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Rabbi's Weekly Message


February 23, 2024

The kids were off from school on Presidents’ Day, so Chavie and I decided to gift them a change of scenery and some alone time. We rented a cabin in the Oro Fino Gulch in Unionville, just outside of Helena, and spent 24 hours enjoying the peaceful forest, doing art, playing music from the Alexa, and allowing the kids screen time, as they watched Trolls 3. Life is very busy, operating at full-velocity, and it’s important for us and our children to have some down time every once-in-a-while.

This week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, discusses the wardrobe of the Kohanim (Priests) and Kohanim Gedolim (High Priests) and also their inauguration into service. The work in the Tabernacle, and later in the Holy Temple, was physically and mentally taxing, which is why the Kohen families were divided up into groups. Initially, there were eight “watches”, four from Elazar’s family and four from Isamar’s. Later, Samuel the Prophet increased the “watches” to sixteen due to population growth and service load, and King David who was appointed King by Samuel, grew it to twenty-four “watches”. G-d structured the service in the Temple healthfully, ensuring that the Kohanim don’t get “burned-out” and remain happily in service.

As we’ve been serving Montana’s Jewish community for nearly seventeen years, we recognize that, at times, the work can be overwhelming. Our sages teach that “The day is short, the work is much…the Master is pressing”, and some days it’s hard to keep up with the workload, but if we take the time and make the space to relax a bit, change the pace for a day or two, delegate when we can, outsource when possible, we ensure that we can continue to serve G-d’s children without feeling the burn-out. Taking care of our mind, bodies, hearts, and souls is vital for continued growth and impact.

Don’t be your own worst enemy!

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!

Super Sockets!

February 16, 2024

It’s imperative to keep our children safe, protecting them from all types of harm, but it’s equally important to teach them empathy and compassion. On Sunday, all five of our children participated in the Super Soul – Super Bowl Party that we put on at our Shul for Bozeman’s homeless population. The kids interacted with, spoke to, and watched the game with, this group of people who don’t have permanent housing, some of whom struggle with mental health stability, and who lack proper hygiene. They served them a hot dinner, gave them warm clothing, observed them getting haircuts, celebrated or booed the game score together with them, and most importantly saw their humanity.

In this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, we read about three contributions made to the Tabernacle in the desert.  The first was an equal coin donated by all for the sockets of the beams, giving the Mishkan a solid foundation. The second was an equal coin donated by all for the altar expenses. The third was a discretionary donation, each person according to their means and charitable heart, utilized for the general fund for Mishkan construction. The Rebbe explained that the socket donation is representative of Torah study, a pillar of Jewish life without which our entire spiritual edifice crumbles. The altar donation reflects prayer, a pillar of Judaism that is about offering up our soul to G-d like an offering on the alter. The discretionary donation is representative of practical/physical acts of kindness, transforming our mundane world into a holy garden for G-d.

Being Jewish entails many facets. We are asked to change ourselves, internally, for the better, to inspire our surroundings, to help those in need, to pray with every fiber of our being, and to do all the above with pure joy. Yet the foundation of it all is our Torah study. If we devote ourselves to the foundation, to the holy sockets, delving deep into the reservoir of G-dly wisdom in His Torah, we become stable enough to head into the “scary” world, remain principled, and be a source of positive influence. My kids heard some profanities during the game, but what they will remember is that they spent an evening with those who are struggling, who are a bit less fortunate, and helped them celebrate as Kansas clinched their victory over California.

People are super souls; we just gotta see it!

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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