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18 Elul

The birthday of a leader reminds us of the reasons for our own birth: to bring life and light to the world.

The founder of Chassidism, the Baal Shem Tov, was born on this day in 1698. The Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch, was born on this same day in 1745. Coincidence? No such thing. The number ‘18’ maintains the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for life, ‘chai.’ When a source of life is born into this world on a day of life, we of the living must take to heart and learn its ways. When two such life sources come to life on the same day, a day of life, we must celebrate a gift to us from above. We give thanks for this gift by maximizing its potential to the utmost.

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