A Tribute to the Rebbe on 48 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, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
This week's issue focuses on Yud Shevat. On Yud Shevat (the 10th of Shevat, next Friday, February 6), we commemorate the yahrtzeit of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn; it is also the 48th anniversary of the Rebbe's acceptance of leadership.
The Jewish year that has recently begun is the year 5758 since Creation. The Hebrew letters are Hei-Taf-Shin-Nun-Ches. Over a decade ago, in the year 5742, the Rebbe stated that the Hebrew letters for that year were an acronym for "This should be the year of the coming of Moshiach."
Since that time, the Rebbe has publicized a phrase describing the year according to the acronym of its Hebrew letters. This year has been designated by the Rebbe's followers as "Hoyo Tihei Shnas Niflaos Cheiruseinu" meaning "It surely will be a year of wondrous miracles liberating us (from the material and spiritual problems of our exile)."
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
24 Tevet, 5758
Brooklyn, New York
Adapted from the 3rd chapter of the first Ma'amar
(Chasidic discourse) said by the Rebbe,
on Yud(1) 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.
A Tribute to the Rebbe
on 48 Years of Leadership
by Rabbi Avraham Kotlarsky
The fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel (the Rebbe Maharash), had a chasid who was a successful businessman. Before undertaking any significant deal, he always consulted the Rebbe and followed his instructions.
One time, the chasid was offered a fabulous opportunity. If successful--and most certainly it would be--he would make millions. The deal, however, required that he invest almost his entire fortune. Before the chasid would make such a major move, he set off to the city of Lubavitch to seek the Rebbe's advice.
After hearing the details of the proposition the Rebbe Maharash told him that he should not go through with the deal.
The chasid was stunned. He tried to convince the Rebbe that this was a sound proposal; he described all of the great profits to be made, but to no avail. The Rebbe's answer was final: NO!
A few days later, the would-be business partners came to the chasid. When they heard that he was not interested, based upon the Rebbe's answer, they began to laugh at him. "Certainly you didn't understand the Rebbe's words," they told him. "And anyway, maybe there were some important details you left out that would solicit a different answer. After all," they said, "isn't there a saying that 'according to how you ask, that is how you're answered'? Go back to the Rebbe and make sure to tell him all the details. You'll see, the answer will be different this time."
Back to Lubavitch the chasid went. "Rebbe," he pleaded, "obviously I did not explain myself well enough last time. We're talking about tremendous sums of money. I can become rich overnight and give much tzedaka [charity] as well..."
The Rebbe listened patiently once again, and at the end of the presentation his answer was simple and direct: "No. It's not worthwhile."
The chasid made his way home, thinking about all the money he could have made, if only the Rebbe would have agreed. "The Rebbe doesn't even explain his reasons," thought the chasid.
But his friends and family wouldn't let up. "It's forbidden to lose such an opportunity," they cried. "Go back to the Rebbe again and certainly the answer will be different."
In his third attempt, the chasid tried everything, even begging the Rebbe to let him make the deal, but the Rebbe answered once again: "No."
When the chasid came home, he couldn't stand up to the pressure of family and friends, and contrary to the Rebbe's advice, he signed the deal. He quieted his conscience by telling himself that he would now really give a lot of tzedaka.
Unfortunately, things did not go well. In a short while, the chasid lost all his money.
The chasid realized how wrong it was to not follow the Rebbe's instruction. Full of regret, he made his way back a fourth time to see the Rebbe.
The chasid spent a long time in private with the Rebbe. When he came out, he revealed only one thing the Rebbe had told him.
"There are people," said the Rebbe, "big businessmen among them, who come to ask my advice concerning important matters. Sometimes the issues are quite complex; matters which I have never engaged in, nor did my ancestors. So then why do they ask me my advice, and follow my instructions and counsel?
"There are three answers, each one matching a different type of Jew who comes to me.
"One person thinks, 'It's very simple. The Rebbe has Ruach HaKodesh--Divine Inspiration! The Rebbe is a G-dly man, a prophet. It is G-d's words coming from his mouth and therefore we must follow him, no questions asked!'
"Another type," continued the Rebbe, "is a person who operates on a different level, somewhat more down to earth. 'The Rebbe studies Torah all the time and serves G-d with his entire being. His intellect is totally nullified to G-d's Will. Therefore, everything he says stems from Torah and certainly his words will be fulfilled.'
"The third type," explained the Rebbe, "says, 'The Rebbe meets so many people, from all over the world and from all walks of life. He has acquired an incredibly broad knowledge of worldly matters. With this knowledge and his ability to see things from many different angles, the Rebbe sees what others cannot. Therefore, we must listen to him.'
