"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Toldot, 5760
Kislev 3, 5760
November 12, 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 week's issue we focus on the Hebrew month of Kislev.
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
Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
Our Sages stated: "Everything that happened to our Ancestors is a sign for
their children." The events of our ancestors' lives were not just a foreshadowing
of what would happen to the Jewish people throughout history, but a source
of strength and encouragement that Jews have called upon throughout the ages.
We read in this week's Torah portion, Toldot: "There was a famine
in the land." G-d appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go to Egypt. Dwell
in the land which I will tell you of. Sojourn in this land, and I will be
with you and bless you."
When G-d commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Isaac had been
willing and he was thereafter considered by G-d to be "a perfect offering."
It was therefore inappropriate for him to leave the holy soil of Israel for
the lesser sanctity of other countries. G-d forbade him to go elsewhere despite
the famine that gripped the land.
G-d's command to Isaac contains a lesson for us, his descendants: The only
rightful place for the Jewish people is not in exile but in the Holy Land.
Jews can never be truly happy in exile, for they know that they are not where
they belong. Our perpetual hope and plea to G-d is that He bring us back
to the land of Israel, as we pray three times each day, "May our eyes behold
Your return to Zion in mercy."
Years before, in the time of Abraham, there was also a famine in Israel.
But unlike Isaac, Abraham went down to Egypt, carrying the knowledge of the
One true G-d even there. Abraham brought everyone with whom he came in contact
under the wings of the Divine Presence, drawing them nearer to their Creator.
Isaac, however, never once left the borders of Israel. And, even within Israel,
Isaac's emphasis was "inward." Isaac did not actively go out to draw people
closer to G-d. His focus was more on achieving self-perfection.
Abraham and Isaac teach us two different paths in the service of G-d:
From Abraham we derive the strength to go outward, to reach out to other
Jews. Abraham taught us how to spread the knowledge of G-d wherever we go,
to disseminate Torah throughout the world. Even a Jew whose primary concern
is Torah study and the perfection of his own path of worship must set aside
time to involve himself with others.
Isaac, on the other hand, taught us the importance of turning "inward," and
it is from him that we derive the strength to involve ourselves in Torah
study. For even a Jew whose primary focus is on worldly affairs (by means
of which he draws others closer to G-d and brings holiness into the world)
must occasionally withdraw from these concerns to devote himself to learning
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.
Every year at this time we read about one of the most famous sets of twins
in history, Jacob and Esau. As any child can tell you, Jacob was the "good"
one and Esau was the "bad" one, and the two brothers never got along with
each other. But the Torah is not a history book; Torah means "teaching,"
it contains eternal lessons that are always relevant and have a direct impact
on our daily lives.
On a deeper level, Jacob and Esau represent two ways of looking at the world,
two different life styles that even modern man is forced to choose between.
Esau's attitude was "carpe diem" -- seize the day, with no thought for tomorrow.
Jacob, by contrast, lived a more elevated existence, recognizing life's spiritual
According to Chasidic philosophy, every Jew is made up of two souls: an animal
soul and a G-dly soul. Like Jacob and Esau, they too never get along, and
are in constant conflict. The animal soul is interested only in the physical;
like an animal that walks on four legs, its head is focused downward rather
than up at the sky. The only thing that matters is the here and now. The
G-dly soul, however, looks upward. Why am I here? What's the real purpose
of my life?
As we learn from this week's Torah reading, the true birthright belongs to
Jacob, and our function as Jews is to elevate the world by imbuing it with
G-dliness. The battle will always be there, but it's a battle we can win
by choosing wisely.
Kislev is a month of celebration, when we commemorate many joyous occasions.
A recurring theme throughout the festivities of Kislev is freedom.
On the 10th day of Kislev, 5587/1826, the second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi
Dovber (known as the Mitteler Rebbe), was released from incarceration
in Czarist Russia on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities.
Decades earlier, on the 19th of Kislev in the year 5559/1798, his
father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, was released
from imprisonment on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities. (Two
years later, when Rabbi Shneur Zalman was imprisoned once again, he was also
released in the month of Kislev, on the third night of Chanukah.)
On Chanukah, celebrated for eight days starting on the 25th of Kislev,
we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over their mighty Hellenic
oppressors, and their subsequent freedom to follow once again in the ways
of the Torah. We also celebrate the liberation of our Holy Temple, which
the Hellenists had defiled and desecrated. Once the Jews cleansed and purified
the Temple, it was free to be used for its holy purpose, bringing the Jewish
people closer to G-d.
Torah in general, and chasidic teachings in particular, help liberate us
from our personal (often self-imposed) "prisons." During the month of
Kislev, then, it is appropriate to increase our study of Torah. This
study will help us reflect upon how best to use the opportunities available
to us because of the religious freedom that we are fortunate to enjoy today.
Let us pray that G-d speedily grant us the ultimate freedom that will come
with the revelation of Moshiach. For then we will truly be free to serve
G-d, in the third and final Holy Temple.
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.
Awaken Your Core This Month:
"Awakening the core of our being must be reflected in a concern for the
fundamental existence of every Jew. This should be expressed in efforts to
provide our fellow Jews with the necessities required to celebrate the holidays
of the month of Kislev [the 'Chasidic New Year' on the 19th of
Kislev and Chanukah] with happiness and joy. Similarly, they should
have the means to fulfill the custom that the Rebbes followed of giving
Chanukah gelt to the members of their household."
(1 Kislev, 5752/1991)
Simply stated, this means that as we think about our own family's holiday
celebrations this month, we should make sure to help provide for other, less
fortunate people in the greater Jewish family.
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, Nov. 12, Erev Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:23 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 13, Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:25 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.