"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Eikev, 5759
Menachem-Av 17, 5759
July 30, 1999
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"I BELIEVE WITH COMPLETE FAITH IN THE ARRIVAL OF THE MOSHIACH.
"AND THOUGH HE MAY TARRY, I SHALL WAIT EACH DAY, ANTICIPATING HIS
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
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.
This week's issue focuses on Tu B'Av, the 15th day of Av.
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
publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing
us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb
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 Menachem-Av, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
In this week's Torah portion, Eikev, Moses looks back upon the Jewish
people's 40 years in the desert, and mentions twice the manna they ate for
sustenance. Both times, Moses seems to imply that eating the manna was somehow
distressing: "And He afflicted you and suffered you to hunger, and fed you
with manna"; "[He] fed you in the wilderness with manna...that He might afflict
In fact, the Children of Israel complained bitterly over having to eat it.
"But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all except this manna
before our eyes." "Our soul loathes this light bread."
At first glance their complaint is surprising, as the Torah describes the
manna as being delicious - "and its taste was like wafers made with honey."
Our Sages comment further that the G-dly manna was unique in that the person
eating it experienced whatever flavor he wished. Furthermore, the manna was
completely digested, having no waste. How then could such a wonderful food
be perceived as "torment"?
However, the Talmud explains that it was precisely these qualities that left
the Jews with a sense of hunger. It was hard to get used to this "bread from
the heavens" that had no waste and could taste like anything in the world.
The Jews wanted regular bread, "bread from the earth." They longed for food
that looked like what it was.
But the truth is that the Jews' resentment was motivated by the Evil Inclination.
At first, the Evil Inclination draws a person into small sins, slowly working
its way to more serious ones. So it was with the Children of Israel: They
started by complaining about the manna, then progressed to "crying among
their families," implying transgressions in the area of family life.
The dynamics of the Evil Inclination never change, and even today, the Evil
Inclination still chafes against "bread from the heavens." Symbolically,
"bread from the heavens" stands for Torah and G-dly wisdom, while "bread
from the earth" is secular, worldly knowledge. The Evil Inclination tries
to make the Jew dissatisfied with his "bread from the heavens," and attempts
to convince him that a steady diet of Torah will leave him hungry. "The Torah
is endless," it whispers in his ear. "You can never learn it all; the more
you'll learn, the more you'll see how infinite it is. Why not turn your mind
to worldly matters? At least you'll get a feeling of fullness and satisfaction."
On an even finer level, the Evil Inclination tries to dissuade a Jew from
studying Chasidus, the innermost part of Torah, which is also likened
to "bread from the heavens." "Bread from the earth," the revealed part of
Torah, is enough, it claims.
But the truth is the opposite. Because the Jew's essence is spiritual, he
can never be satiated by worldly matters. Only Torah, and the innermost part
of it, can make the soul feel full, for it is through Torah that the Jew
connects to the Infinite.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that
"The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this
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 teachings of Chasidus," someone might argue, "are indeed likened
to gems and pearls, but I'm not one to chase after pearls; I'm satisfied
if my clothes aren't torn."
There is an answer to this argument: "We are on the threshold of the Redemption,
so we have to get ready for the coming of Moshiach, when we will be privileged
to enter the marriage canopy together with the King of Kings, the Holy One,
blessed be He. So we will need pearls, too."
Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe
Wednesday, July 28, is Tu B'Av, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of
"There were no greater festivals in Israel than the 15th of Av and
Yom Kippur," the Mishnah tells us. What is so special
about the 15th of Av that it is singled out together with Yom
Kippur from all the other festivals?
A number of special events throughout Jewish history took place on the 15th
of Av. They were:
1) The tribe of Benjamin was permitted once again to marry the remainder
of the Jewish people;
2) The Generation of the Desert ceased to die; they had previously been condemned
to perish in the desert because of the sin of the spies;
3) Hoshea Ben Elah removed the blockades that the rebel Jeroboam had set
up to prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the festivals;
4) The cutting of the wood for the Holy Altar was completed;
5) Permission was granted by the Romans to bury the slain of Betar.
These five events in themselves do not seem adequate enough reason to make
the 15th of Av a festival greater than any other. There is another,
There is another occasion of note in the month of Av, the ninth.
Tisha B'Av is the day when the two Holy Temples were destroyed, signaling
the start of the long and terrible exile we are still enduring--tragedies
which were the result of the Jews' transgressions. Tisha B'Av is the
nadir of Jewish physical and spiritual life.
But these tragedies are not without purpose. "Descent is for the purpose
of ascent," and the deeper the descent, correspondingly greater will be the
ascent that follows. It is specifically after the awesome decline of Tisha
B'Av that we can reach the loftiest heights, heights that would otherwise
The five festive events on the 15th of Av, then, are the counterpart
to the five tragic events of Tisha B'Av. The 15th of Av transforms
the evil of Tisha B'Av to the greatest good--"there were no greater
festivals in Israel than the 15th of Av." The ultimate goal of the
tragedies of the month of Av is that they should be transformed into
a greater good--the supreme festival of the 15th of Av.
The Second Holy Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred between
Jews. The events of the 15th of Av, which are the counterpart to
Tisha B'Av, all express the concept of ahavat Yisrael--love
of a Jew.
"The tribe of Benjamin were permitted once again to marry the remainder of
the Jewish people" is obviously an expression of ahavat Yisrael. Indeed,
the very announcement that all Jewry was now united and allowed to come together
is reason enough for a festival.
"Permission was granted by the Romans to bury the slain of Betar" and "The
Generation of the Desert ceased to die" likewise emphasize the love of
Jews--G-d's love, which was expressed in these acts of kindness to His people.
