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Rabbi's Weekly Message

Ye and the culture of fear!

November 25, 2022

With the kids off school for a couple of days we went over to Snowfill so the kids could sled, while the dogs run around in doggy heaven. As I watched Menny, Zeesy and Chana Laya speed down the hills, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by their fearlessness. The flips, the falls, the rolling-over; Menny went down backwards and standing on the sled like it was a snowboard, and none of them exhibited fear. I was envious because too often we make important decisions based on fear and lose out on the fun of life as a result.

In this week’s Torah portion, Toldos, we read about how Abraham gave birth to Isaac and inspired him to carry on the unique Abrahamic legacy. How did he inspire his son? Earlier in Genesis, we read about the grand celebration that Abraham put on for Isaac. The Midrash shares three opinions as to the timing of that “big celebration”. 1) It was when Isaac was two years old and weaning off from his mother. 2) It was at his Bris at eight-days-old. 3) It was at his Bar Mitzvah when he turned thirteen. No matter the date, we are told that the giant Og showed up at the party and tried to degrade the miracle of Isaac’s birth. He tells the gathered crowd “I can quash this young boy with my pinky!”, to which G-d responds, “Remember My promise! This little kid will have tens of thousands of descendants, and you will die in the hands of one of them one day”. He tried to instill fear in little Isaac, and he fails, because Isaac doesn’t accept fear mongering as a worthwhile commodity.

Chavie lives this way; she doesn’t dwell on fear, she never has, and she tries to instill the same in me. Mark Twain wrote “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” There are real fears, I know many are concerned as the Ye’s of the world are joining forces with Nick Fuentes’s of the world, a vile combination of white and black hatred of Jews, but fear won’t get us anywhere, courage most certainly will. We must do what Abraham did in the face of anti-Jewish intimidation, he threw a big party, celebrating the Jewishness of his son Isaac, increasing his visibility and vitality, and we are here 4,000 years later to tell the tale, because it works. Og is long gone, and Isaac’s are everywhere.

In the words of Jeremiah “Do not fear, my servant Jacob”!

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!!!

Like a good neighbor...

November 18, 2022

Neighbors can be an amazing gift.

We have a neighbor Duane who is always so welcoming to Menny, inviting him to join his son for outings to the park, to sled and play ball. It’s such a blessing and it’s a two ways street, as his son spends many hours a week playing in our yard building forts and catching bears with Menny. Similarly, Chaya has a friend Lilly from her climbing team and her mom reached out about us carpooling, which is super helpful, and now we have a plan that makes it easier on both of our families. My other neighbors Ned and Peter and their families are also friendly and a blessing in so many ways. At our Jewish center it’s the same, Jen and Dave are awesome co-owners and so easy-going.

In this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, we read about Rebecca being raised in Aram Naharayim amid her wicked family and community. The Midrash refers to her as a “rose amongst thorns”, recognizing how challenging, yet, righteous, it was for her to thrive spiritually in that environment. She was modest, kindhearted, and G-d-oriented, Eliezer saw that, appreciated it, and, with her consent, brought her home to Israel to be the wife of our Patriarch Isaac. Her brother was a thief, her father a murderer, her mother a cruel hostess, but Rebecca wasn’t swayed, she stood her ground as a holy young woman.

Often, we pooh-pooh the importance of living in a healthy setting, one that supports our chosen way of life. Like Rebecca, we don’t get to excuse our behavior by blaming the people around us, we are always responsible for our choices, but it sure does make it easier on our soul if we live in a place with neighbors who are kind, respectful, spiritual, and friendly. Earlier this week I was asked by my buddy Randy if I enjoy living in Bozeman? And of course, the answer was a resounding yes, because it’s a community in which we support each other and that is unbeatable and a rare find.

I am grateful for those around me; I hope you are too!

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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