D’VAR TORAH: March 25,2016

The president begins, “I am the leader of over 300 million people, and you only have a few million in Israel.”

“That is true”, responded the prime minister. “In America you preside over many millions of people, but in Israel I must preside over 12 million presidents.”

I heard another story of a man who had an amazing idea of what changes could be implemented to make our country great again. He wrote to the president detailing his plan, but just received a form letter in reply thanking him for his correspondence. He then wrote to his senator but got no reply at all. He went to meet with the mayor. The mayor listened but then ushered him out of the office without even keeping the list of ideas. So he called his family together and said they needed to immediately implement certain changes – but they refused. What was he to do?

So he decided to make a change in himself. He searched within himself, he searched long and hard, and soon found areas that he could make better. Over time, his family saw the change and made similar changes themselves. Then it was his neighbors and soon it was the town.

Before long the city was in the news and people were changing. City after city, state after state, until the entire country changed for the better – all because of one person who made a change.

The holiday of Passover recalls the fact that our ancestors rushed out of Egypt and did not have time to let their bread rise. So we rid our homes of all leavened products and eat only matzah. What is the difference from bread to matza? Bread rises and matzah is flat. Bread symbolizes arrogance (including anger and pride) which seem to puff up and grow while matzah symbolizes humility which stays flat and simple.
On Passover, we need to not only clean our homes of leaven but also to clean the leaven – arrogance anger and pride – from within as well. It is a time to get back to being more of a matzah – with humility, morals and values. Imagine how different life would be if we used the upcoming holiday of Passover to readjust our personal outlook on life in a way that cherishes humility over arrogance?

When G-d gave the 10 Commandments to the Jews, G-d asked that they be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” In other words, like the old joke says, each of us is indeed instructed and empowered to be a “president” and do our part in making this country and world a better place.
Maybe the lesson of Passover is that the best candidate for president is you. And me. And all of us, individually and collectively. An upright nation of humble citizens. A nation of presidents. A kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

May G-d bless us all, and may we enjoy a meaningful and inspiring Passover holiday.

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Shabbat candles should be lit on Fridays, March 25 at 7:42 p.m., April 1 at 7:48 p.m., April 8 at 7:55 p.m. and April 15 at 8:01 p.m.; for Passover and Shabbat on April 22 at 8:08 p.m.; for Passover on April 23 after 9:09 p.m. and April 28 at 8:14 p.m.; and for Passover and Shabbat on April 29 at 8:15 p.m.

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Editor’s note: Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, regional director of Chabad of Kentucky, has volunteered to provide Torah commentaries for Community.

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