Highlight the Positive

News on September 19th, 2017 No Comments

Here is something the Rebbe wants each of us to know about this week’s double Torah portion, Nitzavim-Vayeilech:

“You are all standing firm today before G-d, your G-d: the leaders of your tribes, your elders, your sheriffs and every Israelite man, followed by your young children, your women and your converts who are in your camp, including your woodcutters and your water-drawers.”

The Rebbe explains that when Moses said, “You are ALL standing firm today,” he meant ALL. And standing together does not just mean that we’ll deal with other people even if we don’t feel a kindred spirit, but rather that we begin to view other people as completing us, akin to how the head and the feet complete each other with regards to the body. Each limb — and each person — is incomplete without the other.

That, the Rebbe wants us to know, is what it means to stand together with others. Recognizing that I am completed by every other individual is no small order, yet that is the true preparation for Rosh Hashana.

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Mazel tov to Devorah Tibor on her engagement to Rabbi Mordechai Siev AKA Big Mo!

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Reb Gershon Ber of Klimovitch lived around 100 years ago in Russia, and once shared the following reflection with some friends:

“I am so thankful! G-d has bestowed His kindness upon me in so many ways! All I can say is Thank You!

“Growing up, my parents treated me so well. When I became orphaned at a young age, my uncle took me in; I am so fortunate to have him in my life. When he passed away, the community looked after me. Thank G-d for so many incredible people!

“As I grew older, I had the opportunity to apprentice with a craftsman where I learned a trade. Thank G-d for that, too!”

His friends sat silently, bewildered. Imagine how difficult it must be to be orphaned at such a young age! And then his uncle passed away! Was apprenticing with the craftsman really so rosy? He may have been overworked, as is common.

Reb Gershon Ber continued:

“As a young adult, I was so lucky to become a disciple of the great tzaddik Reb Hillel of Paritch. Now that was very good. I eventually became a teacher in a cheder (elementary school), and my life has just been so fantastic!”

Now they really didn’t know what to make of this. Unfortunately, teaching is not exactly a high paying position. Why would he be so happy about it?

Reb Gershon Ber had more to say:

“Moreover, I was fortunate to raise funds for Chabad institutions, and what a great zechus (merit) that was! I have had so much good in life, is there anything else to do but offer humble thanks to the Almighty!?”

Fundraising is no easy task. The inevitable rejections can take a toll on a person.

Despite all the reasons that Reb Gershon Ber had to be down on life, it seems to me that he had a healthy perspective. It’s hard to say that he would have been wrong to feel downcast and depressed. What made Reb Gershon Ber special was that he chose to highlight the positive.

Shabbat Shalom,
Shaul

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