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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Beating tonight’s Rare Super Blood Moon Total Eclipse

The Torah commands us sit in the Sukkah for seven days so that we can remember that G-d put us in Sukkos when we left Egypt.

The commandment is to dwell in the Sukkah as we would in our house. If it is raining, we are not obligated to sit in the Succah. As a matter of fact, the Ramah says that we are fools.

Yet, on the first night we are obligated to sit in the Sukkah even if it is raining. According to many opinions a person could even make a blessing on this sitting.

It seems that the commandment to sit in the succah on the first night is independent of the Mitzvah to treat the Sukkah as our homes.

We fulfill the will of G-d even if it is not comfortable.

In Bereishis (1:14) we read: “And G-d said, let there be lights in the heavens to separate between the day and the night, and they will be for ‘Osos’ and ‘Moadim’; for days and for years”

Rashi explains that ‘osos’ are astrological signs that could G-d forbid herald bad news for the Jewish people and the world. These are mentioned in the Gemara in Succah (29a), particularly a lunar eclipse and a “Blood Moon”.

‘Moadim’, Rashi explains, are the holidays that the Jewish people will one day keep. These are also reckoned by the moon.

Tonight we have a Moed, a holiday that is marked by the moon that in fact it is called the “Harvest Moon” as is appropriate for ‘Chag Ha’asif’ - ‘The Celebration of our Harvest”.

At the same time, we will be experiencing both a lunar eclipse and a Blood Moon.

So, there will be a face-off between the ‘Osos’ – the astrological signs, and the ‘Moadim’ – our mitzvah of Succah.

The Talmud tells us that as long as we are performing the will of G-d we have nothing to fear from the constellations. That is our challenge tonight. We must allow our Moadim to outweigh the natural cycle of the earth. It is a power that we have and a power that we need to utilize. That power that we have is the Simcha and joy of Yom Tov.

May we see only blessing in our lives and may we truly have a joyous Yom Tov.

Posted on 09/27 at 10:01 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at