Let My People Know

"The Hasid who had to prepare the seder in a hurry"


It is told of one of the great Hasidim that on the first night of Passover, he conducted the seder with great excitement, diligently fulfilling all the observances with the appropriate kavvanot ("meditations") and felt that he was rising into worlds above worlds. 

The following day, exhausted by the immense effort of that seder, he decided to rest a little before the second seder. 

When he awoke, it was nearly midnight (the deadline for finishing the main part of the seder), so he had to rush to arrange the seder plate and do whatever had to be done quickly so that he complete all in time. 

Understandably, he was very upset and depressed. 

Some time later, he came to his rebbe, who said, "Nu, so you held two seders. At the first, you were flying around in the heavens-so you were flying around in the heavens. But the second seder-the second seder was a very good seder indeed." 

When someone has lofty experiences, this might make him feel very good about himself, but it has nothing to do with attachment to God. 

In a sense, the reverse may be true: someone who is in a state of true attachment has no time to think about how much he loves and how he loves, whereas someone who feels good about himself should, perhaps, cast doubts on the quality of his attachment. 

The Hasid who had to prepare the seder in a hurry had no time to prime himself, to contemplate himself, to ascertain the precise level he had attained. 

In those moments when he was acting, doing something, he displayed his inner desire, and he was attached from within, genuinely and cleanly, with no superlative of emotion and awareness, which are irrelevant to one's actual attachment to God. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From Opening the Tanya by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz