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March 21, 2003 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Community

The Professional
Health Services Division

of
State of Israel Bonds
Development Corporation for Israel

MIRACLES from page 41

Is Proud to Honor

Vainutis K. Vaitkevicius M.D.

Spritually Speaking

(Dr. Vee)

Recipient-Elect of the

State of Israel Maimonides Award

at its

Annual Maimonides Tribute Dinner

Thursday, June 12, 2003, 6:00 p.m.
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
27375 Bell Road, Southfield

For further information, please contact:

State of Israel Bonds
29777 Telegraph Road #2440
Southfield MI 48034-7667
248-352-6555 or 888-352-6556

694940

tuart Leve Inc.

3/21

2003

42

Spirituality, Rabbi Chefitz said, is "the
discipline of recognizing more and
more joy and awe from smaller and
smaller stimuli."
To experience that transcendent joy
and awe, he said, one must "learn the
technique of turning off the static and
receiving God."
"I can be in wonder at the smallest
incidents," he said. "The wonder is to
make every element of life holy."
Stories that come from the mystical
experience of the Jewish people are
one path to getting in touch with
spirituality, he said at a lecture follow-
ing Shabbat lunch, adding that these
stories can be understood on deep,
deeper and deepest levels. Wherever
the listener is in his or her spiritual
search, that level of understanding is a
path to God.
"Eventually, I become such a receiv-
er that I can hear the stories on many
different levels — they become trans-
formative," he said.
He illustrated this at Shir Tikvah by
telling a story, one of dozens that
seemed to flow from him over the
course of the weekend.
In his hypnotic, slightly singsong
baritone, he recounted a tale first told
by one of his mentors, Rabbi Shlomo
Carlebach. In this tale, a pious man
goes into a field to plow the day
before Rosh Hashanah, thinking he
has plenty of time to return to the
shul to study with the rabbi on the
holy day. But a wheel falls off his cart,
and the cart becomes hopelessly mired
in the mud, stranded far from his
shul.
The man is so upset that he can't
remember the words to the prayers, so
he recites the Hebrew alphabet, say-
ing, "Dear God, these are the letters
You used to write the holy books.
Please put them together in the cor-
rect order."
In each version of the story, God
accepts the man's prayers. But, in the
deeper version of the story, the man
learns that "a broken heart is like a
battle-ax that opens the gates of heav-
en."
In the deepest version of the story,
the man does not only say the letters,
but meditates on each letter. By the
time he finished meditating, Rosh
Hashanah is over.
"When Shlomo Carlebach told that
story," Rabbi Chefitz concluded, "it
resonated on all levels at once." ❑

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