By COLlive reporter
Ilan Heitner, author of the bestselling book “Wisdom of the Pretzel” and director of the film based on it, was a recent guest at a Melave Malka at the home of Rabbi Pinchos Althaus, a Shliach in Holon.
In between l’chaims, he was asked to say impromptu words during the evening. Hesitant at first, Heitner went on to share a personal transformation he and his family has been going through and not made public until then.
Here is was he told:
Rabbi Althaus married us off about 10 years ago and since then we have been on a path to becoming closer to Judaism. Every visit to his house – seeing the Hachnosas Orchim and Ahavas Yisroel – has brought us closer. No matter who you are and how you behave, everyone is accepted with love.
What we saw here is a different way of life that we were used to and we were drawn to the idea of Shabbos. But we told ourselves, ‘This is good, but we can’t give up on our regular life’. So we came up with an idea of a start-up: How about we celebrate Shabbos once out of every 4 weeks.
The idea was to observe it completely – but only once a month. A brilliant start-up! Why? because it allows you to keep your regular life but also keep Shabbos as it should be.
But what ended up happening is that our children started making us nuts. ‘When is the Shabbos that we keep? When is the Shabbos that is Kodesh’? We take our children to the beach, on trips, and to friends, but they don’t have a father and mother in all of these places. We travel by car and are busy with our phones and we need to go here and there and you are always stressed, like during the week. There is no difference.
But on the Shabbos that is Kodesh, the father and mother are really with the children, playing with them all day, free to speak to them without distractions. We experienced magical Shabbos days together.
So we then said, ‘OK, how about we keep one Shabbos every three weeks or one Shabbos every two weeks?’ Slowly, all the visits and trips became meaningless to us. We all waited for the Shabbos that is really ours.
And then we experienced a real crisis. We needed to decide are we going to take the leap from one Shabbos Kodesh every 2 weeks to keeping every Shabbos. And it happened and it has been a great and powerful gift…