I'm sure many of you know this famous story.
After the conclusion of World War 2, Rabbi Eliezer Silver (1882-1968) was active in visiting DP camps to give physical and emotional support to the survivors of the Holocaust. One day Rabbi Silver was organizing a minyan for the afternoon prayers in one of the camps, but one man refused to join. The man explained that when he was in a concentration camp, there was a religious Jew who managed to smuggle in a siddur. He “rented out” the siddur for use in exchange for a person’s food rations. When this man saw how a religious Jew could take advantage of his siddur at such a time, he resolved that he would never pray again. Rabbi Silver gently suggested that instead of focusing on the actions of the man with the siddur, perhaps it would be more appropriate to recognize how many Jews were willing to give up their precious food rations in order to be able to pour out their hearts to Hashem in prayer.
The story sprung into my mind this evening as my husband and I went to pick up our Pesach order.The scene was chaotic with hundreds queueing for wine, grape juice, macaroons and so on. And as I waited, I chose not to focus on the long lines, and the cars weaving dangerously close to the customers as people loaded up their purchases. Instead, I chose to see the beauty of families united in their desire to spend a kosher and happy Pesach with friends and relatives.
The New York Times published an article titled Rabbis Sound an Alarm Over Eating Disorders. Some comments reflected the constraints of Orthodox Judaism. But I was heartened by one who commented, "i am saddened by the bleak picture painted in the article as well as the comments. orthodox judaism is a vibrant, spiritually uplifting religion and way of life, directed towards self-realization, and not just full of no-no's. there is plenty of room for creativity and expressing one's opinion, within the norms of the halacha (oral and written law)..."
In The Matzav Shmoooze: Stop Kvetching About Pesach Food the author tells us to be elated about the approach of Pesach.
The author ends with the following.
Let’s remember that what we say and feel about Pesach will be given over and remain in future generations forever and ever.
Let’s give over a positive attitude.
I second that.