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Buy Local!

Thursday, 14 July, 2016 - 10:53 am

Buy Local“Here's what Walmart put on sale to compete with Amazon” was CNN’s headline this week. Walmart.com ran their own promotions to compete with “Amazon Prime Day”.  Reports say that the savings on this day are greater than black Friday, which was always known as the day to get the best deals. BUT DON’T DO IT!

Let me share with you two stories:

1) We recently needed to replace our refrigerator and were not sure whether to buy from Sears or from Home Depot. The determinant ended up being the price. Telling this to a close friend, the first words out of his mouth were: “You should have gotten it from Home Depot. After all, they hosted you for the Chanukah Menorah workshop.”

2) My brother lives in Atlanta and runs Chabad Intown. Once, at a Shabbat Kiddush/Oneg, they had Pepsi on the table. A congregant turned to my brother and said:  “Rabbi, this is Atlanta, coke town, here we serve coke”.

Will my purchase make a difference to Home Depot? Probably not. However, my choice to purchase locally makes me a different person. When we buy from a local store, we sometimes pay more in the short term for the specific product, yet gain long term in our relationship with the community we are a part of.

At Harford Chabad, our tagline is “Invigorating, Inspiring, Community”.  It is important to do the community part.

We see this in this week’s Torah portion. When the Jews wanted to pass through the land of Edom, they requested: “Please let us pass through your land; we will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink [our] well water”.  Rashi comments: “Moses said: “Though we have manna to eat and a well from which to drink, we will not drink from it, but we will buy food and drink from you, for your benefit”. From here [we learn] that even if a guest has his own provisions, he should buy from the [local] shopkeeper to benefit his host [community].

When on vacation, buy from the local stores.  If they have kosher food, get it from them even if you had brought your own. When at home, support your local community. Buy local produce, use local insurance agents, support local non-profits (there are over 800 non-profits in Harford County) etc.

Why? Because the most perfect community is a community comprised of individuals coming together and uniting to make THEIR world a special place to be.

Have a great Shabbos.

I hope to see you soon!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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