Rabbi Fishel's Blog

I will stop writing and listen

Dear Friends,

As we welcome the snow birds and snowflakes into town in their snow -mobiles, it's time to reconnect with old friends and perhaps make new acquaintances. I just met with a dear friend and asked him how he was feeling, knowing that he’s had some health problems. He replied, "So-so."  I told him I’d pray for him and I said, "You have take care of yourself."

"You know," he replied, " I really need to start listening to my body.”

Will that help, I wondered? Is that enough? 

Have you heard the one about the psychologist who had 20 patients  a day,  and someone asked him, "How do you do it? To hear all the pain and hurt --  how do you cope?"

"Who’s listening?” he replied.

Listening is just part of the 'cure'. 

I always love getting a dose of inspiration from the weekly Torah reading and try to live with that theme for the week. “Living with it”  is like practicing and exercising, not letting it go in one ear and out the other. This week I would have to say the theme is all about “the art of listening.”  In fact, when Sara and Abraham had a conflict, G-D advises the global figure, powerful innovator, and kind man (I'm paraphrasing here), "Listen to the voice of your dear wife Sara." 

I think nowadays this art of listening is needed more than ever before. How much better spouses we would be if we’d just sincerely listen! What better fathers we would be if we would listen to our children, meaning really hear what they need and then give the right advice. Expand that to listening to our own bodies and souls, as they tell us of their needs: our bodies need physical exercise, and just as important is the spiritual exercise needed for our souls. Think about how much better we would be as employers if we’d listen to the people around us -- it would create such harmony.  

These days we are bombarded with words, sound, and noise from all sides. We all like to talk, write, and share what we think, but take a moment to be fully there and listen.

I'd like to take this to heart so I will stop writing and both listen to and HEAR your comments on this thought.

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos



how inspired I was to see an entire family

 Mikvah pic Elias painting.jpg

logan painting.jpeg 










Dear Friends,

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aly Raisman a young Jewish gymnast rocketed to fame for her incredible gold-winning floor routine set to Hava Nagillah. She went on to captain the US team to another gold, in addition to other medal-winning performances. One of the most memorable parts of the Aly Raisman story was a video circulating the internet, of her parents, sitting in the bleachers:   anxious doesn’t even begin to describe it as they twisted and writhed along with their daughter as she attacked her routines. See video below!

Not many of us have Olympic gold-medalist children, but who can’t relate? Which parents don’t feel their hearts almost burst with pride when their child kicks home the winning goal in a soccer match, or recites the whole Ma Nishtana by heart? Or who doesn’t feel a sharp pain in the arm when their son needs to get an injection?

The idea is that all of us, not just parents and children, are in this world together; either we all win, or we all lose. Simply stated, it’s the well-worn “United we stand, divided we fall” theory. It is such a powerful concept and Avraham got it -- he prayed on everyone’s behalf because he understood the idea of human solidarity, immortally expressed by John Donne:

"No man is an island,

Entire of itself . . .

Any man’s death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind."

When dealing with children it is natural to feel “Your fate is my fate.” What the Torah is teaching us here with Avraham is so much more. Chabad Naples is a family. Since we are all one, if you lose, then so do I, and in order for me to win, you must also. We are in this together.

As you all know we are building a Mikvah thanks to our dear founders Sally Aaron and the Elias/Yitzhak Families. Early this Sunday morning as I passed by the Chabad building I thought I saw people at the new construction site, so I drove over to make sure. Lo and behold, how inspired I was to see an entire family – The Elias and Yitzhak families from the age of 6 years old to adults -- all outside in the heat, schvitzing and painting the Mikvah themselves! I saw the living proof that we are all in this together and how this community is one family. We share in each other’s joy, in a areal way. And it inspired me to see how you instill a feeling of community and performing good deeds in your children. Let’s all find one day of the week to roll up our sleeves, whether it’s for the Mikvah or another cause, let’s do it like Abraham. To join in the Mitzvah of building a Community Mikvah click here.

There are many other ways to help, (in addition to schvitzing, painting and donating!) and we need you! Our Grand Chanukah Parade and Festival is coming soon -- to join our free car Menorah parade and to be one of the cars in the parade kindly RSVP by emailing [email protected] or call 239.262.4474.

To sposnor a car Menorah click here.

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat,

 Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos




we are planning to light up the city -- literally

Dear Friends,

'Way back in the '60s, a group known as The Doors made its signature song Light My Fire, exhorting the listener repeatedly to "Come on, light my fire".   There are two ways of keeping warm on a cold night: you can cuddle up in a fur coat, or light a fire. Wear a fur coat and you warm only yourself. Light a fire and you warm others. We need to light a fire. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others, then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is Judaism 101. 

When you think about bringing light all you have to do is recall the last 10 years, and how Chabad Naples has been bringing light everywhere. The featured event has been highlighted by innovative and creative ways of bringing the community together to rejoice and to celebtate Chanukah Chabad Naples style. Whether it was the Grand Chanukah Festival with scissor lifts or a 35-foot menorah, Chabad Naples has a reputation for bringing the light and sharing it throughout the community.


Avraham, the hero of this week’s torah reading, we all know, was not satisfied with just bringing light to his home and family. In fact, we all know what made him really great: when he was 75 years old, he was told to leave his home  to bring light to the world in addition to his family and immediate surroundings. And he did!


This year for Chanukah we are planning to light up the city --  literally --  with all of you. Plans are well underway for the first ever Grand Chanukah Parade in Collier County.  How can anyone pass up an opportunity like this! If you would like to be one of the cars in the parade and have a Menorah on top of your car, all you need to do is to send an email to [email protected] to let us know you are in and we will give you all the instructions. We need cars -- lots of them! A Menorah on your car?  Think of it as a gift to your entire family! What fun for your kids! We won't have enough for every car (but e'll try). And don't worry about that Bentley, Hummer,  or Lamborghini -- we have you covered safely:  We are working with a special team to have your Menorah put up on the car  with no need for ropes or anything . Our tried and tested, no-fail guaranteed Menorah installation takes only two  minutes. Come to Chabad at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and join the coolest/hottest parade in town! The parade will take us all to the Village on Venetian Bay for our grand Menorah lighting. Right after the parade, we will remove it safely from your car, with no hassle to you.  Bring out those muscle cars and let's light up Naples! More details to follow soon.

Thanks to Police Chief Tom Weschler and Sergeant Greg Sheridan for assisting us with preparations.

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Rumor has it, that he is quite good.

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