Hazzan Perlman’s Concluding Messages
Almost daily since Chizuk Amuno announced my impending retirement you have taken me for lunch, phoned, emailed and texted. I am overwhelmed and humbled. I feel blessed and honored to have served as your Hazzan for over twenty one years.
Today our beloved “record breaking volunteer” member Marvin Spector stopped bye my downstairs office to share a 1951 bulletin article from Oheb Shalom Congregation.
The words of their Rabbi, Jacob Weinstein, ring as true today as when they were shared 67 years ago!
THE LADDER OF RELIGION
“Shakespeare reminded us that all the world’s a stage and all men and women actors, each one destined to play several parts. I should like to compare religion to a ladder stretching from earth to heaven, and this is the way the various Temple-goers are placed on it:
“LOWEST RUNG: Those who come because they have no other place to go, or because they are dragooned by a friend. They sit in a pew and defy the services and the Rabbi to convince or inspire them.
“SECOND RUNG: Those who come out of duty to the dead or fear of the living, or on the off chance that there may be something to this spiritual stuff and one might as well stand in good with heaven.
“THIRD RUNG: Those who come because it is the respectable thing to do – gives them a good name with the neighbors and salves the conscience for acts of commission and omission in daily life.
“FOURTH RUNG: Those who want to escape the sordid problems of life and let the beautiful words and sublime music mute the harsh cries of the market-place.
“FIFTH RUNG: Those who want to feel the Presence that breathes through all things and express their joy and gratitude in song.
“SIXTH RUNG: Those who want to develop a spiritual capacity to bear suffering with dignity and to take responsibility with zest.
“SEVENTH RUNG: Those who seek their brethren that they might pray with them, counsel with them, and together with them work for the happier, better tomorrow.
“TOP RUNG: Those who want to develop personal integrity, social responsibility, intellectual awareness, and replenish their spiritual reservoir, their religion, from which they derive the motivation for these high goals.
“There is plenty of room on the topmost rung. You must exercise your body, your mind, and your soul to get there. The exercise is its own best reward, but the view is wonderful for those who reach the top.”