"Whichever group you might belong to," the Rebbe Maharash concluded, "you should never have gone through with the deal after hearing from me not once, not twice, but three times clearly 'no!'"
* * *
I remember the morning of Gimmel Tammuz 5754/1994, when I walked into the Chabad House for Sunday morning services. One of the people who had come to pray asked me, "What do we do now?"
What do we do now? The Rebbe told us that the Redemption is at the door; that we must prepare ourselves and the whole world for the revelation of Moshiach. It was true that even while the Rebbe was critically ill we believed that G-d would heal the Rebbe; that the Redemption we so eagerly awaited and anticipated would be heralded in with the revelation of the Rebbe as Moshiach, and that he would miraculously lead us to the Holy Land.
What now? Who will lead us on? Was the Rebbe wrong? Is the Redemption, after all, a beautiful dream to take place in another time, another place, but not in this "real" world of sorrow and pain?
Some people see in the Rebbe a great charismatic leader. Others see a Torah genius. Others emphasize the Rebbe's knack for finding the right button to push in the hearts of his followers, his admirers, or any stranger who approached him at Sunday dollars.(3) Others speak of the Rebbe's organizational skills and his foresight that has put him light-years ahead of prevailing thought.
The final word is that the Rebbe is a G-dly man. The Rebbe is not "us-plus," so to speak, a person who is merely more brilliant, more sensitive, more insightful, more spiritual, and capable of leadership than we. Rather, his teachings and personal life reveal him to be carved from a different substance altogether. His every word--carefully chosen and full of meaning; his every move--calculated, corresponding to Divine Emanations in a world concealed from our sight; someone transplanted from another world, to bring light to a darkened world, to lead the final generation of exile to Redemption.
The Rebbe is revealed to each person as he perceives the Rebbe. Like the three types of Jews who came to the Rebbe Maharash, every individual relates to the Rebbe on a different level.
Not once, not twice, nor three times, but literally hundreds of times--publicly and privately, in writing and verbally--the Rebbe has told all Jews of this generation what we must do in these last moments before the Redemption:
"Do everything you can to bring Moshiach, here and now." (28 Nisan, 5751/1991)
"...Publicize to all people that we have merited that G-d has chosen and appointed an individual incomparably greater than all other people in this generation as the judge, adviser and prophet of the generation to give instructions and advice in both the Divine service and daily activities of all Jews ... up to and including the main prophecy, "Redemption is imminent" and "Moshiach is coming." (Shabbat Shoftim, 5751/1991)
"All the service that was expected of the Jewish people in exile has been completed and perfected and we are now ready to receive Moshiach ... Moshiach not only exists, but is also revealed. All that remains is for us to receive and greet Moshiach in actual fact." (Shabbat Vayeira, 5752/1991)
"Every sheliach [emissary of the Rebbe] must prepare himself and all the Jews of his neighborhood, city, etc., to greet Moshiach through explaining the concept of Moshiach, as discussed in the Written and Oral Torah, in a way that each and every individual can relate to .... Since this is the necessary service of the time, it is self-understood that this is incumbent upon every single Jew, without any exception." (Shabbat Chayei Sarah, 5752/1991)
The Rebbe has told us to learn more about Moshiach and the Redemption; to start "living with Moshiach" by increasing our acts of kindness and mitzvot; to share this message with others.
Whatever group we belong to, regardless of how we define ourselves and at what level of faith we may operate, we should listen to the Rebbe.
There is no question that all that the Rebbe said will be fulfilled. There is no question that what the Rebbe said is not open now to reinterpretation. There is no question that we will see the Redemption very soon unfold before our eyes, precisely as the Rebbe said. There is no question what we must do now, for everything the Rebbe has said to us, all of the directions that he has given to this generation, must continue on and with greater strength, with more vigor and vitality.
We are the generation of the Redemption. And we will make it happen. Let us commit ourselves to fulfilling the Rebbe's directives, and then we will be able to see the realization of the Rebbe's most important prophecy, the revelation of Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption.
3. In the years 1986-1992, the Rebbe, every Sunday, personally distributed to each of the thousands of visitors who came to receive his blessings a dollar to give to charity.
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." We therefore present from the Rebbe's talks suggestions what we can do to complete his work of bringing the Redemption.
Regarding Yud Shevat:
Among the 16 directives suggested by the Rebbe(4) 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).
4. 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:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Friday, Jan. 30, Erev Shabbat Parshat Bo:
Saturday, Jan. 31, Shabbat Parshat Bo:
5. 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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