Torah E-Thought
This Week at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds
Candle Lighting Times for Leeds:
Friday, 29th Nov
3:33 pm
Shabbat, 30th Nov
4:46 pm
Torah Portion: Toldot
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds• Email:• Tel: 01132663311
Message from the Rabbi

Dear Friend,

The International Shluchim Conference is always a highlight of the year and this year was no different. You can watch the footage of the concluding banquet here. There were inspirational speeches and touching moments.

This week's Torah E-Thought is written by a friend and fellow shliach, Rabbi Eli Friedman of Chabad of Calabasas. He has an insight into the annual shluchim photo.

Closer to home, this Sunday is Torah Tots with a free book giveaway per family. And on Tuesday we begin the new JLI course, Paradigm Shift.

Wishing you a Good Chodesh and a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds

If there is ever a contest for "World's Most Misunderstood Photo" the annual class photo of the Shluchim (Chabad rabbis) will surely be a finalist.

You know the one I'm talking about? About six thousand Shluchim (G-d bless them) convene in New York every year for an annual conference and Shabbaton and on Sunday morning they pose in front of 770 (Chabad World Headquarters) for a massive group photo. (This year's conference is this weekend.)

When you look at the photo, you could be forgiven for thinking that someone had taken a picture of a Shliach (Chabad rabbi) wearing a black fedora and black suit and then hit copy and paste 6,000 times. Aside from the beard colors (black, white, gray and red) very little differentiates one rabbi from the next and on the surface it seems like a conformist convention. And to many of the people who see the photo every year, that is exactly how it appears.

And that is exactly what it isn't. It would be an injustice to the Shluchim to believe that they are all the same with identical stories, attitudes or personalities. The beauty in the deluge of black and white is the colorful diversity hidden everywhere in the picture.

You look at one face, you're looking at a prominent community leader, rabbi and spiritual leader to 2,000 people in a large American suburb. Grinning right next to him is the Shliach in a South American village, a man whose only struggle greater than making a living is the struggle to assemble a Minyan so a local can say Kaddish.

Pan over to the next Shliach and find the chief rabbi of a massive European country. He rubs shoulders with billionaires. And next to him - the Shliach to Nowhere, USA. He can't rub together two pennies.

In this one picture you have newlyweds, middle-aged parents, fresh grandparents, and patriarchs of massive families with legions of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, often in the hundreds, kinehora.

The guy with the red beard over there spends most of his time behind bars tending to the desperate needs of local Jewish prisoners. The short, salt-and-pepper beard behind him started off as a local youth director at the age of 23 and is still at it, devoted to his third generation of kids 30 years later. (And that short beard is rolled up; it's two feet long. I've seen it!)

Scroll down to that guy there with the black beard. Ten years ago, this guy didn't know what a Mezuzah was. He was the starting quarterback on his high school varsity team and his chances of ending up a Shliach were as good as his chances of ending up starting for the Cowboys. But here he is, flush with excitement, living the dream (the Shliach one, not the Cowboys one.) The very tall one next to him was a successful business attorney who yearned to do more, so he traded in his law practice for a campus Chabad post. He admits that his 401(k) is poorer but that his life is much richer.

And just above him, with the silky white beard, is the rabbi's rabbi, an expert in Jewish law, a genius of enormous proportions, a man with miles of Torah on the tip of his tongue and a heart of gold in his chest. Just one of the guys.

That one over there brought Tefillin to Sandy Koufax. That one put Tefillin on Sid Caesar. That one put Tefillin on the president of Ukraine. That one put on Tefillin with Bob Dylan. That one put on Tefillin in Auschwitz. That one sent Tefillin into space with Ilan Ramon. The serious-looking one there put on Tefillin with virtually every Jewish man in his city. (And don't let the look fool you - he's one of the funniest men in the group.)

This guy here grew up in a mansion in Missouri and he's a beloved spiritual mentor to Yeshiva students. The guy talking to him grew up in a matchbox in Michigan and he's growing a community in Colorado.

This Italian here runs Chabad in Utah; this other Italian runs Sweden. That Russian runs Texas. This Israeli runs Alabama. That Brazilian runs New Jersey. This Australian runs Georgia. And of course, these boys from Brooklyn are running Nevada, Montana, Louisiana, and Nebraska. And Germany. And Ghana.

