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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.
Passover is less then 30 days away. To help you prepare, this week's issue focuses on Pesach.
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
Shushan Purim, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
In the first Torah portion we read this week, Vayakel, Moses gathered the Jews together and relayed G-d's command to build the Sanctuary, in the second Torah portion, Pekudei, lists Moses' accounts of the precious metals used to make the Sanctuary's vessels, and details how the offerings were made. Finally, it relates how these actions brought G-d's Divine Presence to rest in the Sanctuary.
Usually, when a person builds a new house, he waits until it has been completed to fill it with furniture and implements. The dedication of the Sanctuary, however, was done in the exact opposite manner. "And he placed the golden altar in the Sanctuary before the veil, and he burnt upon it the incense of spices... and he set up the court around the Sanctuary and the altar." The Sanctuary was not yet fully erected when Moses offered the incense on the golden altar.
The Sanctuary, G-d's dwelling place on earth, contained a holiness so great that it existed above and beyond the laws of nature. Its sanctity (and that of the Holy Temples that followed) is eternal, not subject to the concept of time, and continues today, though we no longer have a physical edifice in which to bring offerings. The unusual manner in which the Sanctuary was erected, therefore, reflected this.
The Torah's command, "And you shall make Me a dwelling place," applied not only to the Sanctuary, but includes the obligation to erect the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Moses' offering of incense on the golden altar dedicated not only the Sanctuary that traveled with the Jews in the desert, but the Temples that were yet to be built, including the Third Holy Temple when Moshiach comes.
According to Jewish law, offerings may be brought even in the absence of the Temple's physical structure if one knows the exact location of the altar. When Moses burnt the incense, before the Sanctuary was completely built, he caused a measure of holiness to be brought down into the world that is not dependent on physical limitations. This holiness is eternal and exists forever.
This holds particular relevance for our generation, the last generation of exile before the Messianic Era. No longer may we be satisfied with the measured norms of behavior that sufficed for previous generations; our times demand an extra measure of self-sacrifice on our part. Our service of G-d must therefore also breach all limitations, so that we may merit the ultimate and Final Redemption with the coming of 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.
The Rebbe said the following on this Shabbat, 49 years ago.
"In the last series of Chasidic discourses that the [Previous] Rebbe wrote, he anticipated everything and hinted at everything. [According to the unauthenticated notes of a listener, the Rebbe said: "I search among the subjects explained in these discourses for the answers to all the questions beings asked."]...
"The [Previous] Rebbe says this of our present time--the final era before the Redemption, the era in which the task of separating the sparks of G-dliness in this world and returning them to their source comes to an end. As the Rebbe wrote, now is the era preceding the Redemption, and the mode of spiritual service now required is a mode of victory, with an unquestioning acceptance of the yoke of heaven.
"In order that victory be secured in the current battle, 'secret treasures, which have been locked away for generations,' have been squandered--i.e., all the teachings and episodes which the Rebbe revealed in recent times, and which had been hidden and sealed from generation to generation, until the generation of the Baal Shem Tov and his mentor.
"Because no one adequately took all these treasures to heart, their revelation is a veritable squandering, all for the sake of victory."
In another of his earliest talks, the Rebbe suggests that we pour over the latter talks of the Previous Rebbe from his final years in order to find guidance and our orders on how to proceed.
Jewish teachings explain that when a great Sage makes a statement about another great teacher he is, in reality, saying the same about himself. Thus, we must take the Rebbe's advice and pour over his most recent teachings, those from the years of 5750, 5751 and 5752 (1990-1992). In these most recent talks, the Rebbe's declaration that "The time of our Redemption has arrived," shows clearly that we have entered a new stage in the pre-Redemption era. And the Rebbe's instructions to publicize this and other statements and messages are also contained in these talks.
May we very soon no longer have to review the Rebbe's talks, but hear Torah from the Rebbe himself.
This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevorchim, the Shabbat before the new month. Literally translated, it means a Shabbat in which we bless the upcoming month. This Shabbat Mevorchim is special because it is the Shabbat before the month of Nissan, which is often referred to as "the month of Redemption."
On the surface, calling Nissan the month of Redemption is explained by the fact that Nissan is the month in which we celebrate Passover, the holiday which commemorates the Jews' redemption from Egyptian slavery. But the month of Nissan is also connected to the Final Redemption, as our Sages say, "In Nissan, our people were redeemed, and in Nissan, they will be redeemed in the future."
This Shabbat represents the transition from the month of Adar to the month of Nissan. Both months contain within them commemorations of miraculous events. In Adar we celebrate the downfall of Haman and the victory of the Jewish people, and in Nissan we celebrate our freedom from slavery.
The difference between the events is that the miracles of Purim occurred within the natural order of the world, while the miracles of Passover transcended the natural order. The story of Purim can be traced through a natural sequence of events. But by cloaking miracles in the natural order of the world, we are actually elevating the natural order.
That is our true purpose on this earth, to elevate the physical to the spiritual and have G-dliness revealed on this plane.
