Around 400 men, women, and children gathered from across the US and Canada for the second annual Shabbos of Emunah and Bitachon at the Westin Princeton in New Jersey led by Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.
When it comes to facing the challenges in life with clarity and strength, a Shiur in Emunah and Bitachon goes a long way, particularly a Shiur given by Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, but from time to time we need something more than a Shiur.
This past Shabbos, close to 100 couples and families (around 400 men, women, and children) gathered – some from as far afield as Atlanta, Georgia, and Montreal, Canada – for the second annual Shabbos of Emunah and Bitachon at the Westin Princeton in New Jersey.
It had all the trappings of a Shabbos getaway – a fancy hotel, savory Seudos catered by a five-star caterer, a well-known Baal Tefillah, a top-shelf performer, an exciting children’s program, and so on – but it was actually much more than that.
The attendees were there not to escape their weekday reality but to transform it.
The program included long-form addresses by Rabbi Rubashkin – drawn from Torah sources, illustrated by his dramatic personal experiences, and presented in his inimitable style – clearly laid out how we can deepen and also embody our Emunah and Bitachon. This year, attendees also heard from guest speakers Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz, Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger, and Rabbi Getzel Rubashkin.
Rabbi Shloime Taussig led the heartfelt Tefillos and Zemiros at each Shabbos Seudah.
Throughout the Shabbos, there were also opportunities for more informal conversations. During the meals and the Oneg Shabbos, the men had the opportunity to shmooze with Rabbi Rubashkin and discuss the various applications of Bitachon in a more intimate, interactive way. The women had the same opportunity to interact with Mrs. Leah Rubashkin, at their own Oneg. There was also time set aside for one-on-one chats with Rabbi and Mrs. Rubashkin for those who wanted to discuss more private, personal matters, which many attendees did.
Babysitters minded the babies and capable counselors ran fun-filled children’s programs, so the kids had a blast and the parents could benefit from everything the Shabbos had to offer.
Mrs. M. Kahana, from Montreal, Canada, really appreciated this aspect of the Shabbos. “It was so wonderful that the program was kid-friendly. The day camp was amazing. It was so exciting for the kids and such a help for the adults! The Rubashkins were so kind, welcoming, and dedicated to me and my children! We felt so special!”
The inspiring Shabbos was capped by a rousing Melava Malka. While the attendees enjoyed a full milchig Seuda, Rabbi Rubashkin shared stories of Tzaddikim and the lessons in Emunah and Bitachon they contained. The children had their own Melava Malka, complete with a bubble show and a drum circle, after which they joined the adults for joyous dancing which lasted into the wee hours of the morning, to the lively music of Yossi Cohen and the energetic singing of Rabbi Shloime Taussig and R’ Benny Friedman.
Over the Sunday morning breakfast spread, Rabbi Rubashkin spoke about “Bringing Bitachon Home,” taking the inspiration and clarity attendees had experienced over the special Shabbos and internalizing it, taking it with them, and applying it to daily life.
Beyond the packed program, many attendees found that just spending 48 hours with so many other Yidden who had made Emunah and Bitachon a conscious goal to pursue was invigorating and inspiring. The broad cross-section of Jewish communities represented amplified this even further.
“This Shabbaton used the precious 24 hours of Shabbos to infuse us with 24/7 of Emunah and Bitachon,” raved R’ Moshe Starkman of Philadelphia. “Bombarded as we are by the world trouble, local and global, we are at constant risk of becoming overwhelmed, or worse, deaf and callous.”
“We came to this Shabbos to awaken our sensitivities and to strengthen our faith in our Creator’s master plan and our appreciation for the opportunities we are given to serve Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Three generations of my family attended, and we each left inspired in our own way.”
R’ Noson Shechter agreed. “I found it very special to have a Shabbaton, a get-together, for the sole reason of giving the participants Chizuk in Emunah and Bitachon. No other agenda – not political, not fundraising, not for this or any organization – only to talk about Emunah and Bitachon. How great! How refreshing!”
Shiurim and study sessions of Shaar HaBitachon and other Seforim on this important topic are, Baruch Hashem, widespread. This special annual Shabbaton is an opportunity to come together and focus on the next step and bring the hard-earned clarity from our minds to our hearts, from an idea that we understand to the reality that we live. We have our work cut out for us, but we’re already looking forward to next year’s Shabbaton, may it be in Yerushalayim HaBenuyah with Moshiach.
To learn how emuna and bitachon can change your life, visit AlephBeisGimmel.com.