Torah E-Thought: In Tribute

 
ב״ה
 
 
This Week at Lubavitch Centre of Leeds
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Friday, 13 Nov  3:52pm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Torah Portion: 
 

Lubavitch Centre of Leeds   Email: [email protected]   Phone: 0113-2663311www.JudaismLive.com

 
 
Message from the Rabbi
 
 
Dear Friend,

Last night we hosted Rabbi Mendy Lew from Stanmore on the communal Zoom, together with Dr Stephen Bush, with Rabbi Kupperman and Rabbi Sufrin in an evening of tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l. You can watch it here. We’ve got some amazing speakers lined up over the coming weeks. You can see the schedule here.

Our first Chanukah event is in the calendar! Join us for a Whisky Tasting, together with salt beef and latkes. Details here.

Bookings are also open for our Winter Mini Camp. Details here.

Please join me at 2pm on Friday when I stream some pre-Shabbat thoughts in the Alwoodley Ward Residents Facebook Group. Alwoodley Ward residents can join the group here.

This week’s Torah E-Thought is written by Rabbi Mendel Cohen, of Saatch and St. John’s Wood Synagogue.

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds

.....................................

Tzama Lecha Nafshi – the soul of Rabbi Sacks z"l

Rabbi Sacks: Mendel, is it as big as they say it is?

Me: No. Bigger.

RS: Then I need more time to prepare.

Me: Do you not need to go while you’re still in office?

A few weeks later.

Me: Have you thought about going?

RS: I have spoken to Rabbi Shmuel Lew. I’m ready to go.

I was privileged to have a seat in the Beit Midrash of St. John’s Wood Synagogue next to Rabbi Sacks. It was during one of those occasions that we had the above conversation. We were discussing the Chabad International Kinus Convention [which actually takes place this weekend, Ed.].

I first met Rabbi Sacks in the early 90s as a young boy in Leeds. He visited our Shtibel on Shabbat afternoon. I vividly remember the fast pace with which he walked in and the distinguished and personal smile he gave each of us children as we shook his hand. The very same smile and handshake he gave my children when he and Elaine graced our Shabbat table in St. John’s Wood twenty years later.

Many memories will pour in over the coming days, weeks and months, I want to share a few of the personal moments that I had with Rabbi Sacks. Like the conversation above, some were short and poignant. Others were ongoing, they were never meant to end.

Rabbi Sacks would spend a few months a year writing, during which time he could not be disturbed with other things. He once told me there were few people that he can describe his writing time to. “No one understands me when I say I am in Atzilut” - referring to the highest of the four Kabbalistic spiritual worlds.

I would get countless requests from people across the world for a message, a visit, or an opinion from Rabbi Sacks. I was in no place to have influence on this. But one such call from Rabbi Slavin in Sydney I could not overlook. He wanted a signed book from Rabbi Sacks for George.

George, a Greek-Australian had arrived at Rabbi Slavin’s office one day, recently released from many years behind bars. He wanted to give back to the Jewish community. Why? Because throughout his incarceration this non-Jewish convict had been inspired to change by Rabbi Sacks writings. He read them each week. Now a free, and a changed man, he wanted to give back. He now manages meals for the homeless out of “Our Big Kitchen”.

When I told Rabbi Sacks this story he wrote the inscription, he then asked me to repeat the story again, he then asked me to say it a third time to his wife Elaine. “I don’t always know the direct influence that my writings have, I am happy you shared this with me."

In one of the last Shabbats that Rabbi Sacks visited communities before lockdown he spoke to the parents of our Hebrew School. It was one of the most moving and intimate talks I ever attended. He spent a long time explaining to the parents the importance of Jewish education. He told parents that much of what a child learns in school is information that barely affects them in the course of life. Not so Cheder and informal Jewish education.

Rabbi Sacks then told us that when he was davening with the Rebbe for Rosh Hashanah after services he was invited to lunch. There was one other guest a non-affiliated songwriter. Just the two of them. Rabbi Sacks asked him how he had arrived at the Rebbe for Rosh Hashanah? He responded that he was driving through his town one day and started hearing a song in his mind, it was a childhood memory, a tune from Hebrew classes. He was awakened, and he did a u-turn and drove all the way for many hours straight to 770 where he arrived in time for Rosh Hashana with the Rebbe.

“You never know,” Rabbi Sacks concluded, to a group of teary-eyed parents, “Which tune will come in to your child’s mind one day. But it will, and it will bring them back.”

Rabbi Sacks loved songs, and especially niggunim. In 1991 he was a guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs – where the castaway chooses eight tracks, a book and a luxury. Rabbi Sacks shared the soundtrack of his life. One of the tunes and his ‘castaway favourite’ was the Chabad niggun Tzama Lecha Nafshi; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You, In a desolate and weary land with no water. So, too, may I see You in holiness.

