Printed from

Rabbi's Blog

Illuminate the World!

This morning  I sent in the mail a package to a couple who are living in a cabin, somewhere in the center of the island. While they are in financial straits they asked to send them three items. 

The first is Shabbat Candles for Friday night, second are Chanukah Candles for the holiday coming up next month, and third, four Yhartzeit Candles so they can mark both of their parent's memorial days.

When placing the items in the box I was thinking of their special request in their time of distress - light of spiritual significance, just like in a physical darkness we require physical source of light to illuminate it, so too in a time of hardship and challenges we need a light of spirituality and G-dliness to transform it. 

These three kinds of candles represent the three lights that were given to us. To light our home - Shabbat Candles. The light for the world around us -Chanukah Candles, and the legacy of previous generations, which we are responsible to pass on - the yhartzeit candles. 

When we encounter darkness - it is our job to transform it. No darkness can stand spiritual clarity, the  faith of our soul and the hope in our hearts. Let's chase darkness with the tool we were given. 

Thank you friends for inspiring me with your request, good timing too - now I got a story to share in my blog!... 

The Shaky Steady Sukkah

As soon as the holiday of Sukkot was over - it's started pouring... I thought we should wait to put down the Community Sukkah until it dried a bit... But then I got a phone call from a kind neighbour reporting that "the Sukkah is collapsing"...

I was shopping with the children when I got the message. When leaving the store I realized the windstorm was raging; "we must rush to Shul" I told them with panic "the sukkah is falling down..".

Rivky looked at me and said "Tatty, but you remember that song - the sukkah will never fall down."

Rivky was referring to a song in Yiddish we have chanted many times in the Sukkah called "A Sukkalke a Klaine".  Here is the translation:

A sukkale, a little one,
Of meagre boards,
I made myself a sukkale,
Covered the roof,
With a bit of schach,
I sit myself down in the sukkale at night.

A wind, a cold one,
Blows through the cracks,
And the little candles,
They flicker so much,
It amazes me,
How I make me Kiddush,
And the candles burn so still!

For the first course,
With a pale face,
My little daughter brings in,
She stands there,
And says with fright,
"Tatale, the sukka is about to fall in!"

"Don't be a fool,
Don't have any fear,
Don't let the sukka give you any grief,
It is already,
Almost two thousand years,
And the sukkale, she is still standing all this time!"

For us the story was in reverse order - the little daughter taught her father a lesson...

We went quickly to the Sukkah, with help of good friends we collected the pieces, thank G-d, it was very minimally damaged.

The 'Sukkale' is stored for next year; it may shake again in the Winds of Time but will continue to stand firmly as ever.


A Note by our Door that Changed our Life

It was nine years ago when we returned from Vancouver, where we spent Simchat Torah, and a note by our door changed the way we conducted our life from that day on. 

We arrived in Victoria permanently ten years ago after Yom Kippur. Sukkot was wonderful but Simchat Torah was difficult. We were used to a great celebration, with great joy, dancing and excitement, and in Victoria it was quiet, very quiet.

The following year we decided to go to a bigger community for Simchat Torah, and so we did. We had a wonderful time in Vancouver.

When we returned home we found a note that was deposited into our home through the mail slot; "I came to Chabad for Simchat Torah - I thought that we would have a wonderful celebration but no one answered the door..."

The message was clear to us: Victoria is our home and here we will celebrate all of the holidays. Since then we never left Victoria for Simchat Torah or for any other holiday...

On Thursday night, when many children and adults came to celebrate Simchat Torah at Chabad -when the atmosphere was as my memories of this holiday - I concluded that there is no reason to go anywhere for Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah came to Victoria.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.