The Seder

By Reb Daniel Lev

There were traveling two beggars, a Jew and German who were always looking for opportunities to get a free meal or a place to stay. One year they arrived in a big city around Pesach time. The Jew told his German friend, “Gustav, we are in luck – this city has lots of Jews and it’s Passover time. We have a tradition of holding a big feast and it’s a mitzvah to have poor guests.”

“Ach du lieber!” Said Gustav, “I vood very much love to each at zuch a feast!”

The pair attended a synagogue service on the night of the first night of Pesach and each was invited to a seder. The German beggar, not knowing anything about the table service was happily curious to engage in the first glass of wine and the eating of the salty greens. He even got into some of the singing and took a brief nap during the long reading of the midrash.

A stack of matzahs in a clear wrapper

As the seder approached the brachot over the matza the hungry German was excited to finally eat. He munched on the dry cracker he was given and hoped there would be more. There was. The host passed out the maror and all were instructed to heap some onto a piece of matzah. As the unsuspecting German bit into and chewed the bitter herb he let out a scream and spit out the maror! He then ran screaming from the room in frustration and spent the next couple of hours stewing on a cold snowy rock at the town’s edge where he earlier planned to meet up with his Jewish comrade.

When the Jew arrived, feeling warmly mellow with a full stomach, he was verbally assaulted by his shivering friend, “How could you have sent me to that farce of a meal!!?? They not only sang and prayed for hours until we got the first morsel but then they tried to poison me with a fiery root that almost burned my insides out!”

“What did you do? – asked his friend.

“Do!!? – I ran out of there as quickly as I could to avoid any other spoiled foods from crossing my lips!”

“Oh,” Sadly replied the Jew, “If only you had stayed a little longer you would have had such a blessed feast. You see, you went pretending to be a Jew but you did not learn the first requirement of being a Jew: No matter how painfully the world treats you must live in patience and trust that the future will be better.