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The Seder of Chaim Porter

By Rabbi Dovie Shochet
March 27, 2018

Looking back over the Seder he had just completed, Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev noted with satisfaction that he had succeeded in suffusing each of its successive stages with the light of kabbalisitc meditation.

But at that moment a voice from heaven intimated to him: “Don’t proud of the manner in which you conducted your Seder. In this town there lives a Jew called Chaim the Porter: his Seder is loftier than yours.”

Reb Levi Yitzchak turned to address his Chassidim who were with him at his Seder: “Do any of know knowRebChaim the Porter?” he asked.

One of them knew him but did not know where he lived.

“If it were possible to call him here I would be most pleased.” Said the Tzaddik.

The Chassidim immediately searched the town and brought him to their Rebbe. Reb Levi Yitzchak offered him a chair, and said: How did you conduct your Seder last night?”

Flushed and flustered, the poor man unburdened himself: “Rebbe, I’ll tell you the truth. I heard that a man’s not allowed to drink vodka throughout Pesach. So this morning I drank enough to last me for eight days. So of course I was sleep and I went to bed. When it was night-time my wife wakes me and says: ‘Chaim, wake up, Its Pesach!’ I get out of bed feeling all groggy and let me tell you Rebbe, I haven’t got a clue what Pesach is all about. The only thing I know is this – our ancestors were in exile. But we’ve got Hashem who took us out of there and made us free and now we are all in exile again. But Hashem will bring us out again for sure! Then I took the wine, the Matzah and the egg, mixed it all into a ball, poured its contents down my throat and I went back to sleep.”

The Rebbe thankedChaim and sent him home. Reb Levi Yitzchak then turned to his Chassidim and said: “Heaven was exceedingly pleased with this man’s words, because he said them with all his heart and with true sincerity – for he knows nothing more than what he said.”

As we go into Pesach this year and delve into its deep meaning until the early hours of the morning. Let us not forget the sincerewords of Chaim the Porter – that we had Hashem who took us out of Egypt and He will surely take us out of this exile too, לשנה הבאה בירושלים .


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