This blog attempts to discuss ideas, not people. Yet some people are in reality institutions, hence they are the exception to the rule. This week marks the 15th Yahrtzeit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach and therefore I felt that a few words were in order.
Reb Shlomo dominated the Jewish music world for almost half a century. His music permeated every area of the globe. His golden heart was as legendary as his melodies. His globetrotting made the basketball team from Harlem look like pikers in comparison.
Yet, once a year, deep within the bowels of the Lower East Side Reb Shlomo performed an unpublicized free concert for Yeshiva Bochurim only. Many Yeshivas on the East Coast were represented with a carefully handpicked few.
Reb Shlomo would then entertain far into the night with his unique singing and story telling. His wit was also on display. I remember one year him asking why Avrohom Avinu did not move into Sedom and open a Shul – Anshei Sedom…to be Mekarev the sinners there.
But what was different about this concert from all others was, in Reb Shlomo’s words, to benefit HIM and not US. “All year long I am running around the world, but once a year I need to stop and fill up on gas. The Yeshiva Bochurim are the gas that keeps me going for the rest of the year”.
And so this past Shabbos, I made it my business to attend a “Carlebach Minyan”. While such Minyanim are not necessarily my style, nevertheless, I think that it behooves us all to fill up on spi-Ritual gas – at least once a year.