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Rabbi's Blog

Thoughts and Musings by Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky

When are we going home?

When are we going home?

Our family recently moved into a new house, just a few short blocks from where we used to live.

On a few occasions since the move, our 3 year old daughter Chana has been asking:

“When are we going home?” Even after we explained it to her: “Chana dear, this is our new home”, she still continues: “But when are we going back to our real home?”

With the High Holidays around the corner, there are certainly some exciting elements to look forward to, but there is definitely a dose of dread some may feel about the hours we will be spending in Synagogue.

Can Jews feel at home in a Shul? Absolutely!

That is because a Shul is a place where a Jew belongs! Why is that so? Because even if it’s been months or years since the last visit, G-d wants us to be there. (Sort of like your mother wanting you to come home for Thanksgiving dinner. Because she wants it – that’s why you belong there.)

On Rosh Hashanah, G-d requests of each of us: “Please coronate me, make me your King!”, He wants us to show up. Although initially, you may not get the warm and fuzzies upon entering the Synagogue, know that deep down you are fully in tuned with G-d, like a child to his/her parent. 

Keep this message in mind before you go to Shul on Rosh Hashanah, and when you get there it may actually feel like home!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky


Destination Preparation

Destination Preparation

It has been a tough few months here in Houston. With the devastation of the Memorial Day Flood still paralyzing hundreds of families, people are looking to turn a page, to ‘move on’.

The Holidays are an incredible opportunity for renewal, healing and growth, for all of us.

I remember reading a story of Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn (1860-1920) who would deliver Chassidic discourses which were spiritually-stimulating, so rich with brilliance and depth, that his students just could not get enough of them!  One day, as he prepared to teach his students, something happened that surprised him. It was their custom to sing a slow meditative song as a preparation to hearing a discourse like this. But this time, their teacher, the Rebbe, sensed that the melody didn't flow in the usual slow and reflective way, it was meant to be sung. His students seemed so eager to finish the song and hear the discourse that they were rushing through its sweet notes.

Instead of teaching the discourse, the Rebbe went on to teach them a valuable life lesson:

If you cannot appreciate the song, you cannot appreciate the Torah teaching. If you can't be fully present in the preparatory stages, you won't either be fully present when you arrive.

We each have our own expectation from the upcoming Holidays. May I suggest that we truly take the time to invest in the preparation stages, so that when we ‘get there’ in just a few short weeks on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our experience will be maximized!

Before the Holidays arrive, set aside time to think about what it is you are looking forward to. Reflect on your past year. Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself? What do you want this coming year to look like?

Take a relevant Jewish book off your shelf and read, even 5 minutes a day. Go online, or download the Jewish.TV app (highly recommended!) onto your smart phone, or listen to a class while driving.  

Without too much sweat, this can deeply transform your mindset so that when you take your seat in Synagogue you will feel like you belong, present and ready to absorb!

May you be inscribed and sealed for a Shana Tova!

Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky



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