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Rabbi's Corner

Saving lives

This week, we hosted a CPR training at Chabad, thanks to our wonderful friend Susan Izatt, infant educator extraordinaire. As I practiced chest compressions, it occurred to me- thinking of the Baal Shem Tov's instruction to uncover spiritual insight in every encounter- that there were many lessons to be learned here. The idea of communal responsibility struck me. Susan, like many other kind and caring professionals, carries a CPR kit with her wherever she goes, and with her level of certification, she actually bears some legal responsibility to intervene in an emergency. We are all responsible for each other; not only in a spiritual, ephemeral way but truly and legally. We do not live in a vacuum.

At one point in the course, we were shown a nifty little device that allows air into the patient, but does not allow the patient's breath to transfer back. A fitting metaphor, I thought, for spiritual fortitude: when spreading light and goodness around us, we put ourselves out there, and need to ensure that those we lift up do not pull us down. Our device for ensuring that are the words of the Torah; surrounding ourselves with them strengthens us as we light up our surroundings.

My final insight from the course was drawn from the specificity of the protocol: thirty chest compression's, at exactly the right spot, followed by two breaths, etc etc. All that order reminded me of the Seder, which actually means "Order". And the precision with which the steps are detailed, each one with careful intent- a CPR for the enslaved soul, if you will, as detailed and precise as CPR for the body- provided me with the most profound insight of the evening.

On the topic of the Seder, don't wait: Our most magnificent, white-glove Seder, this year at Mike's Bistro, right here in the neighborhood and widely considered the best kosher restaurant in NYC (with the highest Zagat rating for exceptional cuisine) is now open for reservations by calling our office at 212.758.3770. This Seder is the ultimate in community warmth and high-end luxury, and we hope to see you there.

With warm wishes for a Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

PS: Don't just rely on CPR training: protect yourself and your family with a Mezuzah on every door of your home. Chabad's new Mezuzah Concierge Service, exclusively for our area, is your ultimate Mezuzah solution.

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