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Every day we have the chance to be "light a fire" and be other-oriented, to touch someone's life, to serve, to comfort, to listen, to smile. Yet how often do we overlook what is in front of us? How often do we shy away from, or explain away, the chance of expelling the darkness of our world by shining our light? How often do we say that it's too tough to change the world?

Rabbi Allouche

In April of 2017, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory, delivered an empowering TED Talk on “How we can face the future without fear, together?”

His remarks concluded with a transformative and practical suggestion, which encapsulates the essence of Judaism and the message of Chanukah:

“Do a search and replace operation on the text of your mind,” he asked the crowd. “And wherever you encounter the word ‘self,’ substitute the word ‘other.’ So instead of self-help, other-help; instead of self-esteem, other-esteem.”

He then reassured his listeners that, “if you do that, you will begin to feel the power of what for me is one of the most moving sentences in all of religious literature. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” We can face any future without fear so long as we know we will not face it alone.”

As opposed to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and other Jewish holidays, the upcoming festival of Chanukah is not confined just to the individual or to our nation alone. Chanukah shifts the focus from the self to the other. On Chanukah, we kindle a light, from within our home, but it must also face the outside, to shine its beams far and wide for the entire world to see.

And this is, indeed, everyone’s vocation. Yes, we must devote ourselves to our inner circles, to our family, to our friends. But it is not enough to focus inward alone. The world needs us, our love, our positive impact, and our good deeds.

The legendary Chassidic Master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, once quipped: “When it is cold at night, there are two ways to keep yourself warm. You can wear a fur coat, or you can light a fire. Wear a fur coat, and you have warmed only yourself. Light a fire, and you have warmed yourself and everyone around you too.”

Every day we have the opportunity to “light a fire,” to be other-oriented, to touch someone’s life, to serve, to comfort, to listen, to smile. Yet how often do we overlook what is in front of us? How often do we shy away from, or explain away, the chance of expelling the darkness of our world by shining our light? How often do we say that it’s too tough to change the world?

As we approach the first night of Chanukah, this coming Sunday evening, November 28, let us heed to the call of the Chanukah candles as they question each of us: Will we kindle the candles of our soul with the flames of Torah and Mitzvot? Will we face outward, and become the light unto our surroundings that we were born to be?

Shabbat Shalom and a very Happy Chanukah!

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Our confining Jacobs can be altered; our narrow perspectives can be changed. And if we can just re-ignite our inner face of Israel, our flame of G-d within, and engage relentlessly in deeds of goodness and kindness, we can rise beyond all of life's challenges, and bask in the light of G-d and in the grace of His embrace.

Rabbi Allouche

It is one of the great truths of life. We all have many faces; happy and sad, confident and insecure, relaxed and nervous, hopeful and hopeless. 

In this week’s portion, we are exposed to Jacob’s many faces too. The Talmud (Chulin 91b) reveals that when Jacob dreamt of angels ascending and descending a ladder, “the angels ascended to gaze upon the face of Jacob above; then they descended to gaze upon the face of Jacob below.”

In next week’s portion, we are also told that Jacob had a face for his first name, but he also had a different face for his other name, Israel. 

The face of Jacob below reflects our struggles that stem from our battles with all sorts of “Esaus”, from our inner demons and temptations to life’s trials and tribulations. 

On the other hand, the face of Jacob above and the face of his other name, Israel, reflect our deepest self, in which we are one with our Divine soul and are confident in our roles as G-d’s beacons of light and bastions of hope in our dark and broken world.

To always carry the heavenly face of “Israel,” is almost impossible. Perhaps, this is why the names of Jacob and Israel in the Torah are interchangeable. Most of us carry both the faces of Jacobs and Israels throughout our lives, alternating between these two identities.

However, the goal is to put on more “Israel” faces than “Jacob” faces. And the objective is to invest all of our energies and efforts toward unleashing our Divine soul, and all of its light; actualizing our infinite potential; realizing our G-d given talents and skills; and engaging in uninterrupted deeds of goodness and kindness, even when our Jacob-like mentality and mood may seek to disrupt us.

At times, we may see ourselves as struggling “Jacobs” destined to live a life of hardships, from within and from without. Our minds may then be conquered by despair. We may even say to ourselves, “this is the way we were born, and this is the way I will always be.”

