Expansion in Every Sense
Anticipation had been running high, and finally reached its crescendo with the opening of the 20th Lechu V’Nelcha Shabbos of Inspiration for post-seminary girls on Friday, December 16. As the girls poured into the Crowne Plaza in Fairfield, New Jersey, on Erev Shabbos, there was an undercurrent of excitement and warmth that rippled through the air. The deep camaraderie was evident in the heartfelt greetings that were exchanged by the 200 participants, some of whom had travelled from great distances across the U.S. and Canada.
All the attendees felt privileged to be able to partake of an unending array of wisdom and insight offered by the many beloved mechanchim and mechanchos who came to give shiurim and workshops, where they shared their own perspectives on issues relating to emunah, tefillah, kibbud av va’eim, shidduchim, and challenges in the working world.
The theme of the Shabbaton, “Off the Cuff,” focused on expansion of the self as a reference to the idea that is expressed in the passuk, “ben esrim… u’maalah,” and it was fascinating to see how all the speakers adapted their message to the theme.
Rabbi Todros Miller, a world-renowned marbitz Torah from Gateshead, who is legendary for his shiurim that have a distinctive blend of depth and clarity, was the keynote speaker. He uplifted his listeners as he touched on how to expand their minds and hearts, expounding on a variety of complex topics, ranging from the role of the Jewish woman to our obligations with regards to ahavas Yisrael, as well as the meaning behind our treasured mitzvos in connection with Chanukah.
Rabbi Saadya Grama delved into the topic of nisyonos. He explained that the difficulties that we struggle with help us to identify what our tafkid in life really is. It is not about the results when the nisayon is overcome, but about the struggle that we experience along the way.
Rebbetzin Shlomtzy Weisz reflected on how the letter kaf is symbolic of the Kaf Hadimyon, which enables us to gain clarity by comparison. She pointed out the beauty in the song that has captivated all who hear it – the song Ribbono Olamim where Klal Yisrael is compared k’chomer b’yad hayotzer, to material in the hands of our Creator, where our lives are totally dependent on the Ribbon Kol Olamim. The powerful message climaxed as the girls all joined in singing the haunting melody.
Mrs. Miryam Swerdlov led a very uplifting workshop where she discussed how even the most challenging circumstances can be handled by focusing on the positivity of the moment. As the girls challenged her with questions, she proved time and again that even though life certainly has moments of great difficulty, there is so much value in its inherent opportunity for growth, by maintaining a positive outlook.
Miss Batya Feigenbaum enthralled everyone with her indomitable spirit and humor. Her message came through loud and clear – no matter what kind of life Hashem has given you, even if it seems insurmountable, you can achieve so much and your life can be truly exciting, if you choose to make it so.
Mrs. Miri Kroizer gave a dynamic workshop about overcoming jealousy. She presented scenarios that may cause feelings of jealousy and challenged the girls to come up with solutions on how to mitigate the negative feelings. She pointed out that when we focus on the one thing that is missing from our lives, then we will be miserable, but the best way to overcome negativity is to open our eyes to all the good that Hashem gives us.
Rabbi Paysach Krohn, the famed maggid and long-time friend of Lechu V’Nelcha, was the guest speaker for the melaveh malkah program. Drawing from his own experiences as a best-selling author, he offered his own take on how to achieve goals. When he committed to writing a book containing 90 stories, he calculated how to break down the assignment into smaller monthly goals so that it would be doable. He explained that when we break down a goal into bite-sized, more manageable pieces, it becomes something we can achieve.
In addition to the many fantastic shiurim and workshops, participants thoroughly enjoyed all the extracurricular activities that were available. Mrs. Marion Fine kept her audience in stitches as she weaved humor into everyday life occurrences. The girls recharged with Kangoo Jumping fitness program, a special Picture Analysis workshop and exclusive pool and exercise facilities. A particularly valued bonus for everyone was the opportunity to meet with shadchanim over the weekend.
Special thanks is due for the efforts of several very dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure the Shabbaton’s success. Said one participant, “I received such depth of clarity about the issues in my life that have been on my mind.” Said another attendee, “The Shabbaton was above and beyond anything I could have dreamed of. Besides for all the shiurim which were so enlightening, I treasured the feeling that we were part of one big family – a group of girls from diverse backgrounds with common goals.” These post-seminary girls had all made the effort to come because they were determined to participate in an unforgettable Shabbaton unparalleled in what it had to offer. Along with the spiritual recharge that was felt by everyone there, the Shabbaton offered a built-in window for new friendships and relationships with similar girls of special caliber. That perfectly summarizes the purpose of Lechu V’Nelcha: To provide a vehicle through which like-minded girls worldwide can connect with each other, while being inspired to constantly strive to reach greater levels in their avodas Hashem.
To hear weekly details about an existing Lechu V’Nelcha program in your neighborhood or to inquire about establishing a new branch, please call the LVN hotline at 718 4 800 LVN (586).