This tall one saves lost backpackers in Thailand. That short one saves lost souls in Nepal. The gray-bearded one lives 5,500 miles away in Siberia and he's laughing with his old friend who lives three miles away in Flatbush.

Some of them have encountered astonishing success, like in Paris, where half the Shluchim were inspired to Jewish observance by the other half. And some of these men have encountered astonishing resistance, like the man who has loyally served an American Jewish community for twenty years and still needs to argue with the locals about the importance of Yom Kippur.

This shy scholar here? He is in the midst of a $20 million building campaign. The charismatic gentlemen listening to him is in the midst of a $300,000 foreclosure. The thin man next to him just opened a Glatt Kosher restaurant in Mexico, just like the guy behind him who just opened a Kosher eatery in China. But the rabbi behind them, serving the Russian hinterlands, hasn't seen a Kosher restaurant since last year's conference and has been slaughtering and koshering his own meat for fifteen years.

The rabbi in the corner is part of a family that has been Chabad since Chabad began 230 years ago. His classmate and colleague embracing him is the child of two ex-hippies who searched their way to Chabad in the 60's and reversed four generations of assimilation.

Most of these men speak Yiddish, Hebrew and some English. But if you listen closely you can hear the conversations accented by countless languages and dialects. Most of these men are of Ashkenazic background, but many are Sefardic, some are Yemenite, some are Persian. Many are fourth or fifth generation Americans.

Some are natural extroverts, some are painful introverts. Some are born optimists. Others struggle to maintain their optimism. Some are naturally exuberant; others, melancholy.

The differences never end. Each and every person in this photo is genuinely unique and each of them has a one-of-a-kind story that will yet be told.

But what they have in common is so powerful that it unites them together like a family. Their love for the Rebbe spills over into a love for each other. Their love for the Rebbe's mission and vision of a world conquered by goodness, kindness and Yiddishkeit unites them like brothers around a singular, unstoppable sense of purpose.

Drenched in that family vibe, all the colorful languages, backgrounds, upbringings, personalities and living conditions blend together brilliantly. They produce a spiritual harmony the likes of which has never been seen before.

Service Times

Sunday Morning 
8.30 am

Friday Night 
15 minutes before Candle Lighting

Shabbat Day
10.00 am

Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Toldot

Isaac and Rebecca endure twenty childless years, until their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a difficult pregnancy as the “children struggle inside her”; G‑d tells her that “there are two nations in your womb,” and that the younger will prevail over the elder.

Esau emerges first; Jacob is born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be “a cunning hunter, a man of the field”; Jacob is “a wholesome man,” a dweller in the tents of learning. Isaac favors Esau; Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of red lentil stew.

In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty. He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and digs a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquility.

Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and blind, and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favorite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father. Jacob receives his father’s blessings for “the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land” and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is revealed, all Isaac can do for his weeping son is to predict that he will live by his sword, and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.

Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife— Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.


Featured Event


Upcoming Events
Friday Night Service
Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 - 3:23 pm
Candle Lighting
Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 - 3:33 pm
Chassidus Class
Shabbat, Nov. 30, 2019 - 9:30 am - 10:00 am
Join us for a Chassidus Class with coffee and cake.
Shabbat Morning Minyan
Shabbat, Nov. 30, 2019 - 10:00 am
Warm & Friendly Shabbat service followed by kiddush
Sunday Morning Minyan
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 - 8:30 am
Torah Tots - I love reading!
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 - 10:00 am
Lunch and Learn in the City Centre
Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Bagels and brain storming on the weekly Parshah and contemporary events. Weekly excluding public Holidays at Ward Hadaway Solicitors, Wellington Street.
More Info »
Ladies Class
Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 - 8:30 pm
Contact Mrs Bell for details on 07963 316 279
JLI: Paradigm Shift, Class 1
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 - 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday Night Service
Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 - 3:20 pm
Candle Lighting
Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 - 3:29 pm
JMT First Friday
Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 - 7:30 pm
Chassidus Class
Shabbat, Dec. 7, 2019 - 9:30 am - 10:00 am
Join us for a Chassidus Class with coffee and cake.
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