Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Rebbe's visit to a Reform Temple

[ This past Shabbos, I spent the Friday night meal at my ulpan teacher's house. She told the most incredible story of how she got more involved with Judaism and specifically Chabad. ]

A series of events led her searching.

And it was sitting in the bentches at a Reform temple that she found what she was searching for.
The Rabbi got up for his sermon and opened by saying, "I envy the Lubavitchers."

He went on to describe how he had recently went to visit New York and found himself, through pure happenstance, by 770. As soon as he entered the building, the crowds of black swarmed him with warm greetings. Lively greetings of "Welcome! Where are you from?" and "What brings you here?" swarmed his ears. He was beautifully overwhelmed. He had never experienced anything like it.

And it only got better.

He had nowhere to stay that night. So what happens? One of these bearded men invites him to his home.

The reform rabbi is thinking, "Okay, these people sure are freindly."

But it gets better.

The Chassid who is hosting him doesn't actually have a room for him to stay. So he picks up one of his already sleeping children, transfers her to another room, and - voila! - the Reform Rabbi now has a place to sleep.

The reform Rabbi is thinking, "What is going on? He moves his own children for a total stranger?!"

Then the Reform Rabbi thinks, "Wait a second, I don't think this Chabad Chassid actually thinks I'm a stranger. I think he actually thinks he knows me!"

Over his stay, the Reform Rabbi realizes that there is a forgotten Jewish principle that motivates these crazy guys. They actually love every Jew! No Jew is a stranger!

Totally inspired, he thinks, "Wow, this will make an awesome speech at the Temple next week!"

And so it did.

Sitting in the bentches of a "cold environment"(to use her words), my searching teacher hears his words: "I envy the Lubavitchers."

She thinks to herself, "Wow, that's how Judaism is supposed to be. What happened to Judaism? Why is this Reform Rabbi surprised?!"

So right there, in the Reform temple, she discovers the Rebbe's Chassidim, she discovers the Rebbe.

---------

The Rebbe never left Crown Heights, they say.

The more stories I hear, the more this statement is blown to pieces.

The Rebbe not only left Crown Heights, but he was actually a world traveler.

On one of his visits to a Reform Temple in Alabama, he gave a questioning soul the answer she was looking for.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess this doesn't really fit into the myth "series," which sort of focuses on "outsiders" misconceptions, but that was definitely a good example of some of the myths we, as Chassidim, still harbor.

Keep up the myth-busting!

-- G

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I guess this doesn't really fit into the myth "series," which sort of focuses on "outsiders" misconceptions, but that was definitely a good example of some of the myths we, as Chassidim, still harbor.

Keep up the myth-busting!

-- G

Mimi said...

G:

Outsider. Insider.

One does feel an obligation to publisize when they have seen both sides. I hope I'm doin' an okay job.

But we're all really outsiders, don't you think?

Mayim said...

What a beautiful piece!

wandering said...

wow. a story like this one is always heartwarming to hear.

the sabra said...

baruch hashem he landed in that house.

Anonymous said...

Funny... I always thought of us as all really insiders.

I'm sure that's what you meant... *grin*

-- G

Mimi said...

G:

You're right.

On one level.

*grin*

What I meant when I said we are all outsiders, is that when it REALLY comes down to it - we don't REALLY know. We are the ultimate outsiders, running to the inside. We should never feel "in" and view others as "out." In that sense, we are ALL outsiders. Get me?

Anonymous said...

wow--beautiful!! I am sitting up on my laptop exhausted, soaking up all the inspiration that you express beautifully, telling myself that I really should get to bed...but maybe I'll just read ONE more post....
You sound like an amazing person, Mimi!