"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Ki Tavo, 5759
Elul 15, 5759
August 27, 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.
In this issue we focus on Chai Elul, the 18th of Elul, next
Monday, August 30.
We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a K'Siva Vachasima Tova,
a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
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
11 Elul, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
Parshat Ki Tavo
The Torah portion of Ki Tavo is always read close to Chai (the
Eighteenth) of Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov - founder of
Chasidus in general and Rabbi Shneur Zalman - founder of Chabad
Chasidus in particular. In fact, Ki Tavo and Chai Elul share
the common theme of ahavat Yisrael, loving our fellow Jew.
Ahavat Yisrael is a fundamental precept of Chasidus, as revealed
by the Baal Shem Tov. It is also the "heart" of Chabad Chasidus, as
we see from Rabbi Shneur Zalman's treatment of the subject in chapter 32
in Tanya (32, lamed-beis in Hebrew letter equivalent, spells
lev - heart.)
Ahavat Yisrael is also stressed in the beginning of this week's Torah
portion: "And it shall come to pass when you come into the land...and take
possession of it and dwell therein...you shall take the first of all the
fruit of the soil [bikurim]...and you shall come to the priest...and
rejoice in every good thing which the L-rd your G-d has given you."
Comments Rashi: "This teaches that the Jews were not required to bring the
bikurim until they conquered and divided the land." Until all of the
Land of Israel was possessed by the entire Jewish people, those who had already
received their portion of land were not required to bring the bikurim
A question is asked: If the apportionment of land was gradual, and those
who received their portion were permitted to immediately cultivate it, why
did they have to wait until everyone had received his portion? Why couldn't
they offer their first fruits as soon as they were able?
The answer is that the mitzvah of first fruits must be observed with
joy and gratitude, rejoicing in the land of Israel and its produce, as it
states, "And rejoice in every good thing which the L-rd your G-d has given
you." As long as even one Jew remained who had not yet received his portion
of land, the happiness of all Jews was incomplete. For how can any Jew take
pleasure in G-d's generosity, knowing that his fellow Jew cannot participate?
In truth, a Jew is truly joyous only when all his brethren are equally blessed.
Consequently, until their happiness was complete, the Jews could not offer
their first fruits, as bringing them is an expression of perfect joyousness.
All Jews are interconnected with one another; they thus had to wait until
every single member of the Jewish nation had received his allotment to be
able to rejoice fully.
This is the epitome of true ahavat Yisrael. The love Jews have for
each other is so all-encompassing that the happiness of one Jew is dependent
on the happiness of another. If even one Jew is lacking, it impacts the entire
May our efforts to love every single Jew without distinction bring the Final
Redemption, and with it, the opportunity to again observe bikurim
in the literal sense.
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.
Next Monday (August 30) is Chai (the 18th of) Elul, the "birthday"
of the greater Chasidic movement and of Chabad Chasidus in particular.
The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the greater Chasidic movement, was born
on Chai Elul. On that date 26 years later, Achiya Hashiloni began
to teach him Torah "as it is studied in Gan Eden." Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the
founder of Chabad Chasidus, was also born on Chai Elul.
As the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn explained, Chai
Elul introduces an element of chayut, vitality, to our Divine
service during Elul, the month in which we correct and make amends
for past misdeeds. In the merit of our repentance, G-d grants us a good and
sweet year. By infusing our service with vitality, Chai Elul helps
us do teshuvah with enthusiasm, not just by rote or out of habit.
Superficially, vitality and teshuvah may seem contradictory. Vitality
is associated with joy, whereas repentance is associated with bitterness,
regretting past actions and resolving to do better. Those these seem to be
opposite emotions, in Elul we feel both, and at the same time!
Every mitzvah we do should be performed with joy, for by observing
that mitzvah, we fulfill the will of G-d. As teshuvah is a
mitzvah like any other, we experience joy for having been given the
However, Chasidus gives us another reason to be happy while doing
teshuvah, by explaining how bitterness and joy can exist simultaneously.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman describes this in the Tanya as "weeping on one
side of the heart, and joy on the other side." When we do teshuvah,
we rage against our Evil Inclination and of failure to withstand temptation.
Yet at the same time we are happy, for we know that we are becoming closer
Chai Elul (and by extension, Chasidus) thus transforms the
entire month of Elul into a labor of love and joy.
Reb Zalman Estulin, an elderly chasid, told this story many years
ago at a chasidic gathering--a farbrengen.
Once, there were two brothers, Avraham and Shlomo, who exhibited unbelievable
brotherly love. As children they never fought. They studied Torah together
and eventually, after they married fine, Jewish women, they settled down
in the same city.
Sad to say, the brothers got into a foolish argument as is bound to happen.
Things went from bad to worse until it got to the point where as friendly
and loving as the brothers had once been they now hated and abhorred each
Years passed in this way until the time came when Reb Avraham was going to
marry off his eldest daughter. Despite the fact that they had not spoken
for over a decade, Reb Avraham wanted his brother to share in his happiness.
And so, he sent Shlomo a letter of apology for all past wrongs and an invitation
to the wedding. When no reply came, Avraham sent a messenger. But the messenger
came back with the message that Shlomo would not even consider coming to
The evening of the wedding arrived, and though Reb Avraham was happy, his
joy was tinged with sadness in knowing that his brother would not attend
For his part, Reb Shlomo had scheduled his evening in such a way that feelings
of remorse would not get in his way of staying home. He had a huge, seven-course
meal, took a long, relaxing bath, got into his pajamas and went to bed early.
The wedding on the other side of town was in full swing when the violinist,
an extremely talented musician who could change people's moods through his
music, noticed that Avraham's joy was not complete.
The violinist approached Avraham and asked if there was anything he could
do: "My reputation will suffer if I can't make the father of the bride happy."
Avraham told the violinist that he was saddened by his brother's absence.
"I will go and bring him here," the violinist offered.
And so, the violinist went to Reb Shlomo's house. He stood outside of Shlomo's
bedroom window. Half asleep, Shlomo came to the window to see who was playing.
He was so intrigued and entranced by the violinist's recital that he opened
his door and went outside.
In this manner the violinist and Shlomo walked through the town until they
reached the wedding hall.
Slowly, slowly, they approached the wedding until Reb Shlomo found himself
in the middle of the dance floor at the wedding hall. He looked around and
saw everybody so beautifully dressed. Then, he looked at himself and realized,
with quite a bit of embarrassment, that he was hardly dressed as befits the
uncle of the bride. Indeed, he was a sorry state in his pajamas!
"Brothers," Rabbi Estulin concluded, "we're all going to be there in the
middle of the dance floor when Moshiach comes. Because, as our Sages teach
us, the Redemption is like the consummation of the wedding ceremony between
G-d and the Jewish people, which took place at the giving of the Torah on
"The Torah and mitzvot that we do are like the clothing of our souls.
It is up to us to come to the wedding dressed as befits the uncle of the
bride, and not in our pajamas!"
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.
Preparations for the High Holidays:
"Our Sages state that thirty days before a holiday, we should learn the laws
pertaining to it. It is already less than thirty days before the holidays
of Tishrei begin and in this context, it is necessary to mention the
importance of providing Jews with their holiday needs so that they will be
able to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and the holidays that follow in the manner
stated in the Bible, 'Eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages and send
portions to those who do not have them prepared.'"
The Rebbe, Elul, 5750/1990
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, August 27, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tavo:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:19 p.m.
Saturday, August 28, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tavo:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 3 &
4 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:20 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subscribe "G-4."
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.