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Friday, June 03, 2011

Getting the Hint

In Parshas Nasso each one of the Nesi’im (Tribal leaders) had a chance to participate in the inauguration of the Mishkan. Each day another Nasi would be bring the sacrifice, and each day the Nasi’s sacrifice would mimic the sacrifice of the Nasi before him.

A cursory look into the Midrash Rabbah shows us that the sacrifices were not identical at all. Each nasi had his own unique and independent thoughts in mind when he made his offering. Each brought the same silver, the same animals and the same incense, but each sacrifice was totally different.

Tonight I had the privilege of hearing a talk from Rabbi Shabsi Werther. Rabbi Werther used to be my principal and he put a lot of effort into training me as a teacher. I was friendly with his son Sholom Benayahu and even spoke at his Bar Mitzvah where he made a Siyum on a large portion of Mishnayos. Unfortunately, Sholom died nineteen months ago as a result of a hit and run accident.

Our local institutions began a program in memory of Shalom. Every Thursday night, boys from the elementary school get together with boys from the high school and learn Mishnayos in Shalom’s memory. There are prizes and treats, but one of the greatest treats is Rabbi Werther’s yearly visit to address the boys and thank them.

Rabbi Werther spoke about how each and every Jew is hinted to in the Torah. Rabbi Werther has found dozens of hints to his son Shalom’s life in the Torah and he made the point that none of us have a right to feel insignificant or unimportant. Each and every one of us is a piece of Hashem’s plan and each of us has something unique to offer. There is a purpose to every life and it can be found in the Torah.

What a beautiful thought to hear from a parent who lost his child. Every child is special. Every person is unique. Rather than wallow in grief, Rabbi Werther sees the purpose of his son’s tragically short life in every piece of Torah he learns.

Where can we be found?

Rabbi Werther’s new book: Zayis Ra’anan: The Gift of the Fresh Olive, can be found at“>">

A previous article on Sholom can be found at

Posted on 06/03 at 04:56 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