By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky – Chabad of Doral, Florida
This past Sunday, my son Shmulie celebrated all the Yomim Tovim. In reality, it was one celebration, namely the finale of the International Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos. However, I saw all of the Yomim Tovim experienced. Before you dismiss me as totally insane, please read on.
Last week, when Shmulie came home with this huge beautiful box with the Chidon logo, I was a bit skeptical. Was this really gonna be so exciting? Was this going to take the place of the real thing?! I couldn’t imagine how my son was going to appreciate a virtual Chidon and how it’ll turn out for him.
As I was helping him hang up the string of flags across our dining room, I had a pleasant flashback to my childhood. Growing up, my family shared a Sukkah with our landlord who was not a Lubavitcher chossid. He would hang up some decorations in the Sukkah. One particular thing which always caught my attention was the strip of flags, identical to the one I was just hanging up.
For me, as funny as it may sound, whenever I see a string of flags in this particular shape I go back to that Sukkah. I can smell the sweet odor of the pricky pine leaves and taste the bitterness of biting into one that fell into the soup and ended up unnoticed into my spoon. It was like Sukkos all again.
I never saw my son work so hard on cleaning and preparing, not even before Pesach. He was that excited. The table was all set with all these fancy utensils, just like we are directed to do for the Seder. I hope for such an elaborate setting for the Seder night. Thus Pesach.
Shavuos. Obviously, this was a great celebration of Torah and it felt like is being given anew. He was so excited, he would have stayed up an entire night just not miss this.
His face was lit up with excitement and glowing like Chanukah candles. He was on fire, literally.
All the balloons and decorations made it feel like Purim. Not to mention the fact that he was dressed up in his new Chidon sweater, although we do live in Florida and it is quite hot. The blue icing and sprinkles smeared over his lips and the face of his little sister certainly was reminiscent of Mishloach Manos.
The sounds of joy and laughter could easily be substituted for the sound of the Shofar and the singing in Shul. Watching him enjoy every single moment was like honey!
The Torah refers to Yom Kippur as Achas Bashana, “Once a Year”. This was not only once a year, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What about Simchas Torah? Well, I was looking forward to the legendary Gabbai (after a few L’chaims) screaming on the top of his longs over the noisy crowd, selling the Atah Horeisas. Instead, I viewed a few well-polished school principals, masterfully and professionally orating the game show. (Shimmy Weinbaum, it’s not the same without you).
I want to thank all those who were involved before, during and after. I love what you guys did for the kids (and for the adults!). Keep up the great work. Next year in Yerushalayim with the Rebbe!