Patience and Passover
Reflections for your seder
I wanted to share one of my favorite Passover stories:
Two beggars, Yidel, a Jew, and Ivan, a Russian were both always in need of a good meal. One year, just before Passover, Yidel told Ivan that if he went into a synagogue and pretended to be a Jew, he would surely get an invitation to a Seder. A month later, when they met again, Yidel anticipated an embrace and a thank you. Instead, Ivan fell upon him with blows and curses, and upon finishing told this tale.
“ I did exactly what you said. I went to the synagogue, sat in the last row, did everything the others did and played the deaf-mute. I got about a dozen invitations and went with the man who looked to be the richest. The table was set beautifully and his house was full of the aroma of cooked food. I sat down and waited to be served, but first they began chanting in Hebrew. After a while they gave me a cup of wine and some parsley and salt water - a strange dish but edible. Meanwhile they kept on swaying and reading Hebrew. I was almost faint with hunger. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour passed. I thought I would go mad. At last everyone got up and washed their hands. So did I. Then they gave me a flat, tasteless wafer and passed around a vegetable I had never seen before. I took a huge bite, and all of a sudden my eyes started to tear. I began to choke and my insides were burning. They must have known that I was not a Jew. So I ran from the table. I’m sure you put them up to it.” “Oh my friend,” said Yidel. “If only you you’d been a little more patient. After the karpas, matzah, and maror, all of the delicious food would have come!”
This is a seder: lots of reading, talking and learning and finally the food! It requires patience. Eating that small bit of karpas at the beginning of the seder gives us just a taste (literally) of what is to come. We have no choice but to practice discipline and restraint.
A seder (and every Jewish meal, for that matter) is more than just the food. Satiety, awareness of the bounty of the earth and expression of gratitude are just a few of the deeper understandings that come from eating a meal. The seder, a Jewish meal par excellence can help us to nurture one of our finest human qualities: patience.
Chag Sameach to all!