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Rabbi's Blog

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

Stand up and be counted!

Do you have an opinion? Are you willing to take a stand?

We all have values, thoughts, and opinions on many matters. At times, something external happens that reveals a fire, a passion or a capability that remained dormant and we get excited; we stand up and are counted.

We see this when people have become involved in their Chabad house or another local organization. For many years they may have been involved on the periphery and then something happens and they become the biggest advocate, supporter, volunteer, etc. 

This can happen in Judaism as well. For many years, one can remain somewhat distant from their involvement in their Jewish heritage. And then, after an event or occasion, whether it is having kids, the passing of a loved one, being introduced to the relevance of Judaism in removing stress or adding spirituality etc., promptly they get all involved and passionate about their Judaism! Often they are an involved advocate for people to get involved!

I realized that this is connected to this week’s Parsha after discussing this with a financial partner of Chabad this week. We were discussing the difference between a partner and a donor. A partner cares about the organization and wants it to be successful; it is THEIR Chabad house, THEIR shul, THEIR organization. A donor, on the other hand, gives money, time, volunteers, etc. to THE Chabad house, THE shul, THE organization but it is not their own.

The Parsha begins with the message that to be counted you need Naaso, to be lifted up, to step out of your comfort zone to reveal that internal fire, passion and capability. 

So this week, stand up and be counted and make the world a better place!

Have a great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

It's who you are

Throw a stick into the air, and it will [always] land on it's root (Gen. Rabbah 86:6). 

You have to study it and you have to do it - Chassidic saying. 

As we complete the Sefirat Ha’omer, we sometimes say we spent 7 weeks becoming a different person; a more refined, better individual.

Often we tell ourselves: “I don't have what it takes, I am not that type of person”. 

It is then that we need to throw a stick into the air, let the wind remove the dust and things that are blocking the core identity from shining through and it will always land on its root – allowing its core identity to shine through.

The Torah was given on engraved tablets. You are a good person. You are a good Jew! You already have everything you need engraved on your soul! You are connected. You can make the world a better place, naturally! Sometimes some dirt gets in the way, dusting our souls. All we need to do is throw the stick in the air, and it will land at its core.  

Perhaps Sefirat Ha’omer is more than becoming a new person. It is about revealing the person we always were.

See you shavuot as we celebrate who we are :).

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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