Weekly Newsletter Message

Don't Give Up

Has anything changed since last Rosh Hashanah?

Are you the same person with the same flaws and problems?

Are you losing hope in ever changing?

What about your children? Are you seeing results from all the time you invest in your children?

Consider this …

How long does it take for the giant Chinese Bamboo to grow as tall as a house?

During the first year the tiny plant is watered …

nothing happens.

Another whole year of watering and fertilizing,

And still nothing.

Then in the fifth year it shoots up to the sky.

in six weeks the bamboo grows 90 feet.

So how long does it take for the bamboo to grow so high?

Six weeks?

No, it takes five years.

If the farmer would have given up at any point during those five years, it would have died.

During those five years, hidden from sight, an enormous network of roots was developing to support the bamboos sudden growth.

Growth takes patience and perseverance.

Every drop of water makes a difference.

Every step you take makes an impact

You may not see the change right away, but growth is happening. 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 


First it was Hurricane Harvey and the terrible flooding, now Hurricane Irma, the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic ocean, closely followed Hurricane Jose.

Why is this happening?

It doesn’t really matter.  

“Why?” is a fruitless question.

What matters is how we should respond.

In the book of Psalms, King David laments “My G-d, my G-d, why have you forsaken me?”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hersh points out that the Hebrew word used for “why” is “Lamah”. However, the accent, in this case, is on the second syllable not the first. It is not LAmah but laMAH.  LAmah means “why”, but laMAH means “for what”. 

“Why” is a useless question. It does us no good. The important question is “for what” For what did this happen? What is it meant to elicit within us, and how are we meant to respond.

While it is natural for the inquisitive mind to search for explanations and to ask “why” it is actually an unhealthy reaction to challenges or disappointments and suffering.   

The question “why” implies that this shouldn’t have happened, it’s not fair and I deserve better (which is why it demands an explanation). While that may be true, the question itself fosters a mentality of hopelessness, victimhood and passiveness.

When you ask “for what?” You are in control. You are focusing on what YOU CAN DO . When you ask “why?” you are focusing on what happens TO YOU, which is out is out of your control.

Successful people respond to failure by asking “for what” not “why” They focus on finding ways to move forward and grow from the failure or challenge.

So the real question today is “for what?”.  What do these Hurricanes and the resulting devastation demand from me? How can I grow from these terrible challenges?

Each individual must answer this question in their own way depending on their circumstance, however below I share some of my personal thoughts and answers.

           “For what?” To be in touch with our loved ones more often.

            Unfortunately, I’m not very good at keeping in touch with my parents, I should call them more often. However, this past week has changed that. I’ve been calling my parents, who live in Hallandale, every couple of hours to check in, and I look forward to continuing this habit after the storm has passed. (Okay, maybe not every couple of hours but definitely a few times a week)

         “For what?”  To remind us of our vulnerabilities.

        With all our technological advances we have become smug. We no longer need G-d and we no longer need others. Harvey taught us otherwise. After all is said and done, we are still small and powerless and rely on Hashem’s protection and blessings and the help and support of those around us.

      “For what?”  To restore our faith in humanity and America.

         We live in a great country built upon principles of righteousness, kindnes and goodness. Recent events though, have caused many to lose faith in America. Seeing the pictures of hundreds of people waiting in line to volunteer to help Harvey victims and witnessing the outpouring of support and concern from all races, nationalities and religions, should restore our faith in this great country and its future.  True, not all is rosy and we have a lot of work to do, however Harvey has reminded us of what makes this country so great.

"For what” How do you answer this question? Share your answers here

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 

Hurricane Harvey

Our hearts go out to all those affected by the devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to the Houston area.

Tomorrow at Shabbat services we will recite a special prayer for the citizens of Texas and I will share my thoughts on the Hurricane and its aftermath but for now I will suffice with these brief words: 

We must offer any and all our assistance, and let us pray together that they find the strength to overcome this very challenging time.

Our role is not to understand the ways of G-d and why He brings such painful events to the world. Rather, our role is to jump into action to offer any help that we can those in harms way.

I'm proud of the fact that once again the Jewish community is on the front lines of the massive hurricane relief efforts.

Please CLICK HERE to make a contribution towards Chabad's Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

To quote the words of Psalm 107, “They cried out to the Lord in their distress and He brought them out from their calamity. He transformed the storm into stillness and the waves were quieted.”
Shabbat Shalom 
Rabbi Benjy Silverman
Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.