Carrying the Burden – A Pesach Tale

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“Let’s pile everything on!” shouted Boris. “We’ve got a couple more boxes to get on this wagon before we can hit the road!”  

Boris and Feema, a pair of Russian Jews in business together, were preparing for an important three-day business voyage. They  spent all morning loading up their horse and buggy for the long trip ahead. 

After hours of vigorous preparation, the two finally set off. After just a few moments, Feema, the more dull-minded Russian peddler, leaned over to grab some of the luggage that lay by their feet, placing it securely on his lap. 

“Why are you putting the luggage on your lap?” asked Boris. “Is there something inside that you need?” 

“No…” Feema replied. “I just… I want to keep it safe.” Boris rolled his eyes, annoyed as usual by his imprudent counterpart. 

Their journey continued for nine straight hours. Boris and Feema  fervently hoped they would meet with success in the bustling town of Voronezh. They prayed that their fate would turn for the good. Later, during the otherwise uneventful journey, Boris again noticed Feema lean forward to take some more baggage from the wagon floor. 

“What is it, Feema?! Why do you insist on keeping luggage on your lap?! Just leave everything on the wagon floor. It will be just fine! For goodness sake, it’s heavy! Surely you must be uncomfortable holding all that weight in your lap!”  

Feema sighed, and admitted the reason for his actions. 

“Well, Boris… I can’t help thinking about our poor horse.” 

“What about the horse?!” Boris demanded. “Sasha is doing just fine. There is nothing my Sasha can’t handle!” 

“Yes Boris, but… There’s just so much luggage, and our trip so long. I can’t bear to watch old Sasha pull such a heavy burden. I decided to help her, and take some of the load off by putting it on my lap.” 

Boris’s face grew red and his anger flared. “You fool!” he yelled. “Whether the luggage is on your lap, or on the wagon floor, it is the horse that is bearing the heavy load!” 

Feema realized the foolishness of his actions, yet just hours later, he was moving luggage to his lap once more. Obviously, he was a man of short memory. 

It Is Hashem Who Carries Our Burdens 

This, dear reader, is the story of our lives. It is the way many of us act in our service to Hashem.  

It is no secret that each and every one of us has his share of headaches, and a unique array of problems that arise throughout our lives. We think, we worry, we cry, and most times take the problem into our own hands. We put the luggage into our own laps, completely forgetting that whether we leave it on the wagon floor, or try and carry it ourselves, Hashem is the one who bears the problem. 

And if, dear reader, this is the truth, then why do we insist on taking things into our own hands? Aren’t we aware, as Boris reminded his foolish counterpart, that the weight is being carried either way?! Why take our problems into our own hands?! 

The Lesson of Pesach  

This is precisely what the holiday of Pesach comes to teach us. Throughout the year we are constantly bombarded with different stresses and difficulties. Some big, some small, sometimes even unbearable pain and confusion. Comes the holy, beautiful seder night, when Gd reminds us, “Hello?! Why do you insist on taking on this problem by yourself?! Put the luggage down, My child, for this is My burden to bear.” 

Imo anochi betzarah” (Tehillim 91:15). Hashem is with us in all that we face. Our job is to know that although He created the difficulty, He is undoubtedly here with us, carrying our “luggage” whether we try and carry it ourselves or not. Pesach is our reminder to drop the luggage. As David Hamelech says, “Hashlech al Hashem yehavecha vehu yechalkeleka – Throw your burden on Hashem, and He will provide” (Tehillim 55:23). 

Just as Hashem took us out of Egypt, away from the most miserable suffering in our history, He will continue to help Am Yisrael generally, as well as each and every one of us in our personal lives. 

May the message of Pesach, the message of realizing that Hashem is carrying all our headaches and hardships for us, last us till next year, and may we not forget this vital message as Feema did, amen