But our confining Jacobs can be altered; our narrow perspectives can be changed. And if we can just re-ignite our inner face of Israel, our flame of G-d within, and engage relentlessly in deeds of goodness and kindness, we can rise beyond all of life’s challenges, and bask in the light of G-d and in the grace of His embrace.

A few years ago, I remember asking Rachelle Fraenkel whose 16-year-old son was murdered by evil terrorists in Israel in the summer of 2014, how she finds the strength to smile every day. Her courageous answer moved me deeply: “I feel pain,” she said, “but I don’t have to become my pain. And that’s why I smile.”

Rachelle Fraenkel chooses every day, to allow her “Israel face” to triumph, even though the “Jacob face” may make an appearance from time to time. If she, who experienced such an unfathomable tragedy, can do so — so can we.

So, have you unleashed your Israel-face yet today? Have you performed a Mitzvah? Have you risen above and triumphed over all that may be pulling you down?

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We cannot be perfect in every area of life. In the words of Lucius Seneca, a 1st Century Roman Philosopher: “Everywhere is nowhere.” Rather, we ought to know ourselves, listen to the inner and unique calling of our souls, and actualize our G-d given talents and skills to fulfill the purpose for which we - and only we - were created.

Rabbi Allouche

She would be a perfect match for him!”

“Do I have the perfect doctor for you!”

“He appears to have perfect pitch!

We all strive for perfection in life. We want the perfect job, we seek out the perfect doctor, we desire to connect with the perfect friends, and we want to marry the perfect match. 

But what does “perfection” mean? And is it really achievable?

The book of Genesis is filled with examples of seemingly-perfect human beings. Adam and Eve were created and molded perfectly in the image of G-d. Noah was coined a “righteous man.” Abraham and Sara were the perfect visionaries, Isaac and Rebecca were the perfect well-diggers, and Jacob, in this week’s portion, is described as a “wholesome person.” 

But, at a deeper glance, each of these models chose to be perfect in a very focused area. They knew that being perfect in every area of life is not what is asked of us. So they channeled all of their skills and talents into very specific areas of perfection.

Adam and Eve were the perfect builders. They came into an empty world, and they built and planted gardens, built buildings, and they founded the human family.

Noah was the perfect student who followed the directions of G-d immaculately. His generation was corrupt, but he obeyed every rule and walked in the saintly ways of the One Above.

Abraham and Sara were the perfect embodiments of love. Every meal of theirs was shared, and every moment of theirs was imbued with a mission to better our world. Isaac and Rebecca dedicated their lives to digging wells and establishing a home for our nation in the holy land of Israel. Jacob was the perfect embodiment of resilience. Nothing fazed him. He was haunted by the hatred of his brother, Esau, and the animosity of his surroundings, yet he faced every challenge, with determination and conviction, and eventually triumphed.

The lesson from each of these prototypes is clear: We cannot be perfect in every area of life. In the words of Lucius Seneca, a 1st Century Roman Philosopher: “Everywhere is nowhere.” Rather, we ought to know ourselves, listen to the inner and unique calling of our souls, and actualize our G-d given talents and skills to fulfill the purpose for which we – and only we – were created.

An Isaac knows that beneath the stones and the dirt, awaits a wellspring ready to erupt and give life to all of its surroundings with fresh and pure waters. And so, an Isaac never gives up, and with courage, grit, and faith, he digs and digs and digs consistently until all treasures from within are unearthed.

Rabbi Allouche

“If you had to condense the message of Judaism into one word, what would word would you pick?”

This was the question I asked my beloved mentor, world-scholar, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz of blessed memory, just a few years ago. I thought he would say something obvious, like “Torah,” or “Mitzvah,” or even, “love.” 

But his brilliant answer astounded me: “consistency,” he replied without a hiccup of hesitation.

In this week’s portion, Isaac takes the center stage. Unlike his father, Abraham, Isaac did not lead any revolutions. Quite the opposite, he was a man of few words. And unlike his father, who traveled the world to preach monotheism to humanity, Isaac never left the Holyland. He stayed put, and he dug wells.

As Abraham and Isaac’s descendants, we too inherited both personalities. We are called to bring out our inner Abraham and bring the word of God to every human being. We must ignite every soul we meet with kindness, spark every mind we encounter with wisdom, and set ablaze every heart we connect to with love.

