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2015-10-09 digital edition

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October 9, 2015  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Take stock after packing bags for winter journey

Chabad Center of St. Petersburg

You may feel like you have just completed a marathon – having loaded up with the spiritual highs of the month of Tishrei, the solemn moments of Yom Kippur, the unity of Succot and the joy of Simchat Torah. Now, we are heading into the long winter.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad- Lubavitch movement, was informed upon for sending funds to assist needy Jews in Israel, then under Ottoman rule. As Russo- Turkish wars were still raging, sending money to an enemy state was punishable by death, and with additional whisperings about Chassidic Rebbes being promoted as leaders akin to the Czar for Jews, Rabbi Shneur Zalman was arrested and tried for high treason.

Among the Rebbe’s interrogators was a government minister who possessed a broad knowledge of the Bible. On one occasion, he asked the Rebbe ‘In the book of Genesis (3:9), after Adam and Eve sinned, G-d asks Adam “Where are you?” Is it possible that G-d did not know where Adam was?’

‘Do you believe that the Torah is eternal and that it’s every word applies to every individual, under all conditions, at all times?’ asked the Rebbe.

‘Yes,’ replied the minister.

‘ “Where are you?” ’ explained the Rebbe, ‘is G-d’s perpetual call to every man. Where are you in the world? What have you accomplished? You have been allotted a certain number of days, hours, and minutes in which to fulfill your mission in life. You have lived so many years and so many days,’ – and Rabbi Schneur Zalman spelled out the exact age of the minister – ‘Where are you? What have you achieved?’

As we ‘pack our bags’ [of the mitzvot and inspiration of the past month] it is time to take a moment and think about what we have achieved and how we are going to ensure that our new year will be one where we are better and more committed as people and as Jews.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board.

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