Jewish Thought

Mechutanim Before You

The Belzer Rav, the Sar Shalom, taking his chasidim on a walk, listened in to the way the townspeople were leading their sedarim. They passed a simple Yid’s house and overheard him saying, “Besha’ah sheyeish matzah umaror mechutanim lifanecha…The time that matzah and maror are mechutanim before you…” The chasidim burst out laughing. The Belzer Rav turned to them and said, “Don’t laugh at this simple Yid. What he is saying is correct. I will explain it to you with a parable. “There was a very wealthy Jew whose daughter needed a shidduch. He went around from town to town, but no one he saw was good enough for his daughter. One day he came to a small village and saw there a very special bachur who was extremely poor. As soon as the rich man laid eyes upon him, he knew this was the boy for his daughter. He approached the matchmaker of the village and asked him to suggest the shidduch to the boy’s family. The poor family needed no convincing and the match was made. “The rich man was so excited with the chasan that he rushed the wedding, and made it shortly after the engagement. 

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On the day of the wedding, representatives of the rich man came to clothe the chasan in beautiful expensive new clothing. They then took his old rags and folded them neatly into a box. “The wedding was beautiful but because it was so rushed there was no time to bake new bread. The guests were served old hard rolls, leftovers from previous affairs. In middle of the wedding the chasan took a roll and put it into his pocket. “After the celebrations were over the shver and the eidim started to bicker. “The shver said, ‘I brought you from rags to riches, and you are not treating me with respect.’“The eidim responded, ‘You are the one who wanted me and ran after me.’ “One day the rich shver decided to teach his son-in-law a lesson. He invited all his friends to a big party. In middle of the party he announced, ‘Look at my son-in-law. I made him so rich, and look how he treats me.’ “To prove his point he brought out a box and showed everyone the old rags that the son-in-law used to wear. “The son-in-law responded, ‘This may be true, but look at this.’ He pulled out a stale roll from his pocket and waved it at the crowd. ‘At my wedding the guests were served old, inedible rolls because my shver rushed the wedding. That’s how strongly he wanted me.’” The Belzer Rav concluded: “This is what it ‘matzah and maror are mechutanim’ means. The maror is us; Hashem took us out of bitter Mitzrayim and brought us from rags to riches. The matzah is the hard bread. Hashem rushed to take us out. He wanted us so badly as His nation.”


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