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Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg, is RABBI EMERITUS of Congregation Beth-El, Edison, New Jersey He received his ordination and Doctorate of Education from Yeshiva University in New York. He also possesses A.A., B.A., M.A., and M.S. degrees in communication and education. He possesses a Doctor of Divinity from The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. He taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Yeshiva University in New York.


by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosenberg, Author of six books on the Holocaust (see full bio at bottom of article)Sept 12, 2015



A little girl pleaded with her mother to light Shabbos candles as she had learned in her Hebrew school class. The mother promised but somehow never got around to it. In desperation, one Friday, the little girl went to the grocery store herself, and asked for a Jewish candle. Some hours later—well after dark—the mother came home and saw on her kitchen table a flickering Yahrzeit candle—the candle lit in memory of the dead. “Who,” the mother asked in terror, “is this for?”



The child innocently and enthusiastically replied, “Why it’s for you, mother. I lit it for you, because you didn’t have the time.”


My friends, we live in a time when keeping Jewish traditions is no longer a priority for most Jews. Instead of lighting Shabbos candles, should we light a Yahrtzeit candle for Jewish life? How did this little girl come to light that Yahrtzeit candle? It was because Shabbos wasn’t a priority for her mother even though the idea of Shabbos excited this little girl. If we want to keep Yiddishkeit alive, if we want to make Bubbie and Zeide in heaven shep nachas and be proud, if we want to feel the Presence of Gd in our lives and know Gd has our back, then we must show some enthusiasm about Gd  and Jewish life.   


I would like to read to you a series of email letters that a father from Atlanta, writes to his son in Los Angeles that brilliantly illustrates this. Let me 1st tell you that the letters are a complete figment of my imagination, yet I see much of myself in them. Maybe you too, will see reflections of your own life in these very private and intimate letters.


My Dear Boy,

We received your lovely New Year’s card and I must tell you that your mother and I were just delighted. What we enjoyed most was the cute inscription contributed by our adorable grandson, David. What a pleasure that boy must be to you. At his age every word he says must appear to you as if it is filled with the brilliance of King Solomon himself.


Speaking of that wise king, I wonder if he knew of a remedy for insomnia for it seems as if tonight I simply can’t sleep. To make things clearer to you, I should tell you that right now it is only 2:10am. That’s right—2 o’clock in the morning! After tossing and turning for 3 hours I decided that trying to sleep was useless. So I quietly slipped down the stairs so as to not interrupt your mother’s snoring, put on the light in the den, and picked up that large book of quotations and poetry you sent me for my birthday. And really it’s a marvelous book!


I opened it up and at random my eyes caught these phrases:

    If you have been trying to get at some unpleasant task for weeks, get at it, do it.


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