Shevat 5, 5759
Jan. 22, 1999
A Tribute to the Rebbe
on 49 Years of Leadership
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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 Yud Shevat. On Yud Shevat (the 10th of Shevat, next Wednesday, Jan. 27), we commemorate the yahrtzeit of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn; it is also the 49th anniversary of the Rebbe's acceptance of leadership.
The Jewish year that has recently begun is the year 5759 since Creation. The Hebrew letters are Hei-Tav-Shin-Nun-Tes. 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 T'hei Shnas Niflaos Tovoh" meaning "It surely will be a good year of wondrous miracles."
Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.
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
Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
The very first Passover offering, described in this week's Torah portion, Bo, differed from those that would be offered by future generations in one important respect.
That year, and that year only, the Jewish people were commanded to procure the Pascal lamb on the 10th of the month of Nisan--four days before it was to be slaughtered--and to keep it in their homes until the 14th day of the month.
Rashi, the great Torah commentator, cites the following explanation:
"G-d said, 'The time has come for Me to fulfill My promise to Abraham to redeem his children.' But the Jews had no mitzvot in whose merit they deserved to be redeemed. He therefore gave them two commandments--the Passover offering and the mitzvah of circumcision (which the Jews, in their suffering and degradation, had ceased to observe)."
Why was it necessary for G-d to give the Jews two mitzvot at that time in history?
Why wouldn't one have sufficed to provide them with the merit they needed to be redeemed?
If one was not enough, why only two and not more?
And, what is the connection between all this and the commandment to keep the Passover lamb in the house for four days?
The explanation lies in the fact that these two mitzvot were given to the Children of Israel to correct two specific flaws from which they then suffered.
After more than two hundred years of slavery, not only were they bereft of mitzvot, but the Jewish people had also become contaminated by the paganism of the Egyptians.
The opportunity to observe the fundamental mitzvah of circumcision addressed the first problem; the Passover offering then severed the Jewish people from the idol worship into which they had fallen.
To the ancient Egyptians the lamb was a sacred deity. When the Jews brazenly sacrificed the Pascal lamb they thereby showed their contempt for the dominant Egyptian culture and morals. But in order for the break with paganism to be internalized and complete, more than a one-time action was necessary. G-d gave the Jews an extra four days of preparation to afford them the time to reflect upon the great significance their deed truly held.
Today, our own historical era closely parallels the period just prior to the exodus from Egypt, for we stand on the very threshold of Moshiach and the Final Redemption.
The necessity to "clothe ourselves in mitzvot" exists now as before, for indeed, when Moshiach comes, every single Jew will be personally redeemed from the long and bitter exile.
It is therefore incumbent upon us to take positive steps in both directions--encouraging more and more Jews to observe practical mitzvot to increase our collective merit, and, at the same time, transforming the "idol worship" of our own era--the modern obsession with money, career advancement and power--into a channel for bringing G-dliness and the light of Torah into the world.
In this manner we will be truly ready to greet Moshiach, speedily in our day.
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.
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 Chasidus, 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 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.
Our generation is the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption. As my sainted father-in-law, the one whose yahrtzeit we commemorate, announced and publicized many times, all requirements have already been completed and all that is necessary is to actually greet our righteous Moshiach...Our Divine service consists of bringing the Redemption into reality, for this generation and for all generations preceding it! This means, that this generation concludes the work and Divine service of all preceding generations of Jews.
(20 Shevat, 5752)
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.
On Wednesday, the Tenth (Yud) of Shevat, (Jan. 27), we will commemorate the 49th Yahrtzeit since the passing of the Previous Rebbe in 5710/1950. On the anniversary of that day in 5711/1951, the present Rebbe officially accepted the position of leadership and delivered his first Chasidic discourse, "Basi Legani."
This discourse was truly ground-breaking, laying the foundation of the Rebbe's work over the next few decades. In no uncertain terms it described the uniqueness of our generation and the special role we play in history.
The core revelation the Rebbe introduced is that ours is "the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption." During the past seven generations of Jewish history, beginning with the inception of Chabad Chasidism, Divine consciousness has been progressively refined. Ours, the seventh generation (and the reincarnation of the generation that left Egypt with the Exodus) is similarly poised on the threshold of the Redemption.
"This is not through our own choice or a result of our service; in fact, it might often not even be to our liking. Nevertheless...we stand on the 'heel of Moshiach'--the very edge of the heel-- ready to complete the task of drawing down the Divine Presence...into the lowest realm possible."
This knowledge implies a responsibility that is incumbent upon each and every one us. As the Previous Rebbe wrote in a letter, every Jew must ask himself, "What have I done and what am I doing to alleviate the birth-pangs of Moshiach, and to merit the total Redemption which will come through our Righteous Moshiach?" Every mitzvah we do every good deed or increase in Torah study has the potential to tip the scales, to bring the ongoing historical process toward the Messianic era to its ultimate conclusion.
As "Basi Legani" concludes, "Let us all merit to see and be together with the Rebbe, in a physical body and within our reach, and he will redeem us."
