Your next son will be home from Yeshiva with the ravenous appetite of a growing boy. Your teenage daughter has grown surprisingly tall over the summer and needs almost a whole new wardrobe. And of course you must also buy something new for your preteen. She always seems to fall into the shadows, and even more so since she started a new school without her best friend. You will do a special shopping expedition just with her and try to lift her spirits a bit. Your sister’s husband recently lost his job, and they have been struggling. You will have a meat order discreetly and anonymously delivered to her home. You sit down and start planning the menus, calculating portions and trying to incorporate each person’s favorite foods. You write yourself a note to invite the almana who came last year; she has been praising your miniature stuffed peppers each time you have met since last Sukkos. You make endless lists - a comprehensive shopping list for the supermarket, the clothing to be bought, a list of items that need to be taken to the cleaners and a list of things that need to be taken care of in the house before the guests arrive. You will walk through the supermarket, your cart overflowing with groceries as you reminisce about years past. Yes, it is a busy time, but your heart soars as your adrenaline kicks in. You will be working hard and reaping the benefits of a lovely family Yom Tov.
Now just imagine for a moment that instead of four children, you have 15,000 children. Instead of one almana to invite for a meal, you have 600 almanos depending on you in order to make it through Yom Tov. That’s not all. Instead of sending a meat order just to your sister, you have decided to send 11 pounds of meat each to a thousand families, many of whom are too impoverished to eat meat or chicken on a regular weekly basis. Instead of filling just your own grocery cart, you will provide groceries for over 6,000 families. A thousand of them will receive a box of pantry essentials delivered to their door, and 5,000 will enjoy the sense of normalcy felt by filling their own carts with the items that they prefer, and checking out discreetly with supermarket vouchers.
That’s still not all! Hundreds of people will not be sitting in a sukkah this Yom Tov; they will be lying in their hospital beds hoping and praying for a miracle. You speak to dozens of volunteers and arrange for each of these people to be visited and brought a homemade cake or meal. Then you remember that your preteen is not the only one who has been having a hard time lately. You have the names of hundreds of grushos and almanos who have been struggling to put food on the table and to carry the heavy burden of raising a family alone. You will lift their spirits as well, and provide them not only with food for the holidays, but also a stipend to buy clothing for themselves and their children. Some of those children will be wearing new clothing from a store for the first time in their lives! “Yes,” you think to yourself, “that will surely add to the festive atmosphere and help them enjoy Yom Tov,” but your work isn’t over yet.
You know over 600 melamdim personally, who have been teaching Torah to Jewish children in Israel, and bringing home a meager salary, an amount that hardly keeps a roof overhead and puts food on the table for their families, and certainly leaves nothing left to marry off children, keep up with their many debts, or even buy new clothing. They give so much of themselves to Am Yisrael that you decide to do something special for them and send them each a generous check. You are nearly ready for Yom Tov. You have covered the needs of tens of thousands of family members, but you aren’t done yet. There are three hundred IDF soldiers who have put their lives on the line to protect Am Yisrael, yet they have nothing to put on their Yom Tov table. Their poor families count on their part time work, and since they spent the whole summer on active duty, they haven’t worked and have nothing to bring home. Many would have stayed on their military bases for the holidays in order to avoid the shame, dissapointment and hunger of coming home empty-handed and having nothing to eat. You send them each a generous supermarket voucher along with your blessings for a good safe and sweet year.
Yes, it is a busy time, but your heart soars as you see what you have accomplished.
Who are you? How have you achieved so much? You have brought smiles, joy and satisfaction where there was none! You have transformed the holiday for countless families! You have created endless happy holiday memories for children who would have otherwise suffered hunger, embarrassment and jealousy. You have brought the essence of a joyous Yom Tov to people who have no one else caring for them! Who are you? YOU are Yad Eliezer. Yes YOU! You who decided to write a check, and you who will make a paypal donation, and you volunteered to host an event or to bake a cake. YOU are the extended Yad Eliezer family, and we cannot accomplished any of this without YOU! You have worked hard, and will be enjoying the benefits of a truly lovely Yom Tov.