The Generator the Tipped the Scales

Friday, 3 September, 2021 - 2:50 pm

A simple wagon driver once saw a carriage filled with people careening down a hill out of control. He ran and jumped on the horse and slowed it down, ultimately bringing them a halt, thereby saving the lives of all the passengers, the driver, and the horses, as well as the carriage. After a nice long life, he passed on and came before the heavenly court. He was a good guy, but he had done some good and some of the opposite. His deeds were placed on the scale, and it was tipping to the wrong side. Suddenly an angel came dragging the lives of the family that he saved. It was still tipping the wrong way. The angel brought the horses, and then the carriage. It was still tipping in the wrong direction. Finally, the angel came dragging the mud that was stuck to the wheels and that tipped the scale for good, earning the wagon driver his ticket to heaven.

Usually, the week before Rosh Hashanah is spent on my own intense spiritual preparations for the upcoming Days of Awe. As a Rabbi, I have the additional obligation to inspire a congregation. With Ida blowing through town, leaving so many in such dire straits, this week was spent on an entirely different set of activities. Rather than study and meditate on the deeper meaning of Rosh Hashanah, we were hooking up generators and distributing fuel. Instead of preparing uplifting sermons, we were bringing cold water, ice, and food to folks around the region, along with a friendly face, a warm word and some cheer. Instead of considering our deeds on judgement day, we were connecting with people making sure they were safe, having them know that someone cares.

I am confident that when our deeds are placed on the scale this year, the generators, the fuel, the ice, the water, the smiles and caring words will bring the balance squarely on the positive side. Instead of long sermons we will hold up our sweaty clothes and sleep deprived eyes, and people will be uplifted. Instead of personal meditation, we will consider the value of helping another person and be inspired.

So many people were involved in this ongoing effort. In addition to some of the people who were already thanked on social media, I want to single out a few individuals that were amazing over these past few days. Leibel, Levi, Sholom, Zalman, Peter, Dotan, Gene, Lou, Nanette, Neil, Chaim, Yosef, Monica, Aaron, Mazal, Sam, Chaim Shlomo, and so many others who helped in so many different ways. We want to thank all the individuals and organizations, local, regional, and national, that continue to partner with us, empower us and enable us to help our fellow Louisianians who are suffering in the aftermath of the storm.

On behalf of our team from Chabad of Louisiana, Chabad of Metairie, Chabad of Baton Rouge, please go to to keep the love flowing!

See below for more Hurricane Relief resources and for photos.

Shabbat Shalom and see you in Shul on Rosh Hashanah!
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin


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