The Third of Tamuz
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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.
This week's issue focuses on Gimel Tamuz, the 3rd of Tamuz, Shabbat Parshat Korach, Saturday, June 27.
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
15 Sivan, 5758
Brooklyn, New York
It states in this week's Torah portion, Korach: "And G-d said to Aaron... All the best (chelev)...the first fruits...which they shall offer to the L-rd, these I have given you."
Of all the offerings that were brought by the Jewish people, the kohanim (priests), Aaron's descendants, were to be given only the finest. These contributions consisted of all kinds of commodities and were only of the highest quality.
Chelev, generally translated as the "best," is literally the fattiest part of the animal. First fruits are also the most select produce. The Jewish people offered only the best of their harvest and resources to G-d, and as we read in our portion, G-d commanded these be given to the priests.
Maimonides writes: "The law, as it pertains to everything that is for the sake of G-d, is that it must come from the finest and the best. For example, when one is feeding a hungry person, he should be served the tastiest and sweetest food on one's table. When one clothes a poor man, he should be given the nicest garment. When one builds a house of prayer, the edifice should be more beautiful than one's private abode, as it states, 'All the best to the L-rd.'"
Of all the commodities a person possesses--food, clothing and shelter--the finest and best must be dedicated to matters of holiness.
There is, however, another commodity to be dedicated to G-d, and that is time.
Time is extremely precious; it is therefore fitting that in addition to one's material blessings, a person dedicate the very best portion of the day to G-d.
The morning, the beginning of one's day, is the optimal time of the 24-hour period. In the morning, a person's mind is more at ease. He is not yet concerned by problems that may plague him later in the day. Thus the morning is the most appropriate time to dedicate oneself to holy matters.
The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, explained the verse "From the first of your dough...you shall give an offering to G-d" in the following manner:
The Hebrew word for "dough," arisa, also means a cradle or bed. From this we learn that as soon as a person wakes up he should give an "offering" to G-d--an offering consisting of the first and finest portion of the day.
This is accomplished in several ways, one of which is to thank G-d immediately upon arising by declaring "Modeh Ani--I offer thanks to You..." Another way is by reserving the first part of the day for prayer and Torah study.
The very best of whatever we possess--food, clothing, housing and time--should be reserved for our Divine service. And in this manner we will merit the fulfillment of the priestly blessing, "May the L-rd bless you and guard you."
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 http://www.chabad.org. And, of course, continue to read Living With Moshiach, and share it with friends.
The appointment of Melech HaMoshiach (Moshiach, the King) has already taken place, as it is stated, "I found David My servant, with My holy oil I have anointed him" (Psalm 89). There now only needs to be the acceptance of his sovereignty by the people, and the connection of the king with his people, in an utmost revealed fashion--with the true and complete Redemption.
(The Rebbe, Parshat Mishpatim, 5751/1991)
Gimel Tamuz, 5710/1950
. . . Many are seeking an explanation of the characteristic greatness of the Chabad leaders in general, and the leader of our generation, my father-in-law, of blessed memory, in particular, in terms of the following designations: A man of great self-sacrifice, a gaon [great Torah scholar], a baal midot [man of sterling character], a tzaddik, a possessor of ruach hakodesh [divine inspiration], able to perform miracles, etc., etc.
These praises gain even greater significance as they are defined by the teachings of chasidic philosophy.
Yet in all this, the main point is absent. Furthermore (and this is essentially the main point), the Rebbe's special greatness is by virtue of his unique relationship with us, his congregation of chasidim, and with those who are connected to him. And this is because he is the nasi--the leader of Chabad.
For in general, the nasi is called "the head of the community of Israel": in relation to them, he is their "head" and "brain"; it is through him that they derive their vitality. By attaching themselves to the nasi, they connect and become united with their Source above.
There are several types of nesi'im: those whose influence is in the sphere of penimiyut [inwardness], and those whose influence is in the realm of makif [surrounding]. Within these distinctions are further divisions: those whose primary effect was in the realm of the revealed Torah, or the esoteric part of the Torah, or in both together; those who taught a path in Divine service and in Chasidus; those whose influence extended into the material realm, etc.
