Giving. It’s an art practiced throughout the ages, mastered by us Yidden in the tremendous acts of Kimcha D’pischa which are escalated during the pre Pesach preparations.
Greatness is evident in the form of a modern day Kimcha D’pischa pedestrian promenade, where over 11,000 needy families are provided with Pesach provisions with no cost to them. Rechov Shmuel Hanavi, situated in Yerushalayim’s Shivtei Yisroel area, is transformed into an open air distribution .market, combining the essence of chessed with unparalleled greatness.
Oneg Shabbos V’Yom Tov’s incredible free Pre-Pesach shopping mall, the brainchild of Rabbi Ephraim Stern, is the most comprehensive distribution center worldwide and has been coordinated for the 39th consecutive year thus far Giving to the needy is a form of tzedakah, but the conceptualization behind Oneg Shabbos V’Yom Tov’s handouts is beyond a doubt of the most coveted positions of Chessed. The process is prestigious and conducted similar to a large retail supermarket, where the recipient is regarded with the utmost dignity. Each family receives an abundant supply of food staples so that Yom Tov can be celebrated with the festivities they could only dream of previously.
Whereas the usually residential area of Shmuel Hanavi is generally discreet, the cordoned off street teeming with several blocks of distribution setup points is a sight to behold. Housing two oversized freezers stocked with meats and a 40 foot container of matzos, the volunteers facilitate the distribution as a voucher based market with roadside assistance throughout the process.
Relief is evident among the hard working faces of the individuals lined up for orders, as they gather their Yom Tov essentials which would otherwise not be available at all. No matter the affiliation or attire, Oneg Shabbos V’yom Tov spares no expense when it comes to tzedakah of the highest form. Families relate the elation upon arrival of the anticipated Pesach order, where it’s not unusual for children to dance for joy as they celebrate a Yom Tov preluding the actual Yom Tov.
An exceptional man with a lofty agenda, Rabbi Stern facilitates all efforts and expenses to accommodate every request with genuine warmth and concern. He actively participates in the price budgeting and bulk product accumulation, while coordinating the logistics of the market giveaway with precision and care. As he once remarked to his volunteers, ” My heart is in every package.”
An unprecedented 11,000 families have received their shopping itemized shopping vouchers by mail.
A typical Pesach order contains a large variety of items including, meat, fish, wine, grape juice, fruits and vegetables, eggs, and matzos. The average cost of each package is $360 but the actual retail value exceeds that amount by far.
Orders are categorized based on family size, ranging from 4 to over 8 children, and are provided for accordingly.
A wondrous way of giving. Time and again. Year after year. May this year be the one where we shall all be recipients of the Ribbono Shel Olam’s archives of blessings for true redemption.