Rabbi's Blog

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

Did you feel it


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Did You Feel It? - Earthquake  Subscribe Here

Did you feel it? Yesterday at about 2pm the world trembled; at least the east coast.... There was an earthquake. 

At that time Fraida and I were in Washington D.C.,between the White House and the Washington Monument spending time with visiting relatives. Within 5 minutes the entire Mall was evacuated. "No, you can't go near the monument."... "You can't enter.".... "Don't go there."...  Helicopters circled while people inspected for cracks and structural damage. Police enforced rules ensuring that all the visitors and workers remained safe.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that we must learn from every occurrence that happens to us. Reb Schnuer Zalmen of LiadiArticle.aspsaid that we should live with the times, namely the weekly Torah portion.

The Torah says, in this week's Torah portion, "See I have placed before you life and death, the good and the bad. Choose life."

Sometimes the traditions can seem like a series of "no"s. Today's event taught me that in reality these are part of a larger safety Plan. We can choose to observe another mitzva and that will add meaning and good to our life. While Hashem "circles" overhead ,His Torah gives guidance that ensures that we won't fall through the cracks and that our way of living is structurally safe.

Did you feel it? What message did you take?

Have a great Shabbos and Choose Life.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman


You Broke It, You Fix It!

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Moses came down from Mount Sinai and seeing the Jews worshipping the golden calf, he broke the tablets. G-d said to him: “hew for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones”. G-d did not lecture him about why he broke the tablets, neither did He tell Moses that it was wrong of him. G-d also did not tell him it was a good thing (until later). G-d’s only response was you broke it, you fix it.

As human beings we break things. At times it is a physical item and sometimes by telling another person something we cause a broken heart. In the words of the Talmud: Adam mued l'olam—a person is always responsible. That sense of responsibility is one of the foremost distinctions between human beings and other living creatures.

Responsibility means that you are held accountable for your actions. One must figure out how to fix what was broken or at least to do everything in one’s power to repair it.

When I was younger, I deleted Windows 95™ from my family’s computer. I was responsible to fix it. It took me about 13 hours to retrieve the data and make it work again. That experience started me on a path of enjoying technology and figuring things out. However, if during those 13 hours you would have told me it was a good thing or had my parents taken the computer to the repair shop, would I have gained from the experience?

Back to Moses. The lesson I learned from G-d telling Moses to replace the tablets that he broke was to be responsible and be accountable for my own actions and if I broke it, try to fix it.


What are you going fix this week?

Have a Great Shabbos,


Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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Social Debt Ceiling

You all heard about it, it was all over the news raising the national debt, the debt crisis, default or whatever other term was used. This got me thinking.

Don't we all have a social debt ceiling?

We all get into debt when we withdraw from the relationships we are in. Often relationships break down because the debtceiling has been breached, and we are left wondering why this time different.

We find ourselves in the Three Weeks, the saddest time in the Jewish calendar that culminates with the fast of Tisha B'av. We are taught the reason the second Bais Hamikdosh(Temple) was destroyed was because of baseless hatred. We are told that the way we make a tikkun-repair-of this hatred is by showing one another boundless love.

One way this can be done is by taking stock of the relationships and friendships we are in and making arrears to it to prevent any further deterioration, hopefully doing so before its limit has been reached. 

What a powerful message and opportunity. I will begin and invite you to join me in this endeavor.

Reach out to a friend or former friend and pay down the debt. Bring people together. Tear down the false barriers of age, affiliation and ethnicity.Have a great Shabbos!!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman



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