When you get off the #3 Train at Kingston Ave in Brooklyn, you’ll quickly realize that you are no longer in Manhattan. You may be joined by a lot of black hats, strollers, and chatting friends (along with a whole wide range of other people.) After getting up those stairs you’ll be met with the sight of a larger than life Dreidel and a building that is know to anyone in Crown Heights and Chabad as 770, or Lubavitch World Headquarters. This building is the epicenter of our little Shtetl; meeting a friend to go together for Shabbos? 770. Davening? 770. Meeting someone in general? 770. When I moved here, I realized that was the axis of where I lived.
Once you move past here, you’ll find an array of shops that carry just about anything you need. It’s amazing really, if you didn’t want to leave the 10-12 block strip of Kingston Ave, you would never have to.
As you walk, you’ll notice kids running out of stores with bags, or holding their siblings hand walking home from school, it’s truly a sight to admire. You’ll hear on the streets words of Torah being spoken in one breath and a disagreement in Yiddish in the next. This is the life I’ve come into.
There’s something to be said for living in a small (eh… large?) community, a community that when you walk from one end of the main street to the other (which should take 10 min.) it can take you an hour because of how many people you run into and say ‘Hi’ to.
Just today, I was walking and a bus drove by that was playing Chanukah music. Only when you live in a religious community would that happen. Only in a community like this can you get 15 invites to different farbrengans for a Chassidishe yuntiff, and it truly be a special day—
That’s it, that’s the kicker. Last Thursday I was pouting because my whole family and 99% of the world were celebrating Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t; I felt as if I was missing out, and admittedly I was, but that’s not the point. The point is that every single day is a day of giving thanks. When I wake up and Thank G-d for my soul, it’s Thanksgiving.
Today is Yud Tes Kislev, the liberation of The Alter Rebbe from Jail, the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus. It’s a day to reflect on ourselves, and as you can see I took a quick change in writing what I thought I would into writing what I needed to.
So, dear readers, the moral to this is that when you live somewhere, shtetl or not, you should appreciate where you are. You never know when that appreciation just might sneak up on you while you’re writing a blog post.
A Gut Yuntiff to all, may you grow in Torah, Mitzvos, and Chassidus and be blessed for a glorious New (Chassidic) Year!