Rabbi Yosef Berger cites a 1,000-year-old collection of teachings from Elijah the Prophet as well as proclamations from hidden righteous men in Jerusalem to reveal how the redemption was brought in Egypt and how that can be replayed next week during the Passover holiday.
Rabbi Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, consulted with several tzaddikim (righteous men) whose identities are known to only a few. As a direct descendant of King David, a member of the Sanhedrin, and as the son of the Misholtz Rebbe (a spiritual leader with thousands of followers) Rabbi Berger is in close contact with these holy men. They all assured him that the upcoming Passover Seder night has enormous potential to open the doors to Geula (redemption).
“The supermoon on Purim just a few weeks ago was not happenstance,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “God brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt on a specific day, a day that from the beginning of creation was imbued with special powers of redemption. The Midrash (homiletic teachings) say that the first redemption of Israel took place on this night and the final redemption will as well.”
“These primal powers of redemption reemerge every year on the Seder night,” Rabbi Berger said. “They are there, waiting for us to access them. It is a night that miracles are waiting to be revealed.”
The rabbi cited a verse in Micha to illustrate his point.
“But this year, all of the hidden tzaddikim say this is especially true,” Berger maintained.
The rabbi cited Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu, a collection of teachings first published in the tenth century. The introduction of the book describes how a Rabbi Anan fasted and prayed to merit having Elijah the prophet appear before him. Elijah finally appeared, personally teaching Rabbi Anan every night. One night, Elijah stopped coming and Rabbi Anan prayed to know why. Elijah again appeared and explained that Rabbi Anan had changed his front gate and made it more difficult for beggars to approach his house for charity.
“Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu reveals many deep truths about redemption but the story of the book itself teaches about the key to bringing Elijah, the messenger who will announce the Messiah,” Berger said. “Charity.”
“In Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu, it is written that the Children of Israel in Egypt did not merit redemption,” he explained. “God gave them the Passover sacrifice and the Seder in Egypt so they would be able to gain additional merit but it was still not enough.”
Rabbi Berger described how God commanded the Children of Israel to ask the Egyptians for gold and silver.
“The Jews were slaves,” Berger said. “They were the poorest people in Egypt. But they each went around giving charity to other Jews and even to non-Jews in Egypt who were not as poor as them. When God saw this, when he saw that their true nature was to give to others, he couldn’t hold back. He immediately brought them out of Egypt. He knew that they needed to be free in order to give more charity.”
Rabbi Berger emphasized that Jews learn about the Exodus every year as a reminder that once, we were slaves in Egypt who had nothing.
“Someone who has nothing prays for worldly goods,” Berger said. “But when a slave who has nothing prays to be able to give charity, God cannot help but answer his prayers.”
Rabbi Berger gave as an example Karmey Chesed, an intimate Israel-based organization that runs a wide variety of grassroots charity programs.
Aryeh Weingarten, who runs the charity, emphasized that it is the intent, the desire to connect in a positive manner implicit in charity, that changes the lives of the recipients. He gave a powerful example.
“A family recently approached me,” Weingarten told Breaking Israel News. “A young man in his early 30s left his wife and children. He left a note expressing his intention to take his own life. The family was frantic. Members of the community came to me because they were sure he had already ended his life and the wife and children were left penniless.”
“Thank God, someone caught him just before he did something horrible. I connected with the man and with a few simple words explained how people wanted to help him, how they really cared. A tragedy makes for bigger headlines but inside the community, people always prefer to help before that and to prevent the tragedy falling on their neighbor. This little step, the offer of help, gave him the strength to return to his family, secure in the knowledge that he could bring something tangible to them.”
Weingarten visits the man frequently who joined the prayer group that meets in Weingarten’s home. In addition to money, Karmey Chesed provided the family with new furniture and appliances.
Karmey Chesed’s Green Charity program collects old appliances and furniture from those who are remodeling or upgrading and delivers them at no charge to those less fortunate. Instead of filling landfills and polluting waterways, these discarded items become a lifeline for needy families.
Its programs include the Green Charity Program, Home Utilities Program, Food Distribution, Aid for IDF soldiers, Relief for Gush Katif Expellees, and an Emergency Housing Program, along with a full staff of volunteers and professional social workers and psychiatrists.
Readers can take part in Karmey Chesed’s efforts to help families for the Passover holiday by donating on their website.