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Monday, 11 March, 2019 - 1:48 pm

IMG_0204 (1).JPGShabbat Shalom. Thank you Rabbi Zev, Ariela, and your beautiful family for hosting us tonight.

This time of year is my favorite. Think about it: you just got to experience all four seasons in one week. How many places in the world really allow you to do that? Austin’s special like that, and I quickly realized how much I love it here 2.5 years ago, standing in this place, nervously giving my first of now three Dvar Torahs at Chabad.

I WAS nervous. But I like to describe myself at the time more as “uncomfortable.” I confidently agreed to provide a Dvar Torah, not knowing if my interpretations were correct or my speech would be received well. Fast forward one year and I am confident as ever. But that was dangerous for me, and here’s why. Admittedly at this time, I am living in another state of being uncomfortable. I am at a point in my life where certain decisions will likely impact where I live after I graduate, where I will be working, and most importantly…no longer being in college. If you learn anything from me tonight it’s this: living in a state of being uncomfortable is a blessing. It is when you learn the most about yourself, so embrace it, struggle with it, love it, and you WILL come out a stronger person and a step closer to the success you are seeking.

This week’s Torah portion is Pekudei—the last reading of the Book of Exodus, and it’s a beautiful story. The Mishkan has just been completed, a temporary Sanctuary in which the Presence of G-d could dwell during the Jews’ journeys through the desert. It ends with this visual: a cloud appears over the Mishkan, demonstrating the presence of G-d. Imagine now all the hardships the Jewish people were facing prior to the book of Exodus. Now picture Moses erecting the Sanctuary that’s engulfed by the Divine Presence that has been following the Jews all along. A beautiful and rejuvenating sight for the Jews.

Take that same energy appearing in this week’s Torah portion and apply it to your life tonight, in the week coming, in the year coming. The Jews had their eyes on the Promised Land. I am excited to see what is in store for all of you. Remember, live uncomfortably, acknowledge those that have helped you get to this point in your life, and don’t take this place for granted. There are people here tonight that have taught me invaluable lessons about life. For that, thank you. As we saw in this week’s Torah portion, there’s beauty in the struggle. Embrace it.

Shabbat Shalom.



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