Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad of Naples
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Listen to Logan's Generous Idea

Dear Friends,

In our Torah portion, we are charged to uplift our brothers and sisters with us. Perhaps imach, with us, can be interpreted to mean we can uplift them and show critical support with imach, with our experiences and what we have gone through. We didn’t ask for our particular struggles, but we give them meaning when we use them to help others with similar predicaments or experiences.  

Here at Chabad of Naples we take great pride in our Hebrew School education, not only in the curriculum and how it is offered, but also and more importantly, in how our students respond to our teaching.  

We try, and I believe we succeed,  in making our teaching both interesting and relevant to daily life, and  this year's heartwarming graduation ceremony stands out as a perfect example of this.  During the ceremony, one of the students, Logan, was motivated  ndependently to pass around  a Tzedakah box, explaining that  we all have to give charity.  His generous idea was quickly adopted by the rest of the class. Click here to hear Logan's few words.

Hebrew School teaches how to read, write, and speak the language, but our culture is about a lot more than that!  Hebrew School has also taught this young man about kindness and giving.  It's amazing what we can teach the  the students to practice now, so that  their world will  eventually be a brighter place. 

We should make ourselves available and offer help and support not based on how close we feel, but based on our experiences, our having been there and knowing somewhat what they are going through with this particular challenge. Don’t hesitate or be afraid – send a text, or an email or leave a message with someone saying, we don’t know each other or we aren’t close, but I went through a similar circumstance and I want you to know I am here to help or talk.

Money can help but sometimes we can’t afford to share money and sometimes money is not the issue. There is something else every single one of us can offer:

There is a story told about the devastating famine, which had brought great misery in Russia: A beggar had become weak and emaciated and almost starved to death. He approached the novelist Leo Tolstoy and asked him for assistance.

Tolstoy searched his pockets for money, but discovered that he didn't even have as much as a single coin. However, he took the beggar's worn hand between his own and said “don't be angry with me, my brother. I have nothing with me.”

The thin, lined face of the beggar lighted up, as if from some inner light. The beggar whispered in reply: “But, sir, you called me ‘brother.’ That was the greatest gift that you could give me.”

 V’chi yamuch achicha – the least we can all offer is achicha, to make someone feel they are our brother and our sister and you are with them.

 With love and blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos


 

Sunday is Mothers Day

Dear Friends,

Thank you.

It was a beautiful show of UNITY this past Shabbat.

How great it was to see so many people from the community ready, willing, and able to demonstrate their solidarity and unity with our brothers and sisters in Poway CA.

Never underestimate the power of prayer and the mitzvah!

***
This week’s Torah portion tells us - first examine yourself and then examine others. It means be honest and truthful with yourself, before being critical of others.

People watch what we do, not what we say and the most potent device to change another is to model it ourselves. First the Cohen Gadol had to fix himself and only then could he try to help others.

An inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby who lived a thousand years ago reads: “When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

***

Happy mothers Day to all!

Sunday is Mothers Day - and where would we be without mothers? I think we all know the answer to that one!
 
Not a day should go by, that we forget to thank G-d for the blessing of a wonderful mother.

For some, the role never quits, even though we may be remiss in expressing to them how we feel as often as we should.

There is a poem that expresses it perfectly: ‘When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking' tells how each little caring thing that mothers do is noticed, even though the child may not acknowledge it at the time, and that ranges from the encouragement one feels when school art is hung on the refrigerator to the silent tears and smiles that mark each passing event.  My own mother had a great impact on my life with her happy and joyful attitude, and it continues to this day.

In the same way, although she might think we don’t notice, it would be next to impossible not to see how Ettie is truly unbelievable with the strength she quietly exhibits while directing and supporting the Preschool, Chabad, our children and the community.

Mothers’ Day is just an annual reminder of the gratitude we should feel often for the loving foundation given to us by those maternal figures.  May we always recognize it as a ‘two-way street’ and remember to show our love  and appreciation in return.

May you and your family enjoy a wonderful day together! 

Greatness begins with ordinary people

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#heroes #courage

Yesterday we commemorated, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Although we are committed never to forget the horror, we should also concentrate on remembering as many positive things as we can, that led ultimately to our people’s survival.

My grandfather, Reb Moshe Rubin was saved by one of the Righteous, the incredibly heroic and courageous, Chiune Sugihara, who, at the beginning of World War II, risked his own career and life to save approximately six thousand Jews from certain death.

As the Japanese consul in Lithuania, he granted exit visas to Jews, against the orders of his government, thus losing both his job and his respectability within his own community.

Today he is considered a hero in Japan, and there are more than 50,000 descendants of “Sugihara survivors” living throughout the world. 50,000 ripples of light that shine brightly on earth today. And if not for Mr. Sugihara's persistence and courage I would not be here today!

The Poway Chabad community, too, was saved by the heroes who risked their lives for the large congregation that was there that Shabbat morning.

While Jew hatred has been a tragic theme in every generation, even in times of great evil and ugliness, time and time again, we see the beautiful parts of human nature.

Greatness begins with ordinary people deciding to take courage and going out of their way for others.

Each and every one of us has the ability to be a Sugihara. To be the heroes in Poway.

May we each do our part in alleviating the pain and suffering in our world, ushering in some much-needed comfort and peace!

With prayers for peace and safety, Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklo

I miss you my beloved brother Yossi.

I miss you my beloved brother Yossi.

Tonight, which ushers in the seventh day of Pesach, marks the 22 years since my brother Yossi's passing. I have now spent more years without him than with him and yet, the pain of his absence never dissipates. I am now more than twice the age he was at the time of his passing, and yet, his personality looms so large in my life – not as a figure from my childhood, but as an old soul.  He will forever be an ever-inspiring presence, a big brother to me, and to so many others in the truest sense.  

When he was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, I spent two years with him at Sloan Kettering. In reflecting on and remembering that time, my too-young brother taught me in his death what is most important about life.

In spite of the tremendous pain he endured, he was always optimistic. He was able to see both his illness and his world through a beautiful lens.  He saw the good in everyone, even if it sometimes meant that person had not yet experienced his potential. He had the ability to make one want to be as good as he or she could be.

All of his life, Yossi always maximized his own time and potential, learning to play a variety of instruments and becoming a Hebrew scribe. He literally never wasted any precious time and always went from one project to the next.  He lived almost as if he somehow knew that his days on this earth would be numbered.

But his maximization never ended with himself: he embodied the Rebbe's mandate to love all Jews, always seeking them out- on the streets, in office buildings, and later on, in the hospital wards, even when he was battling the illness, to help them do a mitzvah, and to offer kind and encouraging words to those in need. His love for every human being was boundless.

Much like Avrohom, the first Jew who went against the tide and forged a new path spreading the word about ethical monotheism with kindness and love in spite of the fierce and dangerous opposition he faced, Yossi had the unusual combination of sweetness, gentleness, tenacity and fearlessness in getting good things done.  He always persevered, never giving up on anything or anyone.

Tonight we commemorates the splitting of the Red Sea.  Perhaps the date of Yossi’s  passing is auspicious, for one of his strengths was how he too seemed to split obstacles, going through them to get to the other side, accomplishing his goals. e dived right in to whatever he attempted and gave it his all, fully and with no restrictions. He grabbed life with both hands and LIVED it. And he ALWAYS maintained a positive, upbeat attitude, even in the years during his aggressive treatments in Sloan Kettering.

Yossi lived for others, caring especially for those who are often ignored. He was selfless and always sensitive to those around him. He did things because it was right and wanting to be of service to G-d and to fulfill his dear Mentor the Rebbe’s calling.

One of his many aspirations that he so deeply desired was to establish  a Chabad House. He would often talk dreamily about how one day he wanted to reach out to a community to create a warm and loving place, and as he visited various Chabad centers for Shabbat or events I would hear his ideas develop.

While he was unable to follow that dream personally, I know that it is with his blessings and requests on high that I am privileged to be his hands and feet in the work that we are doing at Chabad of Naples.

Tomorrow, when I hug the Torah that bears his name in the Ark, I know that I am sending Yossi himself the greatest hug possible by embracing the values that were so precious to him; the Torah that he breathed and lived for.
I miss you my beloved brother Yosssi: you are always and  forever in our hearts, our minds, and  your sweet soul guides our actions.

Wishing you and yours a happy, kosher and freedom-filled rest of Passover!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

We say thank you

Dear Friends, 

The holiday of Passover and the Seder in particular remind us to be grateful and to give thanks for all we have. Our well-known tune Dayenu reminds us of all the times G-d helped us in amazing ways, and of how ungrateful we were, always demanding more. Passover is, therefore, our opportunity to make up for this by showing how grateful we were and still are, every step of the journey. 

On the night of the Seder the gates of the heavens are open, and we raise our glasses filled with wine and say L'chaim. On a personal level, this is when Ettie and I express thanks to our incredible family: yes, our Naples/ Marco Mishpacha for every step of this amazing journey. A mere 16 years ago we came to this beautiful place called Naples and today we have a growing and beautiful family, and we will spend the time at the Seder to go back and reflect on all the incredible angels who have given so much, who have been here for our community, for Chabad Naples and for us. We say thank you.

Our sincere repeated thanks will never be enough. 

Passover is also the time when we are blessed with spiritual freedom to allow us to rise above and "Passover" the confusion and worry stemming from the challenges we face in daily life. This year, more so than other years perhaps, Passover comes just on time. Enjoy its rich traditions, observe it's sacred customs. It will afford you much needed energy of joy and liberation to savor year-round. 

As we commemorate our first journey home, from Eygpt to the land of Israel, we pray for our Holy Land Eretz Yisrael and its people, Am Yisrael, that for once and for all -  they, all those who dwell in her borders and her neighbors beyond, be freed from the tyranny of terrorism striking fear in the hearts of its innocent, and may the land secure in its physical borders and its people secure in their spiritual purpose, be a light unto the nations.

We pray for the children of the world, the tragically suffering children of Syria, the hunger-stricken of Africa, the refugees in Europe and beyond, and indeed all of G-d's children across the world, that they be endowed with a spirit of freedom from the oppression around them and be given the chance to live their lives in peace and dignity.

Let us use this opportunity to tap in to our inner Moses, taking a step forward in our own lives, to live a more present, conscious, G-dly life; enriching our family experience, uplifting our social value, and expanding our communal contribution to make the world, immediately around us, and beyond, a holier and happier place. We ask Hashem that as we grow and the needs continue, the angels and continued miracles will flow together.

We love you and L’chaim!!!!

 Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

Israel: Small Country, Big Dreams

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    Israel: Small Country, Big Dreams
 

Dear Friends,

Good things certainly come in small packages, when you realize that Israel, one of the smallest countries in the world, could have become the fourth nation to land on the moon. Beresheet - aptly named ‘in the beginning - Genesis - ’ is unique.  

We’ve often been reminded that it is about the journey and not the destination, but in this case, both are astounding! Israel is only the fourth nation to ever attempt a lunar landing and we have so much to be proud of. Israeli innovation and intelligence continue to punch above its weight on an international scale in the most extraordinary way.
 
Planning to complete the mission with the message, "Israel - Small Country, Big Dreams”, Beresheet was unable to land successfully. As we all waited eagerly to celebrate its success, our excitement turned to disappointment. However, in true Israeli style, they celebrated their success in orbiting the moon and vowed to try again.
 
We hope and pray, coming just before Passover when we celebrate our freedom, the message of Beresheet is for mankind to strive for the beginning of a new, more loving and tolerant world.

I am very pleased to announce that we have decided to join sister Chabad Centers from across the country and around the world and take part in the Jewish Learning Institute's Land and Spirit Israel Experience, next spring, March 15th-24th, 2020.

