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Weekly Message

A Decade of Love!

Love is certainly in the air. On Monday, under the rainy skies of Montreal, Chavie's only brother, Eli Nochum, was married to Tzivia Wenger. We danced the night away celebrating the match made in heaven and their new life together. This week was also a special milestone for Chavie and I, as today, the 22nd of Adar, is our tenth wedding anniversary.

This week we read the portion of Shemini and in addition a bonus reading, Parshas Parah, about purity and the red heifer. Why the additional reading? Our sages teach that as we inch closer to Passover, when holiness is in order, we remind ourselves to purify our thoughts, speech and actions. The laws of purity don't make sense, they are observed loyally, fulfilling G-d's request; making our heavenly groom happy, no questions asked. A deep bond is more than just partnering with another individual for convenience and comfort; it's about bonding heart and soul, through thick and thin, through logical moments and the illogical.

As Chavie and I celebrate a decade of love, it's clear to me that, like the laws of purity, the power of the bond is when it doesn't fit our preconceived notions and ideas. It's not about the ninety percent of the time when it all makes sense, but about sticking together as one during the times of uncertainty, challenge and vulnerability. I thank G-d and his matchmaking angels every day, for bringing Chavie and I together and for gifting me with a life partner who not only gets me, puts up with me and betters me, but who with beauty, love and resolve, inspires me to be the best version of me possible.

L'Chaim to the next decade!

ael and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!! 

Make it Count!

It was a night of gladness, joy and fun! It was blizzarding outside, but close to ninety souls gathered at The Emerson Ballroom to celebrate Purim in the Stadium! Food, l’chaim, magic, music, mask crafts, prizes and a vibrant atmosphere that would make Esther and Mordechai Kvell (See pics here )! As the world is frightened by the Haman’s of today, the Megillah reminded us that evil comes and goes, but good is eternal. While driving home, I realized once again, that indeed Am Yisroel Chai!

In this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, we continue the Leviticus journey of the various offering types sacrificed in the Tabernacle/Holy Temple. Our sages teach that after the destruction of the second Temple in 69 CE, until the rebuilding of the third Temple speedily in our days with the coming ofMashiach, our verbal prayers substitute for the offerings. One wonders, if prayers can do the job, why do we need offerings at all? Chassidus explains that if a holy experience is not translated into action, it’s questionable at its core. Praying changes us, it makes us better people, but has no effect on the world around us. The physical offering, on the other hand, was representative of all four facets of creation, salt - inanimate, wine - vegetation, sacrifice itself - animal life and the priest - human, impacting all of the physical world.

During the era of the Purim story, the Jews prayed, repented, returned to their roots, to their essence, but that was all the precursor for the action. What brought about the actual miracle? It was Queen Esther approaching the king and defending her people. I invite Jews to come and celebrate Purim, so they can fulfil some/all of the Purim Mitzvot. Facebooking about Purim and meditating on its powerful message is fantastic, but it never replaces the physical observance of the holiday traditions. Bozeman brought Purim alive and I know it made us and our community holier, bringing us one step closer to redemption.

A Freilichen Shushan Purim !

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

Party for Esther!

So much happened since we last chatted. On Shabbat and Saturday night we were honored to hear from world renowned Rabbi Manis Friedman ( For a video of the post Shabbat talk click here ), on Sunday Chavie and I cleaned for Passover (yes, it’s around the corner), on Monday Zeesy was introduced as Montana’s Champion Child with an event where her Video premiered and Senator Daines later honored her , on Tuesday I lectured in Dillon and Wednesday and Thursday we spent as a family in Billings enjoying Spring Break with indoor water activities.

Now, it’s time for Purim.

On Thursday we will gather at The Emerson Ballroom to celebrate Purim. During the reign of the Persian Empire, close to 2,400 years ago, the Jews failed spiritually and were to be punished by G-d for their choices. Wicked Haman advised King Achashveirosh (Xerxes) how to rid society of the Jew and the plan for the “final solution” was in place. In a turn of events that were seemingly natural, yet unquestionably miraculous, Mordechai’s cousin Esther was the Queen. She agreed to intervene on behalf of her people, but before entering the kings’ chambers to seek his help, she asks uncle Mordechai to gather all of the Jews and join her for three days of prayer, fasting and beseeching of the Almighty for His infinite blessings. She recognized something we need to constantly remember: it’s not our good luck, political connections or business successes that make things happen; it’s our relationship with G-d.

