Around Pesach time during this past year of the pandemic, there was one man who lived alone.
On the night of the Seder, he was sitting in his apartment and it dawned on him that it’s Pesach. He hadn’t thought about it at all before, he doesn’t really observe most holidays, but it bothered him that it was the night of the Seder and he was doing nothing. So, he went into the pantry and looked for what he could use to make a Seder. He had no Matzah, but he did find some round rice cakes that looked similar to Matzah. And so he took three rice cakes, some wine, dug up his grandmother’s old Haggadah, and made a Seder.
After the holiday he called me and told me what happened. He said,
“I decided to make a Seder thinking that it would be a disaster and not much of a Seder because I didn’t know what I was doing, it’s so weird to ask yourself the four questions, and i used rice cakes for the Matzah. I was expecting to feel nothing, but I was surprised. It felt significant. It felt like somebody was listening.”
Since that phone call, I’ve been thinking about it, and I was wondering what my very “religious” friends would say if I told them about this Seder. A guy made a Seder using three rice cakes instead of Matzah, wine that probably was not kosher, and he was fumbling his way through the Haggadah and making all sorts of mistakes. If I asked my “religious” friends, it’s pretty predictable what they would say. They would say “it was blasphemous! It was a mockery of the holiday!”
My religious friends would not be impressed.
Now, if I would ask my secular friends what they thought, they would probably say “he really didn’t have to bother! It was completely unnecessary! He’s not religious, it’s not his thing, it was a waste of time!”
But if we were to ask the Baal Shel Tov or the Rebbe, what would they say?
I’m sure the Rebbe would say “of all the Seders that night, this one brought God to tears of joy and love!”