I’ve met a fair number of rabbis during my time as a Jew. Most of them are regular people who have dedicated their lives to studying G-d’s Torah and helping people out perform mitzvot. They lead normal lives and have the same kinds of issues most people do, except they face them with this admirable confidence in Hashem. What’s more, I’ve yet to meet one that doesn’t also impart that joy they have to others. I also know there are some rabbis that transcend even the rabbis I have known, that make them seem in comparison as normal as I seem next to a rabbi. These are rabbis that have achieved levels of connectivity to G-d that are truly astounding. We call them tzadikim, which can be translated as righteous. Today I met such a rabbi.
I can’t tell you anything about the Kalever Rebbe; before Monday I had never heard of him, or seen his picture. Understand, there are a lot of Chassidic groups each with their own Rebbe, even if the one most people know of is Chabad-Lubavitch. But I saw that the Kalever Rebbe would be visiting FIU for one day, at a time when I could drop by for a visit. I’ve been going through some spiritual stuff lately and I figured meeting with a tzadik would be good (my wife concurred).
Long story short, he was delayed from the 12 PM time he was originally scheduled to have been on campus, but after my class I walked over and was able to see him.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe something earth-shaking, a spiritual sledgehammer to the chest, based on accounts of meetings with other tzadikim I have heard/read. It was nothing like that. It was actually about as mundane and simple a meeting as you can imagine: him in a chair at the head of a conference table, me standing to his right, us sharing some words. He shook my hand and didn’t let go until we were done, and he’d pat it for emphasis pretty much every other word. He gave me a few blessings, and gave me a very simple, almost elementary, answer when I told him what I’ve been going through. A smile never left his face.
It took only a few minutes. I walked out and went on with my day. But it was subliminal, and without any effort, he imparted me with some of the peace that seemed to hang around him like fruits on a tree.
There was nothing extraordinary about our meeting, and that’s what I found most extraordinary.