Jimi Hendrix

From the book “REB SHLOMO, The life and Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld” by Rabbi Yisroel Besser, pages 163-164.

His chinuch methods dictated that he work with his talmidim on their terms, on their levels, in their language.

talmid recalled the evening in 1970 when he learned of the death of a well-known rock singer, Jimi Hendrix, He was a big fan of the musician and mourned his death intensely. He was suffering, but didn’t think that it was appropriate to share the depth of his pain with his rebbi.

He was surprised when Reb Shlomo called him over to invite him to the house that evening. “And bring along a record, please,” Reb Shlomo told him.

That evening, the talmid entered his rebbi’s house, the Jimi Hendrix album in his hand.

Reb Shlomo sat down near the record player and together they listened. Reb Shlomo sat quietly, totally lost in the experience of listening, his eyes closed. After it was complete, Reb Shlomo smiled apologetically “I need to think for a little bit; would it be okay if we put on some of my music now?”

Reb Shlomo turned on a beautiful album of classical music, a rousing, exhilarating symphony that lifted their spirits.

Reb Shlomo was obviously lost in thought as the notes swirled around them.

Finally, he spoke. “Now I understand why Jimi Hendrix is so popular; the music defines a generation in turmoil. You should know that it’s disturbing music, indicative of struggles and discontent.”

“That was all he said,” remembers the talmid, “but his message penetrated.”

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