But even as we journey as “Abrahams” to touch, to move, to give, and to give more; we must also stay true to our inner “Isaacs” that ‘digs wells’, focuses inward – on his soul, his values, and his family – consistently, each and every day.

To develop our inner Isaac is, oftentimes, much harder than to develop our inner Abraham. We all love to go out, connect to others, launch projects and be smiles from ear to ear. Yet to be an Isaac, you need persistence, humility, and the strength of conviction. 

It’s painless to smile on the outside, especially when one feels like it. But how about smiling inside our homes, especially after a long day of work, when we come home drained and exhausted? To bring a child to the world is pleasurable. But to educate a child is much more difficult.

But an Isaac knows that beneath the stones and the dirt, awaits a wellspring ready to erupt and give life to all of its surroundings with fresh and pure waters. And so, an Isaac never gives up, and with courage, grit, and faith, he digs and digs and digs consistently until all treasures from within are unearthed.

Are we ready to develop our Isaac too, with consistency, inside ourselves, and inside our homes, and inside our communities?

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Abraham was an unwavering believer in the power of the Divine soul that inhabits every being - regardless of who he or she is. Even when he encountered "hopeless cases", Abraham still believed that their soul can be ignited and that their lives, therefore, can take a turn for the better. 

Rabbi Allouche

If he had lived today, many a friend, therapist, and psychologist would have deemed him a “hopeless case.”

It seems that Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived a life replete with sin and failure. First, we are told that Lot would let his animals roam the fields of his neighbors and steal the produce of their land. Shortly thereafter,  to the city of Sodom, where he befriended the wicked. He then married a woman who despised guests. He even treated his daughters as prostitutes, who were easily ‘traded’ for personal favors.

But Abraham never gave up on Lot. He never ceased to reach out to him, with encouraging words and actions. But why? Why did Abraham — who was preoccupied day and night with revolutionizing the world with monotheism — give Lot so much attention? Why devote so much effort to such a “hopeless case”?

The answer is simple yet profound: Abraham was an unwavering believer in the power of the Divine soul that inhabits every being – regardless of who he or she is. Even when he encountered “hopeless cases”, Abraham still believed that their soul can be ignited and that their lives, therefore, can take a turn for the better. 

In the end, Abraham’s extraordinary approach transformed Lot, beyond anyone’s loftiest dreams. In this week’s portion, we encounter an unrecognizable Lot who welcomes two guests to his home in spite of Sedom’s cruel rule to ban visitors from entering the city. He loves them, feeds them, bathes their feet, and treats them like family. What a change did Abraham generate in Lot! 

It is said of Michelangelo that when he carved his famous statue of King David, he did not have to “carve” David from a rock. All he had to do was “uncover” David. He could already see David within the rock, even before his work began. That was Abraham’s vision too, who saw a spark of heaven and endless potential, even in the most disengaged and unaffiliated person.

In our own lives, we too may encounter people, or inner facets, that are deemed “hopeless.” At times, we even spend an immeasurable amount of time, energy, and resources, only to realize, that all of our efforts are seemingly in vain.

Yet Abraham teaches us to never give up. And he taught us all that which King David wrote so eloquently: “Those who plant in tears will, ultimately, harvest with shouts of joy” (Psalms 127:5).

The impact you have had on me, my beloved wife, Esther, our children, and myriads of others, is infinite. You have taught us how to love our children unconditionally, and to live our lives with passion, meaning, and purpose -- even when unfathomable challenges are imposed on us against our will. And by doing so, you have demonstrated to each and all that love is far mightier than bitterness, that hope is much greater than despair, and that light is undeniably stronger than darkness.

Rabbi Allouche

Dear Patsonia & Zalmi,

I often wonder how you find the strength and courage to cope with the unimaginable challenge of raising a “vegetable” baby.

The day of his birth, close to three years ago, stands frozen in time. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon, and we were readying ourselves for the holy Shabbat.

Following nine months of a very high-risk pregnancy, you were finally ready to have your third child. Our hearts were filled with joy, excitement, and anticipation. And then… a dreadful call came from you, Zalmi, my dear brother-in-law.
You shared with us that Patsonia was rushed to the hospital with a severe case of “placenta privera.” You also mentioned that she was in the ICU, fighting for her life, after experiencing an enormous amount of blood loss.

