by Menachem Rephun – JP Updates
More than 60 years ago, Rabbi Dovid Edelman of Springfield, Massachusetts began a tradition of delivering hand-made shmurah matzato local Jewish residents. Rabbi Edelman, who passed away on Jan 2, 2015, at the age of 90, began his matza route in 1954. The tradition is now continued by Rabbi Edelman’s son-in-law, Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, and grandson, Rabbi Lavy Kosofsky, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. This month, the rabbis will hand deliver the matza to 900 local addresses, including Jewish individuals, families, and businesses, according to Chabad.org.
A member of Chabad-Lubavitch, the late Rabbi Edelman was sent to head the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy in Springfield by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1950, shortly after Rabbi Edelman’s marriage to his wife, Leah. Speaking at Lubavitch headquarters at 770 in 1954, the Lubavitcher Rebbe described the tradition of distributing shmurah matza, which had been discontinued.
“There was once a custom among community rabbis to distribute shmurah matzah to their congregants before Passover,” the Rebbe said. “Although this custom may have been associated with the livelihood of those rabbis … practically, all those who received this it had matzah of the highest grade of kosher… I would like to say, that if I were able to, I would ask that the custom of distributing matzah be reinstituted and that rabbis distribute shmurah matzah to their congregants. This applies not only to rabbis, but to anyone in the position to give to another… Thousands of Jews will benefit, and as a result of this they will have handmade kosher shmurah matzah.”
The Rebbe’s speech galvanized Rabbi Edelman into perpetuating the tradition, which has continued through his descendants to this day. According to Chabad.org, Rabbi Edelman’s “warmth, humility, wise words…touched thousands of Jews, children, parents and grandparents alike.”
Cyrel Deitsch, Rabbi Edelman’s daughter, was quoted as saying that her father’s greatest joy was hearing someone say, “Rabbi, our family ate your matzah at our seder.”
Deitsch added that her father “knew every tiny town in Massachusetts. Everyone was always shocked how he always knew exactly where to go.”
Rabbi Edelman’s eldest daughter, Seema Goldstein, said that in 2015, she visited a woman who lives in Longmeadow, who “cried when I walked in. She told me that since her husband died, my father would drop by her house every once in a while just to see how she was doing, and before Pesach with the matzah. She was sure that would end and was so happy to see the matzah there again.”