Passover is one of the most celebrated among the Jewish people. Every year they clean their homes and remove unleavened products, chometz. As they celebrate the seder, the story of the leaving of Egypt and slavery is told as family and friends enjoy fellowship, prayer and good food in the service of the holy One, blessed be He.
It was late in the afternoon erev Passover, and the holy Rabbi was wandering through the streets of the Jewish quarter when he came upon some smugglers. From one he quietly asked how much for some tobacco, from another he enquired about the availability of smuggled brocades and imported embroideries. No matter item he wanted, it was available for the right price.
But when he asked if the smugglers could get him some bread or whiskey, they became upset and one stepped forward and said: “Rabbi, are you trying to insult me? The seder will be starting in just a few hours and no Jewish person would have even a speck of chametz left in his home or business.”
Not one merchant was able to come up with even a crumb of bread or drop of alcohol. No matter the price offered, not one merchant was willing or able to come up with even a crumb of bread or drop of alcohol. The town had removed its chometz and was ready to fullfill the religious requirements of the seder meals and holiday.
Thrilled with the results of his failed quest, the rabbi looked up to heaven and declared: “Ribbono shel olam (Master of the Universe), look down with pride at Your people! The Czar has border guards and tax-commissioners dedicated to his commands. The law-enforcement and justice systems are devoted to tracking down and punishing smugglers and black-marketers and yet anything one could possibly want is freely available. Compare this with the faith and devotion of Your children. It has been over 3000 years since you commanded us to observe Passover. No police, no guards, no soldiers, no jail-and yet every Jewish person keeps your laws to the utmost!
“Mi K’amcha Yisrael – Who is like Your nation, Israel?!”