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Father/ Son Weekend

March 14, 2015

2015-01-22 20.20.15This weekend I am attending a Father/ Son Shabbaton with all the Leibler Yavneh College Year 7 Fathers & Sons. This is normally organised in the Bar Mitzvah year. A Separate Mother/ daughter Weekend was held last year. I was asked to make a Drosha at Lunch.

Below is an extract from the Drosha I made (I have uploaded earlier and set a schedule – Hope it works – Don’t want Fathers to Read before!!)

At the start of Parsha Vayakhel-PekudeiI Moshe assembles the people of Israel and reiterates to them the commandment to observe the Shabbat. What a good Shabbos for a Shabbaton! I have you all assembled, but I am not going to speak on Shabbos. One thing I will say is I love Shabbaton’s they provide you with an EXTRA SPARK. A Boost in your Shabbos observance.

I would like to thank the committee who have worked so hard planning and preparing for this weekend. It is really very much appreciated.

Many of you know I occasionally write a Blog on health, exercise, family and religion. Amir Paluch said that it’s easy for me to make this Drosha as I will just use my Blog – But Blogs do taking time to write!

I just wanted to share some thoughts on various articles, news events, and social media posts that I feel we can all learn something from.

The Rabbi Moses ben Nachman Gerondi, known as the Ramban wrote a letter 800 years ago to his son. This is called Iggeres HaRamban – The Ramban’s Letter. This was written to his elder son, Nachman, with the instruction to read it weekly. The letter starts:

Hear, my son, the instruction of your father and don’t forsake the teaching of your mother (Mishlei 1:8).

Boys – you still need to listen to your parents. You don’t know everything yet!

At the launch of #70days70years survivor Lily Ebert[1] spoke. The #70days70years is a compendium of insights about the Holocaust. This is to mark 70 years since Auschwitz Concentration camp was liberated in 1945.

In Lilly’s speech she spoke about her family, arriving at the concentration camp, going into the showers, exiting the showers. She said that when she exited the showers she smelt a disgusting smell. She asked what it was and was told it was human beings. She could not believe that anyone would burn human/ fellow Jews. These smells/ sights are just too horrific for any of us to imagine. At that point she decided if she survived the Camp, she would share her story. She was determined to survive.

With rampant anti-Semitism in the world, we must never forget what happened in the Holocaust and in places like Auschwitz, As Rabbi Berel Wein said – “we should be wise and truthful about our past, practical about our present and optimistic about our future

As you all may know. Next week I am doing Ironman Melbourne. Ironman is made up of a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42 km run. Yes it is very far! Completing the IM is one of my goals. In order to achieve this or any other goal takes a lot of work and discipline. Personally when I look back at all the training I have done to reach this event, I am pretty proud of myself. I noticed the following quote that sums it up – “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”- Jim Rohn.

Without the discipline to train such long distances and the GOAL to complete the event, I would never be able to complete an IM. Feel free to come support me next Sunday!

In a recent article Wayne Carey has blasted Fremantle Docker Colin Sylvia for being unfit. Carey said – “he looks like he fell asleep and swallowed his pillow”. And he is on a $1m contract!

In a separate article I read about Arsenal FC young gun Aaron Ramsey and the sacrifices he is making to be a star footballer and as he says have a “Dream career”.

I read a quote – “People want to get into skating for fame or fortune, and if they get any taste of that, they lose their motivation.” ~ @tonyhawk #thrive

To be successful in life you have to make sacrifices and you have to work hard to put yourself in the best position for success. Your motivation can not always be money. You need to love what you do and work as hard as you can to be successful. Retired Australian champion cyclist Cadel Evans said that his mother would say “if you going to do something, do it properly or don’t do it at all”, but I think it is just as important to just participate and to try.

In This week’s Parsha this is demonstrated when all the workmen, with their newly-discovered talents, and even the great Moses, could not raise up the Tabernacle to ready it for the arrival of the Divine Presence. Therefore, G-d instructed Moses to make an extra special effort and lift the beams to place the coverings over them. When Moses’ efforts failed at first, G-d advised him that a sincere effort would succeed. That is exactly what happened. That bit of EXTRA/ SINCERE effort was required. Then G-d helped Moses raise the beams and cover them with the special Tabernacle covers, and the Divine Presence filled the Tabernacle.

Most of us love sport, and sports stars become our role models and “idols”. There have been numerous incidents reported on the stars that have not behaved very well.

Blogger Mia Freedman ask this question – “Sportsman let us down over and over again. So why are they talking at my kids school”. There are a few that should be speaking at schools. Here is an example.

Young 17 Year old Golfer Lydia Ko, who is also the world’s number 1 women golfer was described as a “Class Act”. After winning the Aust. Open she spent time with the volunteers posing for selfies and she also gave $500[2] to the GM at the golf course to kick-start the staff’s “after-party”. The GM said she had never seen such behaviour from a professional before. This is being a “Mensch” and she deserves to be a role model. Boys as you go through life you need to choose the right role models. And when you are all one day famous it is important that you remain a “Mensch” or like Lydia a “Class Act”.

Going through life we all have our ups and down. In sport you may have an injury, in business you may lose a contract or in studying you may battle with a section or topic. Cyclist Simon Gerrans said after breaking his collarbone “He has taken the injury and turned it into a positive, …” Battling through tough times helps to build resilience!

As you get older you will realise how important Torah study is. In the Ramban’s letter he says – “Torah should always be learned diligently, so you will be able to fulfill it’s commands. When you arise from your learning reflect carefully on what you have studied, in order to see what in it that you can be put into practice. Examine your actions every morning and evening, and in this way every one of your days will be spent in teshuvah (repentance).”

I think this can be summed up in a great quote from Dr Seuss – “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” — I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

In a recent talk by Chief Rabbi Goldstein from South Africa, he spoke about how some great Rabbis who had lost their families in the Holocaust and moved to various countries across the globe. Against all odds they started Yeshiva’s all over the world.  He said that now there are more people studying in Yeshiva’s than there ever were in pre WWII Europe. Places like Lakewood, Gateshead and Cleveland have become synonymous with the Yeshiva’s that they started. Don’t you think this is amazing! What he stressed is that we need to be BUILDERS of TORAH. You boys have been very lucky to go to a school like Yavneh and learn Torah, you have parents that share the values of the school. Now as you get older you need to continue to BUILD on your own Torah knowledge and help in the building of Jewish organisations that you are involved with like Bnei Akiva, Mizrachi, Blake Street and CCare. Besides being a Mentch which I mentioned before Rabbi Goldstein said you need to be KLAL MENTCH (means a person who belongs to the larger whole, a person who has a sense of communal responsibility, who understands that we are much stronger when we work together as a community. )

Hopefully you have enjoyed these few points I have made on:

Remembering the past and being optimistic

Discipline and goals

Choosing the right role models and being a mentch

The ups and down in life

Learning and continuing to grow

Feeling a sense of community

[1] Lily Ebert’s speech from our London launch: #70days70years



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