One Chanukah, when I was a teenager, a friend showed me a cool trick. If you snuff out a candle, the smoke rises from the wick for a few seconds. If you place another flame directly in that smoke , the flame will actually follow the smoke down and relight the candle. I made a video showing it here. It's a cool trick, but I never really understood the real meaning of it, until last week when I realized that this is exactly what happened to my son when I blew his soul back into him!
"A candle of G-d is the soul of man" (Proverbs 20, 27). Chassidus elaborates on the parallels. Flames don't want to exist. They want to expire & fly back up to where they came from in heaven. It's the wick and fuel that tie the flame down and keep it from expiring. So too, a soul wants to fly back up to heaven, where it came from, and the body is what keeps the soul down here alive.
As a flame is extinguished, and it's en route back up to heaven, a trail of smoke follows it. Even though the flame is already gone from the wick, if you catch it midway, and put another flame into the smoke trail, the flame will climb back down to the wick.
You may have heard that I pulled my son's lifeless from the bottom of a pool a couple months back. There's no doubt in my mind that his soul was on it's way back up to heaven. Luckily, while his soul wasn't in him, it hadn't made it all the way back to heaven either. Without any training in CPR, I put him on the concrete and started alternating between blowing into his mouth and pumping his chest. After about 30 seconds, the flame of his soul came back, and he started to faintly breathe.
You see? This flame trick is actually a perfect analogy of CPR! It catches the soul midway and pulls it back! What a privilege to see how King Solomon's analogy of "A flame of G-d is the soul of man" is literal in every detail. The entire Torah is true in every detail. As we go through life, if we pay attention, we can see more and more of this truth.
After the holiday was over last night, we opened our tech devices to the disturbing reality of violent riots which have been erupting all over the nation. George Floyd clearly was abused and murdered by a rotten cop, and we all feel it's right that he's being tried for murder. Chabad knows the pain of this racial divide well. You may have heard of the Crown Heights riots, in which a Jewish car driver got into a collision, and a young black boy was killed. For the next three days, rioters wreaked havoc, destroying, looting, and stabbing a yeshiva student to death (with a couple cold blooded murders in the following weeks). I would like you to watch two videos of the Rebbe with then Mayor David Dinkins (the only black NYC mayor to date), and you might want to watch them a few times, to catch the Rebbe's subtle but strong point. Here's video one , which was taken just two days after the Crown Heights Riots in which the yeshiva boy was stabbed to death, and here'
Tomorrow is my birthday and on this occasion, I want to bless you with health, safety, peace of mind, wealth, and deep satisfaction (nachas) in your important relationships including yourself, your family and Hashem. A birthday is like a personal Yom Kippur, and a time for reflection and good resolutions. My birthday is on the 9th day of the omer which is the day of "severity of severity" (click here to learn more about sefiras haomer and how you can fulfill this easy mitzvah). Like everyone else I know, I have character flaws that keep popping up again and again. My character flaws seem to revolve around "severity" and I've been reflecting on how I can incorporate a little bit more "kindness" into my life. It really got me thinking about the Rebbe's mitzvah campaign of tzedakah. Obviously, tzedakah was a mitzvah before his campaign, but the Rebbe had a unique angle: Everyone should have a pushka (charity box) in their home and office
Is G-d in control? The short answer is yes. Let me share four levels of belief in G-d: G-d created the world a long time ago G-d continues to create/control the world, especially the big things (like coronavirus) Not only does G-d control the big things, but He even controls the smallest details (like a leaf falling off a tree, or each individual blade of grass growing, or who I bumped into in the store). The one and only thing out of G-d's control is fear of G-d itself (Pirkei Avos). G-d even choreographs our mistakes Belief that G-d created the world is pretty basic. To say that G-d is involved with the big things is also relatively easy to swallow. Even though it hurts, when we go through hard times (like now), we turn to G-d and ask for his kindness, and can find comfort in the knowledge that He knows what's going on. However, believing that an infinite G-d could care about small things like a blade of grass growing, littering, or doing a a little m