No one could get Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev angry. No matter what anyone did, he would always find something nice to say. He believed in treating all Jews kindly, no matter how much his patience was tested.
Rabbi Levi Yitzhak’s neighbor had a son who did not want to keep any of the mitzvot. One year, during the seder, the family was about to make a sandwich of matza and maror for korekh. To everyone’s surprise, the boy pulled from his pocket two slices of bread and some meat, and made himself a sandwich. His father started to cry: “How dare you bring bread to my seder?”
“But father,” the boy answered, “I’m hungry after reading the Haggadah. What difference does it make if I eat bread or matza? I’m sure Rabbi Levi Yitzhak wouldn’t mind. The father jumped up from the table and grabbed his son. “Oh wouldn’t he? Lets go ask him.” The whole family marched next door, the father leading the boy by the ear. “Rabbi,” the man said, “even you would not tolerate what my son just did. He ate bread at our seder. I have four sons, rabbi, and I don’t have to tell you which one he is.”
Everyone room was shocked; everyone, that is, except for Rabbi Levi Yitzhak. He smiled at the boy and asked if it was true.
“Of course, Rabbi. I was hungry so I made myself a sandwich.”
“Don’t you know that on Pesach Jews don’t eat bread,” Rabbi Levi Yitzhak continued.
“Well, Rabbi,” the boy answered, “to be totally honest, I don’t really believe in all this. What difference could it possibly make if I eat bread or matza?”
The entire room was silent. Only the boy’s mother could be heard sobbing in the doorway. “Please come here,” Rabbi Levi Yitzhak called to the boy. The boy walked slowly, afraid that this time he had gone too far. As he approached the table, the rabbi hugged him. “Such a fine boy,” he said to the father, “and so honest too,” he added to the mother.
“He’s ready to admit what he did and he’s acting according to his beliefs. Such a fine, honest boy must sit with me at my seder. I have so much to learn from him! Just one thing though.” The rabbi turned to the boy and said, “There’ll be no sandwiches at the seder table – unless you make them with matza.”