It’s not about what, it’s about how…

15 Sep

Back in 1989, when I was the director of the local Chabad house in the old city of Jerusalem, a “Chabad Squad” from Miami came to visit.  The Chabad House hosted a Shabbat lunch for the group and I persuaded Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz to come and speak with them.  I still recall his words – “What do we have in common, what is the connection between you and I”?  R’ Steinzaltz is famous for speaking his mind, and the crowd loved it.  These days, we have our own Chabad House – Jerusalem Connection – but I remain a member of the Tzemach Tzedek Shul where R’ Steinzaltz prays.  Yesterday was Shabbat Chai Ellul, and once more as in years past, there was a “Chabad squad” visiting from Miami.  I had my own Shabbat group to speak with, but I stayed long enough to hear R’ Steinzaltz address the visitors.  This time his words were different: “There are no real differences between Jews.  Whether Litvaks, Chasidim or anyone else, we’re all the same.  So, we should sit down on Chai Ellul and say lechaim and sing Hava Nagila.”  Different words from the same sage, but with the same positive effect on the crowd.  Lesson?  It matters less what you say than how you say it…If you want to know how we say it, go to http://jerusalemconnection.org/weekly and you’ll get a nice word of Torah on the weekly portion.  If you want something deeper and more systematic, try www.jewishspiritualbooks.com, and pick up something on prayer and meditation.  And if you want to know more about Chabad and Jerusalem, try www.chabadjerusalem.org  Finally, there’s a great e-magazine of Chasidic Judaica out there – www.neirot.org – so you see there’s something for everyone!

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