Every year, on erev (the day before) Pesach, the Rebbe would personally distribute matzah to the Chassidim.
Long lines would form with eager men and boys, waiting to receive a piece of matzah and Pesach blessing from the Rebbe. This holy matzah would be shared with family and friends at the Pesach seder.
Young Yosef Yitzchak was very excited. This year, he turned thirteen and became Bar Mitzvah. Because of his father’s Rabbinic responsibilities in a New Jersey suburb, he was unable to go himself, and so Yosef Yitzchak would be bringing matzah from the Rebbe for the entire family.
Yosef Yitzchak felt very proud about having been entrusted with this responsibility. When he approached the Rebbe and received a piece of matzah, he had a thought, and without thinking much more, he asked: “Can I have a special piece for my father?”
The Rebbe gave one at once. Seeing the Rebbe’s willingness, Yosef Yitzchak asked again:
“Can I have a piece for my mother?” And when the Rebbe gave him another piece, he asked again:
“And for my zeidi, for my bubbe, for my brother and for my sister?”
With a subtle smile, the Rebbe gave him pieces of matzah for each one.
Yosef Yitzchak made the trip home in high spirits. The Rebbe had given him so many pieces of matzah for his family!
But Yosef Yitzchak’s happiness was short lived, when he presented all the pieces of matzah to his father. Instead of responding with joy, his father gave him a short, stern lesson on how precious the Rebbe’s time was, and how Chassidim did whatever they could to prevent that time from being wasted.
“It is not important how much of the Rebbe’s matzah you have,” his father told him. “Even the tiniest piece is enough. We could have all broken off pieces from the piece the Rebbe gave to you.
“And what did you do? You asked for a piece for me, for your mother, and for more family members, thus causing the Rebbe to wait unnecessarily.”
Yosef Yitzchak understood and now regretted what he had done.
A year later, the lad again went to receive matzah from the Rebbe for his family. He had taken his father’s reprimand to heart, and resolved to say absolutely nothing when receiving his piece. He approached the Rebbe, received his matzah, and began to move away.
The Rebbe looked at him with a warm, gentle smile and called him back:
“What about your father? Your mother? Your zeide and bubbe?” the Rebbe asked him, giving him another large piece along with a blessing for Pesach!