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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 97th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
This week's issue focuses on Purim Katan, and Shushan Purim Katan. Purim Katan (the minor Purim) is on Friday, Feb. 21, and the day afterwards, Saturday, Feb. 22, is Shushan Purim Katan.
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
3 Adar I, 5757
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah reading, Tetzave, is the only portion in the entire Torah following Moses' birth, in which Moses' name does not appear.
Our Sages explain that the reason for this omission was Moses' own request, made to G-d after, the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf: "And if not (if You will not forgive them), blot me out, I pray you, from Your book which You have written." The words of a tzadik, a holy and righteous person, are always fulfilled, even if spoken conditionally. Thus, we find that Moses' wish was granted in this week's Torah portion, for his name never appears in the entire portion.
However, when we delve into the text itself, we find an interesting phenomenon: This chapter, which specifically does not mention Moses, begins with a direct address to the very person whose name it omits! "And you shall command (ve'ata tetzave)."
A name is of lesser importance than a person's essential nature. It is a means of identification and a way of being known to others. But one does not really need a name in order to live. A newborn baby exists as an independent being from the moment it is born, and only receives its name after several days. From this we learn that the use of the grammatical second person, "you," expresses an even higher level of relationship than calling a person by his given name, which was only bestowed on him secondarily.
If such is the case, then it follows that the omission of Moses' name only serves to underscore the very special essence of Moses, which was even higher than the mention of his name could express.
Moses' whole life was Torah, to the extent that we refer to the Torah as "The Five Books of Moses." But his greatness was best illustrated when the lowest elements among the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf, explicitly expressing their desire to separate themselves from the Torah. Yet, Moses was willing to sacrifice that which he held most dear on their behalf. "Blot out my name from Your book," Moses pleaded with G-d, "if You will not forgive them even this grave sin."
Moses and the Jews formed one entity, each of whose existence was dependent upon the other. The commentator Rashi explains: "Moses is Israel, and Israel is Moses." When even some Jews sinned, Moses suffered a spiritual blow. Even though Moses was up on Mount Sinai when the Golden Calf was actually made, he was still affected by the actions of the others.
It was Moses' self-sacrifice and his desire to forgo that which was most important to him that express a unity that is beyond mere names. It is therefore precisely the portion Tetzave, in which Moses is not mentioned, that reveals his strength and his greatness. The willingness to sacrifice oneself for every fellow Jew, even one who sins, is the mark of every true leader of the Jewish People.
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.
In a leap year such as this year, there are two Hebrew months of Adar. Marriages, births and deaths that took place in Adar of a non-leap year are all celebrated in the second Adar.
The holiday of Purim, too, is celebrated in Adar II on the 14th of the month. However, it is customary to recognize the 14th of Adar I (this year, Friday, Feb. 21), as Purim Katan (the "minor" Purim). This is done by making meals of a festive nature, not delivering eulogies and not fasting.
Since this year is a leap year, we count the month of Adar twice. The holiday of Purim is celebrated in the second Adar. However, in the first Adar, we celebrate Purim Katan (the "minor" Purim).
Purim Katan is a microcosm of the larger Purim. It comes exactly 30 days before the "big" Purim and serves as an official reminder that it is time to begin preparing ourselves for the upcoming holiday. In essence, we have 30 extra days to put ourselves in the holiday spirit.
In general, if one does not prepare for a holiday, it can just come and go, hardly making any impression on us at all. Lacking the proper preparation means we might not rise to the emotional and spiritual heights of which we are capable.
Let us imagine ourselves traveling on a train. The scenery outside the window is magnificent. If we, however, but blink an eye, what we just saw is gone from our sight. The same is true of each holiday. If we do not prepare properly, with not more than the blink of an eye, it has passed us by.
Purim Katan is a reminder in our calendar announcing, "Wait, Purim is going to happen. And it's going to happen soon!"
If we use the reminder that Purim Katan gives us, and really prepare for Purim, then we will be able to live the happenings of the megilah and derive the full, rich flavor from the holiday.
As there are very few customs associated with Purim Katan and Shushan Purim Katan [this year, Saturday, Feb. 22], let us take a moment to understand the significance of Shushan Purim according to Chasidus.
The celebration of this holiday was instituted in connection with the Land of Israel. Our Sages decreed that Shushan Purim be celebrated in those cities that were surrounded by walls at the time of Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel. In this manner, they paid respect to the Holy Land, giving its walled cities the honor given to Shushan even though they had been destroyed by the time of the Purim miracle.
However, the holiday's name is connected with a city in the Diaspora--the capital city of Achashveirosh, king of Persia (and thus the capital of the entire civilized world).
The use of the name Shushan expresses the completion of the Jews' mission to refine the material environment of the world. There are several levels in the fulfillment of this task; for example, the transformation of mundane objects into articles of holiness. On a deeper level, this involves the transformation into holiness of precisely those elements which previously opposed holiness.
Shushan Purim shows how Achashveirosh's capital city was transformed into a positive influence, indeed, an influence so great that it is connected with the celebration of Purim in the walled cities of Israel.
May we use all of the extra spiritual energy given to us on Purim Katan and Shushan Purim Katan to transform the mundane into the holy and that which opposes holiness into holiness, until the whole world is transformed into a dwelling place for G-d in the Messianic Era.
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, Feb. 21, Erev Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
Saturday, Feb. 22, Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
*. 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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