An Article for the Syosset-Jericho Tribune:
Three Weeks in the Dog Days of Summer
By Rabbi Chanan Krivisky
The “Three Weeks” is an annual mourning period that falls out in the summer. This is when the Jewish people mourn the siege of Jerusalem which culminated in the destruction of the Holy Temple and the beginning of our still-ongoing 2,000 year exile.
Yet within this time of bitter reflection we carry the Torah’s promise, stoking our fervent hope and expectation, that these days will be nullified and even transformed into gladness and joy - holidays in fact!
How can it be that the time of our greatest sorrow will become our greatest jubilation?
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, would say, "One deed is more valuable than one thousand sighs."
The answer lies in taking action.
The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of “baseless hatred”, and it will be rebuilt because of wanton acts of goodness and kindness.
By going out of our way, out of our comfort zone and even, “above and beyond” in seeking the victory of light over darkness, we will see the fulfillment of the Rebbe’s maxim that even a little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness.
The world is becoming illuminated. We can now clearly see that the changes going on around us can be harnessed for goodness on a larger scale than ever before. The capacity for positive deeds has never been more accessible. We live in an auspicious time when the opportunity to do good and the greatest effect can be achieved immediately.
A person must not be a passive observer in their environment and society (not to mention a negative factor). We have a duty to our society to be a positive and active agent to improve our surroundings both locally and globally. In our times, everyone has the capacity to do so at least to some degree.
On the basis of the principle that the essential thing is the deed, as quoted earlier, there needs to be practical conclusion of our collective positive intentions. Regardless of how our daily life expressed itself in the past, we each have a duty - personally and collectively - to our environs and the world as a whole, to order our lives in fullest accord according to a G-dly ideal. Living with this consciousness and mindfulness, observance has never been more accessible to everyone. This is an enormous privilege that we have of fulfilling a sacred obligation to ourselves, our people, our families, workplace and community.
Not only through mournful reflection can we heal and bring redemption to ourselves and the world, but mainly through optimism that leads to positive action can we nullify the negative and bring a time of jubilation and celebration.
Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach. May that day come soon, and then all the mournful dates on the calendar will be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness for us all.
A real-time, Online Q & A with Rabbi Chanan Krivisky.
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The Message of Poway.
By Rabbi Chanan Krivisky - MiYaD
(as printed in Syosset-Jericho Tribune)
We are STRONG. We are UNITED. They CAN’T BREAK US! AM YISROEL CHAI - THE JEWISH PEOPLE LIVE! – Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi @ Chabad of Poway to his congregation after being shot in both hands.
As has been splashed across the headlines throughout the world, on Shabbat, the Last (eighth) Day of Passover, a terrorist gunman shot at the Rabbi, congregants and their children at Chabad of Poway, CA, killing one and injuring 3, including an 8 year-old girl.
We grapple for answers, for consolation, for healing. We try to make sense of another attack on that which is good and those who pray for peace. Yet, there is no logical explanation for such horrific events.
So what can we do? What can we learn? Where do we go from here?
“The message from Poway is reaching millions”, Rabbi Goldstein has tirelessly repeatedly stated to every media platform that will listen, even though he was just brutally shot protecting his congregation.
What is the message?
It’s not the one you might think.
It is clear that we should not allow ourselves to be negatively affected by such trials and tribulations, as terrible as they may be.
But the real battle cry is to be a protagonist for goodness and kindness even in the face of pure evil. Yes, especially when our core is shaken and our places of sanctity violated, we need to be luminaries.
“A little light pushes away a lot of darkness”, is an oft-quoted maxim of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, leader of the Chabad movement who professes and teaches life motivated by unconditional love. Think, if now, we collectively shine a lot of light.
Spreading the message of light prevailing over darkness is a life-work, a raison d’etre for Rabbi Goldstein, and every Chabad Rabbi and Rebbetzin who has picked up the Rebbe’s charge. Now is a time where this message is not just a solace for those seeking meaning in these terrible events, but rather a call-to-action.
Each one of us – Jewish or not – men, women and children must find a corner of our world, and area of our lives, that is perhaps untouched by light and illuminate it.
Whether it be within ourselves, our homes, our workplace, our community – in whichever sphere we have influence, it is up to us to be a champion of what is right, an advocate for goodness and a messenger of kindness. You can change the world for good, which is why you have been created and placed here in this time, now.
