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Rabbi's Weekly Message

The fever that changed it up!

January 26, 2023

I’ve been a workaholic for forever; never content with the present successes, always seeking to expand the activities in Montana. It isn’t a healthy lifestyle, and over the past few years I’ve been working internally to shift that mindset by implementing boundaries and focusing a bit more on self-care. So, whether it’s putting my phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode or working out twice a week, it’s been a journey of good changes. This week, with Chavie away, I had a loaded workweek, and then Karen called from Longellow to tell me that Chana Laya had a low-grade fever and my workweek shifted rapidly.

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we read about the first Korban Pesach, pascal lamb offering, on the eve of the Exodus from Egypt. The verse tells us “Moshe called to all the elders of Yisrael and said to them, "Draw and take for yourselves one sheep per family and slaughter the Pesach”. The Torah specifically emphasizes how the family unit should come together to celebrate with a joint offering. In the words of Ralbag, the thirteenth century French commentator, “The Torah is teaching us the important value, that when coming together for a communal meal, we should choose to dine or celebrate with family”, sticking with family as a first choice, even in social settings.

I’ve always cherished family time, almost never missing dinner and bedtime, spending time with the kids each morning, enjoying family trips, yet there were times I’d put my work ahead of my family. I told Chavie that it was really nice for me to spend quality time with Chana Laya, making her tea, giving her homeopathic remedies, taking her temperature, giving her baths, cleaning her eyes and nose; it felt very fatherly, and I liked it. I prefer she be in school and in good health, but life happens, and I am glad that I was able to see my time with her, not as stressful, but as loving, because family is my first priority.

The best way to get closer to G-d is with family!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Good Shabbos! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

Grateful to Giants!

January 19, 2023

Flying from Bozeman to New York for fourteen hours is exhausting but it was worth it in spades to celebrate the 40th birthday of my brother Yanky, who is just thirteen months younger than me. It was a joyous evening full of love and introspection and even included the printing of a Tanya in Yanky’s honor, spearheaded by our older brother Yochanan. Yanky and I were childhood roommates and had our fair share of boxing matches, but as we grew older, we grew closer, and I am forever grateful to have a brother who is so sentimental, sensitive, and kindhearted.

At the Farbrengen I shared something I was taught by the Rebbe in one of his last talks before suffering a stroke in 1992:

In our Torah portion, Va'era we read of G-d’s response to Moses’ complaints about the slavery hardships that the Jews were enduring in Egypt. “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with the name Almighty God, but with My name YHWH, I did not become known to them…Therefore, say to the children of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”. While G-d emphasized to Moses that He would reveal Himself to the Jews at the Exodus and at Sinai even more than He revealed Himself to the Patriarchs, He also made sure to remind us with the word “therefore”, that it was because of the Patriarchs and their empowering holiness that we were able to be elevated to such great heights. We may reach the pinnacle, but it is they who are pushing us up the mountain.

I told Yanky and his gathered friends that we too need to remember this vital point in our lives. Yes, we are the ones who are working tirelessly to bring Mashiach and will G-d willing make that a reality, but we mustn’t ever forget the sacrifice made by those who came before us which paved the path of our Jewish experience today.  We can pooh-pooh the “old fashion” Jews of yesteryear, but it was our childhood in the environs of incredible family, our beloved parents and grandparents, and the precious hours we merited with the Rebbe at his Shul, 770, that uplifted our souls and empowered us to be luminaries of today.  

If I have seen further, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Good Shabbos! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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Chabad Lubavitch
Of Montana

1610 Ellis Street Suite 2B
Bozeman, MT 59715

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