A Tribute to the Rebbe on 47 Years of Leadership
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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 92nd issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
This week's issue focuses on Yud Shevat. On Yud Shevat (the 10th of Shevat, Shabbat Parshat Bo, January 18), we commemorate the yahrtzeit of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn; it is also the 47th anniversary of the Rebbe's acceptance of leadership.
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 Shevat, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
Adapted from the 3rd chapter of the first Ma'amar (Chasidic discourse) said by the Rebbe, on Yud1 Shevat, 5711/1951.
The fact that our Sages say that "all those who are seventh are cherished," rather than "all those who are cherished are seventh," indicates that the seventh's primary quality lies in one's being seventh. In other words, one is cherished not on account of his choice, desire, or spiritual service, but because he is seventh--and this is something that he is born into. Yet the fact remains that "all those who are seventh are cherished." It was for this reason that it was Moshe who was privileged to have the Torah given through him.
The Previous Rebbe explained (soon after arriving in America) that even when we refer to the seventh of a series as being the most cherished, the special quality of the first is apparent. For the whole meaning of "seventh" is "seventh from the first." The Previous Rebbe then explained the qualities that the first--our forefather Avraham--attained through his spiritual service, which was performed with total self-sacrificing devotion.
Not content with the above, the Previous Rebbe adds that Avraham did not actively pursue mesirus nefesh [self-sacrifice].... Avraham's mesirus nefesh was incidental [to his actual service]. He knew that the main object of divine service was [that defined by the Sages' interpretation of the verse], "He proclaimed there the Name of G-d, L-rd of the world." [For our Sages say,] "do not read vayikra--'he proclaimed,' but vayakrei-- 'he made others proclaim.'" I.e., let another man likewise proclaim [G-d's Name]. And if in the course of this service mesirus nefesh was called for, he could supply that, too. Indeed, so estimable was Avraham's divine service and mesirus nefesh that even Moshe was privileged to have the Torah given through him because he was the beloved seventh--the seventh to the first. [It is to this relationship between them that the Sages apply the verse:] "G-d told Moshe, 'Do not stand in the place of the greats [referring to Avraham].'"
It is true that the seventh of a series is very much loved and that this status comes not as a result of choice nor as a result of one's divine service, but as a finished product, merely as a result of birth. Nevertheless, there are no inherent limitations that should cause an individual to say that this status is beyond him and that it is accessible only to a select few. On the contrary, this is a situation similar to that which is explained in Tanna dvei Eliyahu and quoted in Chassidus, that every Jew, even a slave and handmaiden, can attain the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. [Similarly,] each and every Jew is obligated to say, "When will my actions equal those of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov?"
At the same time we should not delude ourselves: We must know that we should "not stand in the place of the greats," and that the merit of the seventh of a series consists of his being seventh to the first. I.e., he is capable of doing the Divine service and fulfilling the mission of the first: "Do not read 'he proclaimed,' but 'he made others proclaim.'"
This, then, is why the seventh is so cherished: it is he who draws down the Shechinah (Divine Presence), in fact--the essence of the Shechinah; moreover, he draws it down into this lowly world.
It is this that is demanded of each and every one of us of the seventh generation--and "all those that are seventh are cherished": Although the fact that we are in the seventh generation is not the result of our own choosing and our own service, and indeed in certain ways perhaps contrary to our will, nevertheless, "all those who are seventh are cherished." We are now very near the approaching footsteps of Moshiach, indeed, we are at the conclusion of this period, and our spiritual task is to complete the process of drawing down the Shechinah--moreover, the essence of the Shechinah--within specifically our lowly world.
1. On this day the Rebbe officially accepted the mantle of Chabad-Lubavitch leadership, becoming the 7th Rebbe in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty.
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.
The Rebbe taught that a true connection to the Rebbe comes through studying the Rebbe's teachings. Dozens of the Rebbe's works are available in English.
You can log onto the Rebbe's teachings on the Internet at web address http://www.chabad.org. And, of course, continue to read Living With Moshiach, and share it with friends.
By the Grace of G-d
Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5711
To Anash, to the students of Tomchei Temimim, and to those who have a bond or a relationship with my revered father-in-law, the saintly Rebbe, of blessed memory:
G-d bless you all.
Greetings and blessings:
In reply to the many questions that have been asked about a detailed schedule for the Tenth of Shevat, the yahrtzeit of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, I would hereby suggest the following:
1. On the Shabbos before the yahrtzeit [each chasid] should attempt to be called for an aliyah to the Torah.
2. If there are not enough aliyos the Torah should be read [a number of times] in different rooms. However, no additions should be made to the number of aliyos [at each reading].
