Showing posts from August, 2022

Should We Move To Texas?

  I took a trip to Washington D.C. to visit my step-uncle and aunt and comfort them for the  loss of their daughters . Torah teaches that visiting mourners, especially in their home, is comforting to the mourners  and to the deceased. Indeed, the process of death is painful not only to the family of the deceased, but to the deceased themselves. The ability to do productive work, help people and do mitzvahs is only possible while alive in this physical world, and this is why death is painful (unlike what most people think, that death is the end of pain). We mourn  with  the dead over the lost opportunities to give light to the world. On the way back, I stopped in Dallas, TX for a day. It made $$ sense and gave me the opportunity to visit a couple good friends and supporters who have moved there. Here are some observations and reflections from the visit: Texas was very different than I expected. I wasn’t expecting the toll roads and traffic. Instead of Ford and Chevy pickup trucks, I was


I made a mistake. A local friend asked me if I could pull together a minyan so he could say Kaddish for his father. I told him I’d try. So I sent out an SMS message from our database to a few dozen people I thought might like to help this nice fellow by joining a minyan. One of the recipients felt my tone was too technical and not heartfelt enough and responded with some healthy rebuke. It was painful. But I’ve learned how to go through these painful rebukes a few times in my life. Here is a line from the Rebbe’s calendar: “ My father wrote in a letter: Cherish criticism, for it will place you on the true heights. “ I’ve heard that they’re called blind spots. Like when you’re driving. And a car is right beside you, but you just can’t see it. The only way to find it is by turning your head. I was created with character flaws (and maybe someone else reading this email was too). And the worst part about these flaws, Is that sometimes I’m completely oblivious to them! I might write somethi

Could the world be worse?

Could G-d have made the world worse than He did? It’s pretty bad as is. Genocides, animal suffering, political polarization and hatred. Are enough to make some people question G-d’s existence. Whether there is logical proof for G-d can be debated back and forth. It’s not a slam dunk either way. It’s kind of like G-d created this world as a game. And we’re the players in it. The game (life) has rules. And limitations. What’s the point of it all? I was taught that the point of the game is to find G-d. And transform this dark world he created. Into a place of light (Moshiach). And, Yes, it could have been worse. This world has a lot of darkness. But the game also has periodic  miracles . Like G-d peeking His head out to tell us He’s here. I know you know what I mean. I’ve experienced them. And you have too. Things that don’t make sense. Some come through righteous leaders (like the story of  why I wasn’t aborted ) Some major ones happened thousands of years ago (like the Exodus and splitt

Why do we need a Rebbe?

  The anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing is a big deal. Natanya & I work for the Rebbe. But it’s more than that. Much more. Even before we became his Shluchim (agents), We were Chassidim of the Rebbe (“followers” for lack of a better word) But it’s much more than that too. A Rebbe isn’t just another Rabbi. A Rebbe is the “Moses of the generation”. So that means Moses was the first Rebbe. And every single generation since has had a Rebbe. We know that Mordechai was the “Moses of his generation” (Zohar). I think the Rambam was the Moses of his generation (look up his epitaph). So, who was Moses? Clearly he was pretty important. He is mentioned in every single Torah portion after his birth.* He was a leader. And a prophet. And a redeemer. But that’s not what made him “Moses”. Moses was the “ head  of the Jewish people” And the Jewish people were his feet. What is a “head”? The body has many individual parts. But the head  feels  all of them. And  controls  all of them. Without the hea

Mezuzah Miracle

  The Roving Rabbi’s have been working overtime. And touching peoples hearts. Here’s one really cool story: A couple days ago, they put up a mezuzah on Sam’s door. Even though money was tight, Sam wanted to pay for the mezuzah himself (they aren’t cheap either). Sam was actually in between jobs. He was looking into a certain trade, But getting started is always hard. And he needed someone to teach him the ropes. The next day (yesterday), Sam came to minyan (we’ve been having every day this week). After the minyan, I introduced Sam to Josh, who’s also in that trade. Within 5 minutes, Sam landed a job starting next week. Josh just lost a key employee and was desperately looking for someone to train and hire. And he has all the equipment. It’s so cool to see these miracles happen right in front of your eyes.

Sad Days

  Shabbos-Sunday is the culmination of the “Three weeks & nine days”. These are sad days on the Jewish calendar. They have “negative energy” for the Jewish people. If you have a court case, try to push it off until after this time. If you are buying a house, signing a big deal or traveling, best to push it off. It’s not a time for swimming, extensive travel or other potentially dangerous things. Tisha B’ Av is the day the Jews were sentenced to die in the desert (and thereby spend 40 years wandering). It is the day the first and second Temples were destroyed. It was the final day for the Jews to be out of Spain in 1492. It is the day that WWI broke out. But Tisha B’Av is not just a “bad day” in far off history. In my lifetime I’ve seen tragedies on this day too. It is the day all Jews were expelled from Gaza in 2005. It is the day Fariba, a single mother from our Hebrew School, died and left her twins literally orphans. It is the day last year that Helene tragically passed away fro