Rabbi Fishel's Blog

Let's infuse the world with hope, love, and healing

Dear Friends,

Two months ago we were in beautiful Kibbutz Alumim, and heard from the incredible locals.

The sun was shining, birds chirping, and children running free.

Now there’s not a soul outside, and only the sound of loud explosions are heard.

On Tuesday morning, along with many other Gaza border communities, they received urgent alerts to immediately seek shelter. Hours later, our friends were instructed to either evacuate the kibbutz immediately, or expect to remain in bomb shelters for what could be a long time.

Since then, hundreds of rockets were fired at Israeli citizens.

Throughout history, in times of peril for the Land of Israel and the Jewish people, the performance of mitzvot has been our lifeline. It has evoked divine blessings and protection, embracing us in a shield of unity and strength. In the face of adversity, let us take up this mantle once more, forging a path of righteousness.

In this darkness, let us become beacons of light, illuminating the path with our collective goodness and kindness. It can be as simple as offering a prayer, or dedicating a moment of reflection. We can channel our resources to alleviate the suffering of those affected, lending a helping hand through acts of tzedakah and empathy. Through mitzvot, we infuse the world with hope, love, and healing, reminding our brothers and sisters that they are not alone.

So, let us rise as one, bound by the ties of heritage and shared destiny. Let the power of mitzvah guide our hands and hearts, as we weave a tapestry of compassion and solidarity. Together, we can turn the tides, adding light to a world in need and bringing solace to our beloved Israel.

Earlier, we visited in person. Now, we need to pray for them from afar.

Please join me in prayers that God continue to protect our brothers and sisters in Israel, and bring the ultimate peace. 

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

This week's Kiddush is being sponsored by Sally Aaron - In loving memory of her dear husband, Willard Aaron Zev ben Yitchak v’ Chanah Esther

It ain’t over till it’s over!

Dear Friends,

Today we commemorate the Second Passover, marked exactly one month from the first day of Passover. It’s a mini-holiday that commemorates the fact that they gave a second chance to those who could not celebrate the first Passover for whatever reason in Biblical times. They provided an opportunity to get it right precisely one month later.

Who came up with the idea? Not Moses. Not even G-d!

It came from the people. It was the first Passover after the Exodus from Egypt, and some people were unable to celebrate Passover. So, they came crying to Moses, “Lama Nigara” – why must we lose out?

G-d was impressed by their desire to get it right and instituted Pesach Sheni – the second Passover.

Friends, we all fail. The question is do we have the courage to

A.   Own up to our mistake.

B.   Want to change for the better

C.   Commit to that change

Then we will see that our best days are ahead of us.

If you want to change. If you want a healthy relationship with your kids, get back on your feet, and then you can make it happen.

You have to want to. And then put in the work. And you’ll be successful beyond your imagination.

There is always another chance! Or as they say “it ain’t over till it’s over!”

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

Fire Up the Passion!

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite childhood memories is on Lag Ba’Omer, which our community would celebrate with the traditional huge bonfire. Okay, even today, it’s still one of my favorite things. There’s just something about fire that completely draws our attention in and fascinates us humans. We could just sit and stare at it for hours.

On Lag Ba’Omer [literally, the 33rd day of the omer] we commemorate the passing of the 2nd century sage, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Rabbi Shimon had specifically asked that this day be marked with celebrations and joy. That’s where the fire comes in. Rabbi Shimon was a sage of fierce passion, which his students described as a powerful raging fire.

This past month, my wife Ettie and I were privileged to travel to Israel with a group from our Chabad of Naples community. One of our very first stops was up north in Meron, at the resting place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The fiery passion of Rabbi Shimon still lives today, and especially in Meron we were moved to be able to feel it. All throughout Israel we were blessed to experience the fire and excitement of Judaism. In Hebron, after visiting Marat Hamachpela, which is the holy resting place of our ancestors, we got to join an enthusiastic celebration welcoming a new Torah scroll. We danced in the streets with the local residents, and felt an extra excitement and joy.

In a few more weeks it will be Shavuot, and we will celebrate receiving the Torah well over 3,000 years ago. Every year we celebrate anew, full of excitement (and ice cream and cheesecake) and gratitude as if G-d has just given us this gift for the first time.

Passion and warmth keep people alive. When you’re excited and care about something, you want to keep on going and making it even better and greater.

The truth is, we all have a little flame inside of us. Or sometimes just a small spark—but it’s there, waiting for us to find it and fire it up into something big. Everyone finds their fire in a different place; whether it’s in collecting for the local food bank, lighting Shabbat candles, visiting the lonely of our community, or opening a Torah book to learn something new and interesting.

At Chabad of Naples we like to rally around this flame, or spark, a lot. It’s there in you, and will only bring you joy when you find it. Start with something that you connect with, and bring it into your home! Whether it’s holding a Friday night Shabbat dinner, hosting a Torah study session, or setting up a charity box on your shelf.

Today, when the Jewish nation is spread out around the world and facing all kinds of existential threats, it’s more important than ever to find that Jewish passion and keep it burning.

As it says in the foundational Shema prayer, “You should love G-d… and you should teach it to your children.” When our children see our love for Judaism, kindness, and mitzvot, they want to continue it. It becomes that mesmerizing fire that everyone loves to stare at for hours on end.

So this Lag Baomer, while you stare at those mighty flames, think about your passions. What good deeds will you show excitement for, and captivate the next generation with? How will you show the joy and love of Judaism more than the oy and fear?

We would love to have you join our Chabad of Naples family for a delicious outdoor BBQ next Tuesday, May 9 at 6:00 PM.


Wishing you a very happy Lag Ba’Omer and Shavuot!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

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