Deut. XV, 7-8: “If there be among you a needy man, one of your brethren, within any of your gates, in the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother; but you shall surely open your hand to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wants.”
This admonition and others like it to tithe, remit debt, and free slaves that we read this shabbos (the Eighth Day of Pesach) all have their roots in tzedakah (righteousness) and rachamim (compassion). The instructions to soften our hearts and open our hands here are strikingly different from the repeated hardening of Pharaoh’s heart throughout the exodus story.
May we be blessed with soft hearts and open hands so that we can give and receive blessings of protection, favor and peace during this Pesach season.