Friday, February 26, 2010

The First Time This Blog Has hosted Torah From R. Shlomo Carlebach
What about giving aliyot (being called to the Torah) to women?

I’ll tell you an unbelievable story. I gave a concert in Paris. After the concert, a beautiful young lady came up to me and said, “I want to tell you my story, I come from a Chassidic home in Boston. I like to paint, to draw. I managed to get to college, despite my father, and I got a scholarship to Paris. I left and didn’t write to my parents. I had no money, so when a non-Jew asked me to move into his house I did. I lived with him for four years, and he asked me to marry him. This non-Jew asked my to marry him, and I was overjoyed. Sunday morning, I was supposed to be baptized, and Sunday night, the wedding. For me, Shabbos didn’t exist anymore, so the Shabbos before, I went shopping. Crazily enough, I passed by the Reform Synagogue, the same Reform Synagogue that, three years ago, was bombed by the P.L.O. I passed by that synagogue and, I don’t know why, I walked in. They were just reading the Torah. Suddenly, the shammos (beadle) came to me and offered me an aliyah. I want you to know, I was religious when I was young. Nobody ever gave me an aliyah. When they called up my name to the Torah, it was clear to me that G-d was calling me. When I made the bracha (blessing) over the Torah, I swore to G-d that I’ll be a Jewish daughter again. I came out from shul, I called up my boyfriend, and I told him that I was just in shul, and I heard a voice from heaven tell me that I shouldn’t do it. And I didn’t.”

It’s all very beautiful to say that we should not give women aliyot. The Satmar Rebbitzen doesn’t need an aliyah. But, there are a lot of holy women today who need an aliyah...

...At the House of Love and Prayer, in California, as a rule I did not give aliyot to women, But, when girls asked for an aliyah, I give it to them. I saved many girls from the abyss of assimilation because I was strong enough to give them aliyot.

Purim is when we realize that Torah is not only food. Torah is medicine. On Purim I am getting drunk with the Torah, The difference between food and wine is very simple. When you eat food, you don’t have to be happy. But, when you drink wine, you glow with it. On Purim you glow.

All year long, I learn Torah. It gives me life; like food, it keeps me going. On Purim, I want different Torah. I want Torah that touches every secret in my heart. I want Torah that connects me to every Jew. I want Torah that strengthens my friendships, my relationships with every Jew. “Go and gather together all the Jews.” That is the essence of Purim.

My dearest friends, I hope you understood what I said to you. In order to keep Yiddishkeit alive, we desperately need synagogues that do not give aliyot to women and we also desperately need synagogues that do give aliyot to women.


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