Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Imagine yourself a young bachur in Williamsburg. Your heart is searching. Your soul aches for something other than Der Rebbe's eynikel's mitzvah tantz at 4am. You roam the neighborhoods looking for the truth. You crack every sefer that you can get your hands on, looking for the one that speaks to you. It takes a while, but you find it!!! Now it's several years later, 1am one late summer night. Your friends are walking down Lee Avenue with their shtreimel boxes in hand, returning from the latest wedding they really didn't want to attend. But they had to, it's their shvigger's second cousin's daughter and you had to waste another night this week. The second one. They missed half a day's work/kolel since they had to be there at the pre-Kabbolas Ponim pictures. They also HAD to wear the shtreimel; after all, which second cousin once removed doesn't?! You feel for them and for their lack in finding a derech. You find your way some years ago. Breslov. Oy, how Reb Nachman spoke to you and knew what was your heart and mind! And OY! how they - your family and friends - laughed at you [or were horrified] when they found out! But you persevered. In a way it was easier because on the outside you stayed the same, so there was no obvious change. Breslov is good in that way; you can stay the same and keep to your old dress, which takes some of the edge off. People can laugh at you and call you names, but that's about it.
So for years you had a little shul to call your own in Willy. It wasn't much but it suited you just fine. There you could get away from all the name-calling and be with friends and like-minded people. There you could learn what you want with whom you want and when you want. In Williamsburg it's especially easy. Those that daven there are likely of the same background and mindset as you are. No need to put up with strange Na-Nach types like you would in Israel. You meet them on your trip to Uman, but then you don't have to see them all year. It makes it easier. The one problem you had was the lack of space for "gein in feld." a.k.a. Hisbodedus. One of the main tenets of Breslovism. It's tough to do when you live in Willy. Where do you go, to the BQE? Fear not, Achi, now there's a place for you. The new shtiebel on Rutledge Street has two Hisbodedus rooms on the roof. See picture above. It's the red ones, I believe. You head up to the roof, close the door and you talk to G-d, just not as loud as you would do in di feld. People might get afraid and upset and call the Shomrim... Good old-fashioned American know-how with some Hungarian thrown in more good measure. Kudos to the guy that came up with that idea.
You're on the roof. Talking to G-d. Down on the street they're talking to themselves...Muttering, that is.