Shushan Purim Koton 5776
A resident of the Holy City Of Jerusalem very scrupulously avoided the slightest hint of chometz during Pesach. He kept his intake of Matzo during Yom Tov and Shabbos to the bare minimum. During Chol Hamoed, he ate none at all. Other than moror, his diet during the week of Pesach (no Acharon Shel Pesach in Israel) was exclusively nuts which he purchased from a specific Arab. The Pesach following the Arab’s death, he purchased his annual nut feast from the latter’s son. Upon the conclusion of the festival, he inquired of the son how come his nuts did not taste as bitter as his dad’s. The reply was that his father’s nuts acquired their bitter taste from the beer in which he would soak them.
Totally beside himself, our friend related his tale of woe to the Rov of the Slonim congregation in the Ancient city, the Lubliner Geon (authored Shu”t Toras Chesed, disciple of the Tzemach Tzedek and his successors). The Rabbi chastised the distraught fellow, “this occured to you because you sought to be smarter than Hashem and His Torah. The Torah instructs us to celebrate during Pesach. However, in your zeal to avoid chometz, you did not have full confidence in this mitzvoh and instead turned the Feast of Passover into just about a fast. And so, the Almighty left you to resort to your own efforts.”
(Heard at a Zeirai Das V’Daas farbrengen several years ago in the name of the late R’ Zalmen Morozov a”h.)
A possible morale: In our care to observe kashrus at its pinnacle and to avoid any questionable product, we can’t resort to eating grass and herbs. It’s no feat or talent to be an angel. It’s preferable to be a mentsh amongst people.