May it happen immediately.
From the Charlton Heston classic, to the most recent offering in cartoon form, Hollywood has found a hero in our holy Torah. Indeed, Moses was a Prince, but in Hebrew he is known as Nasi B'Yisrael, a prince in Israel, as are many of the great leaders of Jewish history. The word Nasi (prince), Jewish teachings tell us, is an acronym for Nitzutz shel Yaakov Avinu--a spark of Jacob our ancestor.
This teaching underscores how the great leadership of all the generations is one continuum. Each generation's prince or leader is a continuation of Jacob and manifests some of the same essential characteristics as Jacob.
Of all the forefathers of the Jewish people it is specifically Jacob, described by our Sages as the "chosen of the Patriarchs," with whom our leaders are associated. This is because Jacob was unique in that all his children followed in his path, unlike Abraham and Isaac who each had a child who strayed from his ways.
Jacob's influence on his children, however, was so complete and all-inclusive that all of his children followed in his ways. Thus, Jacob's twelve sons became the Twelve Tribes from whom the entire Jewish people are descended. That the leader of the Jewish people in each generation is called a "nasi" and is connected to Jacob underscores that he reaches and impacts every single member of his generation.
These thoughts echo once more as we commemorate the anniversary of the passing of the previous Rebbe on 10 Shevat (Wednesday, January 27). This is the date when the Rebbe accepted the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and he became established as the Nasi HaDor, the prince or leader of the generation, connecting back all the way to Jacob our ancestor.
Described by the Rebbe in his first public discourse as the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption, our generation, and its leader, becomes the last link in this chain. Our generation is the one which will see the culmination and fulfillment of all the promises and aspirations of those who went before. We will experience the peace, prosperity, health and knowledge that will characterize the Messianic Era.
For our part, to hasten the long-awaited and painfully overdue Redemption we should, as the Rebbe directed, increase in acts of goodness and kindness; enhance our observance of mitzvot; upgrade our study of the Torah, particularly those aspects that relate to Moshiach and the Redemption; open our eyes to the fact that we are literally standing on the threshold of the Redemption, and that the world is ready for this new reality.
by Rabbi Nissim H. Hayward
It was midwinter of 1949 when I caught the first glimpse of the man who would change my course in midstream and shape my destiny. At that time, I was a student at the Mirrer Yeshivah in Brooklyn, New York. One of my senior colleagues from Shanghai, Rabbi Isaac Levy, had invited me to a festive event at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, a completion of the entire Talmud for that year and the distribution of tractates to be studied during the next cycle.
I arrived approximately ten minutes early to find only standing room available. At a long table set up in the main study hall, the elders, Talmudic scholars, and rabbinical leaders of the community were all seated, presenting a venerable "Council of Sages." On the dot of the hour, a tall, handsome man in his forties entered the room, meticulously dressed in gray and with a black beard. The entire assembly stood up in respect as he took his place at the center of the table, quickly and unassumingly.
"Who is this?" I asked, and was told, "He is the Rebbe's son-in-law." I stopped for a moment to ponder this most unusual sight. I analyzed the contents of this young Rabbi Schneerson's remarks, as I did his mannerism. His delivery was precise, without dramatics, emotional outbursts or sophistical rhetoric-simply to the point.
I saw in Rabbi Schneerson the ideal spiritual mentor. A profound intellectual and yet, full of compassion. A perfectionist par excellence, commanding a strict self-discipline, but always considerate of another's frailty. This proper balance helps man to utilize his full potential and attain elevation both spiritually and materially. A most novel achievement indeed, but only a few have risen to this level of distinction.
In retrospect I can understand why the Previous Rebbe felt it necessary to alert the elders of the community to prepare for his son-in-law's arrival (in 5701/1941). "My son-in-law is an extremely humble and unassuming individual; he will not expect you to honor him, but you should know with whom you are associating. Even in the days of the Alter Rebbe he would have been among the cream of the crop!"
Among the distinguished guests I met that day was Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, o.b.m, the Rav of Shanghai. Upon leaving, he remarked, "Nissim, in Mir you've been learning Torah, why don't you come to us now and learn about the Giver of the Torah?" And so it was.
During my last semester in the Lubavitcher yeshivah in Montreal, Canada, I had the unique privilege to dorm at the home of the renowned chasid, Reb Peretz Mochkin. One time, when I shared with him my reflections of the Rebbe's greatness, he replied, "The Rebbe possesses all the levels of greatness we attribute to him, but this is not the Rebbe. It is only after our understanding has reached its peak that the Rebbe begins."
A Rebbe is a neshamah k'lalis--an all-encompassing soul. All the souls of the Jewish people are bound up with his soul; that is why he can feel the pulse of each and every one. The closer the attachment to the tzaddik and leader of the generation, the closer is the attachment to one's Maker.
Where can we find scholarship and piety at their highest level, embodied in one human being? In the Rebbe. If we try to emulate the Rebbe's degree of brotherly love, we can rest assured that Moshiach will be revealed forthwith.
