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Parshat Va'etchanan, 5759

Menachem-Av 10, 5759
July 23, 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.


This week's issue focuses on Shabbat Nachamu.


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

6 Menachem-Av, 5759
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Va'etchanan

At the end of this week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, the Torah states, "Which I command you this day, to do them," upon which Rashi comments, "And tomorrow, in the World to Come, to receive their reward."

In principle, a Jew is rewarded for observing G-d's commandments. However, most mitzvot are rewarded not in this world, but in the World to Come. And the reason is simple:

As Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism explained, the reward for doing mitzvot is so great that this limited, physical world cannot contain it; we must therefore wait until the less restrictive World to Come to receive our reward. The majority of the Torah's commandments fall into this category.

Nonetheless, there are certain mitzvot for which we are rewarded in this world as well. These are the good deeds we do to benefit others. Not only are they "good for heaven," but "good for the creations." Such mitzvot elicit a response from G-d that is measure for measure: Because we have helped our fellow Jew in this world, it is only fitting that our reward be in this world too.

The following illustrates the concept of delayed reward:

There was once a king who ruled over the entire world. One day he left his palace and met a Jewish boy, Yisrael.

"Yisrael," the king said, "Find a beautiful diamond for my royal crown." At once Yisrael embarked on a search. When he found a diamond he thought was suitable he brought it to the palace, where the royal jewelers cut and polished the stone and set it in the king's crown. Everyone was stunned by the stone's brilliance. The king promised Yisrael a reward for his deed. Although now he was only a child, when he grew up the king would appoint him as his highest ranking minister.

The next day Yisrael sat down to eat, but his plate was empty. "It isn't fair!" he cried. "I did what the king wanted, yet still I go hungry! How can the king not care about me?"

It was only years later that Yisrael realized that he had received his true reward. The king appointed Yisrael second in command over his entire kingdom.

The second category of mitzvot, for which we are rewarded in this world, is illustrated by the following parable:

The same king once met Yisrael and asked him to do a different sort of favor: he wanted him to feed his children, the royal princes and princesses. Yisrael, of course, immediately stopped what he was doing and arranged a lavish meal for the king's children. This time the king did not allow Yisrael to go hungry. In addition to the reward he would get later, the boy was invited to sit at the table and eat.

So too is it when we help our fellow Jews. Not only are we rewarded later, but the King of the universe grants us our reward in the here and now.


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.

Based on the Works of the Rebbe

The first Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, is known as Shabbat Nachamu, after the first word of this week's Haftorah, "nachamu nachamu ami" (Console, console yourselves, My people). It is the first of the seven "Sabbaths of Consolation."

Our Sages explain the twofold use of the word "console": "[The Jewish people] committed a twofold sin...received a twofold punishment...and are likewise comforted twofold." Elsewhere our Sages comment, "Because its mitzvot are doubled, so too are its consolations doubled."

Why this emphasis on the number two? How can a sin be twofold, anyway? Moreover, what is meant by the statement that the Torah's commandments are "doubled"?

The terms "twofold" and "double," refer to two different dimensions. Everything in a Jew's life--the Torah and its commandants, the destruction of the Holy Temple and our consolation--reflects this duality, for everything in the world is composed of both a physical and a spiritual component.

A Jew is a mixture of a corporeal body and spiritual soul, which together form a complete being. A Jew is considered whole when both aspects of his nature, body and soul, are working in tandem to serve G-d. Mitzvot, too, are composed of these two dimensions. Every mitzvah contains a spiritual component--the intentions behind it--and a physical component--the way the mitzvah is performed.

This is what our Sages referred to when stating that the Torah's mitzvot are "doubled"; similarly, the "twofold sin" committed by the Jewish people refers to the physical and spiritual aspects of their transgression.

Accordingly, the punishment that followed--the destruction of the Holy Temple--was both spiritual and physical. Had the destruction been limited to the physical stones of the Temple, the G-dly light and revelation it brought into the world would have continued as before. However, the Jewish people "received a twofold punishment," and were chastised with a concealment of G-dliness as well.

The Holy Temple itself reflected this duality. The Temple was a physical structure, possessing certain limited dimensions. Yet, the G-dly light with which it was illuminated was infinite in nature. Its destruction was therefore a double blow as it affected both of these aspects.

When the Holy Temple is rebuilt in the messianic era our consolation will be doubled because it will encompass both dimensions: not only will the physical structure of the Temple be restored, but its G-dly revelation will also return.

This double measure of completion will be brought about by King Moshiach, who possesses a perfect "composite soul" containing all the souls of the Jewish people, and is therefore able to bring perfection to all creation.


This Shabbat, the 11th of Av, is the yahrtzeit of one of the most famous and colorful Chabad Chasidim, Reb Hillel Paritcher.

Reb Hillel was born in 5555/1795 and was married before his bar mitzvah (!). As he was still too young to don tefillin and could only wear a talit, he was called "Chol Hamoed" ("the Intermediate Days of a Festival," when tefillin are not worn). By age 13 he had already mastered the entire Talmud, and was fluent in Poskim and Kabbalah. By age 15, he was expert in the writings of the holy Arizal.

Originally a Chasid of Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl, he became a Chabad Chasid the first time he opened the Tanya. His lifelong dream was to meet the Alter Rebbe, the Tanya's author and the founder of Chabad Chasidism, but this was not to be. For years Reb Hillel trailed the Alter Rebbe across the Pale, but never caught up to him.

One time he arrived in the city where the Alter Rebbe was expected and hid under his bed. While waiting, he formulated in his mind the question on Tractate Erachin that he would ask the Alter Rebbe. When the Alter Rebbe entered the room, before Reb Hillel could even emerge from his hiding place, the Alter Rebbe said in his characteristic sing-song: "When a person has a question about Erachin [literally 'assessments'], he must assess himself first..." Reb Hillel fainted, and by the time he woke up the Alter Rebbe was gone.

It wasn't until after the Alter Rebbe passed away that Reb Hillel came to Lubavitch, where the Mitteler Rebbe enjoined him to "collect materiality [funds for charity] and sow spirituality."

His most famous work, published posthumously, was Pelach HaRimon. He is buried in Kharson.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.


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, July 23, Erev Shabbat Parshat Va'etchanan:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 8:02 p.m.

Saturday, July 24, Shabbat Parshat Va'etchanan:

  • Shabbat Nachamu
  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 3 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:09 p.m.


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. 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-4."

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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