Rabbi's Blog

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

How to Delegate!

Abraham had a servant, his name was Eliezer. In this week’s Torah portion Abraham told his servant to go to the land of his birthplace to find a wife for his son Issac from there. In the instruction to Eliezer, Abraham said: "And I will adjure you by the Lord, the God of the heaven and the God of the earth that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose midst I dwell. But, you shall go to my land and to my birthplace, and you shall take a wife for my son, for Isaac".

It is a nice story but what does it mean in a practical sense? This story teaches us a great lesson. Abraham gave clear and precise instructions; don’t look for a wife from the Canaanites, do look for a wife in the land of my birthplace. In order to have someone do something for oneself, one must give clear instructions and not be vague. For example: If I would ask someone to set up for a class in our new Chabad Center (102 North Main St.), I would  tell them exactly what and how I would want it: ‘Please set up 3 tables and 15 chairs, in a square shape, 5 feet from the back left corner’. This way all parties involved gain; the volunteer knows what I want from them, I will know how they will set it up and YOU will know how the class will be set up when you arrive.  

 Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Schusterman


 As human beings we must show appreciation. When we receive positive feedback it helps us to continue to do the good which we have done. When we are appreciated, we feel good. When we let others know that we are grateful for what has been done for us, we make them feel good too.


This week’s Torah portion begins with G-d revealing himself to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. Why in Mamre’s territory? Because Mamre was the one who counseled Abraham to do the circumcision. G-d showed his appreciation for this by revealing himself in “Mamre’s territory”.

So let us ask ourselves how often do we show our children how much we appreciate them and the things they say or do? How often do we share with our spouse/friend/neighbor how their actions make us happy?

Let us all appreciate one more thing this week that until now we have taken for granted. A way to appreciate “it” is to take notice of it and to express our gratitude.

Someone made the effort to share with me this week that they appreciate my weekly e-mail (even though I sometimes make mistakes, ie last week I wrote 700 feet instead of 700 meters). I’d like to thank you for taking your time to read my weekly e-mail and sending your feedback, I appreciate it.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman



Why Me?

The Chilean Miners - a story that has gripped the media. Imagine living 700 feet below ground for months. The first question that a miner may have asked is Why Me? What did I do to deserve this! I am a good person, I do good deeds and I do what I can to support my community and my family. Why me?

Same story thousands of years ago (and this weeks Torah portion): “and the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you……I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name………And it came to pass when Abram came to Egypt………and the woman (Sarah) was taken to the house of Pharaoh’”. Genesis 12:1-12:15.

Abraham should have asked Why Me?

The answer may be in the very beginning of the next chapter, Chapter 13: “And Abram came up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that was his, and Lot with him, to the south. And Abram was very heavy with cattle, with silver, and with gold”.

Was his going down to Egypt a catalyst for him to become wealthy? Was Sarah being taken the vehicle for this wealth?

Back to the miners in Chile: Jose Henriquez, 55, served as a stand-in religious leader for the miners by leading a prayer group. I don’t know Jose, but maybe for him being in the mine was the catalyst to becoming a religious leader. He’s been in mining for 33 years, but now he may be a religious leader.

I’ll end off with a quote from a letter of the Rebbe “If an individual experiences a particularly difficult or trying situation, it may be assumed that Hashem has given him extraordinary powers to overcome that extraordinary difficulty. The individual concerned is probably unaware of his real inner strength. The trial may therefore be designed for the sole purpose of bringing out in the individual his hidden strength, which, after overcoming his crisis, can be added henceforth to the arsenal of his revealed capacities, in order to utilize both for infinitely greater achievements for the benefit of himself, and others.”

So why me? Maybe the answer is for me to grow whether financially like Abram, religiously like Jose or to reveal an inner strength as the Rebbe said.

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

To see my brothers blog on the chile story click here

Get out of the box

With the holidays all behind us now, it feels like I've been thrown straight into a torrent of rain.

Possibly one reason for this is that Sunday we began to read the portion of Noah and the flood. This may be the reason for my feeling like I've been thrown into a flood without warning.

What is one to do when you encounter a flood? The Torah's advice to Noah remains true: "go into the ark". Go into the safety of the Torah and the uplifting spiritual effects of prayer and be recharged.

But perhaps the more important message is what happens after you have entered the ark. The Torah instructs Noah to "go out of your ark" or literally "out of your box"! Yes, the Torah says that you have to go out of your box. To really live life, to really connect with all the opportunities, you need to go out of yourself and your own limitations, out of your comfort zone.

Perhaps when we go straight from the high of the high holiday season straight into the floods of Noah we have an added power to go out of our box, out of our limitations, and climb to the highest of heights.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi K. Schusterman

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