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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
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The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio) - Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos [talks]
which are relevant to the particular day.
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue, we focus on The Seven Noachide Laws.
The Jewish year that has just 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
25 Tishrei, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
In this week's Torah portion, Noach, we find the verse, "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life...all the fountains of the great deep were split and the windows of Heaven were opened." The Zohar (the basic book of Jewish mysticism) explains that this refers to the beginning of the sixth century of the sixth millennium of Creation (the year 5500/1740, 259 years ago). At that time, the Divine fountains of knowledge would open up, both above in the celestial spheres and below in the physical realm, and the world would thus be prepared to enter the seventh millennium, the Messianic Age.
The Zohar describes the two types of knowledge that would be revealed during this time frame. The first is the opening of the "gates of knowledge above," referring to Torah and G-dly wisdom, and the second is the "fountains of wisdom below," referring to science and our understanding of nature and the physical world.
Indeed, we find that the world began to undergo great changes during that time, just as the Zohar prophesied. The amount of knowledge and understanding began to reach levels unprecedented in history. In the Torah world, this was the time when chasidic philosophy began to be revealed, and in the secular world, scientific discoveries and developments began a frenetic pace that continues to the present day.
This period of revelation of knowledge, both G-dly and secular, came about as a preparation for the seventh millennium and the days of Moshiach. It is easy to understand how increased revelation of Torah serves as preparation, for the Messianic Era is a time when "knowledge of G-d will cover the earth like the water of the sea." But what has this to do with scientific advances and the Industrial Revolution?
A fundamental innovation of Moshiach will be that our perception of reality will change. Chasidic philosophy explains that after Moshiach reveals himself, "all flesh will see" -- our physical flesh will be cognizant of the G-dliness that permeates and sustains the entire world.
Advances in scientific knowledge and understanding of the natural world are a preparation for this time. Medical, astronomic and nuclear discoveries have been revealed to man so that he can use this knowledge to serve G-d. As with everything else, we are given the free will with which to utilize these discoveries, as increased knowledge carries with it increased responsibility. When a Jew employs modern technology to serve G-d, perform mitzvot and further goodness in the world, he is utilizing these revelations properly.
We have been granted the increased understanding of the dynamics of the physical world so that we can elevate these elements as well. Furthermore, the greater our understanding of science, the greater our appreciation and understanding of the ultimate unity of G-d and Creation. We see in the progress of history the positive development of knowledge and how it leads to an understanding of G-d. In antiquity man believed in the divinity of each of the natural forces, and believed that physical matter was composed of many different elements. Modern science, however, is proving the existence of fundamental, atomic structure, proving yet another example of G-d's ultimate unity.
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 future Redemption will apply not only to Israel, but to the whole world as well. In preparation for this Redemption, therefore, action needs to be taken so that the world at large will be ready for such a state. This is to be achieved through the efforts of the Jewish people to influence the nations of the world to conduct themselves in the spirit of the verse that states that G-d 'formed the world in order that it be settled' (Isaiah 45:18) in a civilized manner, through the observance of their seven mitzvot."
The Rebbe, 5743/1983
This week's Torah portion is Noach. Therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to consider the implications of the Rebbe's campaign to disseminate, among non-Jews, the knowledge and observance of the Seven Noachide Laws.
The nations of the world were given a Divine code of conduct, the Seven Noachide Laws, which consist of six prohibitions against: adultery, murder, robbery, idolatry, blasphemy, cruelty to animals--and one positive command, to establish a judicial system.
The Rebbe has encouraged his emissaries around the world to meet with government officials and heads of state to sign proclamations encouraging the study and observance of the Seven Noachide Laws. Government proclamations, however, are not the Rebbe's only concern.
An important part of the Jew's task is to see to it that all people, not just Jews, acknowledge G-d as Creator and Ruler of the world and to therefore conduct themselves according to the Seven Noachide Laws. Each and every Jew has an important role to play in this task. But how can this be accomplished?
When a Jew conducts himself properly in all areas of his life--business, recreation, family, and religious--he will automatically influence the people around him. When the nations of the world see Jews acknowledging G-d as Ruler of the world, through prayer and by following His commandments, they, too, will come to realize the importance and truth of G-d's omnipotence.
