The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Sunday, November 19, 2006

How I yearn for the home on the range

This past Shabbos I ran a Chabad House for a Shliach who was away at the Kinus Hashluchim -the international conference of Chabad Emissaries.

Just a few thoughts from it all:

  • There's some thing intrinsically enjoyable about getting away from it all . . . running a Chabad House, synagogue, Passover Seder or the like, in the middle of no where. My favorite memories are Shabbosim away from 'home' . . . some that stand out are: -The tranquility of a Shabbos Erev-Pesach in Kovno, walking through the evening thick fog amongst gaily painted yellow green and red wooden houses of 'Der greener barg' . . . the epicenter Jewish life in inter-bellum Kovno. -Breaking the eerie silence of a pre-war apartment in Wrocław, Poland with the yearning chords of Reb Ya'akov Mordechai Poltaver's Niggun.
  • When confronted with various questions on principles of Jewish faith I have a relatively articulate answer prepared . . . however, that night a rather obtuse question was asked . . . I left with out the proper words to answer it, and began to stutter. One of the guests came to my rescue; cool and composed, with just enough of a knowing grin on his face, he reminded me that cool and level head can take one a far greater distance then a sharp answer -for a cool head will not burn out.
  • I was told that I would be taken to the Chabad house by one of the congregants . . . For over half an hour I walked around the premises of the Yeshivah looking for someone to come over and introduce himself as our ride . . . yet no one came. Changing location, I walked around the the entrance of the mikvah . . . people came and left, bochurim stood outside and schmoozed, a guy in a green Casquette d'Afrique smoked a cigarette. At last in desperation, and with only a ten minutes to spare 'till Candle Lighting, I payed the cook to take us to the Chabad House . . . loud El-Salvadorian rap and all leading the way. In the shul, who should I see other then the man with the Casquette d'Afrique. He had waited for me to go to him, just I had waited for him to come to me.

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Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the question that was asked.

The guest gave you good advice.

Yup, Shlichus....check out my latest post, you might like it.

Mottel said...

It was rather odd -he viewed the idea of a 'Shabbos Goy' being morally reprehensible, since we are in essence asking him to due something that we can not do.

Mottel said...

How would you answer that question?

Anonymous said...

Explain how part of the beauty of this world is boundaries and how everyone has their place, their unique mission.

There is a difference between Jews and non-Jews.

By them taking offense, its they who are assuming that one is LESSER, when thats not what WE actually believe. Furthermore, what do they want? To keep Shabbos, too?!

A non-Jew who helps a Jew is partaking in the whole Moshiach vision, how non-Jews will be a part in making our mission complete(and in this way, we're helping them, too! - get it?).

You have to make it sound like a beautiful empowering thing, because, at the root - it is!

Mottel said...

The problem is, that the whole question is odd . . . it stems from a far deeper root problem that the person had with Orthodox hashkafa -it just came out here as well.
He felt that it was wrong for us to use out a non-Jew to make our Judaism easier for us.
When one thinks about it, if a person who can not reach something asks his friend, who can, to pass it, is it wrong?
Even more so, Shabbos is not a 'Moral' thing. The use of a Shabbos Goy is legal technicality -not philosophical statement.
The guy who answered the questions for me also pointed out that from a purely humanitarian perspective, a shabbos goy (i.e. a cleaning lady or the like that is payed to come in the whole week) is a very moral thing, we're giving her money and a steady job!

Anonymous said...

[Interesting how you "anonymous-ized" my comments. ]