Interestingly, yesterday, Chavie started her new course “Pause & Affect – A Shabbat Outlook” and it got me thinking; there’s no better place to start a journey of more observance than the Shabbat experience.
In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we read about the miraculous exodus from Egypt. On Shabbat, while sanctifying the day, Kiddush, over a cup of wine, we thank G-d who “has desired us, and has given us, in love and goodwill, His holy Shabbat as a heritage, in remembrance of the work of Creation; the first of the holy festivals, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt”. Shabbat is not only a weekly opportunity to remember the Creator and His amazing creation, but it’s a time to remember Egypt. To paraphrase Maimonides in his Guide to the Perplexed, slaves can’t choose when to work and when to rest, but a free person can. When a Jew celebrates Shabbat, they are celebrating their freedom from Egyptian – and all other – bondage.
All weeklong we are enslaved to the mundane. We’re trying to make a living, to care for our families, to shovel the snow, do the laundry and to enjoy a few hours of sleep. G-d recognized this reality and gave us a day to simply let go. G-d gives us the weekly opportunity to free ourselves from internal bondage, internal Egypt, and head to the promised land of spirit, soul and family. Shabbat is a freeing day to focus inwardly without being concerned with who likes us on Facebook, retweets us on Twitter and shares our pictures on Instagram. Enjoying Shabbat is not all or nothing; you do a little, then a little more, at your own pace.
TGI Shabbat – one weekend at a time!
Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny & Chana Laya
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rabbi Ruz will not be with us this year for Yom Kippur services. Wendy and Devorah will lead the services, and we will live stream Kol Nidre services with Rabbi Ed Staffman from Bozeman again like we did last year, hopefully with better results this time. If someone can coordinate with Aaron Weissman to lead a mid-afternoon discussion, that would be great. Otherwise, the schedule will be the same. Thank you for your understanding. Please make it a point to attend services at the Bethel if at all possible. We all wish Rabbi Ruz a speedy recovery, and a happy and healthy New Year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If God wrote you a letter wishing you a happy new year, what do you think it might say?
By Rabbi Chaim
On Wednesday evening, we will usher in a New Year with Rosh Hashana 5778. During the holiday service, we read the Haftorah about the infertility of Chana and Elkanah. Chana – childless and troubled by her super-fertile sister Peninah – travels to G-d’s Tabernacle in Shiloh and breaks down in prayer, beseeching G-d for a child. She is then blessed with baby Samuel, who grows to be a prominent prophet of the Jewish people. When she returns with Shmuel to Shiloh, she thanks G-d. In her words “ For this child did I pray, and the Lord granted me my request, which I asked of Him.”
How often do we pause to simply say “thank you” to Hashem before submitting our next request? How often do we see the gifts given to us by G-d and just relish in them? How often do we recognize that Indeed Hashem has answered our prayers?
I want to publicly express my thanks to the Almighty for all that He has done for my family and me, and to apologize for not being grateful enough.
Last night, I envisioned receiving this note from G-d:
Thanks again for dedicating your life to sharing my Torah with Montana. I appreciate all that you do, but I need to knock some sense into you and put you in your place, so please bear with me.
I know that you, like all my creations, have “moments” but please get a grip. Next time you are struggling, next time you think your world is imploding, next time you question what I’m smoking, please remember Chana’s words “El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray.”. These heartbreaking moments of life always pass, and at the end you will see that I’ve answered your prayers in spades.
When your children are misbehaving, Chaim, giving you heartache, remind yourself:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. You wanted a family so badly and look, I’ve provided you and Chavie with just that.
When your child is struggling with a tough medical quandary, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. Yes, they have health challenges, but I’ve also gifted you and Chavie with inner strength and amazing doctors to get you through the darkness.
When you drive 400 miles just to visit one young Jew in desperate need of love, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. How fortunate are you to spend your day on the road, in order to uplift one of My children.
When a Jew increases their Mitzva observance and you’re frustrated that it isn’t more, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. Yes, it may be a bit frustrating, but in My eyes, Chaim, their small step upwards has shaken the heavens and is so precious.
When you think that someone else has it easier or better than you, remind yourself Chaim,
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. The life I have given you is a perfect fit, tailor made for you, so cut the you-know-what and be grateful.
