Rabbi Galperin became the rabbi at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in June, 2009. He brings to our synagogue the youthful vigour and passionate beliefs of the Chabad movement. Rabbi Galperin is available to officiate at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, funerals and other life events.
The Power of Choice - A High Holiday Message
The celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the year, has been ordained by our Torah to take place on the anniversary of the Creation, but not on the first day of Creation. It has been made to coincide with the sixth day of Creation, the day when Man was created. The Lubavitcher Rebbe writes in a letter that the significance of this day, and of this event, is not in the fact that a new creature was added to Creation, or that the last being was created by G-d. The significance lies in the fact that the new creature, Man, was essentially different from the others.
For it was Man who recognized the Creator, thus beginning a job, which would bring about the fulfillment of the Divine design and elevation of the entire Creation. One of the main distinguishing features that set Man apart from all other creatures is the free choice of action, which the Creator bestowed upon him. Man can use this special Divine gift in two opposing directions. She may, G-d forbid, choose the way leading to self-destruction and the destruction of everything around her; or, she can choose the right way of life, which would elevate her along with the entire creation to the highest possible perfection. In order to help us recognize and choose the right path, we were given the Torah, which is Divine and eternal, hence, its teachings are valid for all times and in all places.
It is not possible for Man to make his choice unaided, merely by virtue of his intellect, for the human is limited. The intellect can only serve to discover and bring forth that inner absolute intuition and faith which lie beyond and above the realm of the intellect. This faith and intuition are the heritage of every Jew, therewith to illuminate his entire being and to guide him in his daily living to a life inspired by Torah and Mitzvoth.
On Rosh Hashanah man stands not only before the Divine judgment, but also before her own. The verdict of her own judgment, with regard to the future must be to work for the fulfillment-in herself and in her surroundings as it is written; "Come, let us worship, bow down and kneel before G-d our Maker," a call for absolute submission to G-d. This call was first sounded by the first man, Adam, on the day of his creation, on the first Rosh Hashanah. This can be attained only through a life inspired and guided by the Torah.
A person must not think: “who am I and what am I to have such tremendous powers of building or destruction?” For we have seen, to our sorrow, the havoc and destruction that can be wreaked when man uses his power of choice to exploit his religion and cruelly extinguish thousands of lives. If so few people can release such hatred and destructiveness, in denial of the design and purpose of Creation, how much greater is the creative power entrusted to every individual to work in harmony with the Divine purpose. For in this case one is also given special abilities and opportunities by Divine Providence to attain the goal for which we have been created, to improve ourselves and the entire humanity one good deed at a time. Lend a hand to a neighbor; give extra charity, say a prayer; thereby bringing goodness and light into a world, thus overpowering the darkness and ruthlessness, which grips our world.
In the spirit of the New Year my wife Rivka and I along with our children Chani, Mushky, Chavi and Shlomo Tzvi would like to wish you that G-d grant His blessings to each and every one for a Kesiva V’chasima Tova - a happy and healthy sweet New Year.