Honoring Rebbe Nachman

On his histalkus [ascent from the body]
yahrzeit
18th of Tishrei
second day chol ha moed Sukkot

The Prince and The Rooster

I ran into Rebbe Nachman in Detroit.
I recognized the wildness in his coal-black eyes,
dark thatch of beard overgrown his face.
He instructed me to take off my shoes daily
and walk through the grass.
He told me that not too long ago he had lost his mind
thought he was a rooster.
Where was this? I interrupted.

California.

Nachman then told me the following story:
I took off all my clothes,
Nachman said, lived under a table,
wouldn’t eat anything but grain and chicken food.
Then Prince came,
took off all his clothes,
got under the table and began to act like a rooster too.
He said, I’m Prince, the rooster, I promise I will never leave you.
We swore friendship to each other,
slowly slowly, Prince began the healing.
He put on a shirt, I put on a shirt.
Prince said just because you dress like a human being
doesn’t mean you have to cease being a rooster.

The next day we ate at the lunch counter in the bowling alley.
Prince ordered a tuna sandwich.
You gonna eat like a person too? I asked Prince.
You can eat like a human being and still be a rooster, Prince said.
You can do anything and still be the rooster you are.

That’s how it worked for me, Nachman said,
Prince saved me slowly slowly.
He taught me I can do anything
and still remain the rooster I am.

jsg, usa