These Shabbat Gems are filled with new, inspiring material that explain and elucidate many of the prayers we say on Shabbat. They are intended to both entertain and educate the audience between prayers. They are rich with Jewish wisdom, wit and joy, and will help bring greater meaning to both committed Jews and casual congregants.
Below is a synopsis of the Gems.
Become A Little Messiah (p.204)
The humble Chief Messiah Watcher has a special take on the world situation. Here you'll find out the Jewish response to Murphy's Law. Did you know that you personally have the capacity to redeem the entire world? Each of us is a miniature Messiah with a particular mission to fulfill. Will you be found in the place and at the time when you are needed?
Love Makes Space (p.205)
There is only one real way for an individual to become truly capable of serving G-d. There is only one way that a group of individuals can have the capacity to grow as a community. The Baal Shem Tov reveals the secret about how to get space for one more when there is absolutely no more room to be had.
A Wise Woman's Stone (p.206)
Would you give away the most valuable possession you own? In this vignette, a hungry traveler gladly received what he asked for from a very wise woman. However, he soon realized that he had left the real treasure behind. Discover what is certainly the most valuable possession, it is something we can call our very own.
To Love G-d, Revisited (p.207)
In Judaism, love is not a mere feeling. Rabbi Shimon ben Shatach demonstrated that true love of G-d is life-transforming. See how you then are able to transform others. A law professor at Yale tells the moving account of one neighborly act of chesed, one kind act by a neighbor which changed his outlook on life and empowered him to become the man he is today.
On the Heart or In the Heart? (p.207)
Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk teaches us a lesson here about the receptivity of our hearts. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi gives an inspiring lesson from the Tanya to those who struggle with devotion in prayer. Their teaching is essential and uplifting.
G-d's Eminent Domain Over the Universe (p.211 and p.234)
The Talmudic concept of Eminent Domain is discussed here. Who truly owns the rights to an object or place? What is the main condition of that ownership? Discover the revolutionary concepts of property, persons, and possession. A philanthropic Chassid discovered why his bank account took a hit and learned a life lesson from it.
The Antidote to Materialism (p.213)
The worshipping of “gold” in our modern world has a befitting antidote. We experience it on one particular day each week of every year. How did we, as a people, get from idolatry to sacred artistry? Are we idolaters or spiritual artists, and how to we know the difference?
Who is the Boss? (p.213)
We laugh at the humorous anecdote of the pompous rabbi and his astute congregant. This leads us to the question: What was Moses' special strength, and why was he able to rejoice in his difficult mission despite constant aggravation and ingratitude? We find the answer in a story of a Shliach who visit the sick in the hospital and suffered as a result. But the memorable words of a doorman kept him going on his visits week after week in a state of joy. A wife and mother who sacrifices for her family must remember this one thing. A man at work must remember this one thing. Find out what we must remember so that we too may serve G-d with joy.
Is Prayer Answered? (p.217and p.240)
Why do we need to articulate our requests to an all-knowing G-d? Why pray? Make your very own reservoir to catch the rain of blessing. The story about a prophet illustrates the concept of G-d's blessings to us which only need the proper receptacles. The song “Unanswered Prayers” wonderfully illustrates that unanswered prayers are indeed answered but not necessarily do we perceive it at the time.
When Angels Lie (p.217 and p. 240)
We must be careful when we speak as we create angels with our words and deeds. Linguistic violence boomerangs! A fantastic story will illustrate just how. The words of Mar, son of Ravina, are a blessing directed to each of us which are spoken at the conclusion of every Amidah. Do your words heal or harm? Beware of a lie, because you alone have created a formidable opponent who possesses the ability to bear witness against you.
Truth For Sure (p.223)
Enjoy a laugh with the cynical Yiddish proverb describing the virtue of truth. The three letters of truth span the Hebrew alphabet. They are expansive and life affirming. We must be trained in truth from our earliest years. By way of contrast, the Hebrew letters of falsehood are all huddled together in a single corner of the alphabet. What does this configuration of letters teach us?
Your Unique Gift (p.231)
Each of us has a unique constellation of gifts and a radius of influence that is ours alone. By using our particular talents we can create a beautiful community. Hear the story of an accomplished Torah scholar and a successful businessman and advice given to him by a famous sage about dispensing his wealth in the way in which it would do the most good for all concerned.
The Divine Plan Will Prevail (p.246)
Two friends meet after many years. How has Mendel been? Mendel's answer leads us to the state of the Jewish world today and the recognition that our prayers conclude with an upbeat message. Faith and hope are the eternal message and key to the survival of our nation. We, the Jewish nation, are the fortunate recipients of this magnificent legacy.
Dedicated in the merit of Binyomin Zev ben Tziviya Hinda for flourishing and continued health.