The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
Click here, to see pictures
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.
In this week's issue, we focus on the Hebrew month of Adar.
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
22 Shevat, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah portion, Teruma, contains the commandment to fashion a menorah for the Sanctuary. "And you shall make a menorah of pure gold."
Maimonides, one of the greatest Torah scholars of all time, drew a detailed diagram of the menorah that greatly helps us understand what it looked like. The diagram shows us the shape of the menorah's branches, the location of its "flowers" and "bowls," and many other details.
Maimonides depicted the menorah's bowls (which were actually tiny cups) in the shape of triangles. A cup is similar to a triangle as it is usually wider on the top and narrower on the bottom.
Surprisingly, however, Maimonides drew the bowls of the menorah upside-down! All 22 of the bowls are depicted as inverted triangles, the wider part on the bottom and the narrower part at the top.
Thus, according to Maimonides' drawing, the bowls of the menorah were designed as if to pour their contents out.
What does this teach us? Why were the bowls of the menorah upside-down?
In truth, the bowls are symbolic of the function of the menorah and, by extension, the Holy Temple.
A regular menorah or candelabrum is designed to illuminate the inside of one's home. The menorah in the Sanctuary, by contrast, was designed to illuminate the outside. Even without the menorah the Temple was well lit. The reason it was kindled was to illuminate the world at large and demonstrate that G-d's presence rested upon Israel.
The windows of the Holy Temple were fashioned according to the same principle. These unique windows were opaque from within yet transparent from without. Unlike other windows they did not draw light inside, but carried the light of the Holy Temple outward.
Similarly, a regular cup is designed to contain liquid. But the bowls of the menorah were inverted, shaped like cups that pour their liquid out for those who are thirsty!
The true purpose of the Temple (and the menorah) was to shine the light of holiness upon the entire world, not to contain it within its walls. Both its windows and the bowls of the menorah expressed this concept, reflecting their primary function of imbuing the world with a holy illumination. For the Holy Temple is the place that lights up the entire world.
From this we learn an important lesson: The light of Torah and mitzvot must not be kept to ourselves. Rather, we must always strive to share it with others, thereby illuminating the world at large with holiness.
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.
Our Sages have taught that, just as when the month of Av begins we lessen our joy, so, too, when the month of Adar begins, we increase our simcha--joy and happiness.
But why should we be so happy just because it is Adar? In Adar we celebrate the joyous holiday of Purim, commemorating the time when the unity and prayers of the Jewish people brought about the nullification of Haman's wicked plan to annihilate the Jews.
Our Sages declared Purim a day of festivity and rejoicing; of sharing our joy with our fellow-Jews. As Purim is the central holiday of Adar and the "theme" of the month, the entire month is permeated with our pursuit of joy and happiness.
The Talmud describes Adar as having "a healthy mazal." It is a month which brings the Jewish people strength and true health. In the month of Adar, G-d's blessings for a good and sweet year are renewed, intensified, and increased. These provide more good reasons to rejoice!
In our day and age we have another reason to rejoice when Adar begins. Jewish teachings explain that "Joy breaks all boundaries." As we stand literally on the threshold of the long-awaited Redemption of the Jewish people and the entire world, the Rebbe has suggested that our every action be permeated with joy in the hope that this will break through the last boundaries of exile.
May the joy we experience in these, the last days of exile, hasten the coming of the ultimate joy, the coming of Moshiach. May we join one Redemption to another and connect the redemption of Purim to the Messianic Redemption. May it take place imminently!
* * *
Concerning the kind of things that should be done to arouse simcha during the month of Adar, the Rebbe suggested that each person should proceed according to his level: a child, for instance, should be made happy by his parents; a wife by her husband, and visa versa.
The bottom line is that the Rebbe did not let up on encouraging an increase of simcha in all permissible manners during the entire month of Adar.
We must hearken to the Rebbe's words and utilize simcha, especially during this month, to turn darkness into light, sadness into joy, and pain and tears into rejoicing with Moshiach in the Final Redemption; may it take place, as the Rebbe so fervently prayed, teichef umiyad mamash--immediately, literally.
As we enter the month of Adar, our thoughts immediately turn to the holiday of Purim.
Every holiday is a time of rejoicing for the Jewish people. The joy of Purim, however, exceeds that of all other holidays, even the holiday of Sukkot, which is referred to in the Torah itself as "Z'man Simchateinu"--the Season of Our Rejoicing.
The joy of Purim is limitless and unbounded. The joy of Purim is "poretz geder"; it "breaks" through life's day-to-day routines and the typical way of doing things.
As the joy of Purim is so great, even the preparations for Purim must be filled with great joy. What preparations do we need to make for Purim?
On Purim itself we send gifts of food, mishloach manot, to friends and neighbors. Children dress up in costumes. We listen to the reading of the Megila of Esther and stamp out Haman's name. We eat a festive holiday meal and we add the special "V'Al HaNissim" ("And [we thank You] For these miracles") to our prayers.