Our Mitzvahs – good deeds and unity – should be fulfilled with joy and vitality.
It is my sincere hope that with the help of G‑d, Who guards with an open eye and oversees with Divine Providence, that we will overpower every obstacle, strengthen both personal and communal affairs and expand all of our activities of goodness and kindness in both quantity and quality.
This is the message of Poway.
See you on Shabbat!!
Minyan, Saturday 10:00am @ Chabad House in Jericho, followed by Kiddush Lunch in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, Leah bas Reuven and complete healing of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan and Almog Peretz.
The Best Memorial Day Tribute - as published in the Syosset-Jericho Tribune
By Rabbi Chanan Krivisky
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Although both of my grandfathers, many uncles and men from my wife’s side of the family have fought in the United States Armed Forces, I am glad to say that none have perished (although my wife’s grandfather, Milton Segal, the lead bombardier in D-Day was officially dead for 6 months). We Jews have served in the U.S. Armed Forces far beyond our numerical proportion in the general population and have served with distinction garnering thousands of awards. In fact, oldest Veterans Organization is Jewish! But this article is going to focus on a broader topic – what are the United States Armed Forces fighting for? What is so important that so many brave Americans have had to make the ultimate sacrifice?
On Memorial Day we pay tribute to those who died in service, and our hearts and minds are reminded of the reason that they paid the ultimate price on our behalf.
The greatest concentration of the best of the world is found right here in America and the rest of the world relies on America for all manner of support. We here in America need to recognize the historical mission that G-d has placed in our hands at a time when morality, truth and liberty are fighting for survival both at home and abroad. America’s culture of tolerance and freedom is a unique opportunity for unhindered material and spiritual growth. This uniquely American privilege is definitely worth fighting for.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, extolled the vision of the Founding Fathers, a vision of a country in which "In G-d We Trust," without fear of repercussion. The very first sentence of the First Amendment of the Constitution secures our inalienable right to freedom of religion (not freedom from religion). This is right millions throughout the world would die for, and many of our best and brightest have died protecting.
It is a country dictated on the premise of kindness, which allows for everyone to worship freely and supports education and humanitarian efforts. Success as a nation, and as a positive actor on the world stage, is rooted in our professed relationship with G-d, under Whose Sovereignty we proclaim in the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, recently, our right to worship has come under attack from all sides. Without these rights, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and professed in all canons of American life, we would be doomed to chaos and self-destruction.
Surely, those who fought and died for our right to worship, would not want their sacrifice to be in vain. It is up to us to exercise our rights as fully as possible and to proactively seek furtherance of the most seminal of American ideals. This is the best tribute we can give on this Memorial Day.
The media can be a dark place these days, so we’re glad to see our light spreading even to the news and pushing away some of the darkness and lighting up the world!
Legislator Joshua Lafazan Celebrates Hanukkah at "Peace, Love and Light" Celebration
BY LONG ISLAND NEWS & PR PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 04 2018
Lafazan attends Hanukkah celebration and menorah-lighting ceremony with MiYaD at the Milleridge Inn.
Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan with Rabbi Chanan Krivisky and his wife, Aliza.
Photo by: Office of Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan
Jericho, NY - December 4, 2018 - Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) co-hosted “Peace, Love and Light,” a Hanukkah celebration and menorah-lighting ceremony with MiYaD at the Milleridge Inn on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Legislator Lafazan presented a Nassau County Legislature Citation to Rabbi Chanan Krivisky and his wife, Aliza, in recognition of theJericho-based shul’s ongoing efforts to bring the teachings of Judaism to congregants of all faiths and levels of knowledge and observance.
“I am thrilled to see the growth of this congregation and the vibrancy of the Jewish community on the North Shore. The success of this festive menorah lighting is further proof that MiYaD’s community-building efforts and approach to providing opportunities for spiritual growth are touching many hearts,” Legislator Lafazan said. “I congratulate Rabbi Krivisky and everyone at MiYaD and wish everyone a very happy Hanukkah and a joyous holiday season.”
Peace & Blessings,
As I just finished Sunday morning Hebrew school, I needed to sit down and write this.
Staring at the beautiful children braiding Challah with Aliza, learning about the first Jewish woman Sarah and her daughter-in-law Rivkah, seeing the loving parents nachas apparent in their broad smiles at their children’s Jewish experience, the concept of Jewish continuity and horrors of this past Shabbos are still seared into my Soul.
