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Parshiot Nitzavim & Vayeilech - United we stand

Reb Shlomo Inspirational Quotes

There is war in the world and hatred because the world has amnesia and his forgotten what it is to be human.

All year long everyone in his own way is suffering from amnesia. We forgot what a Jew is, we forgot what a human being is, and we forgot who G-d is. Rosh Hashana when we blow the Shofar, we remember everything. On Yom Kippur, we wash up and on Sukkot we move back into our heavenly abode -- to the palace we are meant to live in

The Covid19 Pandemic is actually all over the world. It is as if G-d is reminding us that if true humanity, true belief in G-d has no home in the world yet. Sukkos we are building a new home for G-d, for all of Israel and via Israel for the whole world. Let the New Year be the year we have been waiting for.

Friends, I'm begging you, I'm begging you, don't be angry, not even with yourself. Just lets cleanse our hearts, lets cleanse our thoughts

Reb Nachman says, the Heilage Reb Nachman says, you know why people hate each other? Because deep, deep, deep down they don't really believe that God created them. And they hate each other. If it would be clear to them that there is only one G-d, and G-d created them, they'd love each other.

Rev Kook - The shofar we sound, both during the days of Elul and on Rosh Hashanah, is a call to bring the varied sectors of our nation closer together

Seven - pommegranates



Dear friends "ad 120 b'simcha"

We wish you and all of Israel a great last Shabbos of this year and a wonderful New Year in all matters both mundane and spiritual.

Every year, as Rosh Hashana approached closer Reb Shlomo zt"l used to implore us again and again, that when we bless one another to be inscribed in the Book of Life, it should be the highest and deepest moments of Rosh Hashanah. He used to say that our blessings can keep one another alive.

As we are about to begin our last Shabbos of the year 5774, we pray that it should be a most special and joyous Shabbos. It is good to take a moment to thank Hashem for the wonderful opportunities we have been blessed with to receive the gift of Shabbos, and to look forward to a New Year of ever more enlightening and beautiful Shabbatot.

We wish you all to be inscribed in the Book of the Living, with abundant material and spiritual livelihood in the best of health and simcha tamid,

Bahavah ubivracha


Atem Nitzavim

"You are all standing today before Hashem your G-d, all of you, your leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Yisrael; your children, your wives and the convert that is in your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water. To pass you through [to enter] in the covenant of Hashem your G-d, and His oath, that Hashem your G-d is cutting with you today. In order that He establish you today unto Himself as a nation, and He will be unto you a G-d, as He has spoken to you and as He has sworn to your ancestors, to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov. [Devarim 29:9-12]

"All of you", that is everyone of us, from our greatest leaders to our most simple, holy simple heart warming wood choppers and thirst quenching water carriers. All of us are standing together, not only those of you who are present here today, but also whoever is not here yet today.

"Today", our holy Rebbes teach us, refers to Rosh Hashanah, the "day of judgment." All of us, whatever state we are in, in a state of "mochin de'gadlus" higher consciousness or in a state of "mochin de'katnus" small mindedness; in our creative states and in our simple labour states, as leaders, as followers, as woodchoppers, as water carriers, all of us are standing before G-d, TODAY!

"All of you", that is every one of us, from our greatest leaders to our most simple, holy simple heart warming wood choppers and thirst quenching water carriers. All of us are standing together, entering the covenant. But וְלֹא אִתְּכֶם לְבַדְּכֶם--אָנֹכִי כֹּרֵת אֶת-הַבְּרִית הַזֹּאת, וְאֶת-הָאָלָה הַזֹּאת it is not with you alone am I cutting this covenant - כִּי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר יֶשְׁנוֹ פֹּה, עִמָּנוּ עֹמֵד הַיּוֹם לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר אֵינֶנּוּ פֹּה עִמָּנוּ הַיּוֹם. This covenant is being made with those of you who are present here today and also with whoever is not here today.

All of us, individually and collectively, whatever state we are in, in a state of "mochin de'gadlus" higher consciousness or in a state of "mochin de'katnus" small mindedness; in our creative states and in our simple labour states, as leaders, as followers, as woodchoppers, as water carriers, all of us are standing before G-d, TODAY!

"Today", our holy Rebbes teach us, also refers to Rosh Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah, all together, we re-experience standing before Hashem, as we did together with Moshe Rabbeinu on the last day of his life on earth. As Reb Shlomo would often say ‘let’s go higher and deeper’ to understand this better. What does it mean to stand before Hashem? Is this an individual or collective experience? What is the truth of such an experience?

Alter Rebbe

The Alter Rebbe - Reb Scheur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Essence of Rosh Hashanah

There are many aspects to Rosha Hashanah. Among others, Rosh Hashanah is known as יום הדין – the day of judgment; it is the first of the ’10 days of Tshuvah’; it is the day of creation of Adam and Eve. But what is its essence?

All the Torah actually tells us about the holy day Rosh Hashanah is that it is יום זכרון תרועה – a day of rememberance of the sounding of the Shofar. מצוות היום בשופר – the essence mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah is to blow the shofar.

Chassidut explains- the essence of this mitzvah of blowing the shofar is to coronate Hashem as our King, and King of the entire Universe. To crown Hashem implies our acceptance of the ‘yoke of the Kingdom of heaven’ upon ourselves. On the superficial level this means that we accept the responsibility to live with and fulfil Hashem’s commandments as best as we can. Now let’s try to go deeper.

In the synagogue the shofar is blown, before the Mussaf prayer, during the Mussaf prayer and again during the repetition of the Mussaf by the chazzan. This is based on Rabbah’s ruling found in the Talmud Bavli, Rosh Hashana 34b:

“Rabbah said: God proclaimed: Recite before Me on the New Year kingship, remembrance and shofar verses; kingship verses to declare Me king over you; remembrance verses, that the remembrance of you may come before Me for good; and through what? Through the shofar.”