Another concept that the two months have in common is redemption. Adar celebrates redemption from Haman's wicked decree, and Nissan celebrates the redemption from Egypt. Shabbat is also a kind of redemption, a weekly redemption from mundane cares and worries to a place of light, joy, song and Torah-study.
May all of these redemption's be stepping-stones to our complete, final, and ultimate Redemption, the coming of Moshiach.
Springtime happens to bring with it one of the most colorful, widely observed, and vividly recalled Jewish holidays--Passover. In fact, one of the three names by which Passover is mentioned in the Bible is "the Holiday of Spring."
Our Sages enjoin us to begin preparing for each holiday thirty days before the holiday begins. When our Sages made this suggestion, they had in mind learning the laws pertaining to the holiday. The holiday of Purim falls thirty days before Passover, which serves as an easy reminder of when to start preparations. Many people use Purim, and the thirty-day guideline as a reminder that it's time to start getting serious about cleaning the house, and getting the chometz (leavened foods) out of the house, for Passover.
We've already passed the thirty-day mark. So, certainly, it's not too soon to make plans for where you'll be spending the seders. Also, check out your local supermarket or grocery store and see if they'll be stocking the kosher-for-Passover food that have a reliable Rabbinical supervision that you will need for the eight-day holiday. If they don't have everything, find out who does.
In addition, call your local rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center to order shmurah matzah--special hand-made matzah just like the Jews used when they came out of Egypt--at least for the two seders.
With the first crocuses starting to peep their heads up, even through the frost, it's really time to start thinking about Passover. This year, bring the "Holiday of Spring" into your thoughts, now.
When it comes to getting ready for Passover; teamwork is essential to do the job right. If you consider the task of removing all traces of chometz from your possession as an adventure, it makes it more fun and rewarding. And when you're having fun, everyone wants to join in.
Start early enough--traditionally we start preparing for a holiday 30 days before the festival--and consider cleaning according to the ABC's.
Attack the attic. Go through all of those storage spaces that accumulate chometz during the year.
Beware of bedrooms, books and even briefcases. Even if your policy is no food in bedrooms, crumbs wind up there. Chometz also wedges itself in books if you eat while you read.
Clear the cabinets, chairs, car and closets of chometz. This is a perfect time to have the carpets cleaned, too.
Deal with the drawers and desks.
Eliminate your ego. What does ego have to do with Passover and chometz? To make a long chasidic discourse short, chometz contains leaven and rises. Matzah doesn't have any leaven and therefore remains flat. As we rid our physical surroundings of leaven, we should try to eradicate our pompous, haughty and self-righteous aspects, those parts of our personality which grow and rise.
Face the freezer and all furniture. And, if you've contemplated cleaning your upholstery, now is the time.
Go for the garage, garbage cans and wastebaskets.
Hide the high chair. Unless you still need to use it. If so, thoroughly scrub it, and cover the trays.
Ignore the idea to quit. You're nearly half-way through!
Joyously de-chometz the jig-saw puzzles and all other toys. It's easy not to be happy when you have 300 pieces of Lego to clean--all with Cheerios meshed in. But think of all the quiet playtime these toys encourage. And think of all the joy that the children give you when you're playing with them--the kids, that is, not the Lego.
Keep at the kitchen and kitchen appliances. The kitchen is "not within the scope of this article." Ask a rabbi or rebbetzin how to do it!
Lather the luggage. Go through your suitcases and carry-on bags.
Make-over the medicine cabinet. Many non-prescription medicines contain chometz and should be dealt with properly. If you must take medicine during Passover, consult your rabbi (probably a nice guy who would love to hear from you).
Nurture your needs. Take a break. Sit down with a drink and relax for a few minutes. While you're relaxing, peruse one of the many interesting Haggadahs available today and you'll be preparing yourself mentally for the holiday, as well.
Overtake your office. Unless you're taking the whole week off, you have to clean your office for Passover.
Peruse your pockets, purse and porch for chometz.
Quarantine your quarterback. Or, for that matter, anyone who goes running through your ready-for-Passover rooms with chometz.
Ready the refrigerator. Use up all those open jars and then clean it well.
Scrub the stroller. If you don't have one, help someone who does.
Tackle the telephone. It's probably sticky if you talk while you're eating.
Unclutter the utility room.
Validate the vacuum cleaner by throwing out or emptying the bag after you vacuumed the last chometz.
Wash the wall where all the cake batter splatters when you bake.
Xerox your favorite recipes which can be used for Passover since your cookbooks are probably so full of chometz that they are unsalvageable.
Yield chometz from your yacht. Although, if you have a yacht you're probably not doing most of the cleaning, anyway.
Zee, it wasn't zo bad after all!
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 Others Happy:
As we are in the midst of the 30 days of happiness comprised of the month of Adar, we should endeavor to make others happy.
The Rebbe explained, "We should proceed to spread joy and happiness in the most literal sense, making efforts to assure that the members of one's household and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience great joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future."
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 12, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei:
Saturday, March 13, Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei:
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.
2. Rosh Chodesh Nissan is on Thursday, Mar. 18.
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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