Rabbi's Blog

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

We Can Do It! Just Like They Did!

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Have you ever done something and realized that you should have planned it first? Have you ever planned something and needed to change its implementation? Do you have goals? Do you have a way of getting there?

G-d did! G-d commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle (the forerunner of the Holy Temple). He gave Moshe all the details of how to make it. He gave the “plan”.  He outlined the goal, that this world should have a place for G-d to call home, a place that would reveal G-d's Presence. 

There is no delay between Moses telling us that we need to build the Tabernacle and the generosity of the Jewish people to donate to the cause and implement the building. People were asked to voluntarily give precious metals and other objects of value for the project. People gave generously until the goal was accomplished.

Your local Chabad House has a goal! The mission was established by G-d a long time ago. The mission is “to make this world a home for G-d”. The “Moses” of our generation – The Rebbe - made clear what the plan is. He set up a network of over three thousand Jewish centers worldwide. The goal of these centers is to provide the soul of every human being with the ability to connect with G-d. The goal is to inspire the spark to become a burning flame.

We can do this! It is possible, even here in Harford County!  By each committing to make it happen, we will accomplish.

Moshe guided them. but it was their generosity in giving and involvement that built the Tabernacle.  What they did in the Sinai desert we can do here. Let us learn from them

They make even the desert G-dly by donating, volunteering, and making sacrifices to accomplish..

1)      Donating– “Every generous hearted person shall bring it.” (Exodus 35:5) You can do this locally by donating and joining the Chai Club

2)      Volunteering - "Then all the wise hearted people of the performers of the work made the Mishkan."  (Exodus 36:8) You can do this locally by volunteering, i.e. for Purim or Pesach preparation. Just email  [email protected]

3)      Making Sacrifices  - "And he offered up the burnt offering." Exodus 40:29 You can do this locally by taking on a mitzvah that you feel would take a “sacrifice” to do it and committing to do that mitzva for 3 months. (If you need accountability email[email protected] to state your commitment). 

Here too, G-d's intent will be brought to fruition, You and I are will be part of it and this will cause the glory of G-d to fill the Sanctuary.

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. This week's to do list:

Fill out the Purim RSVP form
Fill out the Seder RSVP form
Order Shmurah Matzo
Plan to be at The Shul March 5th @ 10am for services

Moon Renewal, Shining Sun

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This year is a leap year. In the Jewish calendar an entire month, the month of Adar, is repeated.  This causes us to have two Purim holidays.  Purim is celebrated in the second Adar, while in the first Adar we have, what we call; Purim Katan – the small Purim. This year Purim Katan is this Friday, February 18.

The reason there is a "leap year" is to ensure that Pesach - Passover is celebrated during the spring season. Seasons are dictated by the sun and the Jewish calendar is dictated by the moon. Being that the lunar cycle is 354 days while the solar cycle is 365 days, there is a "leap year" every 2 or 3 years to make up the difference.

The sun’s light is the same daily; it does not get bigger or smaller as the days go by, it is fixed.  On the other hand, the moon is never the same, there will always be a difference between yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s moonlight, symbolizing change and innovation.

One of the practical lessons we can learn from the differences between the modus operandi of the sun and moon, is that one can employ these seemingly opposing characteristics in their life.

The expression of our values in our life needs to be predictable like the sun; it should be “as clear as day” what we stand for. At the same time, they may need a new package. We need to be innovative in ways to keep them fresh, vibrant and exciting, like the moon always changing while reflecting the sun’s light. 

That is what we stand for; a tradition of 3323 years that is ancient and fresh, genuine and applicable, solid and flexible all at the same time. Bringing Torah to a modern world without changing the "product" or deviating from Jewish law.

Have a wonderful week and try to think what mitzvah you can reNEW in your life that will inspire you, and of course, if you think of any innovative ideas how we can spread the warmth and joy of Judaisim in Harford or Cecil County, please email  [email protected].

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Representing Others

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One’s clothing depicts who he is and what he represents. A uniform shows allegiance to a company, country, group, and at times, are worn for protection.

This week’s Torah portion talks about the garments of the Kohen, the garments that were worn during the Temple Service.  They were: the ketonet -- a full length linen tunic, the michnasayim -- linen breeches, the mitznefetor migba'at -- a linen turban and the avnet -- a long sash wound above the waist.

Why? What purpose did the uniform serve? Why could they not come dressed as they pleased? Why was it that in the Temple was there no such thing as “casual Friday”?

One possible answer may be that in order to represent the community to G-d, and offer sacrifices on their behalf, one must remember at all times that serving the community is not about whoyou are but about whom you represent.  In our personal life, when our ego gets in the way, it is our prerogative to get rid of this ego, or not. However, when a person is in a position of power, in a position of representing his community, he has a responsibility to liberate himself of his ego.

We all represent our communities, some more often then others. We must remember, especially at those times, that we need to put the cause forward without the ego getting in the way. Whether we are saying I am a resident, I am a parent or I am a Jew, we should learn from the Kohen how to sacrifice our egos for the greater good.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman




This Shabbat we begin the month of Adar. This year because it is a Jewish leap year there are 2 months of Adar (Adar 1 and Adar 2). The month of Adar is a joyous month as the Talmud says “Just as when the Hebrew month of Av begins we restrain our joy, so too when the Hebrew month of Adar begins we increase our joy”.

This implies that the leading principal is that, “during the month of Av we curtail our joy”, while the law that, “when the month of Adar begins we increase our joy”, is only secondary.

However, The joy that we have during the month of Adar is not proportionate with the restraint we have during the month of Av; during the month of Adar we have an unbridled and unlimited joy, E.G. Purim to the point of “not knowing the difference between blessed is Mordechai (the good guy) and cursed is Haman (the bad guy)”, however during the month of Av we have a limited sadness.

The joy of Adar is stronger than the restraint we have during the month of Av because,  there is constantly the directive of the Torah to, “Serve G-d with joy", which includes the month of Av as well (the sadness we are supposed to have during Av must be a limited sadness). On the other hand, when the month of Adar comes around and we are supposed to add to the normal directive of serving G-d with happiness- the happiness becomes an unbridled happiness. 

On a deeper level, our mission here in this world is to fulfill G-ds desire to have a dwelling place here in this world. Furthermore, just as a person would dwell in his home with his entire being, so too we must make this world a proper dwelling place so that G-d can rest here with His entire Essence and Being.

That being said, G-d is only found in a place of happiness. Accordingly, if we want to make this world a proper dwelling place for G-d, there must be joy and delight here.

This being the case, we must constantly be happy, even during the times specified by the Torah to be times of sadness.

So please join us for a Happy and enJOYable prayer service This weekend  February 5th @ 10AM.

Details Below

Have a Joyous Shabbat and a wonderful 2 months of Joy.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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