The biggest shopping day of the year is still a month away, but this past Tuesday crowds had come out to get an early look at one of the biggest New York retail openings of the year: a Nordstrom flagship in New York City. Nordstrom has given New York City a celebratory shopping experience within their seven-floor store located at 57th Street. It’s as if Nordstrom is trying to convey that the terrain of failed retailers has paved the way for a new and exciting model in purchasing, which resembles a visit to a Disney park.
According to Business Insider, “It will represent the biggest and best statement of the brand, and largest single-project investment in Nordstrom history,” according to a company press release. At 320,000 square feet, the store features a wide assortment of brands and products, as well as several “merchandise concepts,” including a Nike boutique and Couch customization shop intended to serve as experiential retail spaces.
“I feel like we’re at the MoMA,” said Olivia Wilde, and she wasn’t too far off: The flagship is decked with original art from contemporary artists, and a newly released app – Art @ Nordstrom – even provides an audio tour of the works. “It’s very museum like, it’s very chic. I love the space; space in New York is a commodity,” added Wilde.
That’s quite a large footprint on a graveyard of giant retail tombstones.
It is a glass behemoth structure near the corpses of Bonwit Teller, Henri Bendel, and the recently terminally ill Barneys.
What could a department store closing and another bigger one opening have to do with any Torah concept?
“Open your back door for sneaky blessings” is what Gedale Fenster, a great friend and international lecturer on Breslov-based teaching, responded when I asked him this very question.
Okay, “let’s start from the very beginning; it’s a very good place to start.” In Breisheis (Genesis), Hashem created the world in six days, but did it stop after that? Was that all there was to create? How does the world sustain itself? Hashem is constantly re-creating continuously. This phenomenon, that Hashem re-creates the world, means that the soul is re-created without any defects, impressions, or disturbances imprinted from the beginning of Creation. “Chadashim lab’karim, rabbah emunasecha – They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness,” “Briyah chadashah mamash – In actuality, a new creation.”
The mishnah in Avos explains, “Kosev al n’yar chalak v’lo kosev al n’yar machuk,” that we can “write on a clean slate and not on an erased piece of paper.” There, a person can start anew; there he has a future that starts growing from a new beginning.
At every moment Hashem renews creation. The whole world exists only because Hashem desires it to exist at that moment. Nobody lives merely because they were alive a moment before. Similarly, all of creation does not exist only because it existed a moment before. Each moment is a new and unique creation. Every new day has endless possibilities for us to create because of Hashem’s grace.
This is the deeper meaning of [what we pray in the blessing Yotzeir Hame’oros before Krias Shema], “M’chadeish b’tuvo b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh Bereishis” – that Hashem in His goodness renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation.
So if you feel like your life is like a Barneys flagship store on Madison Ave. (translation: store chain filed last bankruptcy and is officially closing the stores), remember that Hashem proclaims that you can become a magnificent Nordstrom centerpiece in the heart of NYC, if you just believe that!
Tobi Rubinstein is a retired fashion and marketing executive of 35 years who currently produces runway and lifestyle events for NYFW, specializing in Israel’s leading artists and designers. She is the founder of The House of Faith N Fashion, fusing culture and Torah. Tobi was a fashion collaboration and guest expert for ABC, Geraldo Rivera, Huffington Post, Lifetime, NBC, Bravo, and Arise. She hosted her own radio and reality TV series. Tobi is a mother, wife, dog owner, and shoe lover.