What are the ties that bind the commemoration today of the 3rd yartzheit of Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin (Josh) Gordon (the 29th of Shvat) and the celebration tomorrow of Yom HaMishpacha (the 30th day of Shvat)? The first tie is the shared emphasis on the importance of Family!
Rabbi Gordon, during his 66 years of life, demonstrated by personal example the best ideals of Family whether in the “tremendous sense of gratitude towards his wife “ or the establishment of 25 Chabad centers in what radio talk-show host Dennis Prager described as largely a Jewish desert, Southern California.
Likewise, Family Day (Yom HaMishpacha) in Israel. albeit of recent origin, pays tribute to the nuclear family. Most schools recognize the occasion and some employers also encourage their employees to leave early and spend time with their families.
But there is another tie that binds the two occasions and that is the core value of the Torah and its emphasis on family unit and most of all on education. For Rabbi Gordon, teaching Torah classes was his greatest vehicle for spreading his love for fellow Jews. He was known to get up at 4AM to prepare for the three daily classes he gave on Torah, Tanya, and Rambam. Once Rabbi Gordon agreed to have Chabad.org disseminate his classes to an international audience, he had an instant following which as of last year translated into views in excess of 1.86 million times!
What is the most perfect way to connect the two occasions? Gather together as a Family and “embark on a life changing journey by joining Rabbi Gordon in a series of insightful, entertaining and often humorous online classes.
Regular daily Torah study is crucial to life itself. It influences not only the soul of the one who studies, but the souls of his family as well, for it permeates the atmosphere of his home with a spirit of Torah and piety.” – The Lubavitcher Rebbe.”
This theme of families gathering together to discuss Torah related ideas was the focus of the closing speech I delivered at the November 8, 2017 Knesset Seminar on Pre-Marriage Education. The Seminar was co-hosted by MK Yehudah Glick and the nonprofit Together in Happiness/B’Yachad B’Osher (which I founded in memory of my beloved parents).
Fittingly, tomorrow, the 30th day of Shvat and Wednesday are also the two days of Rosh Chodesh Adar, the happiest, most joyous month of the Hebrew calendar.
Family Day should be a day of rejoicing for us all. Let us make this year’s Yom HaMishpacha a day dedicated to learning Torah, the Rabbi Gordon z”l way, and thereby imbue this day with an inter-generational meaning that symbolizes what our Jewish families are all about. We not only perpetuate Rabbi Gordon’s legacy, but our own in the most elevating manner possible.