Showing posts from July, 2023

Mazal Tov Shalom Ber

We are so proud of Shalom Ber.  He’s only three years old, but he is a very deep child.  It’s not surprising because he’s named after the fifth Chabad Rebbe (1860-1920).  I feel a special connection to him, because I’ve spent thousands of hours studying his teachings. Shalom Ber was a little bit late to start talking.  But we weren’t concerned for even a moment. We could tell that he was busy listening .  While we were doing construction on the temporary shul on the side of our house, he would come every morning, and watch them intently all day until the workers left.   Whenever I ask the boys, “who wants to practice reading with me?”  he’s the first one to grab his book and run to me.  This morning, after I vacuumed the mess from last night, he took all the parts out for cleaning. It’s the perfect time to increase his education and training as a Jew.   Upshernish is Yiddish for haircut, which at first seems kind of anticlimactic. Why make a big celebration over a haircut? For starter

Can the Rebbe Work Miracles?

  People say that the Rebbe can work miracles.  Is that true?  What did the Rebbe himself say about this? In the fall of 1959, a group of college students with the “Hillel” campus organization came for a group meeting with the Rebbe.  At a certain point, the floor was opened up for questions, and one student asked this very question: “Rebbe, people say that you can work miracles.  Is this true?” The Rebbe responded by asked the students what the word miracle means.  And he continue to explain:  The world has “nature” and “miracles”.  Nature is the way things happen naturally.  The world has “rules” and some of them are not so kind.  The strong survive and the weak perish.  Nature dictates that there are winners and losers, “live-ers” and “die-ers”. But a basic tenet of Judaism is that this physical world is the last of a series of many spiritual worlds.  And it’s like a puppet with strings attached from on top.  “Playing with the strings” in the higher worlds has real-life effects in t

The Rebbe is Alive

  Gimmel Tammuz, which is the day the Rebbe passed away is a day of reflection and connection. I received a couple messages from people who were curious why I would fly across the country for less than 24 hours.  And then wait in line for hours to spend 30 seconds at a grave before being ushered out to let more people in. The Rebbe is alive.   So alive that even death can’t affect him. The Rebbe is not like other leaders who have passed away and left a “legacy”.  My Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Wagner was like that.  He was a special person, who gave a lot to the world, and left a tremendous legacy. Many effective leaders have done the same. The Rebbe is different. He is currently leading and guiding Chabad globally, and each individual Chossid specifically.   Who qualifies as a chossid? Anyone who accepts him as their “Rebbe”. The Rebbe is the “head” of the Jewish people, and we are the “feet” (or other body parts).   The head feels & controls the rest of the body.  In order for the body t

What is the Rebbe's Job?

Q- What is the Rebbe's job? A- To feed us faith in G-d. (This was the Rebbe's answer to the question in the maamor ד"ה ואתה תצוה) Q- Why do I need to be fed faith in G-d?  I already believe in G-d!?  Is it not possible to serve G-d on my own without a Rebbe or a Moses? A- Our natural belief in G-d is subject to cognitive dissonance and mindless roteness. Here's what I mean: One example from the Talmud, that many thieves pray to G-d that their theft be successful.  But hold on, if they believe in G-d, why are they stealing?  Because of cognitive dissonance.  It's possible for a person to maintain two contradictory beliefs simultaneously: (1) belief in G-d (2) stealing is ok. On the flip side, it's possible for a completely religious and pious person to not believe in G-d.  Unfortunately, many religious communities have people who live completely religious lives but aren't sure if G-d exists, and if He does, they definitely don't have a meaningful relatio