Take your Judaism seriously and joyfully
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TorahParshat Vayeitzei

Take your Judaism seriously and joyfully

Genesis 28:10 – 32:3

Last week, an incredible gathering took place.

Jews from all over convened in a single location with an incredible show of unity and brotherhood.

They came together for a goal: to stand together against darkness and, more importantly, to bring more light into this world.

This assembly parked itself by a world-famous building.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m referring to Brooklyn, New York.

Over a few short days, Chabad emissaries from all around the world flocked together at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn for the annual International Conference of Shluchim, often referred to as “the Kinus.” This isn’t a relaxing retreat. It’s a four- to five-day recharge so that the “shliach” (singular of Shluchim) can come back to his community full-throttle.

You, my dear readers, may or may not be familiar with the word “shluchim.” It can translate to “messengers” or representatives.”

Let’s pause on this for a moment. What do these rabbis represent exactly? They dedicate their lives to the communities and individuals where they are sent, in cities both big and small. They provide guidance, spiritual nutrition, connection with heritage, listening ears and warm hugs. But again, what core does this all embody? What is the drive behind what they do?
The shliach and his family represent the Lubavitcher Rebbe. They represent his ideals, his values, his love and his care. They represent the rich and uplifting principles of the Chassidus-Chabad philosophy, which places infinite worth on the body and soul of a Jew.

That’s beautiful. You may ask yourself, “Great! So, they do all this good work, and I get to tag along by attending the Chabad house, right?”

In our culture, the response to this is “LOL.”

Here’s the plain, honest truth: Every Jew is a shliach at their core. Every Jew is Hashem’s representative to the world to introduce light and purity into every event, every encounter and every moment.

Sounds quite fluffy and vague, though. So, let’s bring it down a bit and make it simple and practical.

Give charity, lots of it. Study Torah — you’ll learn a thing or three. Women, light a Shabbat candle before evening on Fridays. Men, lay tefillin for a few minutes. Parents, educate your children to be like our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Kids, show your parents what it means to be excited to be a Jew. Do something nice for your brother or sister, immediately related or even very distant —- we Jews are one big family.

Take your Judaism seriously and joyfully. Show the world you are Hashem’s shliach. pjc

Rabbi Dovie Kivman is the executive director of Chabad of Erie County. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabanim
of Greater Pittsburgh.

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