January 2002

It's Cold
Eleven years ago, when my brother and sister in law, Rabbi Yosef and Esty Greenberg left to open a Chabad Center in Anchorage, Alaska, they went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to receive his blessing on this undertaking. Upon hearing Alaska the Rebbe smiled and said, “You should warm it up!”

As the weather finally turns cold, it is up to us to “warm up” the winter. Judaism carries in herself natural warmth. When a mitzvah is done with joy and excitement, not only does it keep us warm, but it also spreads to everyone around us. Keep the flame burning throughout this cold season.

A Dollar
On the left side of a one-dollar bill, there is an incomplete pyramid, with an eye above it and the words Annuit Cleptis. Being such an integral aspect of our lives there must be something valuable money can teach us.

The Latin words mean, “He (G‑d) has favored our undertaking.” The pyramid - work of human beings becomes complete only when joined with the eye - symbolizing the All Seeing G‑d. It is only when we acknowledge G‑d's involvement in our own work, that our job is completed.

It's Right On the Money!


One Hundred
Ask a child the meaning of Charity: Money, food and volunteering would all be probable answers.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose 100th birthday is marked on March 24th, introduced to the world another aspect of charity. Giving can refer to sharing knowledge, Jewish experiences, and most of all, sharing our love for Judaism.

With this kind of giving, one can only gain. When you share knowledge, you attain a deeper level of understanding. When you inspire others, you discover how real it is to you. Give it a try - there's nothing to lose


Care to care!
Think about your Seder. If you had the famous “Four Sons” at your Seder table, would you have seated them in the order that they are discussed in the Haggadah? First the Wise, then Wicked, then Simple, then the One who can't ask.. One would think that the order should be of Righteousness - First Wise, then the others and last of all: the Wicked. Here is some insight from the Rebbe: The wicked one, at least cares! He cares enough to be at the Seder - unlike the Proverbial Fish Son who doesn't even show up. He cares enough to ask, unlike the Silent One who doesn't even ask. He cares enough to challenge, unlike the Simple one who just listens. The one who cares, will ultimately find his way.


It's amazing to think that there can be a country to which all Jews, even if they have never been there before, feel a strong, deep emotional connection. Israel is more than a homeland for the Jewish people. There is something beyond description that ties the Jew to the Holy Land . What is it about this place that pulls Jews like a magnet?

According to Kabbala, there is a thread of a G‑dly connection that unites us to each other & to the land of Israel , and it IS beyond description, due to the fact that G‑d Himself is beyond description. We are all bound together with a spiritual bond.


Inspiring Moments
Sometimes when we celebrate a hero who is no longer with us, we assume that their great qualities are also gone. Fortunately, that is not always the case.

This month marks the 7 th Yahrtzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Sometimes, I wonder, what is it that made the Rebbe touch our hearts so deeply?

Perhaps, in part, because when the Rebbe looked at us, we realized that he saw an elevated version of who we might become. He reminded us, without saying a word, that we have the potential to become holy. He made us realize that it is possible for us to become what we're supposed to be – images of G‑d.

These experiences have been important moments for me, inspiring me and setting an example of how a Jew is to live.


Pledge of Allegiance
Have you followed the controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance?

We have a Jewish pledge that is recited twice every day. It is the first verse that a young child knows; it is the verse Jews are to recite as their last words on earth. It's the sentence uttered by martyrs during generations of persecution to explain why they choose death over an ungodly life. Its words, according to Kabbalah have the power to spiritually transform a person just by being recited. It is the Shema:

Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is One. The U.S. Constitution certainly defends our right to recite it twice daily and teach it to our young ones. Let's exercise our right!


Is the stock market going up or down? As you make your daily “check up”, isn't it about time to find a way to guarantee that your investment will indeed yield dividends?

Try the spiritual stock market! In Judaism we also invest in Precious Commodities – our youth! In Research & Human development – adult education, in Communications - with G–d and much more!

On the financial market a small investment may yield great returns. In Judaism, it's an absolute guarantee! Adding one more mitzvah, even when it does not feel significant, definitely yields great returns – in the present and in the future. Take advantage of the opportunity and increase your investment today!


Sound the Alarm
Rosh Hashanah service without Shofar Blowing? No, I'm not referring to the days of the Holocast Germany or Communist Russia. This year there will be no Shofar Blowing on the first day of the Yom Tov simply because it falls on Shabbat.

What's the main purpose of Shofar Blowing? To “sound the alarm” that it is time to think about our Jewishness and see where we are headed.

“Shabbat” itself is a day of reflection, an island in time where we focus on our spiritual self. This Rosh Hashana we will each need to “sound our internal Shofar” and then on the second day, the actual Shofar, will simply reaffirm our commitment. It is not so easy to blow the Shofar. Start practicing now!


Unpacking the Suitcases
A businessman spends time at the annual Fair, buying merchandise that he will sell all year. Coming home, he unpacks his wares bit by bit, ensuring that his supplies will provide for him all year long.

This past holiday season was a Spiritual Fair, where the Days of Awe as well as the Days of Joy provided us with much spiritual merchandise. We stocked up on joy, faith, and enough inspiration to enable us to bring life and G‑dliness into the gray winter days ahead.

As the months progress, unpack your suitcase slowly, turning your holiday “purchases” into spiritual profits.


Do It Yourself
It's so popular today to “do it yourself” that businesses are making money by not helping you. Paint your own walls, check out your own groceries, fill up your own gas… Judaism is a “do it yourself” religion. You put on your own tefillin, no one can eat the matzah for you, and the Shema you must recite for yourself! Even commandments that can be done through an agent, like building a Sukkah and preparing for Shabbat, it's preferred that you partake in the Mitzvah in some way or another.

Judaism doesn't believe in bystanders or spectators. Everyone has an equal right and access to the Torah, and to maintain a personal relationship with G‑d. Just do it!



Long before commercials, billboards and ads, the Jewish people were already in the publicity business!

Every Chanukah season finds Menorahs out on windowsills and doorways, broadcasting their presence. This is the one & only holiday that has the mitzvah of publicizing its miracle to the world . The passerby can perceive, at a glance, that we're celebrating a holiday and we purposely perform this Mitzvah in such a way that it can be easily seen on the street.

Without words, we portray the message that we are proud of our heritage and strong in our beliefs. Our Judaism is not only practiced in the home, behind closed doors, but also out in the public arena where we are doing our best to be a “light unto the nations”