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Friday, March 19, 2010

More on Kedusha

“You are Holy, and Your name is Holy, and Holy ones will praise you daily”

Besides for being a popular Israeli song, these words are part of the Shemona Esrei that we recite three times each day.

The strange thing is that we only mention the idea of “praising G-d Daily” when it comes to holiness. We don’t praise G-d for daily wisdom, daily health, or daily forgiveness. What is the connection between Holiness and the fact that Holy beings offer their praise daily?

It seems to me that Holiness is intrinsically connected to consistency. Only by doing something regularly can we be considered holy.

Consistently is not the same as Constantly. Rashi writes clearly that the word Tamid (usually translated as always) means regular. The Menorah was not always lit, but it was lit every day. The sacrifices were not constantly being brought, but the Korban Tamid was brought every day.

The component that separates the Men from the Boys, the Women from the Girls, and the Holy from the Unholy, is consistency. It is easy to quit smoking twelve times. Truly holy people are able (if they so desire) to quit smoking once and stick to it.

I once asked Reb Nota Greenblatt why he didn’t ask potential converts if they would be willing to sacrifice their lives for Judaism. After all, we are supposed to examine converts on the easiest and the hardest Mitzvos. Kiddush Hashem, it would seem, is the most difficult of Mitzvos. Rabbi Greenblatt explained to me that dying for G-d is an easy mitzvah. It is living in a G-dly way that is a challenge. He preferred to verify that potential Jews would live as Jews and was willing to assume that, given their sincerity, they would be willing to die as Jews as well.

I once shared this thought on Kedusha with Rabbi Mordechai Dolinsky of Jerusalem. He agreed with me wholeheartedly and pulled a Mesillas Yesharim out of his briefcase. He turned to the chapter on holiness and showed me that he had underlined each of the many times that theRamchal mentions Consistency and regularity in conjunction with Holiness.

Inspired people do something once; Holy people do it again and again and again.

I recently received a phone call from a relative of someone who had passed away here in Virginia. “I’ve been davening for that man”, the relative said, “for forty-two years”. I hope that one day I can say that I have done something consistently for forty-two years.

This is the second of my thoughts during Kedusha. The first is here.

Posted on 03/19 at 06:05 PM • 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