Rabbi Small’s Monthly Message- July

Over 3,000 years ago on the third of Tammuz, this month, a rare event happened. As the Jewish people prepared to enter the land of Israel, they engaged in battle as nightfall approached. Joshua, the leader of the time and a student of Moses, prayed to G-d to stop the sun from setting. Miraculously, the sun became still and allowed the people to successfully conclude their battle.

The third of Tammuz also marks the passing and Yarhzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe was an extraordinary leader who profoundly impacted the world. The Rebbe was also my Rabbi and Teacher, someone who I have always looked up to.

Many years ago, when the Rebbe gave charity to those who visited him, I went with my family to receive a charity dollar and a blessing. The Rebbe looked into my eyes and said, “Bracha Vehatzlacha”– blessings and success. In that moment, he blessed me with his caring presence and conveyed a deep belief in me, as if he were saying, “You can do it.”

The sun is symbolic of giving light. When Joshua stopped the sun from setting, it symbolized the idea that, despite any odds, we can achieve our goals and continue to bring light into the world. The Rebbe instilled this in me, empowering me with the message of ‘you can do it’—that I could make a difference and inspire others.

At the JAA, the message “you can do it, you can make it happen, and you can inspire” resonates throughout our community. Together, we believe in our ability to achieve great things, support one another, and inspire each other. May we continue to share inspiration, uphold our values, and extend our care within the JAA, throughout our community, and beyond.

-Rabbi Dovid Small