Legacy

Summer is an Opportunity

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, July 14th
Light Candles at 20:47

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30

Shabbat, July 15th,
Shabbat Ends 22:33
Torah Portion: Pinchas

Are you getting away this summer?

Taking some weekends off? Maybe a week or two abroad?

These months are commonly a time to slow things down a bit, or at least carve out more time for ‘self’ and family.

Each season has its own unique beat. As we move through the days, months and years, we need to pause and identify each season’s tempo, embrace its particular character and grow with it.
So, let’s think about summer: What is particularly striking about this season?

Obviously, summer is a time of increased light and warmth; we have longer daylight hours, and higher temperatures. In other words, summer is a time when the sun is in fuller glory and effect.

That’s summer in macro; but this also applies to each of us in micro.
In a way, we each have our own internal seasons. We each also have our own internal ‘sun, ’ the soul.

There are times when we go through an internal winter, when our moral vision and priorities don’t express their full light into our daily lives. There are times when conscience and values are in relative hibernation, when the spirit is cold, and moral growth seems a part of the distant past.

Then there’s summer. Summer is about letting my internal sun shine. Summer is about feeling my own internal capacity for spirituality and warmth, a capacity that might recede in the face of a hectic schedule.

So if I’m able to relax a bit from the everyday stresses and get away, then I need to use that opportunity to synchronize myself with nature; I need to create my own internal summer by increasing the light and warmth in my life.

We each have valuable relationships – with loved ones, with our community and with our G-d – and relationships need nurturing. So if you’re running on fewer cylinders this summer, and have some extra space in your brain and heart, those relationships could probably use some extra warmth.

You have an internal sun. Let it shine.

Shabbat Shalom and L’chaim.
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Feel the love

Feel the Love!

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 27th
Light Candles at 16:34

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 28th,
Shabbat Ends 17:55
Torah Portion: Va’eira

To feel loved is to feel trust.

To feel loved is to know that you have a safe relationship, one which even your greatest weaknesses can’t destroy.

To feel loved is to feel that someone genuinely wants you to be your best self, because that’s the best for YOU.

To feel loved is to never be alone, even when there’s no one around for miles.

G-d’s profound gift to us is pure love.

Our very existence is an act of G-d’s love.

And our opportunities to develop an ever-greater connection with the Divine, our Mitzvot, are given to us as an act of love.

Years ago, I met with a young lady who professed disenchantment with her Judaism. She told me that she had completed Hebrew School, been “Bat-Mitzvah’d and confirmed”, and majored in Judaic Studies while at University. Yet, she still hadn’t found a single Jewish authority figure willing to tell her that G-d loves her.

My heart was broken.

Our theology is built on the faith that we all have a Divine Parent Who creates us and guides us through life.

Judaism shouts G-d’s love for us.

When G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai, G-d began with:
”I am G-d who took you out of Egypt”.
It’s strange. After centuries of history, G-d is finally communicating directly with humanity (as distinct from a specific prophet). It’s the big introduction.

Why not say “I am G-d Who created you”? Isn’t that a greater, more inimitable feat than freeing slaves?

Our Sages explain that G-d was establishing the First Principle, the backbone to Torah and of our relationship with the Divine: “I am G-d Who CARES about you. I took you out of Egypt, because I suffer when you suffer. I know that there will be individual “Egypts” in each of your lives and I will be there with you. Because I love you, and I’m always with you. Treasure this Torah and keep yourselves open to a relationship with me. Then you’ll feel the love”.

In G-d’s world, to live is to be loved!

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Art

The Art of Communicating

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 20th
Light Candles at 16:20

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 21st,
Shabbat Ends 17:43
Torah Portion: Shemot

Its a Girl!
With gratitude to Hashem earlier this week we were blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl!
We are overjoyed to welcome baby Rochel to our community and extended family!
She cannot wait to meet everyone!

The Art of Communicating

Birds chirp, dogs bark, frogs croak and people speak.

All creatures communicate. Yet, Torah pinpoints our ability to speak as the factor which distinguishes us from all other life forms. Why? What makes the conversation I just had with a friend, or what I’m doing right now (communicating through the written word), so different from the dog’s bark?

My words express my thoughts and feelings. Isn’t that dog doing the same?

