“…I am a little boy in Santa Barbara. The Yom Kippur services drag on forever, and I can’t wait for them to be over. I can’t understand how anyone tolerates this unending agony, and I’m itching for the moment when I can burst out of shul and play football.
There in the corner stands a man named Doug. His head rests on his hand that is lying on the bookshelf against the wall. It’s close to the end of the fast, and he’s visibly tired. He’s not religious, this Doug, and he’s pushing himself to fast and attend this service.
And then the song Ki Anu Amecha begins. My father, Rabbi Yosef Loschak, Rabbi of the Chabad House, is the chazzan—funny as that is due to his notable yet lovable lack of musical talent. Despite the lack of musical finesse, or perhaps because of it, the niggun carries on. My father is there, sweating and singing, bobbing his head back and forth furiously. His tallis heaves and shakes, and he’s ay-ya-ya’ing away like there’s no tomorrow. I see Doug look at my father and get swept up along with him and the niggun. Doug is no longer tired or anxious. He’s hopping and popping with my dad.
I can’t say I was transformed, but I began to understand a glimmer of what Yom Kippur is.
As I looked at my father literally jumping up and down and pounding on the shtender to the words that describe his relationship with his Creator, I understood that there’s something far more profound here than a race to the bagels and lox (or football) at the end. There’s a deep connection of Jew to G-d, a special moment in time that is higher than the best farbrengen, the most moving speech, or the deepest Torah study.
It’s a time when we neither eat nor drink. Instead we stand bedecked in our tallis and try, if only for several hours, to be other-worldly. To sing the night away about how we are G-d’s servants, children, sheep, merchandise, and all the other majestic descriptions in that little paragraph…”
What on earth is a mac-and-cheese Yizkor?
Isn’t Yizkor something that is said in shul four times a year? What does it have to do with mac-and-cheese?
This is explained with raw honesty and emotion, the likes of which we don’t often see in print, by Ahrele Loschak in the upcoming (Tishrei) N’shei Chabad Newsletter (click here to subscribe).
Ahrele Loschak didn’t write this story for publication. But it got around (the way deeply meaningful things tend to get around) and the N’shei Chabad Newsletter asked his permission to print it. He reluctantly agreed, saying, “My only hope is that I inspire someone to connect with themselves, their loved ones, and ultimately, Hashem. To appreciate what we have and what we wish for.”
Chanie Perelmuter is short. Her new beds are too high for her, necessitating a flying leap into bed at night. The supermarket shelves are too high. If she can’t reach something on a high shelf, she can’t buy it. If something is on a bottom shelf, she can’t buy it (that’s EXERCISE, she explains). So she only buys things on the middle shelves. And for years she spent every Shabbos at a one-star hotel.
The daughter of (tbl”ch) Lubavitch heroes and role models Shimshon and Martha Stock, a”h, Chanie Perelmuter has never let life get her down. And she doesn’t let parents come into her school with their cell phones on. If we all took her advice as described in the Tishrei N’shei Chabad Newsletter, the world would immediately become a much better place. And hotels would have two chairs per room instead of one.
Chanie Perelmuter goes from the silly to the sublime and back again all in the space of four pages, but her message is clear: Be Happy. It’s your choice.
NCN’s Rishe Deitsch tells collive why she is excited to be publishing this article: “I’ve wanted Chanie to write for the NCN for the longest time but she never would. Finally, I was at the Bikur Cholim breakfast where she spoke and I taped it. Using the tape, Chaya Shuchat managed to transcribe the speech into an article. I know Chanie for 45 years. She is one of the smartest, one of the kindest and also one of the funniest people I know. It’s a winning combination. Read her first.”
Are you one of the hundreds of readers who replied to the N’shei’s reader survey asking questions about the trials, tribulations and rewards of having guests, and of being a guest? Your responses are in the Tishrei NCN. Subscribe or renew now!
Back in the 1970s and ’80s, we used to get engaged after three dates. Now the finest young men and women of Lubavitch are dating five, ten, even 12 times before getting engaged. But has everything changed, or are some things the same? Study the Rebbe’s timeless wisdom on wedding customs as elucidated by Crown Heights mother, kallah teacher, lecturer and mashpia Mrs. Sara Morozow. This article was reviewed for accuracy by Harav Sholom Ber Chaikin of Cleveland and by Harav Yosef Y. Braun, mara d’asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.
ELIEZER SOBEL IS BACK
By popular demand, Eliezer Sobel is back! With a third article that many say is his best yet (to read his first two, visit nsheichabadnewsletter.com/archives, searchword Sobel).
Find out what it was like for him to grow up with a mother who was a Holocaust survivor, sleeping with an axe under her bed. How did this impact him as he grew older? How does it impact him today? As he writes:
“My mother kept an axe under her bed whenever my father was away. I felt utterly unsafe in our house in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, as if we were in imminent danger of the Nazis breaking down our doors. It was a very terrifying way to live, and I developed a unique way to communicate my fear. When lying in bed at night after being put to bed, I would at some point begin screaming one word in a frantic, clipped yelp: ‘SCARED!’ I’d wait about 30 seconds, and shout again: ‘SCARED!’
“I would continue this, infuriating my brother in the bed next to mine, until my mother would virtually sleepwalk into the room and get into bed with me, at which point she’d promptly turn to face the other way and fall back asleep…”
The axe under the bed could be traced to a childhood incident, when Nazi hooligans “broke down the front door of my mother’s house—with an axe—in their little pristine village. The axe fell at my grandmother’s feet, and she picked it up and handed it back, saying, ‘I believe this belongs to you?’”
Read the best of Eliezer Sobel in the Tishrei N’shei Chabad Newsletter.
IZZY KALMAN IS BACK, TOO!
Good news for COLlive readers!
Remember back in December of 2016 you tried to book anti-bullying expert Izzy Kalman to come to your school or parents’ group but it was too late, and he was already booked?
COLlive readers get the first chance to book Izzy Kalman on his next (Oct. 22-Nov. 30, 2017) trip to the U.S. Email him at [email protected]
Sick and tired of breaking up your kids’ fights? You can become free of that slavery.
Izzy has an article (his third for the NCN) in the Tishrei issue; this one is about sibling rivalry (his two previous articles are available at nsheichabadnewsletter.com, “archives by year”—2015 and 2016).
Book Izzy Kalman to speak for your group or to counsel individuals on sibling rivalry, bullying.