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"Time To Unpack"

Friday, 25 October, 2019 - 3:14 pm

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 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 returns 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 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.

This Shabbos we will begin reading the Torah anew beginning with the first portion ‘Bereishit’, as such it is a new beginning. There is an old Chassidic adage that says: “the way we set ourselves on Shabbos Bereishit that is how the entire year will go for us”.

This means that how one observes this Shabbos is an indication on how the rest of the year will be observed. This is because this Shabbos serves as
a bridge between the super charged Holy Days and the rest of the mundane year.

All of us are inspired on the great
 holidays of the past month, that is a given, the problem is that we go from such spiritual high’s right back into our un-spiritual mundane lives too quickly and forget that we were inspired.

For this we have Shabbos Bereishit:
on the one hand, this Shabbos is still part of the month of the Holidays and thus shares some of its holiness, but it is also a Shabbos that comes ‘after’ the holidays and is part of the ‘rest of the year’. Hence, it serves and the perfect bridge to help us transition from the greatest ‘high’ of Tishrei to the ‘low’ of the rest of the year. It is this transitional Shabbos that if observed properly, will have lasting effects. 

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 blasting, sukkah mobile’ing, Lulav shaking and so much more. After such a rich month of activity we plan to keep the inspiration going with more of the same albeit with different emphasis. Instead of the sound of a shofar you will hear the sound of Torah classes in abundance. Instead of dancing with the Torah we will dance to the music of children learning Hebrew and Jewish tradition. Instead of delicious meals in the Sukkah for hundreds of Jews, we will deliver delicious kosher meals to scores of patients and their families at Cleveland Clinic, and instead of and instead of somber Yom Kippur introspections we will begin planning the festive celebrations of Chanukah, Shabbatons and beyond.

“Unpack you Suitcases” and keep the inspiration going. Have a good Shabbat Bereishit.


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