Our preparations for Purim, then, include studying the laws and customs of the holiday, purchasing items for mishloach manot, making costumes, familiarizing ourselves with the Megila, readying the holiday meal, knowing when to recite V'Al HaNissim. The more enthusiasm and rejoicing we put into the preparations for Purim, the greater the happiness of Purim itself will be.
From the rejoicing of the preparations for Purim may we speedily experience the rejoicing with Moshiach, NOW!
At a chasidic gathering nearly 20 years ago, the Rebbe told the following story:
One of the tzaddikim of Poland, when still a little boy, asked his father for an apple. His father, however, refused to give it to him.
The enterprising youngster proceeded to recite a blessing over the apple: "Baruch atah...borei pri haetz--Blessed are You... Who created fruit of the trees!"
The father could not possibly allow the blessing to have been recited in vain. And so, he promptly handed the youngster the apple.
The Rebbe used this story to illustrate the following point:
In our situation today, if the Jewish people begin now to rejoice in the Redemption, out of absolute trust that G-d will speedily send us Moshiach, this joy in itself will (as it were) compel our Father in heaven to fulfill His children's wish and to redeem them from exile.
Needless to say, the Rebbe was not suggesting the use of mystical incantations or the like to "force" the premature advent of the end of the exile. "We are simply speaking of serving G-d with exuberant joy," the Rebbe explained.
The month of Adar brings with it not only the injunction to increase in joy, but with every command we are also given the power and energy to fulfill that command.
So, right from the start of the month, let us increase in our happiness, do mitzvot with more enthusiasm, and rejoice NOW in the imminent Redemption.
* * *
What benefit does joy bring us?
Chasidic teachings use the example of two individuals who are wrestling, to teach us the advantage of joy.
When two individuals are wrestling with each other, each striving to throw the other, if one is lazy and sluggish he will easily be defeated and thrown, even though he may be stronger than his opponent. Similarly, when we are trying to correct our bad habits or encourage spiritual growth, etc., it is impossible to accomplish any of these goals with a heavy heart or sluggishness, which originates in sadness. Rather, we are most successful at "overthrowing" our character flaws when we use alacrity that is derived from joy.
The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, received a letter from one of his followers, complaining that it was difficult for him to be "joyous." The Tzemach Tzedek's advice to him was that he think only positive and happy thoughts, that he be careful not to speak of sad or depressing matters, and to behave as if his heart was full of joy. "Ultimately," concluded the Tzemach Tzedek, "this will be the reality."
As we enter the month of Adar, a month when we are enjoined to increase our joy over and above our regular mitzvot to "serve G-d with joy" and "to be joyous constantly," may we celebrate the greatest joy of all, the revelation of Moshiach and the ingathering of all Jews to our Holy Land, NOW!
When people comment that Lubavitchers may be going a little overboard, as it seems that every other word is about Moshiach or Redemption or the Messianic era, our only response is that we are emulating the Rebbe.
An example (and this is not an exception, but the rule) may be found in a talk of the Rebbe's a few years ago (in 5750/1990) at just about this time of year. At that time the Rebbe spoke of the 50th anniversary of the previous Rebbe's arrival in America.
In the course of just 5 minutes the Rebbe said:
"May the completion of these 50 years of service bring about the complete and ultimate redemption -- the eternal Redemption led by Moshiach.
"The Messianic Redemption is also connected to the present month, the month of Adar. Adar is a month of celebration as our Sages commented, 'When Adar commences, happiness should be increased.' This happiness, in contrast to the happiness of the other months of the year, is unlimited in nature. Thus, we find that though the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot are described as 'festivals of rejoicing,' the court would send emissaries to ensure that the celebrations were kept within certain limits. In contrast, the celebrations of Purim are unlimited in nature. This relates to the Messianic Redemption, for the ultimate expression of happiness will come in the Messianic age.
"This unbounded happiness is not restricted to Purim alone. The Megillah describes Adar as 'the month that was transformed,' implying that the month as a whole is one of celebration. In particular, this is true now that eight days of the month have passed. The number "eight" shares a connection to the Messianic Redemption.
"The present day, Tuesday, is also connected to the Messianic Redemption, for Tuesday is associated with the repetition of the phrase, 'And G-d saw that it was good,' interpreted by our Sages as a reference to a twofold good: 'good to the heavens' and 'good to the creatures.' This twofold service relates to Moshiach's coming, since, as our Sages explain, all terms that are repeated in Torah are allusions to the concept of redemption.
"A connection to the Messianic Redemption can also be found in this week's Torah portion..."
So you see, if the Rebbe's chasidim and admirers are known to be Moshiach-minded, it is the greatest compliment possible!
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.
Increase In Joy!:
This joy will be increased by our fulfillment of the special directives for the month of Adar, to help our fellow Jews in both spiritual and material affairs: to teach a new Torah concept that they had not previously known (or to reveal additional depth in a concept with which they were already familiar), and to afford them material assistance. Fulfilling these directives will increase their happiness and thus, increase G-d's happiness, as it were.
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, Feb. 19, Erev Shabbat Parshat Teruma:
Saturday, Feb. 20, Shabbat Parshat Teruma:
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.
Back to "Living With Moshiach" Home Page