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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777
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Shlomo’s Last Hoshana Rabba

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I was there, 20 some years ago, with my friend who got his smicha from Shlomo. It was my first and only encounter with Reb Shlomo Carlebach. At one point our eyes met and he gestured to me something like, “Where have you been all this time?” I swear, I never saw anything like that in my life. That Hoshana Rabba service changed me in profound ways. I started davening in a Chassidic minyan on the Lower East Side, and began to embrace an approach to Yiddishkeit that praises humility over the other options. It’s a work in progress, obviously. It’s been 20 years. I’ve been to Reb Shlomo’s funeral, a few months later. I don’t have the same claim on his legacy that so many others do, but I can tell you I miss him very much. The world is a darker place for his absence. Still, I believe he would have advocated simcha on Chol Hamoed, rather than sad nostalgia, so, please, play this hour of pure joy and act accordingly!

Have a happy and dry sukkah!

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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