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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.
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This Jewish year, 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
22 Shevat, 5758
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah portion, Teruma, tells of G-d's command to the Jewish People to erect for Him a Tabernacle. The purpose of the Tabernacle is alluded to in its name, "Mishkan," meaning a dwelling place, a place where G-dliness would be revealed. Indeed, G-d Himself stated openly, "They shall make Me a Holy Place and I shall dwell within them."
The great value and significance of the Tabernacle (and after it, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) lies in the fact that there was a constant revelation of the Holy Presence there. It was also there that G-d spoke to Moses, and that the Children of Israel saw wonderful revelations of G-dliness. Through the existence of the Tabernacle and Temple the Holy Presence was able to be felt by each and every Jew.
This also explains why the Tabernacle--and the Holy Temple--occupies such a central role in Judaism, so much so that we still pray three times each day for its rebuilding and restoration. We beseech G-d that He should return and cause His Presence to dwell and be revealed among us, and that we should be worthy of seeing the revelation of His strength and might through the means of the Holy Temple.
G-d said, "They shall make Me a Holy Place, and I shall dwell within them," and not, as would seem more grammatically correct, "within it." The reason for this grammatical incongruity is, as our sages explained, that G-d dwells "within each and every Jew." By building the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple, G-dliness was revealed within each of us.
Although the Tabernacle and Holy Temple do not exist today in the physical world, the function which they served--revealing G-dliness within every Jew--is eternal and timely for us in any era.
How do we make ourselves a dwelling place for G-d? By following the same building plan that the Jews used for building the Tabernacle. By taking physical materials--gold, silver, copper, acacia wood, animal skins, etc.--and using them to make a house for G-d; the physical materials themselves were made holy and were transformed into the Tabernacle. This is what we must do today. We must take everything that we come in contact with in our physical world and use it for the sake of Heaven, and thus will we build a dwelling place for G-d in our midst.
A true dwelling place for G-d is achieved by sanctifying everything we do. When we eat it should not be merely to satisfy our personal cravings; rather, we must make sure that the food we eat is kosher food. When we work, it should not be for the purpose of amassing a personal fortune and for the money itself. We should work with the intention of providing for our families, being able to give charity, and performing mitzvot in an exemplary fashion. When this attitude prevails in our lives, holiness can permeate every detail of our daily lives, transforming the world into a dwelling place for G-d.
Our homes can also become small "tabernacles" by doing mitzvot in them--helping the needy, studying Torah, inviting guests, observing Shabbat, etc.
By doing all of the above, we create a "tabernacle" whose holiness encompasses all our surroundings and deeds. May this serve as a preparation for the building of the biggest Tabernacle of them all--the Third Holy Temple, speedily in our days.
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, Feb. 26, and Friday, Feb. 27, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Adar, starting the new month of Adar.
Rosh Chodesh is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with special prayers and finer food and clothing. Jewish women, in particular, observe Rosh Chodesh more meticulously.
What is the reason for Jewish women's stricter celebration of Rosh Chodesh?
Rabbi Eliezer wrote: "When the men came to ask for their wives' gold earrings for the Golden Calf, the women refused to hand them over. They said to their husbands: 'We will not obey you in order to make an abomination that has no power to save!' G-d rewarded them in this world, giving them a greater degree of observance on Rosh Chodesh, and He rewards them in the World to Come, giving them the power of constant renewal that characterizes [the renewal of the moon on] Rosh Chodesh."
On a more general note, the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and our people are compared to the moon. Although our light is sometimes eclipsed by that of other nations, like the moon we are always here--both at night and by day. Our nation's history has its share of growth and decline; like the moon we wax and wane. But ultimately, these are just phases. For, although at times we seem to be as unimportant or insignificant as the sliver of the moon when it reappears, this is just a veneer.
May we sanctify the new moon this year and celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar in the Holy Temple with Moshiach.
The Jewish calendar is based on the moon's cycle. The beginning of each Jewish month is a mini-holiday and affords a perfect opportunity to make gatherings.
Serve some special foods, study about the holidays in the upcoming month, celebrate the imminent Redemption when the Jewish people will be totally renewed.
"The renewal of the moon after its concealment is used an analogy for the Redemption and the complete renewal of the Jewish people 'who will in the future be renewed as [the moon] is renewed.' " (The Rebbe)
Our Sages relate that "in the merit of the righteous women, the Jews were redeemed from Egypt." Similarly, the Sages associated subsequent redemptions with the merit of Jewish women. Rabbi Yitzchok Luria emphasized that the future Redemption will follow the pattern of the Exodus, and thus will also come as a result of the merit of the righteous women of that generation.
From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"
Nothing brings a father greater joy than seeing his children join together in harmony. Similarly, when Jews join together in unity, love, and joy, G-d derives great happiness, as it were, and grants them abundant blessings, including the ultimate blessing, which is of such fundamental importance at present, the coming of the Future Redemption.
The Rebbe, 23 Adar, 5751/1991
Our Sages have taught that, just as when the month of Av begins we lessen our joy, so, too, when the month of Adar begins,(1) we increase our simcha--joy and happiness.
But why should we be so happy just because it is Adar? In Adar we celebrate the joyous holiday of Purim, commemorating the time when the unity and prayers of the Jewish people brought about the nullification of Haman's wicked plan to annihilate the Jews.
Our Sages declared Purim a day of festivity and rejoicing; of sharing our joy with our fellow-Jews. As Purim is the central holiday of Adar and the "theme" of the month, the entire month is permeated with our pursuit of joy and happiness.
The Talmud describes Adar as having "a healthy mazal." It is a month which brings the Jewish people strength and true health. In the month of Adar, G-d's blessings for a good and sweet year are renewed, intensified, and increased. These provide more good reasons to rejoice!
In our day and age we have another reason to rejoice when Adar begins. Jewish teachings explain that "Joy breaks all boundaries." As we stand literally on the threshold of the long-awaited Redemption of the Jewish people and the entire world, the Rebbe has suggested that our every action be permeated with joy in the hope that this will break through the last boundaries of exile.
May the joy we experience in these, the last days of exile, hasten the coming of the ultimate joy, the coming of Moshiach. May we join one Redemption to another and connect the redemption of Purim to the Messianic Redemption. May it take place imminently!
* * *
Concerning the kind of things that should be done to arouse simcha during the month of Adar, the Rebbe suggested that each person should proceed according to his level: a child, for instance, should be made happy by his parents; a wife by her husband, and visa versa.
The bottom line is that the Rebbe did not let up on encouraging an increase of simcha in all permissible manners during the entire month of Adar.
We must hearken to the Rebbe's words and utilize simcha, especially during this month, to turn darkness into light, sadness into joy, and pain and tears into rejoicing with Moshiach in the Final Redemption; may it take place, as the Rebbe so fervently prayed, teichef umiyad mamash--immediately, literally.
1. Rosh Chodesh Adar is on Thursday, Feb. 26, and Friday, Feb. 27.
As we enter the month of Adar, our thoughts immediately turn to the holiday of Purim.
Every holiday is a time of rejoicing for the Jewish people. The joy of Purim, however, exceeds that of all other holidays, even the holiday of Sukkot, which is referred to in the Torah itself as "Z'man Simchateinu"--the Season of Our Rejoicing.
The joy of Purim is limitless and unbounded. The joy of Purim is "poretz geder"; it "breaks" through life's day-to-day routines and the typical way of doing things.
As the joy of Purim is so great, even the preparations for Purim must be filled with great joy. What preparations do we need to make for Purim?
On Purim itself we send gifts of food, mishloach manot, to friends and neighbors. Children dress up in costumes. We listen to the reading of the Megila of Esther and stamp out Haman's name. We eat a festive holiday meal and we add the special "V'Al HaNissim" ("And [we thank You] For these miracles") to our prayers.
Our preparations for Purim, then, include studying the laws and customs of the holiday, purchasing items for mishloach manot, making costumes, familiarizing ourselves with the Megila, readying the holiday meal, knowing when to recite V'Al HaNissim. The more enthusiasm and rejoicing we put into the preparations for Purim, the greater the happiness of Purim itself will be.
From the rejoicing of the preparations for Purim may we speedily experience the rejoicing with Moshiach now.
At a chasidic gathering nearly 20 years ago, the Rebbe told the following story:
One of the tzaddikim of Poland, when still a little boy, asked his father for an apple. His father, however, refused to give it to him.
The enterprising youngster proceeded to recite a blessing over the apple: "Baruch atah...borei pri haetz--Blessed are You... Who created fruit of the trees!"
The father could not possibly allow the blessing to have been recited in vain. And so, he promptly handed the youngster the apple.
The Rebbe used this story to illustrate the following point:
In our situation today, if the Jewish people begin now to rejoice in the Redemption, out of absolute trust that G-d will speedily send us Moshiach, this joy in itself will (as it were) compel our Father in heaven to fulfill His children's wish and to redeem them from exile.
Needless to say, the Rebbe was not suggesting the use of mystical incantations or the like to "force" the premature advent of the end of the exile. "We are simply speaking of serving G-d with exuberant joy," the Rebbe explained.
The month of Adar brings with it not only the injunction to increase in joy, but with every command we are also given the power and energy to fulfill that command.
So, right from the start of the month, let us increase in our happiness, do mitzvot with more enthusiasm, and rejoice NOW in the imminent Redemption.
* * *
What benefit does joy bring us?
Chasidic teachings use the example of two individuals who are wrestling, to teach us the advantage of joy.
When two individuals are wrestling with each other, each striving to throw the other, if one is lazy and sluggish he will easily be defeated and thrown, even though he may be stronger than his opponent. Similarly, when we are trying to correct our bad habits or encourage spiritual growth, etc., it is impossible to accomplish any of these goals with a heavy heart or sluggishness, which originates in sadness. Rather, we are most successful at "overthrowing" our character flaws when we use alacrity that is derived from joy.
The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, received a letter from one of his followers, complaining that it was difficult for him to be "joyous." The Tzemach Tzedek's advice to him was that he think only positive and happy thoughts, that he be careful not to speak of sad or depressing matters, and to behave as if his heart was full of joy. "Ultimately," concluded the Tzemach Tzedek, "this will be the reality."
As we enter the month of Adar, a month when we are enjoined to increase our joy over and above our regular mitzvot to "serve G-d with joy" and "to be joyous constantly," may we celebrate the greatest joy of all, the revelation of Moshiach and the ingathering of all Jews to our Holy Land, NOW!
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.
Increase In Joy!:
This joy will be increased by our fulfillment of the special directives for the month of Adar, to help our fellow Jews in both spiritual and material affairs: to teach a new Torah concept that they had not previously known (or to reveal additional depth in a concept with which they were already familiar), and to afford them material assistance. Fulfilling these directives will increase their happiness and thus, increase G-d's happiness, as it were.
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, Feb. 27, Erev Shabbat Parshat Teruma:
Saturday, Feb. 28, Shabbat Parshat Teruma:
2. 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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