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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hold Up

The Torah portion that we just read discussed the building of the Mishkan. The Mishkan was the dwelling place for G-d in this world. If as G-d could have a house here on earth this parsha tells us what it would look like. The Torah goes to great lengths to describe to the Jewish people exactly how the Mishkan should be built and how it should look. This is a sort of Jewish Feng Shui (fung shway). It is a lesson in how to make G-d belong in our homes and in our lives. If we can understand the architecture of the Mishkan we can understand something about how G-d relates to this world and to us.

The supporting beams of the Mishkan were a series of very large pillars, called Krashim. The Torah describes the placement of the Krashim in the very human terms of “Isha El Achosa” like sisters standing beside one another.

The Baal Shem Tov explains that this world is one big Mishkan and that human beings have the role of the Krashim. Just as the tapestries of the Mishkan depended on the Krashim – the pillars to form an actual structure, G-d leaves it to us to make the world into a G-dly place. Just as the Krashim give shape to the Mishkan, G-d gives us a job to give shape to this world and turn it into a holy structure – a place where He can dwell.

We are here in this world as ambassadors of G-d. We should represent G-d in everything that we do and to everyone that we meet. We can make this world more G-dly with every nice word that we say and every time we keep our mouths shut. If we can do this then we are truly Krashim pillars of this world that can hold this world up.

Often, great people are also great nonconformists. These are the people who have courage and can beat to their own drum; but these people can only become truly great if they never forget their role as supporting actors. We should have courage and we can do our own thing but we must always doing the will of Hashem and representing Hashem to everyone around us.

Unfortunately, we do not need to look very far to find examples of talented people who have completely ruined their lives and talents by forgetting that there is more to life than themselves. The Baal Shem Tov writes that if we can remember to bring G-d with us in everything we do then we are making a Kesher – a connection. Otherwise all we have is Sheker – falsehood and superficiality. How long can it last?

Posted on 02/13 at 02:14 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