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Rabbi's Weekly Message

Watermelon and Leeks?

June 21, 2024

She attended Longfellow and Headwaters, but along the way, with superhuman perseverance, Chaya was also a devoted student of the Nigri Shluchim Online School where she studied Judaism, intensively, with her friends from Finland and Scotland, America and Canada, France and Mexico. They prayed together each morning and learned Chumash, Tanya, Jewish history, the Rebbe’s Chassidus and so much more. She grew up in Bozeman, Montana, but Chaya, along with her classmates, are locked and loaded for the “real” world, ready to enter Chabad High Schools and continue their growth as Jewish women of the future.

In this week’s Torah portion, Behaalosecha, we read about various Kvetchy moments in the desert when the Jews complained about their food options. In a world where G-d is feeding you amazing Manna from heaven, it takes clarity to remain focused and not get distracted seeking something “better” or “different”, I want “meat”, I must have “leeks” and “how can I live without watermelon”? Demanding a life of “Egypt”, keeping us “restrained” from becoming the best version of ourselves, when so many opportunities of “freedom” to refine our character and live with purpose are made available, is “Klain Kepeldik”, narrow-minded and shortsighted. If one is self-absorbed, focused on “me, myself and I”, we tend to forget the G-d-spark, the Divinity in each moment, in each experience, in each breath. Observing the values imparted to Chaya in the Shluchim school gives me hope that the next generation of Jews will be bright and thoughtful.

Yesterday, I visited a woman at our local Bozeman Health hospital. She had suffered two heart attacks, and her life is still touch-and-go. She lamented that she didn’t live meaningfully, and I told her that when she’s fully recovered, healthy and stable, I will help guide her to find more purpose in her life. One shouldn’t have to wait until a medic is doing CPR to revive us, to realize that we have been gifted Manna from heaven, an incredible life of so many blessings, the greatest of which is to be a member of the Jewish people and a recipient of the Torah.

Watermelon is nice, but Manna is way better!

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!

Temporary Insanity!

June 14, 2024

It was a week of Sinai vibes. On Sunday, the Women’s League commenced the Shavuos festivities, gathering to create floral arrangements, recalling the flowers that grew on Mount Sinai. During the holiday we had two morning Minyans, a packed house for the Ten Commandments that were delivered with sushi and cheesecake, the night meals were awesome with deep Torah discussions, we remembered our loved ones at the Yizkor memorial services, and we were blessed to have Jews join us for the holiday from across Montana as well as from Israel, Colorado, New York, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

It’s always amazing to witness the Jewish soul on fire.

In this week’s Torah portion, Naso, we are given a crash course on adultery and the trajectory of sinfulness. The Talmud teaches that “a person does not sin unless a spirit of folly enters him”. It’s natural for a Jew to be holy, inspired, connected and spiritual, yet, It’s unnatural for us to be sinful. Sin is a sign that we are off balance, we are “possessed” by a force outside of ourselves that is co-opting us through indulgence, temptation and false promises of allure. It may suck us in, but our soul doesn’t buy it and remains connected to its higher, holy, self, through thick and thin.

Earlier this week we lost our friend Jerry Perlman, Shneur Zalman Ben Baruch V’Gittel. Formally of Columbus (near Billings), he and his beloved Roberta moved to Arizona a few years back. I spoke to him just a day before he passed, and, with the incredible devotion of Rabbi Zimmerman at Chabad of Oro Valley, he was laid to rest like a Jew just before the onset of Shavuos. Jerry was a holy Jew and no matter how many jokes he made about his lack of observance, he still laid Tefillin when the Yeshiva boys came around, he still loved his people and traditions with all of his heart, and he still ordered his herring from Raskin’s in Brooklyn. It’s easy to forget how holy we really are and this week’s Parsha reminds us that Jews don’t sin unless we experience “temporary insanity”.

We are soulful Jews with occasional sins, not sinful Jews with occasional soulfulness!

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!

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Chabad Lubavitch
Of Montana

1610 Ellis Street Suite 2B
Bozeman, MT 59715

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