It is the beginning of the new month of Adar. This is certainly one of the best months of the year for the Jewish people: a month of good “mazal”. A month of joy. In fact, the Torah tells us that when Adar enters, we must increase in joy. But how do we do that? Joy is an emotion: it is very hard to turn joy on and off at will. And to increase every night in joy? How do we do that realistically?


Today is Yud Shevat,marking 70 years of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s leadership after the passing of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak. The Rebbe was a leader, a nassi, for the entire Jewish nation, and in fact for the entire world. And he still continues to lead us, albeit on a more spiritual level. What is it we need to learn from the Rebbe? What he taught us in the first maamar he said, Basi L’gani: that we are the seventh generation from Avraham Avinu and all sevenths are beloved by virtue of being the seventh from the first.


Moshiach will reveal a new and higher light than has ever been revealed in the world before. As we approach that time, the G-dly revelations become more concealed in preparation for this new light so things often appear darker in the world. But the reality is that the world is just preparing for a greater light. I guess it is sort of like when you are in a theatre: before the next show, the curtains are drawn: thick, dark curtains that shut out the entire scenery. Then, when the curtains are lifted , the light shines so strongly and so brightly.

Chanukah sameach!

Chanukah commemorates the victory of the small group of Jewish fighters, the Maccabees, against the Greeks who defiled the Beit Hamikdash. After winning, the Jews then entered the Beit Hamikdash to kindle the menorah and found miraculously one flask of pure oil with the seal of the Cohen gadol still on it.


Today is the auspicious day of Yud Tet (Yud Tes) Kislev, the day that the first Chabad Rebbe, the Alter Rebbe, was released from prison after 53 days in confinement. He was imprisoned on trumped up charges of treason, but as we know, any accusation in this world is due to an accusation above in the Heavenly realms. What was the accusation against the Alter Rebbe? That he was introducing to the world a new study of Torah, the inner dimension of chassidut, and he was doing so to the masses whereas in the past the inner dimension (such as Kabbalah) had only been studied by a select few.


It is very nice that America has one day of the year to sit down and give thanks for everything.  But as Jews, everyday is thanks giving! In fact, the power of recognizing the blessings one has and offering thanks to the Almighty is very important and has even brought miracles to many people.  It is something that is not always easy to do because we tend to focus on what we are lacking rather than on what we have.


Our forefather Abraham (Avraham Avinu) stood up against the entire world. At that time, everyone worshipped idols.  He was one person against the multitude. He stood up against falseness and lies. The whole world was against him. Nimrod tried to kill him by throwing him in a fiery furnace. His own father Terach tried to kill him.  But Avraham did not care. He knew the truth. He understood about the Creator o f the world and he stood up against all lies and spent his life spreading the truth to others.


The other day I was watching a documentary about the chareidi (religious) Jews in Israel and the controversy with the secular Jews. As usual it portrayed the religious Jews in a negative light, focusing more on the so called “enlightened” views of the secular society. A totally non Jewish perspective, as usual.  And it made me sad to see how the non Jews choose to view the religious Jews, not really coming to understand the Torah viewpoints or lifestyle.  Because they are looking for ways to denigrate Jews and to put down the religious Jews. They are not seeking truth.


The fact that the Israeli govt is having a hard time forming a viable coalition is to me a clear indication that we do not need a new govt.   There is no political solution for Israel. We definitely do not need a govt that will compromise security, give away land, pay money to terrorists, turn a blind eye to those suffering or run the country contrary to Torah.  We need Moshiach! That is the only solution for the world in general.


Now that all the yomtovim are over, we are back to so called “normal” life…..but when I think back over the past month filled with so many wonderful Jewish holidays, I find myself wondering what is normal? Is it life now, or is It all those beautiful holidays where we feel so close to Hashem and so happy? Why can’t that inspiration last a whole year?  Well, it can. We need to take all the light and joy and inspiration from all these holidays and incorporate them into our daily lives. When we do a mitzva, let’s do it with more enthusiasm.  When we pray, let’s have more kavana.

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