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What's your Geshmak?

Friday, 15 October, 2021 - 11:40 pm

We got an impressive dump of snow earlier this week, along with some frigid Montana temperatures. We had some extra winter hats and scarves hanging around the house, so I asked my assistant Mendel to find some homeless people enduring the cold outdoors and bring them the gear. Lo and behold, one of those who Mendel met in the homeless encampment near Walmart introduced himself as a Jew who’s been homeless since March, and was excited to put on Tefilin and reconnect with his heritage. What started with the simple goal of keeping people warm, ended up warming, not just the body but, the soul of a frozen Jew.

In this week’s Parsha, Lech-Lecha, we learn about the life of Abraham and Sarah, the first Jews. While they were spiritual gurus, sharing and inspiring a pagan world with a firm belief in one G-d, they also spent decades of their life just caring for people. Their MO included feeding, clothing, hosting, comforting, and fighting for, those in need physically and materially. Sure, they never lost focus of their hope that each human being would say a blessing of praise to G-d, whisper a prayer seeking Divine support or that they’d drop their idols, but this power-couple understood that to effect any spiritual change, the recipient must feel like it’s coming from a genuine place of care.  

If a Torah lifestyle doesn’t lead us to care for those in need, then what is it all worth? When I indulge in something physical it’s a form of selfishness, but when I help someone else with their needs, expressing human unity and compassion, that in itself is deeply spiritual. Last week we commemorated the 21st Yahrtzait of Berke Wolf, a dear family friend and a Chassid with a heart of gold. He was someone who literally had a “Geshmak”, a pleasure, in helping another Jew with something practical, no strings attached. They say, “the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach”, I’d add “the way to a spiritual world is through acts of kindness”.

Let’s make One Day, today!

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. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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