"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Tetzave, 5760
12 Adar I, 5760
Feb. 18, 2000
Please pray for the immediate and complete recovery of
Horav Chaim Yehuda Kalman Ben Rochel Marlow Shlita,
head of the Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court) of Crown Heights
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
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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 week's issue, we focus on Purim Katan, and Shushan
Purim Katan. Purim Katan (the minor Purim) is on Sunday, Feb.
20, and the day afterwards, Monday, Feb. 21, is Shushan Purim
The Jewish year that has recently begun is the year 5760 since Creation.
The Hebrew letters are Hei-Tav-Shin-Samech. 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 acrostic of its Hebrew letters. This year has been designated by the
Rebbe's followers as "Hoyo T'hei Shnas Segulah," meaning "It will
surely be an auspicious year."
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
9 Adar I, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah reading, Tetzave, is the only portion in the entire
Torah following Moses' birth, in which Moses' name does not appear.
Our Sages explain that the reason for this omission was Moses' own request,
made to G-d after, the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf: "And
if not (if You will not forgive them), blot me out, I pray you, from Your
book which You have written." The words of a tzadik, a holy and righteous
person, are always fulfilled, even if spoken conditionally. Thus, we find
that Moses' wish was granted in this week's Torah portion, for his name never
appears in the entire portion.
However, when we delve into the text itself, we find an interesting phenomenon:
This chapter, which specifically does not mention Moses, begins with a direct
address to the very person whose name it omits! "And you shall command
A name is of lesser importance than a person's essential nature. It is a
means of identification and a way of being known to others. But one does
not really need a name in order to live. A newborn baby exists as an independent
being from the moment it is born, and only receives its name after several
days. From this we learn that the use of the grammatical second person, "you,"
expresses an even higher level of relationship than calling a person by his
given name, which was only bestowed on him secondarily.
If such is the case, then it follows that the omission of Moses' name only
serves to underscore the very special essence of Moses, which was even higher
than the mention of his name could express.
Moses' whole life was Torah, to the extent that we refer to the Torah as
"The Five Books of Moses." But his greatness was best illustrated when the
lowest elements among the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf,
explicitly expressing their desire to separate themselves from the Torah.
Yet, Moses was willing to sacrifice that which he held most dear on their
behalf. "Blot out my name from Your book," Moses pleaded with G-d, "if You
will not forgive them even this grave sin."
Moses and the Jews formed one entity, each of whose existence was dependent
upon the other. The commentator Rashi explains: "Moses is Israel, and Israel
is Moses." When even some Jews sinned, Moses suffered a spiritual blow. Even
though Moses was up on Mount Sinai when the Golden Calf was actually made,
he was still affected by the actions of the others.
It was Moses' self-sacrifice and his desire to forgo that which was most
important to him that express a unity that is beyond mere names. It is therefore
precisely the portion Tetzave, in which Moses is not mentioned, that
reveals his strength and his greatness. The willingness to sacrifice oneself
for every fellow Jew, even one who sins, is the mark of every true leader
of the Jewish People.
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.
In a leap year such as this year, there are two Hebrew months of Adar.
Marriages, births and deaths that took place in Adar of a non-leap
year are all celebrated in the second Adar.
The holiday of Purim, too, is celebrated in Adar II on the 14th of
the month (this year, Tuesday, March 21). However, it is customary to recognize
the 14th of Adar I (this year, Sunday, Feb. 20), as Purim Katan
(the "minor" Purim). This is done by making meals of a festive nature, not
delivering eulogies and not fasting.
Since this year is a leap year, we count the month of Adar twice.
The holiday of Purim is celebrated in the second Adar. However, in
the first Adar, we celebrate Purim Katan (the "minor" Purim).
Purim Katan is a microcosm of the larger Purim. It comes exactly 30
days before the "big" Purim and serves as an official reminder that it is
time to begin preparing ourselves for the upcoming holiday. In essence, we
have 30 extra days to put ourselves in the holiday spirit.
In general, if one does not prepare for a holiday, it can just come and go,
hardly making any impression on us at all. Lacking the proper preparation
means we might not rise to the emotional and spiritual heights of which we
Let us imagine ourselves traveling on a train. The scenery outside the window
is magnificent. If we, however, but blink an eye, what we just saw is gone
from our sight. The same is true of each holiday. If we do not prepare properly,
with not more than the blink of an eye, it has passed us by.
Purim Katan is a reminder in our calendar announcing, "Wait, Purim
is going to happen. And it's going to happen soon!"
If we use the reminder that Purim Katan gives us, and really prepare
for Purim, then we will be able to live the happenings of the megilah
and derive the full, rich flavor from the holiday.
