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A Joyous Divine Embrace

Following an inspiring Days of Awe it is time to get rocking with Sukkot and Simchat Torah - the season of our rejoicing.
The Zohar (primary work of Kabbala) refers to the 248 positive Mitzvot as "the limbs and organs of the Supernal King." The idea being that by doing a Mitzvah we are embracing and being embraced by G-d. This notion is magnified many times over when talking about the Mitzvah of "dwelling in a Sukkah." Unlike other Mitzvot, where the embrace only reaches the part of us involved in the Mitzvah, when we sit in a Sukkah on Sukkot, we are completely and entirely enveloped by the Divine Embrace.
What enhances it even more is the fact the we can receive this hug from Hashem along with many other people all at the same time if they are sharing the same Sukkah. So Sukkot is really all about the same themes as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (closeness and unity with G-d and our fellow Jews), just couched in joyous expression rather than a somber mood.
At the end of Yom Kippur services at Chabad Uptown, just before the sounding of the Shofar, we sang a victory march tune to signify our success in acheiving complete atonement. I encouraged everyone to view the singing as a shift into Sukkot mode. I was delighted to see a whirling dance break out around the bima - this despite the fact that people were still fasting.
In addition to the regular services over the holiday, I would like to highlight three special holiday events.
1.Young Adult & Grad Student Sukkah Party - Sunday, Sep 26 4:30-6:00 PM at the Chabad Student Center Sukkah - 7033 Freret St. Featuring Sushi in the Sukkah and an open bar. For more info or RSVP check us our on Facebook .
2. Community Sukkah Party - Subs in the Sukkah - Monday, Sep 27 5-7 PM at 919 Broadway - featuring the Improv group COMEDYSPORTZ. Kosher Subs will be served. Great music and dancing! More info
www.chabadneworleans.com/429608 .
3. Simchat Torah Hakafot - Thursday, Sep 30 (at all Chabad locations) 7:30 PM. Celebrate with the Torah with joy and dancing. Leave your RESERVATIONS at the door. The largest free Jewish party in town. Be there!
Mazel Tov to the Kehaty family upon the engagement of Tzivya to Shloime Greenwald. We are very excited and happy for you guys.
A special thank you to Peter Fierman and Shmuel & Yosef Kaufmann for cutting and delivering the Schach (covering for the Sukkah) this year!
Wishing you a joyous Sukkot!

Workers of the World Unite

Rosh Hashanah is commonly perceived as the day on which we pray to G-d that he grant us our needs and judge us favorably for the coming year. While technically accurate, according to Kabbala this would only be a secondary focus of the day. The primary focus on Rosh Hashanah is what the mystics term "Binyan HaMalchut" - literally translated as building the element of Kingship.

A quick review of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy will reveal an "obsession" with G-d's Kingship. The word Melech (king) is inserted everywhere possible when talking about G-d. Entire blessings are dedicated to this concept. Verses of Kingship are recited and emphasized. According to one interpretation, even the sounding of the shofar is related to G-d's Kingship - like trumpets being sounded at a coronation.

To explain, our main job on Rosh Hashanah is to evoke G-d's desire to "be King of the universe" for another year, thereby ensuring that the world's existence will be sustained. How do we accomplish this? By declaring and acting on our commitment to Torah and Mitzvot. The word we use for this is "Avodah" or service, work. When we, the workers, fulfill our task (Avodah) of ensuring "Global Sustainability," then it is only right that the "Boss" sees to it that our needs are met and we are given a good year.

This is one of the messages of the Shofar. When we sound the Shofar we express our alliegance to G-d and ask Him to rule over us and the world for another year. So "Workers of the world unite! Let us do our part to convince G-d that we are worthy of His Kingship and in turn, He will reward us with a year of benevolence and bounty in every area of life.

Many people have inquired why our Selichot services are held so late (at 1 AM we have a pre-selichot program at 11:30 PM). The reason is so: during Selichot we recite petitions of penitence and confession. On Shabbat we do not recite prayers of that nature and our sages taught that we avoid doing so until mid-night after Shabbat. So we begin at 1 which is after the midway point of the night (Halachic midnight as opposed to classic midnight).

Please stop by and visit the Kosher Days booth at the uptown Winn Dixie on Sunday and Monday afternoons. There will be a Kosher wine tasting on Sunday and a Kosher Cajun Matzo Ball soup sampling on Monday.

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