July 11, 2009

Saturday Smile

During a service at an old synagogue in
Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was
said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting.

The half that was seated started yelling at
those standing to sit down, and the ones
standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.

The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and
commentaries, didn't know what to do.
His congregation suggested that he consult a
housebound 98-year old man, who was one of
the original founders of their temple.

The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him
what the actual temple tradition was,
so he went to the nursing home with a
representative of each faction of the congregation.

The one whose followers stood during Shema
said to the old man, "Is the tradition to stand during this prayer?"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."

The one whose followers sat down, asked,
"Is the tradition to sit during Shema?"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."

Then the rabbi said to the old man, "The
congregants fight all the time, yelling at each
other about whether they should sit or stand!"
The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is our tradition!"