Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “He put all of what he knew into it.”

The day after Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev conducted his Passover Seder on a particularly exalted plane, he asked a question of heaven as to whether anyone had conducted a Seder superior to his.

He was told that a porter had done so.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak searched for the man and questioned him about his Seder.

The man replied, “Rabbi, I will tell you the truth. I heard that it is forbidden to drink vodka on Passover for eight days, so the day before I drank enough for eight days until I fell asleep.

In the evening my wife woke me up and said, “Are you a Gentile that you don’t make a Seder?” I poured a glass of wine and then another glass, and I told my wife, ‘You know that I am a simple Jew and I can’t tell you the entire story of the Exodus, but we were slaves in Egypt.

They tortured us and oppressed us until God took us out.

And now too we have great troubles, but God will save us from them as well!’

And then I ate and drank wine and fell back asleep.”

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak acknowledged that this man’s Seder has been superior to his own.

Although Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s mystical intentions were certainly higher, the porter’s intent was apparently more complete, for he put all of what he knew into it.

—Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz