On Monday night, April 12, Emet Outreach hosted a live and virtual shiur with Mr. Harry Rothberg, well-known speaker, at Beth Gavriel. He shared that he works as a lawyer and he recalled a time when he was asked by a judge to appear on a certain date in May and it was Shavuos. He told the judge that he couldn’t come because it was a Jewish holiday. The judge protested and said, “I know there’s Passover and Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, but I never knew there was another holiday.” He proceeded to explain to the judge by pointing out the statue of Moses holding the tablets that was in front of the courthouse. He explained that we have a holiday celebrating when G-d gave us the Torah. It was significant to Mr. Rothberg that in all the years this judge was on the bench, he had never had a Jewish lawyer tell him that he couldn’t appear because of Shavuos.

Hashem knows each of us and what is best for us. Sometimes you have an unbelievable day. Other times you have a horrible day. We need to recognize that whatever happens comes from G-d. We have to thank G-d that something worse didn’t happen. When we get upset at a situation, we have to know that Hashem is sending us a message. He shared a story that happened to his daughter and son-in-law, where their plane was delayed for many, many hours, and then, when they finally got to their destination, the plane was circling after going through a lot of turbulence, and they landed in a place where they would have to take another plane. It seemed like so many things were going wrong, but Mr. Rothberg explained that we have to view it that everything is from Hashem and, baruch Hashem, something worse didn’t happen. He said, “I love when bad things happen, because this prevents worse things. Also, when bad things happen, we shouldn’t get upset at the situation, but we have to realize that Hashem is sending us a message.

“If we list all the things that Hashem did and continues to do for us and what we did for Hashem, our list is much shorter. Everything comes from Him.” The prayer we recite before going to sleep states that we forgive anyone who sinned against us. “We have to recognize that everything came from him. It’s best for me.”

Mr. Rothberg posed the question: “Why do we count up to Shavuos?” We should have the motto that I can’t wait until tomorrow because I get better every day. This is our whole goal. When we work on ourselves then we pray from a different perspective.

He spoke about three apps that we should include on our phone, Meaningful Minute, Torah Anytime, and Sefaria. Pick something so that every day you learn something. He held up his phone. Turn the accuser into a defender.

He shared that he spent two years in Eretz Yisrael and it was a life-changing experience. It helps you understand your mission as a Jew. “Do you want to make excuses or do you want to make history?”

We have to know that whatever Hashem does is good and it’s calibrated specifically for us. We count up to Shavuos to show that we are improving. He emphasized that we should take control of our phone and it turn into a defending device.

Everyone left inspired by this beautiful shiur.

By Susie Garber