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Parshat Ki Teitzei, 5760

Elul 8, 5760
Sept. 8, 2000

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue we once again focus on the Hebrew month of Elul.


We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


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 L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for 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

28 Menachem-Av, 5760
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe 

Parshat Ki Teitzei

The first verse of this week's Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, seems to contain a grammatical error. "When you go forth to war against your enemies," it begins, "and the L-rd your G-d will deliver him into your hands." Why does the Torah begin the verse with the plural--enemies--and continue in the singular?

Every word in the Torah is exact, every letter conveying a multitude of nuances and meanings that teach countless lessons. This verse, which seemingly deals with the subject of conventional warfare, alludes to a different type of war, a spiritual war that is waged by every individual.

A Jew may face two types of enemies: one who threatens his physical existence, and one who threatens his special holiness as a member of the Jewish people--his Jewish soul. The Torah uses the word "enemies" to refer to both these threats, for the body and soul of the Jew work in tandem, united in their service of G-d. Whatever imperils one's physical well-being threatens one's spiritual equilibrium, and vice versa.

The Torah tells us how to emerge victorious over both types of enemy: "When you will go forth" a person must gird himself with the strength that comes from absolute faith in G-d, even before encountering the enemy. Next, one's approach must be that of ascendancy--"against (literally, 'over') your enemies." Know that G-d Himself stands beside you and assists you in your struggle.

Armed in such a manner, victory is assured, not only against conventional enemies, but against the root of all evil--the Evil Inclination, equated in the Talmud with "the Satan (enemy of the soul), and the angel of death (enemy of the physical body)."

When a Jew goes out to "war" fortified with the knowledge that there is no force in the world able to stand in the face of goodness and holiness, not only are external manifestations of evil vanquished, but its spiritual source is defeated as well. The Torah therefore uses the singular--enemy--to allude to the Evil Inclination, the origin and prototype of all misfortune.

The verse concludes with the words "and you shall take captives of them." If a Jew is not careful and falls prey to the Evil Inclination, all of his higher faculties, given to him by G-d to be utilized for good, also fall into its snare. The Torah teaches that sincere repentance has the power to redeem these captive prisoners, elevating them until even "willful transgressions are considered as merits."

Such warfare brings Moshiach and the Final Redemption closer, when the Evil Inclination will be totally vanquished and the victory over sin will be permanent.


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a 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.


When the king is enthroned in his palace, he is not easily accessible; audience is granted only to those who have merited his attention. But when the king is in public, anyone may approach him.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, compared the month of Elul to a time when a king, returning to his palace, passes through the surrounding fields and greets his subjects with a shining countenance.

During Elul, G-d--the "King of the Universe"--is available to anyone who turns to Him...and He graciously accepts our petitions and grants our requests.

Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe

...The general and essential nature of the resolution [to observe G-d's commandments] is: to order one's life, in every aspect of daily life, in accord with the purpose of man's creation. This purpose is, to quote the succinct formulation of our Sages: "I was created to serve my Master," and to serve Him with joy, as it is written, "Serve G-d with joy."

The nature and end-purpose of this service is: "to make an abode for G-d in the lowest world." This means, to conduct oneself in such a way that every detail in the surrounding world, and certainly every detail of the individual's personal life, becomes an "abode" for G-dliness. And this is achieved through the everyday observance of Torah and mitzvot which permeate every aspect of life.

All this is required of every Jew, man or woman, young or old, regardless of position and stature, as this is also indicated in the verse alluding to Rosh HaShanah: "You are standing firmly this day, all of you, before G-d your G-d: your heads... down to the drawer of your water." Every Jew, without exception, is required and expected to rise to the level of "standing before G-d, your G-d," regardless of how it was in the past year.

The question arises: How can one expect every Jew to attain such a level, and to attain it truly and with joy, considering that it has to do with an "abode in the lowest world," a world that is predominantly materialistic; a world in which Jews are--quantitatively--"the fewest among all the nations"; and, moreover, to expect it of the Jew when his indispensable physical requirements, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, making a living, etc., occupy the major part of his time and energy, leaving but little time for matters of spirit and holiness?

The explanation of it--in terms understandable to all--is to be found in the concept of bitachon, trust in G-d.

The concept of bitachon is the underlying theme of Psalm 27, which is recited throughout this month, the month of Elul, the month of preparation for the new year, and continued into the beginning of the new year, during the greater part of the month of Tishrei:

"A Psalm by David: G-d is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?" This trust in G-d, which King David expresses on behalf of every Jew, namely, complete confidence in G-d's help, embraces both the material and spiritual aspects of life, to the extent of attaining the highest level of Divine service, as is also evident from the subsequent verses of the above Psalm, down to the concluding verse: "Hope in G-d, be strong and let your heart take courage, yes, hope in G-d."

