A Jewish congregation was arguing over whether one should stand or sit during the Shema Yisroel. Half of the congregation said one should sit, the other half insisted one should stand. Every time the Shema was recited they shouted at each other, “Sit down!” and “Stand up!” The fighting became so bad that the congregation was split in two, each half contending that they knew the tradition in that synagogue.
Finally, the rabbi decided to visit a one hundred year old member of the synagogue who was living in a nursing home. He took a delegation from each of the arguing sides with him to see the oldest member of the “shul”. “Now, tell us,” said the rabbi, “what is our tradition?” “Should we stand during the Shema?” “No,” said the old man. “That is not our tradition.” “Well, then,” said the rabbi, “ should we sit during the Shema?” “No,” the old man, “that is not our tradition.” “But we need to know what to do,” said the rabbi, “because our congregation members are fighting among each other.” “That,” said the oldest member of the congregation, “that is our tradition.”
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