"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 5759
Elul 22, 5759
September 3, 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.
We'd like to hear from you. Tell us your comments, suggestions, etc. Write
to us, or E-Mail via Internet.
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
18 Elul, 5759
Brooklyn, New York
The first of this week's two Torah portions, Nitzavim, speaks about
the mitzvah of teshuvah. "And you shall return to the L-rd
your G-d and obey His voice according to what I command you this day...with
all your heart and with all your soul."
The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad
Chasidus, elucidated on the meaning of repentance in his Igeres
HaTeshuvah. Teshuvah, he wrote, does not mean fasting or mortification
of the body. Nor does it entail merely confessing our transgressions. The
simple definition of teshuvah is "the return to G-d through the
abandonment of sin."
How do we "abandon sin"? "A person must wholeheartedly resolve that he will
not repeat the folly of rebelling against G-d's sovereignty, that he will
never again disobey the King's commands, both positive and negative
The "abandonment of sin" is thus synonymous with the re-acceptance of the
yoke of heaven. When a person accepts G-d's kingship, it prevents him from
committing any and all sins, not just the particular sin he has already
When a Jew resolves to do teshuvah, it's not enough for him to renounce
a singular transgression. He must promise to keep all of G-d's commandments,
positive observances and negative prohibitions alike.
Take, for example, a Jew who has committed the sin of lashon hara
(slander). Is regretting his misdeed and resolving to never again speak
negatively about others sufficient? No! True teshuvah requires that
his acceptance of the yoke of heaven be felt so sincerely and deeply that
it precludes him from committing any sin in the future.
The reason for this is that when a person sins, the damage it causes is two-fold.
In the general sense, by acting contrary to G-d's will, the individual has
rebelled against G-d and thrown off the yoke of His authority. Yet on a more
personal level, his individual G-dly soul has been impaired.
When a Jew accepts G-d's kingship and rededicates himself to the totality
of Torah and mitzvot, he rights both wrongs at the same time. His
teshuvah goes beyond correcting his individual failure, and nullifies
the underlying potential for transgression at its source.
The Torah enjoins us, "And you shall return to the L-rd your G-d," demanding
that we accept G-d's authority in all facets of our lives. Rather than making
amends for individual transgressions, genuine teshuvah requires that
we rededicate ourselves to obeying all of G-d's commands, with renewed acceptance
of the yoke of heaven.
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.
Since the beginning of the month of Elul we've been doing
teshuvah, getting rid of negative baggage and "cleaning up our act"
before Rosh HaShanah. But this Saturday night, Sept. 4, after midnight, we're
going to really get down to business, as Jews around the world go to the
synagogue to recite Selichot ("prayers for forgiveness"). These special
penitential prayers are the next stage of our preparation for the High Holidays.
Chasidic philosophy makes the following distinction:
During the month of Elul, we concentrate on improving our thought,
speech and deed. But when we say Selichot, we focus on an even deeper
level of the soul and correct the emotive powers themselves.
Though it sounds serious, Chasidim have always approached
Selichot (like everything else!) with a sense of joy, rather than
sadness and gloom. We look forward to the opportunity to reach even higher
levels of holiness and sanctity.
The Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch,
quoting Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidus,
explained one of the lines in the Selichot thusly: "The needs of Your
people are great, and their knowledge is narrow and limited." Our needs are
many precisely because our knowledge is limited. If our knowledge were "wider,"
our needs would be fewer.
The pursuit of luxuries, adds the Rebbe, can even diminish the "regular"
measure of blessing a person would otherwise receive. Because our "knowledge
is limited" we demand too much, over-inflating our importance and assuming
that G-d "owes" us. Our "needs" tend to multiply when we put too much emphasis
on material rather than spiritual concerns.
Nonetheless, the Rebbe concludes, "Our request from G-d is that He fulfill
all the needs of His people, even though what we ask for stems from
a deficiency in knowledge. And may every single Jew lack for nothing."
