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Rabbi's Corner

Beginning Anew

Shehechiyanu V'kimonu V'higioyonu Lazman Hazeh!

Last week, we re-rolled the Torah to the beginning and we're off on a new start. Since we're a year older and wiser, we read the same text, searching for fresh insight and wisdom in G-d's user manual for creation.

In the week's portion, "Noach" we see all of humanity destroyed; with only Noach and family (and wildlife) preserved. A generation or so later, the nations of the nascent population unite to build a monument tower, the likes of which had never been attempted, in a symbol of mutiny against G-d. The Almighty is not pleased and creates a language barrier between the nations, an episode known as "The Tower of Babel".  

 

The Rebbe would often point out that the generation of Noach was breakdown of "Man vs. Man" behavior, while the Tower of Babel was a popular uprising of "Man vs. G-d". The latter was not tolerated, but did not warrant ultimate destruction. The former, a chaos of humanity at war with each other, was enough to flood the entire civilization and destroy it. The Rebbe would point out the importance of our interpersonal relationships, and the imperative to love our fellow as ourselves.

After a week of bloodshed and fear in our Holy Land, Parshat Noach reminds us of G-d's distaste for violence, His abhorrence of fighting among His children and His love of peace. May all people understand the lesson of this week's Portion: that to know and love G-d is to love and act kindly toward the innocent, to protect them from who would harm them, and thus to avoid bloodshed and achieve peace.

May we merit a true Peace in the Land of Israel, a Peace through Strength, where those who would resort to violence and bloodshed are deterred and the safety of all good and peace-seeking people is secured.

May Hashem bless His children with peace! Shabbat Shalom!


 

Shmuel

P.S. As Jews, we know that our physical protection is very much connected to our spiritual activities, and when we pray or dedicate a good deed to our brothers and sisters in Israel, we create a spiritual defense shield that will help us through difficult and dangerous times.

Here are six positive responses to do for Israel and its people.

1: Encourage every Jewish man and boy over the age of 13 to put on tefillin today, and every weekday.

2: Encourage every Jewish woman and girl to light Shabbat candles every Friday before the onset of Shabbat and on the eve of Jewish holidays. (Come by our Shabbat Candlelighting Table for your free kit! Share with a friend. Spread the light!)

3: Do you have mezuzot in your home? This may be a good time have them checked to make sure they are still in shipshape order. Call me at 212.758.3770 to schedule a Mezuzah check.

4: Dedicate a daily prayer for our brethren in Israel.

5: Give charity every day

6: Forward this information to your friends. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media.

7. come to Shul! 

Chag Sameach!

In synagogues the world over, the words of Simchat Torah Hakafot will be recited and sung: "From Zion comes forth the Torah, and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem..."

 Some years, we may need a reminder, here in the US, that the fulcrum of Jewish existence, the source of our connection to G-d and the Torah, comes from Jerusalem. This year, our hearts heavy with thoughts of the senseless and devastating losses our people have suffered in Jerusalem, we need no reminder. Though we are here, our thoughts are there. And although we weep with our brothers and sisters in Israel, for the orphans and the bereft, we will also dance. Because we are blessed that "from Zion comes forth the Torah," and we have completed its cycle yet again. Join us this holiday as we dance with the Torah and proclaim our eternal connection to our Torah and our land, Eretz Yisrael.

Shmini Atzeret~Simchat Torah begins today, Sunday, October 4 at 6:15 pm. Join us for services at Chabad (336 East 53rd Streettomorrow, Monday October 5, for Yizkor (10:45 amand a joyous Simchat Torah Community Party beginning at 6:00 pm. A fantastic children's celebration will take place, as well as a full dinner buffet and beer tasting for the grownups.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach, and blessings for peace in our Holy Land and all over the world, 

Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

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