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A Passover Prayer in the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp

Thursday, 18 April, 2019 - 10:03 am

CHAMETZ OR MATZAH IN BERGEN BELSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP
WhatsApp Image 2019-04-17 at 9.25.50 PM.jpegThis picture is a handwritten prayer that was composed by spiritual leaders in the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp for people to say before the ate Leavened Food on Passover due to the difficult and dangerous living conditions. 

It was written down in multiple copies by Elchanan Emanuel HY"D who after doing back breaking slave labor for twelve hours, toiled and worked hard to make multiple papers with this prayer for people to use on the night of Passover in the Concentration Camp. Due to circumstances beyond their control, the Concentration Camp inmates could not eat Matzah and had to eat leavened food to survive but were very torn at not being able to do Passover in the proper manner.

Elchanan himself refused to eat any leavened food throughout the 8 days of Passover and ultimately did not survive the Holocaust.

Below is a loose translation of the Prayer that they composed that speaks of their pain in not being able to do Passover properly and being forced to eat leavened bread, but also contains within it a hope and prayer for the future when they will one day be able to Passover as it is supposed to be done.

"Before Eating Chamtetz (Leavened Food) one should say with intent".
"Our father in Heaven, it is known before you that our desire is to do your will and celebrate Passover by eating Matzah and refraining from eating leavened food. But on this matter our heart is pained, since the persecution is preventing us from doing so and our lives are in danger.

Behold we are willing to fulfill the Mitzvah of "you shall live by them" and to live by the commandment "that one should guard their soul profusely". Therefore our prayer to you is that you should keep us alive and redeem us speedily so that we can guard your statutes and do your will and serve you with a complete heart".

May their dedication and passion for fulfilling the commandments and traditions of Passover inspire us to relive the messages and meaning of Passover as we celebrate our Seders this year.

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