Do you feel me Chaim? I don’t mean to shut you up, but please take a moment, daily, to see how much you’re loved and blessed.
I bless you with a rokin New Year and wish you continued success in making Montana a place that makes Me feel at home. Please thank Chavie on My behalf, not only for putting up with you, but for being an amazing mother to her five Kinderlach and a spiritual leader of Big Sky Country.
There’s nothing about my life I’d want to swap out, and neither should you. Look at your life and sing “El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray”. G-d please continue to give me what I need to be the best I can be in service of You!
Please take a moment before Rosh Hashana to enjoy this beautiful rendition of El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti, composed by Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz of Los Angeles. The kids and I love it, I think you will too!
Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom & Shana Tova!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny & Chana Laya
With immense Gratitude to Almighty G-d we are pleased to announce the arrival of our baby Chana Laya!
Chana Laya has a registry at babylist and in Bozeman at Baby Logic at the mall or online
We are very excited to welcome this new addition to our family and look forward to raising her to Torah, Chupah and good deeds.
May we collectively share in happy occasions together.
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy and Menny
Isaiah Envisions a Museum!
By Rabbi Chaim
I guess you can call it good planning on my part; hiking the M for the very first time on Sunday, meeting amazing trekkers along the way. It allowed me to see how wonderful humanity truly is, despite the horrifying news that we received from Charlottesville after Shabbos. It’s hard to believe the word Nazi is still associated with living beings, it’s even harder to accept that there are those who hate others based on their skin color, religion, lifestyle or philosophical outlook. It is no coincidence that, although Chavie has been meticulously planning this launch since January, it was the week of August 14 that was chosen to announce the campaign to build The Holocaust Museum of Montana. Never Again, means Never Again; is that so hard to comprehend?
Tonight, is Shabbos Mevarchim, in which we bless the upcoming month of Elul. It is during this month, during the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, that we take stock of our past year, we seek to return to our Creator with healthy introspection, small positive changes and unbridled enthusiasm to rock on into the New Year. In the Haftorah that we’ll read in Shul from our Prophet Isaiah, we are consoled “O poor tempestuous one, who was not consoled, behold I will set your stones with carbuncle, and I will lay your foundations with sapphires. And I will make your windows of jasper and your gates of carbuncle stones, and all your border of precious stones. And all your children shall be disciples of the Lord, and your children’s peace shall increase. With righteousness shall you be established, go far away from oppression, for you shall not fear, and from ruin, for it will not come near you. Behold, the one with whom I am not, shall fear, whoever mobilizes against you shall defect to you”.
We, the Jewish community, must not fall into the trap of fighting hatred with even more hatred. We must do everything in our power to uproot Nazism from these United States, but at the same time, we must ask ourselves, privately, am I REALLY helping America? Am I contributing love and peace to our country or am I, perhaps, doing the exact opposite? Elul, is days away, and it’s time to converse with our souls. I’m not a constitutional lawyer and I don’t understand exactly what free speech is and what it isn’t, but I do know how Chaim Bruk could choose to speak, I do know how Chaim Bruk can choose to see things, I do know how Chaim Bruk can be a better person. If I shine light, you shine light and everyone else shines light, the darkness will have a rough time and that is the goal.
Think it’s impossible? Daryl David disagrees!
What Is MAJCo?
The Montana Association of Jewish Communities (MAJCo) is an umbrella organization that includes representation from Jewish communities across the length and breadth of the great state of Montana. Membership in MAJCo is open to any Jewish community, whatever the “stream,” within Montana.
(Acceptance by the current communities is required.)
Small Jewish communities in rural areas do not exist in a vacuum. Almost three decades ago, the Jewish communities throughout the state created MAJCo, an association of all the organized Montana Jewish
communities. Through MAJCo, we keep in touch and have created a community throughout this great big beautiful state.
