By: Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky – Chabad Jewish Center of Doral Florida
Recently I had the privilege of spending a Shabbos in Crown Heights. It was “just another Shabbos”, not the Kinus, not Tishrei etc. As such, I had the time and opportunity to spend some time with my siblings and / or just sit around in Shul and absorb the atmosphere. In our conversations, of course the very important topic of “The Call of The Shofar” came up.
Jokingly, I reacted with a likewise weird name that I would like to call the imaginary therapy group that I’m founding. “The Shake of The Lulav!” What a great weird name! Attractive, buzzy and stimulating (you have to admit, I got you thinking!).
An interesting argument I heard from a Yungerman, got me thinking. He made the point that there are many young married guys who are thirsty for something; looking for guidance and direction. Some perhaps are even suffering slightly from detachment and disillusionment. Clearly these guys could benefit from some program, should there be one.
I was very impressed and in fact overwhelmed by the so many, various Torah and Chassidus publications available. Where ever one goes in Shul, one encounters a Dach Yomi or a Chassdidisher Parsha, reminders for Shiurim and other print matter with Chassidishe stories and information. It was so pleasing to find out that so many Shiurim are available around town, including Batei Midrash open almost around the clock.
One of my siblings shared with me, to my delight, that he recently began attending a morning Shiur at 6:15 followed by Shacharis with a Minyan. Out of curiosity I asked him how many people attend? He told me that only 2 participants attend on a regular basis – up to maybe 5.
Now, that was disappointing to hear. It would have been so much nicer to hear about better attendance at the Shiurim. I certainly cannot pass judgment or scrutiny on anyone. However, I do have the privilege throughout the work week to study with many people (who are perhaps not as close (yet) to Yiddishkiet as could be) IN THEIR PLACE OF BUSINESS and during the day. It’s always amazing how they are ready to stop everything they are doing to study or hear a few words of Torah.
THE SHAKE OF THE LULAV…
While waiting standby for a plane back home, I had lots of time to think. “That’s not a funny name after all, in fact it has so much meaning.”
The Rebbe explains the reason why it is the Lulav that is the one we shake and make the blessing over. Why the Lulav stands out and is recognized over the Esrog. It’s because of the quality of Torah that it symbolizes. It is the power of the Torah that helps protect one from the various threats represented in the six directions of the world. All the challenges we face out there are thwarted off through the shaking of the Lulav (See Shaarei HaMoadim Chag Hasukos page 153).
In plain simple English: Learning and living Torah really helps one get through life! Of course there are times and situations when one may need therapy or personal counseling for various situations that mey come up in life. However, if one is “just looking for meaning” or “needs some fulfillment and sense of direction”, there’s Baruch Hashem a plethora of Maamorim and Sichos in almost every common language available for our “needs”. It’s up to the Mashpiim to provide meaningfully tailored Shiurim for various levels and crowds so that anyone can become “fulfilled” and find meaning.
Who knows, maybe this is one of the things The Rebbe meant with his heartfelt request to establish Mashpiim and guides for the community? Isn’t it so obvious that it’s not enough to just condemn the bad groups, rather we must provide a good alternative. The symptom is the fact that Yungeliet are looking elsewhere for guidance.
The actual illness is the fact that there aren’t enough varied groups and Shiurim available. Yes, we must galvanize all those great Mashpiim and common folk who are capable of delivering Shiurim with interest and excitement. Maybe even provide interestins alternatives for those who aren’t terribly excited of sitting through a boring or meaningless Farbi due to lack of the proper personalities available to step up to the plate.
One thing is for certain and I see it on a regular basis, when people learn Torah – in any capacity or format – they become closer to Yiddishkiet and life of meaning and purpose. I’m amazed at how Yidden become more observant in Mitzvos just after several Shiurim. Certainly, “our own” would benefit the same way our Mekuravim do, if not more.
So, Let’s get the Lulavs Shakin’! Let’s go to Shiurim, learn ourselves, encourage our friends to do the same and if you are capable of stimulating others with a good Shiur or program – DO SO! Just SHAKE THE LULAV!
Happy Sukkos! I mean Purim.
P.S. Dear Women. You are also accustomed to doing the Mitzva of Lulav with a Bracha. Please encourage your husbands and sons to participate in learning Torah on a regular basis – it’s your obligation and Z’chus!