The eleven Souls that were murdered - just for being Jewish - is unfortunately nothing new.
It’s just new in America.
If you are looking to the U.S.A. to solve the problems that have faced the Jewish people for 4,000 years, you’re looking in the wrong place. I wish I could have told my ancestors four generations ago this.
They thought through assimilation, economic opportunity, cultural success they could escape and transform the horrors of Europe here in the U.S. Today we think through social media, voting, social awareness, politics, humanitarian causes that we can end antisemitism and change the world. We are ALLwrong.
We see this clearly from the events in Pittsburgh on Shabbos.
The uncomfortable fact - the elephant in the room at every Synagogue board meeting, Jewish Federation, “Never Again” slogan - is that they will always hate us. Not for being observant, not for being assimilated - just for being Jewish.
Sorry folks, no anti-gun legislation or ‘right to bear arms’, no statements or lawsuits, Bills in Congress or Executive Orders, or even interfaith dialogues or insular Jewish neighborhoods are going to save us.
This tragedy, these horrific murders of Jewish people must be a catalyst for real, meaningful and lasting change for good.
So what is the answer?
There is only one answer. It’s found in the Passover Haggadah.
"This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!"
G-d, HaShem, The One Above, Al-mighty wants us to bring Moshiach now.
THIS IS REAL.
Moshiach is a real person. The redemption he brings is real.
The way to bring this change is real, too. It’s through strengthening Torah study, through Mitzvahs as prescribed in the Torah. Adjusting our lives - inside and out - accordingly, brings about personal, communal, and global freedom. We are able to attain this freedom more now than ever before in our history.
Freedom that this country affords us has been the best and worst of challenges for our people. Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Voting is not a Mitzvah. Assimilating is not American. If your life changes so drastically by the person elected, it is you that is letting them affect you. Right, Left or Center, they’re not going to save you, your children, or the world. Nor can they irreparably harm it.
G-d is going to reveal for us Moshiach very soon - He perhaps even has, as we see in the Rebbe. Moshiach will end this bitter exile that we are experiencing inside ourselves and as it’s reflected in the horrors of exile in the world. We need to reclaim for ourselves the Jewish concept of Moshiach. It starts with learning about it, which in turn leads to living it, which leads to experiencing Moshiach as a reality.
So practically, today - WHAT CAN I DO?
You want to do something? Do a Mitzvah from the Torah.
You want a vigil? Go to Shabbos Minyan.
You want unity? Wrap yourself in Tefillin, meditate, become centered.
You want to be informed, awareness, ‘woke’? Study Torah.
You want to ‘post’ something meaningful? Post a Mezuzah on your door.
You want to change your profile image? Change your inner profile and show the world the image of an observant Jew.
You want a leader to change things? Moshiach Now!
This is the Jewish way to combat darkness - to spread light! The light that has been given to us by G-d Al-mighty.
Blessings & Success,
Rabbi Chanan Krivisky
Now that the Holiday month is behind us, we ask ourselves the question, like one would ask after any undertaking: Did we turn a profit? By “profit” I don’t mean monetary profit, but rather MITZVAH PROFIT!
Each of us should ask ourselves, did the inspiration of the High Holidays and the joy of Sukkos and SimchasTorah inspire us to the point that our spirituality will “profit from the experience”. And the test is a simple one: If we walk away taking upon ourselves a MITZVAH RESOLUTION for the New Year, it was all worth it!
If you said YIZKOR, this takes on further importance. You know the slogan: Say it with Flowers… I say: Say it with Mitzvahs… Mitzvahs are the language of our loved ones in the “world of truth”, so making a Mitzvah resolution is the best way to say to them “I love you!”
Here are a few other MITZVAH opportunities I highly recommend:
- TORAH STUDY. The great sage Rabbi Saadya Gaon stated "our nation is a nation by virtue of our Torah" To truly live as a Jew, it is imperative that we study Torah. It is amazing and sad that American Jews are highly educated in general knowledge and highly ignorant of their Torah. With the internet, it is so easy to study. In the comfort of your home, at your own pace and whichever topic tickles your fancy,WWW.CHABAD.ORG offers a comprehensive potpourri of Torah classes and lectures, whether in audio, video or writing. Chabad of Northeast Queens hosts classes given by the Rabbi. Every Monday night at 7:45 PM, you can explore the weekly Torah portion as well as classic mystical works. Shabbos afternoon after sundown, enjoy a roundtable discussion about Torah ideas and how they apply to our daily life. One on one learning is available as well on request. The Rabbi teaches regularly at the Bay Club andNorthshore Towers. If you are a resident, feel free to attend.
