Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad - Naples
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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


 

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