This is a great opportunity to see Israel as never before and I know you will want to be part of our delegation from Naples.

I want to extend a personal invitation to join me and fellow members of our community on this trip of a lifetime. Please call me at 239-262-4474 or email rabbi@chabadnaples.com for more information.

May the upcoming Pesach usher in true freedom - personally, communally and globally!

Here’s to Beresheet 2.0!

With warm wishes for a Gut Shabbes,

Sincerely,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Welcome Home!

Dear Friends,

A very special Torah Completion & Celebration. Mazal Tov Naples!

On March 31st, the Naples Chabad community welcomed the new Unity Torah home. Commissioned a year ago by Patricia Adkins and her family, the Torah came home with much pomp and a lot of ceremony home to be complete by the scribe, Rabbi Klein. Close to 300 people came out and joined the festivities celebrating the completion of a very special Torah Scroll - a Torah Scroll written as a testament to "the spirit of unity" of the greater Naples, Collier County and Marco Island communities. 

The joyous occasion was accompanied by Cantor Yaakov Lemmer who thrilled the large crowd with his powerful voice and choice of music. 

Quick thought...

If Moses would have arrived at this Torah celebration, on March 31, 2019, he would be puzzled at the cars in the parking lot, the cell phones in every pocket, the lights in the sanctuary...but he would see this Torah, and he would know exactly what it is; he would hear the blessings over the Torah, and he would know exactly what those are- the more things change, the more some things remain the same.

 

Three thousand years after Moses came down with the Torah, it is still the same, word for word, letter for letter. What a gift for us all, in this ever-changing world!

This Shabbat, as we welcome the Unity Torah to our service, "In the spirit of our ancient tradition, which unites and sanctifies the House of Israel in all lands and ages,” we offer the opportunity to come and enjoy whatever personal experiences Chabad Naples offers.

Our door is always open to you.

Thank you all for participating and celebrating this gift with us!

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

Walking the walk: when talking the talk isn’t enough

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Walking the walk: when talking the talk isn’t enough 

Dear Friends,

"The honeymoon is over" - how often have we had that anticlimactic sensation when the excitement and romance of an event have passed, and we are faced with the daily nitty gritty and often, at first glance, monotonous incidents in life.

So it is in the Torah: after the thrilling pomp and circumstance of the revelation at Mount Sinai, we settle in to the often tedious, day-to-day events. The reality of life is, we are not always surrounded by a brass band and a party-like atmosphere. We may have our time under the chuppah to dream and marvel at the promise of true and everlasting love only to wake up to the eye-opening reality of “ Who left the cap off the toothpaste” and living in close quarters with another individual and perhaps realizing how little we really know about his or her personality or character. That’s when we set the honeymoon aside as a lovely memory and get down to the joyous laws for daily life.
 
Judaism is about how we live each day. It’s not just our actions in coming to a synagogue and how we act there, it’s how we live daily. Most people have the capacity to spend a few hours weekly ‘walking the walk and talking the talk’, but how do they behave the rest of the time? It may surprise you to know that Judaism was never meant to be centered around the synagogue, it is a guide to how we behave at home, how we treat our spouse, family and friends, how we treat the poor and how we seek justice in all areas.

This is why immediately following the honeymoon at Mount Sinai, we needed to address our daily lives with Mitzvot, because this is where the magic happens.

Oh we do need the synagogue, trust me on this, along with and in addition to our daily behavior, because it gives us inspiration and empowers us to carry through with our resolutions. We hear from so many people who attend that joining us on Shabbat and throughout the year boosts them to living life at the fullest. We are never alone, surrounded by extended family with similar goals and feelings for Israel.

As we meet with Ambassador Danny Danon tomorrow,  Monday, February 18th, we show our support for Israel, built by people who sacrifice on a daily basis so that all of us have a homeland. Part of ‘walking the walk’ is offering our daily strength and support for events like this.
 
