The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
Thank G-d, we are able to present to our dear readers the 100th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
At this time, we take the opportunity to thank our supporters, who have helped us publish this weekly publication.
May G-d bless them with health, happiness and success in all of their endeavors.
Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.
It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind
25 Adar I, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah portion is Pekudei, the last Torah portion of the Book of Exodus, which immediately precedes Vayikra, the first Torah portion of the Book of Leviticus. Accordingly, an intrinsic connection exists between the two:
At the end of Pekudei we are told that a cloud descended upon the Sanctuary. The purpose of a cloud is to conceal; the cloud prevented Moshe from entering the Sanctuary.
The theme of Vayikra, by contrast, is revelation. "G-d called to Moshe"--to reveal Himself to him.
Sequentially, the revelation of Vayikra follows the concealment of Pekudei. And a revelation that comes after a concealment is much more obvious than one that occurs without a prior concealment.
In the service of man, the revelation that follows a period of concealment is teshuvah (repentance; literally "return"). Before the person did teshuvah he was estranged from G-d, distanced from His Torah and mitzvot, i.e., in a state of concealment. His act of teshuvah, his return to G-d, constitutes the revelation.
Indeed, we find that Jews who repent of past misdeeds (baalei teshuvah) merit a higher revelation of G-dliness than those who were always righteous! For the revelation that follows a concealment is a more exalted one.
When a person does teshuvah, his "deliberate sins are considered as merits." "In the place where baalei teshuvah stand, even the completely righteous cannot." The tzadik is successful in completely banishing evil. But a baal teshuvah, someone who returns to G-d with all his heart, transforms the evil he has done into good--so much so that even his deliberate sins are considered as merits! By doing teshuvah, he turns darkness into light. This is the revelation that follows the concealment.
What can we learn from this? That regardless of our present spiritual condition we must never despair! We must never think that our spiritual state is so lowly that no hope exists. On the contrary: It is precisely after a period of concealment that the highest revelation of G-dliness is possible!
Past generations of Jews were on a much higher spiritual level than our own, but they were further removed from the final Redemption. Our generation, however, as the Rebbe has stated many times: "is the last generation of Golus (Exile) and the first generation of the Geulah (Redemption)!"
Because the greatest revelation of the Redemption follows the lowest descent, we must take heart and strengthen ourselves in advance of the light about to break forth. In this manner we will soon merit the true and complete Redemption--the revelation that follows the concealment--when "the night will illuminate as the day."
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.
Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.
by Yrachmiel Tilles1
When we Jews have a leap year we do it right: we add an additional month seven times every nineteen years. Because the solar year outpaces the lunar year by 11 days each year, at the end of every 19-year cycle, we achieve convergence of the solar and lunar vectors. Not only is this year, 5757, such a 19th year, it is a most special one, as you will realize if you divide 5757 by 3.
There is a lot that could be said about this. I'll restrict myself to two points: one about the "pregnant" year as the leap year is called in Hebrew, and one about the thirteenth month.
1) Day in, day out, always rising in the east and setting in the west, the sun is a dependable incandescent source of heat and light, even on cloudy days. As such, the sun symbolizes the power that Jewish constancy can generate: praying on a regular basis, whether you feel like it or not, studying Torah every day and night without fail, celebrating Shabbat and the Festivals, etc.
The delicate silvery moon appears nightly in a different location, and wearing an altered shape. Its phases of New, Quarter, Half, and Full are all palpable indicators to our bemused gaze of the moon's pulsating cycle. Thus, the moon represents the excitement of change and innovation. Each day the Torah should feel new, our prayers fresh, every Shabbat exciting, etc., all as if we had never done them before.
Some Jews overbalance towards "sun style," allowing the power built up by the regularity of their observances to beguile them into being satisfied with dry habit. Other are "moon men," letting the excitement and high times they occasionally achieve seduce them into ignoring the necessity for a basic level of daily commitment and consistency. The idea, of course, is to combine and harmonize the sun and moon forces, for we all need the positive qualities of both.
