By Chana G.
While the month of Cheshvan doesn’t have any yomim tovim, it was a packed month for Ohel Chana. We began the month of Mar Cheshvan with a Rosh Chodesh trip to Hanging Rock. Although hiking up the mountain was challenging, the view absolutely made it all worth it, and we most definitely took advantage of all of our photo opportunities. That evening, we were lucky to have a farbrengen with Mrs. Blesofsky, where we got to hear about how we should live in the times, be honest with ourselves, and figure out who we are and where we want to get to.
The inspiration didn’t end there, as a few days later, we got to have a chassidus shiur in Tora Ohr with Rabbi Aron Moss, who came all the way from Sydney. We talked about chesed and gevurah and how we see these two middos practically, even when it comes to putting on or taking off your shoes. Much to our excitement, that shiur wasn’t the end of it, and later that day we had a Q&A farbrengen with Rabbi Moss, where we talked about the usual: the shidduch system, how to develop your identity, and platonic relationships, as well as the unusual: death, possession, and malachim. It was very informative and inspirational!
Our spiritual high, as well as our questions, didn’t stop there, as the next day we had an incredible farbrengen with Rabbi Cooper about shlichus. This was really applicable to our lives, seeing as how this year we are fortunate enough to be on shlichus, and get to help out a community as amazing as Melbourne! We talked about what shlichus entails and how people can affect others.
We ended off the week with a highly spiritual Shabbaton in Grantville Lodge, with none other than Rabbi and Mrs Wolf. The learning and farbrening never stopped! When we arrived in Grantville, after finding our beds, we got to go on a ropes course where we learned the importance of depending on others to help you. We welcomed in the Shabbos with a meditation under the stars and continued on to a beautiful Kabbalas Shabbos oudoors. Rabbi Wolf made kiddush, and after a delicious Shabbos meal (thank you Mrs Kluwgant!), we began to farbreng. We started by talking about how we need to immerse ourselves in the seminary experience and the importance of remembering that we live our life for hashem. Our farbrengen lasted well past 4 AM. We went to bed, and immediately went right back into it, with a Shabbos morning chassidus shiur where we talked about a mashal of a game field which was compared to us and Hashem. Later that day we had a very enlightening Q&A session with Rabbi and Mrs. Wolf, where many questions were asked along the lines of Lubavitch, the Rebbe, mediocrity, and many more varied topics. We had a lovely musical Havdalah ceremony followed by a melave malka where Rabbi Wolf told us Ba’al Shem Tov stories accompanied by two of our musically talented classmates on guitar and piano. The next morning we had yet another chassidus shiur with Rabbi Wolf, ending off our shabbaton on a very high note.
After an incredible weekend, we spent the following week putting our efforts into creating an awesome Shabbos Expo. Spending most of our free time in the Chabad Youth center, we slowly worked on creating a program for the community, where they would be able to learn and experience what Shabbos is all about. When the day finally came, the Chabad Youth building looked incredible, and the program itself was even more amazing!
Less than a week later, we had a special treat in honor of the Rebbe Rashab’s birthday. Naomi Rafael came to the dormitory to play her violin, and the niggunim played were absolutely gorgeous. Continuing on in that vein, we had a farbrengen with Mrs. Leah Greenbaum, where we talked about ahavas yisroel, hashgacha pratis, and personal growth.
Speaking of personal growth, we also began a six-week hachana. If we reach a certain amount of points, we get a ticket in a raffle, with the winner receiving a trip to New York for chof-beis Shvat, sponsored by Josh Goldhirsch. We’re all very eager in our efforts to do our best, and you can really see that in the dormitory atmosphere. There is an obvious increase in all area of ruchnius in the dorm including chavrusa learning day and night, and I know that I speak for everyone when I say that I’m excited to do my best to take the most I can out of this program.
Over the last week of the month, we had guest speakers Mrs. D. Naperstock and Dr. D. Herbst. With Mrs. Neparstock we talked about learning boundaries for ourselves and keeping a healthy mind, and with Dr. Herbst we talked about the importance of keeping a healthy body and eating healthy. In addition, we began a mini series of classes with Mrs. S Greenbaum talking about the medical world and how Halacha pertains to it. We talked about medical advances in technology and whether some thrilling activities are okay or not.
On the topic of classes, we had a fascinating class with Rabbi DL Shmerling, where we went over numerous topics, including Moshiach, Amalek and capital punishment, giving each five minutes of time. That Thursday we had a farbrengen with Mrs. Lipskier where we talked about living your life, building standards for yourself, and how we envision our lives to be in the years to come. After Shabbos, we had an extremely fun, and cold, melave malka. We got to make homemade ice cream! Everywhere you looked, there were bags of milk, sugar, and ice being tossed around the room, finally ending off with the delicious treat, a hilarious game, and a powerful Rebbe story. Overall, we had a jam-packed month full of learning and fun, and we look forward to what else Ohel Chana and Chabad Youth have in store as we begin preparing for summer camp. Can’t wait!