It was told that in the shul of the great Chassidic Master, the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin, they sang and danced on the night of Rosh Hashanah. When the Misnagdim, the anti-Chassidic proponents, heard of this they were taken aback. How could the so called great Rebbe allow dancing on the awesome Day of Judgment? They decided to send a spy to the Chozeh’s synagogue to investigate.
The undercover Misnaged traveled to Lublin on the eve of the new year and witnessed the community diligently preparing for the holy day. That night in the synagogue of the Chozeh the mood was serious as the Chassidim fervently prayed for a favorable heavenly judgment. Everything seemed very proper until the services ended. Then the Chassidim moved the benches to the side and began joyously singing and dancing with all their might. The Misnaged, unable to contain his anger, ran up to the Chozeh and reprimanded him. “How can you allow this merriment on the Day of Judgment?” Without replying the Chozeh placed his hand over the man’s eyes allowing him to see a vision. In the vision the man saw the gates of the Garden of Eden within which a group of Jews danced fervently in a circle. Outside of the gates stood one man, watching and crying, unable to enter. The Chozeh removed his hand and the Misnaged realized that he was the solitary man in the vision prevented from entering the Garden of Eden. He began to cry and plead with the Chozeh. “Rebbe, how can I too
How many times we think about doing something but never end up doing it because we feel it is something that is perhaps good for others but not something that we could ever do? We see others singing and praying and we wish we could have the same spirit and fervor. We see others doing Mitzvot and wonder how it would feel if we did them as well. We think, “how good would it be if we could attend prayer services every Shabbat”.
The Chozeh of Lublin gave us the secret of success and fulfillment. If you want to join the Jews that are dancing in the Garden of Eden, just join them and dance. Just sing and pray and do mitzvoth and go to shul. Don’t just think about it. Try it. Do it. See how it feels for you.
On Rosh Hashanah we pray to God for health and peace, the things we have no control over. For everything else we need to make the effort to have a sweet year. Much of it is in our hands. If we want to have a great year of growth and success, make it happen. Just dance.
** This essay can be found in Deep Waters: Insights into the Five Books of Moses and the Jewish Festivals