Alef Beis Gimmel Dalet

Shalom Aleichem!

Mazel tov to Jeremy & Aliza Frankel on the birth of their daughter earlier this week!

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Every year on Purim, I collect Matanot La’Evyonim (Gifts for the Poor). This is one of the traditional parts of the celebration of the holiday, and each year, I choose a different place to distribute the funds. This year, students donated $211 to the Ukraine Jewish Relief Fund. Additionally, these donations were matched dollar-for-dollar by the Rohr Family Foundation.

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My attention was recently called to a teaching from the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek for a work of Jewish law that he authored. It requires a bit of Hebrew knowledge, and I will do my best to convey the meaning.

Here is the succinct teaching, and the story surrounding it:

It was Simchat Torah 1839 in the village of Lubavitch. The shul and its courtyard were packed, and there was no room to dance the traditionalHakafot. Someone placed a table in the yard, and they proceeded to dance Hakafot outside.

In the midst of the dancing, the Tzemach Tzedek jumped on the table  and proclaimed:

א.ב.ג.ד. אחדות ברכה גאוה דלות

Alef Beis Gimmel Dalet: Achdus, Bracha, Gaava, Dalus.

The first letter of the Hebrew alphabat is Alef, which is the first letter of the word Achdus, unity. The Hebrew word Bracha, or blessing, starts with the second letter, Beis.

The third letter is Gimmel, which can stand for gaava, or arrogance. The fourth letter is Dalet, which begins the word for poverty, dalus.

Thus, while unity leads to blessings, arrogance (and the resultant lack of unity) leads to poverty. The Tzemach Tzedek then concluded that this system works both “materially and spiritually.”

May we all merit to receive the blessings that our unity generates!

Shabbat Shalom,