes purchase books and delve deeper, which some have done.I guess my point in writing all this is that I have had such a deep conviction that studying the Scriptures is becoming expensive. I my own church many bible studies run $15-$25 for the study books. Some women have not been able to afford this, and while the church often steps in and helps, I feel so strongly that it would be nice if Bible study in churches and in communities could be free. I was pleased that you put your study guide online, and I drew a couple of questions from it that did not require that women have the book. So what I'm saying is could you write a book that people could buy if they wish, but also caetre a study guide that went along with the book that was online and free, but used Scripture mostly? The book could be the leaders guide without being called a leaders guide, so anyone could purchase it for their own enrichment and reading pleasure.Sorry for the length of this. Please know I did enjoy your book and the study my Bible group benefited from by having it as a central theme. Thanks for all you do.