I’m not wishing myself a Happy Birthday!
Tonight (the 11th of Iyar) is my Hebrew Birthday. How old am I? Well, I’d rather not divulge that information! 🙂
I recall a few years ago, a discussion I had with one of my Rebbeim, the Kalever Rebbe shlit”a of Williamsburg. I asked him why he does not accept donations for his blessings like other Chassidic Rebbes do, and he responded so sincerely, “I came to this world to give, not to take”. I decided from that moment on, that as much as I could – that would be my motto for life.
Therefore, on my birthday, I recall a teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l, about birthdays. Unlike many other rabbis who disapproved of celebrating birthdays, the Rebbe believed that a birthday is a time to reflect on ones life, to give charity, and to decide who one wished to become. The Rebbe also believed very strongly that a person had the unique spiritual capability to bless people on his or her birthday, and thus turned birthdays from a day where one takes – to a day where one gives.
My Blessing To Each of You
To my dearest friends, readers, students and supporters,
The Zohar teaches that before one may bless, one must praise the name of Hashem: יתברך שמו של מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא – יהי שם ה’ מבורך מעתה ועד עולם.
I would like to take this opportunity to bless each and everyone of you with all the blessings included in our Holy Torah. I thought that perhaps I could list a few specific blessings below, and each will take what they need, and pass on the rest to those who need them more:
Parnassah/Livelihood: May Hashem open for you the gates of Parnassah, and shower upon you livelihood so that you may continue to grow in His ways and help others, both spiritually and physically, just as he gave the Jews water in the desert at the hands of our Prophetess Miriam.
Shalom Bayit/Marital Harmony: May Hashem light up your eyes, so that you may only find the good in each other, and continue to build a house loyal to the teachings of Israel. Hashem taught us that the way to make peace in this world, is the way He makes peace in His: before we say Oseh Shalom “He who makes peace” – we take three steps back, to remind ourselves that for the sake of peace and harmony, we must take a few steps back and allow the other their proper place.
Briut/Health: May Hashem bless you with true health and happiness, and may we merit to be strong in our bodies and souls so that we may come closer to discovering our true self, that bit of Godliness inside of us.
Zivug Hagun/Soul Mate: May Hashem bless you (and me), to meet the other half of our soul without whom we are incomplete, and to know and recognize who he/she may be – so that you may build a beautiful home which epitomizes the values of being messengers of Hashem on this earth, and may your doors be open to those who need you, like that of our Father Avraham.
Puriut/Children: May Hashem bless all my close friends and students who pray to Him each day to bless them with children – may your prayers be answered as were those of our Holy Mothers, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah – and may he give you children as righteous and beloved as He did to our Mother Chana.
Bitachon/Safety: To my dearest students out in the trenches and battlefields, fighting for the security of our Land and the safety of our People – may Hashem be with you, even as you walk through the valleys of darkness – and always remember, that so long as you hold your hands up to Hashem as did Moshe, you will surely be victorious in all of your ways. May you speedily be able to come back home safely, beat your swords into plowshares and dwell securely with your families and friends.
Tinokot Shel Bet Rabban/Children of the House of Israel: To all my close friends, students but most of all, teachers who may be half my age, but have inspired me in ways that I cannot begin to explain: May I merit to always have you in the front row of my classes, and may you grow and mature into God-fearing individuals, shining forth as a light to your people and the world at large – you give new hope to each and every one of us!
Umot HaOlam/Nations of the World: To my close students who are not of the Jewish people, but are among the righteous of the world: May Hashem bless you with all of the blessings you need, for supporting the hands of Israel and its people. I bless you, that just as you have fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah to come study about God from His People, may you merit to see the prophecy fulfilled “I will bring them to my holy mountain, and I will make them rejoice in my house of prayer – for my House is a House of prayer for all the Nations”. Chazak Ve’Ematz!
To Hashem, who created me, and continues to breathe life into my soul each and every day: Thank you for putting my portion with those who study Torah and live by your Mitzvot, for giving me such an incredible family and such great friends, for allowing me to be a vessel for Your greatness in this world, and for never leaving my right hand – ever. שויתי ה’ לנגדי תמיד כי מימיני בל אמוט. All that I do is for You, may I never fail in my task – thank you for that tremendous merit!
Your friend and admirer,
Rabbi Yonatan Y. Halevy, RabbiYoni.com
Old City of Jerusalem, Israel