Weekly Message from Rabbi A. M. Sufrin MBE
This week I had the privilege of participating in the UK Chabad conference of Chabad Shluchim in the UK. Some 100 colleagues joined together in sunny Bournemouth for 36 hours of pure inspiration. I have no doubt that we will all feel the benefits of this in the coming days weeks and months.
I also, sat on Wednesday evening as part of their training, with some 20 young ladies, who are to be the camp leaders in our annual summer day camp beginning on Monday. Our day camps have a long history now in its 44th year, and most ably led under the directorship of Rabbi Odom & Henny Brandman and their dedicated team. Today we have children in our camps of previous campers of years ago- the spirit of Chabad lives on TG from generation to generation. Some 150 children have already booked in so far, are your children one of them?
This week we read the portion of “Bolok”- included is the famous story of the “speaking donkey”.
“He saddled his donkey….(22.21) The word for donkey (chamor) is related to the word for “materiality” (chomer). When the Torah informs us that both Avraham and Balaam saddled their donkeys, it is teaching us allegorically how to relate to materiality of this world.
Avraham saddled his donkey is portrayed as a positive act, since Avraham used his donkey to fulfil G-d’s will. Hence, from Avraham we learn that we should harness materiality for the service of G-s. In contrast, Balaam used his donkey for forbidden purposes, and harnessed it in order to go against G-d’s will. Therefore from him we learn that we should not attempt to make use of what is forbidden; rather, we should shun such things and use that we have accumulated and will do so in the future to harness our relationship with G-d.
This Shabbos, the Hebrew date is the 17th Tammuz, a fast day that marks the beginning of the three week period marking the onset of the destruction of our Holy Temples, by breaching the ancient walls of Jerusalem. This leads us to the 9th Av exactly three weeks later the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and yes another fast day. However, as it falls on Shabbos it is postponed to Sunday as we do not fast on Shabbos unless it is Yom Kippur. As we will be eating and drinking on Shabbos, we are taught that this is a glimpse and feel of Moshiach when our days of sorrow will be transformed to days of rejoicing. -AMEN
As the summer break begins, have a wonderful Shabbos and successful week to follow.