It was practice of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak each Passover to supervise the bakeries of Berditchev. In addition to the kashrut of the matzot, he was concerned with the working conditions of the women and children employees. One year, observing that they were being exploited, being forced to work from early morning until late at night, he approached the bakery owner. “Our enemies used to cause great consternation among our people,“ he said, “charging that we use non-Jewish blood to bake our matzah. Today, however, God knows and you know as well that this is a foolish lie. But among our many sins, I see that there are Jewish bakers who prepare their matzah with Jewish blood, with the blood of the poor Jewish women and children from whom, unfortunately, they squeeze out the last bit of strength.”
As we eat this matzah, the bread of affliction, we remember the conditions of the unseen workers who help to bring us food. We follow in the example of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and acknowledge that the kashrut of our food also depends on the conditions of the workers who make it for us.
Let us commit ourselves to ending this barbaric economic system of capitalism that continues to enslave workers around the world.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, Hamotzi lechem min haaretz.
Blessed are you, Spirit of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
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