Rabbi Zalman and Rochel Chein of Binghamton Chabad were visiting with us this summertime Shabbos and shared these life messages on Friday Night.

Rabbi Zalman – on Exercise: 

This week I got back onto the treadmill. You pick up speed, get into a good groove and after some time passes its time to stop. But the machine doesn’t let you stop and get off just like that. There’s a short cool-down period, at a very slow pace to help your body adjust back to getting off the treadmill. It can quite dizzying or actually even be dangerous to your health to jump off at peak speed. Sometimes you were doing so well, you just feel like the slow-down speed is tortuously slow, but it is necessary.

It’s the same with Judaism. There are those times and places that uplift us and give us a Jewish high. But as important as it is to reach that meaningful high, it is just as important to find ways to translate that into our everyday lives, so that it not be abrupt and disorienting, and that we be able to utilize the benefits of that spiritual high into our everyday lives.

Rochel – on Gardening:

We lived in a city for a long time before coming to Binghamton, so it’s always been a dream of mine to till the soil and make something grow in it. But it hasn’t been as easy as imagined. Things come up and you don’t always have a chance, and even when we do, the plants don’t always respond as expected or desired. In fact, this week before coming here for Shabbos, we got to savor our very first cucumber – ever (that we grew on our own). It was quite satisfying, and felt very rewarding. And we learned a few important life lessons from the experience:

— It takes effort, but that effort makes it all the more meaningful. Sure, you can go to the supermarket and pick up a bunch of cucumbers, peel ’em put them in a salad and think nothing of it. But the cucumbers that you planted, and cared for, and weeded, watched and waited – that cucumber is something special and it is all the more meaningful and memorable.

— There might be something wrong with the soil in our backyard. We planted for years with poor results, so this year we switched to planting in pots – and it worked! Sometimes you have to be flexible, try different things and see what works best. Keep trying, and try differently.