Two of my most beloved figures are Rachel Emainu one of the 4 mothers of Israel and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
In the last few weeks we marked the dates of the passing away of Rachel Emainu and of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Rachel Emainu living thousands of years ago, while Rav Shlomo passed away just a few decades ago. The 11th day of Cheshvan, marked the passing away of Rachel Emainu, and Thursday the 16th day of Cheshvan, was the day Rabbi Carlebach died.
Rachel is the image of self-sacrifice. A symbol of nonstop prayer, of concern and of love. So many stories and commentaries are told regarding Rachel’s act of giving over the special signs to her sister and saving her from great humiliation. And of Rachel’s nonstop prayers for her sons and daughters, till this very day.
Rabbi Shlomo is well known for his love of every single Jew and his ability to reach so many souls with his special music and his magnetic personality.
Rav Shlomo had a wish to meet every Jew in the world. He was so full of love and happiness and he wanted to touch every one with this love.
We go through each holiday and each specially marked day on the calendar, year after year almost like robots. We blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, fast on Yom Kippur, eat in the Sukkah and dance with the Torah on Simchas Torah. The entire year we celebrate the events that occur on the Jewish time line, but how much is authentic and how much is just going through the motions?
When a certain date comes around year after year, we have time to contemplate and look at where we are now and where we were a year ago. Are we in the same spot physically and mentally let alone spiritually and emotionally? Each date, and each time period are very significant. Each holiday has spiritual energies that if taken in properly, one can gain much help and support for what they are searching.
The month of Cheshvan, the month we are currently in, is one of the emptiest months, with no holidays or any special days to commemorate. And yet we have two special days of remembering mother Rachel and Rav Shlomo, who represent holiness and love.
When we think of Mother Rachel, we can think of her in the past and picture a tent and lots of sheep all around. Or we can see Mother Rachel here and now. Picture what she would do today, and what words of wisdom she would tell us if we could just sit with her each day for half an hour or so. It’s hard to relate to figures we have not met especially if they lived so many thousands of years ago. However, if each time we come to the date when she passed away, and try to bring mother Rachel to life, mentally and spiritually, our lives would look different Immediately. This way of thinking can give us a chance to see things a bit differently. To see her dressed like we do today. To imagine if she wore a wig or a hat? To talk to her like you would to your mom or your grandmother. All these actions will bring you closer to Mother Rachel and to connect to whom she really was. If we connect then we can feel the power of prayer that she had within herself. We will be able to feel sacrifice so that others can benefit. In order to really make a change we must connect and not let the date pass by,but have it touch us and make us think deeper.
Rav Shlomo had such a presence. Anyone who ever spent even 5 minutes with him felt the love he exuded, felt purpose, and reason to go on and want to be better. He always had a way of bringing the stories of our great sages and holy Rabbis to life. He helped us see the past with the eyes we have today. If we can see and relate to the greatness of the past with today’s eyes and imagination, we can awaken within ourselves the holiness and worship of G-d that they had in their times and bring it to us today.
Let us take the events in our lives that we are so used to and turn them into an uplifting experience, and something to grow from. Don’t just go through the motions. Live and feel every motion and emotion.
Let it touch us and take us to a different level all together.