The Jewish communities in the Big Sky currently include:
- Congregation Beth Aaron, Billings
- Chabad Lubavitch of Montana, Bozeman
- Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman
- Congregation B’nai Israel, Butte
- Congregation Aitz Chaim, Great Falls
- Helena Jewish Community, Helena
- Glacier Jewish Community/B’nai Shalom, Kalispell-Whitefish
- Chabad Lubavitch of Missoula, Missoula
- Congregation Har Shalom, Missoula
Anyone wishing to be on the MAJCo email list may contact Brian Schnitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we stand before G-d this Rosh Hashana, let’s pray and beseech our Creator to bestow upon His world a super dose of forgiveness, a touch of non-tough love, a good amount of wisdom to focus on the things that actually matter, a gift of moderation so we can stop bickering about anything and everything that doesn’t speak/look/think like us, and a bit more revelation so that His creations can grow in their relationship with Him. We will, of course, do our part: we resolve to be more united even with those with whom we disagree wholeheartedly, we hope to be more conscious of the pristine environment which we’ve been gifted, we are sure to be more devoted to our people, our land and our Torah, and most importantly, we commit to cut the judgmentalism out of our system. G-d is the True Judge, not us.
I bless each and every one of you, my beloved readers, my devoted congregants and my amazing Montanan sisters and brothers: may this year be the one that you’ve been waiting for. May you merit to see G-d in action, not only in mystery; may you merit tangible sweetness materialistically, physically and spiritually. May you know only good health with doctors being used for preventative measures only, may your children, grandchildren and all those whose future you’re rooting for personally, give you Jewish Nachas, and may we all experience redemption, an epic liberation from the exilic limitations, with freedom to worship G-d as He originally intended with the coming of our Mashiach, now!
A Gut Gebenched Yur!
Your Bozeman brother,
Rabbi Chaim Bruk
Chavie, Chaya, Zeesy & Menny join me in wishing you and your family K’siva V’Chasima Tova L’Shana Tova Umetuka. May you and yours be Inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a sweet New Year with revealed blessings of health, wealth, happiness and Nachas.
May the conclusion of this year, arguably the most challenging for our people in a generation, bring to a final close the hate, violence and war that we have had to endure, and bring in its place justice, safety, security and most importantly, peace and harmony, to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, in Montana and the world at large.
May this year bring about a realization of Hashem’s gifts in our personal life and the ability to transform our challenging moments into moments of learning and growth. May we all utilize G-d’s direct channels of Torah and Mitzvot and His hidden channels in every breath of life to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
May our dreams become reality, may our hopes for the future become the experience of the present, and may we all succeed in truly living up to the Infinite potential that Hashem has placed within our minds and hearts, bodies and souls.
Most importantly, may this New Year finally bring about an end to this vicious exile and usher in the era we’ve all been waiting for, for way too long, the coming of our righteous Mashiach – Amen.
With best wishes, and deep gratitude for your love and friendship,
Rabbi Chaim Bruk
A Taste of Yeshiva
Day of Jewish Learning
Chabad Lubavitch of Montana cordially invites you to attend the second “ A Taste of Yeshiva – Yom Limmud” a day of Jewish learning @ The Shul of Bozeman.
Ever dreamed of spending a day studying Talmud? Maimonides? Ever yearned to spend a day in Yeshiva immersed in Torah study? Your dream has come true; spend a day at our learning seminar with enlightening lectures and stimulating discussions. It’s a unique opportunity to find the answers to some of the questions bothering you since Hebrew School.
Mrs. Rivkie Block of San Antonio, Texas
Rabbi Menachem Feldman of Greenwich, Connecticut
Rabbi Amram Phelps of Bozeman
Technology Vs. Shabbat – the use of electricity on the day of rest
Talmudic Trends – Explore the life & philosophy of some of the greatest Talmudic Sages and how it shaped their consistent worldview.
Torah and the Castle Doctrine: Montana law allows the use of deadly force to “prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry” to a home. Does the Torah agree?
What’s for dinner Mr. Mashiach? An overview of the menu at Mashiach’s feast
Woman of Valor – An in depth look at the beautiful Aishet Chayil song
Sunday, June 9, 2013. 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM @ The Shul.
Kosher Lunch Included.
Suggested donation – $18
Sponsor – $180
Yeshiva (n) (yeh-shee-vah) is the name given to the great academies of study where the Talmud and Jewish law were formulated. The Yeshiva as an institution has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of serious analytical study that endures to this day. In the long course of Jewish history it has been the Yeshiva more than anything else that has served as both the repository and birthplace of profound Jewish learning.
A Taste of Yeshiva
June 9, 2013 • 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana
8755 Huffman Lane, Bozeman, MT 59715-9211
RSVP at the link below.
It’s worth the drive.