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The Rabbi's thoughts culled from the "word from the Rabbi" in his weekly email

Suspense Marketing

Once again Apple™ had a launch event of the iPad mini. While many "tech bloggers" knew what the product would be, Apple used (or at least tried) the concept of suspense to get people to want the new product, as they have done in the past. 

Regardless of your interest in technology products, or in Apple, many people say that to make something more precious in someone’s eyes let them know "something" is going to happen but not "what".

 We see that this is not a new concept. This week’s Torah portion begins with the verse "And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land ... to the land that I will show you.”

The biblical commentator Rashi explains: "He did not reveal the land to him immediately, in order to make it dear in his eyes and to give him reward for every command.”

 Everything in the Torah is a lesson for us. G-d told Abram "go out" (see last years article about this) and it will help you get in in touch with your spiritual side and your G-dly side. However, be aware that while you know that G-d will always lead you in the right direction and that there may be some suspense. However,  in the end it will be good, it may not be the land that YOU want. It will be the path that G-d will show you.

Good Shabbos and I hope to see you at services.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

Are you under water?

In financial terms - this means that if you sell an object at current market value you will need more money than that amount to pay off the loan you took in order to buy the object. This term is commonly used in mortgages. For example, if someone owes $250,000 on his house but can't sell it for more then $200,000, he will need to find an additional $50,000 to pay the debt when he wants to sell the house.

Everyone is working hard, your neighbors, your friends and your family. They are trying to make a living and trying to live a more meaningful life than just working, sleeping, drinking coffee, working, and sleeping again. 

Chassidic spiritual teachings explain that "the flood" described in this week's parsha, Noah, represents the challenges of earning a living while living in a non-spiritual world. 

It says in "Song of Songs," written by King Solomon, "Many waters cannot quench the love, nor can rivers flood it".  Our love and desire for spirituality cannot be quenched by "many waters," excessive physical indulgence. "Nor can rivers flood it," worrying about making a living won't bring us to spiritual happiness.

What will bring us spiritual joy?  The recognition that G-d is the Provider can help take away the worry, while adding to our practice of spirituality will help us love G-d more.

Look at someone who has less than you have, or struggles more than you do, and be thankful for the good that you have in your life.

Have a good Shabbos.  Hope to see you at services :)

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Pray! It’s good for YOU!

After the all the Jewish holidays, we jump right into a new year. A new year that brings with it a new opportunity to study the Torah, and is there a more exciting book then the book of Genesis the book of Bereishis. BTWwww.harfordjewish.com/torah awesome classes, begin this Wednesday Oct. 17!

What is so beautiful about studying the Torah day by day, is that each passage, each verse sheds new light on how we are to live a wholesome and full life! Today I read the following verse Chapter 2 Verse 5. “Now no tree of the field was yet on the earth, neither did any herb of the field yet grow, because the Lord G-d had not brought rain upon the earth, and there was no man to work the soil.” Rashi (the foremost commentary on the Torah) quotes the Talmud “because there was no man to work the soil, and no one recognized the benefit of rain, but when man came and understood that they were essential to the world, he prayed for them, and they fell, and the trees and the herbs sprouted.”

The Talmud is teaching us two things.

  1. Prayer works! G-d created the earth and yet waited until Man came along in order to cause rain to fall. G-d was waiting for Man to pray, to teach us that Prayer works.
  2. Prayer is good for US. G-d could have made the rain fall before Man came along and furthermore G-d doesn’t need our prayer. Rather G-d wanted US to recognize where our blessing comes from, because it teaches us proper appreciation for the things we are blessed with in this life.

Lets Pray Together! Will we see you This Shabbos? 9:00am?

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

There's a Branch Right Near You

 There's a Branch Right Near You - Guest Rabbi

Question of the Week: 

Someone asked me why we wave the Lulav in six directions - right, left, forward, up, down, backward. I didn't really know how to answer. Is there a simple way to explain this? 

Answer: 

The four species that we bless on Sukkos correspond to the four letters in G-d's Hebrew name. Waving them in all six directions signifies our faith that G-d is everywhere. Specifically, we are saying that on every level, at every stage of life, in all that happens to us, G-d is there. 

Right and left represent Chesed and Gevurah, the power of love and the power of discipline. G-d, like a parent, can be loving and can also be strict. Sometimes G-d's light shines on us and we feel close to Him, other times He seems distant, we feel left in the dark and have to find our own way through. Whether we receive G-d's closeness and love, or whether He gives us space to grow on our own, it is all coming from G-d. He knows exactly what we need, and that's what we get. 

Up and down symbolize the highs and lows of life. When we feel we are on top of the world, we need to remember that G-d enabled us to get there. When we feel down in the dumps, we need to have faith that G-d is with us there. There is no success without help, and there is no failure without hope. 

Forward and backward stand for the future and the past. We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we have faith that G-d will guide us through whatever lies ahead. And as for the past, all that has happened to us is a part of the plan. All our past experiences, even those that we would rather forget, made us who we are today. We are where we are now because that is exactly where G-d wants us to be. Our entire past was a lead up to this moment. G-d brought you here for a reason. 

So the four species are waved around, to recognise that G-d is everywhere, in the good and the bad, in the ups and the downs, in the uncertain future and the turbulent past. And in the middle of all that is you. You are doing the waving. Because G-d will be there for you in all you do, if only you let Him in. 

Good Shabbos, 

Rabbi Moss 

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