This week we read the Torah portion of Noach in which we find G-d's promise that the world will continue to exist forever; it will never end.
"The end is near." What does this phrase mean? Certainly not the end of the world but the end of the bitter days of exile. The end of oppression and hatred, poverty and sickness, war and crime.
Why should we be afraid that the end is approaching? Should that thought truly place fear in our hearts? Or should we not be excited that "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean"?
Fear is not necessarily the appropriate feeling. Rather, possibly a sense of regret, as the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, stated, "When Moshiach comes, then we will long for the days of exile." Why? Because at that time we will look back at a replay of our lives and see all of the instances when we could have done more good, more mitzvot, judged less harshly, been more generous. Thus, we might look toward the imminently approaching days of Moshiach with a little anxiety. But the positive anticipation should far outweigh our trepidation.
Would the Jews, from our greatest leaders to the simplest person, have looked forward to, longed for, prayed, begged and beseeched G-d for 2,000 years if the Redemption would not be good for everyone? In fact, we are told that this redemption for which we wait anxiously is called the "geula ha-amitit v'hashleima"--the true and complete redemption--because every single Jew, as well as all righteous gentiles, have a portion in the Redemption.
Let us take one more lesson from this week's Torah portion and relate it to the topic of Redemption as well. Noach was a tzaddik, a righteous person. But he had one major failing. He was commanded by G-d to build an ark, which he did obediently and gladly. But he did not actively seek to help the people of his generation return to G-d. He was content to save himself and his family.
Let us all make sure not only to prepare ourselves and to feel positive and anxious about the imminent redemption. Let us make sure to influence those in our surroundings as well.
Fourteen years ago, on Shabbat Parshat Pinchas, 5744/1984, the Rebbe spoke in a relatively unusual manner about his persistence and insistence on continuously discussing the coming of Moshiach. Let me share with you translated excerpts from that talk:
"Some people wonder: How can a person appear in public, week after week, and repeatedly speak on one subject--the coming of Moshiach?
"Furthermore, that person always stresses that he is not just speaking of the concept, but of the actual coming of Moshiach, here on this physical earth, and immediately, this very day. On each occasion he instructs those gathered to sing 'May the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days,' emphasizing that 'speedily in our days' should not be understood as 'speedily, tomorrow,' but as 'speedily, today'!
"Certainly, every Jew believes that Moshiach can come at any moment--after all, 'I await his coming every day' is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism. Still, they wonder, to believe that Moshiach will come at this very moment is hardly consistent with the reality of our lives. So why does this man speak incessantly about it, on every occasion, and with such single-minded intensity, as if to force the idea into the minds of his listeners?
"Their conclusion is that all this is a nice dream, nice, but not very realistic. So what is the point of speaking so much about one's dreams?
"Chasidic philosophy explains that our current state of exile is like a dream; in a dream one's sense of perception can tolerate the most contradictory and irrational things.
"In other words, our current 'reality' is a dream, while the world of Moshiach is the true reality. In a single moment, we can all wake up from the dream of exile and open our eyes to the true reality of our existence--the perfect world of Moshiach. Everyone present in this room can immediately awaken himself from his dream, so that today, Shabbat Parshat Pinchas, 5744, before we even say the afternoon prayers, in fact this very moment, we all open our eyes and see Moshiach, in the flesh, with us, here in this room."
May the Rebbe's words of fourteen years ago, and his prophetic promise of seven years ago, that "the time of our Redemption has arrived," be fulfilled immediately.
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.
The Seven Universal Laws of Noah:
Influence non-Jews to observe the seven universal laws commanded to Noah and his descendants.
The Seven Noachide Laws, consist of six prohibitions against: adultery, murder, robbery, idolatry, blasphemy, cruelty to animals--and one positive command, to establish a judicial system.
For more information on the Seven Noachide Laws, go to:
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, Oct. 23, Erev Shabbat Parshat Noach:
Saturday, Oct. 24, Shabbat Parshat Noach:
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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