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Each of us is a puzzle piece

Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, shares with us a text from the Ishbitzer Rebbe. She highlights the importance of every person. We are each part of a larger puzzle, and if a single piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. Reb Mimi asks: With whom will we be standing when we receive the Torah from Sinai?

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Confession moment, I know it is Shabbat BaMidbar, but the truth is, I’m still in the moment we left Mitzrayim. The text says מי ומי ההולכים” “mi vami haholechim who and who are we leaving with,” (Ex.10:8) because that’s the question. But, my name is Mimi somi va’mihas meaningI love the fact that I’m there. The question is when we get to Matan Torah, the moment of receiving the Torah, whos standing next to us, who is in front of us, who is behind us, and who is in our immediate vicinity? I want to think about that because that’s the journey that we’re on and the core question is when we go out on this shift in our lives, we transform and transition in our lives. Who are we walking with? Who will be with us when we get there? That is also a question. 

In this week’s Parasha in the Mei HaShiloach, written by the IshbitzerRebbe, says that the word seu isn’t about counting, it’s about lifting up. When the pasuk says שְׂא֗וּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ֙ כָּל־עֲדַ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל”(Num 1:2) it’s about lifting up the head of each and every one of us. He says I’m going to read this to you,through counting, everyone will be elevated and stand for something.” The word, degel, a flag is what you stand for, and medugal, it is what you represent. But through the counting, there’s a moment when God sees each of us individually. The IshbitzerRebbe says it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,if one piece is missing then the blend is lacking.” One piece is missing from the puzzle, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the sky or a small eye. There is a piece missing, and the puzzle is incomplete. God manifests in the world through the presence of all of us. Who do we walk with? And who will be there when we get there? 

I am very involved with the fact that this year Shavuot falls on Motzei Shabbat. We have Shabbat straight into Shavuot. I know for some it’s going to be a three-day, not a two-day chag. I have this image and I want to share it with you briefly, there’s a short story that’s very dear and important in my heart. 

The story is about my teacher, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, who was asked by the head of a yeshiva to go and get his son out of an ashram in the United States many years ago. He sends a note into the ashram, with the message ‘I’m standing on the corner of a certain street. I’ll be waiting for you’. Reb Shlomo recalled,  “I waited, three days”. Finally, the son shows up, and they spoke and had an intense conversation. Reb Carlebach said “Three days! Could you not have shown up three days ago? I had to stand here for three days waiting?” The young man said the following, “I want you to know that when I got the note, I knew my father had sent you. I ripped it up and decided I wasn’t coming. I was not going to meet you yesterday and honestly, this morning, I thought I would still not come.” He said, “Twenty minutes ago, I realized that you’re not going anywhere until I show up. So, I’m here.” 

I want to say that for me when Shabbat falls Erev Shavuot, it’s a way of saying to the one and onlyI’m waiting for you. I’m here. I already came for Shabbat, I’m here, I’m waiting for you.” I pray that we find our way through this Shabbat, to Matan Torah, with those that stand on our left and to our right, in front and behind us. They can help us stand in our greatness in the world. We also need each other’s greatness to be in our own greatness and to receive Torah together 

It should be an amazing Chag Sameach from Schechter  

**Beginning immediately after Pesach and until August, Parashat Hashavua in the Diaspora is one week ‘behind’ the Parasha in Israel. Shavua Tov@Schechter will follow the Diaspora schedule.

Reb Mimi serves as the Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) of the Rabbinical School, and  teaches Talmud and Hassidic Thought. She will guide and walk with the rabbinical students on their personal-spiritual journeys. She served as the Mashpiah Ruchanit of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles for the last 16 years. Prior to this Reb Mimi was one of the founding administration and faculty members of the “Yakar” Beit Midrash and community.

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