The Shechinah is in the house!

Friday, 7 August, 2015 - 10:42 am

Ethics of our Fathers 3:6 teaches, “When ten Jews study Torah together, the Divine Presence – Shechinah – rests in their midst.” The sages of the Talmud, Sanhedrin 39a, take it one step further and declare, ”On each gathering of ten Jews the Divine Presence rests.” The implication being that even if the ten Jews are not engaged in a holy endeavor such as Torah study, the Shechinah is still in their midst. How much more so then, when they are involved in a G-dly task, that they most certainly merit the presence of the Shechinah. I often comment to the tenth man walking in to Shul at morning minyan, “You just brought the Divine Presence with you.”

This summer Chabad of Louisiana has reached a very special benchmark. With the arrival of two new Shluchim couples, Rabbi Peretz and Mushka Kazen – Chabad of Baton Rouge, and Rabbi Leibel and Mushka Lipskier – Chabad at Tulane, we now have a minyan of Shluchim. Ten couples that are engaged in the work that the Rebbe set out for them, strengthening Judaism, inspiring Jews, teaching morality and goodness, helping to make the world a Dwelling for the Divine. There is no question that this collection of “10” has certainly merited the presence of the Shechinah in their midst.

We welcome the new additions and wish them much success in their undertaking.

May Hashem grant this added “power of 10” to the work of Chabad. With this new strength, and together with you, our partners in all that we do, we will succeed in bringing the Shechinah to our communities and by extension to the whole world with the coming of Moshiach.

Last week we celebrated out daughter Basy’s Bas Mitzvah. It was a very meaningful affair that we attended by a lovely cross section of NOLA Jewish women. The theme of the event was “making the impossible possible.” This idea was presented using visual displays, a video presentation, a musical performance, and the speeches – including, most importantly, by Basy herself. A delicious dinner and dessert buffet topped of the wonderful evening that ended with spirited dancing.

There were three angles to theme. The first angle highlighted Basy’s biblical namesake – Batya (Basya) the daughter of Pharaoh. When she say the baby basket (holding Moses) in the Nile River, it was too far away for her to reach. But this did not deter her from trying. When she stretched her arm out a miracle occurred and it reached all the way to the baby basket. She saved Moses and by extension the entire Jewish nation through her effort.

The second angle focused on Basy’s familial namesake, Basya Ettel Stone (Malkie’s grandmother). Defying odds and conventional wisdom, she and her husband displayed a determined dedication to Judaism in the face of many challenges to an observant lifestyle during the 30s and 40s in the USA. They even sent their only son across the country at the age of ten to ensure that he had a Jewish education.

The third angle was of the Jewish women who left Egypt led by Miriam, who packed tambourines and musical instruments with a strong faith that G-d would perform a miracle that would need to be celebrated. Indeed at the Red Sea they danced and played the instruments in gratitude to G-d for His great miracles.

Photos of the celebration can be seen at

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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