With love and blessings,
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

 

An Evening of Solidarity and Support

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Dear Friends,

 

On Monday, February 18, Chabad of Naples is pleased to offer an evening with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. There will be a cocktail reception at 3:30 pm followed by a talk at 5. 

 

Here is your opportunity to gain accurate information from a reliable source, in these unsettling times. The growing BDS movement, and widespread anti-Israel sentiment in the news and on college campuses and beyond, leads to confusion about Israel's stance in the international realm; we need answers.

 

Chabad Naples is proud to present “An Ongoing Beacon of Hope in the Middle East", where Ambassador Danon will share his experience representing Israel and outline our role in helping to shape policy, offer support, and unite with Israel. Following his speech there will be a question and answer period which promises to be lively. 

 

In 2015 Ambassador Danny Danon was appointed Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Danon was born in Israel, completed his IDF service with the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a B.A. in International Relations, F.I.U. (Magna Cum Laude), an M.A. Public Policy and Public Administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Law School. He is married and the father of three.  

 

He served as Chairman of World Likud, a Member of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, a Member of the Zionist Executive of W.I.Z.O., and Chairman of the World Betar Executive. As a member of the Knesset from February 2009 until August 2015, he served as Deputy Speaker of the 18th Knesset, as Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and as a member of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee; House, Constitution, Law and Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defense, Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, and Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, as well as on the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality. Danon was Deputy Minister of Defense from March 2013 until July 2014. In May of 2015 he was appointed Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, serving until his appointment in August 2015 as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations.

 

With his multi-faceted background, Danon is well equipped to answer our questions and offer possible recommendations.

 

Israel is our miracle! In order for it to continue with G-d doing his part, we must be willing to participate as well.

 

To purchase Tickets, sponsorship and further information please visit our minisite by clicking here

 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Will it be the Patriots or the Rams?

Dear Friends,   
 
This upcoming Sunday, tens of millions of people will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. Who will it be, the Patriots or the Rams?  
 
Regardless of who you may be rooting for, it’s a good time to learn some spiritual lessons from the game. As the Baal Shemtov teaches us that there is a lesson in everything we see and hear!  
 
So let’s dig in! In the game there are two sides, each side really wants to win. - In our existence, we each possess two opposing forces within, the ‘animal’ and the ‘Divine’, each one wants to win!
Here are some suggested lessons:

There are a number of ways to accomplish the goal.
"winning" takes a lot of smarts, cunning and planning. - Our dark side is sharp!
Keep your eye on the ball.
You have to study your opponent and be prepared.
If the other side gets the upper hand don't despair - as long as there's time there's hope.
You need to use your head but sometimes it's your legs that get it done.
A positive attitude is key.
You're not alone, it's a team effort.
When you win it makes all the hard work worth it.
A good coach makes all the difference!

With blessings for a warm and peaceful Shabbat

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

International Convention for Chabad Women Leaders

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As we welcome Shabbos, I want to wish a very special L’chaim to my dear wife Ettie, who is spending this Shabbos in New York together with our daughters Chaya and Hinda.

This weekend is the International Convention for Chabad Women Leaders, and Ettie is getting the rare opportunity to gather with 3,000 of her peers from all over the world for a weekend of inspiration and growth.

For the last 30 years the conference has been held this week, because it coincides with the yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory.

This coming monday, the 22nd of Shevat marks the 31st Yartzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the beloved and saintly wife of the Rebbe. She stood by his side for over 60 years, as he took the helm of the Chabad movement and transformed the world.

Living in an ever changing world where ideals and beliefs change as quickly as the passing time, the Rebbetzin in her unassuming yet profound way taught us that we can each make a difference in our own way, and that we can all partner is the Rebbe's mission of uncovering the Garden that is withing this world as we know it.

The common saying that “behind every successful man is a woman” is not true in our case, as Ettie and I have proudly worked side by side for the past 15 years co-directing Chabad of Naples together as partners. It is with pride that I get to watch as my daughters join their incredible mother and learn from her inspiring leadership.

