Weekly message from Rabbi A. M. Sufrin MBE
What a powerful and moving week we have had at Chabad.
Beginning with our chartered trip to Poland with 144 participants. We visited the Nazi death camps, Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz- Birkenau, Shindler’s factory and the Jewish quarter of Krakow. It was for all a very moving and meaningful trip with so much to internalise, as we return home to the norms of life and society as a whole.
At our Chabad Houses we are now even more determined than ever with the resolve to strengthen our relationship with Judaism and practical observance. Beginning with Chanukah and the 5 public lightings of our Menorahs throughout Essex, specifically on the streets of our environment. With this action we defy the darkness and negativity that some choose to spread with hate and discrimination through light -the light of our Menorahs and good deeds. This year we have added physical light too, with a new lighting in Epping for the first time, make sure you are a part of one or many of the lightings and let’s ensure the continuity of Judaism and the Jewish People.
This week we read in the portion of Vayeitzei, the struggle that Jacob our forefather had with his uncle Lavan from where he had to escape with his family. When challenged he says:” I was consumed by day by scorching heat and at night by frost, and deprived of sleep”.
Much can be learned from this including: Our bodies belong to G-d; we therefore in general have no right to afflict them or injure them. None the less we see from Jacob’s behaviour that if necessary in order to earn a living, we are permitted to engage in work that may cause us some harm. Spiritually this means that Jacob sacrificed his own comfort in order to redeem the sparks of holiness embedded in Lavan’s domain. Like Jacob we too should engage in our Divine mission even if doing so entails forgoing some form of personal comfort.
Together we can make it happen, have a meaningful Shabbos and successful week ahead.