To declare Hashem’s kingship, we recite the Biblical verses of kingship and the recitation must be accompanied with the blowing of the Shofar – for it is the blowing of the Shofar that accomplishes the Coronation of Hashem as our King.

How are we to understand this? What are the deeper lessons of this mitzvah in serving Hashem and how are we to apply them?

In the year 5562 [1802] the Alter Rebbe delivered a ma-amar [Chassidic discourse] entitled “Atem Nitzavim Hayom.” The essence of this discourse is encapsulated in the verse: לְךָ, אָמַר לִבִּי--בַּקְּשׁוּ פָנָי - אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ ה' אֲבַקֵּשׁ – On Your behalf, my heart said: Seek My face – Your face Hashem, I shall seek.” Psalms 27:8. As we have already learned, the word פנים – ‘panim’ which means face, can also be read as פנים – ‘pnim’ which means the inside – it is really the same word, just pronounced differently, for the face reveals the inside. Thus the deeper reading of this verse teaches us that on Rosh Hashanah every Jew needs to [dis-cover] reveal his innermost connection- in the deepest depths of his soul with the innermost essence of Hashem.

Reb Shlomo זצ"ל was a master in giving over the deepest Torah and Chassidut. He made their deepest teachings accessible to us, so that we could at least have a little taste of their beauty and depth. Reb Shlomo revealed depths of Yiddishkeit we had never before known or understood, he showed us how deep it is to be a Yid.

In לב השמים – חגי תשרי p. 87-89, Reb Shlomo discusses the meaning of the R. Kruspedai’s statement said in the name of R. Johanan: “Three books are opened [in heaven] on New Year, one for the thoroughly wicked, one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for the intermediate. צדיקים גמורים- the thoroughly righteous are immediately inscribed and sealed in the ‘book of life’; the thoroughly wicked are forthwith inscribed and sealed in the book of death; the fate of the intermediate is suspended from New Year till the Day of Atonement; if they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death.” Rosh Hashana 16b.

Who are these צדיקים גמורים- the thoroughly righteous? They are the ones who believe with complete faith that everything that Hashem gives us is הסד חינם – free [altruistic] kindness! They do not think or believe that Hashem owes them anything. They trust with complete faith that Hashem is good and is always wanting to ‘do good’. They have complete trust and faith that Hashem wants to give a שנה טובה – a good year, just because he wants to give – chessed chinam – free kindness, it’s beyond whether we earned it or not.

The entire act of Creation is an act of חסד חינם – altruistic kindness, for before creation there was no one who could claim they earned Hashem’s kindness. Hashem’s ongoing Creation was and is pure altruistic kindness.

This will help us understand better the ‘face to face – inside to inside’ relationship. Your calling ‘seek My Face’ arouses me to seek my deepest soul essence, my חלק אלוקה ממעל ממש – my soul which is a veritable part of You from above. Yes Hashem, I seek and will always seek to connect with Your deepest essence – Your חסד חינם free altruistic kindness. I seek to realize true unity with You Hashem- unity that is beyond any and all degrees of separation, unity beyond all worldly understanding.

In discovering our deepest soul essence connection with Hashem, we reach beyond the familiar conditional and transactional relationship models, beyond ‘I deserve’ or ‘don’t deserve’. Such relationships are based on an inherent separation- between me and You, between you and I.

But when a Jew reaches the level of פנים אל פנים ‘pnim el pnim’ – inside to inside and discovers that Hashem is all about חסד חינם altruistic kindness, then he too wants to do exactly the same, he too wants to be altruistic. He wants to be a channel for Hashem’s kindness. He wants the whole world to know Hashem’s kindness, and he wants to share it with all. This is the level of the complete tzadddik, and it is natural that he is immediately inscribed and sealed in the ‘Book of Life’.

Now the Alter Rebbe says further that when our souls return to our source and root ‘before Hashem’ and we stand all together before Hashem, we realize that the unity on the side of Kedusha- holiness is a complete and true unity. We realize that no one is complete without the other. If G-d forbid even one soul is missing from ‘knesset Yisrael’ – the community of souls of Israel, then not only is the community incomplete, every individual is incomplete; for we are all a part of the One and all together we make up the complete body of Israel, individually and collectively. Every individual has something that no one else has. Therefore, the Rabbis say: “Be humble before each person!” Without humility you cannot receive that vital part which you are lacking; you can get it only from the other. And you too have to contribute your special qualities to ‘knesset Yisrael’, you too have to be there ‘before Hashem’.

Thus Rabbi Akiva said: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך – love your fellow as yourself – this is the great principle of the Torah!” And Hillel said: “That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others – this is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary, go and study!” G-d desires to have a dwelling place here on earth, the lowest of all worlds, and we are the ones who have been given the responsibility to manifest this. We do this by declaring that Hashem is our King and accepting the yoke of His kingship- the yoke of Torah and mitzvot upon ourselves.

Now Reb Shlomo goes further and explains why we do this with the sound of the shofar. Before Hashem uttered the first utterance of creation there was His breath. The sound of the shofar is the sound of His breath, it is the sound of His חסד חינם – free kindness. To listen to the sound of the shofar, is to hear this truth of Hashem, that His kindness and our relationship is beyond conditions – it is true unity, between us and Hashem, between us and all of Israel, between us and each other, between us and the Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael.

May we all be blessed to really be present before Hashem as we listen to the sound of the shofar. May we all be blessed to be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good and sweet New Year.

Oh G-d, please