What Would The Berditchever Have Done?
Excerpt from Hamodia [June 20, 2007]:
Harav Shmuel Avrech tells of a positive innovation that he instituted in the city - a recitation of Tashlich at the municipal cultural center, next to the water reservoir, by all the frum Yidden. "We put up announcements in all the shuls, and at the appointed time, we all march together to the center. People join us from all the shuls on the way, until our group numbers a few thousand. Unfortunately, right across from the cultural center, there are stores that are open for business, as well as treif restaurants and cafes."
In the courtyard of the cultural center, in view of the water reservoir and across from the open restaurants and cafes, the congregation, dressed in white kittels and wrapped in talleisim, begins to recite Tashlich with great emotion.
"I take a large, twisted Yemenite shofar so as to be mezakeh hundreds of unfortunates, tinokos she-nishbu, with the mitzvah of tekiyas shofar. No one remains aloof. They all come out of the restaurants, stand up from their seats next to their bar, fold up their newspapers, call over their dogs to join us.
"It is incredible to see the depth of Jewish ignorance in the so-called enlightened city. After the tekiyos, the polite listeners give me a round of applause, shouting 'bravo', as if they were at a concert."
"Last year, one generous person insisted on giving me a generous tip to express his appreciation for my 'performance'. I smiled but tried to explain that I was prohibited from touching money on Yom Tov. The man became offended and begged me to accept his gesture. All the way back to the shul I kept thinking to myself, 'What would the Berditchever have done under similar circumstances?'"