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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Answer

Sometimes we need to explain things that have no explanation. It might be a joke, a feeling of satisfaction, or intense anger.

Explaining takes away a piece. Once you put it into words you lose the essence. You limit your experience to that which you can ariculate.

The Piasetzner tells us not to share our most inspirational moments. Once we try to explain them they become finite and lose their luster.

At the Seder we don’t have that luxury. Our children are asking questions. They want to know more, they want to know why we bother, or they are just confused.

Even if our child does not ask, we need to answer him anyway. Even if there is no child we need to articulate our feelings.

The Bnei Yissoschar explains based on the Arizal that Hashem does this for us as well. It is difficult to come close to G-d because it is impossible to comprehend him. V’chi Efshar Lidavek B’eish?! Is it possible to attach to oneself to fire?!

On Pesach we are given to understand and come close to Hashem. He takes us out in a way that we can truly comprehend. We are all Kabbalists for just a moment.

People work their entire lives to be like ‘huge tzadikim’. On Pesach we are there.

We all have a Pharaoh inside of us. There is something in us that has the ability to see on miracle after another and to remain uninspired and uninterested.

I knew a fellow who was a heretic. He would learn and go to shul but he didn’t believe. This went on for years. One day a torah scholar that he knew suffered a tragedy. This fellow attended the Shiva and for the first time ever started to daven.

Why? It didn’t make sense, he didn’t understand G-d better but he was so overcome by his lack of control and by the fact that the torah scholar was so confident in Hashem’s control that he began to believe.

That is our gift at the Seder. We recognize, finally, that it is all Hashem.

We articulate to our children on their level and Heaven articulates it to us in a way that we can comprehend. We need to savor, enjoy, live, and grow with every moment of the Seder.

When it is over we need to use the forty-nine days of counting the omer to take that newly articulated holiness and allow it to become a part of our daily lives so that we can be fully prepared to receive the Torah as elevated human beings.

Posted on 04/19 at 12:14 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