The idea of bitachon is to feel reassured and convinced that G-d will help overcome all difficulties in life, both material and spiritual, since "G-d is my light and my help." It is especially certain that everyone, man or woman, is able to carry out his or her mission in life, and do so with joy, reflecting on the extraordinary privilege of having been chosen by G-d to be His emissary on earth for the purpose of "making for Him an abode in the lowest world," and with the assurance of having G-d's light, help and fortitude to carry out this mission.

The joy of it is further increased by contemplating the nature of this help from G-d, which comes to him in a manner of "I turn to my loving G-d and my loving G-d turns to me"--the G-d Who loves me with infinite Divine love. And this love is bestowed particularly from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom Kippur, as explained by our Sages.

Hence, during this time, as well as throughout the coming year, this extraordinary Divine love must evoke in the heart of every Jew a boundless love for G-d, as the psalmist expresses it: "Whom have I in heaven? and on earth I desire nothing but You; my flesh and my heart languish for You, O G-d." Here, too, the love and trust in G-d are underscored in all aspects of life: "in heaven"--the spiritual, and "on earth"--the material.

Bitachon in G-d is, for every Jew, an inheritance from our Patriarchs, as is written, "In You our fathers trusted; they trusted--and You delivered them." It is deeply ingrained in the Jewish heart and soul; all that is necessary is to bring it to the surface so that it permeates all aspects of daily life.

In light of the rule enunciated by our Sages of blessed memory, that "By the measure that a person measures, it is measured to him," it follows that the stronger and more embracing one's bitachon, the greater, more evident, and more inclusive is the fulfillment of this truth, through the blessing that G-d bestows, materially and spiritually.


Once in a while, for safety's sake, you can and should test your smoke-detector to make sure it's working properly. This is, of course, in addition to replacing the battery when it starts beeping once in awhile. When it starts beeping all the time, for your safety and sanity, you'd better replace the battery immediately. In addition, some smoke-detectors come with information about how often they should be tested and how often batteries need to be replaced.

There's another "safety contraption" in our homes that needs to be checked periodically--our mezuzot. It is customary and advisable to have a certified scribe check the mezuzah parchment (the actual mezuzah) during the Hebrew month of Elul. Though mezuzot don't actually come with pre-packaged instructions, the instructions should be followed all the same.

Since we are currently in the month of Elul, now is the time to check our mezuzot. It's also a good time to take a moment to learn about the place mezuzot (like smoke-alarms) hold in helping assure our safety.

The Zohar, which contains the more esoteric aspects of Judaism, explains that the effect of having a mezuzah on one's door is to provide protection by G-d from the time you leave home until you return.

This aspect of "protection" is also hinted at by the Hebrew letter shin that appears on most mezuzah covers. The shin is the first of three letters, shin--dalet--yud, which spell out one of G-d's names. Those letters are also an acronym for Shomer Daltot Yisrael--Guardian of the Doors of Israel.

Finally, just as the blood placed on the doorposts of the Jewish homes in Egypt kept away the Angel of Death, so, too, the mezuzah has the effect of "not allowing the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you."

With all of the above in mind, however, we are told not to look upon the mezuzah as a charm or amulet; it is not a good luck symbol, garlic, etc., to be worn around one's neck. It is also not just a symbol or quaint ritual, to tell the outside world that this is a Jewish home. Of course, it does serve as a concrete reminder to the people living in the home, when coming in or going out, that the people in the home, in fact, are Jewish, though this is not its primary purpose.

How can we understand how the mezuzah protects us inside and outside the home and is yet not some sort of charm or amulet? A mezuzah can be compared to a helmet. A soldier wears a helmet to protect him from enemy bullets, and a mezuzah, too, protects us, our family and our possessions from harm.

Yet, "bad" things do sometimes happen to someone with mezuzot on his doors. How is this possible? If, while wearing a helmet, an enemy bullet does manage to wound a soldier, it is the enemy bullet, and the enemy bullet alone that has pierced him. The helmet provides added protection, but is not the only factor involved in the soldier's safety.

Similarly, a smoke detector offers a certain amount of protection in case of fire. However, if a fire does, G-d forbid, cause damage, it is the fire and not the smoke detector that has brought about the disaster.

Have your mezuzot checked soon.


If you don't have mezuzot or you need more, make sure to purchase them from a reputable Judaica store or certified scribe. Or call your local Chabad-Lubavitch representative for more information.


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.

Preparations for the High Holidays:

"Our Sages state that thirty days before a holiday, we should learn the laws pertaining to it. It is already less then thirty days before the holidays of Tishrei begin and in this context, it is necessary to mention the importance of providing Jews with their holiday needs so that they will be able to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and the holidays that follow in the manner stated in the Bible, 'Eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages and send portions to those who do not have them prepared.'"

The Rebbe, Elul, 5750/1990


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center,
or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.chabad.org/shabbos

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, Sept. 8, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Teitzei:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 6:59 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 9, Shabbat Parshat Ki Teitzei:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 1 & 2 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 7:58 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: listserv@chabad.org - Subscribe "G-4."

Laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing

"Let There Be Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.

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