At first I thought these were just a bunch of young people who had come to hear Jewish rock, enjoying themselves with the eccentrically dressed dear rabbi as he took hold of the microphone and put on a show. As a casual acquaintance of Menachem’s, I was somewhat embarrassed for him, until it became clear to me and my wife, whose family we were going to meet, that these were his followers. A community had sprung up around him. He had become the leader of a certain sector of the Tekoa-going religious youth.
But not only the religious.
On the way back from the funeral, at which hours of songs full of joy accompanied the rabbi to his grave, a young woman from the high-tech industry remarked to me that she is not religious, but she and many others like her came to Tekoa to spend long nights studying the Zohar with Rabbi Menachem.
“Nu, and you understood what he was teaching?”
“No,” she said, “we came to learn from his happiness and excitement.
A version of this article was published in Mekor Rishon, March 8, 2013. Translated from Hebrew by David Greenberg.