Monday, July 14, 2014

The Rabbi and the Mat

Adam was a restless kid who was looking for something but he didn't know what. 
When he was young, Adam didn't find what he was looking for in piano lessons, boy scouts, karate lessons or the swimming team. 
Although he hoped to find it in college, Adam didn't find it there either. For a while, Adam found something in eastern meditations, but it only lasted as long as he sat with his legs crossed. 
One day, Adam saw some people praying outside while they bowed down on mats. Now this looked really cool - Adam decided to give it a try. Adam bought himself a mat and decided to join those people. He went to their classes and joined in their prayer sessions. They spoke English and were initially very friendly to Adam even though he was a Jew. When Adam had more experience with their ways, he decided that he might find what he was looking for in Mecca, by the birthplace of the "prophet." 
So Adam took his mat and began his pilgrimage to Mecca. Adam was a very determined and intense young man and somehow he managed to gain entry into the "holy" city which is banned to non-Muslims.
In Mecca, Adam thought that he had finally found what he was looking for. He felt accepted and happy.
One day, Adam heard that there was a tiny Jewish cemetery in Mecca. He went there looking for the grave of a relative. A Muslim woman spotted Adam, dressed in Islamic garb, entering the Jewish cemetery and asked him point blank, "Are you a Jew?". Suddenly Adam feared for his life. He ran away from that place and returned to his life in Brooklyn. 
After his ordeal Saudi Arabia, Adam made a trip to Israel to continue his Islamic practices there.
One day Adam visited the Kotel, the holy wall in the old city of Jerusalem. When Adam saw the wall he became so excited that he wanted to take out his mat and pray next to it - something told him that it might not be a good idea. Just then Adam was approached by a friendly looking Rabbi with a big smile. Adam didn't know it, but the Rabbi was famous for bringing young men back to Torah-observant Judaism and had started his own yeshiva for that purpose. The Rabbi had a lot of experience speaking with young men like Adam.
The Rabbi engaged Adam in some light conversation before telling him some very interesting stories about Judaism. Adam told the Rabbi that he practiced another religion. He expected the Rabbi to be shocked, but he wasn't. 
The Rabbi said, "It's ok. You can still come learn with us at the yeshiva - it won't conflict with anything you're doing. You can live with us in the dormitory and do whatever you want." Adam sensed that the Rabbi was very wise and shrewd but he didn't quite see the point of living in a yeshiva.
Adam said "You should know I have a mat and I pray on it five times a day."
The Rabbi laughed and said, "So bring your mat. I promise - nobody will bother you. Just use it in your room and you can be yourself." Continue here...

Also recommended:

By Rabbi Lazer Brody - The Fur Coat

By Rabbi Shalom Arush - Emuna and the Eyes

By Racheli Reckles - Obamacare Hidden Blessing?

Wishing you the very best blessings in your life!
Dr. Zev Ballen