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Never close your door; maybe someone will come

בית פתוח לרווחה

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Here is something Elirach Ochayon, an educator from Be'er Sheva, wrote about Mimouna, a holiday celebrated by Jews from North Africa, especially Moroccan, descent. The Mimouna marks the end of Pesach and a return to eating hametz:

“Last year, while celebrating Mimouna at my grandmother's house, one of the grandchildren closed the front door. My grandmother immediately jumped up and told him: 'We don't close that door,' and my mother quickly swung the door wide open again.

The thing is, my grandmother seldom speaks. She is severely disabled and it is extremely difficult to get her to say anything - until they close her front door.

I have just recalled a single, brief moment, yet it is highly symbolic. The amount of food in my grandmother's stuffed refrigerator is completely unreasonable, to say nothing of the number of refrigerators that she has. For years I never understood this, but I heard one sentence repeated over and over again: 'Maybe someone will come.'

There are certain homes where uninvited guests are a disaster, but I grew up in a totally different atmosphere. I learned that there is no such thing as an inappropriate time when it comes to guests and that a full house is a recipe for happiness.

The more time passes, the less you see this. Doors are closed and people no longer arrive without an invitation. But one night a year, we are privileged and so happy simply to see people coming to our home.

And every time I think about how old my grandmother is, I get scared. Because this world desperately needs people who become alarmed when their front door is closed; it's a special kind of awareness, an entire way of life. If only I will be privileged to carry on this tradition in my own home. In the words of the customary Mimouna greeting: 'Tirvachu ve'tisadu' (Be prosperous so you can help others)".


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