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Parshat Beha'alotcha, 5759

Sivan 20, 5759
June 4, 1999


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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

12 Sivan, 5759
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Beha'alotecha

The korban Pesach (Pascal sacrifice) was offered only once during the Jews' 40 years of wandering in the desert, one year after the Exodus, at the express command of G-d, as it states in this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotcha: "In the second year of their going out from the land of Egypt, in the first month...and the Children of Israel made the Passover offering in the proper season."

For the next 39 years there was no korban Pesach, as G-d stipulated that it could only be offered after the Jews entered Israel. In fact, the bringing of the Pesach sacrifice resumed only after the Jews had taken possession of the land, whereupon it was sacrificed every year.

Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, interprets the Jews' failure to bring the korban Pesach in the desert in a negative light, despite the fact that G-d had told them to wait. "This was to the disgrace of Israel, that all 40 years they were in the desert they offered only one Pascal sacrifice."

But how can Rashi fault them for following G-d's command? What could possibly be shameful about not offering a sacrifice when they were not required to do so?

The "disgrace," however, was in the Jews' meek acceptance of the prohibition. Had they begged and pleaded with G-d, surely He would have allowed them to offer it, even in the desert.

Rashi thus finds it shameful that 39 years elapsed during which the Jews were silent. Praiseworthy behavior, by contrast, would have been to repeatedly beseech G-d until He acquiesced to their demand.

In truth, had the Jewish people requested permission to offer the korban Pesach before reaching Israel, G-d would have allowed it, just as He gave the Jews who were ritually impure on Pesach a second chance to bring an offering on Pesach Sheini. For G-d listens to our requests. Had the Jewish people but asked, they would have merited to bring the korban Pesach even in the desert.

From this we learn just how important G-d considers a Jew's requests. Asking something of G-d is praiseworthy; not asking Him is "disgraceful."

This also teaches how important it is to repeatedly entreat G-d to bring the Final Redemption "speedily," as we say in our prayers, "Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish," and "May it be Your will...that the Holy Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days."

The initiative must come from us. We must continually beg G-d to bring Moshiach. For when Jews ask, G-d listens.


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.

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

In order to understand the concept of "spreading the wellsprings [of Torah] outward,"(1) we need to examine the physical properties of a well.

A well's water gushes spontaneously from its source without waiting for the thirsty person to come and drink. Likewise, its waters flow far and wide, saturating everything with which they come in contact.

In a similar vein, when the objective is bringing the waters of Torah to other Jews, we cannot wait until they come and ask to drink its knowledge. The Torah, the sustenance of life itself, must be brought to wherever Jews are found.

This approach originated with Aaron the High Priest, who "loved peace and pursued peace, loved his fellow creatures and brought them nearer to Torah." Aaron did not wait until others took the first step, but went "outside" to draw them closer to Judaism.

Significantly, Aaron "brought them nearer to Torah," and not the other way around. The Torah's principles were never altered or compromised to fit a given situation. Rather, each individual Jew was brought to the Torah, the same true and eternal Torah that has stood immutable for thousands of years.

This characteristic service of Aaron is alluded to in this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotcha--literally, "When you light the lamps." As High Priest, Aaron's job entailed kindling the menorah in the Sanctuary.

A candle is symbolic of the Jewish soul, as it states, "the candle of G-d is the soul of man." Aaron's function was to light the candle, i.e., ignite the soul of every Jew, for every Jew possesses a G-dly soul, no matter how concealed it may be. By lighting this "candle," Aaron revealed the flame that burns inside each and every one of us.

Furthermore, Aaron made sure that the candle would continue to burn without his assistance. It is not enough to uncover the G-dly soul that exists in the recesses of every Jewish heart; the soul must be so aroused that it continues to burn with love of G-d and perpetually seeks to reunite with its Source Above.

Thus, "spreading the wellsprings outward" requires that we go "outside," beyond our own "space" to awaken the hidden spark of G-d that is the birthright of every Jew. For no matter how hidden it may seem to be, all that is necessary is that we find it and fan its flame until, like a candle after the match which lit it has been removed, it continues to burn by itself.


1. See "The Wellsprings," in Living With Moshiach, Vol. 170.

See also CHASSIDUS IN BRAILLE: Lighting Up the Path to the Redemption


Memorial Day Sales, Labor Day Sales, Presidents' Day Sales, Summer and Winter Clearances-if you're not desperate and your purchase can wait you can save a bundle. Shopping, for some, is almost like a science, or at least a hobby. Once you get used to the routine, you know exactly when to shop for furniture, linens, clothing or major appliances. At certain times of the year you're more apt to find a bargain than at other times.

In Judaism, too, there are certain seasons which are more auspicious for "finding bargains." Rosh HaShanah is an auspicious time for introspection and repentance, Pesach for freedom and breaking out of one's limitations. The Holiday of Shavuos, we celebrated two week ago, is an opportune time to improve in Torah study and enhancing one's Jewish education.

But, there is a significant difference between finding bargains in Judaism and shopping in general. When you shop, you have to get to the store early if you want the best selection. You often need to fight the crowds, look over the merchandise carefully lest it be damaged, wait in long lines and deal with surly, overworked salespeople. And if you're shopping with a friend, watch out if you both find that incredible buy at the same moment.

