Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad of Naples
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DON'T GET CAUGHT IN A WEB OF YOUR OWN WEAVING

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Dr. Perlmutter shared insights with Preschool of the Arts. His powerful and positive message was well received by our parents.

 

DON'T GET CAUGHT IN A WEB OF YOUR OWN WEAVING --

So often we weave webs of behavior around ourselves and believe we are unable to break out of them. If this were really true, although we are creatures of habit, we would be trapped and never make positive changes in what we do.

When Dr. David Perlmutter addressed us recently, he strongly suggested we make changes to our lifestyles, some of them radical, in order to improve our health. Do we have the willpower (what some refer to as 'won't power') to turn aside from previous ingrained habits? Even if it might improve our chances of longevity with a better quality of life?

The opening words of the Torah show how Abraham was able to go out of his comfort zone and his natural perspective and step beyond into uncharted territory. That act brought him blessings.

So many times we work ourselves into a comfortable rut, doing the same things for so long that we think we cannot change and indeed may even be afraid to change to new behaviors and ways of doing things.  Think about it:  if your health and wellbeing were at stake, would you take a chance?

You can start with one toe -- advance to a baby step - and then step fully out of your comfortable zone into a zone that could offer even more comfort, open new vistas, and bring major blessings.

Keep your eyes open!

Living in Southwest Florida we cannot help but be aware of the presence water,  and of some of its inhabitants, like fish. When we perform the interesting custom of Tashlich at Rosh Hashonah, have you ever wondered why we pray by the  water -- with fish?  Why do we go for the fish?  
Fish do not have eyelids;  their eyes are always open. On Rosh Hashonah we commit ourselves to keeping our eyes open and being aware of what is around us for the rest of the year as well.
It's a lot easier to close our eyes and be oblivious to what's around us, but knowing millions of children in Africa are starving, we think, how can we sit down to a hearty meal?  How can we float around in our pools knowing our neighbors are suffering?  How can we enjoy ourselves, knowing our brothers and sisters are at war? When we really open your eyes, we will see the harsh reality of what surrounds us.
This week we were once again made painfully aware of senseless suffering around, with the murder of a soldier in n Canada and the young life taken from a child in Israel. Please bring light to the world with the Shabbat candles today - in memory of three-month old Chaya Zissel Braun  who was murdered in Jerusalem this week, and in memory of Nathan Cirillo the soilder killed in Ottawa.

On Rosh Hashonah we are reminded to open our eyes for the rest of the year.

 

Rise and Shine!

 

Rise and Shine!

Just when you think the month of High Holidays, resolutions, and good intentions has passed, it hasn't! You see, it's never really over. The messages we glean from these exceptional days, are guidelines for our lives, but it's up to us to take hold of them and put them into action. 

Every Shabbat evening we chant this line: “Arouse yourself, rise and shine. Awake and sing a song to G-d."

This passage, from the book of Isaiah, is translated in the King James Version of the bible as “rise and shine”. This is the origin of the famous English expression “to rise and shine”. But what does it really mean to awaken and rise and sing to G-d?

Some time ago I had to finish  some important work in my office. I set my alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. When it rang, I did what many people do: I hit the snooze button so I could sleep for just nine more minutes. I woke up two hours later.

Several days after that experience, I needed to take a 6:30 a.m. flight. To make this trip, I had to be up at 4 a.m.  and knowing my inclination to hit the snooze button for ‘just a few more minutes,’ I took precautions so that I would not miss my flight. I moved the alarm clock off the night-table and put it in the far corner of the bedroom so that I could not turn it off from bed. The next morning I awoke at 4 a.m. and had to walk across the bedroom to turn off the alarm. By forcing myself to rise to turn off the alarm, I was then able to stay awake, and make the flight -- and shine.

You see, on both mornings, I had an “awakening”. But the first awakening didn’t last because I didn’t rise. The second time, I took precautions to avoid falling right back to sleep; I made the awakening last.

This is what the passage means, “ עוּרִי שִׁיר דּבַּרִֵי --Arouse yourself, and sing to G-d.” When you are spiritually awakened, like on Shabbat, or Yom Kippur, the Shabbat of all Shabbats, if you want it to last, you must connect it with some action. You must get out of bed in order to stay awake.

Every day, each of us is presented with fantastic opportunities to do something good, or make life better for another, or make a positive difference in our world.

When an opportunity comes our way to do something good, we should not delay. Don’t waste time and squander away years, but live daily with inner meaning and purpose. Consider this: in 1976, three guys in a garage started a computer company that would change the world. You've probably heard of two of the guys: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. However, there was a third founder of Apple, former Atari engineer Ron Wayne. He wrote up the partnership agreement for Apple, wrote the manual for Apple computers, and even drew the Apple logo.  The reason you’ve probably never heard of Wayne is that less than two weeks after founding Apple and receiving a 10% stake in the company, he got cold feet and sold his Apple stock for $800. Had he stayed on, his stake today would have been worth about $22 billion -- and that's a lot of apples!. Today Ron Wayne is living off Social Security checks and earnings from the sale of stamps and coins. That is what we call a missed opportunity. Most of us probably will not have the investment opportunity Wayne had, but every day, each of us is presented with fantastic opportunities to do something good, or make life better for another, or make a positive difference in our world. Make use of the guidelines of these Holy Days, and create a life well lived instead of a lifetime of regret and wondering what could have been.  Rise and shine!

