This article is dedicated to Reb Sholom Brodt z”l on his 2nd Yahrzeit 10th Elul, the Charismatic Founder of Yeshiva Simchat Shlomo in Nachloat in Jerusalem.
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks relates in Parsha Re’eh, the word Simcha is related 7 times. The simple translation is Joy. But as he relates Joy is not in the singular but is plural. It is a collective Joy , when we rejoice together. Together as Community.
So, it is even more appropriate that Yeshiva Simchat Shlomo is called this and is not only Torah should be le joyful but also inclusive. And this is clearly the path of Simchat Shlomo.
As Rabbi Brodt related “Reb Shlomo zt”l loved every word and every letter of the Torah. And he loved every Jewish soul dearly. What some or many do not know is that Reb Shlomo zt”l so much wanted us to learn בשמחה, to know and live the deepest depths of Torah and Yiddishkeit בשמחה. He dreamt of having a Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, where people from all over the world would come together בשמחה, to study every word of Torah with love and deep respect for one another בשמחה – with true joy! This is why our Yeshiva is named Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo.”
Amongst many other things, Reb Sholom was the founder of Simchat Shlomo in Jerusalem. He and his wife Judy were beacons of light to many soul searchers and Jews who flocked to their house and their programs to become more connected to themselves, each other and God.
Reb Sholom was unique in many - he was both Chabadnik and a devoted follower of Reb Shlomo Carlebach of who both and his wife enjoyed a close relationship hosting Reb Shlomo and organising concerts and learning's in the home in their hometown of Montreal. For more on Reb Shlomo uniqueness - see Barak Hullman's Book Stickel Torah
Reb Shalom was man of great spirit and action.
He hosted legendary Seudah Shlishit - 3rd meals. There is CD out on the music and niggunim which is very special. These third meals were very spiritual where unlike most of us who clock watch when Shabbat is out, there was no concern if Shabbat was extended into the week. It was a taste of alom haba - next world experience where time or daily worries was non-existent.
He put his money where is month is and started Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo where through the use of Music, Chasidic thought while well-grounded in Halacha enables a person to reach new spiritual highs. More on Simchat Shlomo at the end of the blog. www.shlomoyeshiva.org
Similarly, Reb Sholom writings and the way he brings down both Chabad and Reb Shlomo teachings and stories continues to take one to a higher spiritual place. Besides his book - Personal Exodus., he sent out a beautiful email every Friday Afternoon (mostly on late Friday Afternoons).. These teachings can take you to a different, higher place and challenge one to reach a deeper place and be better and more thoughtful person. Just like Reb Shlomo empowered people to reach deeper in themselves and grow and spread the light and Joy of Torah, these teachings can infuse one with much spirituality. So, if anybody asks what is spirituality? How can I become more spiritual, then I urge you to read these teachings on a weekly basis. Plans are underway to publish this in book form.
Unfortunately, the Jewish world is broken and much of the world is broken. There is increasing assimilation and more young and old Jews are being turned off from a Judaism that is stale. These teachings and the style of Reb Shlomo and Reb Shalom’s outreach is very much needed today, just like it was needed in the 50's and 60's when so many Jews lost their faith in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
It is up to everyone to reach out to those who have not tasted the beauty of Judaism in let's call it neo Chasidic Judaism.
Maybe trough these types of teachings, we can get reach in the souls of these lost Jews.