Last year on Shabbat Vayeira, the same portion Rabbi Sacks passed away, our community held a Shabbat Dinner with Rabbi Sacks. Chassidic singer Shulem Lemmer was another guest. As he often did, he motioned to me and said: “Nu Mendel, a Niggun”.

I introduced Tzama Lecha Nafshi, explaining the historical context of King David describing his yearning to experience Hashem while in Midbar Yehudah far from the Mishkan. How befitting then it was to be with Rabbi Sacks on a desert island.

I ended with the words of the Ba’al Shem Tov on this verse: “Halevai Bakodesh Chazisicha” – King David wished, that when he returned to the Mishkan, he should have the same yearning as he did while away.

After Shulem sang the song, Rabbi Sacks told a story about violinists Yehudi Menuhin, a cousin of one of his heroes the British Philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, - both descendants of the Alter Rebbe. When Yehudi was granted a coat-of-arms he asked Rabbi Sacks to design it, using the three prongs of Chabad, which he did. While the design was not used Rabbi Sacks remarked, that Yehudi demonstrated that wherever one’s life takes them, ultimately one’s Chassidic past and one’s soul, even though concealed, never goes away, Ken Bakodesh Chasizicha.

I later asked him, if he felt the same way, perhaps he was inspired to tell this tale to awaken his Chassidic past and its soul?

No, he replied, mine is very much alight.

At Rabbi Sacks’ funeral yesterday, his dear friend Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld sang this song and quoted the words from Desert Island Discs, when Rabbi Sacks said:

“Tzama Lecha Nafshi - My soul thirsts for you. Quite simply I hope one day something like that will be my epitaph - that his soul thirsted for G-d.”

Ken Bakodesh Chazisicha, - may he see You in holiness, May Hashem bind his soul in the bond of life – תנצבה .

 
 
 
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Upcoming Events
Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 - 2:00 pm
Friday afternoon introduction to Shabbat on Facebook Live in the Alwoodley Residents’ Group as well as on Zoom.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

More Info »
Ruth Bell's weekly session
Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Mondays 8.30pm
Ruth Bell's weekly class covers current and relevant points of interest in the yearly cycle beginning with counting the Omer; a look at the weekly sedra, and the daily schedule of Tanya (Chassidic teachings) and Tehillim (psalms).
Via Zoom. For details please contact Ruth on 07963 316 279

Hebrew Cool Club
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Hebrew Cool Club
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Not for Women only. Women's panel with Guest speaker Rebbetzin Rivkie Pink from Leicester Hebrew Congregation
Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 - 2:00 pm
Friday afternoon introduction to Shabbat on Facebook Live in the Alwoodley Residents’ Group as well as on Zoom.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

More Info »
Ruth Bell's weekly session
Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Mondays 8.30pm
Ruth Bell's weekly class covers current and relevant points of interest in the yearly cycle beginning with counting the Omer; a look at the weekly sedra, and the daily schedule of Tanya (Chassidic teachings) and Tehillim (psalms).
Via Zoom. For details please contact Ruth on 07963 316 279

Hebrew Cool Club
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Hebrew Cool Club
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Communal Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Full session with Guest speaker Rabbi Avremi Zippel, Utah. I survived and I also thrived.
Introduction to Shabbat
Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 - 2:00 pm
Friday afternoon introduction to Shabbat on Facebook Live in the Alwoodley Residents’ Group as well as on Zoom.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

More Info »
Ruth Bell's weekly session
Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 - 8:30 pm
Mondays 8.30pm
Ruth Bell's weekly class covers current and relevant points of interest in the yearly cycle beginning with counting the Omer; a look at the weekly sedra, and the daily schedule of Tanya (Chassidic teachings) and Tehillim (psalms).
Via Zoom. For details please contact Ruth on 07963 316 279

Hebrew Cool Club
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Hebrew Cool Club
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 - 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
3 Rabbis and a Dr walk into a Zoom
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 - 8:30 pm
With Guest Rabbi: Rabbi Boruch Kaplan from Mayanot Institute, Jerusalem.
For details contact Rabbi Eli Pink on 07875 320 344

 
 
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Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Chayei Sarah

Sarah dies at age 127 and is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron, which Abraham purchases from Ephron the Hittite for four hundred shekels of silver.

Abraham’s servant Eliezer is sent, laden with gifts, to Charan, to find a wife for Isaac. At the village well, Eliezer asks G‑d for a sign: when the maidens come to the well, he will ask for some water to drink; the woman who will offer to give his camels to drink as well shall be the one destined for his master’s son.

Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, appears at the well and passes the “test.” Eliezer is invited to their home, where he repeats the story of the day’s events. Rebecca returns with Eliezer to the land of Canaan, where they encounter Isaac praying in the field. Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and is comforted over the loss of his mother.

Abraham takes a new wife, Keturah ( Hagar), and fathers six additional sons, but Isaac is designated as his only heir. Abraham dies at age 175 and is buried beside Sarah by his two eldest sons, Isaac and Ishmael.