Thursday, June 7, 2012

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

Have you ever met someone truly great? A giant? Have you felt the awe in their presence that is only enhanced when they extend themselves to you, when they draw you in? If you haven't yet, you have something to look forward to.

Some thirty-five years ago, a promising philosophy student at Cambridge set out to meet the great Jewish thinkers (and doers) of the times. He met the Rebbe, he asked questions and the Rebbe answered. Towards what he believed was the end of the interview, the Rebbe said that he too would like to ask a question, namely: "What are you doing for Jewish life in Cambridge?"

The student, Jonathan Sacks, is now chief rabbi of The British Commonwealth (and regardless of imposing titles, he truly, actually is great). When he assumed the chief rabbinate BBC interviewed him. They asked what made him become a rabbi. He responded that the Rebbe's question -- what are you doing for Jewish life in Cambridge -- started him on that road.

Sacks speaks of the great personalities he met, how he sensed their greatness. In the Rebbe's room he sensed something else: he sensed his own greatness.

He maintains there is a common misconception about the Rebbe; that the Rebbe created followers. Sacks insists that he did not; he maintains that the Rebbe created leaders.

This week’s Torah portion Beha’alotcha (Bamidbor (Numbers)8:1 -12:16) opens with the words "And when you shall raise the (flames of) the candles..."

Kindle those flames, encourages the Talmud, until they burn steady and strong, until they neither flicker nor waver. Then and only then are they ready for you to remove the fire with which you kindled them and you can move on to your next candle.

Many of my students are now Rabbis and Rebbetzins. I pray that, like Jonathan Sacks, they sense their own greatness and what they can accomplish.

(excerpts from Chabad.org by Rabbi Shimon Posner)

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!