Sunday, July 31, 2005

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A Hassidic Story - Praying Together

It's a custom to tell stories of tzaddikim (the righteous sages) during melava malka (the post-Shabbos meal). The custom among hassidim is to tell Baal Shem Tov stories or stories of other rebbaim (grand rabbi's)...

Rabbi Zalman Aharon was the eldest son of the Rebbe Maharash, Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn, the 4th grand rabbi of Lubavitch hassidus. Once asked his uncle, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, if he recited his prayers betzibbur, "with the community." Rav Yosef Yitzchak answered in the affirmative.

The very next day, however, Rabbi Zalman Aharon noticed that his uncle prolonged his prayers, lingering far longer than any congregation would.

"Didn't you tell me you prayed betzibbur (with the community or with the congregation)?" he asked.

"I do," his uncle replied. "Betzibbur literally means 'with the collective.' After I marshall together the ten components of my soul, I pray."

A Jewish prayer quorum is made up of 10 men. As well, our soul is also made up of 10 attributes.

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