You'll find no such obstacles awaiting you when you "catch the sales" in Judaism. Not only do you not have to fight the crowds, etc., etc., you've got a Friend who's more than gold to help you. G-d promises us that if we just turn the key to the door, He will push it wide open. By putting effort, this past Shavuos, into improving our Jewish knowledge and education, the effect will be felt throughout the entire year. Now, if that isn't a real bargain, what is?


In 1995, Jeremy Jordan underwent extensive surgery. During his recovery, he developed a severe infection, which necessitated an additional operation.

Jeremy's own surgeon was out of town at the time, and so a surgeon whom Jeremy had never met, Dr. S., was to perform the second surgery.

Dr. S. put Jeremy under general anesthesia and began operating.

During the surgery, Jeremy woke up! He felt no pain, and was aware of his surroundings. As he looked up at the ceiling, he saw the Rebbe. The Rebbe told Jeremy to give a message to the doctor who was operating on him!

The Rebbe then told Jeremy to tell Dr. S. that if he began to put on tefillin every day, the difficulties he was experiencing with his daughter would cease. The Rebbe stressed that although something was very wrong with the man's daughter it would be rectified if he performed this mitzvah.

Jeremy told the Rebbe he would pass on the message. Imagine the consternation in the operating room when the "anesthetized" patient began to speak! The nurse told Dr. S. that the patient had awakened, and asked what she should do. Dr. S. replied that she should give him additional anesthesia.

Before this could be done, however, Jeremy asked Dr. S. to come close so that he could see his face. Dr. S. complied, asking Jeremy if he was in any pain, and curious to know if his "unconscious" patient truly understood what was going on around him. Jeremy made it clear that he did.

Then Jeremy told the doctor: "You may think I'm crazy, but I have a message for you. Do you know who the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is?"

Dr. S. replied, "I've heard of him; why?"

"Well," Jeremy continued, "he just appeared to me in a vision and told me to tell you that the difficulties with your daughter will be solved if you put on tefillin every day."

The doctor was dumbfounded, but remembering where he was, he managed to say that the surgery was almost finished and that he would have Jeremy out of the operating room soon. During the remainder of the procedure, Jeremy recalls that he remained conscious, feeling a unique peace of mind as the Rebbe's words echoed in his thoughts.

While Jeremy was in the recovery room, Dr. S. came over and closed the curtain around the bed. He took Jeremy's hand in his own and, with tears in his eyes, whispered, "I believe you! The last time I was in a synagogue was at my Bar Mitzvah. I haven't prayed or acknowledged G-d since then.

"My daughter is gravely ill. Since I am a physician, I feel doubly helpless that I can't help her. This morning, I prayed for the first time in over 30 years, pleading with G-d to heal her. I added: 'If You really exist, show me a sign.'

"Then you awoke during surgery and gave me that message from Rebbe Schneerson! It's incredible!"

After this experience, Dr. S. purchased a pair of tefillin and began attending synagogue. Within weeks, his daughter recovered completely.

* * *

Mrs. Terri Naiditch, a member of the Lubavitch community in Pittsburgh, once received the following letter from her father:

"In the fall of 1985, I went for a check-up shortly before my crucial business season started, as was my habit in those years.

"I was referred to a dermatologist to confirm that a mole on my back had all the earmarks of a malignant melanoma--a potentially lethal affliction that can spread cancer throughout the body. He in turn sent me to the Mayo Clinic to see about having the mole removed.

"At the Mayo Clinic, I asked the head of dermatology to tell me frankly whether it was malignant, for I was also suffering such intense pain and worry that I was considering early retirement. He not only confirmed that it was malignant, but even had his whole staff come in and look at my mole, evidently as a textbook example of a melanoma. (I had studied a pamphlet on this disorder, and had seen that mine was identical to one of the most graphic illustrations.)

"Upon hearing of my planned operation, you and Pinky appealed to Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson to intercede on my behalf, which he generously did.

"You know the sequel. When the operation took place, the tissue was sent out for the obligatory biopsy, and only moments after I was sewn up, the surgeon returned with the greeting, 'Boy, were you lucky! It's not malignant!'

"Now, you know that your mother and our dear friends, the Dotys, were there with me, and that their prayers and others were offered for me. The unique thing about my appreciation, though, was for the help of the Rebbe. I do not make any claim--I do not feel qualified to do so--that G-d saved me from this life-threatening malady because of the Rebbe's intervention. Yet I have complete faith in the Mayo Clinic's staff and their diagnosis, and to me this experience cannot be explained in purely logical terms. I shall always feel a debt to, and a special affection for, the Rebbe....



Now, Mrs. Naiditch is a convert; her father, John Huff, is not Jewish. Nonetheless, when a blessing was requested for him, the Rebbe responded.


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: http://www.chabad.org/gopher/outlook/index.html


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.knowledgengineers.com/Havienu/html/vestibule/hebcal.html

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).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, June 4, Erev Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotcha:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 8:03 p.m.

Saturday, June 5, Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotcha:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 2 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(3)
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:13 p.m.


2. 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.

3. The weekly chapter of Pirkei Avot with the Rebbe's commentaries, are available electronically via the Internet, by sending your subscription request to: listserv@chabad.org - Subscribe "G-5."

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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