The Power of giving

Haggadah Section: Karpas

Why Karpas?

A vegetable is similar to the Jews in Egypt. A vegetables starts off in the dirt and eventually sprouts out of the ground. The Jews as a nation started off in slavery but from there became a strong and independent Nation. Sometimes we need tough starts in order to reach our Potential.

What can we further learn?

When we analyze the word Karpas and break it down to its four component parts ― its four letters of kaf, reish, pehand samech, ― we discover an encoded message of four words which teaches a basic lesson about how to develop our capacity for giving.

Ka-Kaf- Palm of hand

R-Reish- One who is impoverished

Pa-Peh- Mouth

S-Samech-To support

The first letter of Karpas means the palm of the hand. The second letter means a poor person. When taken together these two letter/words speak of a benevolent hand opened for the needy.

But what if you are a person of limited means, with precious little to give? Look at the second half of the word Karpas. The letter peh means mouth, while the final letter samech means to support. True, you may not be capable of giving in the material sense, but you can always give with your words. Words of kindness and concern. Words of empathy and understanding. Words that can lift an impoverished soul and provide a means of support where nothing else will do.

We dip the Karpas in saltwater. Saltwater recalls the bitter tears shed in Egypt. But there is more. The Jewish people, though awash in the tears of bondage, were able to preserve their ability to give. Rather than succumb to the morass of self-pity, they were able to maintain their dignity through giving.

Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf

IDEAS TO PONDER AND DISCUSS

  1. How does giving make me a better person.
  2. List a few things you would like to do to be a better giver.

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