Rabbi's Corner

And Jacob Journeyed On

 Dear Friend, 

This time of year, I always recall my childhood, growing up around the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi M.M. Schneerson. After a whirlwind month of holidays, the Rebbe would often teach the biblical verse "V'Yaakov Holach L'darko" ("and Jacob journeyed on his way"), as the overarching theme of the time ahead. 

When Simchat Torah passed, we marked the conclusion of the holiday season. Thousands of international guests who had spent a season of spiritual uplift in the presence of this spiritual shepherd and were now rejuvenated with joy, faith and hope, began their journeys back home to their lives, their busy schedules, the humdrum of every day. 

And the message for all of them would be: And Jacob journeyed on his way.

I believe the key word in this message is his.

Some context: This verse, from Genesis, describes our patriarch Jacob's journey after several decades of living in the environment of his unscrupulous uncle Laban. Jacob finally opts out; moves on. Now it's HIS way, the Jacob way, and so begins his journey on the Jacob highway and the formation of our nation.

Our lives and identities are defined by so many factors: gender, nationality, genetics, environment. And- after a powerful month of reconnecting to G-d and our community and our soul- we recognize that we are also "Jacob"-  we are a Jewish self that awakens and asserts itself during this time of year. It is with this strength, a connection to our deepest and truest self, that we move on. 

Here in NYC, reflecting on a month of joyous holidays, record-breaking attendance at our Sutton Place Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services (over 250 beautiful new faces joined in to celebrate), so many experiences in our iconic 53rd Street Sukkah, the dancing-in-the -streets and "holy revelry" of Simchat Torah, one may wonder: what next?  After a month of spiritual reconnection, do we just go back to life as usual? 

The Rebbe would answer that "Jacob journeyed on his way". The journey continues, we take with us our "Jacob", our Jewish self and spirit, and we remember that this journey ahead is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We traverse the spiritual terrain every single Shabbat at our synagogue and at a plethora of educational and community experiences for children and adults of all ages and stages. These opportunities for Jewish connection are all listed in our gorgeous glossy calendar; if you have not gotten your complimentary copy, please email [email protected] and we'll send it out to you. 

The holiday season has ended but it is now that the journey actually begins. It is my honor to take this journey with you. 

Chodesh Tov, Shabbat Shalom, 

Shmuel Metzger -Rabbi

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