The Rabbi at The Majestic: Wisdom in A Few Words

I share this perspective on life and speaking from my brother, Robert Fripp, founding and ongoing member of the band King Crimson. Enjoy!

While attending college, my brother Robert worked in a hotel dance band. It may interest you to know that he took the job over from Andy Summers (who later joined the very popular band, The Police) when Andy went to London. This is the story he tells about what he learned from a rabbi.

“In 1966-68, when I was 18-21, I paid my way through Bournemouth College, where I was studying economics, economic history, and political history with a special paper on social conditions 1850-1900, by playing at the Majestic Hotel in Bournemouth. The Majestic was a well-known Jewish hotel, run by Fay Schneider.

The Majestic Dance Orchestra (a quintet) played three nights a week during the winter and four nights in the summer, accompanying visiting cabaret acts on Sundays. In addition to foxtrots, quicksteps, tangos, Jolsons (fast and slow), from time to time we also played for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

At one particular bar mitzvah, the Chief Rabbi addressed the congregation, and the directness of his advice and delivery continues resonating to this day. The Chief Rabbi spoke very little English, so he got to the point quickly. He rose and spoke: “When you go into your shop, say ‘Hello God!’ and you will have good business.” The Chief Rabbi might have said…

“May we open ourselves to the unconditioned world – that our wishing for what is real and true and moves from conscience, hope and faith, acceptance and love, moves into and permeates a world governed by fashion, advertising, taste, habit, inventions, prices of near substitutes, expectations of trends and changes in price, changes in the distribution of income and the quantity and quality of the money supply – that our professional lives might be mediated by the imperatives of necessity and sufficiency.”

But he didn’t say this: firstly, because his English wasn’t very good; and, secondly, because he wasn’t taking a course in economics at Bournemouth College.

What the Chief Rabbi did do was to convey a complex and difficult notion – the impossibility of an endless and benevolent Grace entering our ungrateful and uncaring world – in 15 words: 12 words of one syllable, three words of two syllables, and one word of three syllables but pronounced as if having two (business):

“When you go into your shop, say ‘Hello God!’ and you will have good business.”

The Wit, Wisdom, and World of Robert Fripp…In his own words. Enjoy four live presentations with Robert Fripp and his sister Patricia Fripp. Two legends in two different worlds: https://www.fripp.com/frippvt/robert-frippvt-live

Click here for The Wit, Wisdom, and World of Robert Fripp of Robert Fripp.

“Robert Fripp’s presentation was as insightful as it was sensationally delivered. Our opening general sessions of 1,200 audience members were enraptured by the fascinating stories of his most amazing career in the music industry.

Many of our APA members have long admired King Crimson and Fripp’s prowess as one of the best guitarists of all time. However, it didn’t matter that he’s a famous musician. The wisdom he shared has direct parallels to every aspect of life and growth potential. His humble eloquence makes his wisdom so easy for everyone to get value. His grip on the audience was as tight as his hold on his guitar pick!”

– Dan Maddux, Executive Director, American Payroll Association

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.