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Lighting up the world - one icicle at a time

Thursday, 12 December, 2013 - 1:10 pm

It was a cold winter night in Mezibush and the candle supply ran out in the Shul of the Baal Shem Tov. He turned to his disciples and instructed them to go outside and fetch a few icicles. When they brought the icicles he instructed them to light them as if they were candles. Behold the icicles burned and gave off light and warmth. The Previous Rebbe commented that this was the whole task of the Baal Shem Tov and the Chassidic movement – to transform that which is cold and dark into a source of light and warmth.

This story contains a powerful message for each of us. We are not miracle workers who can make icicles burn (plus we live in a place where there are not many opportunities to find icicles). Yet, each of us is confronted by conceptual icicles regularly in life. What is an icicle? It is the result of an absence of heat. Spiritually there are many icicles out there. There is little voice of apathy within that tries to convince us to scale back our commitment; that tries to cool our passion for doing a good thing. There is the voice of society mocking us for our enthusiasm for Torah study or Shul attendance. It may be a cold morning when it is more comfortable to stay in bed then come to Shul for Minyan. It may be a hesitancy to give Tzedakah at a time when things are a little tight. There are many icicles that threaten our dedication to Judaism.

The lesson of the story is – that every time we meet those icicles head on and overcome the challenge they pose, we transform the coldness and darkness into light and warmth. Let us illuminate the world – one icicle at a time!

Mazal tov to Aline and Gary Connelly upon the birth of their son. Special good wishes to the grandparents, Linda and Simon Waknin and the whole family.

Thank you to all that participated in the Chabad 2013 Raffle. The grand prize was won by Violet Soffer of Pittsburgh, PA. But in reality everyone that participated is a winner. This raffle campaign enables us to continue the important work that Chabad of Louisiana does throughout the New Orleans area.

We are excited to announce that Tulane alumnus Isaac and his wife Bety B’tesh of Panama are dedicating the new Chabad House in honor of Isaac’s father and in memory of his mother. A special Building Naming Celebration will be held on Tuesday evening, January 7. This is not the formal building dedication / grand opening, which will be held later in 2014, G-d willing, and will honor all of those who contributed to the building campaign.

This coming Tuesday night is the Kabbala and Dinner for Young Jewish Professionals. This month’s class and dinner will take place at the home of Emily Nykaza and Jonathan Lissauer – 918 Dublin St. The topic is: The Kabbala of a Love Story. For more info: www.facebook.com/181002422098381.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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