This year, as no other, can provide the inspiration to do so. For eighteen years on the Jewish calendar, either the sun or the moon has been leading the race. In the nineteenth year, and especially this year of all nineteens, balance, "the best of both," is achieved.
2) Interestingly, the added thirteenth month has the same name as the twelfth month: Adar. Thus, every "pregnant" year we have an Adar I and an Adar II. Two full months of all that Adar implies. How extraordinary!
Adar, which contains the festival of Purim, is the official lucky month of the Jewish people. It's also the official happy month - in the Code of Jewish Law it is written: "As soon as Adar begins, increase in joy!"
For sixty days it is a mitzvah to be extra happy. I hope that all our readers will take this mitzvah seriously. If you want to be super-religious about it, you should be increasingly happy each day even in comparison with the previous day of Adar.
May G-d help all of us to accomplish this by hastening our ultimate joy: the revelation of Moshiach and the Final Redemption.
1. Yrachmiel Tilles is one of the founders and directors of ASCENT Seminars in Safed, and editor of ASCENT Quarterly.
Next Tuesday (Mar. 18) is Tes Adar II. On this day, in 5700/March 19, 1940, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, arrived in America.
Though weakened in body--as he was confined to a wheelchair--he was not weakened in spirit.
The Previous Rebbe announced, upon his arrival, that he was going to open the first Chabad-Lubavitch yeshivah in America. He said, "America iz nisht andersh--America is not different [from Europe]." Just as yeshivot had dotted the European landscape for centuries, so too would they flourish here in America.
Upon hearing this, many people came to the Previous Rebbe and tried to dissuade him, citing examples of prominent rabbis who had also tried to establish yeshivot in America and had failed.
The Rebbe replied, "I did not come to America to relax, but rather, Divine Providence brought me to America to start rebuilding Judaism." He refused to go to sleep that night until he was assured that the yeshivah would open as he wished. The following day, Tomchei T'mimim Lubavitch Yeshivah in Brooklyn opened with ten students.
The Previous Rebbe wrote and spoke at great length about the process of education and the momentous task that is bestowed upon teachers.
In "The Principles of Guidance and Education," the Previous Rebbe describes the process of introspection and refinement that an educator must undergo in order to properly guide his/her students. He also explains how a teacher must carefully examine each individual pupil's character and tailor his/her teaching style to best educate the student with both love and firmness.
Contrary to the old saying that "those who can, do, and those who can't, teach," the Rebbe shows us that only a person with a truly fine, exceptional character can properly carry out the task of teaching the next generation.
The Rebbe explains that the arrival of the Previous Rebbe on our shores marked the beginning of the primary efforts to spread Chasidus and Judaism to the outer reaches of the world at large.
We should intensify our efforts to carry out the service begun on the 9th of Adar II, namely, to spread the light of Torah to the entire world, until the Redemption comes and this world is revealed as G-d's dwelling.
The Rebbe's slogan is: "The main thing is the deed." Hence, we present suggestions from the Rebbe's talks of what we can do to complete the Rebbe's work of bringing the Redemption.
Make Others Happy:
As we are in the midst of the 60 days of happiness comprised of the two months of Adar, we should endeavor to make others happy.
The Rebbe explained, "We should proceed to spread joy and happiness in the most literal sense, making efforts to assure that the members of one's household and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience great joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future."
JEWISH WOMEN AND GIRLS LIGHT SHABBAT CANDLES
* For local candle lighting times, consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch
Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
* For a free candle lighting kit, contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
* For a listing of the Centers in your area, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Friday, March 14, Erev Shabbat Parshat Pekudei:
Saturday, March 15, Shabbat Parshat Pekudei:
*. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.
Laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind
Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing
"Let There Be Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.
Back to "Living With Moshiach" Home Page