(Courtesy of Bris Avrohom) The Lubavitcher Rebbe advised to celebrate one’s birthday with friends and joy and to make new resolutions in Torah and mitzvot. As such, Rabbi Mordechai Kanelsky celebrated his birthday with family, friends, community members and supporters of the Russian Jewish community. Many of the people who attended shared their history and the impact that Bris Avrohom and the Kanelskys have had on their lives.
Rabbi Kanelsky shared inspirational words of Torah and Chassidus. He spoke about the year of shemitah, when we rest from working the land, which we observe this year. Shemitah demonstrates that the land belongs to God, and Rabbi Kanelsky brought this message to a practical level in regard to observing Shabbat. Just as God created the world and rested on Shabbat, He commanded us to do the same.
Rabbi Kanelsky encouraged the people to advance in adhering to Shabbat step by step; to light candles, eat challah and make the smallest changes in their Friday night dinners. He also persuaded them to sit down and enjoy their families without any interference.
Another point Rabbi Kanelsky discussed was the concept of Hakhel, which always follows the year of shemitah. During the time of the Beit Hamikdash, all would come on the holiday of Sukkot to hear the king read from the Torah, as this increased the observance of the commandments of God. Similarly, he explained, everyone should designate a small amount of time each week to implement this concept and learn from the weekly Torah portion with his family. This will bond him and his family to Torah, and prepare us all for the ultimate connection with the coming of Moshiach when we will once again hear the king read in the third Beit Hamikdash.