Chasam Sofer and Gebrokts

Adopted from “Four Chassidic Masters” by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski (p. 194-195):

The chassidim of the Tzaddik of Sanz were in Pressburg on Passover, guests at the Chasam Sofer’s table. Among chassidim, it is the custom to avoid eating gebrokts (matzah that has come into contact with liquid). This is a chumrah that misnagdim have not adopted; hence, the Chasam Sofer ate Kneidlach on Passover.

When the chassidim were served kneidlach, they were in a quandary, because they had never eaten gebrokts. One chassid did not eat the kneidlach. The other reasoned, “I’m sitting at the table of the gadol hador. Who am I to be more strict than he is?” and he ate the kneidlach.

When they reported their visit to the Tzaddik of Sanz, the latter said to the Chassid who ate the kneidlach, “You have earned Olam Haba.” To the chassid who had refused to eat them, the Tzaddik said, “You had better stand near me on Yom Kippur, and I will try to elicit forgiveness for you.”

Mah Nishtana: Chasam Sofer – Reclining In The Desert

“Vayaseiv Elokim Es Ha’Am Derech HaMidbar Yam Suf”, And Hashem led the people a roundabout way through the desert to the Yam Suf. The Medrash says, playing on the word “Vayaseiv”, that from here we learn even a poor man must drink the four kosos with “heseiba” leaning. What is the connection?

The Chasam Sofer explains that the pasuk says, “Vayotzei Es Amo Yisroel Mitochum L’Cheirus Olam”, Hashem took out Bnei Yisroel from Mitzrayim to freedom from the world. Even a king who rules the world, says the Chasam Sofer, is not free from the world and it callings. He is a prisoner to his desires. The wives of Shlomo HaMelech are a perfect example. The ones who are truly free are the people who need nothing from this world like Rav Shimon bar Yochai and his chabura. Nothing in the world ruled over them.

“Vayaseiv”, Hashem took Bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim to such a freedom as the pasuk says they went to a desolate wilderness, free of all the trappings of the world. This is the Heseiba the reclining in freedom that even a poor man can do just like a rich man, the reclining of real freedom. On the night of Pesach “Kulanu Mesubim” we all leave our material desires behind and travel on a fantastic journey into a land of the chesed of Hashem, a land where there is no poor and there is no rich.