Shalom!

Welcome to Clifton Park Chabad Jewish Center! Here at Chabad, you will find a wide array of programming designed to enhance Jewish life in southern Saratoga County. We strive to create an environment where every person is welcome, every individual Mitzvah is cherished, and where Judaism is an accessible reality to all Jews regardless of background, affiliation or age! Through Shabbat Dinners, Holiday events, Jewish Womens circle, Chabad Hebrew school and everything in between, we are cultivating a community together. We look forward to meeting you in person at a Shabbat dinner, Torah class or a casual coffee date.

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Why did an angel come and tell Sarah that she was going to have a baby? It’s one of the oldest and most beloved stories in the Torah, but just this year, it occurred to me: does Hashem send angels to announce the imminent arrival of every miracle He does? Sarah was yearning for a baby; give her a baby! Why the big announcement?

Not that there’s anything wrong with telling Sarah. It certainly brought her great joy, and the delicious anticipation that comes with knowing good things are coming up. But why does the Torah make such a big deal out of it? What’s Hashem trying to tell us by telling us that He told Sarah, instead of just making it happen and letting Sarah figure it out all by herself?

(Hashem sent three angels on this mission: Rafael’s jobs was to heal Avraham (from circumcision). Gavriel’s job was to destroy Sedom (they were acting terrible). Michael’s job was…to bring news. Not to do anything, just to make an announcement. Why did Hashem send him? That is the question.)

Later on in the Parsha, we find one of the happiest verses in the Torah. After Sarah’s baby is born, she exclaims, “Hashem has given me laughter! Everyone who hears the news will laugh with me!” Rashi says: Sarah stated that others would laugh with her; because many childless women found themselves with child along with Sarah’s miracle; many sick people were cured the day Sarah had her child; many prayers were answered along with hers; the world was filled with happy laughter.

Sarah’s joy was infectious, literally. She rejoiced, and the world rejoiced along with her. And from her happy exclamation, it’s obvious that for Sarah, that was as exciting as having her own baby. To Sarah, the news that her good fortune had spread to others was a wonderful experience. Her own joy was heightened many times over by the news that others were happy too.

We may take this kind of goodness for granted. But Hashem does not. Hashem loves a person who wants others to flourish and succeed. Hashem adores a person who doesn’t need her moment in the limelight, and is thrilled to share the moment with others. Hashem befriends a person who is pleased to hear that others are doing well along with her, and doesn’t resent the success of others.

Sarah found pleasure in other people’s joy. Hashem liked that.

Hashem likes to see such people be happy. Hashem enjoys a humble, friendly happiness. He finds pleasure in watching Sarah and Avraham rejoice, because their rejoicing is a beautiful, noble sight to behold.

So how could Hashem resist the temptation to tell Sarah that her child is coming soon? Why would Hashem deprive Sarah - and Himself - those extra few months of joyous anticipation until the miracle actually happens?

He cannot. And He does not. The moment the date of birth is decided, Hashem rushes to send angel Michael to tell Sarah. He just cannot wait to see her happy.

May Hashem bless us all, Sarah’s descendants, to follow in Mama Sarah’s footsteps. When we celebrate, let’s think of others and see how we can help them be happy too. When we’re blessed, let’s be a blessing to others. May our happiness be the kind of sensitive happiness that Hashem finds a pleasure to behold, and a great pleasure to bestow.

Mazal tov to Yechiel on his upshernish this week! May the blessings be bountiful and contagious!

Shabbat Shalom!
Light candles at 5:43 pm, Shabbat ends at 6:42 pm
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Why did an angel come and tell Sarah that she was going to have a baby? It’s one of the oldest and most beloved stories in the Torah, but just this year, it occurred to me: does Hashem send angels to announce the imminent arrival of every miracle He does? Sarah was yearning for a baby; give her a baby! Why the big announcement?

Not that there’s anything wrong with telling Sarah. It certainly brought her great joy, and the delicious anticipation that comes with knowing good things are coming up. But why does the Torah make such a big deal out of it? What’s Hashem trying to tell us by telling us that He told Sarah, instead of just making it happen and letting Sarah figure it out all by herself?

(Hashem sent three angels on this mission: Rafael’s jobs was to heal Avraham (from circumcision). Gavriel’s job was to destroy Sedom (they were acting terrible). Michael’s job was…to bring news. Not to do anything, just to make an announcement. Why did Hashem send him? That is the question.)

Later on in the Parsha, we find one of the happiest verses in the Torah. After Sarah’s baby is born, she exclaims, “Hashem has given me laughter! Everyone who hears the news will laugh with me!” Rashi says: Sarah stated that others would laugh with her; because many childless women found themselves with child along with Sarah’s miracle; many sick people were cured the day Sarah had her child; many prayers were answered along with hers; the world was filled with happy laughter.

Sarah’s joy was infectious, literally. She rejoiced, and the world rejoiced along with her. And from her happy exclamation, it’s obvious that for Sarah, that was as exciting as having her own baby. To Sarah, the news that her good fortune had spread to others was a wonderful experience. Her own joy was heightened many times over by the news that others were happy too.

We may take this kind of goodness for granted. But Hashem does not. Hashem loves a person who wants others to flourish and succeed. Hashem adores a person who doesn’t need her moment in the limelight, and is thrilled to share the moment with others. Hashem befriends a person who is pleased to hear that others are doing well along with her, and doesn’t resent the success of others.

Sarah found pleasure in other people’s joy. Hashem liked that.

Hashem likes to see such people be happy. Hashem enjoys a humble, friendly happiness. He finds pleasure in watching Sarah and Avraham rejoice, because their rejoicing is a beautiful, noble sight to behold.

So how could Hashem resist the temptation to tell Sarah that her child is coming soon? Why would Hashem deprive Sarah - and Himself - those extra few months of joyous anticipation until the miracle actually happens?

