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Rabbi's Blog

Hodu l’Hashem Ki tov!

With your permission, I'd like make an exception and write about some items in the news, which may have not attracted your attention, and I think that they deserve a blog.

Last week, a few terrorists were caught in Azerbaijan by the local police days before they were supposed to execute their plan of killing, G-d forbid, two Chabad Rabbis who ran the Jewish day school of Baku and the Israeli Ambassador to the country. This came only weeks after Israeli intelligence, with the cooperation of the local security agencies, foiled the plan of attacking synagogues and the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand at the very last minute.

As a nation, we owe our deep appreciation to the men and women of the security forces in these countries for saving us from horrific tragedies that could have stricken our people.

After the heartbreaking attacks in the past, we have been "upset" with G-d, and very rightly so, for not protecting the innocent who have lost their lives for the crime of being Jewish. Shouldn't we, on days like this, thank Him for the divine intervention in tracking down these murderers shortly before proceeding with their dreadful plans? Would it be right to just "blame" G-d for the horrors?

Hodu l’Hashem ki tov ki l’olam chasdo! Offer thanks to G-d for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting!

The "Touch and Feel" book

 Our daughter Rivky came to me this week with yet another book she was writing and illustrating.... While looking through the pages, I realized that one of the pages was wrinkled. Here is Rivky's explanation:  

“After cutting the pages for my new book, and stapling it together, I spilled by mistake a cup of water on the table, which wetted that page, so I decided to turn it into a ‘Touch and Feel’ book, and that page will talk about water that was spilled”.

Children are sometimes our best teachers. What a beautiful lesson of how to turn our errors and failures into advantages! We all spill every once in a while. We can be upset about it, or we can have the wisdom to turn it into another beautiful page in the magnificent book of our lives.

Don't cry on milk that you spilled. Turn it into joy!

"The very best things in my retirement life"

 Dear friends, 

Mr. Max Gross is our senior Shul attendee. He is very popular with the adults, but even more so among the children. Max gives out sweets to the children who come to Shul on Shabbat morning, he always does it with his “Zeidy” smile and pinch on the cheek, "the candy man" is how they call him lovingly. The excitement that he brings to the children is evident from the following story with our son Mendel.

About a month ago, we had some work that had to be done in our house, so I called a "handy Man". I told the children that he would be in our home momentarily. To my surprise Mendel was jumping from excitement, "the Candy Man is coming" he shouted...

Max has been coming to Shul from the very beginning, when we had services in our home over seven years ago. Since then he very rarely missed a Shabbat. At this point I can't imagine our Shul without him, his gracious words, kindness and happy spirit enriches our Shul greatly. I wish him, Marjory and the children many more years of health, joy and Nachas.

What brought me to writing about this dear friend, is the comment he told me before leaving Shul last Shabbat, as he gave me his usual warm handshake "I enjoy so much coming to this Shul”, he said. “This is the very best thing in my retirement life".

I am so thankful to Max for expressing his positive feelings about our Shul, and I’m sharing it today, perhaps someone could benefit from Max's insight...

It is not vandalism!

Like the rest of the Jewish and general community, I am still shocked and pained by the terrible desecration at the Jewish cemetery in Victoria. Last weekend, headstones were defiled with swastikas and graffiti against Jews. Let’s be very clear about it.

Making a trip in the middle of the night to a Jewish cemetery and painting swastikas on headstones is not vandalism—it is pure anti-Semitism.

The haters who came in the dark to paint Nazi symbols in a Jewish cemetery knew precisely what swastikas are and this is the reason they sprayed it in a Jewish sacred place. It does not matter if it was youngsters or older people; this came from hate of the Jewish people in its ugliest form. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand; this is part of the world-wide anti-Semitism that is very real.

My Faith is a matter of public record. As a rabbi in the community, I can say proudly that we live in a city that represents acceptance and respect. I rarely encounter any hate or disrespect from Victoria’s residences. We know that Vancouver Island is a safe place for people of all faiths. However, when hatred surfaces, all people need to stand together and say in a clear voice: there is no place for Jew haters or any other hatred in our society!

The answer to this incident is not with hate but with love—love for Judaism. These kinds of events require us to increase in our Jewish pride and knowledge and to be messengers of a loving Judaism, which brings to a world of goodness, kindness and peace.

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