Mistaken Identity + Special LIVE Broadcast!

Friday, 25 November, 2011 - 1:45 pm

David was walking downtown and was surprised to meet his long lost friend, Moshe. “Moshe! It’s so good to see you!” he exclaimed. “My Moshe, how you’ve changed over the years. I hardly recognized you, the glasses, the grey hair – you even look a little shorter…” “Excuse me,” replied the man, “but my name is not Moshe.” “What!? You even changed your name!!”

It is not all that uncommon that we mistake one person for another but have you ever mistaken your own identity?

I think “mistaken identity” is a perfect diagnosis for the American Jewish community as a whole and many Jewish people individually as well. We have come to think that Judaism is about caring for global warming and social justice, and forgotten the holy mission that we have been charged.

When G-d chose the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, (an experience of mass revelation – an experience that no other religion can lay claim to), He told them. “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.” There’s more to being Jewish than a common culture (which we don’t have) or similar food (which we also don’t have); we have been empowered to be a “holy nation”.

But what does it mean to be holy? I’m not a spiritual person! It means that we infuse our regular activities with higher purpose and meaning. We don’t just eat food, we are mindful of the idea that this food will be giving us the ability to do a mitzvah. So we make a blessing before we eat, to help us be conscious of this concept.

We are “amphibious creatures” – we exist in the physical world but we have a wholly spiritual side, a soul. It’s not enough to nourish our physical body, we have to remember our spiritual, G-dly side as well. And until we recognize that side of our self and nourish it, we will consistently be mistaken about our own identity.

What do you think? I think it’s time to get out and find yourself!


I am in New York attending the annual Conference of Chabad Emissaries. On Sunday I will be visiting the resting place of the Rebbe. I’d be happy to include you and your family in my prayers, please reply to this email with the names of your family members and their mother (if you are not Jewish, send your name and your father’s name). This is a special opportunity to request a blessing for better health or parnassa (livelihood).

On Sunday afternoon the conference concludes with a banquet (the largest sit down dinner in New York) which will have a live broadcast online and will be available on our website – live at 2:15 pm on Sunday. See if you can spot me in the crowd – I’ll be the one with the black hat!

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