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The Systems of the Jewish Year

"The Last Shabbos" - Comments

1 bernie rubin on 2009 09 11

a beautiful and meaningful way to end this year and think about the coming year. thank you for a year’s worth of truly jewish thoughts.

2 Chaim on 2009 09 11

Rabbi Haber, you raised a very important issue about Judaism but I was disappointed with your conclusions, which reminded me of the “Stay in School,” and “Just Say No” responses. As you described him,your Hare Krishna convert had gone from one Jewish body to another seeking meaning. Only when he could not find that meaning did he seek out other “idols,” where he apparently did find what he needed. The Jewish response seems to be simply that our G-d has been around longer then their G-ds; we have a longer relationship with him so why are we looking outside for meaning? Longevity should not be, and is not, a substitution for meaning. Yes, we have a very long history with G-d, a history in which we never seem to be able to satisfy Him or earn his love, a history of punishment after punishment, slavery, exile, destroyed temples, occupations, progroms, holocausts. Can you blame some people for seeking spiritual meaning elsewhere? Is it so difficult to understand why there aren’t lines of people waiting outside our shuls to get in?

3 Julio C. Perez on 2009 09 11

Shalom Rabbi,
I read your message and somehow identify myself with your story of this man.
As a jew, and someone that did not have judaism during my growing years, I return to the faith of my ancestrors, looking for absolutes and thinking “This is it”. Little by little a began to find so many inconsistencies. One of the first things that confronted my reasoning was, if Hillel was a wise man, and Shammay teh same, How can they both be right and so different fro each other, the comes Maimonides and Rashi, Reform, Conservative, and Ortodox (with all the ultra’s in it) and the list goes on and on.
In my theological formation, I finnished my Master’s Degree in Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University. Yo may aske me why? Simple, They provide me with a scholarship fot the program. As a analize what is your introduction to the parasha, I realize that it is obvious that it could not be any different. Christians have their garage sell of the denominational perspectives, and in some degree, Judaism is following a simmilar aproach. My conclusio, it will change only when we put aside all the last names in the study of Torah, and leave it just as David had it, Isaiah, Ezequiel and all of them, until it came to become what we have today.
That is my reaction.

hag sameach
JC Perez

4 Yehoshua on 2009 09 12

Do you know the secret of Jewish survival? It has nothing to do with us or our efforts.  We are here because HaShem wants us here.  We are not deserving.  We are not faithful enough, not observant enough to earn his love.  No, he loves us and keeps us in the world because of His boundless love.  Just as a father loves his wayward son no matter how many times he messes up, so HaShem loves His treasured people.  The fact that there are not long lines of people outside of shuls should not bother us.  On the plus side, there are more Jews studying Torah today than at any other moment in Jewish history.  But the numbers game is irrelevant in the history of our people.  We have always been a quality, not quantity, group.  From the little school in Yavne to the Macabees to Israel fending off the hostility of several hundred million Moslems.  Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students and they ended up killing each other.  Yizhak Luria had one student, Chaim Vital, and through him we gained access to the mystical dimension of Torah.

5 Sarah Leah Stark on 2009 09 12

Just beautiful!  I remember when this happened but had never heard the whole story.  Lovely to tie it into Rosh Hashanah this way.

6 Sunny Fogel on 2009 09 15

Dearest Rabbi Haber,
Just the perfect thought for the new year.!! A new start with Teshuva in my mind.  we can always do better and think better. A wonderful bunch of wishes to you and the Rebbetzin and your family.
Fondly, Sunny and Abe

7 wyszynski on 2009 10 12

The fact that he didn’t find meaning in a hillel, college chabbad, and temple is no big surprise.  The crowd at the hillel isn’t exactly composed of bnei aliyah, same goes for chabbad (exept for the shliach running it of course), and a temple wouldn’t put belief in a Borei olam in their bylaws, since the movement is kofeir.  In short he looked in the wrong places, but you can’t so much as blame him, since it may be the only thing jewish available to him. The decisiion to go to india without a stop in Israel may have been up-to him though. 

In any case, someone who looks for spirituality in other “lands” (literally too), sorely lacks it in his avodas hashem. I heard Beshim R. Volba that” the same way Avraham Aveinu found Hakadosh Baruch hu for himself, Kach kol Echad viEchad must find Hashem for come to such a realisation.” All those who try to be mekareiv yidden and lack this realization either a shakran (lier) and/or ramai (Fraud)....since if they where in his shoes they wouldn’t be chozer bitshuva. Only someone who has come to such a realisation can tell a non-religios jew that this is the best thing for him (although this fact holds true even if the person himself if a liar).

Ayin Yevamos 48a That acc. to everyone an eved has kabalas mitzvos if bought from a yisrael. now why would the fact that someone else owned him for a fraction of a second suffice for a kaballas mitzvos.  Says rashi....(D"H Aval Eved) scting jewish for a “few days” is the kabbalas mitzvot [Because anyone who ‘trys it out’ for a few days will be mekabeil mitzvot!!  It’s a fact, and Halacha].  Now this shtikel gets better: Since we know Avda Behefkeira neicha leih, and thus we can’t be megayeir ba’al korcho (by a gadol), there should be NO difference in a ger or a fry yid, both feel ‘mutar beshifcha’ (even a yisraeilis should have the din of a shifcha here since in this dor they are also [letza’areinu] mufkar liznus), so to be chozer bitshuva would be a chov!!  unless he trys it first, then it’s barur that he will be mekabeil it (there IS such a program in Connecticut that runs an assebly line of baalei tshuva every summer, by merely having them act ‘frum’ for a month) Kashur leinyaneinu, this fellow you met didn’t have the oppertunity of meeting such an individual in the start of his search. Not only would it have given him the oppertunity to see someone ‘Real’, but it would have given him the ability to ruchnius first hand.
(I know this isn’t entirely relevant, but it’s still a great vort that needs to be mefursam, and I havent yet told it to enough ppl)

8 pc on 2009 10 20

Some thoughts..

1. It is rare to hear a rabbi in a shul talk about having a relationship with Hakodosh Boruch Hu

2. In the time of the first Beis Hamikdash avoda zarah was rampant. Presumably going to the Beis haMikdash was a somewhat spiritual experience. It is as easy to get on a plane to New Delhi as it was to travel 100kms in Eretz Yisroel to visit a place of idol worship so distance is not a deterrant

3. It is more exciting to go to India and climb the Himalayas than it is to go to a shul

pc grin

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