Friday, 10 November, 2023 - 3:24 am

I write these lines in between attending workshops, lectures and general sessions at the International Conference of Shluchim in New York.

I would like to highlight the incredible energy that fills the room as dedicated rabbi’s fill the conference hall.

And speak of the resoluteness and conviction that fills our hearts as we recommit to being faithful to our mission of spreading Judaism and Chasidism notwithstanding the winds of hatred that blow in all too many places.

Truth be told, there are two directions I could go with this article.

I could have chosen to highlight the glaring absence of the many hundreds of rabbi’s from Israel who are at their posts. During the current war situation, they are not able to attend the conference.

I could speak about the comparing of notes that points to the resurgence of antisemitism almost everywhere in the world right now.

Do I focus on the looming issues that are not ok, or do I hone in on the many points of light that shine brightly from the darknesss?

As the Torah is our guiding light, I look to the Parsha to get my ‘marching orders’.

This weeks parsha tells the story of Avraham sending his servant Eliezer as his agent to find a wife for Yitschak his son.

Eliezer faithfully sets out on the mission without having any idea how he will successfully find the right girl.

On his way into town he prays:

"O God, God of my master Abraham, arrange events for me this day such that You grant a favor to my master, Abraham.

Here I stand by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townsmen are coming out to draw water.

Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say, 'Please tilt your pitcher so that I may drink,' and she replies, 'Drink, and I will also give water to your men and camels,' will be the one whom You have designated for Your servant Isaac. She will be a fitting match, because her demonstration of considerateness and generosity will prove that she is worthy of becoming a part of Abraham's household. Let her be from his family and a suitable companion for Isaac; thus I will know through her that You have acted kindly with my master."

He had not yet finished speaking when three-year-old Rebecca came out. She had been born to Bethuel, the youngest son of Milkah, the wife of Abraham's brother, Nachor. Her pitcher was on her shoulder.

The maiden was of beautiful appearance, … She went down to the spring, and the water level rose as she approached, making it easier for her to fill her pitcher. Eliezer duly noted this miracle and concluded that the girl enjoyed this Divine aid because was righteous. She filled her pitcher, and came back up.

The servant ran toward her and said, "If you would, let me sip a little water from your pitcher."

She said, "Drink, sir," and quickly lowered her pitcher onto her hand and gave him a drink.

When she had finished giving him to drink, she said: "Let me draw water for your men and camels, too, until they have drunk their fill."

She quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough and ran to the well again to draw water, and she drew water for all his men and camels.

Seeing that Rebecca had performed precisely those acts that he had requested from God that she perform as a sign that she was a suitable wife for Isaac, the man wondered about her if she would also prove to be from Abraham's family. He thought silently to himself, wanting to know whether or not God had made his journey successful.

But his doubts were outweighed by the confidence he had in Abraham's merits and his reliance on Abraham's promise that God would prearrange success in advance. When the camels had drunk their fill, the man took a gold nose-ring … and two gold bracelets for her arms, and gave them to her, thereby engaging her to Isaac.

He said: "Whose daughter are you? If you would, tell me if there is room in your father's house for us to spend the night."

Answering his questions in the order in which he asked them, she said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milkah, whom she bore to Nachor."

She then said, "We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as a place to spend many nights."

Hearing this, the man bowed his head and prostrated himself to God.

He said, "Blessed be God, God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His kindness and truth from my master. God has guided me along the right road, to the house of my master's brothers!"

It is an uplifting story.

Everything went right. Worked out perfectly.

Eliezer took on the task and he was blessed with the miracles needed to carry out the task.

The thousands of rabbi’s attending the conference of Shluchim have all experienced similar stories. Of times that they had no idea how they would prevail, yet by Divine Providence, things worked out.

It is inspiring and exhilarating to hear those success stories.

Yet, at the same time it’s true that at the same time these rabbi’s also have their share of challenge. In some instances, formidable challenges.

I am sure you are facing the exact same dilemma. Do you immerse yourself into the constant stream of news and social media and feel like you are drowning in a raging sea of a world gone mad.

Or do you limit your media intake and open your eyes and heart to the many myriad of blessings that are being given to you by the Almighty.

Which mode should we focus on? The miraculous successful side of things or the challenging aspects?

As I said. I take my cue from the weekly Parsha. Unlike the Parsha of past weeks which had the dramatic destruction of Sodom, this week the topic is much more positive and calmer. This week the parsha is focused on the successful matchmaking efforts of Avraham’s servant to bring Rvika as a wife to Yitschak.

In line with the success story of this week’s parsha, I would like to focus on the good news that surrounds us. On the success stories, rather than the challenging ones.

There is a actionable item in this weeks Parsha.

After Eliezer saw the miraculous outcome of this mission, that Hashem has led him to the exact girl that fits Avraham’s criteria, he prostrated himself on the ground to God in thanksgiving for the good turn of events. 

This teaches us that we must thank G-d for good things.

Let us implement this.

As a people we are experiencing turbulent times. In Israel. And outside of Israel.

At the same time, we are also being blessed with many positive things.

In honor of this week’s parsha, may I suggest that you take a moment to thank G-d for something good in your life.

For example, if you are reading this article you are blessed with eyesight. That is a gift from G-d that you ought to thank him for. If you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, etc. all of these things are blessings from G-d.

Take a moment to think about them and be grateful to Hashem.

Don’t feel guilty for taking your mind off the troubles and focusing on the good. This is also good for the collective people of Israel.

By expressing gratitude to Hashem you become a lightning rod for attracting healthy and positive energy upon yourself and upon our people of Am Yisrael.

By performing mitzvahs you bring down Divine energy that provides protective blessings to our brave and heroic soldiers.

May Hashem bless us with secure peace, the coming home of our hostages, the safety or our soldiers, the healing of our wounded, and peace and serenity for all of the humane and good people of our world.

We want Mashiach NOW!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS I will be visiting the Ohel – the holy resting place of the Rebbe in a few hours with thousands of my fellow Shluchim, to pray on behalf of our soldiers, the hostages, our local communities and the collective people of Israel.

If you would like me to mention your name in prayer, please send me by email your Hebrew name and your mothers Hebrew name. As well as writing if you have a particular request, you would like me pray for.


Comments on: Thanks
There are no comments.