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Where's Waldo?

Thursday, 3 February, 2011 - 5:00 pm

In the famous series of Where’s Waldo? books, there are some pages in which Waldo is camouflaged amongst a host of fake Waldos. The goal is to find the real Waldo, of which there is only one.

I am amazed at the vista. Observed from a distance, I am certain that there really are many Waldos. But upon closer inspection each Waldo is unique.

These puzzles are more challenging, but ultimately more rewarding. It’s a much greater accomplishment and satisfaction when I realize that they play a role in a collective scene, but truly have their individual identity.


This past Sunday Chabad women from around the globe gathered for the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchos. To many outsiders these women appear as 3000 clones of each other.

May have referred to the annual Shluchim or Shluchos photo as the Where’s Wlado Chabad Version.

But a closer scrutiny reveals distinct community leaders, each with her own personality, perspective, and background. In fact, many do not share the same nationality, language, upbringing, or job description. One might be a soup-kitchen manager, the other a Rebbetzin. One a youth director, another an administrator.

But they all share one commonality: they serve the same cause. They all represent the ideals and mission of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – bringing Jews closer to the Torah and their heritage and making this world the perfect Divine space it is meant to be.


In this week’s Parsha of Terumah we learn about the instruction to erect the Mishkan, a traveling Sanctuary. G-d’s command is clear: “Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me a donation; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My donation” (Shemot/Exodus 25:2).

Certainly, a handful of individuals could have put together the resources necessary to construct the Mishkan. Yet G-d insists that it be a communal effort. Not only in principle, but in practice too. G-d desired that every Jew participate in its construction.

Each person gives in her unique way, yet the contribution is to a collective objective. The individual and the group are equally important.

There's a huge "Waldo" movement, but only one Waldo. 

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