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Rabbi's Blog

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

the world is pregnant

 

As we stand on the threshold of a New Year, we would like to capitalize on the powerful energy afforded us to offer our blessings and wishes to you and yours.

We say “Hayom Haras Olam”, today the world trembles, during Rosh Hashanah prayers. The word Haras also can mean pregnant and thus the passage translates as “today the world is pregnant”, pregnant with possibilities!

Our blessing to you and yours is that the possibilities G-d has afforded you, and continues to afford you, be capitalized to its fullest. May you see the inherent G-dly potential in yourself and take advantage of it to its fullest. May the potential you see in others empower you to uncover their inherent good. May your inner reservoir of good health, and of those you love, be released for continued sustained health and into healing where it is needed. May you make the most of the opportunities to amass material blessing.  May you use your blessings to do even more good and increase G-dliness in the world around you. May the inner oneness of our People be released to manifest true unity. And may the inner purpose of creation be actualized with the coming of Moshiach now!

K’siva V’Chasima Tova, Leshana Tova Umesukah – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year! 

Best wishes,

Rabbi Kushi and Fraida Schusterman 

 

Speak nicely

 

Before Rosh Hashanah we take stock of our year. We take account of what we need to improve in and make resolutions to make amends.

One of the things that frustrates me is hearing people speak negatively about others. It can be about the friend they got into a fight with, an organization that is too liberal or not liberal enough or the community member that is being spoken about as a covert mouthpiece for a specific political party.

We need to recognize that we are one people! We do not speak badly about those who are close to us. Just as we do not speak negatively about our children, we cannot speak negatively about our fellow Jew.

In 1990, an Orthodox Rabbi spoke publicly and not positively about his fellow Jews. That Shabbos, the Rebbe responded (this is an excerpt from the endnotes of the book “Rebbe” written by Joseph Telushkin):

‘We must remember that all Jewish people are one single unified entity... We must appreciate the importance of speaking positively and the detrimental effects of speaking negatively.... Criticizing or speaking unfavorably about any portion of the Jewish people is like making such statements against G-d Himself…

… Those who were spoken negatively of should know that these words will have no effect on them. On the contrary G-d will bless them both in material and spiritual matters with good health and long life.’

This upcoming year, I invite you to consider leaving all the negativity behind.  Try to lay aside the fights and disagreements. At the minimum, do not let them leave your lips. And then, we will be blessed as a people with success, both in material and spiritual matters, with good health and long life.

Have an amazing Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Get in, now!

Last week, I visited an old friend and ended up having a chassidic farbrengen discussing a famous chassidic parable. Questioning the parable, my friend shared a powerful thought: where is the field that we need to go to see the king?

The parable goes like this: During the entire year, when the king is in his palace, there is no possibility for an audience with the king for most of the common folk. Of those who hope and apply for an audience, only a select few are actually granted one.

There comes a time, however, when the king is not in the capital city but out in the field. While there, every one of his subjects can go to greet him. The king graciously receives each one of them and shows a happy and radiant face, granting them their requests.

The king is then escorted back to the city by those who have come to meet him. Upon entering his palace, once again, only a select few are granted an audience. However, those dedicated subjects who greeted the king are now part of that exclusive group, and are permitted entrance into the throne room.

This parable parallels our relationship with G‑d during the High Holiday season.

Throughout the entire year, G‑d is reachable through following the Divine will: His precepts - the mitzvot, and immersing in His wisdom, the Torah.

An individual may feel, however, that he is not following the correct path; his passions are not holy and therefore he is not living according to G‑d’s blueprint. This individual is akin to the citizen who left the populated capital city and goes off to the unpopulated fields, or even further, into the woods or desert. He has wandered away from the King’s capital. Sensing how distant he is, he might feel totally estranged with no connection to the King.

In His great love for us, during the month of Elul, G‑d goes out to the fields making Himself available to all. This outpouring of love uplifts and encourages, even those of us who may feel very distanced due to our actions. When we see how G‑d graciously receives us in the field, smiling and granting our requests, we resolve to once again reconnect and conduct ourselves in a manner befitting a loyal subject of the King.

So my friend says to me: where is the field?? We need to go out into the field to greet the King! 

Then, answering his own question, he points to the table and says: here! Right here!

Throughout the year, we view the physical world as a barrier to G-dliness. We need to convert that barrier into a tool to infuse spirituality into the world. However, during the month of Elul, the physical world represents spirituality the way it is infused into the physical; it is no longer food but a tool to serve G-d, it is no longer a tree, it is G-d’s creation.

Will you view the world from this perspective? Do it now and you get to keep that perspective when G-d goes back into the palace.

The analog continues: come the High Holidays and we escort the King back to the capital to settle there once again. Furthermore, we can actually join Him in His inner chamber.

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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