"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Vayechi, 5760
Tevet 15, 5760
Dec. 24, 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 Y2K, from a Torah perspective.
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
13 Tevet, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
No words in the Torah are chosen arbitrarily, least of all the names of the
weekly Torah portions. The name of a particular Torah portion expresses the
essence of that section and tells us something about its content. This being
the case, why is this week's portion entitled Vayechi ("and Jacob
lived"), when it deals exclusively with the events which led up to his passing?
The answer to this question lies in understanding the true meaning of life.
Is life our temporal existence in this world, where we are constantly faced
with extinction from numerous forces threatening us at every turn? Or is
true life something even greater?
Only G-d, the source of all life, can rightly be termed "alive," for He is
never changing and exists forever. In this sense, only G-d truly lives, for
His existence does not depend on outside forces. But human beings may also
attain eternal life, by cleaving to that which is Eternal. G-d is the only
entity which lives forever; attaching oneself to Him enables mere mortals
to do the same.
"And you, who cleave unto G-d--all of you therefore live today." This is
the reason that the Jews are called "alive" by our Sages, for they cleave
unto the Eternal Living G-d.
This is demonstrated most clearly when a Jew encounters difficulties and
obstacles lying in his path, which serve to make his passage through life
all the more challenging. Leading a carefree existence unencumbered by problems
is no test of our attachment to G-d; successfully overcoming life's hurdles
is what reveals our true devotion and commitment to serving G-d. It is only
then that we may be considered "alive."
This illustrates why this week's Torah portion is named Vayechi. It
was precisely just prior to Jacob's passing in Egypt that the meaning and
purpose of his life was fully revealed. The years Jacob had spent in the
Holy Land, although fraught with various trials and tribulations, were
insufficient to adequately demonstrate his true devotion to G-d. It was only
on his deathbed, in the lowest and most abominable land on earth at the time,
that Jacob's true "life" could be recognized by all.
The Talmud states that "Jacob did not die...as long as his seed is alive,
he lives, too." The continued existence of the Jewish people and their adherence
to G-d and His Torah follows in the footsteps of their forefather Jacob and
ensures his eternal perpetuation.
Furthermore, it is precisely now, at the very end of our long and bitter
exile, that our adherence to Torah and our faith in the imminent coming of
Moshiach demonstrates the attainment of true and eternal life.
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.
by Rabbi Israel Rubin*
Just when we thought we had everything figured out and under control, the
year 2000 looms and heads the confusion of the Century. having entrusted
our destiny to computerized technology, people around the world are worried
about the approaching Y2K calamity.
Yea, as we walk into the shadow of Y2K, doomsday alarms are already ringing.
Behold, all the wise men have been summoned to save us from the scourge of
the upcoming plague, computer wizards concoct and input formulas to placate
the powers that be. Alas, time is short, and all men, women and dot.coms
in the land scurry hither an hither to avert being struck on that fateful
day when 99 changes to 00.
Let us not underestimate the potential power of 00. It doesn't amount to
anything in today's digitalized world, yet 00 is full of meaning and symbolism.
To the mathematician, 0.0=0x0=02 represents an enigma: how can a round, rolly
polly zero ever be a square?
To a jeweler, 00 is a symetrical set of bangles, while to a prisoner they
are tight handcuffs. To the sports minded, 00 designates a bike path, or
a game in which neither team scored, while a bird watcher sees two wise owl
Joking aside, Y2K syndrome in our mind-set and attitude. Our problem goes
beyond misprogrammed computers, for it involves misguided people and misplaced
Basically, the Y2K problem is a failure to recognize value in 00. Expecting
instant gratification, we discard seemingly "worthless" items without seeing
the full picture and broader connection.
Obsessed with zeroes, the Nihilists lose sight of the larger number, which
quickly add up to hundreds, thousands and even millions. They don't realize
that the humble, non-pretentious and self-effacing zero enhances the value
of it's peers tenfold. Even people with six figure salaries will gladly welcome
an extra zero that happens to roll in.
In the beginning, G-d created the world ex nihilo, something out of nothing,
but the Nihilists turn around and make nothing out of something. let us work
in the reverse, as did many of our immigrant grandparents who arrived here
in the beginning of the century. They came to this country without a penny
in their pockets, and sweated their way to success.
May the memory of their positive work ethic to make something out of nothing,
prevent us from foolishly turning something into nothing. Judaism believes
that everything in life, however small or insignificant, has purpose and
meaning, and we look forward each day to Moshiach and the Redemption, the
commencement of which is anothing but nil.
*) Rabbi Rubin is the director of Chabad of the Capital District, Albany,
New York and editor of The Jewish Holiday Consumer from which this article
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, Dec. 24, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayechi:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:15 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25, Shabbat Parshat Vayechi:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:21 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.