May 22, 2020
Dear Friends,

Allow me to share with you a beautiful message which was written by my good friend and colleague Rabbi Zalman Wishedsky from Basel:

"Last Wednesday the Jews of Switzerland received a pleasant surprise.
The Federal Government of Switzerland (known as the Bundesrat) announced that starting from next Friday the synagogues will be open again.
In other words, this coming Shavuot we will be able to return to the synagogues.

It is important to note that for more than two hundred years there have been open and active synagogues in Basel. Even during the Holocaust synagogues did not close. And now they have been inactive for over ten weeks, including Pesach. So these are definitely important and good tidings.

Besides the limitations connected with hygiene, social distancing and the prohibition of group singing, we were asked to check how many people can fit into every open space, and every worshipper will have to register ahead of time and let us know that he is coming. We have to count all those who come to daven, and authorize them one by one.

There is something special about counting. The very counting of a specific item means that we are giving it a place and meaning, certainly when we are counting human beings. Without him we would be five, and with him we are six. Moreover, often we categorize people according to their wisdom, wealth, beauty, dress, good-heartedness etc. In every society there are people who supposedly are not important, and are therefore not counted. In Israel, when a person wants to say that he is not considered significant, he will say “they don’t count me.” When we want just the number, it makes no difference at all if the person is wise, or wealthy or respectable; when it comes to the numbers he is counted as one, just like everyone else...

This is not the first time we are dealing with the counting of Jews before Shavuot, the holiday of the Giving of the Torah.
Parashat Bamidbar, which we will read on Shabbat, deals with the counting of Bnei Yisrael, and every year it is read before Shavuot, to tell us precisely that: that the Torah belongs to everyone equally. When we come to receive the Torah we do not examine people according to their virtues or faults; the important point is their very existence...

“Due to His love for them, He counts them,” says the first Rashi in parashat Bamidbar, when he approaches the issue of the counting of Bnei Yisrael. How does counting express love? Simply, that counting tells the person being counted: You are important to me because of your very existence, regardless of your wisdom or achievements. This is an honest, clean, pure and real love."

After Shabbat, we will send out a detailed email about the Shavuot schedule at our Chabad Family Shul in Luzern, including all the safety measures and guidelines.

At the same time, we have complete understanding for any of you, who still feel safer to stay home at this point.

I'm grateful to Hashem that we are a in a much better place these days, and keep praying with trust for more and more good news to come!

Shabbat shalom to all of you :)

Rabbi Chaim

PS. do you know someone who needs special care? a challah for shabbos? someone who cant' go shopping? Just let us know, we are happy to help.
Upcoming (& Zoom) Events
Coffee with the Rabbi
daily at 10:30am

KIDS club Classes:
Sunday 11:45
Wednesday 18:00

Bar Mitzvah class
Sunday 20:00
Wednesday: 19:15

Talmud (advanced)
Wednesdays 14:00

Friday, May 29 (details to follow)

Shavuot Shabbat
Shabbat, May 30 (details to follow)

Pilpulim - for Hebrew speakers
Monday, May 27 at 19:30

for all the classes on ZOOM, please use this link

(RSVP is required) 

JLI 1 - Judaism Decoded
The Origins and Evolution of Jewish Tradition
Mondays 19:45 (we are up to lesson 4)

JLI 2 - Cultivating Character
Life Wisdom from the Ethics of Our Fathers
Tuesdays 19:30 (we are up to lesson 4)
Jewish Humour
Rabbi Rabinovitz is going on vacation to Israel. He arrives at Heathrow Airport and goes to have his luggage checked in. 
"Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" asks the young man at the check-in desk. 
Rabbi Rabinovitz replies, "Listen, if it was without my knowledge, how should I know?"
still ZOOMING.
My morning coffee and Torah daily at 10:30

Chabad delivers 25,000 meals to 770 single-parent Muslim families in Nigeria as Ramadan ends! 
Yesterday Rabbi Yisroel and Chaya Uzan delivered the 770th box of food supplies to families starving after the COVID shutdown left them without any source of income. 
Though Chabad Aid's programming usually centers around education and development, the Uzans began a food drive when they saw how devastating the COVID shutdown was to the people all around Abuja where they are based, many of whom live off their income day by day. "We can't just sit in our home and protect ourselves. When we see people around us starving we have to do what we can to help," Yisroel told Lubavitch.com 
The Israeli Embassy to Nigeria partnered with Chabad Aid in this campaign and Ambassador Shimon Ben Shoshan and embassy staff helped with the deliveries which were timed to coincide with the end of Ramadan when traditionally, Muslim families celebrate with large meals.
Next week Chabad Aid will begin a campaign to deliver 10,000 hygiene kits to educate children at orphanages and in villages around Abuja about personal hygiene and protecting themselves and their families from infection.
Balancing Competing Values

After detailing the census of the Jewish people in the desert, the Torah describes how the Jewish people traveled and camped in the desert. The Tabernacle and the Levites were in the center, surrounded by four camps, one on each side. Each camp consisted of three tribes, one of which was the leader of the camp.

Reading all this detail leaves the reader puzzled. The Torah’s messages, stories and teachings are eternal, so why do we need to know precisely how the tribes organized in the desert? How is this relevant to our lives today?

We each have many aspirations and goals in our lives. We want to succeed in multiple realms simultaneously; we work to advance our career, our relationships, our health and fitness, and our values. It often seems that we struggle to keep a healthy balance between all of our sometimes conflicting aspirations. The story of the tribes organizing and traveling in the desert is the story of our life. We too should organize and prioritize our values on our figurative journey through the often complicated desert en route to the Promised Land.

The four camps of tribes symbolize the four general pursuits we value: (1) wisdom, (2) character, (3) physical strength and health, and (4) wealth. The order in which the Torah places the four camps tells us that they are all critical, yet we must remember the hierarchy of their importance. The first camp, east of the Tabernacle, led by the tribe of Judah, embodied wisdom. The second camp, south of the Tabernacle, led by Reuben, embodied humility and good character. The third camp, on the north side, led by the tribe of Ephraim, embodied physical strength. And the fourth camp, led by Dan, on the west side, embodied wealth. ( See the Kli Yakar for a detailed analysis of how each tribe embodied its own particular quality.)

Naturally, these values will conflict and undermine each other. Too much of one will take away from the focus on the other. Some of these values are more spiritual and abstract, while others are more physical and concrete; thus, appreciating the value of one may lead to underemphasizing the other. The lesson is that in order for these values to create a wholesome life, they must be organized around the Sanctuary, the house of the Torah. Our core, the center of our own personal figurative camp, is the Torah. Wisdom, good character, health and wealth are all valuable and must be pursued because they are the means by which we express the Torah and its teachings. Once these values are not an end unto themselves but rather a means to express a deeper, unified value, they can coexist peacefully, each enhancing the other, creating harmony and serenity in our life.

By Menachem Feldman
More about the Parasha ( EN / DE )

T +41-41-361-1770
F +41-41-631-1790

Web | Feedback  |  Donate