"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Lech Lecha, 5760
Cheshvan 12, 5760
October 22, 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.
The Jewish year that has just 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
3 Cheshvan, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
Parshat Lech Lecha
There is a saying of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn,
quoted in the name of his father, the Rebbe Rashab:
"The first Torah portion, Parshat Bereishis, is a joyful Torah portion,
for in it, G-d created the world and all of its inhabitants.
"Parshat Noach, however, relates the Great Flood. The week in which
it is read is therefore a sad one, but it ends on a happy note with the birth
of our forefather Abraham.
"Yet the week which is truly the happiest is the one in which the Torah portion
of Parshat Lech Lecha is read. For each and every day of the week
we live with Abraham."
Why is Parshat Lech Lecha, this week's Torah reading, considered the
most joyful of the three?
Parshat Bereishis contains the narrative of Creation. This portion
relates G-d's actions, and describes how He created the world in six days.
The Torah portion tells us what G-d did, but it does not relate the deeds
of the creations themselves.
Parshat Noach, by contrast, deals primarily with the actions of mankind.
In this Torah portion we learn about the Great Flood, about the behavior
of the people of Noach's generation, and about the deeds of the righteous
Thus each of the first two Torah portions concerns itself with an entirely
different sphere. Parshat Bereishis revolves around G-d and G-dly
matters, whereas Parshat Noach concentrates on the more mundane affairs
of mankind. In neither of these Torah portions is the connection between
G-d and man, the higher spheres and the lower spheres, expressed.
How do Jews create that connection? By carrying out the will of G-d and
performing His mitzvot.
When Jews observe the Torah's commandments they draw nearer to G-d, binding
themselves to Him with an everlasting bond. When G-d gave His holy Torah
to the Jewish people, He thereby gave them the means to forge a connection
between the "higher worlds"--G-d, and the "lower worlds"--human beings.
The preparation for the giving of the Torah began with Lech Lecha,
when G-d gave Abraham the commandment to "go out" of his native land, and
Abraham obeyed. Ignoring his own personal wishes and his natural proclivities
and inclinations, Abraham set off to fulfill the will of G-d to establish
a "dwelling place" for Him in the physical world.
Thus began the wondrous connection with G-d that continues and is strengthened
with every mitzvah we perform.
This is why Parshat Lech Lecha is the most joyful of the Torah's first
three portions. The first speaks solely of the higher worlds; the second,
only about the lower. It isn't until the third portion, Lech Lecha,
that the true connection to G-d first commences.
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.
Some people say that Avraham Avinu (Abraham our father) was the first Lubavitcher
chasid. This might sound a little (or more than a little) self-serving.
But, let us take a few moments to analyze Avraham's life; we might find that,
in fact, there is much truth in this statement.
In this week's Torah portion, Avraham is commanded by G-d to go away from
his home, leave his parents, and travel to a distant, unknown land. He always
spoke to strangers, bringing them closer to an awareness of G-d, their Creator.
Now, isn't this, actually, what Lubavitcher chasidim are doing all
over the world?
Avraham set up a huge tent in the middle of the desert. The tent had four
doors, one in each direction, so that any person passing by would always
be able to enter quickly. Doesn't that remind you of a Chabad
House--Chabad-Lubavitch outreach centers on college campuses and suburban
Jewish communities with an "open door" policy?
With Avraham as our role model and guide, let us make every effort to follow
in his footsteps, setting up our own tents, and helping others set up tents
for people to live and experience the beauty and warmth of Judaism.
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.
Encourage the Kids!
Do the doorposts of your children's rooms have mezuzahs on them? If
they do, point them out to the children and encourage them to kiss or touch
the mezuzah cover as they go in and out of the room. If not, purchase
a hand-written mezuzah scroll from a reliable Judaica store or your
local Chabad-Lubavitch Center. You can even let the child choose his or her
own mezuzah cover.
The Rebbe explained, "We see that children have a unique attraction to a
mezuzah, and kiss it eagerly several times a day. From the
mezuzah, one goes from one's house to the world at large as the
Rambam writes, 'Whenever one enters or departs, one will confront
the unity of G-d's name.'"
(18th of Cheshvan, 5752/1991)
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, Oct. 22, Erev Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:49 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23, Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:48 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.