Human beings don’t need to act purely on instinct; they have the capacity for self- analysis and self-calibration. A human can control his strong temptation for someone else’s property, by bringing his moral compass to bear on his actions.

Human beings have the capacity to put themselves in the other’s place. When we convey an idea, we can take into account the listener’s emotional-availability, their knowledge of the subject matter and their familiarity with the lexicon being used.

In other words, human communication isn’t just about getting something off your chest; that seems more akin to animal-level communication. Communication is a connection between two parties, which means we’re investing consideration and intent as to the kind of connection we want to forge.

We can respect a person who “says it like it is,” in the sense that this person is bringing boldness and transparency to the relationship. While that may feel uncomfortable, you have benefit of “knowing where you stand.”

At the same time, there’s almost no upside to angry or impulsive communications. That’s just unloading, which isn’t humanity’s claim to communications fame.

Our instant information age has made it more challenging to maintain the human edge in transmitting thoughts and feelings. Years ago, if you awoke in middle of the night feeling resentment to someone, you couldn’t convey your feelings until the next day (unless the person lived in your house!). If you wanted to write a biting letter, you needed to sit down with a pen and paper, considering your words’ impact as you write, and then wait until you could actually deliver or mail it.

Today, the miracle of technology allows us to simply reach for the smartphone and send off whatever invective we feel.

We can do better. G-d gifted us human beings with the capacity to build real relationships. We can communicate in a way that creates connection, even when we’re criticizing.

Let’s remember: Technology can be a blessing. Or the opposite.

It’s up to us.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Regret

The Other Side of Victimhood

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, January 13th
Light Candles at 16:07

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Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, January 14th,
Shabbat Ends 17:31
Torah Portion: Vayechi

The Other Side of Victimhood

Sometimes, people do bad things, and sometimes you and I suffer from others’ bad choices.

So how do we respond to the pain? Sometimes there are no legal or defensive steps to take; the deed has been done and we’re left holding the proverbial bag. Revenge may feel appealing, but it doesn’t really help. Is helpless resentment the only option?

Let’s look at Joseph: He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. That’s pretty bad.

Then Joseph has an opportunity for revenge. Through a Biblically-described chain of events, Joseph rises to the top of Egyptian society, becoming vice-Pharaoh, if you will. Meanwhile, his brothers come to Egypt looking for food, because a famine has swept across the Middle East. They don’t recognize him, but he knows exactly who they are. And he hasn’t forgotten.

He has them in the palm of his hand. He can do whatever he wants, and they are totally vulnerable.

What would you do? Sell them into slavery? Kick them out of the country without any food? Worse?

Joseph actually doesn’t focus on revenge at all. He only wants to determine whether they regret what they did to him. Once he perceives that they have genuinely repented, he embraces them.

Then he says something odd: “G-d sent me ahead of you to provide [food] for the family…You aren’t the ones who sent me here, it was actually G-d [who sent me down to Egypt].”

What is Joseph saying? Of course his brothers sold him into slavery! Is he in denial? Revising history to make them feel better?

Joseph understood that people make bad choices and that we need to protect ourselves. He also understood that his life was not totally in his abusers’ hands. Beyond an aggressor’s bad choices, there’s a victim’s soul journey, which only G-d determines. Joseph felt the pain of his brothers’ misdeed and then dug deeper, and found that G-d was giving him a mission. He could proactively extract meaning from his pain.

Whether it was his own character development, his deepened ability to empathize with other victims, or something as dramatic as rising to the top of Egyptian society, Joseph knew one thing: On the other side of his victimization, he needed to find a better Joseph.

He became the leader of his own life, transforming himself from sitting duck to soaring eagle.

A lesson for the ages

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

HNK

Light over darkness – Chanukah Party!

