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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 94th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
This week's issue focuses on Chof Beis Shevat. On Chof Beis (the 22nd day of) Shevat, Thursday, Jan. 30, we commemorate the 9th yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of 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
15 Shevat, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
The number twenty-two, written in Hebrew letters, is chof-beis. These are the same letters making up the word bach that is found in the verse, "Through you (bach), Israel will be blessed." This verse indicates that "through you," blessing will be drawn down to each and every Jew, generating positive activities, which, in turn, will lead to further activities of blessing in a pattern that will continue endlessly.
Ultimately, these activities will lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy "And G-d will wipe tears away from every face." "Tears" in Hebrew is numerically equivalent to 119. G-d's positive activity of wiping away tears represents an increase, causing the sum to reach 120, the complete sum of human life. Therefore, when Moses reached 120 years old, he stated, "Today, my days and my years are completed."
The above relates to every Jew, for every Jew possesses a spark of Moses within him. This spark of Moses generates positive activity, which, as explained above, initiates a pattern that continues to generate further positive activity forever.
The Hebrew word for "forever," olam, also means "world." Olam is related to the Hebrew word helem, meaning concealment. Our world is characterized by hiddenness, the concealment of G-dliness. This concealment allows for a soul--an actual part of G-d--to be concealed, that is, to depart from this world after its "days and years are completed"--after they have been endowed with fullness and completion through good deeds. In this context as well, the pattern mentioned above applies, as each good deed leads to more good deeds, in a never-ending sequence.
The above also shares a connection to the Torah reading of this Shabbat [Parshat Yitro], which describes the Giving of the Torah. Our Sages relate that after each of the Ten Commandments, "the souls of the Jews departed," a phenomenon parallel to death, and G-d revived them with the dew that He will use to resurrect the dead in the era of the Redemption.
Similarly, in the present context, four years ago today,1 an "actual part of G-d," a Jewish soul, ascended from this world. Each year, on the day of the yahrtzeit, that soul ascends to a higher level, indeed, a level immeasurably higher than the peaks the soul had reached previously. This is reflected in the recitation of Kaddish2 on that day. Its recitation again on the day of the yahrtzeit, after not being recited on a daily basis, indicates a new ascent.
May the soul reach the ultimate level of ascent, the level to be reached at the time of the Resurrection. And may this take place in the immediate future. For ours is the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Redemption.
Together with all the Jews of the present generation who will proceed to the Holy Land amidst health and joy, they will be joined by "those who lie in the dust," the souls of the previous generations, who "will arise and sing."
In particular, this applies to a soul who has merited that many Jewish girls be named after her, and educated in the spirit in which she lived, which, in turn, came as a result of the education she was given by her father, the Previous Rebbe.
This will be hastened by the distribution of money to be given--with each person making an addition from his own funds--to tzedakah. This will speed the coming of the Redemption when "the Holy One, blessed be He, will make a dance for the righteous," a dance that will be joined by each member of the Jewish people, man, woman, and child. And they will point to G-d and say, "Behold this is the G-d in whom we put our trust."
And this will take place in the immediate future. "With our youth and our elders... with our sons and our daughters," we will proceed to the Holy Land "on the clouds of heaven." And "those that lie in the dust will arise and sing," with the righteous ones mentioned previously, at our head.
1. This was said on the fourth yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin. This year marks the Rebbetzin's ninth yahrtzeit.
2. The Kaddish is recited each day for eleven months only in the year after the person's death.
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.
On Thursday, Chof Beis (the 22nd day of) Shevat (this year, Jan. 30), we commemorate the ninth yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Rebbe.
The Rebbetzin was a true queen. Not merely by virtue of her noble ancestry (descending from all the first six Rebbes of Chabad) nor even of her exalted position as the wife of the Rebbe. She was a true queen in her own right, too.
She was a queen in her exalted qualities of character. The Rebbetzin was sensitive and compassionate to others without being in any way condescending. For every person she met, every visitor to her home, even young children, she always had the right words to suit the situation.
The Rebbetzin was a queen intellectually as well. Coming from a long line of great Torah scholars, she was, not surprisingly, a true intellectual. Those who knew her well and remembered her father, the Previous Rebbe, considered her to have inherited his penetrating intellect and analytic mind. She was learned and erudite, fluent in seven languages, with well-founded opinions on a variety of subjects.
When the Previous Rebbe passed on in 1950, the chassidim called upon her husband, the present Rebbe, as the obvious successor. The Rebbe refused to even consider it.
It was the Rebbetzin who finally convinced the Rebbe, though she knew what it would mean to her own personal life and how she would have to forfeit everything a spouse takes for granted.
And through all this, the Rebbetzin remained a queen. As much as she tried, even succeeded, in concealing her great qualities, her entire demeanor in all her deeds and words bespoke royality. But it was utterly effortless on her part, an inborn, integral part of her personality.
As we mark the Rebbetzin's ninth yahrtzeit, we pray that her merit protects us and that she remains a shining example to all of us until the revelation of all that is truly royal with the ultimate Redemption.
Though precious little is known of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the few statements of hers that are public,3 convey her brilliance, wit and personal insight:
A young bride-to-be from a distinguished chasidic family could not be convinced by her grandfather to uphold a little-practiced custom, that was not the vogue, at her wedding. The grandfather asked the Rebbetzin to speak with the bride. When the young woman protested that none of her friends had acted in accordance with the custom and that she would be looked upon as being different, the Rebbetzin responded, "It's very modern to be different."
"It's very modern to be different." From safety pins in the ears to "earrings" in other parts of the anatomy, from astraining to personalized trainers, we strive, and to some extent succeed, to be modern, i.e., different.
But how many of us have the courage to be "modern" when it comes to Judaism?
The next time a book about a new spiritual path tops the best seller list, be modern and buy a book about the Jewish spirit.
The next time a friend asks you to sign up for a lecture series at the local university, be modern and sign up for a lecture series at the local Chabad Lubavitch Center.
The next time suggestions for restaurants are offered for that high-powered lunch, be modern and suggest a kosher restaurant (most major cities nowadays have at least one kosher restaurant).
And think of the Rebbetzin, who was so utterly modern that she cared not a bit about what "modern" conventions say. She remained the Rebbe's most ardent and devoted follower, so much so, that the Rebbetzin once stated, "His [the Rebbe's] will is my will."
"G-d alone knows the full extent of her greatness," the Rebbe said during the shiva for the Rebbetzin.
As the Rebbe stated in his first public discourse, all sevenths are precious ... we are the seventh generation ... the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption.
In the Redemption, when the G-dly essence of everything will be revealed, we will surely appreciate the Rebbetzin's true greatness.
3. See also Living With Moshiach, Vol. 87.
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.
"The yahrtzeit should, as is Jewish custom, be connected with deeds undertaken in memory of the departed. The Hebrew expression for this intent, l'ilui nishmat, means "for the ascent of the soul." Our deeds help elevate the soul of the departed. Then, the higher levels that the soul reaches are drawn down and influence this world.... Also, it is proper that gifts be given to charity in multiples of 470, the numerical equivalent of the Rebbetzin's name."
The Rebbe, 22 Shevat, 5750/1990
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. 31, Erev Shabbat Parshat Yitro:
Light Shabbat Candles,* by 4:53 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1, Shabbat Parshat Yitro:
Blessing of the New Month, Adar I.**
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:56 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.
**. Rosh Chodesh Adar I is on Friday, February, 7, and Saturday, February, 8.
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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