There are also those who combined several of the above attributes, or even all of them.
Chabad leaders up until the present time, from the Alter Rebbe to my father-in-law, have included all of the above characteristics and distinctions: Their influence was both internal and external, in Torah, Divine service and good deeds, in both the spiritual and material realms. Consequently, their connection to those who belonged to them extended to all 613 limbs of the body and soul.
Each and every one of us should know--meaning that he should study and fix in his mind--that the Rebbe is the nasi and the "head," it is from him and through him that everything both physical and spiritual flows, and it is through connecting oneself with him ([the Rebbe] has already indicated in his letters how to do this)(1) that one connects and unites oneself with one's source, and the [Divine] Source of sources, ever higher and higher.
1. By studying his talks and by following his directives - Living With Moshiach, Vol. 12.
See also below Living With The Rebbe Today! Ed.
This year has special significance, being the 200th anniversary of the histalkus of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of general Chasidism.
The word histalkus does not mean death in the sense of coming to an end, but rather an elevation from one level to another on a higher plane. When one has accomplished his mission in life, he is elevated to a higher plane. The significance of this for us is that everyone can now lift himself to a higher level by studying the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and taking an example from his life.
From the very beginning, one of the first things the Baal Shem Tov did was to teach small children simple things such as blessings and to explain to them how they could be near to G-d Alm-ghty--that G-d was very real for them and close to them and not far-removed in some "seventh heaven." He worked not only with teenagers but even with six- and seven-year-old children, making them understand how G-d Alm-ghty watches over them all the time--not only Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, but all the days of their life, and that by obeying G-d's will they would be assured of a happy and harmonious life, materially and spiritually.
The epoch of the Baal Shem Tov came after the Chmielnetzki pogroms, which left the Jews in a state of dejection and despair. It was the aim of the Baal Shem Tov to encourage the Jews and to show them how they could meet the problems of their day while living a life of Torah and mitzvot.
Our present age is similar in many ways to the time of the Baal Shem Tov. One-third of the Jewish population has perished under Hitler and has been cut off from us. How great, then, is the obligation that lies upon each and every one of us to do as much as is within his power to spread the light of Torah and mitzvot in his own surroundings and throughout the world in general.
Q: What is the view of Chasidus concerning an after-life?
A: As was explained earlier, death is not a cessation of life, but rather, one's spiritual life takes on a new dimension or is, as we said, elevated to a higher plane. This is logical and follows also from the principles of science that are considered to be the "absolute truth." In science, the principle of the conservation of matter states that nothing physical can be annihilated. This table or a piece of iron can be cut up, burned, etc., but in no case could the matter of the table or the iron be destroyed. It only takes on a different form.
So, likewise, on the spiritual level, our spiritual being--the soul--can never be destroyed. It only changes its form, or is elevated to a different plane.
Q: Is the after-life of a soul personal or impersonal?
A: In conjunction with what was said before, the soul takes on a new and higher form. In this, the term after-life is inappropriate. Rather, it is a continuation of life. Until 120, life is experienced at one level, and at 121, 122 and 123, etc., it is carried on at another level, and thus we go higher and higher in the realm of the spirit.
Q: What is the role that the Baal Shem Tov played in the chasidic movement?
A: We can understand what the Baal Shem Tov did by the simile of the relationship of an electric powerhouse with a lamp that is connected to it by a wire. In order to light his lamp, he must find the right switch, or push the correct button. The soul of every Jew is a part of and connected with G-d Alm-ghty, but in order that one can enjoy the great benefits of it, the correct switch must be found for the proper button to pushed. It was the Baal Shem Tov's mission to explain and proclaim that every Jew without exception is connected with "the powerhouse," and every one of them has a switch in his innermost that will be found if searched for.
So also every one of us in our own work in strengthening Judaism, must try to find the switch in the soul of every Jew. One can never know what will make the connection, perhaps one word. But by this, you open up the well or inner fountain of his soul.
Q: What is the function of a Rebbe?
A: As was said earlier, to find the switch in every Jew and help him become connected with the powerhouse.
