“You just stay right here by yourself, on the beach. You’ve got to experience this, Yanky. Hisbodedus"
his week Tzvika was going to take him someplace really special. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever tried,” he promised.
“What sort of place?” Yanky asked guardedly.
“An amazing fleishig restaurant,” Tzvika joked. “Stop making faces, I’m kidding.”
“Nu? So where are we going?”
“Wait and see. You have to experience it to understand.”
After their regular hour of learning, they got into Tzvika’s car. He drove toward the exit from Ashdod. A short drive brought them to the shoreline. The Mediterranean Sea lay along the horizon under the early winter sky. They walked toward the empty beach. It was chilly, and Yanky snuggled deeper in his coat, waiting for Tzvika’s next move.
“Here we are,” Tzvika said. “This is where I leave you.”
“Oh? And where am I supposed to go from here?”
Tzvika beamed. “You just stay right here by yourself, on the beach. You’ve got to experience this, Yanky. Hisbodedus. Do what you want — daven, scream, talk, sing… just you and the Ribbono shel Olam.”
“Hmm,” was Yanky’s cool response.
“This hisbodedus stuff isn’t my style. I’m a realist.”
“Don’t waste time arguing, Yanky. Try it and you’ll see. I’m going to leave you here, and when I come back to pick you up, you’ll be a new man.”
“You can leave me here, but it’s not going to change me. I don’t go for hisbodedus, and I have no interest in becoming a new man.”
“You’re scared,” Tzvika declared, and turned to walk back to the car.
“No, I’m not,” Yanky said firmly, following him. “I thought you were open-minded enough to realize that something that speaks to you doesn’t necessarily speak to everybody.” He softened his tone. “We’ve all been through this phase. We find something incredible, it opens up a whole new world to us, and we’re convinced that it could save the world if only everybody else would discover it, too. When we were bochurim, we couldn’t understand how someone could sit in a talk by our mashpia and leave in the middle because he found it boring. We couldn’t understand how someone could hear an idea that thrilled us to the core and feel nothing at all.”
But Tzvika was too excited to listen. “I’m telling you, Yanky, you have to try this. It’s a game-changer.”
“If it means so much to you, I’ll stay here,” Yanky said gloomily. “Just tell me how long you’re going to leave me here freezing in the dark.”
“Freezing? Soon you won’t feel cold at all! You’ll connect with yourself, your real self, and with Hashem, and the weather won’t matter.” Tzvika was about to launch into another speech, and Yanky barely managed to stop him.
“Okay, okay. Go already, and come back already,” he said. “Let’s just get this over with.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 799)
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