As a yeshivah student, I used to go on walks together with a friend every Shabbat afternoon, while discussing our studies. One week, we heard some people singing. We didn’t recognize the song, but I felt drawn in by its soulful melody.
“Let’s go see where it’s coming from,” I told my friend.
That’s how we ended up at the “Baal HaTanya Synagogue,” a small Chabad shtiebel in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem. There we met ten or so men, singing chasidic melodies, as is the Chabad custom towards the end of Shabbat. The song, I learned, was an old Chabad tune, with lyrics from Psalms (62:6-7): Only to G-d should you hope, my soul, for my hope is from Him.
They sang this song a few times more, before moving on to others, and I felt something tugging at my heart. We started going to that shtiebel at the same time each week, and whenever I walked in, the locals would start singing that song for me. This was my first exposure to Chabad. After a few weeks, the rabbi, Rabbi Shimon Yakobovitch, offered to study Tanya with me, and before long I began to feel like a Chabadnik.
At a certain stage, Rabbi Shimon suggested I write to the Rebbe. (more…)