Finally, you said that your newborn baby lacked oxygen to his brain for over an hour after his birth and his condition remains “unknown.” You asked us to pray and “shake the heavens” and you promised to update us after Shabbat.
That entire Shabbat, we prayed, with a trembling heart and watery eyes, and beseeched G-d to protect and heal you, Patsonia, and your baby. After Shabbat, you, Zalmi, reassured us that, thank G-d, Patsonia was out of danger and on her way to a full recovery. Your newborn son, on the other hand, was in a vegetative state, and the doctors were not giving you much hope for his survival.

Three years later, your son, Menachem Mendel, whom you named after your “meshaleach”/sender, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, has defied his doctors’ dire predictions. Even though his condition has remained more or less the same, and in spite of his 24/7 home-hospitalization, Menachem Mendel is still alive, and with your relentless yet tender commitment and affection, he continues to spark an astounding wave of actions of love, kindness, and goodness, within your community, and around the globe.

Today, this wave reached a crescendo. In honor of his third birthday and his first-haircut, you dedicated a Torah in his honor. I watched via zoom, with tears flowing from my eyes, how your many local fans, in your faraway city of Mar Del Plata, Argentina — where you lead the Jewish community with such devotion and conviction — danced with Menachem Mendel with the new Torah, spreading joy and light to all of your surroundings.

Oh, how I wish I had been there with you physically. Still and all, I was there with you spiritually, with my heart and soul, holding your new Torah, swaying in prayer and ecstasy, and virtually cutting a snippet of Menachem Mendel’s hair too.

A holocaust survivor once told me that “in the end, it’s not what happens to us that matters most – it’s what we choose to do with it.” You, Patsonia and Zalmi, heed the call of Moses (in Deuteronomy 30:19) every single day, as you “choose life so that you and your children may live.”

How you do it – I don’t know. But the impact you have had on me, my beloved wife, Esther, our children, and myriads of others, is infinite. You have taught us how to love our children unconditionally, and to live our lives with passion, meaning, and purpose — even when unfathomable challenges are imposed on us against our will. And by doing so, you have demonstrated to each and all that love is far mightier than bitterness, that hope is much greater than despair, and that light is undeniably stronger than darkness.

There’s a line in a song by Leonard Cohen that has inspired me in some bleak moments in my life. “Forget your perfect offering,” Cohen suggests. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Thank you, Patsonia and Zalmi, and your children, Chana, Mussia, and Menachem Mendel — may he recover fully and speedily — for being that light.

May G-d continue to fortify you with unlimited strength and courage, and may all three of your children be fully healthy, and continue to bring you boundless joy and pride.

Finally, may your light continue to shine through and through – from Argentina to Arizona, from the chambers of your loving hearts to the avenues of our globe, and may it bring complete healing to your son, to all of G-d’s sick children, and to our broken world.

With endless love and admiration,

Your brother, Pinchas

PS – To all of my cherished readers: If Menachem Mendel’s story has touched you, please consider donating toward the dedication of the aforementioned Torah, in honor of Menachem Mendel and his recovery, by clicking here: www.charidy.com/cmp/toramdq By endowing a letter, word, or sentence for yourself, your children, your family members, or friends, it is if you have written your own Torah Scroll too. Thank you very much.

The Abrahams of history have forever shared one common denominator: they never stopped growing and impacting the world with good deeds and positive actions. No matter the challenge. No matter the circumstance. No matter the age. And this is what made them robustly alive, and truly great.

Rabbi Allouche

“What will you do now?”

I recall asking my beloved mentor, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, this question, some ten years ago. He had just turned 73 years old, and he had recently completed his monumental translation and commentary of the entire Talmud – a feat that no human being had achieved ever since Rashi, the medieval commentator of the Torah. 

His answer taught me volumes about life and living: “I have plans for the next 170 years of many, many things I want to achieve. Now… if “the Boss”, G-d, decides to take me elsewhere, I will oblige, but as long as I am here I have lots of things to do.” As we now know, during the next ten years, until his passing just over a year ago, he continued to teach, to inspire, and to fill our libraries with his books and commentaries on the entire canon of the Jewish library – the Bible, the Mishna, the Talmud, the Tanya, and Maimonides.

