Rabbi Greisman's Blog

History in Little Rock

This week I had a chance to witness history. On Tuesday my family and I traveled to Little Rock to participate in the first Chassidic wedding in Arkansas. Yosef Kramer of Brooklyn, NY married Mushka Ciment, daughter of Rabbi Pinchus Ciment, director of Lubavitch of Arkansas.

Growing up in Jerusalem and spending my young adulthood in Brooklyn, I am no stranger to Chassidic weddings. I must have been to hundreds over the years. Yet, there is something special and unique about the ones that take place in places where the concept of Judaism, and certainly Chassidism, is still a novelty.

At the Chupah we say "Grant abundant joy to these loving friends, as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being in the Garden of Eden of old;" We ask G-d to bless the young couple like He blessed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In other words, we announce that this marriage is the next link in the golden chain that started in the first days of creation, so many years ago; thus hoping for the same blessings.

In a society that wishes to depart from its traditions and history, continually trying to redefine itself – the Chupah serves as an announcement that we, as Jews, are so proud of our beautiful heritage. We promise to the world that we will lay the next row of bricks in the wonderful edifice called Judaism and create the next generation that will perpetuate this pride. There is so much joy in seeing a young couple start their life in Little Rock in the exact way Moses did in Egypt and this is what made this wedding so special to me.

I am not sure is Moses knew how to spell Arkansas; but I am sure if he walked in on Tuesday night, he would be so very proud.

On behalf of our entire Jewish community I want to wish Mazal Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Ciment, and to Yosef and Mushka Kramer. May Hashem bless you with a happy life together for many years to come!

Gut Shabbos,

Rabbi Mendel Greisman

The Grand Everyday

They tell a story an immigrant to the USA from Europe that opened up a little store in his new town’s center. After a week or two with very few customers he decided to look around and learn the tricks of how other businesses attract large crowds. As he strolled the city, he noticed one store with a long line of people waiting outside. On top of the store’s entrance there was a sign reading "Grand Opening." A few blocks later he again noticed a very busy store, but this time the sign read "Going out of Business." The following day our friend hung a large sign outside his store proclaiming "Grand Opening Going out of Business."

As good as it is to attract large crowds to a grand opening, every business owner knows he needs daily or weekly committed customers to keep his business thriving and profitable.

Judaism is no different. It is heartwarming to see the crowds at the "Grand Opening;" a new life at a Bris; a new proud member of the community at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or a couple starting their new family together. While Jews never go out of business, it is equally heartwarming, albeit less joyous, to see so many turn out at a funeral or even at a Yohrtzeit. For Judaism to be "owned" and profitable, for it to be with us constantly or for us to guarantee that our children and grandchildren will cherish it as much as we do; it is imperative for us to be regular customers.  

When we bring in Judaism into our lives on a daily basis, when we live it 24/7, we are guaranteed to reap a huge profit.


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