A Tribute to the Rebbe
on 49 Years of Leadership
by Rabbi Avraham Kotlarsky
The fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel (the Rebbe Maharash), had a chassid who was a successful businessman. Before undertaking any significant deal, he always consulted the Rebbe and followed his instructions.
One time, the chassid 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 chassid 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 chassid 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 chassid. 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 chassid 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 tzeddaka [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 chassid 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 chassid.
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 chassid tried everything, even begging the Rebbe to let him make the deal, but the Rebbe answered once again: "No."
When the chassid 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 tzeddaka.
Unfortunately, things did not go well. In a short while, the chassid lost all his money.
The chassid 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 chassid 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.(1) 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 Nissan, 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.
*. Executive Director, Chabad Lubavitch of Rockland, NY.
1. 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.
by Rabbi Bentzion Grossman
To those who live in Jerusalem, Rabbi Eliezer Chaim Streicher is a familiar figure. Rabbi Streicher is known for his unwavering trust that G-d will come to his assistance when he is in need. Many stories are told about the salvation that came to him in the nick of time.
As a young man, Reb Eliezer Chaim learned in a yeshivah, where he devoted himself to Torah study day and night. After he was married he began to search for a job, but could not find a suitable position.
After consulting with several friends, they all told him that it was easier to make a living in the United States, he decided to move to New York. The young couple relocated to the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, and Reb Eliezer Chaim found a job without difficulty.
However, with every passing day, Reb Eliezer Chaim found that he had less time to devote to his beloved Torah studies and spiritual pursuits.
It became obvious to Reb Eliezer Chaim that he had to make a decision about where his life was going. He was hesitant to leave his job and return to full-time Torah study. And yet...
With these thoughts going through his mind, Reb Eliezer Chaim went to pray in a small shul that he did not usually frequent. He came across a book that spoke about the importance of trusting in G-d. A person who has trust, the author wrote, can be assured that G-d will never abandon him wherever he goes.
The book made a strong impression on Reb Eliezer Chaim, and he decided that from that day on he would rely on the beneficence of G-d. With his wife's approval, he left his job and began to study Torah full-time in a kollel--a yeshivah for married men.
He faith and trust in G-d, that the Al-mighty would provide him with his livelihood from another source, was unshakable.
A few years passed and the Streichers decided to return to Israel where Reb Eliezer Chaim would continue to devote his life to Torah study. Indeed, G-d took care of the Streichers. Several friends helped them out and within a short time of their return to Israel the couple was settled in a furnished apartment in one of the religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Years passed. Reb Eliezer Chaim found that he missed the insights and guidance of the Rosh HaKollel, dean of the kollel, in New York. He decided that he would travel to New York for a short while to see him. Again, G-d provided Reb Eliezer Chaim with the necessary airfare in the merit of his trust.
Before leaving, however, Reb Eliezer Chaim consulted with his wife, in accordance with the Talmud's instruction to obtain one's wife's permission before embarking on a journey. She agreed, but on one condition: that he buys clothing for their children when he was in Borough Park. They sat down and figured out how much it would cost: $600 would cover everything. Of course, Reb Eliezer Chaim had not a penny in his pocket when he set off, but he agreed to his wife's condition; G-d would somehow provide.
Weeks passed, during which Reb Eliezer Chaim was happily and dilligently studying in his former kollel in New York. In a few more days he was scheduled to return to Israel; the clothing for his children had been completely forgotten.
On the last day of his visit he suddenly recalled the promise he had made to his wife. There were only a few hours left before he would have to take a taxi to the airport. But what could he do? He still had no money; even if he had, he would have been hard pressed to fit a shopping spree in. Reb Eliezer Chaim put his trust in G-d and continued to learn.
Then the door to the study hall opened suddenly and Reb Eliezer Chaim looked up from his book. At that hour the study hall was empty, except for the man who was rapidly walking toward Reb Eliezer Chaim.
The stranger was smiling; from the way he was dressed it was obvious that he was a Lubavitcher chasid. The man came over and placed his arm on Reb Eliezer Chaim's shoulder. Reb Eliezer Chaim greeted him warmly and asked, "What can I do for you?"
"The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave me this envelope and told me to deliver it to the person I would find sitting and learning in this study hall." The man handed Reb Eliezer Chaim the envelope and left.
When Reb Eliezer Chaim opened the envelope a small cry escaped his lips. Inside was exactly $600.
Needless to say, Reb Eliezer Chaim made it to the airport on time, his suitcases bulging with the clothing for his children that his wife had indicated.
Years later, Reb Eliezer Chaim was still shocked by what had occurred. "Why are you so surprised?" I asked him when he told me the story. "Hadn't you seen with your own eyes time and time again how G-d came to your assistance whenever it was necessary?"
"Never mind that G-d knew about my problem and came to my aid," Reb Eliezer Chaim replied. "That I can understand. But how did the Lubavitcher Rebbe find out?"
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. 22, Erev Shabbat Parshat Bo:
Saturday, Jan. 23, 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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