A Personal Note
As we approach the New Year, I want to extend to you my personal blessings for a sweet and healthy year.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have sent me your kind wishes and blessings for the New Year. We are told that all those that bless, shall be blessed. May your blessings be fulfilled many times over in your life.
May you have a year of love and peace, a year of marriage and joy, a year of healthy children and nachas, a year of material and spiritual success, a year of health and wealth, a year of life with purpose. Those that need special blessings in health or other matters, may G-d see what you need and fulfill it in the fullest measure. Above all, may we all have a year of global peace and redemption.
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The Baal Shem Tov once sent his students to observe a local innkeeper as part of their preparation work for Rosh Hashana. The students dutifully checked into the inn. Initially they observed nothing remarkable. After saying the Saturday night Selichot (special penitential prayers recited before the New Year), they went to sleep, only to be awakened by the innkeeper moving about in the lobby. They tip-toed out of their rooms to find the innkeeper opening up a cabinet and removed two big ledgers.
From one ledger he proceeded to read all his sins of the past year: he confessed that he was insensitive to his family, that he didn’t fulfill all his obligations to his community, that he didn’t study enough Torah, he once came late to prayers, etc. Then he opened the second ledger, saying to G-d, “These are my failings, now here’s what You didn’t do … I asked for a better living wage this year and you didn’t give it to me. My wife is still ill. My children need shoes. The cow stopped giving milk…”
In the end he concluded, “Look, I didn’t live up to my obligations and You didn’t live up to Yours. So let’s call it even. I’ll close my book, You’ll close Your book, and we’ll start a new year again with a clean slate.”
The relationship between us and G-d is a partnership. When G-d created human beings in His image, He invested something Divine in us. There is a partnership between us and Him to perfect the world.
G-d founded a business, and said to us: “I am the investor, but you stand behind the counter.”
Partners are accountable to each other. We can call G-d to accountability but we must equally know that we are being called upon to know how we are caring for His investment in us.
Before we confront our partner G-d it would be wise to do our part of the “deal” and show the complete effort we made. Then we can come well armed to our partner and challenge Him to reciprocate.
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As we enter the New Year I would like to declare my renewed commitment to fulfill my mission: To create an environment where all are welcome to explore our common and unique spiritual journey. To produce programs, events and publications that will help us all discover our calling and integrate it into our personal and professional lives.
I am excited to share that this year we will be taking this work to an entirely new dimension – stay tuned.
I thank you for all your support, including financial support, which provides the fuel so that we can continue our important work. At this time of year, it is especially appropriate to add in giving tzedakah (charity), which opens up new channels of blessings for the New Year.
I thank all our staff and friends – high quality people – dedicated to helping others and transcending their own comfort zones.
Above all I want to thank all the special souls that I have met directly or indirectly through my travels and writings. The written word – especially sent via e-mail – presents a unique challenge. The reader knows much more about the writer than the writer knows about the reader. It’s actually quite unbalanced. That is why I greatly appreciate receiving your feedback and thoughts, even your critique and rebuttals.
However I must say that all of you have enriched my life and the work that I do. Even if you have not written to me, perhaps vibes flow back through cyberspace. You have taught me – and continue to teach me – the beauty and the agony of life; the dignity of struggle and the courage of pain; the vulnerability of love and the strength of selflessness; the insecurity of being a taker and the security of being a giver. You have taught me to be more sensitive and understanding of the complexities of life, and also to be more joyful and less intense about the simple innocence that we all carry.
You have enriched my life indeed. Hopefully I can reciprocate.
May it be a truly blessed year, a year of simchas (joyous celebrations) – with openly revealed blessings that we can all appreciate.
With warmest wishes for a shana tova u’metuka,
P.S. In honor of the New Year, please click here to donate securely on-line, or please call us at 718-774-6448. It is an honor to partner with you in bettering the lives of so many people. All donations are tax deductible.