3. The congregation should see to it that the Maftir should be the most respected congregant, as determined by the majority; alternatively, the choice should be determined by lot.
4. The congregation should choose someone to lead the prayers on the day of the yahrtzeit. It is proper to divide [the honor, choosing] one person to lead Maariv, a second to lead Shacharis, and a third - Minchah. In this way a greater number of Anash will have the privilege.
5. A [yahrtzeit] candle should be lit that will burn throughout the 24 hours. If possible, the candle should be of beeswax.
6. Five candles should burn during the prayer services.
7. After each prayer service (and in the morning, [this means] after the reading of Tehillim), the sheliach tzibbur should study (or at least conclude the study of) ch. 24 of Mishnayos Keilim and ch. 7 of Mishnayos Mikvaos. He should then recite the mishnah beginning "Rabbi Chananyah ben Akashya...," followed silently by a few lines of Tanya, and Kaddish deRabbanan.
8. After Maariv, part of the maamar (Basi LeGani) that was released for the day of the demise should be recited from memory. If there is no one to do this from memory, it should be studied from the text. This should also be done after Shacharis, and the maamar should be concluded after Minchah.
9. Before Shacharis, a chapter of Tanya should be studied. This should also be done after Minchah.
10. In the morning, before prayer, charity should be given to those institutions that are related to our Nasi, my revered father-in-law, of sainted memory. Donations should be made on behalf of oneself and on behalf of each member of one's family. The same should be done after Minchah.
11. After Shacharis and the recitation of the maamar, each individual should read a pidyon nefesh. (It goes without saying that a gartl is worn during the reading.) Those who had the privilege of entering [the saintly Rebbe's study] for yechidus, or at least of seeing his face, should - while reading the pidyon nefesh - picture themselves as standing before him. The pidyon nefesh should then be placed between the pages of a maamar or kuntreis, etc., of his teachings, and sent, if possible on the same day, to be read at his graveside.
12. In the course of the day one should study chapters of Mishnayos that begin with the letters of his name.
13. In the course of the day one should participate in a farbrengen.
14. In the course of the day one should set aside a time during which to tell one's family about the saintly Rebbe, and about the spiritual tasks at which he toiled throughout all the days of his life.
15. In the course of the day, people (to whom this task is appropriate) should visit synagogues and houses of study in their cities and cite a statement or an adage drawn from the teachings of the saintly Rebbe. They should explain how he loved every Jew. [Furthermore,] they should make known and explain the practice that he instituted of reciting Tehillim every day, studying the daily portion of Chumash with the commentary of Rashi, and, where appropriate, studying the Tanya as he divided it into daily readings throughout the year. If possible this should all be done in the course of a farbrengen.
16. In the course of the day, people (who are fit for the task) should visit centers of observant youth - and, in a neighborly spirit, should make every endeavor to also visit centers for the young people who are not yet observant - in order to explain to them the warm love that the saintly Rebbe constantly had for them. It should be explained to these people what he expected of them; they should be told of the hope and the trust that he placed in them - that they would ultimately fulfill their task of strengthening the observance of Judaism and disseminating the study of Torah with all the energy, warmth and vitality that characterize youth.
* * *
If prevailing conditions allow, all of the above should of course be continued during the days following the yahrtzeit, and particularly on the following Shabbos.
* * *
May G-d hasten the coming of our Redeemer, and then "those who repose in the dust will awaken and sing joyful praises." And our Nasi among them will give us wondrous tidings, and lead us along the path that leads up to the House of G-d.
[Signed:] Menachem Mendel Schneerson
2. Reprinted from "Sefer Haminhagim"--The Book of Chabad-Lubavitch Customs, published by Kehot Publication Society, 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213.
Shabbat Parshat Bo, the 10th of Shevat (Jan. 18), is the anniversary of the passing, in 1950, of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and the beginning of the leadership of the present Rebbe.
Our Sages teach that the Sabbath blesses the entire week. On Thursday of the upcoming week we celebrate the festival of Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of the Trees. It is certainly not coincidental that the Tenth of Shevat, the anniversary of the passing of the leader of the previous generation, and the ascension to leadership of the Rebbe, blesses the week in which Tu B'Shevat occurs.
What is the connection? The Torah teaches us that "man is like a tree in the field." This refers to trees in general, which allows one to compare a person to a fruit-bearing tree, a tree that offers shade, etc. A tzaddik, however, is likened to specific trees, most notably a date-palm and a "cedar of Lebanon," as described in King David's Psalms.
