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Rabbi's Corner

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Dear Friend,

What a wonderful week it was!

In addition to the usual hectic goings-on at Chabad we had two wonderful community events (pictures attached), the grand finale of the ‘Six Great Thinkers – One Thousand Years of Jewish Thought’ and the women’s Challah Bake (Special thank you to internationally acclaimed Challah baker and best-selling author of 'Rising, the book of Challah' (who also happens to be Raizy’s sister), Rebbetzin Rochie Pinson. 

Which leads me to this week’s Torah portion where we read of a most unusual fundraising drive: the wealthy do not give more than one half-shekel and the destitute must also somehow come up with a full half-shekel as a donation. The commentaries wonder: what is the meaning of this? Wouldn’t it make sense for the population to contribute an amount appropriate to their financial capacity? The answer: The focus here is to drive home the point that we are all an equal piece of a larger kaleidoscope, the community.

The beauty of this week’s beautiful programs is that it brought together and united so many members of our community. We are all different; we have varying political opinions, occupations, and world outlooks-- and yet, we are all one community.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite your ‘half-shekel’ to another great community event up ahead: the Chabad at Beekman-Sutton 1980’s themed Purim party (promotion attached). Come dressed in a 1980’s themed costume and receive a complimentary mini rubics cube (might I mention no need to bring the spray-paint). 

May almighty Gd bless you, our entire community and all communities with a good Shabbos/Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shmuel Metzger
 

PS: If you're a kid - or have one- don't miss an incredible event taking place THIS Sunday at Chabad, YOU SCRIBE! 2-4 pm. Click here to RSVP

Pictures from the women's Challah bake:

Baby Loves Shabbat Weekly Friday class:

Exploring Space and the Moon Landing at Manhattan Jewish Montessori this week:

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The Plural I

 

Dear Friend,

A happy almost Shabbos to you.

This week's Torah portion begins with the  commandment to build the Mishkan, (Shemos 25:8) "Make a home for me and I will dwell in them".

The classic commentaries and super-commentaries struggle to make sense of the switch from singular to plural in this verse. Should it not have been written, “and I will dwell in it?” 

Allow me to give a sampling of their interpretations:

Basic
'Them' is an allusion to the Tabernacle, the Three temples in Jerusalem and the various synagogues and individual homes which serve as a 'safe space' for the sacred in this world.

Mystical
Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz's (1558-1628) magnum opus (best described as 'Pre-Chassidic Chassidic thought') interprets 'them' to mean, every single individual of the nation of Israel. The imposing architecture may be impressive; more impressive though, is an individual making her/himself a 'dwelling place' for Gd's presence with the study of Torah and performance of the Mitzvahs. I should mention that The Rebbe would quote this interpretation quite often.

An Alternative Explanation
May I suggest a third interpretation with a little twist: The human being is so very complex (and even complicated at times.) The book of Tanya begins with an existential question which may cross one's mind,  "Am I essentially a good guy or a bad guy?". The author explains that the answer to this conundrum is not so simple. Wo/man is a hybrid of a holy soul which is a Chelek Eloka Mimal Mamosh - an actual fragment of Gd - and a Nefesh Habahamis - A self serving animal(istic) soul. These two paradoxical forces tethered together create a full circuit and wo/man springs to life. Now, compound that with chemicals and positive and not-so-positive life experiences and alas the gestalt of 'I' might feel like 'We'. Says Almighty Gd: Please allow Me in, to 'feel at home' in whatever role you play- thoughtful daughter, caring sister, loving spouse, dedicated father, no-nonsense employer, brilliant scholar, etcetera. Make Me at home as whomever and wherever you are.

Though this is indeed a monumental task, I bless you and your loved ones in the timeless words of Moses at the grand opening of the Mishkan: “May it be Gd's will that His blessed presence be found in all you do".

Warmly,
Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

PS The upcoming 'Six Great Minds - One Thousand Years Of Jewish Thought' on Tuesday evening will explore the fascinating life and times of the great 'Baal Shem Tov' founder of the Chassidic movement. This class is not to be missed! I know it's after a long day of work...I assure that you will not regret venturing into the cold night to attend this riveting class.

Double Your Fun

 

 

Dear Friend,

Hope your week went well.

We are at the cusp of the very special "twin months" of Adar.

An introduction and some basic math: The Jewish calendar is essentially a lunar calendar (354 days and some change) however the Torah requires that the holidays be within a specific season; whereas there is an 11 day deficit annually, we 'fall behind' a full month every three years. The solution is a 'leap month' every few years. After a brief discussion in the Talmud, the sages conclude that the added month should be the happiest one ie the Purim month. 

This year we enjoy this special calendar with Rosh Chodesh this coming week (Feb 5-6) and we celebrate Purim on the eve of March 20.

Speaking of which, mark your calendar for the eve of March 20th when Chabad at Beekman-Sutton will celebrate with a 1980's themed Purim party. You can come and dance with your Michael Jackson moondance shoes or if you wish just sit in the back and play Pac-Man, your call. The combinations and fun ideas are virtually endless. Our boombox will be blasting festive Jewish music all evening.

May almighty G-d bless you with double blessing now and always.

Stay warm and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

PS The 'Six Great Thinkers - One Thousand Years of Jewish Thought' winter series is going strong. To reserve click here

PPS check for a Kosher symbol on the Doublemint®
"Double Your Pleasure®, Double Your Fun™" or the knockoff "Dubble Bubble" as some chewing gums include gelatin which is sourced from a super non-kosher animal which shall remain unnamed.

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