L’chaim Ettie! L’chaim for everything you do for our Chabad of Naples and for bringing so much joy and love into our community and our home. I hope you enjoy this very special Shabbos and are able to reflect and rejuvenate for another year of growth and leadership.

I look forward to seeing you in Shul tomorrow – your home away from home!

 

Oftentimes the little things are really big things.

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How do strangers become friends?  First of all, they gain our trust and make our lives just a little bit brighter and better.   My new friend James did that quickly.

During the week, I took Chaya and Hinda to participate in the children’s program of the Chabad Women’s Conference in New York.  It’s an amazing experience for them where they can interact with children of Chabad rabbis and rebbitzins from all over the world.

In the freezing cold weather, I thought I had placed my phone in my overcoat pocket, but when I looked for it later, I could not find it. After searching high and low with no success, my last ditch effort was to call the number.  How surprised I was that a very polite gentleman answered as if he had been waiting for my call, and in spite of my protests, he insisted on bringing the phone to me in the frigid cold weather.

So grateful to my new friend James for his kindness and for being such a gentleman.This act of thoughtfulness by a real mensch can make a day brighter and restore our joy in the goodness and pleasure of human kindness.

Seeing all the powerful leadership in the women at the Chabad conference lent an incredible warmth to the freezing weather.

It was special to have been there, and it is special to be back home!

I appreciate being back in Naples to enjoy a somewhat warmer climate and to be with the entire Naples family on the weekend! I look forward to seeing you in Shul – your home away from home!

How New Years Resolutions Work 

How New Years Resolutions Work 

Dear Friends, 

By now you have had the opportunity to test-drive some of your resolutions for the New Year.  How are they working for you?  Hey, we are only human, and although we may have the best intentions, we all know what can happen as time goes on.  Our success depends on how truly committed we are to make changes, and if  the changes we attempt are realistically within our capabilities.

While self-care is certainly part of creating a wholesome life, a New Year is complete when we also commit to focusing on spiritual betterment such as G-d’s desires and others’ needs.

A new year becomes hollow if it’s only about resolutions involving the self (think articles on “top resolutions for this new year”— joining a gym, starting a diet, saving money).
 
A new year becomes full and meaningful when it’s about first acknowledging the centrality of God in our lives and the importance of inviting Him in.
 
Against that backdrop of existential reflection, our resolutions will naturally reflect our desire to strengthen our relationship with God and increase the meaning and purpose in our lives. Certainly these should involve self-care, because we need a strong body and sense of well-being to have the strength to do for others- if I am not for myself, the book of Ethics teaches us, who will be for me? And if I am not there for myself—who will then be there for others? But our resolutions should also include committing to certain acts: calling a relative we don’t particularly like (it’s easy to talk about social justice but it’s truly actualized when we remember our own family members, including the ones who are hard to talk to); giving tzedakah regularly (this can mean having a charity box on our kitchen window sill and dropping in a few coins before dinner, remembering those who have less, and showing our children how to- in my mentor the Rebbe’s words- “train the hand to give”); and attending a Torah class (we can’t care about ideas that we don’t quite know…and this is especially accessible to us with our dear cyber friends Rabbi YouTube and Rabbi Google, all over the world-wide web).
 
The reason we so often fail to stay the course in our resolutions is that oftentimes, we’re fighting a battle we’re not strong enough to win- we bite off more than we can chew. But smaller, more doable habits slip right under this resistance.
 
They’re too small to resist. We see this when it comes to material commitments- do you know anyone who went from walking zero miles to five miles a day that still does that a year later? Someone who wanted to get their finances in order that had a paradigm shift in five minutes? But you likely know someone who increased in their exercise gradually and continues to exercise each day, or another who charted a new financial course with a lot of contemplation and care and small changes at first that led to a bigger transformation.
 
Spiritual commitments are no different- volunteering once a month at your favorite charity; a ready smile for the mailman; dropping those two coins into the charity box once a day; making the decision to begin each morning with gratitude for simply waking up…taken day by day, these small acts generate momentum and ultimately, reprogram our subconscious.
 
