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January 27, 2017  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

By the grace of G-d

By RABBI YOSSI EBER Chabad of West Pasco

Growing up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, I had the privilege of living a few short blocks from Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway. Many friends, myself included, would “hang out” there after school and during Shabbat and holidays.

One of the vivid memories I have from my childhood is of the Rebbe, leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, entering the shul for prayer services. Along the way to the podium he would stop next to each boy and girl under the age of Bar and Bat Mitzvah and hand them a nickel to put into a charity box. This was his daily routine, and over the years I have collected tens of such coins.

The Rebbe would correspond with people from all walks of life, religions and cultures. I remember seeing the United States Postal Services delivering the daily mail to 770 Eastern Pkwy. in the bulk USPS sacks, to which he would respond to each one personally. Knowing that his time was so valuable made me wonder why did the Rebbe stop for every little boy and girl and hand them a nickel for charity before prayers would commence.

As I matured, I came to understand that the Rebbe wanted much more of us than just that one Mitzvah. I believe the message was twofold, one, that the smallest act, giving a nickel to charity is transformative. Yet more importantly, he wanted our very being to become a conduit through which goodness emanates, to be a light unto our surroundings. To utilize each engagement with another person as an opportunity to impact them positively.

In a few days, the 10th day of the Jewish month of Shevat (Feb. 6), the Chabad-Lubavitch movement will be celebrating the 67th year of the Rebbe’s leadership. In his inaugural address the Rebbe warned his followers not to assume that he will be doing all the work and they can sit on their laurels. Instead he expected everyone to assume full responsibility for their shared mission.

From that day on the Rebbe requested of whomever he came in contact with to add another Mitzvah to their life, and increase in acts of goodness and kindness.

The Rebbe challenged his followers to settle around the globe and spread the light of Judaism to every Jew. Today 4,000 Chabad houses exist in 85 countries and all 50 states.

As the Jewish world has been touched by the Rebbe, on this special day challenge yourself to undertake a new mitzvah. Your deed will certainly hasten the coming of Moshiach, and usher in an era when the world will be filled with peace.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. The views expressed in this guest column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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