"Hoshea Ben Elah removed the blockades that the rebel Jeroboam had set up
to prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the festivals" allowed the
Ten Tribes of the kingdom of Israel to unite with the other Two Tribes when
they went to Jerusalem; again, the idea of unity and ahavat Yisrael.
The wood they finished cutting on the 15th was necessary for the offering
of the sacrifices on the altar. And the altar, say our Sages, "removes and
feeds, makes beloved, atones"; "removes" means "removes evil decrees from
Israel," and "makes beloved" means "makes beloved to their Father"--again,
the idea of fostering love.
Charm And Beauty
In addition to the above reasons enumerated by the Talmud for the importance
of the 15th of Av--all of which we have seen are associated with
ahavat Yisrael--the Mishnah itself gives a reason: "For on
these days, the daughters of Jerusalem . . . came out and danced in the
vineyards, saying, 'Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you are choosing
for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty, but set your eyes on good family.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is naught; a G-d-fearing woman is the one to
The Talmud elaborates on this theme, and explains that "the daughters of
Jerusalem went out [dressed] in borrowed white garments, so as not to embarrass
those who had none." This is clearly the idea of ahavat Yisrael.
The common theme behind all the reasons for the 15th of Av, then,
is ahavat Yisrael, the practice of which eradicates the cause of the
exile, and therefore automatically the exile itself.
On Wednesday, July 28, we celebrate the festive day of the Tu B'Av.
On the 15th of Av the days begin to get shorter.
In times gone by, the onset of evening meant that the workday was over. Our
Sages, therefore, encourage us to use the longer evenings for increased study
of Jewish subjects.
The exile is often referred to as "night" and the Redemption, as "dawn."
Though we are certainly in the last few moments of the long night of exile,
it sometimes seems like the "night" is getting longer rather than shorter.
Thus, the above teaching of our Sages is certainly appropriate.
Maimonides explains that in the era of the Redemption, the sole occupation
of the whole world will be to know G-d. The Rebbe suggested, therefore, that
as a preparation for that time, we increase in our studies wherever possible.
In addition, just eight years ago, the Rebbe expressed the following thoughts
on studying matters specifically concerning Moshiach and the Redemption:
"Since Moshiach is about to come, a final effort is required that will bring
him. Every man, woman and child should increase his/her Torah study in subjects
that concern the Redemption.... One should likewise upgrade one's meticulous
observance of mitzvot, particularly charity, 'which brings the Redemption
"It would be proper for one to connect his additional charity with his additional
study of subjects connected with the Redemption, by giving charity with the
intent that it hasten the Redemption. This intention in itself becomes part
of learning subjects connected with the Redemption--for this is a real and
tangible study of the teaching of our Sages: 'Great is charity for it brings
the Redemption near.'
"The above-described study is not only a spiritual means of securing the
speedy advent of Moshiach; it is a way of beginning to live one's life in
the mood of Moshiach and the Redemption by having one's mind permeated with
an understanding of the concepts of Moshiach and Redemption. From the mind,
these concepts will then find their way into the emotions. Ultimately, they
will find expression in one's actual conduct--in thought, word and deed--in
a way befitting this unique era when we stand on the threshold of the
Nothing happens by chance. Whether you choose your own number for
your lottery ticket or let the computer do it for you, the fact that you
won (or most likely didn't win!) didn't happen by chance. It's all part of
G-d's Divine plan.
The idea that nothing happens by chance is a primary teaching of the Baal
Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism. He goes even further and says that everything
that happens in the world is for a purpose. The Baal Shem Tov's most famous
example of this precept is a leaf that falls from a tree in order to shade
an ant from the beating sun.
If this is true of a leaf falling from a tree, a blade of grass swaying in
the wind, a bird flying through the air, how much more so is it true of the
movement of the planets and stars in the constellations that affect the lives
of hundreds of billions of people and an almost unlimited number of creatures
The Jewish calendar is reckoned according to the lunar cycle. It is not by
chance that 15 is a "winning number" in the Jewish calendar, i.e., the day
on which many of our Jewish holidays fall. On the fifteenth day of the month,
the moon is whole. It "shines" at its fullest potential. And for the Jewish
people, who are likened to the moon that waxes and wanes, the wholeness of
the moon is very significant:
G-d has implanted a soul within each one of us. Chasidic philosophy defines
the soul as "an actual part of G-d." We are expected to help our souls shine
brightly, to their fullest potential, thereby lighting up our surroundings.
The full moon on the fifteenth of the month teaches us that it's not enough
if only a part of us, half or three-quarters, shines. We must illuminate
fully and perfectly.
And the light we give off must shine in every way possible--through luminous
thoughts, with bright words, and by way of shining actions. Our "moonshine"
should light up our homes, offices, communities, until we light up the whole
We are now in the Hebrew month of Av. From the fifteenth day of
Av on, the nights become longer. Jewish teachings explain that the
longer evenings should be used to delve into Torah. G-d even gives us an
incentive to study more Torah beginning on the fifteenth of Av, saying
that if we pursue Torah studies at night, G-d will "add on to our lives";
He will give us more energy and enthusiasm than we had before.
Nothing happens by chance. The seasons change and the nights become longer
for a reason: so that we can become more involved in Jewish pursuits; so
that we can learn how to help our soul shine; so that we can get closer to
Pick a winning number this month by participating in an evening Torah study
class or lecture.
Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat
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).
Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ
Friday, July 30, Erev Shabbat Parshat Eikev:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:56 p.m.
Saturday, July 31, Shabbat Parshat Eikev:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 4 of
Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:01 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: email@example.com
- Subscribe "G-4."
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.