As there are very few customs associated with Purim Katan and Shushan
Purim Katan [this year, Monday, Feb. 21], let us take a moment
to understand the significance of Shushan Purim according to
The celebration of this holiday was instituted in connection with the Land
of Israel. Our Sages decreed that Shushan Purim be celebrated in those
cities that were surrounded by walls at the time of Joshua's conquest of
the Land of Israel. In this manner, they paid respect to the Holy Land, giving
its walled cities the honor given to Shushan even though they had
been destroyed by the time of the Purim miracle.
However, the holiday's name is connected with a city in the Diaspora--the
capital city of Achashveirosh, king of Persia (and thus the capital of the
entire civilized world).
The use of the name Shushan expresses the completion of the Jews'
mission to refine the material environment of the world. There are several
levels in the fulfillment of this task; for example, the transformation of
mundane objects into articles of holiness. On a deeper level, this involves
the transformation into holiness of precisely those elements which previously
Shushan Purim shows how Achashveirosh's capital city was transformed
into a positive influence, indeed, an influence so great that it is connected
with the celebration of Purim in the walled cities of Israel.
May we use all of the extra spiritual energy given to us on Purim
Katan and Shushan Purim Katan to transform the mundane
into the holy and that which opposes holiness into holiness, until the whole
world is transformed into a dwelling place for G-d in the Messianic Era.
Why all this hubbub about Moshiach? Why the constant talk, classes, publicity
campaigns? Isn't focusing on it once a year--when we say, "Next year in
Jerusalem" at the Passover seder--enough? Or once a week, as on
Shabbat, which is sort of a taste of the Messianic Era? Or, let's
say, even three times a day in our prayers? Isn't that enough?
By way of explanation, there is a story about Reb Mendel Futerfas, the
mashpia, spiritual advisor of the Lubavitcher yeshivah in Kfar
Reb Mendel was imprisoned in Soviet prisons for 14 years. He spent most of
his free time in prayer and study. Nevertheless, he was not totally aloof
from the non-Jews who shared his lot, and spent a few hours a day in conversation
Included in this group were many types of people: political idealists, university
professors, and many ordinary people jailed for "crimes," of which neither
they nor others understood the criminal nature.
In the latter category was a circus performer whose claim to fame was his
feats as a tight rope walker. He and Reb Mendel had a standing argument.
For this was before safety nets had become standard circus practice, and
Reb Mendel could not understand why a person would risk his life walking
on a rope extended several stories above the ground. "There must be," Reb
Mendel maintained, "some hidden ropes holding you in case you slip."
The tightrope walker, for his part, maintained that there was no need for
ropes. It was not all that dangerous. A person began practicing on low ropes
and once he gained experience, the chance of falling was minimal.
The argument continued for years until, after Stalin died, the prison authorities
relaxed their rules slightly. Several months prior to May Day they allowed
the prisoners to prepare a makeshift circus in celebration of the day. The
circus performer suddenly came alive, becoming the center of attention in
the prison. He organized various performances, with the highlight of the
show his tightrope walk.
He made sure that Reb Mendel was in the audience. As the drums began to beat,
he climbed the pole and approached the line. His first steps were somewhat
hesitant; after all it had been several years since he had walked the ropes,
but after a few seconds, he felt at home.
It all came back to him. He began to twirl a hoop and wave to his friends.
As he reached the end of the rope, he hesitated for a moment, made a fast
turn, and then proceeded to the other side. On his way back, he exuded confidence
and performed several stunts. After he reached the end of the rope, he climbed
down and ran to Reb Mendel.
"You see, no ropes holding me up," he gleamed in satisfaction.
"Yes, you're right, no ropes," agreed Reb Mendel.
"You're a smart man," the performer continued. "What is the trick? Is it
in the hands, the feet?"
Reb Mendel paused to think. "You moved your hands freely and it appeared
that your footwork was not the determining factor."
After reviewing the scene in his mind several times, Reb Mendel said, "It's
the eyes. At all times, your eyes were riveted on the opposite pole."
The performer nodded in agreement, "When you see your destination in front
of you, you know where to put your feet."
What is our destination that we must concentrate on and keep constantly in
front of our eyes so that we don't lose our balance as we walk the tight
rope of life? It is Moshiach and the Messianic Era for which we Jews have
hoped and prayed for 2,000 years. It will bring a world of peace and unity,
material and spiritual prosperity, and a knowledge of G-d and G-dliness never
before experienced. It is the ultimate purpose--destination, if you will--for
which the world was created.
Keeping your eyes riveted on Moshiach and the redemption is the only safe
way to walk the tightrope.
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.
Make Others Happy:
As we are now in the 60 days of happiness comprised of the two months of
Adar, we should endeavor to make others happy.
The Rebbe explained, "We should proceed to spread joy and happiness in the
most literal sense, making efforts to assure that the members of one's household
and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience great
joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption.
May it take place in the immediate future."
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, Feb. 18, Erev Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 19, Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:17 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.
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.