He cannot. And He does not. The moment the date of birth is decided, Hashem rushes to send angel Michael to tell Sarah. He just cannot wait to see her happy.

May Hashem bless us all, Sarah’s descendants, to follow in Mama Sarah’s footsteps. When we celebrate, let’s think of others and see how we can help them be happy too. When we’re blessed, let’s be a blessing to others. May our happiness be the kind of sensitive happiness that Hashem finds a pleasure to behold, and a great pleasure to bestow.

Mazal tov to Yechiel on his upshernish this week! May the blessings be bountiful and contagious! 

Shabbat Shalom! 
Light candles at 5:43 pm, Shabbat ends at 6:42 pmImage attachment

2 weeks ago

Clifton Park Chabad

This week marks an obscure “holiday” on the Jewish calendar, the 7th of Cheshvan. It is the day that the daily recitation of the prayer for rain starts in Israel. Since the economy of Israel, especially in ancient times, depended on rain to enable the land to prosper and produce, this is not an insignificant prayer.

Ideally this prayer should have begun several weeks earlier, right after the holiday of Sukkot. But since the last pilgrims to Jerusalem for the holiday would not arrive home until the 7th of Cheshvan, the prayer for rain was postponed to allow them to reach home safely and not be caught in any heavy rainstorms.

Imagine—an entire nation waiting all summer for rain so that the crops can be watered, but they wait an additional two weeks just so that the stragglers, those living in the most distant cities, would be able to travel comfortably.

An important lesson in how we must care for every single individual, sometimes even at the expense of the community at large. And of course, the reward for this consideration for our fellow Jews, we are blessed with an abundance of “rain” and sustenance for ourselves and our families.

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom!
Light candles at 5:54 pm, Shabbat ends at 6:53 pm
... See MoreSee Less

This week marks an obscure “holiday” on the Jewish calendar, the 7th of Cheshvan. It is the day that the daily recitation of the prayer for rain starts in Israel. Since the economy of Israel, especially in ancient times, depended on rain to enable the land to prosper and produce, this is not an insignificant prayer.

Ideally this prayer should have begun several weeks earlier, right after the holiday of Sukkot. But since the last pilgrims to Jerusalem for the holiday would not arrive home until the 7th of Cheshvan, the prayer for rain was postponed to allow them to reach home safely and not be caught in any heavy rainstorms.

Imagine—an entire nation waiting all summer for rain so that the crops can be watered, but they wait an additional two weeks just so that the stragglers, those living in the most distant cities, would be able to travel comfortably.

An important lesson in how we must care for every single individual, sometimes even at the expense of the community at large. And of course, the reward for this consideration for our fellow Jews, we are blessed with an abundance of “rain” and sustenance for ourselves and our families.

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom!
Light candles at 5:54 pm, Shabbat ends at 6:53 pmImage attachment

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Shabbat Shalom to all of you. Have a great day.

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3 weeks ago

Clifton Park Chabad

After living a few hours without WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, I realized something:

We are just like Noah!

For an entire year, Noah was in the ark. One must assume that he didn't have any access to WhatsApp, or Instagram! And now that I think of it, he didn't have any reception whatsoever since the flood completely destroyed all of the antennas around the globe!

Okay, jokes aside, those few hours reminded me (again) how modern life is so filled with distractions. Yes, it's wonderful to have all those options to connect with friends and family and to know what's happening. Still, sometimes it feels like a flood of information.

Noah didn't like floods.

Evidently, G-d didn't expect him to.

So He said to him: build an ark. Make yourself a space -space where you can run to and feel protected,

Sounds like practical advice that can still be very useful!

Building a safe space, a place where we can disconnect from the outside and connect to our inner self and our holy soul, is a powerful idea.

Judaism provides many opportunities for such safe spaces.

Take Shabbat, for example.

For more than 24 hours, you can disconnect. No electronic devices, no emails, no work - nothing. You are supposed to rest and rejuvenate your body and soul.

Prayer can also be a safe space. When used as intended, it's an experience of us talking to G-d Himself, pouring our hearts out for all that we need and showing gratitude for all that He has given us.

And even Torah study can be an immersive experience that provides us with a feeling of safety and belonging.

Try it out!

Shabbat Shalom! Light candles at 6:06 Pm, Shabbat ends at 7:04 pm
... See MoreSee Less

After living a few hours without WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, I realized something:

We are just like Noah!

For an entire year, Noah was in the ark. One must assume that he didnt have any access to WhatsApp, or Instagram! And now that I think of it, he didnt have any reception whatsoever since the flood completely destroyed all of the antennas around the globe!  

Okay, jokes aside, those few hours reminded me (again) how modern life is so filled with distractions. Yes, its wonderful to have all those options to connect with friends and family and to know whats happening. Still, sometimes it feels like a flood of information. 

Noah didnt like floods. 

Evidently, G-d didnt expect him to.

So He said to him: build an ark. Make yourself a space -space where you can run to and feel protected, 

Sounds like practical advice that can still be very useful! 

Building a safe space, a place where we can disconnect from the outside and connect to our inner self and our holy soul, is a powerful idea.

Judaism provides many opportunities for such safe spaces. 

Take Shabbat, for example. 

For more than 24 hours, you can disconnect. No electronic devices, no emails, no work - nothing. You are supposed to rest and rejuvenate your body and soul.

Prayer can also be a safe space. When used as intended, its an experience of us talking to G-d Himself, pouring our hearts out for all that we need and showing gratitude for all that He has given us. 

And even Torah study can be an immersive experience that provides us with a feeling of safety and belonging.

Try it out! 

Shabbat Shalom! Light candles at 6:06 Pm, Shabbat ends at 7:04 pmImage attachment
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