This past Sunday night has been one of the most powerful moments of my
experience at Orayta so far. It was a tisch to commemorate Rav Shlomo
Carlebach on the day of his yahrzeit. Although we have many tisches at Orayta,
this one was particularly special.
I walked into a room filled with my fellow students who were just as curious as I was to find out
what this “mayim tisch” was all about. All of a sudden the lights turned off, and Rav Yair led us
in some very emotional singing. One of the highlights was the Krakow Niggun. The Krakow
Niggun is unique because it starts out sad but gradually becomes happier. It shows we can find
happiness even in the darkest moments.
During the singing, we would arbitrarily be splashed with water. Even though that part was fun,
we were unsure of what it had to do with anything. Rav Yair went on to explain that life, like
water, is unpredictable and can change at any moment. What we need to do is fall in love with
the moment. That is when we can be truly happy.
Rav Yair then talked about how special of a person Rav Shlomo was. Rav Shlomo lived not just
to make himself happy, but to bring joy to others also. He would go the extra mile, even at his
own expense, to help somebody else because he loved all Jews so much.
One of Rav Shlomo’s dreams was to have a house in Jerusalem. After every concert, he would
put aside one dollar for purchasing that house. Rav Shlomo had been doing this for thirty-five
years, when one day he heard a knock at his door. A stranger walked in and said that the next
day his daughter was supposed to get married, but he didn’t have any money to pay for the
wedding. Rav Shlomo then took the money he had been saving up for those past thirty-five
years and handed it to the man. As much as Rav Shlomo wanted to have his own house in
Jerusalem, he cared more about building many houses for the Jewish people.
After the inspiring story, we ended off the tisch with some more spirited singing and dancing.
One could really feel the energy in the room. It was one of those moments that you just never
want to end.
Jonathan Brauner lives in Fair Lawn, New Jersey and attended The Frisch School and plans to
attend Rutgers University next year.
Jonathan’s favorite part of Orayta is its enthusiastic environment that can turn even the most
mundane things into something special.