Rabbi Fishel's Blog

What I'm thankful for!

Chabad Naples gives thanks every day


At Chabad Naples, we don't have to be pilgrims to give thanks nor do we have to wait for an annual holiday to remember to be grateful for not only all we have, but also for our association with you, our Chabad Naples family, and all you do.

If we were to list everyone to whom we are grateful and everything they do for which we are grateful, we would be out of space before we begin! We are personally grateful for your constant presence, and for your loyally reading my weekly messages and occasionally commenting on them.  Your support of our efforts on a daily basis, and attending our Shabbat dinners and being an active part of the simcha of the growing Chabad is so important to us.

It's heartwarming that you notice and rejoice with us when you hear of the incredible success of our Preschool, and especially when you take the time to attend their programs:  when we almost had SRO at their delightfully memorable Thanksgiving/Chanukah program last week.  As the shared occasions of Thanksgiving and Chanukah (Thanksgivikah) are on everyone's lips while they relax and enjoy the holidays, let us rededicate ourselves to a goal of making at least a little part of each day a celebration, to extend the wonderful experience of just plain feeling good all year long!

There is a beautiful prayer we say each morning and I think how peaceful we could be if we made a resolution to begin each day with thanks:  "G-d, the soul that You have placed within me is pure. You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me and You preserve it within me..." 

How thankful we are to have such enthusiastic participation for our Grand Chanukah Parade and Festival this coming week, and how thankful your family and friends will be when you bring them to enjoy it. REMEMBER:  lots of parking available at The Coastland Mall just across the street, or the Publix parking lot immediately north of us. 

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie

every nugget of information is like a cash deposit

“Every dinner will sow memories that last forever.”

Dear Friends,

Saving money! For many people, even the most assiduous of savers, hearing that is like being reminded of a checkup with the dentist, or even a root canal. But the bottom line is, although saving may feel 'painful' at the time and not show any immediate visible or concrete outcome, it offers a variety of options that can produce incredible results in the future. I will leave the details to financial gurus.

I saw an analogy to this during an inspirational moment at the beautiful Shabbat dinner with the Chabad Naples family, when a gentleman spoke about how his grandson knew an answer in a class because of the time he had spent with him a decade earlier.  I was thinking about how many times we sit around with family having dinner together and sharing memories and insights, when we don’t think we are successful in transmitting a message or making an impression. The truth is, every nugget of information is like a cash deposit, and every time you save one of those cherished, special moments it will have a huge effect.

Have you heard of the Chinese Bamboo tree? It is a marvel of nature. After the seed of the tree is planted, you see nothing for four years except a tiny plant. You water and fertilize it for four years, but nothing happens. Then, suddenly in the fifth year, the Chinese Bamboo tree shoots up to the sky, growing to an astonishing 90 feet. That’s as tall as a 9-story building!

During those first four years, all the growth is underground. The Chinese Bamboo tree develops an enormous network of strong roots that spreads and goes deep into the earth. But if the farmer caring for the tree lost patience and stopped watering and nurturing the plant during those four long years, when he saw no tangible results, the tree would never grow.


Growth takes patience and persistence. Every drop of water makes a difference. Every Shabbat table makes a difference. The power of the Shabbat table has created sacred moments that drew families together and brought us closer to each other and G-d.

Every Kiddush counts, every Shabbat candle has an impact. True, you may not see the result right away. But growth is happening. So let’s all keep working and nurturing, and with G-d's help, that “fifth year” will come.

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat,

 Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

My car won't make a difference

 Chanukah parade CWrC7767183.jpg

Dear Friends, 

Did you ever gaze up into the sky at night, look at each constellation, and notice how every little pinpoint of light is an individual star?  Some are larger than others, some may be older than others, but each has a specific 'job':  to sparkle! From where we observe these stellar patterns in the sky, the details really don't make much difference, although each small part is absolutely essential to create the picture. 

Sometimes we go through life, feeling like one of those tiny, insignificant  stars, not understanding our own importance in the scheme of things. What does it take to awaken within each and every person, the true importance of his or her existence?   

Attending a conference of thousands of rabbis from almost 100 different countries, surrounded by and sharing ideas with so many of my peers of all shapes, sizes, and ages,  I realize that the physical differences are of no importance:  everyone is important, everyone is contributing, and everyone is bringing light into our lives. 

Our Grand Chanukah Parade, planned for December 3, is a similar situation.  "My car won't make a difference."  "I only have a Ford/ Chev/Escalade/ Truck/ Porsche/Rolls/Toyota/Prius/Jaguar/CooperMini/Cadillac --."  Each of you is one of those individual stars:  you sparkle! And we need you to create the whole picture! We should never judge our importance or worth in life by our age, size, or status.  We all sparkle!  Every one of us can support a Menorah and every car is needed to help spread the light and make our Grand Chanukah Parade a sparkling success!

 Your weekly presence at Chabad services is just as crucial, when all the prayers from our extended family come together, and when we all enjoy some social time together to review our week with friends. Don't miss it!

 Rabbi Fishel 

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