We returned today from Manitou Springs, Colorado, a popular tourist destination best known for its scenic landscapes, cool mountain air, healing mineral springs, and hiking trails. Located at an altitude of 6,412 feet above sea level, it lies at the base of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in the United States. During our time there, we got to meet some of the locals, an eclectic mix of people to say the least. There are the artists who run the many art galleries that dot the town, the bearded Harley Davidson bikers, and the owners of a coffee shop named Mateh (tribe), who claim to descend from the ten lost tribes. We actually felt quite at home with our black hats, coats, and beards.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, encouraged his followers to print copies of the Tanya in remote locations where Jewish people live. Manitou Springs is home to a handful of Jews, so we decided to print a Tanya there. We asked our newfound friends for their participation, and their enthusiasm for this project was remarkable. We printed half of the Tanya at the home of a B., a local Jewish businessman, and the rest at a store on the main street of town, owned by A., a native Israeli. Both felt extremely privileged to be included in the printing of this landmark Chassidic work.
Later that week, the picturesque town of Manitou Springs held its first ever Tanya class. It took place in the home of another Jewish resident, with the attendance of several local Jews. We used the freshly printed sheets, and focused on chapter 32, which talks about the love one must have for every Jew.
At the conclusion of the class, H., owner of a souvenir shop, asked if he could say a few words.
“Friends, you've known me for years,” he began. “To you I seem happy-go-lucky, living my dream life in this great place. What you can't see, however, are the questions and doubts that plague me constantly. What I learned tonight,” he pointed at the sheets, “has resolved so many of my issues. I finally feel at peace.”