Dear Friends,

While our thoughts turn to Shabbat,do you think G‑d would protest if we dedicated a small corner of our minds to Dunk City, Texas, and good wishes to the men of FGCU as they try to perform what has been deemed a minor miracle? With the odds against them, they forged on and created their very own Sweet 16. So how does this have anything to do with us as Jews, as we celebrate Passover? How much of a stretch is this, you might ask: none at all.

Passover's message is that men and women can transcend instinct, impulse, and social pressures to fulfill their hearts' desires.

At the Chabad seder, 200 people filled the social hall that reverberated with fellowship, warmth, and song. What an honor it is to be able to host this event in our own Chabad home! Do you remember how cramped we were for space at our Seagate location, and then the first year this hall seemed huge by comparison? But now — who would ever have imagined we would have grown so large so quickly!

How did you enjoy your Passover seders? The morning after the first night of Passover, many were discussing what their personal seders meant to them: it was seen as a wonderful opportunity to be free, because today freedom is difficult, as we continually enslave ourselves. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated, " Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains". How and why did we voluntarily do this to ourselves? With cell phones as our constant companions, must-see 24-hour news centers and must-do updates for Twitter and Facebook tugging at our sleeves all hours of the day and night, we have become an electronically enslaved generation.

Each of us has created our own Egypt, while yearning to be free. Take the Passover message to heart: transcend instinct, impulse, and social pressures and break your bonds. Here and now you are in charge of and responsible for your own freedom: don't let it pass you by.

With blessings for a Shabbat Shalom!


Rabbi Fishel