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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Eyes on You

One year is ending and another is beginning. We stand before G-d and ask him to bless us this year.  We think of all of the good things that happened over the past year and hope that they will be repeated and multiplied.
We think of all of the bad things – or the not so good things - and worry that they might happen again. 

We think about the past year and we wonder: What can we daven for on Rosh Hashana? What do we know about the coming year? Do we really know what we want?

I believe that the greatest thing that we can ask of Hashem is that He keep an eye on us. We ask for the opportunity to live lives in which we are aware that Hashem is our Father and our King. Lives in which we are aware of Hashem’s loving presence at each and every moment.

I have a friend who has a nine year old son. This year, his son was diagnosed with a serious tumor in his leg this year. A nine year old boy. The family has spent months going through Chemotherapy and surgery and tours of hospitals and emergency rooms.

Before one round of Chemotherapy, my friend took his son on a roller coaster. The boy was in a wheelchair and had lost all of his hair but he and his father were determined to have fun on that roller coaster. The sensitive workers did not ask the boy to remove his hat, but as the ride began, the little boy looked around and asked his father an awkward question: “how come they asked everyone else to take of their hats, but they let me leave mine on?” The father did not want his son to feel self-conscious, so he stretched the truth a little bit. He explained that the workers did not want to waste time finding the owners of all of the fallen hats after the ride. That’s why they ask everyone to remove their hats.  “But”, he continued, “They choose one person during each ride who is allowed to keep his hat on. If your hat flies off they don’t have to wonder who it belongs to.  They will know that it is yours and they will return it right away.”

Can you imagine the thoughts going through that little boy’s mind? Here he was going through the most traumatic year of his life, dealing with things that no nine year old should deal with, and he was chosen – of all of the people on the roller coaster to be the ‘designated hat wearer”. The workers were willing to keep track of one hat, and they had chosen his! What a feeling of confidence and comfort!
The story about the Roller Coaster is 100% true for every one of us, only it is not a thoughtful worker at Six Flags that has his eye on us – it is G-d Himself. Hashem has the ability to keep track of every single one of us and make sure that we succeed.

We ask ourselves so many questions on Rosh Hashana: Who will live? Who will prosper? Who will make a difference in the lives of others? Who will see nachas from their children? Who will celebrate Simchos with their friends? Who will realize their aspirations and who will have the chance to accomplish all that they can in this world?

We know what we want the answers to those questions to be, but we cannot question the ways of Hashem. One thing we can know for sure is that Hashem has His eye on us. No matter what happens this year – He will be with us.

We need to think about what last year was like and who we could have been. We need to ask Hashem for the strength and opportunity to achieve everything that we are capable of. But, most importantly, we need to ask Hashem to let us know that he is watching us. He has our back. If anything goes wrong, He is watching. It is all about us.
May we all merit a year of true peace and prosperity. May we realize all of our dreams and experience only happiness and nachas. Most importantly, may we learn to appreciate Hashem’s constant presence and to take nothing for granted.

Kesiva V’Chasima Tova.

Posted on 09/12 at 12:19 AM • 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