Patience and Passover

Reflections for your seder

Patience and Passover

I wanted to share one of my favorite Passover stories:

Two beggars, Yidel, a Jew, and Ivan, a Russian were both always in need of a good meal. One year, just before Passover, Yidel told Ivan that if he went into a synagogue and pretended to be a Jew, he would surely get an invitation to a Seder. A month later, when they met again, Yidel anticipated an embrace and a thank you. Instead, Ivan fell upon him with blows and curses, and upon finishing told this tale. 


“ I did exactly what you said.  I went to the synagogue, sat in the last row, did everything the others did and played the deaf-mute.  I got about a dozen invitations and went with the man who looked to be the richest.  The table was set beautifully and his house was full of the aroma of cooked food.  I sat down and waited to be served, but first they began chanting in Hebrew.  After a while they gave me a cup of wine and some parsley and salt water - a strange dish but edible.  Meanwhile they kept on swaying and reading Hebrew.  I was almost faint with hunger.  Ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour passed. I thought I would go mad.  At last everyone got up and washed their hands.  So did I.  Then they gave me a flat, tasteless wafer and passed around a vegetable I had never seen before.  I took a huge bite, and all of a sudden my eyes started to tear.  I began to choke and my insides were burning.  They must have known that I was not a Jew.  So I ran from the table.  I’m sure you put them up to it.”  “Oh my friend,” said Yidel.  “If only you you’d been a little more patient.  After the karpas, matzah, and maror, all of the delicious food would have come!”

This is a seder:  lots of reading, talking and learning and finally the food!   It requires patience.  Eating that small bit of karpas at the beginning of the seder gives us just a taste (literally) of what is to come.  We have no choice but to practice discipline and restraint.

A seder (and every Jewish meal, for that matter) is more than just the food.  Satiety, awareness of the bounty of the earth and expression of gratitude are just a few of the deeper understandings that come from eating a meal.  The seder, a Jewish meal par excellence can help us to nurture one of our finest human qualities:  patience. 

Chag Sameach to all!


Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

About the Author

Rabbi Judith Beiner

Rabbi Judith Beiner

Rabbi Judith R. Beiner is the Community Chaplain at JF&CS. Rabbi Beiner’s core duties are visitations at area hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  She supports local  Rabbis when their members are hospitalized, works with the team of Bikkur Cholim volunteers,and conducts indigent burials. Rabbi Beiner is on the board of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.