So how can we practically start implementing? By embracing one bite-sized mitzvah that can realistically stick. Allowing our essential oneness with G-d to glow in our day-to-day small actions.
 
We often underestimate the power of one mitzvah, of one commitment, of one change, of one move, of one gesture, of one act of love, kindness and holiness. We think it is all or nothing. But it was one loving interaction between Moses and G-d at the burning bush that completely impacted the Jewish future and all of humanity, and it can be one action today that can start an endless ripple effect of change.
 
My mother would always remind me of the saying from our sages- “Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah”- one mitzvah leads to another. (Kind of like the old story about eating peanuts: you just can’t stop at one!)
 
Once Moses made a commitment to the Jewish people, which began with his care and concern for single individuals, he ultimately was the messenger who delivered them all from a life of Egyptian slavery and despair.
 
Once we make a commitment to one small resolution, we are ultimately the messengers and agents of even bigger change and redemption for our world. It is bound to happen, because goodness is contagious- people get inspired to do good when they see good.
 
So where do we start? With one small, ultimately giant step. Shabbat Shalom! 
 
Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 
                

 

Never to lose your spirit

Dear Friends,

Do you know how the Jews reacted when Moses came to tell them the news that they will be leaving Egypt? Think they partied and danced? Not quite… “And they did not listen to Moses out of shortness of breath.

The Hebrew word for breath is Ruach. But Ruach also means “spirit”. This passage can be translated as "And they did not listen to Moses out of lack of spirit."

In the history of Egypt not a single slave had ever escaped. How could an entire nation ever walk free? Moses was a dreamer, they thought. It is just not realistic to hold out such high hopes, only to have them dashed yet again. And so the people were utterly despondent and spiritless and, therefore, they could not hear, i.e. absorb, Moses’ message.

It happens all too often. People become so set in their mediocrity that they give up hope of ever achieving the breakthrough. This is true for marriages, careers or our spiritual aspirations, we lose the desire to dream.

The Torah is teaching us never to lose our ‘spirit’, our hopes, our dreams and resolve!

Shabbat Shalom and have a great week ahead!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

May the light continue to shine

 

 Dear Friends,

 

Without a doubt, Chanukah 2018 at Chabad was the biggest in both attendance and in successfully reaching out to and servicing every corner of the community. From the children to the seniors in assisted living and in homes, and beyond. We strove to bring light and blessings to the entire Naples area, and after Chanukah, our goal is no different; we will continue spreading Chabad's trademark warmth far and wide; may the light continue to shine.

It is so appropriate that we read in this week's Torah portion how after 20 years of animosity, resentment and hurt, Joseph and his brothers finally reunite and Joseph forgives his brothers. It’s a powerful moment when Joseph reconciles and reassures his brothers that they didn't send him to Egypt; that ultimately, it is G-d Himself that sent him there to fulfill his unique mission as Egyptian viceroy and to bring blessings to the world. Now more than ever, in this fragmented world, we need this mindset!

What's one big difference between kids and adults? It is well known that kids don't hold grudges; adults do. In a moment of anger, a child might say to Mom or Dad, "I hate you!” And then a few hours later, all anger and "hatred" is forgotten. Adults, on the other hand, hold grudges and refuse to talk to people for years, missing all kinds of once-in-a lifetime events, estranged from family members. Why? Seemingly it should be just the opposite, as kids are immature and adults are mature. The simple answer is because kids would rather be happy than right, while adults would rather be right than happy.

Let's be kids(at least in that sense! :) Let's learn from the unity in the Chanukah story how beautiful it is when we are together! Why deprive ourselves of the love of someone close to us just because we want to be right? There is nothing to be gained from that! Forgive as Joseph forgave, let go, bring love, and share joy and happiness.

 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

 

P.S. This year we will once again be holding a "YEAR-END MIRACLE MATCH CAMPAIGN" - December 17-18. Stay tuned for details of this exciting opportunity to TRIPLE YOUR YEAR-END CONTRIBUTION!

 

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