Here’s a thought:
On the very first Friday of history, Adam and Eve were created in the afternoon. On that first day, they were told not to eat from the fruit of one tree, the Tree of Knowledge, until nightfall.
The mystics teach us that the tree was a grape vine. Grapes are a fruit that contains the potential for abundant good and abundant evil. Over a glass of wine friendships are made and destroyed, lives are enhanced and ruined, hopes are created and dashed. It is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The prohibition was only to last until nightfall that day. Upon the start of Shabbos, they were allowed to eat from the fruit. However they did not wait.
We correct this mistake by making Kiddush on Friday night over wine or grape juice. It is to remind us that we can only have enjoyment of the pleasures of this world if we can also defer our enjoyment. If you can wait, then you are the master of your desires. If you can’t, then you are slave to them. The ability to control yourself is the key to being a good person. It starts with the way we eat, and extends to every choice we make. It elevates us above our base desires and empowers us to be masters over ourselves and reach out for a higher calling.
Menachem Mendel Bluming and Rabbi Moss taken from Shach al Hatorah, quoted in Likkutei Torah Kedoshim 29a
Trust transcends hope, as the sky above transcends the earth below.
A thread of hope is an anchor to the ground, a narrow path you’ve set for destiny to lead you.
The thread snaps and your eyes look up to see nothing more than the open sky. Hope is gone. All you can do now is trust the One who has no bounds.
That is Trust: When you stop suggesting to your Maker how He could rescue you. When you are prepared to be surprised by wonders and open to miracles.
Menachem Mendel Bluming, Rabbi Freeman, Chabad.org
In Las Vegas we were stunned once again by another staggering and grotesque mass murder and the resultant anguish for all those whose lives have been destroyed and irrevocably altered. We are left perplexed and wondering what in the world is going on in our country?
This kind of vicious mass murder is something we have not seen before, certainly not with the frequency that we see it today. Would you believe that there has been a shooter incident somewhere in the country almost every day this year?
In the latest tragedy in Las Vegas the killer doesn’t seem to even have had a twisted ideological or religious motive. Just wanton murder.
Although law enforcement may be baffled in their search for a motive in this case, A general societal shift may have contributed to the perpetration in these kind of atrocious acts. The most dramatic changes in American society over the past seventy five years has been, not in the technological realm (though superficially it may seem so), but rather in the abandonment of absolute values and G-d centered morality. This fundamental change in the underpinnings of society, has over the course of time, permeated every aspect of contemporary society from basic social structures to business, entertainment, and education. This abandonment of G-d and values has weakened our societal foundation and, cumulatively, has laid the ground work that has wreaked this nihilistic havoc upon us.
Our society has willfully followed the path that brought us to this G-dlessness. But, each of us as individuals do have the chance to make G-d centered choices. These singular, individual acts, have the ability to create global positive change.
Menachem Mendel Bluming, RSK and Chabad.org
There is only one mitzvah that you are exempt from if you are uncomfortable and that is dwelling in the sukkah. If the sound of the shofar is uncomfortable to you, sorry but tolerate it. If fasting 25 hours is uncomfortable to you, you are still required to fast on Yom Kippur. Why would you be exempt from dwelling in the sukkah if it raining?!
Sukkah is G-d’s embrace. He embraces us as we are without us doing anything religious. We eat, we drink, we talk to friends and that is sanctified by G-d when enveloped in the Diving Embrace of the Sukkah. In fact the verse “His right arm embraces me” refers to the sukkah. Unlike the days of awe when we pray and fast on Sukkot He embraces your life as you are, inviting your personal life to be imbued with sacredness.
An embrace is not an embrace if it makes you uncomfortable. Sukkot is too personal to obligate you if you are in agony.
Then again how can someone be in agony when embraced by G-d, even if it’s raining?
Mendel Menachem Bluming and Rabbi Moss and Chabad.org