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Respect For All

by Chaim Kramer

During the years of persecution that Reb Noson and his followers endured, Reb Noson’s opponents in the town of Breslov arranged for the local authorities to set up a boot factory to supply an army unit stationed nearby. The site they chose for the factory was Reb Noson’s house. In the weeks before Pesach, a group of non-Jewish workers converted the main room into a workshop, filling it with foul-smelling hides. There they worked and ate their meals, while Reb Noson’s family was restricted to the bedrooms.

On the evening before Pesach, the time came for bedikat chametz, the search for bread and other leavened products that might still be found in the house. But the non-Jewish workers were still at work and their food was still on the premises. Reb Noson recited the blessing over the search with his usual intensity, having in mind this time that just as the chametz must be removed, so should the boot factory.

The workers were so awed by Reb Noson’s blessing that they told him to search wherever he wanted and not think of them at all. By then, the few Breslovers with influence in the town had convinced the authorities to remove the boot factory from Reb Noson’s home. The following day at noon, the workers removed their hides and equipment and left. Immediately, a few people were hired to clean the house and get it ready for Pesach.

That night during the Seder, Reb Noson recited the Haggadah with great fervor. When the meal was served, his family started talking about their sufferings and how happy they were to be rid of the boot factory. Then they spoke against their opponents. This upset Reb Noson. He said, “This is such a great and awesome time. After all the effort every Jew has put into his Pesach preparations, after all the money we have spent to honor Pesach, after all our longing to perform the mitzvot of Pesach, it is absolutely forbidden to talk against them. They are our brothers. Eventually they will receive their tikkun. We ourselves will seek remedies for them!”

After the meal, Reb Noson completed the Seder with a deeply inspiring melody.

Based on Alim LiTerufah, Tovot Zikhronot and Yemey HaTlaot).

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