The date-palm is one of the seven species of the Land of Israel (whose fruit is traditionally eaten on Tu B'Shevat). The Midrash teaches that the date-palm grows straight just as the tzaddik remains upright and honest. The wood of the palm tree is free of knots just as the tzaddik is free of flaws. Every part of the palm tree is useful: its fruits, its leaves and fronds, and its wood. Similarly, each tzaddik fulfills his unique purpose and mission completely.
Like a cedar tree, whose wood is specially suitable to make furnishings, the tzaddik makes of himself a "vessel" for G-dliness. Also, if a cedar is felled, its roots and stump remain alive and a new cedar sprouts in its place. Similarly, a tzaddik's righteousness is indestructible; if a tzaddik is harmed, he will only grow stronger.
May we soon merit the fulfillment of the Rebbe's special purpose and mission--which continues even today because of the Rebbe's indestructible righteousness--the revelation of G-dliness throughout the world which will commence with the complete revelation of Moshiach, may it take place NOW!
A Tribute to the Rebbe on 47 Years of Leadership
Reb Avrohom Ber of Homil was a follower of the Tzemach Tzedek--the third Lubavitcher Rebbe. He was a childhood genius who, by the age of ten, had already mastered many works of in-depth and intense Jewish scholarship. By nature he was instinctively curious and given to investigation. He was still very young when his father brought him to meet his Rebbe.
The Tzemach Tzedek took his handkerchief, wrapped it around his holy hand until his hand was no longer visible, and began to wave it back and forth. "What do you see?" the Rebbe asked the boy.
"I see a handkerchief waving back and forth," replied Avrohom Ber.
"And how is the handkerchief being moved?"
"The Rebbe's hand is moving it," Avrohom Ber responded.
"But you don't actually see a hand, do you?" the Rebbe persisted. "Nonetheless, you can understand that even something which is not visible to the physical eye certainly exists and is real."
The clever Avrohom Ber quickly grasped the Rebbe's intent.
* * *
The word "Rebbe" is an acronym for Rosh Bnei Yisrael--the head of the Jewish people. Just as the head guides the body, the Rebbe guides the Jewish people. And, just as we are not always cognizant of the way in which our head is guiding even the most minute activity of our body, so, too, are we not always aware of the guidance that the Jewish people gain from the Rebbe.
Our first Rebbe was Moshe Rabbeinu--Moses our Rebbe--as he has been known throughout the ages. Since Moses, the Jewish people has always had a Rebbe, a Moshe Rabbeinu, a leader of the generation. Jewish mystical teachings refer to this concept as "an emanation from Moshe present in every generation." The last and eternal Rebbe will be Moshiach, whom, the Midrash states, people will address as "Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach"--our Rebbe King Moshiach.
All of these Rebbes of our people share one common factor. They share the same neshama, the same soul, the same "comprehensive" soul that encompasses and feels for and is compassionate towards, and connected to, every other Jewish soul that exists.
In today's mindset of "what you see is what you get" and "seeing is believing," it is sometimes hard to believe that we have souls. And it is just as hard to comprehend that there is a person intimately connected to our soul and to that of every other Jew. "Nonetheless... even that which is not visible to the physical eye certainly exists and is true."
The first of September was the date by which everything had to be in place. The goal was to complete the new Chabad House that would provide a home away from home for the Jewish students of Rutgers University. The five-million-dollar building was almost complete, ready to house two dozen women, provide kosher meals to thousands of students a week, and serve as the center for the vibrant Jewish life that Chabad has built at Rutgers.
But Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, director of Chabad of Middlesex/Monmouth counties in New Jersey, hada problem. In mid-July he was still eight hundred thousand dollars short of the money he needed to raise to complete the project and get the building open.
By the end of August, the situation looked pretty bleak, indeed. The contractor had walked off the job and wouldn't return unless more money was forth coming. However, there was still a good deal of work left to do before the certificate of occupancy could be issued, and the mortgages could be obtained.
Rabbi Carlebach had called Rabbi Leibel Groner, from the Rebbe's secretariat, who had spoken at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Chabad House, for some more leads. But Rabbi Groner was unable to help.
Rabbi Carlebach continued to pray at the ohel twice a week, as he had been doing all summer. The frustration and stress of the situation were taking its toll, as was evidenced late one Sunday afternoon when Rabbi Carlebach, in the midst of making calls to solicit funds, fell asleep with the phone cradled in his hand.
Moments, or maybe hours later, the shrill of the telephone jarred him awake. It was Rabbi Groner, asking how much money was needed to complete the mikvah in the Chabad House.
"Forty thousand dollars," was Rabbi Carlebach's response.
Rabbi Groner called back Monday morning with good news.
A New York business man might be able to help. Time was of the essence so Rabbi Carlebach called the man, Mr. A., and offered to drive into New York, pick him up, and bring him out to the uncompleted Chabad House. Mr. A. agreed and Rabbi Carlebach picked him up the following afternoon. Mr. A. sat quietly for the whole drive.
As Rabbi Carlebach showed Mr. A. around the Chabad House, he seemed to be only mildly interested. However, when the two men entered the area designated to be the mikvah, Mr. A. just stood there and stared. Five minutes passed, then ten. After fifteen minutes, Rabbi Carlebach told Mr. A. that he would be upstairs saying the afternoon prayers. When Rabbi Carlebach finished praying, he heard Mr. A. downstairs, talking excitedly to someone on his cellular phone.
Later, on the way back to New York, Mr. A. explained his strange behavior to the rabbi.
Mr. A. was born in Russia, and his family had moved to Israel when he was a child. There was very little money, and Lubavitch in Israel had taken care of the family's material and spiritual needs.
As a young man Mr. A. had come to the United States and started a business. From the moment he had set foot in this country, he had maintained close contact with the Rebbe. Every step he took, in his business or personal life, he kept the Rebbe informed. When he had started his business, he had written to the Rebbe for a blessing and had committed himself to observe the mitzvah that requires giving one tenth of one's earnings to tzedakah (charity). Over time his venture had been blessed with success.
A few years ago, his wife had given birth to a baby boy weighing only two pounds, three ounces. The doctors were not certain that the baby would survive. If he did he might never see or speak. Mr. and Mrs. A. had asked the Rebbe for a blessing for their son. The Rebbe assured them that the baby would develop normally, and he did.
In the past few months, however, the doctor noticed that the boy's muscles weren't developing correctly, and that he might not walk properly. Mr. A. went to the ohel to pray for the health of his son.
Soon afterwards, he had a puzzling, yet fascinating dream. He dreamt that he approached the Rebbe for a blessing, and the Rebbe told him to follow the instructions of Rabbi Groner and then to come back to the Rebbe. Rabbi Groner told him to go and inspect a mikvah. In his dream he watched himself go to a mikvah, and, seeing that it was still not completed, grew more and more angry, wondering how could it be that here in America there could be a mikvah that cannot be finished?
When Mr. A. awoke, the dream came back to him in bits and pieces. When he recalled the dream in its entirety, he checked with his accountant and ascertained that, in accordance with his customary charitable giving, he had fallen behind in the amount of $40,000. Mr. A. told his brother about the dream and that he was going to Rabbi Groner. If Rabbi Groner told him of a mikvah that needed somewhere around $40,000 to be completed, he would know his dream was true.
While Mr. A. was in his office, Rabbi Groner called Rabbi Carlebach. When Rabbi Groner turned around to tell Mr. A. that the mikvah needed $40,000 to be completed, he saw Mr. A.'s face turn white.
And now, when Mr. A. arrived at the Chabad House, he was amazed to find that the unfinished mikvah looked exactly as it had in his dream.
On Thursday Mr. A. brought Rabbi Groner the $40,000. Although it was 10:30 p.m., Rabbi Groner called Rabbi Carlebach who immediately drove into New York to pick up the money.
The next day, Rabbi Carlebach had a meeting with the contractor and the workers at 8:00 a.m. The meeting did not go well and the contractor got up to leave. Rabbi Carlebach stopped him on his way out and handed him the envelope, containing the money, from Mr. A. When the contractor realized that there were immediate funds available, and, even moreso, after hearing the story of the dream, he ordered his workers back to the site and before long the work was completed. The following Friday, the city officials and the board of health gave the building a "thumbs up." That night, hundreds of Jewish students were able to celebrate Shabbat in the new Chabad House.
At the present time, when the world trembles, when all the world shudders with the birth-pangs of Moshiach... it is the duty of every Jew, man and woman, old and young, to ask himself: What have I done and what am I doing to alleviate the birth-pangs of Moshiach, and to merit the total Redemption that will come through our righteous Moshiach?
(From a letter of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn)
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.
Regarding Yud Shevat:
Among the 16 directives suggested by the Rebbe3 in connection with Yud Shevat.
In the morning and afternoon give charity to an institution related to the Previous Rebbe; participate in a chasidic gathering; learn about and tell others about the Previous Rebbe; visit centers for young people and tell them about the love the Previous Rebbe had for them and the hope he had that they would use their energy, warmth and vitality to strengthen Judaism.
For a Yud Shevat gathering in your area, contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
3. The full text of the Rebbe's Letter is printed above. Ed.
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, Jan. 17, Erev Shabbat Parshat Bo:
Light Shabbat Candles,* by 4:36 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18, Shabbat Parshat Bo:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:41 p.m.
*. 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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