Books, Photos, and Random Thoughts

Friday, 3 January, 2020 - 11:00 am

A couple of random musings…

Yesterday I was at the grocery store doing our weekly Shabbos shopping. A woman approached me and said that she was Jewish. She shared that she was inspired by the fact that I walked around looking visibly Jewish (she pointed to my kippah and Tzitzis), especially in light of the recent uptick of attacks against Jewish people. I thanked her for her words and we wished each other to be safe. We cannot overstate the value of proudly displaying our Jewishness.

This week Chabad booksellers are offering staggering discounts on books. The reason? Hei Teves – the 5th of the Teves. On this day in 1987 a fierce challenge to the Rebbe’s status as successor to his father-in-law was rejected in Federal court. The story can be seen at The face of the challenge was the books and manuscripts of the Chabad movement. When the ruling came forth, the Rebbe declared that the celebration is that of books. Over the years the Rebbe encouraged people to utilize this day to buy and study Jewish books. For great deals see or For an interesting take on this day and its spiritual significance, check out this post by my brother, Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin -

We recently posted nearly 40 great photos of Chanukah @ Riverwalk taken by JJ Hellinger. They can be viewed here –

This week we participated in the funeral of Sue Canalizo, wife of Hillel Canalizo. She passed away very early Tuesday morning. When the funeral logistics were being worked out, because of the legal holiday on Wednesday, there was a possibility of the funeral being delayed until Thursday. In the end took place on Wednesday. There is a Jewish tradition that a body is not left alone until the burial. A shomer – guardian stays with the deceased until the time of the burial. When speaking to Hillel about getting a shomer, we were facing the possibility of two days’ time. I said that he will need a break because it would be difficult to do it by himself. His response left me floored. “You have 55 years with a person. What’s two more days…” That devotion really impressed me. May we all have someone in our lives that feels like that! May Hashem comfort Hillel, Donna and her daughters, among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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