The Talmud describes the petira--departure from one place to arrive at another--of Rebbe (Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, known also as "Our Holy Rebbe"). It quotes Rebbe as saying at the time of his petira, "I need my children!" He then requested that his lamp, table and bed remain in their usual places.
One might wonder why, at the moment when Rebbe is beginning an infinitely superior level of Divine service to what had preceded it, he would have any need for or even connection to his children?
And yet, at precisely this moment, Rebbe said: "I need my children," as if to say, "No matter how lofty my own Divine service, I remember you and I will be with you always. Moreover, your Divine service matters to me."
Furthermore, Rebbe indicated that his lamp, table and bed should all remain as before.
"Lamp," "table" and "bed" are symbolic of various human needs about which a person asks for blessings from Rebbe and his successors, the Rebbes of each generations. "Lamp" signifies health in particular and life in general, as it says in Proverbs, "The soul [the vivifying force] of man is a lamp of G-d." "Table" symbolizes livelihood, for it is upon the table that we eat food, our sustenance. And "bed" represents children.
In addition, each of these furnishings has a spiritual equivalent, concerning which one also asks the Rebbe for blessings and advice. The lamp is mitzvot, as it is written, "For a mitzvah is a lamp." The table is Torah study, for Torah is "food" for the soul. And the bed is rectification or repair of past misdeeds or deficiencies, for it signifies being "bedridden," i.e., not in the best of health.
Thus, even after Rebbe's passing from one level of life to an infinitely higher level of life, he continues to remain utterly connected to his children. Nothing has changed and he continues to help, advise and bless them in areas both spiritual and material.
However, Rebbe's parting words did not simply indicate that he would eternally be there for his children but that he, too, needed his children to be there for him.
What might his children be needed for?
"You are needed to illuminate your environment with Torah and prayer," Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of chabad Chasidus told one of his chasidim when the chasid discussed his numerous needs with him.
What we are needed for, according to the Rebbe, who continues to remain utterly connected to us--"his children"--the entire Jewish people, is to work toward the culmination and ultimate purpose of our Torah and prayers throughout all the generations--the revelation of Moshiach and the commencement of the universal Redemption.
"I have done everything I can. Now I am giving it over to each one of you. Do everything you can to bring Moshiach in actuality," the Rebbe charged us.
And the Rebbe, ever emphasizing our Sages' teaching that "deed is essential," has given concrete suggestions about how we can best do what we need to do to bring Moshiach:
Study Torah in general, and in particular, those parts of Torah that pertain to Moshiach and the Redemption. More specifically, study about Moshiach and Redemption as elucidated in the Rebbe's 37 volumes of Collected Talks (Likkutei Sichot).
Live in a manner now that is a "dress rehearsal" for the Redemption, the time when there will be no strife, no jealousy, world peace and inner harmony, and Divine knowledge will be within everyone's reach.
Give extra charity, keeping in mind the Talmud's teaching that charity hastens the Redemption.
Increase in acts of goodness and kindness. Every day, perhaps a number of times each day, do something kind for a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker, a family member, a stranger.
In this way, may we hasten the moment when all of our need, spiritual and material, will be amply supplied in the ultimate Redemption.
This date itself, while ingrained in the minds of Lubavitcher chasidim around the globe, has significance for all Jews and, indeed the entire world population.
Although we have not seen the Rebbe with our physical eyes since Gimel Tamuz four years ago, his presence in the lives of his hundreds of thousands of chasidim and millions of admirers is evident. And the Rebbe's involvement in the thousands of institutions he established, and the hundreds of institutions set up since Gimel Tamuz four years ago, is palpable.
Gimel Tamuz, Shabbat Parshat Korach, Saturday, June 27, is the third day in the Hebrew month of Tamuz. The number three has much significance in Jewish teachings. Our Sages teach that the world stands on three pillars: Torah study, prayer, and acts of kindness. In addition, they teach that the tzaddik is the foundation of the entire world.
What has been the thrust of the Rebbe, the foundation of the world, in his over four decades of leadership? As is well known to our readers, since the Rebbe's acceptance of the mantle of leadership he stated clearly the purpose of our generation, the seventh generation (since the inception of Chabad Chasidism), is to bring the Redemption.
