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The most important day on the calendar - I love Yiddishkeit

Most people think that the most important day on the Jewish calendar is Yom Kippur. After all it is the highest of the High Holy Days, the climax of the Days of Awe, the day that every Jew makes sure to be seen at a Synagogue. Indeed, from a mystical standpoint, Yom Kippur is the day that we solidify our deep-seated relationship with G-d. Ne’ilah is the time that our soul essence becomes one with the Essence of Hashem.

Yet, in my humble opinion this is a slight miscalculation. Without diminishing the significance of Yom Kippur, I would argue that Simchat Torah is the most significant day. The one day a Jew needs to be found in Shul more than any other is Simchat Torah. It is everything that Yom Kippur is but with the advantage of Simcha – joy. Joy has the ability to take a person outside the box. Joy can help a Jew get past the inhibitions he struggles with in experiencing and expressing his relationship with Hashem. Joy allows a person to revel in his connection to Hashem. On Simchat Torah we not only declare our allegiance to G-d, we actually celebrate it. A person can unabashedly announce “I love Yiddishkeit” and really mean it.

This is why at Chabad we say, “Leave your reservations at the door.” On Simchat Torah a Jew comes to dance and celebrate with an open mind and an open heart. Please join us as we discover together this amazing treasure that is Simchat Torah. You might learn a thing or two about yourself in the process. Wishing you a true Chag Sameach.

 

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

High Holidays Phase II

Sukkot is a mirror reflection of the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah – Yom Kippur) that is expressed via joy instead of seriousness. The Gematria (numerical value) of S’chach (the leafy covering of the Sukkah) is 100, the same as the number of Shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah. The Sukkah commemorates the Cloud of Glory that was generated by the incense offered by the Aaron the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The seven days of Sukkot correspond to the seven days between RH-YK.

But without the joy it ain’t happenin’. Please join us for one of our joyous Sukkot celebrations.

·         Sukkot under the Stars for Young Jewish Professionals: Wednesday, Sep 18 @ 7:30 PM – www.facebook.com/232535893562905.

·         Sukkah-Fest 2013: Sunday, September 22 @ 5:30 PM – www.chabadneworleans.com/2327721.

·         Grand Simchat Torah Celebration: Thursday, Sep 26 @ 7:30 PM – both Chabad locations.

We look forward to celebrating with you!
Chad Sameach
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

Five Yom Kippur Musings

As we approach the holiest day of the year, the day on which we have the chance to get up close and personal with Hashem, I wish you all a very meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

Here are five ideas that I am contemplating in relation to Yom Kippur.

1.      Sitting with Jewish prisoners and talking about Teshuvah and transformation before Yom Kippur is a powerful experience.

2.      Yom Kippur is a good time to explore our horizontal (community) and vertical (Yizkor) connection to our fellow Jews.

3.      Hashem eagerly awaits our reaching out to Him on Yom Kippur.

4.      Ask not (only) what Hashem can do for you; ask (also) what you can do for Hashem.

5.      What is achieved in seriousness on Yom Kippur, is achieved in joy on Simchat Torah.

Bonus: If you have an appreciation for music then you will enjoy Yom Kippur eve services at Chabad Uptown. We have a special treat prepared.

Heartfelt condolences to the Edry family upon the passing of their father/grandfather in Israel on Rosh Hashanah.

Heartfelt condolences to the Krilov family upon the passing of Mr. Morris Krilov.

May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Mr. Alan Krilov expresses his gratitude to the community for their sympathies after the passing of his father. He shared the following with me “It was nice to hear the expressions of sympathy from all those that came. However, those who said the Hebrew passage, to be comforted amongst Israel and Zion, really touched my heart. In fact, even though I did not know the translation, the words penetrated my heart right into my soul. I can't explain the awesome feeling.”

Gmar Chasima Tova,
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

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