By the time Abraham was 75 years old, he too could have retired with much satisfaction. His resume, by then, was also impressive. He was a monotheist who stood up for his beliefs. He had transformed countless lives and had accumulated a massive following of fans and students.

But then G-d appears to him and asks him to leave everything behind, and “go to a place that I will show you.” No, not to Hawaii, or to his dream retirement home. But to a mysterious place, where he will have to continue to work tirelessly. What would you have done?

Many of us would have replied with a resounding “no.” But Abraham, like Rabbi Adin, was a great man, and he knew that as long as he was alive, he had to fulfill his purpose, and make a positive difference in our broken world.

So at the ripe age of 75, he jumped on his next task ahead. He took his revolution to a whole new level. He became the “father of many nations,” and he transformed the landscape of history.

Many of history’s giants have followed this model too. Some examples include Moses who was 80 years old when he became our nation’s leader. Rabbi Akiva was 64 when he was finally recognized as the most eminent scholar and leader of his time. And the Lubavitcher Rebbe was 49 years old when he assumed the mantle of leadership of the Chabad movement and of the Jewish people in 1951.

Indeed, the Abrahams of history have forever shared one common denominator: they never stopped growing and impacting the world with good deeds and positive actions. No matter the challenge. No matter the circumstance. No matter the age. And this is what made them robustly alive, and truly great.

The lesson is clear: regardless of our age, we too ought to prepare “for the next 170 years.” Let us set goals, especially in our spiritual journeys, for the next year.

Which books will we study? Which mitzvahs will we fulfill? Which Jewish values will we introduce to our families? Which act of goodness and kindness will we perform today, and tomorrow?

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This is Noach's lesson: He too couldn't save the whole world. He too could not dedicate the totality of his brain, the fullness of his heart, and the entirety of his pocket to embrace and impact all that he wanted. So he constructed an ark to preserve that which he could. And, at the end of the day, that ark, those minuscule efforts, eventually rebuilt our world.

Rabbi Allouche

“But, Rabbi, I just don’t have the time!”

If there was a list of the most used excuses, this one would surely be at the top of the list. 

I understand the logic. I can even sympathize with the reasoning. After all, life’s responsibilities fill our every day. There’s always so much to do. If we’re not overly immersed in our jobs and worrying over our bills, there’s always a garbage bag to take out, a dish to clean, and a broken car to repair.

Noah, our portion’s hero, was faced with similar challenges. The world around him was collapsing. Merciless storms were about to flood our planet and drown humanity. But Noah responded decisively: he built a huge ark that would hold and preserve small fractions of human and animal life. For twelve months, all of humanity was concentrated within that Ark, and when the flood ended, those few survivors came out of their ark and rebuilt our world.

We, too, are faced with “floods” that threaten to destroy all that is alive in our personal world. But we, too, can respond by constructing “arks” to hold and preserve the fractions of life that are important and precious to us. 

Nonetheless, at times, our effort seems pointless. Of a mind consumed by jobs, only a small amount of brainpower is left for a few minutes of Torah study. Of a heart agitated by anxieties, only a small corner is reserved for pure emotions of love and kindness. Of a pocket filled with bills and expenses, only a small percentage is left for tzedakah.

Yet, this is Noach’s lesson: He too couldn’t save the whole world. He too could not dedicate the totality of his brain, the fullness of his heart, and the entirety of his pocket to embrace and impact all that he wanted. So he constructed an ark to preserve that which he could. And, at the end of the day, that ark, those minuscule efforts, eventually rebuilt our world.

So, if you “don’t have the time,” that’s just fine. G-d, and our beloved Congregation Beth Tefillah, will take your “small arks”, your few minutes dedicated to a good cause, your pennies donated to charity, and your single Mitzvah performed to better your life and brighten our globe. 

Who knows? Those small arks may also eventually save our world and bring about its ultimate redemption. May it happen speedily. Amen. 

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And as long as the soul still resides in the body, as long as the breath of G-d replenishes our lives at every moment, one must make a positive difference in this world in spite of the many falls and challenges, with conviction and determination, and with more light, more love, and more peace.

Rabbi Allouche

What a dramatic opening!

Adam and Eve sin as they eat from the forbidden tree. Cain sins as he murders his own brother, Abel. And eventually, the entire human experience on earth fails, as we succumb to our worse inclinations: jealousy, promiscuity, thievery, and more.

