Passover Flour for the Needy

Question

Dear Rabbi, I heard that there’s a special charity fund for Passover. I assume it’s to help some people with the extra cost usually involved in buying matzah, wine and other special “Kosher for Passover” foods. Would you mind telling more about this practice? Thanks and Happy Passover!

6 months

Answers

  1. Happy Passover to you as well!

    Yes, there’s a special charity that many practice before Passover called “Kimcha D’pischa,” which literally means “flour for Passover.” This is an age-old and universal custom.

    Initially this custom was to provide actual kosher-for-Passover flour for matzahs and not just money. In many places throughout history it was hard to find “Kosher for Passover” flour (and still is today in some places!). Over time, the custom changed from giving flour to giving money, since most people don’t bake their own matzahs.

    And the custom is to cover the all Passover-related costs for the needy. All over the world, Jewish communities give money to the needy before the holiday so they can prepare all of their Passover needs. In my community, charity organizations give money to the supermarket to credit the accounts of needy families, in addition to food distribution and cash donations.

    There is a wonderful story about how charity money is distributed before Passover. A woman once approached the Rabbi of the city of Brisk, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, with a strange question. She wanted to know if one could use milk instead of wine for the four cups of the Passover Seder. She explained that she could not afford wine. He answered her by giving her quite a large amount of money. Asked the Rabbi’s wife, “I understand you gave her money because she can’t afford the wine, but why so much?”

    Answered the Rabbi, “If she wants to drink milk at the Seder, it is obvious she has no meat for Passover (as there is a prohibition to eat meat and milk at the same meal). So I gave her enough to buy wine and meat for the entire Festival.”

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team