Sunday, September 23, 2012
An Uman Remembrance: 3:00 AM Friday Morning
I returned two nights ago from Rosh Hashana in Uman, Ukraine spent basking in the light of Rebbe Nachman. Words give but a small glimpse of the transcendental and transformational intensity of the week that I spent there, in therapy with 55,000 fellow Jews. I want to share with you just one of many amazing remembrances from the trip:
I was blessed to connect closely with some of the highest souls in the world, and even merited to treat one of them on numerous occasions. B"H the tzadik that I treated said that he now has much more energy and feels remarkably better. Anyway, the night before I first treating him, I chose to go to the mikvah first, and completed the treatment at about 12:45 at night. It that point I headed for my apartment, but as I sat down to say Shema and prepare for bed, I suddenly had this strong urge to go to Rebbe Nachman's tzion (tomb) and just talk to him. It's funny, that invariably, when I daven, when I talk to Ha-Shem during hisbodedus (personal prayer), I invariably will speak about my family, my friends and my patients. But this time, it was the wierdest thing, I suddenly had this overwhelming need to talk about myself and how at age 60, though perhaps others may not recognize it, parts of me are beginning to not work as well as they used to. So from 1:00 to 2:00 am, I started going from head to toe sharing with Rebbe Nachman what I felt inside of myself. Tears flowed from my eyes and the time just flew by, but when I finished I felt amazingly stronger and clearer minded, but I also seemed to hear inside of myself a small voice tell me, "you can have it, but you'll have to pay."
As I left the Tzion, I suddenly realized that my only towel that I had brought with me to the mikvah, I no longer had. So from 2:15 till 2:30 am I scanned the benches and racks in the Uman mikvah, unsuccessfully, looking for my towel. As I was about to leave, one of the Ukrainian guards, suddenly bellowed out, "Meester!" and pointed to me to come to him. As I approached I became aware that next to him was a blind 20 something chasid who needed help going to the mikvah, and rather than being put out, I was thrilled that I was able to help this young man, at 2:30 in the morning, to get undressed, shower, go down the steps into the mikvah, help him out, help him to get dressed and walk him out to the the guard that awaited him.
So at 3:00 am I again found myself walking back in the cold of the Ukrainian autumn, to my dormatory-like apartment (shared by 24 fellow travelers) feeling strong and incredibly invigorated, and profoundly grateful for having been given by Rebbe Nachman, the opportunity to "pay" in such a sublime way for the gift that was bestowed upon me. Oh, and my towel? It was right where I left it, at the tzadik's house waiting for me, right where left it.