The Bread of Affliction and Hospitality

We start the Seder (after Kiddush) by saying

“הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִּי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח.”

“This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat.”

Ever since childhood I was bothered (and have asked my father) about the above statement.  How can we invite someone as we already sit for the Seder? Is it not just paying “lip service” without any serious intention to host anyone? 

This year I got the message from the Haggadah author. 

What does one do upon discovering the food prepared for Shabbat got spoiled? There are friends that we know we can not go to, because even though they are good friends, they need to know two weeks before, when a guest comes…

There are others; whom we know, will always be happy to accommodate guests, even when totally unprepared. The meal might be a bit improvised, but the atmosphere brilliant. 

The Haggadah author wants us to try and belong to the latter group. So much so that people (in some need) will know that they can come to us even as the Seder has already started, and join us. 

Shabbat Shalom and Pesach kasher wesameach!

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld