Jewish Sochi Hosts PM Bennet for Shabbat

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was forced to remain in Sochi, Russia for Shabbat after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin continued longer than expected. The Jewish community was on hand to provide for all their Shabbat needs. During the Shabbat meal for the Israeli delegation, Prime Minister Naftali expressed his appreciation and shared his admiration for the work of the Rabbis of the Jewish communities in Russia and Chabad emissaries saying “I want all Chabad Shluchim to know – I very much admire you, I truly love each and every one of you.” 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who spent Shabbat in Sochi after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was hosted by the Jewish community in the city, led by Rabbi Shalom Lazar.

Ahead of time, the Jewish community organized all the delegation’s needs, including a Torah scroll and prayer books, as well as Kosher food for the prime minister and his entire entourage.

Before Kiddush, Bennett thanked the entire delegation and staff for the effort each one of them put into the success of the meeting and shared that the meeting with President Vladimir Putin was warm and constructive, with mutual understanding and a desire to continue the cooperation of both sides. 

The prime minister then related a short ‘Dvar Torah’ on this week’s Torah portion and said, “What I learn from Avraham Avinu and the story of Akeidas Yitzchak, is that faith and trust in Hashem is not an insurance policy or a deal with G-d, that everything will always be great. When someone believes, he may also face difficulties, there may be challenges but faith is to do everything, the maximum we can do, and to believe that the rest is in the hands of G-d and he will do everything just as it should be.”

“I want to thank the Jewish community and Chabad, which is a second to none Jewish organization, for the warm welcome, and for their dedication and work they do here in Russia, and in every corner of the world,” the prime minister concluded. 

After Rabbi Sholom Lazar recited Kiddush, he spoke about the importance of welcoming guests, adding, “I want to thank the Prime Minister and the entire delegation for the great privilege of hosting you this special Shabbat. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains how we learn from Avraham that hospitality is not enough, it is more important is to accompany and escort the guests. By Divine Providence, you stayed here for Shabbat, and you privileged us with the great Mitzvah, not only to welcome you but also to accompany you properly; I want to thank you for strengthening our community and all Russian Jews.”

In a private conversation, later on, the prime minister told Rabbi Lazar: “I want all Chabad Shluchim to know – I very much admire you, I love you, I truly love each and every one of you. Keep up your great work.” 

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