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Friday, May 22, 2015

Devarim Nechmadim on Avos: Chapter Six (Shavuos)

Our Chapter

“The Sages taught in the language of the Mishna”.

The sixth chapter is not really a part of Pirkei Avos. It is a Braisa entitled “The acquisition of Torah” that was appended by Rav Meir after the sealing of the Mishna.

The theme of this chapter is Torah study, which is our greatest tool in accessing G-d’s wisdom. Even greeting Elijah the prophet and hearing G-d’s word from his mouth is considered secondary to our personal study of Torah.

We acquire the Torah by studying it and making it ours. By acquiring it we become different people. We have opportunity to embody the Torah in our own actions and our own lives.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the very existence of the Sixth Chapter is an “Acquisition of Torah”. After an entire tractate about our heritage, this chapter is an affirmation by the following generation that we too can speak in the language of the Mishna, we too can acquire the Torah, and we too can and will pass it on to the next generation.

If we can study Torah properly and for the right purpose, then we too can be “Chachomim” (sages), tapped into the divine “Chochma”. Our Torah knowledge will be emanate from G-d and it will be a new chapter in the Torah that He bequeathed to all of us at Mount Sinai.

Like the history of the Jewish people, Pirkei Avos does not have a final chapter. It began with our forefathers, was defined as Sinai, and became our inheritance to receive, to cherish, and to teach to our children.

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Devarim Nechmadim is a commentary on Pirkei Avos by Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov. This essay is loosely based on his work as well as on the classes and writings of my father, Rav Yaacov Haber, Shlita.

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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 senderhaber@gmail.com