Rabbi's Blog

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

Will you marry me? - A Story


After a long courtship, He proposed and they said yes; we are in this for the long haul, not even death can do us part.

While they have had a long and rocky relationship, with ups and downs, they have remained steadfast together. They have a family tradition that each year on their anniversary they get together with all their children and grandchildren. Those who cannot make it, join a family party nearby to read or hear their "Ketubah", their marriage contract.

At the reunion, everyone recommits to the family values and their desire to care for each other.

This is the story of the Jewish people and their relationship with G-d. Every year, on Shavuot, we celebrate that unity, our family, and the love of the Jewish people to G-d and His love for us.

If you are nearby, join the "anniversary party" taking place at Chabad on Wednesday 5/31/17 at 5:30 pm. Can't make that one? Reply to this email with the zip code you will be at then and I will let you know the address of a shul nearby.

Join the family party! After all, G-d is asking: will you marry me? I hope you will say yes! RSVP here

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 



Being blessed with a few children, the dynamics at home are fun. Amid the happy, peaceful and loving times, there will be the occasional, or not so occasional, squabble. Following a quarrel, we require all involved to apologize to one another, even if they do not mean it!

Why? Why apologize if the tone of your apology says the opposite; I am not really sorry! 

Speech, verbalizing something, helps one express their thoughts. Additionally, it adds power and fervor to the thought (or emotion). This is why one should remain silent when angry as it will make them angrier.

However, here is the clincher: when we say something that is inconsistent with our internal feelings and thoughts, we have a moment of pain and embarrassment. After all, we are people who are supposed to say what we mean. 

When we make a mistake, or owe someone an apology - even if we do not mean it – we should still say I'm sorry. This is the first step toward reconciliation; it gives you a twinge of the pain that they may be feeling.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 


Do you want to make a sale? Ask for it.

Do you want some quiet time? Ask for it (from whoever is stopping you).

Do you want to go on a date night with your spouse yet wonder who will watch the kids? Ask your spouse and ask someone to watch the kids.

Do you want a relationship with a specific person? Ask them for a date/coffee/lunch meeting.

Do you want a relationship with G-d? Ask what you can do!

Do you want to go to shul on shabbos? Ask when and where.

Do you want someone to support a non-profit you love? Ask them.

I think you get the gist: If you do not ask, the answer is already “no”.  If you do ask, you have a 50/50 chance you will get a yes.

Many people fear asking. Many think a negative response is intended to be personal. In truth, it is what you can do to get to a yes! Stop a sale’s pitch once you hear no, when the "customer" says no. Otherwise, you do not know that they are done buying! By asking, you are giving the person the opportunity to consider your request.

Yesterday was Pesach Sheni, "the second Passover". It was a day that in the times of the Holy Temple those who could not bring the pascal lamb on Passover - due to distance or ritual impurity - were able to make up and bring it on that day (more on that here).

But more important is the genesis of this mitzvah. Pesach Sheni was not given as most of the mitzvahs, as a directive from on high. Pesach Sheni was created because of a group of Jews in the wilderness who were feeling left out that they were not able to bring the pascal sacrifice.

What did they do? They ASKED!

These Jews approached Moshe asking: "why should we lose out"?  How can we get the pascal sacrifice when we are impure? Moshe responded: "Wait, and I will hear what the L-rd instructs concerning you." G-d’s responded with adding the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni.

They asked and got a new mitzvah. What do you want that you are not asking for?

Ask today!

Have a great Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Work Life Balance

There has been a lot of discussion about work/life balance this week; it is all over my Facebook feed and news sites. 

My perspective on work/life balance is somewhat different than the articles floating around. 

First and foremost, there is no reason that a woman should feel that she cannot do her job because of a child at home any more than her husband. Raising children is a joint responsibility and each family needs to figure out what works best for them. I know quite a few good "stay at home dads" and "stay at home moms".

Secondly, most people today do not work just for the paycheck. Of course we need the paycheck to pay our bills, yet the purpose of their work is to make a difference. Many have a career choice where they can help the greater community. We see them helping others choose the right property/health/auto insurance, assisting people get healthy food on their tables, imbuing children and adults with a love of learning, making the world more beautiful by landscaping etc. Real work is also known as life.

Third, everyone we know struggles. Whether it is their job, their health, their family, their spirituality, their community, no one is immune to life challenges. We all have the work/life balance; working out ways to balance your needs and wants as well as your dreams and hopes.

So how do we get balance in our life? This week's Torah portion tells us that by infusing mindfulness and G-dliness in the "mundane" day to day we create balance.  Kedoshim Tehiyu - be holy - be separate, be special. When at work, stand out and focus on making an impact. When you are at home, turn off your work email, texts, cellphone, and focus on your family, your own health and spiritual growth. When praying, do not do other things, focus on the prayers. Kedoshim Tehiyu tells us most importantly that work to make this world a home for G-d! Spend time with your family because G-d likes a home which is peaceful, take care of your health because G-d entrusted you with a body to take care of it.

May you find true balance in your life - all aspects of it!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

Estate Sale

So many of us are downsizing, so perhaps if that's you, you may consider coming by for gifts for your children and/or grandchildren or for young friends just starting out life together! 

If you or any of your family and dear friends would like to come, they're ALL welcome!  If you'd like, you could just forward this email to them.

I have so many wonderful items at outrageously low prices (see below)!!!  Almost anything can be had for between $1 and $5 . . .

Please call me when you can, and I look forward to speaking with you and meeting you (443-520-5185)

Caroline Mintzer

3102 Woodspring Drive

Abingdon, MD 21009

** dvds (some bluerays and box sets, like "old timey" "slapstick humor" stuff like 3 Stooges, Marx Bros., Abbott and Costello, Buck Rogers, Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Bowery Boys, etc.)

** cds (same wide variety, and with some amazing box sets)

** books (many collections of an unusually wide variety of good books by authors popular from the past 60-70 years, including the most popular women authors in abundance!)

** dozens of biiiiig wonderful "eye-candy" coffee-table style books, also covering a wide range of subject matter from world travel to various sports and everything in between!

** collection of baseball, football, soccer AND non-sports cards in sleeves in more than two dozen big binders (great starter collection for young kids and priced at only $5 per binder), numerous Star Trek books and Comic Book price guides, Superman, and other Marvel Super Heroes books AND cards, as well as a few comix (especially more recent Batmans). 

** wildly miscellaneous costume and semi-precious jewelry

** nice simple and plain, but stylish, office-work clothes (for a medium to large woman), as well as some fancy party tops

** cool and barely used shoes and fancy and plain old huge purses

** unique knick-knacks (sp?), AND household items, decorative serving platters and collectibles from ALL over the world, and finally . . .

** and lastly TA-DA -- even some of the pictures on the walls!!!

Also, please be sure to see Edward's "This End Up" rustic style pine office furniture (work desk, computer desk, and three identical two-piece storage units, along with two nice end tables to match -- all sturdy AND in pretty good condition).  Might be a good start for some of your children or grandchildren!

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