THE BALANCE SHEET
Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe
25 Elul, 5719/1959
To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere,
G-d bless you all!
Greeting and Blessing:
These days at the end of the outgoing year, and on the eve of the New Year,
may it bring blessings to us all, call for self-evaluation in respect to
the year about to end, and--in the light of this self-appraisal--for making
the necessary resolutions for the coming year.
Such a "balance sheet" can be valid only if the evaluation of the full extent
of one's powers and opportunities was a correct one. Only then can one truly
regret, in a commensurate degree, the missed opportunities, and resolve to
utilize one's capacities to the fullest extent from now on.
The period of time before and during Rosh HaShanah is not only the occasion
that demands spiritual stock-taking in general, but it also begs for a profound
inner appreciation of the tremendous capacities that one possesses as a man,
the crown of Creation, and as a Jew whom the Creator has given His Divine
Law of Life (Torat Chaim). For Rosh HaShanah is the day when Man was
* * *
When Adam was created, the Creator immediately apprised him of his powers
and told him what his purpose in life would be:
"Replenish the earth, and conquer it; and have dominion over the fish of
the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves
upon the earth."
Man was given the power to conquer the whole world and to rule over it, on
land, sea and in the air, and he was enjoined to so do; this was his task.
How was this "world conquest" to be attained, and what is the purpose and
true meaning of it? This is what our Sages tell us and teach us in this regard:
When G-d created Adam, his soul--his Divine image--permeated and irradiated
his whole being, by virtue of which he became the ruler over the entire creation.
All the creatures gathered to serve him and to crown him as their creator.
But Adam, pointing out their error, said to them: "Let us all come and worship
G-d, our Maker!"
* * *
The "world conquest" that was given to man as his task and mission in life
is to elevate the whole of nature, including the beasts and animals, to the
service of true humanity, humanity permeated and illuminated by the Divine
image, by the soul, which is veritably a part of G-d above, so that the whole
of Creation will realize that G-d is our Maker.
Needless to say, before a man sets out to conquer the world, he must first
conquer himself, through the subjugation of the "earthly" and "beastly" in
his own nature. This is attained through actions that strictly accord with
the directives of the Torah, the Law of Life--the practical guide in everyday
living, so that the material becomes permeated and illuminated with the light
of the One G-d, our G-d.
G-d created one person and on this single person on earth He imposed
the said duty and task. Herein lies the profound, yet clear, directive, namely,
that one person--each and every person--is potentially capable of "conquering
If a person does not fulfill his task, and does not utilize his inestimable
divine powers--it is not merely a personal loss and failure, but something
that affects the destiny of the whole world.
* * *
In these days of introspection, we are duty-bound to reflect that each and
every one of us --through carrying out the instructions of the Creator
of the World that are contained in His Torah--has the capacity of conquering
worlds. Everyone must, therefore, ask himself how much he has accomplished
in this direction, and to what extent he has failed, so that he can make
the proper resolutions for the coming year.
G-d, Who looks into the heart, on seeing the determination behind these good
resolutions, will send His blessing for their realization in the fullest
measure--in joy and gladness of heart and affluence, materially and spiritually.
With the blessing of Kesivo Vachasimo Toivo
for a happy and sweet year,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
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.
Say the Special Selichot Prayers
On Saturday evening, Sept. 4, after midnight, the first Selichot ("prayers
for forgiveness") are said in synagogues throughout the world.
From Monday, Sept. 6, through the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Selichot
prayers are said every weekday, in the early morning. Go with the whole family
Saturday night, let the kids stay up late! This is a real, hands-on Jewish
experience that is bound to be remembered for months, if not years.
Call your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the exact time
and location nearest you.
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, September 3, Erev Shabbat Parshat
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:08 p.m.
Saturday, September 4, Shabbat Parshat
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 5 &
6 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:08 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.