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Bringing Heaven Down to Earth

Thursday, 3 October, 2013 - 5:14 pm

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The day has arrived. You have enjoyed a heavenly month in Europe: your experiences in France, Italy, and Spain were rich and vivid, and you enjoyed the most breathtaking sights along the way. But now, after all those months of planning meticulously for your vacation and crafting a detailed itinerary, it is already time to pack up your bags and head back home. Back to reality.

Your feet have landed on American soil, and your adventure is over. What now? How do you make the switch from being in vacation mode to "real life"?

The answer lies in memories. Your trip might be over, but the memories aren't. 

As you unpack your suitcase, you come across magnets you picked up in Venice and place them on your fridge. You upload the pictures from your camera, and save the one of you and your spouse standing in front of the Eiffel Tower on your desktop. Now, you are back in your routine. But every time you open the fridge to take out the milk, you smile as the magnet reminds you of magical Venice. As you turn on your computer to begin a day of work, the picture on your desktop transports you back to that rainy but unforgettable day in Paris. The memories live on.

The Jewish people have just returned from their own incredible trip: Tishrei. The seventh month in the Jewish calendar year, Tishrei is filled to the brim with four major Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. There is no month in the Jewish calendar as intense and emotional as Tishrei.

At Chabad of Riverdale, hundreds packed into our shul for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Spirits soared on Rosh Hashanah as we crowned G-d as King of the world. On Yom Kippur, we were invigorated by inspirational prayer on the holiest day of the year.

During Sukkot, our community was enveloped by beautiful and fragrant Mitzvot. Friends, new and old, from all different backgrounds gathered in our Sukkah, shared meals and engaged in the holy commandment of the Four Kinds.

On Simchat Torah, the joy was palpable as once again, we united, holding hands and dancing during the Hakafot. Our celebration reached a climax as we embraced the conclusion—and restart—of the annual Torah-reading cycle. This Simchat Torah was especially meaningful for us here at Chabad as we used our brand new Sefer Torah, gifted to us by Rabbi Faitel Lewin (Click here to watch our memories of this joyous day).

Friendships were intensified, memories were made, and joy filled our hearts.

We heard from so many that their Simchat Torah experience at Chabad this year was their most spiritual and uplifting yet. It truly was amazing. 

But what now? Tishrei is over. Where do we go from here?

We do what our traveler friend did following his remarkable experience in Europe. 

As we "unpack" our memories, we write down and record a special verse from the High Holiday services that particularly resonated with us.

We download to our phone a song that lifted our spirits on Sukkot.

We place in the top drawer of our desk, where it can be easily accessed, a paper with two resolutions that we made before Rosh Hashanah.

Then, as we return to reality, to the barren month of Cheshvan and beyond, we hold on to the beauty of Tishrei by replaying that special Sukkot song, reading the verse that gave us so much hope and resolve during the High Holiday prayers, and opening our drawer to check in on how we are doing with our resolutions. These beautiful reminders are here to stay. Until next Tishrei. 

Sorah and I want to personally bless you with health, happiness, peace, parnasa, domestic happiness, and may all your blessings be fulfilled for the good.

 

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