THE QUALITY SEDER
(Courtesy: Yosef Jacobson)
Last year I celebrated Passover in the remote city of Kobe, Japan with Jews
from secular backgrounds who hadn't seen a Seder in decades. The exciting
energy, melodies and discussion inspired me.
when beer and whisky are forbidden, was a major problem for Yankel. So to
get rid of any trace of the forbidden Chametz beverages, he drank it all up
before the Chametz deadline. Twenty minutes after nine the morning before
Passover, Yankel took his last "L'chayim" and was out cold.
gazed at the Rebbe and continued his tale: "By then, I deeply regretted
drinking. I would've done anything not to be drunk.
said, 'Sit close to me, dear children, I'm so sorry. If drinking stops me
from having the Seder with you, then it's not worth it. Please, let me tell
you the Pesach story in a nutshell.'"
children, the same G-d who redeemed us from Egypt will liberate us from our
this, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Barditchev exclaimed, "I wish that one time
in my life I could communicate with my children and with G-d, with the heartfelt
truth and conviction as Yankel the water carrier."
had celebrated many a Seder in very observant communities. Yet my most inspiring
Seder was right here, in Kobe, Japan! Many of us here are not very familiar
with the Seder rituals; many can't read the Haggadah in Hebrew. But, my dear
brothers and sisters, I've never felt such sincerity and passion of Jews thirsty
to connect with their inner soul. Thank you for allowing me this special opportunity."
grew up in an assimilated home," the woman said. "I know nothing
about Judaism. I work here in Japan for twenty years as a school teacher,
and am involved in eastern mystical disciplines."
only thing I know of Judaism," she said, "was that my grandmother
told me that I have a special spiritual connection. "You are the tenth
generation of Reb Levi Yitzchak of Barditchev."
you, Rabbi Jacobson for bringing me home," the woman said to me.