ChabadNewOrleans Blog

25th Anniversary Reflections

Yesterday Malkie and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years is considered a generation. We are very blessed to have merited to raise one generation and witness the start of a new generation of our family during this time.

There are two things that I reflected on in connection with our anniversary, that I would like to share. A wedding marks the beginning of the formation of a new unit, a husband and wife. They build a life together; and they share hopes and dreams of where they want their life to go. On an anniversary, one often contemplates how those shared hopes and dreams are coming along.

As we celebrated our anniversary, surrounded by our family, my thoughts kept returning to a quote from the book Hayom Yom – Nissan 9. “Jewish wealth is not houses and gold. The everlasting Jewish wealth is: Being Jews who keep Torah and Mitzvot, and bringing into the world children and grandchildren who keep Torah and Mitzvot.”

We have much to thankful for to Hashem for this immense wealth with which He has blessed us.

Obviously, a wedding anniversary is a very personal milestone. Yet, as Hillel teaches in Pirkei Avot, “If I am (only) for myself, what am I?” When a couple gets married and starts a life together, they must think about what value their life will contribute to Hashem’s world. In 25 years, how have I advanced the realization of Hashem’s purpose for creation? In 25 years, how has my home and family benefitted others? Can I honestly say that my marriage and family has made a difference, leaving an indelible mark on the world around us? These are the things we must reflect on. Hopefully the answers are positive ones. Furthermore, we look forward to being granted many more healthy and happy years together, during which we can continue and increase in those areas.

May Hashem bless each and every one of you to be inscribed and sealed for a healthy, prosperous, and meaningful year of 5782.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Friday the 13th - The Luckiest Day

This morning, on Friday the 13th, I was considering breaking a mirror, under a ladder, in the presence of a black cat. But then I decided that it was too much trouble and I had better things to do with my time.

I remember how incredulous I was when I discovered as a teenager, that most buildings in Manhattan do not have a 13th floor. I could not understand why a rational society would lend any credence to such foolishness. 

The horror genre built an entire industry around these superstitions. Their favorite day is Friday the 13th, because it brought them a billion-dollar windfall from the movie series and the business that it spawned.

So why don’t we Jews believe in this stuff? In this week’s Parsha we learn the following: “When you have come to the land the L-rd, your G-d, is giving you, you shall not learn to do like the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who passes his son or daughter through fire, a soothsayer, a diviner of [auspicious] times, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, a pithom sorcerer, a yido'a sorcerer, or a necromancer... Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d. For these nations, which you are to possess, hearken to diviners of [auspicious] times and soothsayers, but as for you, the L-rd, your G-d, has not given you [things] like these.”

Be simple with the L-rd, your G-d – Tamim ti’hiye – is not so simple. The commentators discuss whether Judaism rejects sorcery because it is false, or rather, because it is immoral. Either way we cut it, a Jew need not be concerned with those superstitions or divinations, because we are laser focused on Hashem. Since we believe Hashem runs the world and is intimately involved in every detail of what occurs, it matters little whether some diviner claims that something is lucky or unlucky. Hashem is in charge and if we do what we need to those matters will not have any connection to us whatsoever.

So today is the luckiest day in the world. Today is the day we can plug in to our relationship with Hashem through Torah and Mitzvot. In return Hashem blesses us all to be inscribed and sealed for a healthy, prosperous, and meaningful year of 5782.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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