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A Message from Rabbi Spalter

"Taking it With Us"

This past month has been a very busy one as we all celebrated a marathon of holidays and did a whole lot of praying and cooking. A simple calculation has my wife producing a total of 600 meals cooked just for my family and guests during this past holiday season. No wonder she could not look at a pot, stove, oven or even get close to our kitchen in the past few days. The good news for the rest of my family is that tonight is Shabbos again and so unless I get a real quick crash course in cooking, she might just have to find her way back to that part of our home again. I guess we will all lend a helping hand.

The past month and its saturated spiritual energy are gone and now we move on to the next stage: sorting it all out. In Chabad there is a song about the Chassid who travels to his Rebbe for the month of the holidays and then comes back home. The song talks about the Chassid spending the month “purchasing” and filling up “suitcases” full of spiritual “merchandise” to last for a year. When he return home after the holidays he spends the next few weeks “unpacking” and putting everything he “bought” in the right “closet”. This is true for every Jew.  When we leave the wonderful spiritual oasis of the holidays and “come back home” to real life we need to sort it all out. Did Rosh Hashanah and its Shofar blast really wake us up? Did Yom Kippur and its theme of repentance truly change us? And if so, to what extent? Will the unity of Sukkot and the joy of Simchat Torah have lasting effects on us? These questions and their answers are the business of the next days and weeks. We must make certain that we don’t lose the momentum and the newfound inspiration we all experienced over the past 30 days. Otherwise, if we just let go of it all we will be left with little to remember and even less to hold onto in the coming year.

So now is the time to journey back home and to real life, to take something of this inspiration and hold onto it and to develop it into something real. Find the right “closet” and “storage space” in your soul where it can affect your Jewishness in real and tangible ways. Otherwise the only thing we will have left is lots of calories and newfound chunks of belly fat to deal with. Not very inspiring.

In this week’s portion we have a similar theme as we learn about Noach and the flood. He too was submerged in an ark of spirituality for an entire year. The ark, our sages tell us, was an oasis of spirituality and holiness in which all nature was suspended. Miracles were daily occurrences and the eight people and hundreds of animals living in the ark were in a heavenly abode. They experienced a yearlong “High Holiday season”. But then Noach was told to go out of the ark and begin building a new civilization. It seems from the biblical story that the emergence from the ark into the real world was not an easy one; but he did manage to come “back to earth” and rebuild, and made the world a better place.  We too find it hard to transition from the holiday highs to the post-holiday lows. But that is how life works. We cannot be in the ark forever. In this week’s torah reading G-d tells each of us to leave the ark and take everything we “purchased” while in it, and begin applying it in our day to day life as Jews.

For us at Chabad of Weston, the past month has also been packed with action and activities for young and old. It was a month of learning, praying, eating, celebrating, shofar making, sukkah hopping and sukkah mobile’ing, Lulav shaking and so much more. Please enjoy the recap in this week’s newsletter as we journey through the past month as we tell its story through images and more images.

Good luck and Shabbat Shalom



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