Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at . Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from JewishMontana.com

Weekly Message

Reb Nachman's Inspiration!

How does one cope with unfathomable tragedy? How does one maintain their faith, and even more so their trust, in G-d when everything in life is topsy turvy? I’ve struggled with this question as of late. I know that as a Rabbi and spiritual mentor to many of you, I am supposed to be on board with every move G-d makes, even the seemingly illogical, but sorry to disappoint you, I am not. I have my moments too. Yes of course, I still believe that He’s running the show, 100%, but sometimes it just hurts too much for me to accept it all silently, so I wonder.

Then I find myself humming “Ve’afilu Behastara”.

Ve’afilu Behastara is a song with a combination of lyrics from G-d in Deuteronomy and the great Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. This beautiful melody brings to life the realities of the human struggle and the deep recognition of G-d’s Providence in all that transpires: Hashem says to us, " Children, I will conceal Myself on that day", but the Rebbe explains: Even in a concealment within a concealment, Hashem may He be blessed is certainly there And behind the the difficult things that stand before you, I stand.” It doesn’t remove the pain, the hurt or the questions, but like a mother cuddling and comforting their baby, it reminds me that when humans suffer, G-d is cuddling us and crying along with us.

In the famous poem “Footprints”, G-d tells the inquiring soul in heaven “my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” As we read the book of Numbers, focused on the Jewish people’s forty year sojourn in the Sinai desert, it seems clear that during the ups and downs, dysfunctional and orderly, rebellious and faithful, G-d was there with them through it all. We had better days than others, but through it all “Hashem is certainly there”.

Even when He’s hiding, we must play along and seek!

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!!!

Immorality of Hate!

Last weekend was marvelous. We celebrated a three day Shabbat/Shavuot combo with three morning Minyan’s, mouthwatering Sushi and Cheesecake and of course the upliftment of the Ten Commandments. Sadly, as we celebrated G-d given morality, a terrorist, twenty four hundred miles away, murdered forty nine souls and injured countless others, epitomizing immorality. It should shake each of us to our core, to think that there are people, perhaps even among us, who hate so much, that they would take another life and allow G-d to be their justification.

In this week’s Torah portion, Naso, the longest in the entire Five Books, we read of the priestly blessings “The Lord spoke to Moses saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them: May the Lord bless you and watch over you. May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace." They shall bestow My Name upon the children of Israel, so that I will bless them.” Aaron’s family was honored to eternally bless our people.   

In truth, however, every one of us has the power to bless. The Talmud teaches in Brachot “The blessing of a simple person should not be mundane in your eyes”. When we take a moment to share a blessing, a heartfelt L’Chaim with a fellow, we have the power to invoke heavenly mercy and bring about much good for the recipient. In a world where way too many are happy to share hatred, negativity and G-d forbid even perpetrate murder, it is incumbent on us to find and utilize every opportunity to fight the darkness with light, the curses with blessings and the murder with invigorated life.

Shine a Little Light!

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!!!

L'Chaim to Life!

Chavie and I, along with the kids, were blessed to spend a few days, including last Shabbos, at a lake side cabin with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. It was a tranquil experience; reading books, playing games and taking walks. Sitting on the boardwalk, enjoying meaningful family time, while overlooking a, seemingly, infinite body of water, got me thinking about life beneath the water.

This weekend we commence a three day Shabbat/Shavuot celebration, beginning Friday evening and ending Monday night. We celebrate the gift of all time, the eternal self-help book, authored by G-d and presented by Moses. Scripture compares the Torah to water, only if we are immersed in it, are we experiencing life to its fullest. At Sinai G-d inserted us into the water and it’s been our life source ever since. So what about a gentile? Don’t they need the Torah? Of course! Every living being needs water and every human being needs aspects of Torah for their survival but only the Jew is fish-like.

No healthy fish would demand living on land and no healthy Jew should demand living without Torah. Is it easier for a fish to live on land? Is it easier to live without Torah? Is it easier for a human to live without oxygen? These are silly questions, because it's life we are talking about, where easy and hard are not part of the equation.

To life, to life, L’Chaim!

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!!!

Pastoral Advice!

Yesterday, while wishing a happy 35th birthday to Binyomin, my dear childhood friend and classmate, I jokingly said something about how “we are getting on in age”. He laughed and then said “Chaim Shaul”, using my full Hebrew name, “I’ve never felt this young in spirit, in mindset, like I do now; it’s all in our state of mind”. I agree; it’s really about our perspective and how we view our life experience.

In this week's Torah portion, Bechukotai, the last in the book of Leviticus, we read about reward and punishment. Superficially, one may think that G-d is somewhat petty; if we don't follow His commandments, if we don’t buy His product, it awakens His anger and He threatens us with negativity. In truth, however, it's a lot deeper. G-d puts us through extreme challenges, seemingly unimaginable heartache, to break our rusty mold and allow us to escape our personal Egypt.

Before Passover, while visiting inmates at Montana State Prison, I met a Christian pastor at the chapel. He shared with me that when he was in seminary, his professor taught him that the “job of a spiritual leader is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable". Same with G-d. Bechukotai is not about G-d’s punishment but rather about Him redeeming us from our unhealthy comfortability.

Dig deep and find perspective!

 

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!!!

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.