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 23rd
Light Candles at 15:41

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, December 24th,
Shabbat Ends 17:07
Torah Portion: Vayeishev

Light over darkness

The Chanukah story happened so long ago – yet carries a timely message for us, even today.
Science has given us the greatest technologies and conveniences, yet it alone cannot free us from the moral and social challenges of our day. From gun violence and simmering racial tension, to corruption in politics and distrust of Wall Street, material pursuits alone do not lead to a happy and meaningful life.
Our children need a better diet than the value-system fed to them by Hollywood, the Internet and mass media. They need, nay, they want, inspiration, a noble cause to live for, a moral purpose that frames their pursuits and interests with meaning and direction.
Judaism teaches that every human being is created in the image of the Divine, charged with the duty to illuminate his or her surroundings, to make our universe a better place, a brighter place, a holier place.
A wise person once said, “Don’t chase away darkness with a broom; simply light a candle.” Darkness has no reality of its own – it’s merely the absence of light. Let’s teach our youth that they are the Menorah, and in a world of moral darkness, one small act of goodness and kindness will cast a light of epic proportions – just like the tiny flask of oil that miraculously burned for eight days.

Over Chanukah we will be having a few opportunities to shed Light over Darkness,
Please Join us:

1) Saturday evening December 24th at 20:00 Revaluation Square – Public Menorah Lighting
2) Monday evening December 26th at 20:30 Stari Arbat (corner of Kaloshin per.) Public Menorah Lighting
3) Thursday evening December 29th at 19:30 IJC – Center for Jewish Life – Chanukah Party – Asian Buffet – Details below:
Please join us on December 29th
at 19:30
for our annual
Chanukah Party!

* Asian Buffet
* Assorted Latkes
* Edible Sushi Menorah
* Fortune Doughnuts
* Oriental Menorah Lighting
* Dreidels & Gelt
* Music & Lechaim

International Jewish Community Center
“Center for Jewish Life”
per. Kaloshin, 12с1,
1500p. Per a Person
RSVP TODAY
Chanukah@JewishMoscow.com

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Finding peace

Finding Peace

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 16th
Light Candles at 15:38

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, December 17th,
Shabbat Ends 17:04
Torah Portion: Vayishlach

Finding Peace

What is peace? Is it just the absence of conflict? Or is it the result of active rapprochement between two otherwise incompatible parties, bringing them to a sense of unity and synthesis?
In other words, does a couple find peace when they’ve stopped quibbling, or when they’ve learned to work together toward a joint goal?

From a Torah perspective, it’s the latter.

And from that same perspective, our entire lives are about creating peace. An isolationist existence isn’t a genuinely peaceful existence. True peace is living an engaged existence, one in which I’m interacting with others – many of whom have personalities/approaches that don’t easily sync with mine – and creating quality, productive associations.

And it’s not just about human interactions; it’s about engagement with the world at large. Every day, we encounter situations and objects which need to be reconciled with our Higher Purpose. Our mission is to create peace.

Imagine the box top of a huge jigsaw puzzle. The picture gives you a projection of how the finished product should look, and that helps you discern how to properly place the seemingly – and sometimes annoyingly – random piece in your hand.

The Torah is our box top; it gives us an image of how life should look. We’re dealt little puzzle pieces all day – good news and sad news, pleasant conversations and irritating ones, food that’s suitable for our intake and some we should avoid, etc. Our job is to pause and consider the box top’s guidance. Pause and contemplate where this object or opportunity fits into life, put it into its proper place, and keep building that puzzle.

This process is the way we bring peace to ourselves and to our world. We bring oneness and synchronicity to a seemingly random, disconnected universe. We find wholeness. We find peace.

Every Friday night, we reflect on our week’s puzzle-building. And every Friday night, G-d takes pleasure in our progress.

Before we recite the Kiddush, sanctifying this Holy day of Divine Satisfaction, we turn to the angels and sing Shalom Aleichem’, ‘Welcome Angels of Peace.’

Angels are Divine functionaries which G-d creates to interface with humanity. Friday night’s angels represent the peace we’ve created all week. They, in turn, convey G-d’s blessing for the strength to create peace in the week ahead.

TONIGHT, put your life on pause. Join us for Shabbat services; take the opportunity to welcome YOUR angels.

Bring on the peace.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Connection

Finding Connection

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, December 2nd
Light Candles at 15:43

Join us Tonight!
PLEASE NOTE: Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 18:00
Shabbat FAMILY Adventure

Shabbat, December 3rd,
Shabbat Ends 17:06
Torah Portion: Toldot

Finding Connection

Jews pray.

Abraham prayed. Isaac prayed. Jacob prayed.

