Legacy

A Legacy of Love!

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Shabbat, November 12th,
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Torah Portion: Lech Lecha

A Legacy of Love!

What is love?

Love is closeness.

Even more, it’s whole-hearted, committed closeness.

The heart’s warm flutter can be fleeting infatuation, here today and gone tomorrow. Love is different. It’s substantive. Real. Love is a bond that stands strong in the face of day-to-day volatility, an emotional anchor that’s unshaken by life’s waves.

Love is other-centered devotion. There’s a Chassidic story about a child who watches an adult catch and prepare a fish. Before his first bite, the adult exclaims “I love fish.” The child responds: “Sir, you apparently don’t love fish; if you did, you would have let this one stay in the water. You actually love yourself, and this fish is just another avenue for feeding your self-love!”

Genuine love isn’t about us gratifying ourselves (although that may be a nice by-product). Love is about making space for the other’s needs. Love is when the other’s sensitivities become our personal concern.

Sometimes, looking after our personal needs is a part of other-centeredness. If I take a day to care for myself, so that I am better fit to discharge my responsibilities to G-d, to life and the world, I’m still living a day of other-consciousness. Meeting my own needs can be a necessary preparation for fulfilling my responsibility to others.
In Torah language, this deeply committed, loving relationship is called a Covenant (Bris in Hebrew); it’s when two parties reach a profound, integral Oneness.

That’s what Abraham had going with G-d.

Abraham made genuine space in his life for G-d. Abraham’s definition of a ‘meaningful life’ was to be the person who G-d had created him to be. So his material endeavors, including his ‘self-gratifying pursuits,’ were all opportunities for deepening – and expressing – his devotion to living a meaningful life.

That’s why G-d commanded him to express their Covenant by marking an area of the physical body which symbolizes the pursuit of pleasurable physical engagement. To Abraham, all of life – even the pleasurable part – was all about reaching his/our Divinely-granted goal of finding deep connectedness with others and making this a better world. Life was all about the Covenant, all about mindfulness of higher Purpose.

Abraham showed us how to live life as it’s meant to be lived.

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

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