Dear Friend,

As Passover approaches, I’m faced with the yearly challenge of making the Seder meaningful for myself, my family, and the guests who will be joining us at our Chabad House.

How can we feel connected with something that happened to our ancestors so long ago? How do we relate to G‑d when we don’t see or hear Him?

Here’s a timely lesson:

Rabbi Sholom Dovber of Lubavitch, the fifth Chabad rebbe (1860–1920), passed away on the second of Nissan, a date we mark this Wednesday. Before his soul departed, the rebbe told his son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, “I am going to heaven, but my manuscripts I leave you.”

His writings are where he invested his very self: his thoughts, feelings and personality. I find that when I study his writings (and there are a lot of them), I feel like I am meeting and connecting to him.

The same applies when connecting with the divine. Tanya teaches that Torah study fosters a unique connection with G‑d, deeper than any other mitzvah.

Preparing for the Seder by studying relevant Torah teachings, and sharing what I’ve learned with my guests, helps me (and, hopefully, them) to have a personal direct encounter with the Exodus—and G‑d.

Shmary Brownstein,
Responder for Ask the Rabbi @

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