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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.
We'd like to hear from you. Tell us your comments, suggestions, etc. Write to us, or E-Mail via Internet.
This Jewish year, 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
Brooklyn, New York
Parshat Ki Tisa
This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, contains an interesting exchange between Moses and G-d. "Show me, I pray, Your glory," asks Moses. G-d replies, "You cannot see My face... you will see My back, but My face shall not be seen."
The Torah is obviously speaking in symbolic terms. "Face" refers to a clear and unequivocal revelation of G-dliness, in much the same way that an individual's face reveals his inner self; glimpsing a person's "back" reveals far less about the person. But what did G-d show Moses?
The great commentator, Rashi, explains that G-d showed Moses the knot of His tefillin (phylacteries). What kind of answer to Moses' petition was that?
In order to understand, we must first place the exchange in its proper context. Moses made this request after the Jews sinned by making the Golden Calf. After such a grave sin, how could they ever be forgiven? What possible merit did the Jews have for G-d to absolve them of idolatry? Rashi explains that G-d's answer was to teach Moses the proper way for a Jew to pray for Divine mercy.
Sin itself defies logic. How could it be that a Jew, a member of a nation described as "believers, the children of believers," should sin? How can a Jew, who believes in his innermost heart that G-d created the world and continues to sustain it every minute of the day, denies this by transgressing G-d's will?
The answer is that all sin stems from forgetfulness. It is only when a Jew forgets the true nature of the world that he transgresses; when he forgets that G-d is the only absolute reality he strays from the right path. The minute a Jew is reminded of this, there is no room for sin and it ceases to exist.
This, then, is the significance of the knot of the tefillin. If sin is only the result of a Jew's forgetfulness, he need only be reminded of G-d and he will not transgress. This is accomplished by the tallit and tzitzit (ritual fringes), whose purpose is to remind the Jew of his task in life, as it states in the Torah, "And you shall see it, and remember." The tefillin serve the same purpose: "And it shall be as a remembrance between your eyes."
Most specifically, it is the knot of the tefillin that symbolizes this, as a knot serves both as a reminder (such as when one ties a knot around one's finger to remember something), and as a symbol of the binding knot between G-d and the Jewish people.
By showing Moses the knot of the tefillin, G-d was instructing him how to seek atonement, for if we always bear in mind that there is nothing but G-d, there is no room for sin.
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.
This Monday marks the beginning of the month of March.
Hey, wait a minute. In a Jewish publication, shouldn't we reserve our discussions for Jewish months and not secular months?
A famous teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is that from everything a person sees or hears--whether in the realm of holiness or the seemingly secular--he can learn a lesson in his G-dly service.
So, what can we learn from March?
Most of us know the saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." And the juxtaposition of the lion and the lamb brings to mind a time of world-peace. So powerful is this image of lion and lamb connoting world-peace that a grass-roots group of parents who promote non-violent toys for children call themselves the Lion and the Lamb.
In truth, when our prophets speak of the ultimate world peace in the Messianic Era, they state, "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid..." The prophet continues, "...And the lion will eat straw as the ox."
One might ask, "Is this allegorical, or will animals that were previously adversaries actually co-exist peacefully?" That's a good question! (Every sincere question is a good question, actually.)
According to the opinions of many of our great Sages, these prophecies should be taken literally. Nachmanides documents this stand profusely, although he maintains that their fulfillment will not necessitate great changes in Creation because, "Initially when the world was created, prior to the sin of Adam, animals were not predatory. Only after Adam's sin did their natures change...."
Similarly, Rabbi Dovid Kimchi, the Radak declares that animals were not originally predators, as G-d created only one male and one female of each species. If either one would have been killed, the species would have become extinct.
However, there are other great Sages whose opinions differ. No less a giant than Maimonides declares: "Do not presume that in the days of Moshiach the nature of the world will change, or there will be innovations in the work of Creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern."
How are we to understand Maimonides' words, knowing that he established as one of the 13 principles of Judaism the belief in the resurrection of the dead, an act that is certainly a change in the nature of the world?
The Rebbe explains that there are two stages to the Messianic Era. In the first stage, "the coming of Moshiach," everything will go according to its natural pattern. In the second stage, the actual Redemption, we will experience supernatural and miraculous occurrences.
However, it is possible, according to the Rebbe, that we could by-pass the first stage and go straight to the miracles--if we are meritorious.
Differing opinions aside, whichever way it's going to happen, let it just happen already!
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.
"Purim is thirty days before Passover. As Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes in his Code of Jewish Law, thirty days before Passover, we should begin studying the laws of the holiday.
"Similarly, since the celebration of the Passover holiday involves many expenses, it is proper that efforts be made to provide everyone who lacks with their Passover needs.
"Although there are organizations involved with these activities throughout the entire year, there must be an increase in these efforts in connection with the Passover holidays, providing them with both food and clothing so that they can celebrate the holiday in an ample manner, as befits 'free people.'"
(The Rebbe, 16 Adar, 5751)
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, March 5, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
Saturday, March 6, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
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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