I recall a very special, although at the time nerve-wracking, interaction I had with Rabbi Lamm, zt”l. I was the gabbai of the Rubin Shul Shabbat minyan. I had worked very hard to get Rabbi Lamm to join us one Shabbat morning instead of going to YU’s main beit midrash as he typically did on the occasions he spent Shabbat at YU.
I had just finished davening as the chazan for Mussaf and Rabbi Lamm walked over to me, put his arm over my shoulder and asked if he could make two comments about my davening. Of course I agreed. He told me I daven beautifully but asked if I was from South Africa. I said yes and he told me that almost all South Africans mispronounce Hashem’s name and then demonstrated how to pronounce it. He also commented on another word I had said incorrectly.
Rabbi Lamm’s comments were delivered in such a beautiful way, I felt no condescension or harsh criticism at all, and think about that incredible interaction every time I step onto a bima.
By Ryan Hyman