At the same time, it seems that prayer’s beauty doesn’t always come easily. Perhaps that’s because we can’t assume that simply opening a prayer book will bring us to an emotional connection with the

Divine. One needs the right mental posture, and some emotional availability, to bring prayer to life.

Prayer can be a powerful exercise, but it needs some preliminary attitude adjustment.

One aspect of this can be found in the Talmud’s advice to give charity before we pray. Many spiritual
Masters would, as preparation for their prayers, seek opportunities to help the poor, because we believe that one’s personal prayers are energized by one’s contribution to another’s life.

Why? Charity is a great thing. But what connection does it have with my prayers? How do we connect the dots between helping the pauper and our personal prayer enthusiasm?

Authentic prayer requires a sense of need. Prayer is about yearning and connecting. Yearning for, and connecting with, my G-d. Yearning for, and connecting with, my destiny. Yearning for, and connecting with, my higher self. Yearning is the soul of prayer, because it means that I recognize something beyond me. I yearn to reach higher, to do better, to outrun my weaker self.

Conversely, if I’m all wrapped up in myself, I’m not yearning for anything. I’m not seeing higher; I’m just seeing me.

Scripture describes the human soul as “G-d’s flame”, and that imagery reflects the yearning idea.

Just as the flame flickers higher, seemingly trying to reach beyond itself, so too does the soul consistently yearn to touch the Divine. In this vein, Chassidic thought sees our charity as important therapy. If we can bring ourselves to feel for others’ needs, if we can crawl out of ourselves to empathize with someone else, then we’re ready to yearn. The Tzedaka exercise helps us leave our own self-focus, and venture into the world of relationship with Other. It enables us to connect with the people you see to your right and to your left.

And it enables you to connect with G-d. Just look up.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Greetings NYC

Greetings from New York

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, November 18h
Light Candles at 15:50

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, November 19th,
Shabbat Ends 17:11
Torah Portion: Chayei Sarah

Greetings from New York

This week I write to you from Brooklyn, NY as I join over 5000 of my colleagues at the annual International Convention of Chabad Lubavitch Shluchim.

Shaliach – the word means “agent” and “emissary” – is a Torah-legal term for a person empowered by someone else to act in his stead. The concept first appears in this week’s Torah portion, in the person of Eliezer, whom Abraham commissioned to find a wife for his son, Isaac.

The shaliach does not abnegate his intellect, will, desires, feelings, talents and personal “style” to that of the one whom he represents; rather, he enlists them in the fulfillment of his mission. The result of this is that the sender is acting through the whole of the shaliach — not only through the shaliach’s physical actions, but also through the shaliach’s personality, which has become an extension of the sender’s personality.

Indeed, each and every one of us is a Shaliach of the A-lmighty, empowered by His very being to perform a task in this physical world, namely; to make this world His home. Make your daily acts one of G-dly pursuits. Every thought, speech and action can be one additional opportunity to lend your personal touch in building and beautifying G-d’s home.

The Rebbe took the concept of shelichut and transformed it into a calling and a way of life. He recruited, trained, motivated and commissioned thousands of men, women and children to act as his personal representatives and emissaries in hundreds of communities throughout the world. Sharing stories with my classmates who now live in Utah, Paris France, Pasadena California and elsewhere, it is truly humbling to be part of a worldwide effort bringing the joys of Judaism to every corner of the earth.

Perhaps unparalleled in the history of our people has one man built a following so large in number, so diverse, so highly motivated, and so successful in the furtherance of his vision. At the core of this phenomenal success is a seemingly benign legal dynamic, first employed more than 3,600 years ago when Abraham sent Eliezer to find a wife for his son.

I encourage you to read a special article on our website, entitled “The Emissary” about the Rebbe’s vision to change the world… it is fascinating!

This weekend, as I join together with thousands of Shluchim from around the world, we will utilize the time for sharing ideas and energizing the body and soul to formulate the most efficient manner to prepare ourselves and those around us to actualize the immense power laying dormant inside each of us, ready to be utilized – there for the taking.

