Why Was This Night Different From Every Other Night?
by Marty Shoub, International Liason, Tents of Mercy Network

This year, Tents of Mercy organized a congregational Seder for some 250 congregants and family members. According to the Haggadah, in order to emphasize our new found status as free people, we should eat the Passover meal in a leisurely fashion. Well, I can testify that we tried, but when you have two hundred and fifty guests it never goes quite as leisurely as ten or so sitting around one table.

Leisure aside, we are also instructed to eat our Passover meal with celebration and joy. We hit that one on the head. A choir sang "the Four Questions" and "Di-ainu". When Avishalom called out the ten plagues, instead of the traditional spilling ten drops of wine on our plate, we flung various finger toys and candies at each other, to the delight of children young and old.

Our special guest for the evening was none other than Moshe Rabbenu himself. Surprisingly, Moshe looked very much like Eitan with a towel wrapped on his head, but I am sure all the adults were convinced of his credentials, even if the children were a tad suspicious. As many a reviewer has concluded, "a good time was had by all."

Avishalom leading the Seder Moshe looks pretty good after 3,400 years
Chocolates for finiding the Afikomen Seder crowd

When the Lord determined that the month of Nisan was to be the head of the year (Exodus 12:2), He did so to commemorate the Passover. However, the focus on this pivotal event is not so much about at what point in the year it took place as it is about the priority of its significance. Today for Israelis and Jews around the world, Passover is still the pivotal event of the year and Tents of Mercy is no exception to this trend. Every Passover, no matter what our job description, we are conscripted onto the Passover basket assembly line to fill up six hundred and fifty bags of food designated for our clientele and for folks referred to us from the municipal social service agency.

Our facilities engineer, Sasha Bortkevitch, becomes our leader and the likes of Eitan, Avishalom and Moshe take their place as "bag stuffing grunts" just like the rest of us.

To lend a hand and be a blessing to those in need in the name of Yeshua is a great privilege. Following in the tradition of Jewish Passover charity provides an occasion to shine our light and affirm our place within the community. Christian charity to Israel is a great blessing but it cannot help but convey a sense that it is coming as aid and relief from those who are outside of the community. As a local Messianic Israeli organization, Tents of Mercy stands within the community. We are not those helping from outside - we are friends and neighbors joining others to make our community a happier and more prosperous place.

This year, the message of solidarity was affirmed by local government officials taking a day out of their schedule to volunteer to stuff bags alongside Tents of Mercy staff. The mayor of our city got into the act - personally ensuring that a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables were delivered to Tents of Mercy for distribution to our clientele and local residents.

Our front-line worker Syveta G helping a client Passover baskets ready for distribution
Tents of Mercy assembly line Taking home a load of veggies
Sunday, May 20th: 10:30am at The Light at Mission Viejo Church in Santa Fe, NM
Saturday, May 26th: 10:30am at B'rit Hadasha Messianic Synagogue in Memphis, TN
Saturday, May 26th: 5pm at Belmont Church in Nashville, TN
Sunday, May 27th: 9am & 11am at Belmont Church in Nashville, TN
Sunday, June 3rd: 9:00am & 10.50am at Beltway Park Baptist Church in Abilene, TX
Saturday, June 9th: 10:00am at the Tikkun Family Conference in Ellicott City, MD
Sunday, June 10th: 8:30am & 11am at Immanuel's Church in Silver Spring, MD

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