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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
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We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue we feature a summer message from the Rebbe.
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
13 Sivan, 5758
Brooklyn, New York
In 5703/1943, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, issued an urgent call to chasidim to begin a massive campaign establishing additional religious institutions around the world. Many people could not understand why the Rebbe was initiating such a large-scale operation if, as the Rebbe had stated, we could hear the approaching footsteps of Moshiach. Would not such an undertaking constitute an enormous waste of effort if the Jewish people are to return to Israel with the coming of Moshiach?
By way of explanation, the Previous Rebbe referred to a teaching derived from this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotecha. "At times, the cloud remained from evening till morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they journeyed forward . . . at the order of G-d they remained in the camp, and at the order of G-d they journeyed forward." For 40 years, the encampments of the Jewish people, as they journeyed through the wilderness towards the land of Israel, were of varying duration. They ranged from a short overnight stay to a 19-year period in the same location. Yet, at each site, the Sanctuary was erected and offerings were brought.
Why was it necessary to expend such massive effort even for those encampments that were destined to last only a few hours?
Erecting the Sanctuary, just like the journeys themselves, was done solely according to G-d's command. It therefore matters little whether the Sanctuary stood for many years on the same spot, or whether it was erected for just a few minutes. The physical object used in the performance of a mitzvah is significant solely because such is the will of G-d. In this case, the mitzvah to erect the Sanctuary, for whatever length of time G-d desired, is what imbued the labor involved in its erection with meaning.
The Jewish people, "believers, the children of believers," have faith in the coming of Moshiach and await his arrival each and every day. Yet this fundamental belief in no way contradicts our efforts to build up and strengthen Jewish life and institutions while we are waiting. G-d wants us to take an active role in imbuing our surroundings with holiness no matter where the exile takes us, for this is His will and an integral part of His Divine Plan.
We needn't worry that Moshiach's arrival will interrupt us in the first stages of whatever worthy project we are currently involved in; when Moshiach comes, we will fully understand the significance of all our service throughout the thousands of years of exile, even those that have not yet been completed.
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.
Shavuot Eve, 5734/1974
To All Boy Students and
To All Girl Students
Summer vacation is approaching, and no doubt you are all looking forward to making the most of it. I would like to make a suggestion to you in this connection.
The summer recess is meant to give you an opportunity to strengthen your health of body and soul, which, of course, go hand in hand together. For Jewish boys and girls to be truly healthy means, first of all, to have a healthy neshama (soul). And a Jewish soul derives its health from the Torah and mitzvot, which are "our life and the length of our days," as we say in our prayers.
Needless to say, life and health must be continuous, and one cannot take a "vacation" from them.
The Torah and mitzvot are to the Jewish soul what breathing and nourishment are to the body. A healthy person seldom thinks about the vital necessity of breathing and food. However, on certain occasions one becomes acutely aware of these things. For example, when one swims under water and holds his breath, then comes up and feels the urge to fill his lungs with fresh air. Or, after a fast-day, when the body has been temporarily weakened from lack of food and drink, one immediately feels the invigorating effect of food and drink.
Now, during the school year, when a great deal of time that could be spent in studying the Torah and doing mitzvot is taken up with other unavoidable occupations, such as the study of English and arithmetic, etc., the soul gets somewhat undernourished. At such times, your soul "holds its breath," so to speak, which makes it more eager to get back to Torah and mitzvot whenever time is available.
Comes the summer recess, and your soul can now breathe more freely and more fully, for you are then released from those other unavoidable studies and occupations.
Thus, the summer vacation gives you an opportunity to apply yourselves to Torah study and Torah activities with the utmost eagerness and enthusiasm--not only to make good use of your free time, but also to make up for lost time during the past school period, and, what is not less important, to give your soul a chance to fortify herself and "take a deep breath" for the school period ahead.
As a matter of fact, the summer vacation seems to be so well planned for this purpose, for it is a time when you can devote yourselves to Torah study and Torah activities in particularly agreeable circumstances: in a relaxed frame of mind and in pleasant natural surrounding of sunshine and fresh air.
Moreover, it comes soon after the Festival of Shavuot, the Season of Receiving Our Torah at Mt. Sinai. As you know, this Festival comes after the many days and weeks of counting the Omer, in memory of the eager anticipation of our ancestors, from the day after they left Egypt until receiving this greatest Divine gift--the Torah and mitzvot--seven weeks later. This should provide an added measure of inspiration to last through each and every day of the summer vacation and, indeed, through the year.
I urge you, dear children, to make the most of your summer vacation in light of all that has been said above. Think about it, and put it into effect--in the fullest measure, and G-d will surely bless you with a happy and healthy summer, happy and healthy both spiritually and physically.
* * *
For a Torah Summer Camp in your area - contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center. For a listing of the Centers in your area: http://www.chabad.org/chabadir-access.html. In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
In the Era of the Redemption, according to Maimonides, "the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d." From the expression, "the entire world," it appears that this phrase includes Gentiles as well. We will ultimately witness the fulfillment of the prophecy (Zephaniah 3:9), that "I will make the people pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d," and even non-Jews will be devoted solely to seeking "the knowledge of G-d."
Summer is a great time for kids. Without the pressures of school, children have the opportunity to spend their summer vacation in enjoyable and educational pursuits. The summer schedule is particularly suitable for children to grow spiritually, by attending a day or overnight camp with a vibrant, exciting and Torah-true Jewish atmosphere.
Each year, without exception, as the summer approached, the Rebbe emphasized the importance of Jewish children attending Jewish camps. The amount that a child can learn in the summer, unencumbered by the pursuit of reading, writing and 'rithmatic, goes far beyond what he can accomplish at any other time of year. And, as this knowledge is being imparted in an atmosphere of fun and excitement, in an environment totally saturated with Jewish pride, it remains with a child long after the summer months are over.
It's still not too late to enroll your child in a Jewish camp. And it's certainly not too late to facilitate other children attending a Jewish camp if you do not have camp-age kids. By calling your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or the National Headquarters of Tzivos Hashem at (718) 467-6630, you can find out about a summer camp experience for someone you know whose benefit will last a lifetime.
By the way, adults, too, should take advantage of the more relaxed atmosphere of summer to revitalize and nourish themselves Jewishly. Try a Jewish retreat or even just a weekly Torah class to enhance your Jewish pride and knowledge.
And may this summer be our last one in exile and our first in the Era of the Redemption.
Graduation ceremonies are taking place all over. From kindergarten students to those receiving their doctorates, commencement ceremonies are usually a high-point of the school year.
These ceremonies are called "commencement" because, truly, the person is now beginning a new stage in his or her life.
And, as the word commencement or even graduation implies, the person is hopefully going to proceed on to a newer and higher level.
The above certainly applies to Jewish students in particular and all Jews in general. Each year we should be striving to graduate to a new and higher level of Jewish observance. Whatever level we have currently reached is adequate for today, but for tomorrow it is not enough. For, as we all must certainly know, if we stay in one place we stagnate; if we are not going up, inevitably we are going down.
For those who have not had the opportunity to graduate even from the "kindergarten" of Judaism, one must never think that it is too late to start. As we learn from one of our greatest sages and teachers, Rabbi Akiva (who did not even learn the Hebrew alphabet until the age of 40), it is never too late to start. Though long overdue, it is incumbent upon each of us to start the educational process that will undoubtedly keep us growing and reaching up, for all our days.
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.
Enroll your child in a Torah Summer Camp
The Rebbe spoke many times about the unique learning opportunity for Jewish children afforded by the months of summer vacation. Without the pressures of tests, homework, etc., children enrolled in camps permeated with a Torah atmosphere eagerly learn about their heritage and are instilled with pride in being Jewish. Creative methods are used to make Judaism come alive. The soul is nourished as the body and mind are strengthened through sports, crafts, etc.
If you don't have camp-age children, help sponsor a child in a Torah camp. Call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center for more information.
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, June 12, Erev Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:
Saturday, June 13, Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:
1. 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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