Rabbi's Blog

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

Flooded? Overwhelmed? Trust, It's Ok!

Finally, a full week of work with no holidays! 

However, I am overwhelmed with so much to do and so little time.

The anti-dote is to recognize that financial success is not a result of our genius or lack thereof.  King David tells us in psalms "If you eat the toil of your hands, you are praiseworthy, and it is good for you." Our involvement in earning a living should be some manual labor, not investing our whole self into it. This doesn't mean we shouldn't work smarter not harder. But we need to recognize that what we do is less important than doing something to give G-d a way to fund our life. 

When seeing hundreds of emails in the inbox and simply feeling flooded with work, try asking: Will anything terrible happen if I archive all these emails (after skimming for urgent ones)? Honestly, anything important will probably make its way back to the inbox.

Just out of college (or out of a job) and thinking what job to take? Wondering which field to go into to cover the bills piling up, without working crazy hours, and have extra to donate to Chabad and to go on vacation (didn't the Rabbi write last week that vacation is vital)?

If you are a typical American today, you may have some financial worries. There is lots of talk of inflation, interest rates going up etc. You may be in a place of overwhelm, drowning in the "many waters" of life and finances.

We need to remind ourselves that G-d is the provider of our sustenance. We need to create a vessel to allow G-d to fund us. He will fund us exactly the amount that he decided on the High Holidays, irrelevant to the number of hours invested and our stress level.

King Solomon tells us: Many waters cannot quench the love, nor can rivers flood it.

Remember: Nothing can detract from the love that we have innately for Hashem and His love for us. He will take care of us!

We need to learn to have true trust in G-d. Simple? Yes. Easy? No. The more we trust along with making a vessel to receive, the closer we are to having the great waters of the flood simply be a catalyst for a closer relationship with G-d and a better relationship with our job and money etc.

Have a good Shabbos!

Hope you aren’t too busy or overwhelmed to join us for minyan Shabbos morning at 10.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

I am ready for a vacation! or am I?

I am naturally a doer. I feel that I constantly need to get things done. To accomplish, build, fix, break, or learn.  

I am not good at vacationing. Even on vacation I pray, study Torah etc. To completely disconnect from others; not answering the phone, connecting, or reaching out to people? I just can't seem to do it.

In this week’s Torah portion, Bereshis, the Torah tells us about G-d creating the world. It tells us He was doing, building, creating, and completing His to do list.

There was one piece missing. Rest! Self-Care, the ability to do nothing. To rest.

Rashi comments on the verse "And G-d completed on the seventh day":

"...What was the world lacking? Rest. The Sabbath came, and so came rest. The work was completed and finished."

Learning this, I realized that vacation, taking time off to (seemingly) do nothing, is also part of the work. For the work to be complete one needs to learn how to rest.

I am not there yet, but I am working on it.

What is your relationship to rest?


Cancel your plans Monday evening to join us!

Why should I cancel my plans to dance on Monday night?

I have so many other things going on. I just spent time in the synagogue on the High Holidays. I came to a Sukkot program. I think I did my part in celebrating the holidays.

The midrash tells us a story about a king who had a party with a bunch of his friends. On the last day of the party, he reached out to one of his closest friends and requested that he stay an extra day to hang out. Just the king and his friend to enjoy each other’s company. 

This is the joy of Simchas Torah! This is why I suggest you cancel whatever other plans you had and join us Monday night at 6:30 at Chabad.

We will get together and embrace the Torah after spending close to a month praying and eating together. It’s time for us to spend a moment in the ecstasy of the oneness of G-d, and dance with abandon. Celebrating the unity of community. We are all united as one as we celebrate together, regardless of our knowledge of the Torah.

We dance with a closed Torah to show that it’s not about what we know. It’s about our inherent connection to Torah. We eat together, enjoy each other’s company, and dance together celebrating our heritage. Celebrating who we are and that we are a unique bunch.

It’s the closeness of the Neilah prayer at the end of Yom Kippur mixed with the implementation in the physical world. Plus, there is great food and drink😉

Just reply to this email so we prepare for you.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

Singing through your troubles.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. - John Lennon

Have you ever struggled with a situation and afterwards saw that it was good? Lost a job which was a catalyst to a job you love? Lost a relationship which helped you get to closer, higher quality relationships?

This week's Torah portion is referred to as the song of Haazinu. A song whose lyrics start like a beautiful poem, moves into an ominous depiction of the future, talking about all the troubles that will befall the Jewish people, and concludes with that Hashem will take care of His people and take revenge on their enemies. His children should follow the Torah and Hashem will bring them back home to the Holy Land.

Moses is talking about the circle of life; each step leads to the next step, until complete redemption. We (will) see how every difficulty and every suffering was just a nudge to get us back on track and continue to move towards redemption.

We never want to have pain and pray that no one else ever must experience any pain, challenges, addiction, or troubles. Yet, I have heard from many people about their challenges:

• After years of being clean, I can appreciate how my substance abuse led me to the good life I have today.
• After losing my job, I can appreciate how my job loss led me to the good job I have today.
• After losing my health, I can appreciate how that led me to the healthy life I have today.

As the saying goes "If you want to know how bad it is, read the newspapers. If you want to know how good it is, study history.” In the end it's always good and if it's not good it's not the end.

This is one of the messages that Moses is telling us. There is a designer to this world with a plan, a mission, and a purpose. There are challenges, perceived and real. Each challenge is another step toward redemption. If we can recognize that (not easy!) we would be able to sing through our troubles.

We pray that we are all blessed with an amazing year of revealed good where what we see is not challenges but the good at the end.

Have a good Shabbos and an amazing joyous Sukkos.


P.S. My father recently wrote a book called Why God Why - How to believe in heaven when it hurts like hell about life's challenges. You can learn more and purchase your copy by clicking here.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.