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It Can Happen

Friday, 11 November, 2016 - 11:15 am

“Can I ask you a personal question?” I was asked – eight years and two months ago, in the heat of the 2008 election cycle – by a woman who just walked into my house; “Who are you voting for in November? – You see,” she continued, “last night during dinner my high-school senior announced “I’m really curios who the Rabbi will vote for in November” and that made me curios, too. I hope it’s ok to ask” she concluded.

I assured her that while I had no intention of answering her question, it’s was perfectly ok, even more than ok, to ask. It made me happy that she asked. As a rabbi, I explained, my mission is to help every single Jew celebrate their Judaism at their level, regardless of where they stand religiously, ideologically or politically. At Chabad, I explained, you will never ever be part of a political conversation, as we simply don’t let those happen; so every Jew can feel comfortable here. Since most Jews are very passionate about their politics and the views of my best friends vary wildly, I make sure that my personal politics remain personal so I’m able to maintain a friendship will all of them. The fact that her son had no clue whom I was planning to vote for, means that I was successful.

If you read this column regularly, you know that I always try to find a lesson from events I experience personally as well as from regional, national or international events. Surely, I thought to myself over the last two days, there’s a message we can derive from what happened this week, that all of my friends in this community can connect to – from the person who wore sackcloth of Wednesday, to the person who jubilantly recited a prayer of thanks to heaven at 3:00 am, and everyone in between.

One thing we can all agree on is that this week proves that unexpected things canhappen. At shocking speeds. So, one lesson perhaps we can all learn, is that preparing ourselves for the unexpected may not be such a bad idea.

If you view this as the end of an era and a true disaster – recall the eternal words of king Solomon “At all times, let your garments be white”; meaning that you should be prepared for it, if death struck at this moment. Is there someone you need to apologize to – do it today. Does your family know that you want to be buried and not cremated? Do your children know your true Jewish values so they aren’t left guessing or not knowing? 

And if you view this event as a blessing and the birth of a new era – think: Are you ready for a new era in your life? If you’re waiting too long for the love of your life – know that it may happen unexpectedly; if you’ve waited to long for the blessing of children – know that it may happen unexpectedly; if you’ve been out of a job for what appears as forever – know that one may just become available today. Prepare yourself, mentally and practically – unexpected things do happen.

For over three thousand years we’ve been collectively waiting for the coming of Moshiach, an era of true goodness and kindness, where all of humanity will pursue holiness, goodness and kindness; where there will be no famine, war, competition or political campaigns. It will be an era when G-d’s purpose in creation is fulfilled. It appears so removed, so far way, so much unexpected; but this week taught us that unexpected things happen quickly. So, prepare thyself with another act of goodness and kindness, as your next action is going to be one to tip the scale and make this world better forever.

Gut Shabbos.

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