Purim is not only a kid’s holiday; its lessons are most important for us adults. Esther hadn’t seen her husband the king for some time before this intervention, yet, her prep was not hiring a makeup artist and hair stylist to beautify her appearance, not convening advisers and a good marketing team to make a plan, it wasn’t even a good lobbying firm to advocate for her. She knew that after all said and done, G-d runs the show and if on good terms with Him, everything else will be just fine. We come together on Purim not only to celebrate our survival but to celebrate a woman who understood that if you want to “exist” then you worry only about your body, but if you want to imbue your existence with true “life”, then you care for your soul as well.

Come party for Esther!

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

Julliard & G-d!

 After a most uplifting Shabbos in Victor, Idaho among my colleagues from the Mountain West and their families, on Sunday I headed eastward to attend The Slovakia Hassidic Song Project concert at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, arranged by Mr. Bill Simmons (Click here to see an unedited video taken with my phone). To see a packed hall of Jews and gentiles, gathered to listen to authentic Jewish music and their meaning, was heartwarming. Chief Rabbi Baruch Myers of Bratislava, who is a graduate of Julliard, was part of the group. He’s a talented musician and utilizes his gift to bring glory to G-d and His people.

In this week’s Torah portion, Pekudei, the last in the book of Exodus, we read an accounting of all items used to build the Tabernacle. The Torah says “Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, had made all that the Lord had commanded Moses. With him was Oholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman and master weaver, and an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson wool and in linen”.When it came to building G-d’s home on earth, Moses wasn’t seeking people of prestige or the well-connected, he didn’t need to check the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List rating; he sought anyone willing to donate time, effort and talent to make this dream a reality.

A Rabbi/Counselor/Spouse/Friend isn’t part of our life in order to quash our talents, suppress our individuality or put down the particular style we are most comfortable with; they are there to help guide us to be the best we can be for ourselves and the world around us. When the New York based central Chabad Yeshiva was going to expel a student who was using his break-time to study music at a prestigious music school, the Rebbe of blessed memory stopped them and actually encouraged them to pay for his tuition. The Tabernacle teaches us that we are given talents to use in the service of G-d and humanity and we should do just that.

Art, Poetry, Music; when done right, can change the world!

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

Vote Shabbat!

On Tuesday evening, after bed time with the kiddos, I browsed various sites to check on the results of Super Tuesday. I glanced at Drudge Report, Huffington Post, CNN and even a few political blogs to catch the latest updates. Whether you’re a diehard supporter or a reluctant voter, millions of Americans went out and let their voice be heard. Some voted in frustration, some with gladness, while others with confused feelings. I happen to think that the system is outdated, the process too long and the options on the ballot unimpressive, but voting we vote and hope for the best.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel, begins with a few verses on the importance of Shabbat observance. It then goes on, until the very last verse, to discuss the details of the Tabernacles’ construction. Unlike the distribution of delegates at many primaries where it’s winner-take-all, observing Shabbat can be experienced one holy moment at a time. Just because you may still be driving on Shabbat, doesn’t mean you need to watch T.V. and ski. Just because you may have Saturday plans – aside from attending Shul – doesn’t mean that a beautiful family Shabbat dinner, with Kiddush, Challah and other delicacies is not in order. Like the term coined by Senator Joe Lieberman, Shabbat is a “Gift of Rest” and that gift is not all or nothing.

As the architects and builders began strategizing the Tabernacle project, the Torah mentions “heart” a few times, referencing the generosity and devotion of the donors and project managers. In truth, it’s crystal clear, that more than anything, G-d wants our experience with Him to be fromthe heart. Whatever aspect of Shabbat you’d like to begin incorporating or adding to your personal weekend experience, make sure it’s an investment of heart and soul. It’s not like a political litmus test, investigating whether we are perfect, but rather an opportunity to bond with our Creator and every bit of bonding is priceless.

Don’t underestimate a Shabbat hour!

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