Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Shalosh Sheudos at Aish Kodesh Woodmere - Guest Posting
(Guest Posting by Neil at Modern Uberdox)
Several months ago I spent a Shabbos in Woodmere and I'd like to share my thoughts about one particular experience.
As I walked downstairs at Congregation. Aish Kodesh after davening Mincha on Shabbos, I expected a typical Shalosh Seudos. I should have known better. After spending an entire Shabbos in Rav Moshe Weinberger's kehillah, I should have known that nothing is really typical (in a good way) when it has something to do with Aish Kodesh.
Tables and chairs were set up to hold the two hundred plus men that has come downstairs to join their Mora D'asrah for the last moments before Shabbos Kodesh would leave them. After I was wisked by my friend to wash and quickly take a seat, I grabbed a piece of bread from the table and some cake. I took in the whole scene. As during all of the davening over Shabbos there were a mix of men with beards, men clean shaven, men with long payos, men with knitted kipot, men with velvet yalmukas, men with hats, men with shtrimelach, men in white shirts, men in jackets, ...a true mix of Kenesses Yisrael.
To my right my friend was discussing issues concerning Sh'mita with someone across the table and to my left there were two men were reviewing that morning's section of Daf Yomi. After a few minutes of shmoozing and eating my friend told me to get up and grab my chair, quickly. Just as I got up, the lights when out in the room and we quickly took our chairs (along with everyone else) and formed rows in front of the table were Rav Weinberger was sitting.
I remembered reading that it was the minhag among Chassidim to have Shalosh Seudos in the dark, especially when it came time for niggunim and d'vrai Torah. As we sat, the entire room began singing. Of couse we sang Mizmor L'David three time to three amazing tunes. It was an emotional experience, especially when everyones' voices blended into one voice singing praise to Hashem. After the third time, we sang the tradtional Yedid Nefesh.
Then the Rav of Congregation Aish Kodesh spoke. Having attended Rav Weinberger's shiurim in Queens when I single and for many years being part of his teleconferenced classes, listening to tapes, CDs, and now mp3s I thought I was fairly use to hearing him give over Torah. As I look back now, hearing him speak at Shalosh Seudos was like hearing Rav Weinberger speak for the first time. It was intense, intimate, and electric! There was a connection he seemed to have with every Yid in the room. His message that Shalosh Seudos was one of hope and trust in Hashem. He said over an idea that each one of us has the ability to accomplish great things because Hashem gives us an inner strength that we need to unlock and tap into. It was a perfect message to give over as we left a state of Kodesh and re-entered a stale of Chol.
It is said that Shalosh Seudos bei the Rebbe of Piazeczna, Harav Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, zt"l (for whom Rav Weinberger's shul is named after) was truly the highpoint of Shabbos Kodesh. In my humble opinion, that Shalosh Seudos I experienced is a living tribute to the Aish Kodesh!
(Picture courtesy of Yitzi Mayer [not taken at Shalosh Sheudos])
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