And since then, the Rebbe has elucidated how we can accomplish this in a threefold campaign: through Torah study, prayer, and acts of kindness:
Our Torah study should be increased in all areas of Jewish knowledge in general, chasidic philosophy in particular, and specifically those matters found everywhere in Jewish teachings that deal with Moshiach and the Redemption.
Our prayers should be suffused with heartfelt requests of G-d to bring the Redemption, crying out, "How much longer?" and even to the point of demanding the Redemption (as explained by the Chofetz Chaim).
Lastly, through love of our fellow Jew in general and even simple acts of kindness and good deeds, we can prepare ourselves for the Redemption and hasten its inception.
May we be together with the Rebbe this year on Gimel Tamuz, not just "feeling" his presence but actually seeing the Rebbe, a soul in a physical body, leading us to the Holy Land and ushering in the complete and eternal Redemption.
According to Jewish thought, especially as elucidated in the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, nothing in this world happens by chance; everything--even the movement of a blade of grass--is governed by Divine Providence. Additionally, a tzaddik, a wholly righteous person, has Divine powers of insight and far-reaching vision that allow him to see that which is unseen or not yet visible to the untrained eye.
What can we glean from the Rebbe's very own thoughts on Gimel Tamuz?
In the book Hayom Yom (From Day To Day, which the Rebbe compiled on the instructions of his father-in-law from the teachings of the previous Rebbes), the quote the Rebbe included for Gimel Tamuz, 5703/1943, reads: "A Jewish groan that, G-d forbid, arises from physical misfortune, is also a great repentance; how much more so, then, is a groan arising from spiritual distress, a lofty and effective repentance. The groan pulls him out of the depths of evil and places him on a firm footing in the realm of good."
The Rebbe was assuring us, even then, that our groans resulting from that date, rather than paralyzing us, would ultimately point us in the right direction and inspire us to rededicate ourselves to the Rebbe's goal of bringing the revelation of Moshiach and the Redemption.
In a letter dated Gimel Tamuz, 5710/1950, five months after the passing of the Previous Rebbe, the Rebbe described what a Rebbe is.(2)
On Gimel Tamuz, 5751/1991--the last time the Rebbe spoke on that date until we are once more reunited--the Rebbe discussed two historical events that occurred on Gimel Tamuz:
The more recent event was in 5687/1927, when the Previous Rebbe was released from Soviet prison and exiled to Kostrama for three years. Before his release to internal exile he had been sentenced to death.
Thousands of years earlier, Gimel Tamuz was the day on which Joshua beseeched G-d to allow the sun to stand still in the sky so as to be able to continue the Jewish people's battle against the enemy and be victorious.
The Rebbe notes, in the talk of seven years ago, that both of these events were miracles, but miracles that occurred within the realm of nature rather than totally outside of nature. The Rebbe connects these points to an event in the weekly Torah portion of that year, which was the portion of Korach.
In Korach we read of G-d's command to Moses to take the staffs of princes of the 12 tribes, including that of Aaron the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), and to place them overnight in the Tent of Meeting. The staff that is rejuvenated, G-d informs Moses, will be the one belonging to the family that rightfully serves as priests. This miracle, G-d assures Moses, will surely end the complaints of the Jewish people against Moses and Aaron. Aaron's staff sprouted, blossomed and even bore fruit. And the staff became an eternal sign to the Jewish people of the validity of the priesthood being with Aaron and his descendants.
As we imminently await the Rebbe's rejuvenation, may we all sincerely attempt to implement the Rebbe's call to all men, women and children of our generation to "do everything you can to bring Moshiach in actuality!" and to fulfill our last communal mission in this pre-Redemption world, "to prepare ourselves and the entire world to greet our righteous Moshiach!"
2. See above The Rebbe Is The "Head", for a translation from the original Hebrew.
The third of Tamuz is a day destined for monumental events. The first time the third of Tamuz "made headlines" was over 3,000 years ago. During Joshua's battle in Gibeon he commanded the sun to stand still until the Jewish people were successful in the fight against their enemies.
