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The Power of the Light of Shabbat

Dear Friends,

Last Friday, 25 minutes before candle lighting, I'm in the car, finally on my way home... and I see at the corner of my eye, the white box on the passenger seat... I forgot to deliver the "Light of Shabbat" box!  What do I do now?  

One side of me said - how can you cancel this Mitzvah of bringing the Shabbat-kit to the patient in the hospital, when you promised you would?!... The other internal voice said - you were busy with important things all day, Shabbat is almost here, and you need to be home right away, the guest are coming, and anyways, being that you have only a few minutes, it won't be nice to visit someone in the hospital in such a rush!

Before I had time to decide one way or another I was at the parking lot of the hospital. I was literally running into the hospital, and I found myself in the room of this wonderful woman from the Cowichan Valley who had broke her hip and was hospitalized last week.

She seemed very happy to see me, and was pretty surprised that it was so close to sunset... We had a brief conversation, I apologized that I needed to rush back home for Shabbat, and I started running out of the hospital again. I arrived home just in time for candle lighting catching my breath...

On Tuesday there was an email in my inbox:

"I want to thank you so very much for your visit last Shabbat evening.  I can't begin to tell you how very much it meant to me.  I got permission to light the candles on my window sill.  They gave me a metal tray to put them on.  I felt truly blessed at having the opportunity to observe Shabbat at the hospital.  For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart".

The power of the light of Shabbat... 

Cherries for the guests...

Dear Friends, 

Our three older children attend the Chabad "Online School" - an internet school with live classroom teaching for over 400 children of Chabad families who live in "remote communities"...

Our 5 year old son Leibel has a great routine: immediately after he finishes hearing a story in class, he runs to illustrate what he has just learned... This week he came up with a fantastic piece of art.leibel's drawing.JPG                      

He was learning about this week’s Parsha, which talks about the angels coming as guests to Avraham and Sarah's home to inform them of the upcoming birth of Yitzchak.

When Chani and I saw the finished product, we were very impressed. It was clear that Leibel had worked very hard on his drawing. He put thought into every detail; he even taped a beautiful ribbon on the table as a tablecloth. I congratulated Leibel for the hard work and the fantastic result. I then asked him questions about some of the details in the drawing.

I noticed little red balls in the plates served on the table, so I asked Leibel what they were. He said, "it's cherries for the guests!” As I know there is no mention in the Torah that Avraham and Sara served cherries to their guests, so I assumed it was his own idea. I then continued to ask, "Why do you think Avraham and Sara served cherries to the guests?"

Leibel’s answer came with a very obvious look: "Because cherries are the tastiest healthiest food..."

May he grow to be such a caring host... 

A proud father

Dear Friends, 

Yesterday, I finally received the pictures of this year’s Sukkah Mobile event. As I looked through the photos, I remembered a very special photo from my first Sukkah Mobile journey, seven years ago.  

When we first arrived in Victoria, Sukkot arrived a few short weeks later.  When I decided to build a Sukkah Mobile and travel up the island, I had no idea how complicated this mission would be. Luckily, my handy brother-in-law was there to help. To make long story short - by the time everything was ready - we left in the afternoon, on the last day possible, and arrived in Nanaimo when it was nearly dark. 

With the Jewish directory in hand, my brother-in-law began calling all the Jewish people in the city, asking them if we can "stop by with a Sukkah". This wasn’t an easy task... Finally, the first person who agreed to have us for a visit was an elderly man named Burton.

After getting lost a couple of times (before the age of Google map and GPS) we arrived at Burton's house. Although we were quite a bit late, he welcomed us in very warmly, offered us something to drink, and asked us what we were there for...   I told him that we came to celebrate Sukkot,with a Sukkah and a Lulav. He wasn't able to walk out to the Sukkah so we brought in the Lulav and Etrog and he made the blessing and seemed very happy with the interesting visitors... 

Before we left the house, he told us how proud he was of his son, who is a "brilliant general in the Canadian army".  He showed us his son’s picture and we had a close look at it. This meeting - although fairly short - is engraved in my memory, as this was the first "up island" Jew we met in such a unique setting. 

Three and half years later, I met Burton again in a home of new comers to Victoria...  You guesed right - it was his son... Can you recognize the general in the picture behind the proud father?

Ed Fitch's father.jpg 

Rochel's first lesson...

Dear Friends, 

One of the special gifts of parenting is the opportunity you have to introduce your child to an idea for the first time. Seeing their eyes shining and smiling from learning yet another lesson of life is one of the dearest moments for a parent.

This week I had one of these privileges:

Our youngest child, Rochel, is just 17 months old, but she seems to be very knowledgeable about how to turn over a house.  Rochel’s creativity is illuminated when she finds a marker, or a way to climb to the water, or opens a briefcase... This week she got hold of a book and within minutes a few of the pages were torn, and some were shredded. When I saw this I wasn't happy, and she knew why. When I told her that "books are to read and not to tear", I thought she understood what I was saying.  She looked embarrassed and even sad... I felt perhaps I'm over doing it; after all, she is not yet a year and a half...

So I took her on my lap, I took the torn pages, I picked up a scotch tape and I sat with her, piece by piece repairing the book.  She looked amazed, seeing the pages coming slowly together and by the end she was clearly happy, touching the pages again and again...

Then I realized that this was the first lesson I gave my daughter.  She now knows that even when we tear things apart we can bring them back together.  She knows that there is always hope.  She learned the power we have to fix and repair mistakes we have done.

You know what, maybe she didn't understand all this, but I was surley inspired...

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