Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad - Naples
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Preschool graduation.jpg 

As I write this, the cheerful sounds of cheerful events are still ringing in my mind as I contemplate some recent happy milestones at Chabad: 21 of our oldest preschoolers celebrated academic achievements as they progressed to kindergarten; 40 Hebrew School students attended end-of-year ceremonies in recognition of the Jewish learning they acquired. Each and every child walking across the stage was worthy of a well-earned L’chaim! As I saw their smiles and blessed them, I thought of how we recognize the journeys we make together with L’chaim and hope the children continue with the friendships and togetherness they have formed here.

Interesting that the phrase “L'chaim" is plural, not the singular form of the word “ chai" meaning life. But instead of “ L’chai" we say “to lives”, which suggests an important message: life lived well is plural, at its fullest when shared with others - thinking about other people, blessing them, giving to them.

The last time I was in Israel with my family I noticed something striking when we visited the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.  Why is one so full of life, while the other has none, while their source, the Jordan River, is the same?  The Dead Sea has no outlet, and my takeaway is, when you  give and share you are full of life. Giving connects us not only to the recipient, but to ourselves, helping us recognize the ways in which our lives are intertwined. By enhamcing others’ lives we enhance our own. How easy it is in the daily running around to take care of obligations and personal needs to become isolated, an island,  and lose sight of the mainland!

During this somewhat slower season let us gather with family and friends to focus on what we can share and give to others. Take advantage of the more relaxed hours to notice the people who have been sent into our midst who might need and enjoy a kind word or a smile. There are many ways to give.

Come to our weekly kiddush to stay around and socialize and offer a heartfelt L’chaim!

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