Shabbat

The - last shabbat of the year - how to make it the greatest

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This week I saw a number of Rabbis wrote how the Kabbala teaches "there last Shabbos of the year can "fix" everything-
 
everything you did or didn't do the whole year through!
 
But no one gave the FORMULA!
 
Part of it
is in the beginning of the portion which says:
 
"You are all here before me..." the Almighty and Moses say
 
the great ones and the common people ....
 
So ....
 
 
The Greatest Shabbos on Earth - the Last Shabbat of this Jewish Year Cycle
 I
 
loved Fiday night singing and dancing at 
 
 Rabbi Carlebach's shul - and so did everyone I brought there!I  
 
The Rabbi always had a deep and meaningful and Jewish-excitement around him - and around his talks.
 
After the services- Some people would ask me "What did he MEAN?"
 
Others would ask me "What did he SAY?"    It took me a lot of time to learn to interpret – 
 
but that was the fun part of being there!
 
One week Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach would say "let this upcoming Shabbos be the greatest Shabbat you ever had!"
 
The next week Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach would say "let THIS upcoming Shabbos be the greatest Shabbat you ever had!"
 
 How could he say that every week? And mean it yet!
 
 Well, just because that's the way it SHOULD BE! And it CAN be so!
 
 With just a little effort we can make every Shabbos better than the one before! And make every day better than the one before!
 
The Talmud talks about it – but  doesn't always make it feel close to you.
 
Soooo....
 I have to talk about skipping out of Yeshiva on one Friday night to help a friend.
 
What can a young Rabbinical Student in Jerusalem really know?
 
You learn to make the blessings – but you don't really learn to Make the Shabbos. 
 
That is – you can only learn to make a GREAT Shabbos from the ones who have learned from the Greatest. 
 
So I learned that night on an ancient street in Jerusalem to want to learn - how the others learned from the greatest!
 
My friend had to run back to America for a few weeks - so he asked me to teach his class once a week. 
 
My students – mostly California sixties people who had invited me for Shabbat – were getting ready for a community meal one Shabbat and invited me to join them.
 
So I agreed and didn't stay in the Yeshiva for prayers.
 
 About 20 of us were 
there at this old house for prayers
 
The idea was afterwards  to share a simple vegetarian meal. 
 
By the end of the Shabbos prayers and dancing and song there must have been over 60 people with us.
 
We danced singing Lecha Dodi  for over an hour.
 
 
 
 To tell you the truth, I was sincerely worried that there was not going to be enough enough food, 
 
and I thought I would just go back to my yeshiva and have some of my stash of cookies and chocolate and call it a night.
 
 I was not a Carlebach Chasid, just had been asked to teach this group while the leader (who studied with me in yeshiva)  was away in America.
 
There may have been almost a hundred people by the kiddish
 
 I was about to go, but one of my guys said "Chanoch you sit over here" and so as not to insult my hosts I plopped down on a big pillow.
 
It was a beautiful Shabbat night on Teverya Street in Sharei Chesed Jerusalem so long ago for me. 
 
 
They blessed the grape juice and people began washing for the meal. 
 
A number of great big Challah Breads appeared so I figured I would stay and have some bread before leaving.
I felt a little guilty because every few minutes more people came.
 
But then again - every few minutes a new and delicious course was passed around.
 
As it turned out everyone brought a little something to the dinner!
 
So I stayed and we sang and enjoyed the plenty which had appeared for this poor group 
 
as each person had brought a few dishes or items which were turned into a dinner fit for kings or paupers or angels.
 
 
I have never since left that Shabbos. That evening is with me almost every Shabbat.
 
 
Reb Shlomo was not there but
 
the people were there
 
and the spirit that he brought out in everyone was there that night.
 
 
May we all be blessed with the greatest Shabbats every week in the coming year
 
 
 Shabbat Shalom - 
Rabbi Andy Eichenholz