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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Let Freedom Bring…

The Liberty Bell rang false even before it cracked.

The bell proclaims Liberty throunghout the land, but for no apparent reason. Liberty is only a means to an end. Booker T. and De Bois argued about the purpose of liberty during African-American emancipation and the French revolutionists debated their goals at beheading parties.  The founding fathers weren’t just looking for Freedom – they were looking to grow as human beings. Freedom for a cause is a virtue; Freedom in and of itself is pointless and often violent. The bell was cast in England – maybe they didn’t understand what our freedom was all about. (They certainly didn’t know enough about making bells.)

The Torah criticizes voluntary slaves for one reason only: “You should desire to be My servant”, Hashem says, “and not the servant of a servant”. When Hebrew slaves were emancipated with the Shofar Blast at Yovel it was to become servants of Hashem. “There is no freer man than he who toils in Torah” (Avos 6).

The word Yovel (jubilee) is related to the Hebrew word Mabul (flood). It is the precursor of the Latin Movere (move) and Mobilis (mobile). The Torah uses this root word to indicate intense shifts and important transitions. We sounded the Tekiah Gedola at the conclusion of Yom Kippur to signify our transition into the new year as new and different people. After forty days of supplication, prayer, and change there is no reason why we shouldn’t be ready to free ourselves from ourselves and serve Hashem exclusively.

What a blast!


Posted on 10/01 at 05:24 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