moment of silence

Thursday, 19 March, 2015 - 3:34 pm


Dear Friends,

A few years ago a man came to me and asked to meet with me. Presenting himself as a Protestant Christian, he told me his problem: “I got divorced several months ago. I have a ten-year old daughter who lives mostly with her mother, coming to me only for short visits. The problem is that I am religious and my ex-wife is an atheist. I want the girl to grow up to be a believer in the Creator, and my ex-wife doesn’t want that at all. It has already caused a huge disagreement between us. Perhaps you can advise me what to do? It’s very important to me that my daughter be a believing person.”

“So why have you come to me?” I asked. “I’m a Jewish rabbi and you are a Protestant Christian…”

“Well, a Jewish friend told me,” he answered, “that if you want a creative solution to a problem, you should ask a Chabad rabbi.”


The truth is, he’s right. I really didn’t have to exert myself very much, because the Rebbe didn’t leave even one realm in life in which he didn’t present us with a clear directive as to how to act.


In this case, I immediately remembered the campaign that the Rebbe ran in America for years: a campaign of installing in elementary schools the concept of a “moment of silence” – a moment in which the children stop for sixty seconds and think about the world and about its Creator and Ruler. The Rebbe explained that this “moment of silence” would have a positive effect on the children’s values and moral and spiritual condition, and in that way would affect the entire world.


I suggested to the confused father that he explain to his ex-wife and to his daughter that he is not asking them to do anything – not even to speak – but only to be silent, and even that for only sixty seconds every morning. To sit quietly and think about the flowers and the trees, the water and the sky; to connect to the environment and to thank the Creator of the World silently, in one’s heart, for the wonderful nature that surrounds us.

In our Parasha, Parashat Vayikra, we learn about the offerings in the Temple. One of the special ones was the Korban Tamid (continual offering). This was an offering that was brought first thing in the morning, every morning. Because when one begins the day with connection to Hashem, with the recognition of “Modeh Ani Lefanecha, Melech Chai Vekayam” (I render thanks to You / recognize You, everlasting King”), then that announcement is enough to instill in us some modesty and humility and a lot of faith and willingness to sacrifice. This is the personal Korban Tamid of every man and woman. And whoever is connected to Hashem also merits His blessings in all his deeds.


Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,


Zalmen Wishedski

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