In Jewish Tradition the holiday of Simchat Torah is the most joyous of the year, when we celebrate the treasure of our beautiful Torah with a huge party, great food, plenty of drinks, dancing and singing. "Joy is always attractive."  

Friends, if you made it through Yom Kippur, please join us for Simchat Torah on Thursday night. It will be fun. And great for the kids too.

 

 

"I met a man who had no shoes..."

"I met a man who had no shoes..."
 

After the high holidays, at the beginning of a new year, we are reminded of the brevity and fragility of life. Throughout the rest of the year we should live life well and cherish our days fully.  If we never experience a rainy day, it’s impossible to appreciate the beauty of sunshine. We cannot truly appreciate life until we understand its loss. When we understand that each day we awaken could be the last, we must use that day to grow, to become more of who we really are, to reach out to other human beings. Sukkot reminds us that every day is a gift from G-d. When we know that and feel it in our bones, that is when we really live — for the rest of the year we will cherish life and spend time wisely.  

When I grew up in Detroit, this time of the year was very cold and yet the whole family would eat and hang out in a hut that we built for Sukkot. I am not the greatest handyman but we looked forward to sharing  seven days together in this fragile hut,  and it has remained with us as a great and fond memory.  Now as a parent this holiday means even more to me. There are many explanations of G-d's protection and security, but the most beautiful is that life is fragile and we must hold on to the real things that occur in it. 

Like the person who complained about not having shoes until he met a man with no feet, life and all we have has to be seen as a gift. There is a lengthy quote that tells us to think before we say unkind words, before complaining about the taste of food, before complaining about a spouse, before we complain about life, driving a long distance, or our job. Someone is always in a worse position. When depressing thoughts get us down, wear a smile on and appreciate the gift of life. 

Then there is the story of two children building an elaborate sand castle with gates and towers and moats by the sea.  Just when they had nearly finished this beautiful structure, a wave came and washed away all their work. Instead of being devastated they ran up the shoreline laughing and holding hands, to build another sand castle.

Just think: in our lives, many of the very complicated things we spend so much time and energy building, are built on sand. Occasionally things we have worked so hard to build do not last. However, our relationships with others endure -- only the person who has another's hand to to hold will be able to laugh and carry on.

Do you have real relationships? Real friends? Someone whose hand you can hold? Don't put off either extending a hand or taking one that is proffered. Live in and for the moment, aware of all the good things that are around you. 

Wishing you all a happy Sukkot!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Create a life well lived instead of a lifetime of regrets


 

Rise and Shine!

Just when you think the month of High Holidays, resolutions, and good intentions has passed, it hasn't! You see, it's never really over. The messages we glean from these exceptional days, are guidelines for our lives, but it's up to us to take hold of them and put them into action. 

Every Shabbat evening we chant this line: “Arouse yourself, rise and shine. Awake and sing a song to G-d."

This passage, from the book of Isaiah, is translated in the King James Version of the bible as “rise and shine”. This is the origin of the famous English expression “to rise and shine”. But what does it really mean to awaken and rise and sing to G-d?

Some time ago I had to finish  some important work in my office. I set my alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. When it rang, I did what many people do: I hit the snooze button so I could sleep for just nine more minutes. I woke up two hours later.

Several days after that experience, I needed to take a 6:30 a.m. flight. To make this trip, I had to be up at 4 a.m.  and knowing my inclination to hit the snooze button for ‘just a few more minutes,’ I took precautions so that I would not miss my flight. I moved the alarm clock off the night-table and put it in the far corner of the bedroom so that I could not turn it off from bed. The next morning I awoke at 4 a.m. and had to walk across the bedroom to turn off the alarm. By forcing myself to rise to turn off the alarm, I was then able to stay awake, and make the flight -- and shine.

You see, on both mornings, I had an “awakening”. But the first awakening didn’t last because I didn’t rise. The second time, I took precautions to avoid falling right back to sleep; I made the awakening last.

This is what the passage means, “ עוּרִי שִׁיר דּבַּרִֵי --Arouse yourself, and sing to G-d.” When you are spiritually awakened, like on Shabbat, or Yom Kippur, the Shabbat of all Shabbats, if you want it to last, you must connect it with some action. You must get out of bed in order to stay awake.

Every day, each of us is presented with fantastic opportunities to do something good, or make life better for another, or make a positive difference in our world.

When an opportunity comes our way to do something good, we should not delay. Don’t waste time and squander away years, but live daily with inner meaning and purpose. Consider this: in 1976, three guys in a garage started a computer company that would change the world. You've probably heard of two of the guys: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. However, there was a third founder of Apple, former Atari engineer Ron Wayne. He wrote up the partnership agreement for Apple, wrote the manual for Apple computers, and even drew the Apple logo.  The reason you’ve probably never heard of Wayne is that less than two weeks after founding Apple and receiving a 10% stake in the company, he got cold feet and sold his Apple stock for $800. Had he stayed on, his stake today would have been worth about $22 billion -- and that's a lot of apples!. Today Ron Wayne is living off Social Security checks and earnings from the sale of stamps and coins. That is what we call a missed opportunity. Most of us probably will not have the investment opportunity Wayne had, but every day, each of us is presented with fantastic opportunities to do something good, or make life better for another, or make a positive difference in our world. Make use of the guidelines of these Holy Days, and create a life well lived instead of a lifetime of regret and wondering what could have been.  Rise and shine!

Rabbi Fishel Zaklos

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