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The Chasid in the Hat - Dr. Seuss Meets the Baal Shemtov

Friday, 16 December, 2016 - 10:28 am

One of the cornerstones of the Baal Shemtov’s philosophy was the importance of realizing that every encounter in life is meant to serve as a lesson that shapes our relationship with Hashem. There is no such thing as happenstance; rather every experience is a teachable (learnable) moment.

Case in point. In 1977 during Hakafot on Shmini Atzeret, the Rebbe suffered a heart attack. The next day while the doctor was doing labs the Rebbe had a discussion with the doctor about the syringe. That night the Rebbe shared this teaching with the Chassidim. A hypodermic needle draws blood for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. However, it is not the needle which draws the blood. Rather it is the vacuum in the syringe. An empty vessel can draw in with greater intensity than one which is full. So too can the person who is aware of his own inadequacy be more strongly motivated to study and to do positive things. Similarly, when one finds oneself in a situation where an absence is deeply felt, one need not be despondent. We can rather use the emptiness itself as an impetus for even greater achievement.

This teaching of the Baal Shemtov is one that Chassidism seeks to inculcate into the mindset and outlook of a Jew. This coming Sunday night we are hosting an evening of inspiration entitled Living with Faith, a lecture and farbrengen with Rabbi Mendel Rubin. Rabbi Rubin comes from a family that embodies the Baal Shemtov’s approach to life. He was always a creative thinker (we were classmates in Yeshiva), a talent he inherited from his father, Rabbi Yisroel Rubin. During the talk on Sunday we will get a glimpse into this creativity as Rabbi Rubin introduces his theme (3 words spawning 3 movements) using 3 children’s books authored by Dr. Seuss. For Seuss enthusiasts, the three books are: The Lorax, The Kings Stilts and McElligot's Pool.

Please join us for this meaningful event and bring an open mind and an open heart.

We extend heartfelt condolences to Stephen and Mery Blitz and the entire Blitz family over the untimely passing of Michael Aaron Blitz. May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may you only know of happiness from here onwards.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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