January 2000

Welcome to the first issue of the news bulletin of the Chabad Jewish Center of Solon. We are very excited to provide this monthly publication for those who participate in our activities, and for those who are interested in joining our vast variety of programming. Look here for news on monthly and upcoming events and information for children and adults. We encourage and welcome your ideas and input. Enjoy!

World News
What do you consider world news today? A story about the presidential election? A computer virus? Global warming? Or, can it be a story about a child helping an older person, like when our Sunday School children performed a mitzvah by packaging food for Russian senior citizens? That one good deed effected someone, and Judiasm teaches that each little mitzvah has a spiritual effect on the world. Ultimately, that one good deed will cause a positive chain reaction. What can you do today to change the world?

Some miracles are open and obvious to the naked eye, while others are to be discovered. Chanukah's oil that lasted 8 days is an example of an obvious miracle.

Purim's sequences of events with Queen Esther's influence saving the Jewish people seems to be a natural development, yet the Jewish people celebrate the MIRACLE of Purim, for we all recognize that things don't “just happen.”

In your personal life, G‑d makes miracles. Just look for them!


On Passover, G‑d freed us from Egyptian slavery and took us to Mount Sinai to receive 613 laws of do's and don'ts telling us how to conduct ourselves in all aspects of life. What kind of freedom is this?

How should we define freedom? When a physician instructs a heavy smoker to quit smoking but the patient is unable to control his addiction, is he a free man or a slave to his cravings?

True freedom is having the power within ourselves to choose the correct path. By giving us the Torah, G‑d gave us the opportunity to gain control over our actions and truly be a free nation. Think about it – are you truly free?


Can you love your fellow Jew as much as you love yourself? That is the actual Mitzvah of Ahavat Yisroel. We are now in the midst of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, where the “Order of the Day” is strengthening the unity of the Jewish people.

We naturally love ourselves – unconditionally – despite all our faults. Yet others, we love until…(fill in the blank!) this is ‘conditional love.' Today, try to “love your fellow Jew” – unconditionally.


Before G‑d gave the Torah to the Jews on Mt. Sinai on Shavuot, He offered it to all the nations of the world. But after learning the rules in the Ten Commandments, they declined. The joke is that when it was offered to the Jews, all they wanted to know was how much it cost. Whatn G‑d said it was Free, They declared, then give us 2! Hence – the 2 tablets!

Humor aside, the Jews truly answered NAASEH VINISHMA: We will do and then we will hear. This is the foundation of Judaism – action. First we do what is right, and then we try to understand the reasoning.

We must ask ourselves daily, Which Mitzvah have we done today?


Going on vacation? So what will you take along? Paperwork? A laptop? Most people try to get away from it all. But there's one item you just can't leave behind. It follows you on all your travels, because it's an intrinsic part of who you are. It's your Judaism.

The Torah is our life, and we can't (and don't want to) take vacation from life itself. On your next trip, give spirituality a First Class ticket.


Mourning to Rebuild
The famous conqueror, Napolean Bonaparte, once glanced into a Synagogue on the eve of Tisha B'av and noticed Jews sitting on low stools, sad and in mourning.  Upon inquiry, he was amazed that they were seriously mourning the destruction of the Temple which took place 2000 years before!

Napolean commented, "A nation that can mourn for so long, and not forget their loss, will surely see their Temple rebuilt!"

What can we do to help rebuild the Bet Hamikdash - the Holy Temple?  Tradition teaches that every Mitzvah we do is considered another brick, and we just need to collect enough "bricks" to bring about the redemption and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Let's start today! 


My best friend, Chabad Rabbi Oberlander in Budapest, Hungary, was recently surprised by a famous U.S. politician, who walked 45 minutes from his hotel to attend Shabbat services at the Chabad House. The warm atmosphere and tasty cholent gave him strength for the long walk back, relates Senator Joe Lieberman. Jewish politicians in American society is old news – the sensations surrounding Lieberman's election to a national ticket lies in the idea that he's an observant Jew. His religious convictions played a positive role in his nomination. Only time will tell if Senator Lieberman will be VP. In the meantime, we can all learn to stand tall with our heritage, traditions and observances.


Make Time Count
On Rosh Hashana, a Rebbe approached on of his disciples to extend his wishes for a long and happy life. The c hosid responded “Thank you, but I truly hope that my long and happy years to be meaningful ones, full of positive accomplishments.”

The wise disciple shows us that wonderful years alone are not enough. Each day, hour, and minute should be filled with meaning and good deeds, making the time really count.

This year when we are gathered in the synagogue on Rosh Hashana, let each of us ask G‑d to give us a wonderful yet meaningful year.


“What's going to be?” is the question everyone seems to be asking about Israel. By now, I have probably already heard every possible opinion. But, many people simply tell me, “Rabbi, I wish there was something that I could do to help!”

Well, actually, there is. There is a certain Mitzvah, which according to Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism has the ability to protect us. It is like the spiritual seat belt and safety alarm for the Jewish nation and it even works from afar. It's called a Mezuzah.

You can help! Put up another Mezuzah in your home. Check existing Mezuzot to make sure they are Kosher. Give a Mezuzah as a gift. Send one to a soldier in Israel!



Smiles may be an unlikely topic for discussion at the annual International “Shluchim Conference,” which I attended recently with almost 2,000 Chabad Rabbis from all over the globe. Yet, at the conference, the Rebbe's secretary shared the following story. When a reporter once requested a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the secretary presented a selection of pictures to the Rebbe and asked which picture he preferred for publication. The Rebbe answered, “Any one – as long as it's with a smile!” The lesson for us? When you present Judaism to your child, friends, neighbor and entire world, do it with a smile