In the Book of Joshua we read: "Then Joshua spoke to the L-rd...and he said in the sight of Israel, 'Sun, stand still upon Gibeon; and moon, in the valley of Ayalon.' And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies... So the sun stood still in the middle of the sky, and hastened not to go down a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the L-rd hearkened to the voice of a man; for the L-rd fought for Israel."
The third of Tamuz is also the date, many years later, when the Previous Rebbe was released from imprisonment in Communist Russia to go into exile for three years.
The Rebbe, quoting the talmudic statement, "Auspicious things come to pass on an opportune day...," explains that as Joshua's command to the sun to stand still and the Previous Rebbe's release from imprisonment took place on the same day, albeit years apart, there must be a connection between the two events.
Thus, it is certain that there must be a connection between the third of Tamuz in Joshua's time and the third of Tamuz four years ago, the day of the passing of the Rebbe.
On the third of Tamuz in Joshua's time, the sun remained in its place until it had fulfilled its mission: to unceasingly illuminate the world until the Jewish people had achieved victory.
In the first ma'amar (chasidic discourse) said by the Rebbe, on Yud(3) Shevat, 5711/1951, the Rebbe defined his mission as the seventh Chabad Rebbe, the leader of the seventh generation: "...This is what is demanded of each of us in the seventh generation--because 'all those who are the seventh are beloved'... Our divine mission is to complete the revelation of G-d's presence into its most exalted aspect specifically into this lowly world." Simply stated, the mission of the Rebbe and of our generation is to bring about the actual revelation of Moshiach and the commencement of the messianic era.
It is far from coincidental that the Rebbe's passing was on the third of Tamuz. The Rebbe, like the sun, remains at his post, guiding us with his brilliant light, warming us with his wisdom, until we achieve victory in the final battle against the darkness of exile.
3. On this day the Rebbe officially accepted the mantle of Chabad-Lubavitch leadership, becoming the 7th Rebbe in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty.
The Rebbe's followers, admirers, even people who have had only casual interaction with the Rebbe, are still "living with the Rebbe," following his directives, turning to him for advice, asking for his blessings.
How is this being done?
Studying the Rebbe's teachings is one of the most important and basic ways to live with the Rebbe. The Rebbe often quoted the Previous Rebbe's letters, which explain that a true connection with the Rebbe is attained only by studying the teachings of the Rebbe. The Rebbe clarified, though: "Most certainly the Rebbe is a tzaddik who bestows blessings; G-d surely fulfills his blessings to the utmost, to each and every individual, according to his need. Specifically, the Rebbe holds each person by the hand and guides him; one must only be careful not to involve his own will in the matter."
Just two months after the Previous Rebbe's passing, the Rebbe wrote the following to someone: "You worry that now one cannot ask the Rebbe when he is in doubt how he should conduct himself. If you stand strong in your connection to him...and send your questions to the Rebbe's ohel [gravesite], the Rebbe will find a way to answer."
Some people fax letters to the ohel (718-723-4444), some come from near or far to go personally. Others ask one of the Rebbe's secretaries to read the letter at the ohel.
Another way people "live with the Rebbe" is by placing a letter to the Rebbe in any of the nearly 100 volumes of the Rebbe's Torah teachings or correspondence. This is, in fact, what chasidim of previous generations did when they were unable to correspond with their Rebbe in the conventional way.
There's a modern twist, though. Today we have 24 volumes of Igros Kodesh--letters written by the Rebbe to private individuals over the past 50 years. As they are letters to private individuals--and the Rebbe "custom makes" the advice to fit the soul--there are different answers to similar questions. For instance, to one person who asks the Rebbe if he should move, the Rebbe answers "yes." To another person the Rebbe's answer is "no."
After writing to the Rebbe, one opens the book "at random" and the advice in that letter is one's answer. And we haven't heard of a case yet when one sincerely asks the Rebbe advice in this manner that there hasn't been an answer.
How are these answers, blessings, and guidance possible? Again, let's turn to the Rebbe directly for an explanation: "In answer to your question, when people came to the Rebbe for a blessing they did so not because of the superiority of his physical body, but because of the superiority of his soul. Death only pertains to the physical body, for the soul is eternal, especially the soul of a tzaddik to whom purgatory and punishment have no relevance. The passing of a tzaddik is merely a departure, an ascent to a higher plane, and therefore cannot be termed 'death,' as is explained in the Zohar."