- SYNAGOGUE. The Synagogue/ Shule is a warm and welcoming place where you can enjoy meditative Prayer and camaraderie with your community. Start with Shabbos morning service. Services begin at 9:45 AM and include the Rabbi's sermon plus a delicious Kiddush/lunch.
- 613 MITZVOS. you heard right! The Almighty blessed us with 613 Commandments which range from Shabbat observance and Kosher food to how much charity we must give the less fortunate. Take a moment, think about what you might practically take upon yourself for the New Year. G-d appreciates everything we do and nothing is considered insignificant. The Rabbi will be happy to discuss practical ideas with you. As a wise man once answered when asked which is the best exercise – 'the one that you will do’ – choose a Mitzvah that you see yourself actually doing, and go for it for the new year.
Wishing you the most wonderful and productive New Year!
As we approach Rosh HaShana 5779, and head into a month permeated by the Jewish festivals that impact our entire year, we are reminded that in one moment, one action, one speech, even with one thought, a person can change the entire trajectory of their life.
The vast majority of our endeavors take time, and are not ensured of success, even after exerting much effort.
Yet a Jewish person has the ability, with proper resolve and determination, in 'one moment', to rectify completely all failures and deficiencies, and to resolve to strengthen all successes and harness all strengths.
This called 'Teshuvah'.
As many of you know, I donated a kidney 1½ months ago. Why? Who? How? Whaaat?
You'll have to come to services or better yet, a Shabbos meal to get the story. But the most important lesson I came away with through the entire process is something that I in fact knew all along, and actually lived by, yet now realize as a deeper reality. That is - 'live in the moment'.
'Living in the moment' might seem cliché, and it does not mean #yolo or divorcing oneself from reality or responsibilities. The opposite is true. It means it means actualizing that which you are meant to do at every given moment.
It was revealed to me that I had an ability (that I might argue came with a responsibility). I was given a task, not easy. None of which I knew of before, yet when confronted with this reality - would I answer the call? I now seek to apply these conditions to every situation in my life.
By removing all constraints of the past, leaving the future, to well, the future, and concentrating sincerely on one's rai·son d'ê·tre - reason for being - we embue life with purpose, resolve and meaning.
"How?", you may ask.
'Teshuvah' is perhaps the most powerful tool we have in achieving the best of ourselves.
Through earnest introspection, profound regret and the greatest of joy we can transcend the element of time and the whole physical world, and in 'one moment' it transforms the entire past and sets the proper stage for the whole future.
We are given this capability to by G-d, and it's special preeminence is accentuated this time of year before and during the High Holidays. Though one can do 'Teshuvah' all year long, this time of year is set aside for our return to our roots and essence.
When we hasten to do 'Teshuvah', immediately we experience redemption. We are assured that G-d 'reciprocates in kind' and in a most generous measure.
May G-d's blessing pour down without limit, overflowing! That all good resolutions be fulfilled entirely and in the most complete measure, increasing further into being "Inscribed and sealed for good" for us and all Israel.
Blessings for L'Shana Tova, for a good and sweet year materially and spiritually,
Rabbi Chanan Krivisky
When G-d gives financial success, it comes with special responsibility
By Nathan Comens, member @ MiYaD
A must read for the Jewish community.
The Eighth Day of Pesach: The Feast of Mashiach
Transforming the Belief in Mashiach into Reality
Mashiach’s Seudah is intended to deepen our awareness of Mashiach and enable us to integrate it into our thinking processes. The twelfth article of the Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith is,4 “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait every day for him to come.” Though all believing Jews accept this principle intellectually, for many the concept of Mashiach remains an abstraction. Partaking ofMashiach’s Seudah reinforces our belief in this principle, translating our awareness of Mashiach into a meal, a physical experience which leads us to associate this concept with our flesh and blood.
