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Monday, September 20, 2010

Hit the Road

On the day after Yom Kippur, a couple members of the Lost Tribe were gracious enough to come around, wish my family a Shana Tova, and (after ensuring that my Sukkah was built) let me hold on to the back of a Harley for another ride with the club.

After posing for some pictures and a generous gift from the Tribe to my kids, the original plan was to relax a little bit. It wasn’t long before I found that it can be difficult to relax when your brain feels like it is bouncing around in your skull. That being said, I had a great, fun, exhilarating afternoon and got to spend time with some wonderful people as I hung on through over one hundred and twenty miles of beautiful countryside. We passed rivers and lakes, several cow pastures, three hospitals, two funeral homes, and one graveyard. Mike treated everyone in a two mile radius to Kosher Heavy Metal, Shlock Rock, and loud throttling noises.  We discussed Sukkos, auctions in shul, cohanim in graveyards, and cows in Kiev. They got me home in plenty of time to daven Mincha with a Minyan and pick out a Lulav and Esrog.

It was just like driving on the highway, except that there was no car around me.  I felt oddly in touch with the Torah’s commandment to follow up on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur by leaving the safety of our homes and exposing ourselves to the elements. 

I though of the Rabbinic teaching that after our cleansing on Yom Kippur we are too busy building, buying, cooking, (and riding) to do any Aveiros (sins). Our first Aveiros are when we leave our houses and enter our Sukkos.

Sukkos, according to the Medrash, is the Rosh Hashana for Aveiros.

It seems obvious to my rattled brain that the Medrash is not really suggesting that Succos is the first day to sin. Rather, Sukkos is our first opportunity to show how the purity that we achieved on Yom Kippur will affect our approach to sin.

As the sukka forces us to reinvent our physical environment, the calm of Yom Tov challenges us to make full use of our new spiritual reality. Sukkos is our first chance to be tested. It is the Rosh Hashana for sins.

Whether our sukkos have four walls and stand still or are open to the elements and make turns at 70 mph, we need to follow Yom Kippur by hitting the road. We need to take who we have become out to the real world and apply it there. We need to remain holy people in an unholy world. We need to be constantly aware of the presence of Hashem in our lives.

People looked at us kind of funny when we said Tefillas Haderech in front of the stockades at the Isle of Wight courthouse, but we were acknowledging that we still rely on Hashem for our protection. He didn’t let us fall, He got us home safely, and (according to Ben) He gave the Redskins three touchdowns.

May we merit to see how our Yom Kippur elevated our relationship with Hashem and penetrated to the depths of our souls.

May the glow of our “High Holy Days” accompany us out of our houses and into our year.

See also Sukkos: Rosh Hashana for aveiros
and Blessing of the Bikers

Posted on 09/20 at 06:04 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