"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Va'etchanan, 5760
Menachem-Av 10, 5760
August 11, 2000
Dedicated to educating the public regarding the
current situation in Israel, based on Torah
sources, with special emphasis on the opinion
and teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
"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 Shabbat Nachamu.
It is with tremendous pain and sorrow that I dedicate this issue of Living
With Moshiach to the loving memory of Horav Chaim Yehuda Kalman Ben Horav
Avrohom Yehoshua Marlow, head of the Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court) of Crown
Heights, who passed away, on Friday Morning, 20 Sivan, 5760 (June 23, 2000)
This Jewish year, 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
6 Menachem-Av, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
This week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, speaks about the
mitzvah of learning Torah, and contains the verse "...and you shall
teach them to your children, to speak in them." In general, the
mitzvah of learning Torah consists of two separate commandments: The
obligation each person has to learn Torah himself, and the obligation to
teach Torah to others, especially one's children.
Although a person might naturally think that the mitzvah of learning
Torah oneself takes precedence over that of teaching others, we find that
the opposite is true. Both Maimonides' writings and the Shulchan Aruch
(Code of Jewish Law) begin the section on the laws covering the learning
of Torah with the duty each parent has to teach his children. Why is this
the case? And furthermore, how can a person teach others before he himself
is well versed enough in the subject matter?
We learn from the emphasis on teaching children the proper approach we must
have when we begin to learn Torah, G-d's Divine wisdom and blueprint for
the world. To understand this, let us examine the difference between Torah
learning and the performance of mitzvot.
When a Jew does a mitzvah he effects a change in the physical world,
elevating and making holy the physical objects he uses in the
mitzvah's performance. The practical performance of the mitzvah
is therefore more important than the intentions and meditations of the person
doing the deed, for the action itself serves to bring spiritual illumination
into the world.
Torah learning, on the other hand, serves to refine and elevate the individual.
When a Jew studies Torah his intellect becomes united with the G-dly wisdom
contained in the Torah and causes him to be a G-dly person whose thoughts
are those of holiness. The essence of learning Torah is therefore the humility
and self-nullification one must feel before even approaching it to learn.
In order to learn Torah properly one must have the sincere desire to understand
G-d's wisdom without seeking self-aggrandizement or having other ulterior
Before a Jew learns Torah he must subjugate his own ego and ask, what does
the Torah itself want from me? Without this prerequisite, say our Sages,
Torah learning can even be detrimental and become a "poisonous drug."
Emphasizing the duty to teach our children before we ourselves learn the
Torah stresses that our goal is not merely the acquisition of knowledge,
for the mind of a young child cannot possibly grasp the greatness of what
he is learning. Our goal is, however, to cultivate and emulate the child's
purity and innocence with regard to how he learns the Divinely written words.
We must likewise approach the Torah in the same way, and not try to "fit"
what we have learned into the preconceived, jaded view of the world we sometimes
acquire as we grow older. All of us, no matter how old we are, are like young
children to our Father in 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.
See our publication: "Laws of the Holy Temple"
Also, the text of the book: "Seek Out The Welfare Of Jerusalem" [Analytical
Studies by the Rebbe, of Rambam's rulings concerning the Holy Temple], published
by Sichos in English - is available on-line at:
and is divided into a special study program.
Based on the Works of the Rebbe
The first Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, is known as Shabbat
Nachamu, after the first word of this week's Haftorah, "nachamu
nachamu ami" (Console, console yourselves, My people). It is the first
of the seven "Sabbaths of Consolation."
Our Sages explain the twofold use of the word "console": "[The Jewish people]
committed a twofold sin...received a twofold punishment...and are likewise
comforted twofold." Elsewhere our Sages comment, "Because its mitzvot
are doubled, so too are its consolations doubled."
Why this emphasis on the number two? How can a sin be twofold, anyway? Moreover,
what is meant by the statement that the Torah's commandments are "doubled"?
The terms "twofold" and "double," refer to two different dimensions. Everything
in a Jew's life--the Torah and its commandants, the destruction of the Holy
Temple and our consolation--reflects this duality, for everything in the
world is composed of both a physical and a spiritual component.
A Jew is a mixture of a corporeal body and spiritual soul, which together
form a complete being. A Jew is considered whole when both aspects of his
nature, body and soul, are working in tandem to serve G-d. Mitzvot,
too, are composed of these two dimensions. Every mitzvah contains
a spiritual component--the intentions behind it--and a physical component--the
way the mitzvah is performed.
This is what our Sages referred to when stating that the Torah's
mitzvot are "doubled"; similarly, the "twofold sin" committed by the
Jewish people refers to the physical and spiritual aspects of their
Accordingly, the punishment that followed--the destruction of the Holy
Temple--was both spiritual and physical. Had the destruction been limited
to the physical stones of the Temple, the G-dly light and revelation it brought
into the world would have continued as before. However, the Jewish people
"received a twofold punishment," and were chastised with a concealment of
G-dliness as well.
The Holy Temple itself reflected this duality. The Temple was a physical
structure, possessing certain limited dimensions. Yet, the G-dly light with
which it was illuminated was infinite in nature. Its destruction was therefore
a double blow as it affected both of these aspects.
When the Holy Temple is rebuilt in the messianic era our consolation will
be doubled because it will encompass both dimensions: not only will the physical
structure of the Temple be restored, but its G-dly revelation will also return.
This double measure of completion will be brought about by King Moshiach,
who possesses a perfect "composite soul" containing all the souls of the
Jewish people, and is therefore able to bring perfection to all creation.
This Shabbat, the 11th of Av, is the yahrtzeit of one of the
most famous and colorful Chabad Chasidim, Reb Hillel Paritcher.
Reb Hillel was born in 5555/1795 and was married before his bar mitzvah
(!). As he was still too young to don tefillin and could only wear
a talit, he was called "Chol Hamoed" ("the Intermediate Days
of a Festival," when tefillin are not worn). By age 13 he had already
mastered the entire Talmud, and was fluent in Poskim and
Kabbalah. By age 15, he was expert in the writings of the holy
Originally a Chasid of Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl, he became a Chabad
Chasid the first time he opened the Tanya. His lifelong dream
was to meet the Alter Rebbe, the Tanya's author and the founder of
Chabad Chasidism, but this was not to be. For years Reb Hillel trailed the
Alter Rebbe across the Pale, but never caught up to him.
One time he arrived in the city where the Alter Rebbe was expected and hid
under his bed. While waiting, he formulated in his mind the question on Tractate
Erachin that he would ask the Alter Rebbe. When the Alter Rebbe entered
the room, before Reb Hillel could even emerge from his hiding place, the
Alter Rebbe said in his characteristic sing-song: "When a person has a question
about Erachin [literally 'assessments'], he must assess himself first..."
Reb Hillel fainted, and by the time he woke up the Alter Rebbe was gone.
It wasn't until after the Alter Rebbe passed away that Reb Hillel came to
Lubavitch, where the Mitteler Rebbe enjoined him to "collect materiality
[funds for charity] and sow spirituality."
His most famous work, published posthumously, was Pelach HaRimon.
He is buried in Kharson.
May his memory be a blessing for us all.
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, August 11, Erev Shabbat Parshat
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:41 p.m.
Saturday, August 12, Shabbat Parshat Va'etchanan:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 3 of
Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:44 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subscribe "G-4."
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat