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Dancing not allowed

Dancing not allowed?! That's right. Recently during a routine check of the Duluth city code, an archaic rule was discovered. Establishments that serve alcohol in the city of Duluth require a special permit to dance! Apparently many establishments have unknowingly been breaking this law. The city council has taken it up and are beginning the process of repeal.

But why? Is it really necessary to repeal an old ordinance that hasn't been enforced in decades?

Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of the Chassidic movement, was once asked: "Why is it that Chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behavior of a healthy, sane individual?"

The Baal Shem Tov responded with a story:

Once, a musician came to town — a musician of great but unknown talent. He stood on a street corner and began to play.

Those who stopped to listen could not tear themselves away, and soon a large crowd stood enthralled by the glorious music whose equal they had never heard. Before long they were moving to its rhythm, and the entire street was transformed into a dancing mass of humanity.

A deaf man walking by wondered: Has the world gone mad? Why are the townspeople jumping up and down, waving their arms and turning in circles in the middle of the street?

"Chassidim," concluded the Baal Shem Tov, "are moved by the melody that issues forth from every creature in G‑d's creation. If this makes them appear mad to those with less sensitive ears, should they therefore cease to dance?" (Source -

Perhaps in times of old breaking out in dance was considered insane, and one needed a special permit. But by repealing this law we are acknowledging the joy we see every day in our lives, and the G-dliness within all of creation. When you see G-d's hand in your life, break out in a dance! Don't keep the joy in your heart, bring it into action! Share it with others!

The city council approves.

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I write this sitting on a plane as I head to my cousin's wedding (Mazal Tov Isaac & Dora!) with mixed feelings. Five years ago I sat on a plane as we moved to Duluth to strengthen the Jewish community


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