We have seen, beyond a doubt, that the Rebbe, a true shepherd, continues to guide and direct in areas both large and small. In the four years since the Third of Tamuz, many people have written to the Rebbe. After "randomly" inserting the letter into one of the many volumes of the Rebbe's letters ("Igros Kodesh"), they have read the letters on that page and found their answer--often startlingly to the point.
Kfar Chabad is a quiet village located near Tel Aviv, comprised of Lubavitcher chasidim. Stories of miracles of the Rebbe are not a new phenomenon to Kfar Chabad's residents. But recently a miracle took place there that not only deeply affected every resident of the Kfar, but made headlines all over Israel.
Mrs. Shaindy Schechter, a lifelong resident of the Kfar, woke up one morning feeling ill. As the day wore on she became increasingly weak and had a severe headache. She visited her doctor who instructed her to check into the hospital. For three days she lay in the hospital, drifting in and out of consciousness. The doctors determined that she was suffering from a severe virus.
When she finally regained consciousness, a doctor asked if she could see him. "If you turn on the lights, I'll be able to see you," she told him. But the lights were on; the virus had made her blind.
The doctors explained to her that a virus was attacking the nerve that controlled her sight, and there was a possibility that she would remain blind permanently. They did not know of a cure.
As she listened to the doctor's ominous prognosis, a voice screamed inside her head: "I will see! I will see!" She would not accept the condition.
As the days went by, she began to see dark and light and some shadows; she had regained 25% of her vision. She was sent home as the doctors said there was nothing more they could do for her.
When Shaindy got home, she and her husband composed a letter to the Rebbe for a blessing for her condition. They randomly opened one of the many volumes of Igros Kodesh.
The letter that they had opened to contained the blessing, "and G-d will light up his eyes." After hearing these words, Shaindy felt strengthened. She was absolutely certain that she would see someday soon. She was confident that the Rebbe's blessing would be fulfilled, and each day she told her children that today could be the day.
Shaindy exuded such confidence in the Rebbe's blessing that her husband bought a huge bottle of vodka in anticipation of the celebration they would hold with family and friends when her eyesight returned.
In the Igros Kodesh it also said that one must make a vessel to receive G-d's blessing. So Shaindy visited a neurologist a number of times. The neurologist was not optimistic, but was not entirely discouraging either. Shaindy told the doctor of her blessing from the Rebbe and her belief in its fulfillment. The doctor refused to make any promises, but told Shaindy that she was welcome to continue hoping.
Shaindy visited the doctor on Wednesday, May 6, and was told her vision might improve slowly, but it would take one to two years, perhaps longer. Even then, it might never fully return.
The doctor's prognosis didn't upset Shaindy. When her husband inquired about the examination, she told him what the doctor had said, but added that it made no difference to her because she had the Rebbe's blessing.
The following Friday afternoon there was a knock at the Schechter's door. Shaindy opened the door, and asked who it was. A woman responded, "It doesn't matter who I am. I just came to give you a dollar that the Rebbe gave to a friend for me when I was very ill. At the time, the doctors told me only a miracle could cure me. When the Rebbe gave the dollar, he said, 'For a miraculous recovery above nature.' I hope this dollar will help you."
As the mysterious woman was about to leave, Shaindy asked her, "How can I return this to you if you don't tell me your name?" The woman replied that she would return to take it from her.
Shaindy immediately gave charity as the Rebbe instructed people to redeem the dollars intended for charity in this manner. She recited Psalm 97, corresponding to the Rebbe's 97th year. She held the dollar to her heart then put it in her bedroom.
On Shabbat morning Shaindy was sitting with her baby when suddenly she felt chills through her body. She looked up and saw the clock on the wall. It was 11:40 a.m. Perhaps she was having the same dream she had dreamt each night since her illness, that she could see again. Then she realized that she could see her baby in her arms.
"I can see!" she cried and called her eldest daughter. At that moment she felt the Rebbe's presence very strongly. She felt extreme joy and she begged G-d "to open our eyes so we can see the Rebbe and to end this exile."