The annual banquet culminating the convention will be streaming live this Sunday -Click here to tune in at 6:30 PM (EST) to be a part of a remarkably extraordinary evening like none other! With thousands of Chabad Rabbis along with hundreds of friends, partners and supporters of Chabad worldwide – the energy in the room is electrifying.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Selfish

Self vs. Selfish

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, November 18h
Light Candles at 15:59

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Followed by Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat, November 19th,
Shabbat Ends 17:18
Torah Portion: Vayeira

Self vs. Selfish

Nationalism? Globalism?

Get my house in order and take care of my own life and its needs? Open the door to others and share my blessings?

It’s possible to satisfy both. The quandary often lies in deciding which element we should emphasize at which point in the ubiquitous struggle of self vs other.

On this point, the Talmud tells us that “one who says ‘what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine’ shows ignorance.” In other words: It’s healthy to recognize that we have boundaries and borders. What’s mine isn’t intrinsically yours. And what’s yours isn’t actually mine.

A society declaring that everything belongs to everybody is creating a world of anarchy. Such a worldview, teaches the Talmud, demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of human nature and its needs.

A sense of self, of our personal boundaries, is healthy. Recognizing someone else’s boundaries is critical to a sense of respect. The Talmud is telling us that it’s good to know where we each begin and end.

But the Talmud goes further with a curious statement: “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours…this is the attitude of Sodom”.

Sodom is the Scriptural epitome of a selfish and cruel society, of man’s inhumanity to man. Why should a simple recognition of our respective borders be labeled with such a horrible moniker?

The Talmud’s point is that a secure sense of self, recognizing one’s own independent and valuable place in the world, is extremely important. Independence is a good thing. We want it for our children as they grow out of their dependency stage.

At the same time, independence is not the ideal end-game. If one grows into independence, but hasn’t recognized the need to genuinely share one’s life with others, that’s called stunted development.

We want independence to mature into interdependence. Once I’m truly standing on my own two feet, I’m in a position to go beyond my personal borders to share life with someone else. And that’s where I’ll find life’s richness. In other words: The Talmud tells us that one’s proclamation of independence needs to be followed by a comma, not a period. It’s healthy to achieve an understanding that “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.” But you can’t stop there; we know where that got the Sodomites.

Find independence. Then keep growing and share yourself with others.

That’s what life is all about.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Forward

Carry It Forward

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, October 28th
Light Candles at 16:40

Join us Tonight!
Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30

Shabbat, October 29th,
Shabbat Ends 17:53
Torah Portion: Bereishit – Genesis

Carry It Forward

This past month was a Holiday whirlwind: On Rosh Hashana, we revisit individual responsibility. On Yom Kippur, we dig deep into ourselves, resolving to align our behaviors with our priorities and personal potential. On Sukkot, we experience community, and on Simchas Torah we recognize the genuine joy of living a meaningful life.
Four consecutive Holidays.

Solemn moments. Festive meals. Meaningful rituals. A stream of inspiration.

All coming to a close this week.

Now what?

Every morning, we say a prayer which begins: “My G-d, the soul which You gave me is pure. You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me. And You preserve it within me….”

Chassidic thought tells us that this prayer traces our souls’ journey into the human condition. The various expressions chart how our existence begins with G-d’s ‘choice’ of a specific soul to inhabit a particular baby, and continues with the soul’s descent through a succession of spiritual levels, ultimately finding expression in our bodily lives.

But then the prayer presents a final leg of the journey: “You preserve it within me.” What does that mean? To put the question in context: We wake up every morning and recognize that G-d has gifted us with a pristinely Divine soul, paring down its spiritual intensity – level by level – so that it can animate our physical human lives. The consciousness we feel in the morning is the human tip of a Divine iceberg. But once we have our human lives, what does G-d need to preserve?

Our spiritual sensitivity.

Every morning, we thank G-d for giving us human lives capable of embracing mundanity, yet equally capable of genuine spiritual feeling. Every morning, we recognize natural, physical impulses, and simultaneously acknowledge our profoundly spiritual roots. We take note that our hearts, deep inside, are playing a sublimely Divine chord.

If we only pause to hear it.

A spirituality-filled Holiday season has guided us to the threshold of a wonderful new year. We need to take the inspiration with us.

In fact, G-d helps us to preserve its echo for the year ahead. It’s resonating within you.

Every morning, take a moment and listen.
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM