It is not just a Shabbos to inspire but a day on which Rabbi’s throughout the length and breadth of the land hope to find the right combination of words to rouse their congregants and listeners and move them (us) so that they abandon their spiritual slumbers and move forward in the newly arrived year.
It is quite possible that today congregants and worshipers are looking more than ever to hear words from their leaders that can move them and inspire. Today perhaps more than ever before there are an ever increasing plethora of distractions that can easily propel a person to lead one’s life in a wrong and even damaging direction. Despite the extraordinary gadgetry that we are surrounded by today it is mere and simple words—the right words with a carefully crafted message sometimes—that can still outdo and outperform all the electronic wizardry that we find available to us and at our fingertips.
This year in our preview of Shabbos Shuva drashas we reached out in some new as well as in veteran directions. Rabbi Pinchos Weinberger is a young and dynamic Torah scholar is Rav of the relatively new Inwood Shul (at least that’s what the e –mail says is the name of the shul). Inwood is in fact one of the 5 Towns but until recently was somewhat neglected by the influx of families to the5 Towns who have mostly taken to Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere and Hewlett.
Rabbi Weinberger is also the head of Yeshiva Nishmas HaTorah in Lawrence, a new fledgling makom Torah that is making inroads and attracting attention in the post high school Yeshiva world. Today Inwood features about 40 Orthodox families, houses are going up for sale and young families from around New York are taking notice. The shul—for now anyway—conducts services at the Yeshiva Ketana building located on Doughty Boulevard.
Rabbi Weinberger will speak on Shabbos about what he believes “is our need to connect to our real selves.” Too much of life is fake and artificial, he adds and he says that young children, especially teenagers, are sensitive when they detect that we may be going through the motions and have lost some intensity or connection to the reality of our faith.
“There is too much insincerity and kids see it and it sends the wrong kind of signals,” he says. The young Rabbi, the son of Congregation Shaaray Tefila of Lawrence spiritual leader, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, emphasizes that he plans to communicate to his growing shul members that telling the children how you prefer they conduct themselves is more often than otherwise not sufficient. He says that it is vital that parents set a true living example for their children and that if it is not real or if it is some kind of act, today’s children are likely to detect that.
“I mean what does a child see that a parent gets enthusiastic about,” he asks rhetorically. “Is it only about making money or acquiring a new car or the new iPhone?” Rabbi Weinberger says that he believes that young parents today have the opportunity to make important adjustments in their lives before a misunderstood impression is generated to children. “A parent today who was brought up with a solid Yeshiva education needs to wonder whether his children are absorbing his enthusiasm for life being rooted in his excitement about coming home after learning with a chavrusa—a study partner or a particularly good and inspiring davening.
“I plan to tell my congregation on Shabbos Shuva that it is vitally important that we all need to get real about life and make Hashem—the existence of G-d— an active part of our everyday life,” the Rabbi said.
More in this weeks 5TJT.