Then Shaindy sent her daughter to shul to call her husband. Rabbi Schechter soon ran back to shul with the bottle of vodka they had purchased for this day. (Parts of Kfar Chabad are enclosed in a way that permits carrying on Shabbat.) As a crowd gathered, he told of his wife's miraculous cure. Soon people from all over Kfar Chabad had gathered to thank G-d for fulfilling the Rebbe's blessing. The women gathered in Shaindy's home to hear the story straight from her.
At the close of Shabbat, reporters from the Israeli media converged on Kfar Chabad and Sunday's headlines told the story of how the Rebbe's blessing had restored Shaindy's eyesight.
On Monday afternoon when the phone rang in the Schechter home, a woman's voice asked, "Shaindy, do you know who I am?"
Shaindy recognized the voice as that of the woman who had brought her the Rebbe's dollar. The woman explained that she was sending a messenger to pick up the dollar. She was giving the messenger a "password" that Shaindy should ask for before handing over the dollar. When the messenger arrived she assured Shaindy that she herself did not know the identity of the woman but that she is "a simple woman like you and me."
May we merit to achieve Shaindy's level of faith in the Rebbe and his prophecy that "The time of the Redemption has arrived" and "Behold, Moshiach is coming, and is already here."
* * *
Many might be inclined to brush off these episodes as mere chance or coincidence. As a professor of mathematics whose specialty is probability, Dr. Yaakov Reich is well qualified to discuss the statistical probability of thousands of people receiving answers in this manner.
"Fundamentally, what is happening here is that you have thousands of people who are independently doing this 'experiment,' known in mathematics as independent trials. The probability in independent trials is multiplied each time an additional trial is performed. For instance, if the probability of my trial coming up with the desired response is 50%, and the probability of your trial coming up with the desired response is 50%, then the probability of both of us coming up with the desired response is 25%," explains Dr. Reich.
"Thus, if all of the letters any one person could have gotten that relate to their particular question is compared to the total number of letters, this kind of probability is less than 5%, even less than 1%. But let's be very conservative and say that one could somehow relate every tenth letter to his or her question. If there are thousands of people writing letters to the Rebbe to ask for his guidance and blessings, and only 50% get answers, the probability on such a large scale is extremely remote. And, of course, much more than 50% of the people who write to the Rebbe receive answers in this manner. One simply cannot attest this to a matter of interpretation anymore. Also, as happens often, specific details of the question such as a date, place or name appear in the answer. This reduces the probability of a chance many times.
"We constantly hear of answers to specific questions, as has happened in our family(4) in a most incredible way. These responses are not random and cannot be attributed to chance. One can only conclude that the Rebbe is truly here with us.
"I would like to emphasize that the mathematical explanation given above, far from being a proof of the miraculous nature of the Rebbe's answers, is rather an illustration--for mathematics, though the most abstract field in science, is finite and limited and therefore in essence cannot prove G-d Who is unlimited and infinite."
On a non-statistical note, Dr. Yaakov Reich comments, "Looking back through Jewish history, there were times when selected, righteous individuals were able to receive guidance by opening a Bible or other holy book. Now an amazing phenomenon is happening. The Rebbe is accessible to everyone, anywhere, anytime. And the Rebbe answers immediately." In today's day of immediate gratification, an immediate answer is especially appreciated.
Dr. Reich concludes: "As the Rambam explains, the occurrence of myriad of miracles 'while the world continues to operate in the usual manner' is a fundamental innovation of the messianic era, where the miracles will be the domain of everyone, not just a select few. As the Rebbe said in 5752/1992, 'Especially in these days, the days of Moshiach in which we find ourselves, all that is necessary is that we open our eyes.'"
4. See Living With Moshiach, Vol. 67.
In 1995, Jeremy Jordan underwent extensive surgery. During his recovery, he developed a severe infection, which necessitated an additional operation.
Jeremy's own surgeon was out of town at the time, and so a surgeon whom Jeremy had never met, Dr. S., was to perform the second surgery.
Dr. S. put Jeremy under general anesthesia and began operating.