The Baal Shem Tov’s linking of our awareness of Mashiach to the physical is significant because it prepares us for the revelations of the Era of the Redemption. In that Era, the G‑dliness that is enclothed within the physical world will be overtly manifest; as the prophet Isaiah declared, “And the glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see it together.”5 At that time, “the glory of G‑d” will permeate even the physical aspects of the world — “all flesh.”
Chassidus explains6 that the preparations for a revelation must foreshadow the revelation itself. Since, in the Era of the Redemption, the revelation of G‑dliness will find expression even in the physical world, it is fitting that our preparation for these revelations be associated with physical activities such as eating and drinking.
Transforming the Worldly
Mashiach’s Seudah, as mentioned above, is held on the Eighth Day of Pesach. The Torah originally commanded us to celebrate Pesach for seven days. When our people were exiled, however, a certain degree of doubt arose regarding the exact date on which the holidays should be celebrated. To solve the problem of determining the Jewish calendar in exile, our Sages added an extra day to each festival. In other words, the Eighth Day of Pesach had been an ordinary day, but through the power endowed by the Torah, the Jewish people were able to transform it into a holy day.
When Mashiach comes, a similar transformation will occur throughout all of creation. Even the material and mundane aspects of the world will reveal G‑dliness. Celebration of Mashiach’s Seudah on the Eighth Day of Pesach — once an ordinary day, now transformed — anticipates the kind of transformation that will characterize the Era of the Redemption.
Why the Baal Shem Tov?
That the Baal Shem Tov originated the custom of Mashiach’s Seudah is particularly fitting. Once in the course of his ascent to the heavenly realms on Rosh HaShanah,7 the Baal Shem Tov encountered the Mashiach and asked him, “When are you coming?” The Mashiach replied, “When the wellsprings of your teachings spread outward.”
The goal of the Baal Shem Tov’s life was to prepare us for Mashiach, and the institution of Mashiach’s Seudah was part of that life’s work.
The Contribution of Chabad
Like many other teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, the custom of conductingMashiach’s Seudah was explained and widely disseminated by the successive Rebbeim of Chabad. Moreover, in 5666 (1906) the RebbeRashab (the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe) added a new element to Mashiach’s Seudah, the drinking of four cups of wine.8
During the time of the Baal Shem Tov, the main ingredient of Mashiach’s Seudah was matzah. The tasteless flatness of matzah symbolizes selfless humility, a desire to transcend oneself. Wine, by contrast, is flavorful and pleasurable, and thus symbolizes the assertiveness of our individual personalities. Combining matzah and wine in Mashiach’s Seudah teaches us that self-transcendence does not require that we erase our personal identities.
Self-transcendence may be accomplished within each individual’s nature. A person can retain his distinctive character and identity, yet dedicate his life to spreading G‑dliness instead of pursuing personal fulfillment. Once he has fundamentally transformed his will, an individual can proceed to a more complete level of service of G‑d in which his essential commitment permeates every aspect of his personality.
This innovation of the Rebbe Rashab exemplifies the comprehensive contribution of Chabad Chassidus to the legacy of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov taught each Jew how to reveal his essential G‑dly nature and thus rise above his personal identity. Chabad, an acronym for the Hebrew words Chochmah, Binah and Daas (“wisdom, understanding and knowledge”), brings the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings into the realm of the intellect, allowing them to be integrated and applied within each individual’s personal framework.
The Mission of Our Generation
Our generation has been charged with the responsibility of making all Jews aware of Mashiach — and this includes the custom of conductingMashiach’s Seudah. This mission is particularly relevant in our day, for the Jewish people have completed all the divine service necessary to enableMashiach to come. As the Previous Rebbe expressed it, “We have already polished the buttons.”9 Mashiach is waiting: “Here he stands behind our wall, watching through the windows, peering through the crevices.”10The walls of exile are already crumbling, and now, in the immediate future,Mashiach will be revealed.
There are those who argue that speaking openly about the coming ofMashiach may alienate some people. The very opposite is true. We are living in the time directly preceding the age of Mashiach. The world is changing and people are willing, even anxious, to hear about Mashiach. It is thus our duty to reach out and involve as many people as possible in the preparations for his coming.
These endeavors will escalate the fulfillment of the prophecies of theHaftorah recited on the Eighth Day of Pesach:11 “A shoot will come forth from the stem of Yishai..., and the spirit of G‑d will rest upon him” — with the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our days.
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, pp. 272-278; the Sichos of the Last Day of Pesach, 5722