Don't Quit Breathing!

Friday, 24 November, 2017 - 8:40 am

The International conference of Chabad Shluchim (emissaries), took place this past weekend. Though I didn’t participate in person this year, the images of my colleagues celebrating in Brooklyn, were naturally inspiring. Jonathan Mark of The Jewish Week wrote “From Africa to the Arctic, Chabad’s ‘Happy Warriors’ Now In 100 Countries”. Yair Ettinger in the Jerusalem Post wrote “A new Uganda Plan: Emissaries to open first Chabad House in Kampala” and Rabbi Shmuly Boteach, wrote in the Algemeiner “Chabad is no longer a Jewish movement. It is Judaism. Even those who were once critics now travel to Caribbean island vacations and are blown away that they can pray with a minyan and get kosher food because of Chabad. No other organization even comes close to its global reach and grassroots impact. And it is growing exponentially.”

So, what is the secret? How do we do it? What keeps us going?

Finally, after a long hiatus, my morning routine is back on schedule. It was 4:45 AM on Monday and I was reading a letter that my beloved Rebbe of blessed memory wrote in the summer of 1954. In it, he explains that sadly, some Jews view Judaism like immunizations, you get inoculated occasionally, either preventatively or as a cure, but it’s rare and sometimes ineffective. In truth, Judaism is like oxygen and we need it 24/7 to survive. Moses tells Jewry before his passing "for that is your life and the length of your days”. Judaism is not an elective or a beautiful philosophy of “Tikkun Olam”, it’s who we are, how we live and without it we are like fish out of the water.

So, while Chabad couples do have a unique, Rebbe-gifted, energetic approach and joy of life, it’s available to all who choose to have Judaism embedded in their day to day. Breathing can be hard; just ask anyone with asthma or catch me while hiking up to the M, yet, I’ve never met someone who said, “I’ll quit breathing because it’s too hard”. The oxygen of Judaism isn’t always easy either, yet it’s worth the effort, because it’s life. This Thanksgiving weekend, let’s thank G-d for giving us his Torah oxygen that has kept His people alive for thousands of years and will continue to do just that for all eternity.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!!!

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