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A businessman is riding the train when an individual dressed in what seemed like traditional Chassidic garb sits down next to him.

Observing his seatmate, the businessman blurts out: “Sir, honestly, we will in a modern world – why do you insist on dressing in such an old-fashioned way? Times are different… what’s the point?”

“With all due respect – I’m Amish,” responds the man.

“Really?” exclaims the businessman. “My humble apologies – I must say, I find the Amish very inspiring. I’m truly impressed at how they have preserved their traditions for so long…”

Ironically, although we pride ourselves on being fair-minded individuals, some times our “open-mindedness” is hardly open at all. Our life experiences and relationships often reveal that we are only really as impartial as we choose to be.

We actually live in a very divided society. Everyone sticks to their kind of friends and we don’t mingle with people who think differently. We kind of shut our minds from truly thinking and going out of the box. We are all “set in stone.”

The beauty of life lies in our ability to connect with other kinds of people. Interact with people whom we would otherwise never think of interacting with. This is what allows us to have grounded and not biased view of life.

This is especially true when we are discussing family. We are all Jewish. Connecting to another Jew should only strengthen our own identity. Similar to a conference of creative experts, where even an expert has what to learn and share with another expert! We all learn from each other!

As the Talmud says, ” Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.”

A great Chasidic master, Rabbi Zusha from Anipoli has taken his Talmudic saying to the next level: Learning seven positive traits from a thief! To name by one: if you fail the first time – try again!

Indeed, everyone has something that we can learn from.

Let’s truly open our hearts and minds to the world around us – to the people we meet and the experiences we encounter – after all, a sign of life is growth!


Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Mendy