Last week, my friend Sarah and I chose to switch from a philosophy clas at the Yeshiva, which we weren't getting a lot out of, into a course in Hassidut, which has defied my expectations. before I give my vort (the Hassidic term for a short D'var Torah), I wanted to bring in a bit of Jewish geography, the fact the couse is taught by Rabbi Dr. Pesach Schindler, one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had, who happens to have been the Educational director at Adath Israel from 1959-65!
In any case, one of tthe topics which came up in our discussion today was the Hassidic concept of hitlahavut, which literaly translates into 'excitement', but truly means a higher kind of excitement which brings God and others into the picture. My moment of Hitlahavut that came to mind happened just yesterday, at the end of Yom Kippur Mussaf, when the entire shul was full of the most amazinbg ruach. Although we were all tired and hungry, the singing and energy began and enveloped all of us. After the Birkat Kohanim (Duchening), the Shaliach Tzibur immeadiately led into a rousing rendition of Sim Shalom to the niggun of 'Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu,' a popular modern hebrew song that talks about peace coming upon us. This soon flowed into a heartfelt singing of B'sefer Chaim, followed by hayom sung to a popular Carlebach Niggun, and a beautiful Kaddish Shalem in unison. To me, this is one true meaning of hitlahavut-the fact that I could join with other Jews, most of whom I had never met before, and participate in a moving and uplifting tefilah. I hope that you can take this message just as I did and cherish the special and unique moments of hitlahavut, when we are connected to both God and others.