Dancing with the Divine

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 29th Light Candles at 20:23 Shabbat, July 30th, Shabbat Ends 21:55 Torah Portion: Pinchas

Dancing with the Divine Self-sufficient. Dependent. We’ll take the former. Think of your most vulnerable moment. A time when your security nets were insufficient, and it seemed like there was no one to catch you. That pit-in-your- stomach despair is a feeling nobody wants to experience. On the other hand, remember when you were embraced by someone who had the power to handle your problems; someone who loved you and was wholly concerned with your welfare. Like a parent caring for a baby. Safety at its best. We all want to feel secure. But that feeling brings its own challenge: We usually take it for granted. When a protective power is warding off problems in your life, then - unless it’s before your eyes - you tend to take it in stride. How can you feel saved if you haven’t had an opportunity to internalize the threat? Aside from the lack of thankfulness, we relax our own efforts while basking in the protective shade. Watch small children. They usually have no idea what we’re doing to protect them, and they take their security for granted. And the more we coddle them, the more we potentially disempower their own efforts at achieving genuine security. Think of American society pre 9/11. Most of us took our safety from terrorism for granted, and there seemed little need for personal efforts at self-protection. Then we woke up to the truth of our vulnerability. Safety vs. Vulnerability. Two poles in our delicate dance with G-d. G-d is our Rock, our ultimate security. When you genuinely trust G-d, you sleep easier. Yet we can’t take G-d’s protection for granted. We need to recognize humanity’s intrinsic frailty, thank G-d for His protection, do what we can to help ourselves, and trust the Divine for the future. Think of the Jews in the desert. They went to bed without any food for the next day (vulnerable). Yet they firmly trusted that the manna would fall the next morning and satisfy their needs. It’s an important model. The spiritually-connected person doesn’t get up in the morning feeling invincible because G-d will protect him/her. We take pause to recognize every human’s intrinsic vulnerability. Then we thank G-d for our blessings, and find trust for the future in a loving, protective G-d. It’s confidence with gratitude and humility. A great way to live your day. 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

Summer Thoughts

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 22nd Light Candles at 20:36 Shabbat, July 23rd, Shabbat Ends 22:13 Torah Portion: Balak

Summer Thoughts 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. After all it's summer, and summer has a special rhythm. 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. Now think about your own internal seasons. There are times when we go through an internal winter, when our internal ‘sun’ - the soul – doesn’t seem to be shining, 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 personality growth seems a part of the distant past. Then there’s my internal ‘summer.’, when my internal sun shines. My soul summer is about feeling the internal capacity for spirituality and warmth. 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 connect with 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! Rabbi Yanky and Rivky Klein

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

Living the Rhythms

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 15th Light Candles at 20:46 Shabbat, July 16th, Shabbat Ends 22:30 Torah Portion: Chukat

Living the Rhythms Years ago, I was standing with a friend, a seasoned businessman, as his 38 year-old son walked by. Nodding toward his son, he muttered to me: “My son needs to understand that the stock market doesn’t always go up”. It was an interesting insight for me. You don’t understand life until you grasp the human journey’s comprehensive rhythm; until you appreciate that living is about ups and downs. Ups and Downs. If anyone thinks they’ve experienced only one, they’re either mistaken or need to wait just a wee-bit longer; the other will come soon enough. We all have both. But ‘down’ is where we feel the pain. Stress isn’t pleasant, and problems are….problems. But that is life; and, until Moshiach arrives, problems will continue to disrupt our lives. And so much of life depends on how we deal with problems. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, was brutally imprisoned - for spreading Judaism and helping Jews - by Stalin’s regime. Yet, years after reaching freedom, he would occasionally try to recapture the horrible experience, mentally transporting himself back to the gulag and its pain. Why? Not because he enjoyed the pain and suffering. But because he valued the character, the strength of Principle, he encountered within himself. The Rebbe never looked for pain, but when it came his way he didn’t waste effort on blame and self-pity; he faced it with dignity, and it became a growth experience. Today, Thursday, 12 Tammuz (June 20) is eighty-six years since the Previous Rebbe was finally given the wonderful news of his freedom from Soviet prison. It’s a day when we celebrate freedom. It’s also a day when we remember the pain. And it’s a day when we search ourselves to find our own inner strength to help us survive, and grow through, life’s pain. Because that is – in the final analysis – true freedom of character and soul. L’chaim. 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

The Rebbe!

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 8th Light Candles at 20:53 Shabbat, July 9th, Shabbat Ends 22:44 Torah Portion: Korach

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 9th, marks twenty two years since the passing of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. I am in New York, joining many thousands of people from across the globe who will be visiting the Rebbe's holy resting place for prayer on this auspicious day, as is customary when we commemorate the Yartzeit of a righteous person. It would be an honor and pleasure to pray for you (and your family), as well, at the Rebbe's "Ohel." Please e-mail me your name and your mother's name (preferably the Hebrew or Yiddish names), and those of anyone else you would like me to mention, I would be glad to have them in mind as well. If there's a specific need you would like me to pray for, please mention it as well. May all our prayers be fulfilled. We've posted lots of information to help you learn more about the Rebbe's devotion to G-d, discover how deeply he cared for each human being, and to glean insight into his teachings. The Rebbe would frequently insist that even the loftiest of thoughts must be translated into actual deed. Please join us on this special day in learning something additional, reciting an additional prayer, and giving some extra charity. Let us also try and apply some of the Rebbe's care and selfless dedication to our own interaction with family, friends and total strangers. There can be no more fitting tribute to the Rebbe than millions of good deeds, mitzvot, performed on his day. May G-d help us that in the merit of our collective acts of goodness we quickly greet our righteous Moshiach, at which time we will be reunited with our beloved Rebbe and all our loved ones. Sincerely, 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

Living life to the fullest

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, July 1st Light Candles at 20:58 Shabbat, July 2nd, Shabbat Ends 22:55 Torah Portion: Shelach

Why do we do what we do? So often, we know that we shouldn't act a certain way; and then we go do it anyway. Maybe it's eating french fries after the doctor warned against it; maybe it's disrespecting a valued relationship. When we sit in quiet contemplation, I think most of us have sound moral compasses and a healthy sense of right and wrong. The problem is that we're not always sitting quietly in contemplation. The problem lies in our lack of consciousness. When I'm fully aware – truly aware - of my gifts and values, I'm much more likely to honor them. When I'm actively conscious of my tremendous blessings, my life, family and friends, my actions will reflect that awareness. The trick is in remaining conscious; since the human psyche naturally gravitates toward a back-of-the-mind, taking for granted, automatic-pilot operating system. This is a reason that Judaism has so many awareness-triggers. When I walk into a room and see the mezuzah, it should raise my consciousness. The mezuzah reminds me that the room – bedroom, kitchen, den etc. – isn't simply a place to pursue a narrow, de-contextualized exercise (eating, sleeping etc.); it's a venue for pursuing my overall objective of a meaningful life (through eating, sleeping etc.). My Tzitzit (the Biblically-required fringes that hang from the little 'Talit' I wear under my shirt) are a mnemonic, a consciousness-prod. When I see them, I need to remember I have a destiny and a reason for existence; and that my next actions should reflect that life-objective. So it's about consciousness. If I check my 'consciousness meter' as often as I check for my wallet or keys, my 'internal traffic-controller' will perk up. I'll be able to consciously choose, and fully invest myself in, my next moves of the day. Internally, I become more internally 'alive'. And in this journey of life, 'alive' is the way to go. 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