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Living with the Times

Friday, 26 October, 2012 - 12:40 am

Once Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the first Chabad Rebbe, declared, "One must live with the times." What he meant was that one must live with the weekly Torah portion. One should not only learn the weekly parsha every day, but live with it. Bereishit is a cheerful parsha, even though its ending is not all that pleasant. Noach has the Flood, but the week ends on a happy note with the birth of our father Avraham. The really joyous week is that of Lech L'cha. We live every day of the week with Avraham, the first to dedicate his very life to spreading G-dliness in the world. And Avraham bequeathed his self-sacrifice as an inheritance to all Jews. (Hayom Yom – Cheshvan 2-3)

One could ask, Lech L’cha also has unpleasant matters such as the battle that Avraham had to fight to free his nephew Lot, as well as the disagreement that brought about their separation to begin with. Yet the entire Parsha is called a joyous one, because it deals with Avraham, a person whose life was dedicated to serving Hashem and teaching others about the belief in Him. When you read about Avraham even his challenges are inspiring to us. The heroes of Bereishit and Noach took care of themselves but didn’t do much for the world. Avraham was precious to Hashem because He knew that Avraham taught and inspired others and would bequeath a legacy of teaching and inspiring to his descendants.

In the teachings of Chassidus there are few Biblical characters that are regarded as highly as Avraham. The example Avraham set of reaching out to others despite great personal sacrifice serves as a model of inspiration that is heavily featured throughout Chassidic thought. Those who walk by the light of these teachings aspire to live a life like Avraham, whereby seeing that another person has the opportunity to connect to Hashem is as valuable as one’s own connection to Hashem. Therefore “living with times” when those times feature Avraham, is truly a joyous week.

Mazel tov to the entire Bart family upon being honored by the JEF for their tremendous philanthropic work in our New Orleans Jewish community and the leadership they demonstrate in supporting our Jewish institutions. Buddy and his family and Vivian and her family are a source of pride to their parents and we at Chabad are honored to be associated with them as friends and supporters of our work.

Heartfelt condolences to Peter Seltzer, his mother Natalie and their family upon the untimely passing of Dr. Benjamin Seltzer. May Hashem comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may your care and concern for Jewish New Orleans be a merit for your father’s soul.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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