Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon, Director of Chabad of the Valley in Encino, California, was the Scholar in Residence recently for an extremely successful Shabbaton held in Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa.
Rabbi Gordon is a well known teacher, orator and lecturer who is endowed with an incredible sense of humor. He has travelled the world speaking to diverse groups. He is well known throughout the world for his live Chumash, Tanya and Rambam classes on Chabad.org with over 2000 videos.
In 1973 Rabbi Gordon and his wife Deborah were appointed by the Rebbe as his personal emissaries, establishing Chabad of the Valley, which consists of over 30 Chabad Houses today.
One participant shared, “When Rabbi Gordon started off one of his talks, sharing that he has three teachers in his life, the Rebbe, his father and Jackie Mason, after the laughter subsided, everyone knew that the weekend was going to be an extraordinary one. The only consolation when he left to return to California, was that our group in Ottawa could continue learning with him on the web.”
Some participants who are newly observant, have started learning Chitas on Chabad.org with Rabbi Gordon on a daily basis. The inspiration that they received from the Shabbaton convinced them to start this daily learning.
Over 100 people attended a full Shabbaton and Sunday breakfast that included 6 lectures. One of the lecture titles were: “The Power of Speech, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Rabbi Gordon taught that one word can make a difference. The power of a compliment can change someone’s life. One should be honest in business, one does not have to be so honest with another’s feelings to make him/her feel bad.
And when talking to one’s children or friends, don’t talk about other people, talk about ideas, talk about Torah subjects.
When Rabbi Gordon spoke on “The Art of Being Non-Judgmental”, he focused on the idea that being non-judgmental is a centerpiece of Chabad methodology. By delving into a deeper understanding of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of man, as set forth in the mystical and ethical teachings of the Torah, we can all develop the art of non-judgmental acceptance and love our fellow (and ourselves).
At the final talk at the Sunday morning breakfast, Rabbi Gordon spoke on a very important topic, The Secret to Effective Parenting.
It’s been described as the most difficult and challenging, yet most rewarding and gratifying occupation in the world. No pursuit, if done well, requires a greater sense of balance, wisdom and foresight than the raising of emotionally and spiritually healthy children.
Rabbi Gordon shared that when he was a young Yeshiva student, his father, a well respected Rabbi and Chaplain and community figure, with a very busy schedule, always made time for him. This is so important for parents to remember in order to uplift, reinforce, encourage and motivate their children.
Co-founders of the Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa, Dr. Yosef and Devora Caytak were so pleased at the overflow attendance and tremendous positive feedback received from the Shabbaton participants. “We felt honored that such a world-famous Rabbi would come to our little town to share his Torah knowledge with our community.”
In keeping with the blessing that the Rebbe gave to Rabbi and Mrs. Gordon, “whatever you will do you will pass with flying colors”; Rabbi Gordon absolutely passed with flying colors as a Scholar in Residence par excellence.