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Who is the most successful Jew?

Who is the most successful Jew?

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 - 11:24 pm

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If a poll was taken on who is the most Jewishly accomplished person in history, undoubtedly Moshe would get the most votes. After all he received the Torah at Sinai, performed wondrous miracles, created the template for Jewish leadership, was identified by G-d as the greatest prophet ever, and, by the way, he was exceedingly humble.

Which is why I am fascinated by a passage in the Midrash where G-d tells Moshe, and I loosely paraphrase, “Don’t even think of standing in Avraham’s place.” This implies that in a certain respect, Hashem valued Avraham’s achievements more than those of Moshe. We find this idea echoed in another Midrash, where Moshe is described as beloved and special because he was the seventh (generation from Avraham). The inference there is that his specialness stems from this that he builds upon the groundwork laid by those that came before him, most notably the first, Avraham.

What was so unique about Avraham and his method of serving Hashem? In his very first discourse, the Rebbe cites these aforementioned passages in the Midrash and explains them in the following manner. Avraham’s life was defined by devotion to Hashem. He was all about the cause. This was the case even at the risk of his own detriment and legacy (as is evident in the Akeidah narrative). He was not interested in personal development and achievement. Those were things that happened along the way. It was all about “what does Hashem want me to do now.” If self-sacrifice is necessary, so be it. If self-preservation is necessary, so be it. He moved when he was told to move and stayed when he was told to stay. It was simply not about him. It was about Hashem. While others may have risen to greater heights in personal achievement, Avraham set the bar for personal devotion.

The beauty of it is, that as our father, he bequeathed this capacity to each of us. To some degree, each of us is capable of experiencing that sort of devotion to Hashem at times in our life. Our goal is to make those times defining moments, allowing them to establish and guide the direction of our lives.

The other night Chabad of Louisiana partnered with Hadassah to gather 200 women of our community for a Mega Challah Bake. It was a truly inspiring evening filled with unity and Jewish feminine empowerment. We are happy to share the first round photos of this phenomenal event with more made available next week.

Heartfelt condolences to Linda Waknin and the entire Assoulin family on the untimely passing of her brother, Marco Assoulin.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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