Devorah First
This moment, I am (trying to be) here.

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – Our Ammunition of Light

Picture drawn by Ruth Silverstone
Picture drawn by Ruth Silverstone

This past Shabbos marks three years since the soul of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z’tl left this world. Over the past few weeks, there have been many a time I have thought about what message he would be sharing with the Jewish nation, and the world at large as we journey through this next chapter in our story as the am hanetzach, the eternal people.

I miss Rabbi Sacks more than ever. We currently find ourselves in a war of light vs darkness. Good vs evil. Sharing his teachings, thoughts, insights and reflections is a way to ensure our ammunition of light is restocked, restored, replenished. If you were privileged enough to meet with Rabbi Sacks or be inspired by him, now is the time to share what he gifted you with. Below is a short correspondence a member of my family had with Rabbi Sacks. It is a message for all.

My mum was in her early 40s, had three children, and she had begun her journey to returning to yiddishkeit in a more observant, and meaningful way.

There was a pressing question that bothered her greatly. How was she, who was not brought up religious herself, going to imbue the love of God, the ein sof, and the core belief that He runs the world, into her children? She felt that the children of other more religious people she knew, received it ‘like milk on the breast’, from a very early age; this belief was something that was a given…it just ‘was’. Was there a possibility she could recreate the same thing, or had she ‘missed the boat’?

So back in November 1998, close to 25 years ago to the day- My mum wrote a letter to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks zt”l, with her troublesome query.

She received a hand written letter in the post, just three days later.

Dear Susan, 

Thank you for your beautiful and very moving letter.

I believe that you need a personal mentor- your local rabbi perhaps, or your SEED partner- who will guide you on the way. 

But the short answer is twofold. Firstly, your children will love what you love. Your own personal growth will be the most eloquent lesson you could give them. Secondly, you must act on that love- bringing the Divine presence into your home through the performance of mitzvos. 

With my blessing that Hashem be with you in all you do, 

With sincerest blessing, 

Jonathan Sacks  

Wisdom. Warmth. Encouragement. Unshakable faith.

This was Rabbi Sacks.

May the soul that Ha’Shem gifted the world for seventy two years, have an aliyah, as we spend a moment or two thinking about his goodness, his care, his greatness, his delicate assertiveness and the way he imparted our responsibility as Jews to be a ‘light unto the nations’ with nothing less than love and empowerment. Ever since he left this world three years ago, I have felt a void.  But the pride and the confidence he had in the Jewish nation, in our youth especially; in me, in you, in the Land of our forefathers- the staunch emunah in Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and the hope that living in the ways of our holy ancestors will enable us to flower and flourish- is scattered across the four corners of the earth. May his memory protect us all at this time, and may Ha’Shem grant each and every one of us, especially our chayalim, the strength to continue in his mission to spread Ha’Shems Name and his His Torah to ourselves, to those closest to us- and to the whole world, in our own unique, individual and precious way. Chazak Chazak v’Nishazek!

Do you have a favourite quote from Rabbi Sacks? If yes, post it in the comments section below! Lets keep the light comin’!

Original letter from Rabbi Sacks
Dated 24th November 1998

Liilui nishmas, for the elevation of the soul of  Ha’Rav Yaakov Tzvi Ben David Aryeh.

About the Author
Debs currently lives in Manchester, England where she grew up. During the COVID pandemic, Debs had the privilege to spend time delving into teachings from our chassidic masters, and now feels passionately about sharing these delicious and life saving teachings with others, especially teenagers. Having spent last year in Israel working as a madricha in Neve Yerushalayim, she is back in the UK (for now) surfing the oftentimes stormy waves of life, and finishing her first book which she is working on, b'ezras Ha'Shem. Stay tuned!
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