During the surgery, Jeremy woke up! He felt no pain, and was aware of his surroundings. As he looked up at the ceiling, he saw the Rebbe. The Rebbe told Jeremy to give a message to the doctor who was operating on him!
The Rebbe then told Jeremy to tell Dr. S. that if he began to put on tefillin every day, the difficulties he was experiencing with his daughter would cease. The Rebbe stressed that although something was very wrong with the man's daughter it would be rectified if he performed this mitzvah.
Jeremy told the Rebbe he would pass on the message. Imagine the consternation in the operating room when the "anesthetized" patient began to speak! The nurse told Dr. S. that the patient had awakened, and asked what she should do. Dr. S. replied that she should give him additional anesthesia.
Before this could be done, however, Jeremy asked Dr. S. to come close so that he could see his face. Dr. S. complied, asking Jeremy if he was in any pain, and curious to know if his "unconscious" patient truly understood what was going on around him. Jeremy made it clear that he did.
Then Jeremy told the doctor: "You may think I'm crazy, but I have a message for you. Do you know who the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is?"
Dr. S. replied, "I've heard of him; why?"
"Well," Jeremy continued, "he just appeared to me in a vision and told me to tell you that the difficulties with your daughter will be solved if you put on tefillin every day."
The doctor was dumbfounded, but remembering where he was, he managed to say that the surgery was almost finished and that he would have Jeremy out of the operating room soon. During the remainder of the procedure, Jeremy recalls that he remained conscious, feeling a unique peace of mind as the Rebbe's words echoed in his thoughts.
While Jeremy was in the recovery room, Dr. S. came over and closed the curtain around the bed. He took Jeremy's hand in his own and, with tears in his eyes, whispered, "I believe you! The last time I was in a synagogue was at my Bar Mitzvah. I haven't prayed or acknowledged G-d since then.
"My daughter is gravely ill. Since I am a physician, I feel doubly helpless that I can't help her. This morning, I prayed for the first time in over 30 years, pleading with G-d to heal her. I added: 'If You really exist, show me a sign.'
"Then you awoke during surgery and gave me that message from Rebbe Schneerson! It's incredible!"
After this experience, Dr. S. purchased a pair of tefillin and began attending synagogue. Within weeks, his daughter recovered completely.
* * *
Mrs. Terri Naiditch, a member of the Lubavitch community in Pittsburgh, once received the following letter from her father:
"In the fall of 1985, I went for a check-up shortly before my crucial business season started, as was my habit in those years.
"I was referred to a dermatologist to confirm that a mole on my back had all the earmarks of a malignant melanoma--a potentially lethal affliction that can spread cancer throughout the body. He in turn sent me to the Mayo Clinic to see about having the mole removed.
"At the Mayo Clinic, I asked the head of dermatology to tell me frankly whether it was malignant, for I was also suffering such intense pain and worry that I was considering early retirement. He not only confirmed that it was malignant, but even had his whole staff come in and look at my mole, evidently as a textbook example of a melanoma. (I had studied a pamphlet on this disorder, and had seen that mine was identical to one of the most graphic illustrations.)
"Upon hearing of my planned operation, you and Pinky appealed to Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson to intercede on my behalf, which he generously did.
"You know the sequel. When the operation took place, the tissue was sent out for the obligatory biopsy, and only moments after I was sewn up, the surgeon returned with the greeting, 'Boy, were you lucky! It's not malignant!'
"Now, you know that your mother and our dear friends, the Dotys, were there with me, and that their prayers and others were offered for me. The unique thing about my appreciation, though, was for the help of the Rebbe. I do not make any claim--I do not feel qualified to do so--that G-d saved me from this life-threatening malady because of the Rebbe's intervention. Yet I have complete faith in the Mayo Clinic's staff and their diagnosis, and to me this experience cannot be explained in purely logical terms. I shall always feel a debt to, and a special affection for, the Rebbe....
Now, Mrs. Naiditch is a convert; her father, John Huff, is not Jewish. Nonetheless, when a blessing was requested for him, the Rebbe responded.
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 26, Erev Shabbat Parshat Korach:
Saturday, June 27, Shabbat Parshat Korach:
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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