The rabbi’s wife was busy in the kitchen with all the last-minute preparations for the Seder, when there was a knock at the door. A young girl who was helping in the rabbi’s house prepare for the seder, as Pesach was always special with the holy rabbi, answered the knock at the door. Someone had come to the home of the holy rabbi with a request for matzah for the seder. Seeing a stack of matzos wrapped up in a napkin, the young girl who opened the door innocently gave them away and hurried back to work. Puffing and steaming, the rabbi’s wife came along soon after and saw that the matzos had vanished. She was shocked, these were none other than the select matzos which had been baked that same day with holy intentions, and with all manner of careful precautions against chametz, were baked for the holy rabbi’s Seder, it was too late to undo. She felt her heart sag within her. How could she tell her husband of the mishap and cause him spiritual anguish? There was only one thing to do. She took a bundle of plain, ordinary matzos, deftly wrapped them up in the very same napkin, and pretended to know nothing of the whole affair. And that same evening, her husband conducted the Seder with the ordinary matzos.
Soon after the festival was over, the holy rabbi was visited by a couple seeking a divorce.
“What makes you want to divorce your wife?” he asked the husband.
The young man answered that his wife had refused his request to cook for him during Pesach in separate utensils without shruyah — for it is the custom of certain pious folk to avoid allowing even baked matzah to come in contact with water throughout the festival.
Hearing this, the holy rabbi called for his wife and said, “Tell me the whole truth, please. What kind of matzos were placed before me at the Seder table?”
The rabbi’s wife was afraid to speak up, so she held her peace.
“Do tell me, please,” he reassured her; “have no fear.”
The rabbi’s wife mumbled the truth: “Ordinary matzos …” And she proceeded to disclose the whole story.
The tzaddik now turned to the over-zealous young husband standing before him, “Look here, my son,” he said. “On the first night of Pesach I ate plain, ordinary matzah and pretended not to know nor sense the difference, in order that I should not be brought to expressing hard feelings or harsh words, God forbid — and you want to divorce your wife because of shruyah?!”
The tzaddik then restored harmony between them, and they left him in peace.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
Click here for more storytelling resources
Vote on this post on Jblog
One prayer unites Jewish people around the world, Shema. Everyday in every Jewish community the words of the Shema are said: Hear O Israel, the L-rd is Our G-d, the Lord is One.
Many rabbis and many more people have pondered over the first sentence of the Shema. The Shema has become a declaration of the Jewish people, an affirmation of faith, a vital part of the prayer service, and meditation.
Every Jewish person can have a relationship with G-d as it says in the Shema “our G-d” Pesach is a time when Jewish people come together to read the Haggadah and celebrate this joyous holiday.
Before beginning his own Seder, the holy rabbi of the village would wander about the cottages of the local people to see how they conducted their Seders, As he walked down the cobblestoned alleys he could hear from all sides the voices of simple Jewish families singing and reciting the narrative of the Haggadah. He once stopped still near the wooden shutters of one of the cottages and heard a voice reading aloud:
The Torah speaks of four sons: one wise son, one wicked son, one simple son, and one who does not know how to ask questions.”
And every time the reader came to the word for “one” — echad — he would cry it out aloud with prolonged concentration, just as people do when they say Shema Yisrael.
The holy rabbi was delighted, and commented later that this simple villager had made out of the Four Sons of the Haggadah — including even the wicked son — a sublime prayer, a prayer as sacred as Shema Yisrael.
Every year we read the words of the Haggadah: “All who are hungry, let them come and eat. All who are needy, let them come and celebrate the Passover with us.” Let all of our prayers come together so that all Jewish people can unite as one and say the Shema and bring peace so that we can all celebrate Pesach in the Holy City of Jerusalem next year.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)