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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
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of the Rebbe
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.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, and Friday, Nov. 20, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Kislev, starting the new month of Kislev, therefore, we present an article that discusses the special relationship between Jewish women and Rosh Chodesh.
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
20 Cheshvan, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
In the course of this week's Torah portion, Toldot, the Torah relates that Isaac dug several wells to supply his family and animals with much-needed water. The first few wells he dug fell into the hands of the Philistines. Undeterred, Isaac dug more wells, in an attempt to uncover the "wells of living water."
Isaac's calling was digging wells--removing earth and stones until fresh fountains of living water sprang up.
Isaac's physical action paralleled his spiritual way of life. Spiritually, he was also a "digger of wells." Throughout his life he attempted to remove the "earth and stones," or the mask of materialism and corporeality of the physical world, thus revealing the "wells of living water," or the spirituality inherent in all matter.
When working, Isaac was not dismayed by the seemingly endless dirt obstructing the springs of water. He was also undeterred by the antagonism of the Philistines. Moreover, even when several of the precious and hard-earned wells were captured by the Philistines, Isaac doggedly continued to dig.
Logically, we might think that Isaac should have been discouraged by the obstacles in his path. The Philistines ruled the region where he lived. What is more, Isaac's attempts had repeatedly met with failure.
However, Isaac did not stop to analyze the situation with cold logic. He knew that his Divine mission in life was to "dig wells" (in the spiritual as well as the physical sense) and he committed himself to this task with self-sacrificing devotion and with the conviction that he would eventually reach the source of "living water."
Isaac's mission in life teaches us that we must continually try to influence others in matters pertaining to Judaism. It might even be necessary to "dig beneath the surface" until their hidden "fountains of living water"--their Jewish souls--spring forth of their own accord. However, one must not be dismayed if earth and dust meet the eye; like our forefather Isaac, we must not be deterred by difficulties.
Chasidic philosophy emphasizes that there is a Divine spark within each and every Jew. Hence, we are like Isaac, who strove to reveal hidden wells, and with selfless devotion and determination we will eventually reach a "fountain of living water"--the G-dliness within us all.
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.
Kislev is a month of celebration, when we commemorate many joyous occasions. A recurring theme throughout the festivities of Kislev is freedom.
On the 10th day of Kislev, 5587/1826, the second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Dovber (known as the Mitteler Rebbe), was released from incarceration in Czarist Russia on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities.
Decades earlier, on the 19th of Kislev in the year 5559/1798, his father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, was released from imprisonment on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities. (Two years later, when Rabbi Shneur Zalman was imprisoned once again, he was also released in the month of Kislev, on the third night of Chanukah.)
On Chanukah, celebrated for eight days starting on the 25th of Kislev, we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over their mighty Hellenic oppressors, and their subsequent freedom to follow once again in the ways of the Torah. We also celebrate the liberation of our Holy Temple, which the Hellenists had defiled and desecrated. Once the Jews cleansed and purified the Temple, it was free to be used for its holy purpose, bringing the Jewish people closer to G-d.
Torah in general, and chasidic teachings in particular, help liberate us from our personal (often self-imposed) "prisons." During the month of Kislev, then, it is appropriate to increase our study of Torah. This study will help us reflect upon how best to use the opportunities available to us because of the religious freedom that we are fortunate to enjoy today.
Let us pray that G-d speedily grant us the ultimate freedom that will come with the revelation of Moshiach. For then we will truly be free to serve G-d, in the third and final Holy Temple.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, and Friday, Nov. 20, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Kislev, starting the new month of Kislev.
Rosh Chodesh is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with special prayers and finer food and clothing. Jewish women, in particular, observe Rosh Chodesh more meticulously.
What is the reason for Jewish women's stricter celebration of Rosh Chodesh?
Rabbi Eliezer wrote: "When the men came to ask for their wives' gold earrings for the Golden Calf, the women refused to hand them over. They said to their husbands: 'We will not obey you in order to make an abomination that has no power to save!' G-d rewarded them in this world, giving them a greater degree of observance on Rosh Chodesh, and He rewards them in the World to Come, giving them the power of constant renewal that characterizes [the renewal of the moon on] Rosh Chodesh."
On a more general note, the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and our people are compared to the moon. Although our light is sometimes eclipsed by that of other nations, like the moon we are always here--both at night and by day. Our nation's history has its share of growth and decline; like the moon we wax and wane. But ultimately, these are just phases. For, although at times we seem to be as unimportant or insignificant as the sliver of the moon when it reappears, this is just a veneer.
May we sanctify the new moon this year and celebrate Rosh Chodesh Kislev in the Holy Temple with Moshiach.
Our Sages relate that "in the merit of the righteous women, the Jews were redeemed from Egypt." Similarly, the Sages associated subsequent redemptions with the merit of Jewish women. Rabbi Yitzchok Luria emphasized that the future Redemption will follow the pattern of the Exodus, and thus will also come as a result of the merit of the righteous women of that generation.
From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"
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.
Make Renewal Gatherings
The Jewish calendar is based on the moon's cycle. The beginning of each Jewish month is a mini-holiday and affords a perfect opportunity to make gatherings.
Serve some special foods, study about the holidays in the upcoming month, celebrate the imminent Redemption when the Jewish people will be totally renewed.
"The renewal of the moon after its concealment is used an analogy for the Redemption and the complete renewal of the Jewish people 'who will in the future be renewed as [the moon] is renewed.'"
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, Nov. 20, Erev Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Saturday, Nov. 21, Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
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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