But why does the Torah begin with so many failures? Why can’t the pages of G-d’s book open up with a smile?

The answer is telling. And it shares an invaluable lesson for life:

By opening His Torah with so many flops, G-d was teaching each of us that failure is an inevitable part of life on Earth. In the words of King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:20): “There is no righteous man who never sins.” The big question of life, however, is not whether we fail, or if we sin; the big question is whether we can find the courage and strength to rise up after we fall.

Unfortunately, many people slip into a downward spiral, after experiencing failure. Why? Because failure breeds despair. Despair can damage a person’s self-esteem. And a damaged self-esteem, in which a person ceases to believe in himself, brings about more and more failures.

But the founders of humanity acted differently. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, but they snapped out of it, by dedicating themselves to building a family.  Cain commits one of the worse sins ever. But he immediately repents, marries, begets a child, and founds a city, naming it after his son, Chanoch. The human experience fails, and a devastating flood emerges. But the surviving family of Noach plants a vineyard and rebuilds the world.

Adam and Eve, Cain, and Noach, and his family, did not lock themselves in their bedroom for endless days after experiencing failure. They did not drink themselves to oblivion, nor did they fall into a state of debilitating depression. Instead, they went out and made a difference. They understood that they could never undo their past. In fact, they would actively repent for the rest of their life; but that didn’t stop any of them from doing the right thing. Because they understood, what King David proclaimed two millennia after them, that, “the righteous may fall seven times, but they will get up again. But one fall is enough to overthrow the wicked” (- Psalms 24:16). 

The lesson for all of us is vital: the reaction to destruction must be construction. The best answer to evil must be goodness. The only response to darkness must be light. And as long as the soul still resides in the body, as long as the breath of G-d replenishes our lives at every moment, one must make a positive difference in this world in spite of the many falls and challenges, with conviction and determination, and with more light, more love, and more peace.

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"You see, my dear students: The big question of life is not whether you can soar to the heavens. Almost anyone can do that. The real question is where you landed at the end? Sometimes you don't land anywhere. And then you are compelled to ask yourselves: is that what your great spiritual search was all about?!"

Rabbi Allouche

“I don’t know, really, if you’ve progressed this year,” my beloved mentor, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz of blessed memory, would tell us, his high school students, every year, before the grand summer vacation. 

“It’s really hard for me to judge that. And you surely cannot judge that yourself. So go home. You have parents and siblings. Ask your parents and siblings if you’ve become any better. Now, if they say, ‘you definitely became better,’ then it means you went the right way. But if they say that they do not notice any difference, perhaps you did not study well enough, or perhaps, it was the wrong thing to do to study all year long. If the latter is the case, please think about your journey and come see us before coming back next year.” 

He would then conclude his piercing words, with a stirring thought

“You see, my dear students: The big question of life is not whether you can soar to the heavens. Almost anyone can do that. The real question is where you landed at the end? Sometimes you don’t land anywhere. And then you are compelled to ask yourselves: is that what your great spiritual search was all about?!”

I am reminded of my mentor’s impassioned plea, as we exit the spiritual highs of Yom Kippur, in which we together “soared to the heavens.” The feeling of holiness and inspiration at our ever-growing Congregation Beth Tefillah was unparalleled. Over 800 members and friends united together in our three separate services, for our most meaningful and uplifting services.

In the words of one our attendees: “I have never in my life felt the true meaning of Yom Kippur, until I came to CBT yesterday.” 

Or in the words of yet another attendee: “Your most inspiring services changed me profoundly. I promise to become more involved Jewishly. I will begin with putting on Tefilin, at least twice a week.”

Friends, and as this last comment conveys, we too need to land back somewhere. For Judaism is not about bringing our planet earth and its inhabitants up to heavens. Rather, it is about bringing heaven down to earth, and creating an abode for G-d, consistently, every single day.

This is why G-d gave us the gift of Sukkot (coming up this Monday evening! – a full schedule will be sent out on Sunday morning): To bring the G-d that we connected to on Yom Kippur, down below, into our everyday life; to channel the intensity of our souls, into the movements of our body; to draw down the extraordinary Divinity of the heavens onto the ordinary earthiness of our world; To invite the majesty of G-d into our Sukkah, a temporary physical home of sticks and stones.

Will you please join me in this landing, as you so inspiringly joined me in our High Holiday take-off?