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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 115th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue we feature a summer message from the Rebbe.
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
Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
In 5703/1943, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, issued an urgent call to chasidim to begin a massive campaign establishing additional religious institutions around the world. Many people could not understand why the Rebbe was initiating such a large-scale operation if, as the Rebbe had stated, we could hear the approaching footsteps of Moshiach. Would not such an undertaking constitute an enormous waste of effort if the Jewish people are to return to Israel with the coming of Moshiach?
By way of explanation, the Previous Rebbe referred to a teaching derived from this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotecha. "At times, the cloud remained from evening till morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they journeyed forward . . . at the order of G-d they remained in the camp, and at the order of G-d they journeyed forward." For 40 years, the encampments of the Jewish people, as they journeyed through the wilderness towards the land of Israel, were of varying duration. They ranged from a short overnight stay to a 19-year period in the same location. Yet, at each site, the Sanctuary was erected and offerings were brought.
Why was it necessary to expend such massive effort even for those encampments that were destined to last only a few hours?
Erecting the Sanctuary, just like the journeys themselves, was done solely according to G-d's command. It therefore matters little whether the Sanctuary stood for many years on the same spot, or whether it was erected for just a few minutes. The physical object used in the performance of a mitzvah is significant solely because such is the will of G-d. In this case, the mitzvah to erect the Sanctuary, for whatever length of time G-d desired, is what imbued the labor involved in its erection with meaning.
The Jewish people, "believers, the children of believers," have faith in the coming of Moshiach and await his arrival each and every day. Yet this fundamental belief in no way contradicts our efforts to build up and strengthen Jewish life and institutions while we are waiting. G-d wants us to take an active role in imbuing our surroundings with holiness no matter where the exile takes us, for this is His will and an integral part of His Divine Plan.
We needn't worry that Moshiach's arrival will interrupt us in the first stages of whatever worthy project we are currently involved in; when Moshiach comes, we will fully understand the significance of all our service throughout the thousands of years of exile, even those that have not yet been completed.
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.
Shavuot Eve, 5734/1974
To All Boy Students and
To All Girl Students
Summer vacation is approaching, and no doubt you are all looking forward to making the most of it. I would like to make a suggestion to you in this connection.
The summer recess is meant to give you an opportunity to strengthen your health of body and soul, which, of course, go hand in hand together. For Jewish boys and girls to be truly healthy means, first of all, to have a healthy neshama (soul). And a Jewish soul derives its health from the Torah and mitzvot, which are "our life and the length of our days," as we say in our prayers.
Needless to say, life and health must be continuous, and one cannot take a "vacation" from them.
The Torah and mitzvot are to the Jewish soul what breathing and nourishment are to the body. A healthy person seldom thinks about the vital necessity of breathing and food. However, on certain occasions one becomes acutely aware of these things. For example, when one swims under water and holds his breath, then comes up and feels the urge to fill his lungs with fresh air. Or, after a fast-day, when the body has been temporarily weakened from lack of food and drink, one immediately feels the invigorating effect of food and drink.
Now, during the school year, when a great deal of time that could be spent in studying the Torah and doing mitzvot is taken up with other unavoidable occupations, such as the study of English and arithmetic, etc., the soul gets somewhat undernourished. At such times, your soul "holds its breath," so to speak, which makes it more eager to get back to Torah and mitzvot whenever time is available.
Comes the summer recess, and your soul can now breathe more freely and more fully, for you are then released from those other unavoidable studies and occupations.
Thus, the summer vacation gives you an opportunity to apply yourselves to Torah study and Torah activities with the utmost eagerness and enthusiasm--not only to make good use of your free time, but also to make up for lost time during the past school period, and, what is not less important, to give your soul a chance to fortify herself and "take a deep breath" for the school period ahead.
As a matter of fact, the summer vacation seems to be so well planned for this purpose, for it is a time when you can devote yourselves to Torah study and Torah activities in particularly agreeable circumstances: in a relaxed frame of mind and in pleasant natural surrounding of sunshine and fresh air.
Moreover, it comes soon after the Festival of Shavuot, the Season of Receiving Our Torah at Mt. Sinai. As you know, this Festival comes after the many days and weeks of counting the Omer, in memory of the eager anticipation of our ancestors, from the day after they left Egypt until receiving this greatest Divine gift--the Torah and mitzvot--seven weeks later. This should provide an added measure of inspiration to last through each and every day of the summer vacation and, indeed, through the year.
I urge you, dear children, to make the most of your summer vacation in light of all that has been said above. Think about it, and put it into effect--in the fullest measure, and G-d will surely bless you with a happy and healthy summer, happy and healthy both spiritually and physically.
* * *
For a Torah Summer Camp in your area - contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center. For a listing of the Centers in your area: http://www.chabad.org/chabadir-access.html. In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
In the Era of the Redemption, according to Maimonides, "the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d." From the expression, "the entire world," it appears that this phrase includes Gentiles as well. We will ultimately witness the fulfillment of the prophecy (Zephaniah 3:9), that "I will make the people pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d," and even non-Jews will be devoted solely to seeking "the knowledge of G-d."
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.
Study Ethics of the Fathers
We read one chapter of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) each Shabbat following the afternoon prayer. Pirkei Avot contain ethics and moral exhortations.
Many have the custom to continue reading these chapters throughout the summer months until RosHaShanah; summer is a time when people are prone to become more lax in their Jewish observances.
The Rebbe emphasized the importance of not only reciting the chapters, but also actually studying them.
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:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Friday, June 20, Erev Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:
Saturday, June 21, Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:
1. 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.
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