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Moving Day

Thursday, 23 January, 2020 - 4:03 pm

Last week we hired a moving company to pack us up and move our Chabad center to its new location. As thrilling as the prospect of a new and larger space was, I found the experience bittersweet.

I knew we had to move. We had long outgrown our previous space, and would now have nearly double the capacity. For years we had been turning away families we will now be able to accommodate. I’d been working in an office that didn’t even have space for a second chair for meetings. So this move was long overdue, and we’d been able to design the new space to our specifications. We are moving onwards and upwards; this was the sweetness.

But there was also a tinge of sadness as we said goodbye to the space that had housed us for 12 wonderful years. It was painful to watch the movers packing up 12 years of memories. We met so many people here, accomplished so much. So many meetings, so many celebrations, so many mitzvot, so many Jewish families. The space served us well for many years.

So it was with mixed emotions that I watched the movers pack it all up.

It’s easy to become comfortable and attached to the familiar, even when better things await.

After 210 years of slavery in Egypt, it was time for the Jews to leave. Moses repeatedly asks Pharaoh to let them go. He doesn’t ask for freedom; he asks for three days in the desert. Common belief is that he thought Pharaoh couldn’t handle the thought of true freedom, but the real reason Moses asked for three days was for the Jews. He knew it would be difficult for them to leave Egypt. They had been slaves, exhausted and brutalized, but still there was comfort in the familiarity, and Moses knew that. Even though he told them they would only be leaving for three days, 80% of the Jews refused to go along!

This is the story of our lives. It’s normal. We get comfortable where we are. But we cannot stay in our comfort zones. We need to push ourselves ahead, as difficult as it may be. Think about your life and where you can push through. If you’re comfortable davening once a day, try adding a second tefillah. If you’re comfortable with the amount of tzeddakah you’re currently giving, push yourself to give a bit more. If you only wear your kippah in certain environments, push yourself to wear it in places that may feel less comfortable. If you usually only keep kosher in the home, try keeping it outside too.

Every day is moving day when it comes to our spiritual lives.

This is also what Moshiach is all about. The thought of leaving our current lives and reaching for Redemption may feel uncomfortable, but we need to embrace the move and prepare for it imminently.

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