"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Ki Tavo, 5760
Elul 15, 5760
Sept. 15, 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
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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 Chai Elul, the 18th of Elul,
next Monday, Sept. 18.
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
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 Elul, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
Parshat Ki Tavo
This week's Torah portion, Ki Tavo, contains the commandment of
bikurim, first fruits. "And it shall be, when you come into the land...and
you shall take of all the fruit of the earth...and put it in a basket...and
you shall go to the priest...and the priest shall take the basket from your
hand, and set it down before the altar of the L-rd your G-d."
The mitzvah of first fruits applies only to the "seven kinds by which
the land of Israel is praised"--grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates,
wheat and barley. Whoever cultivated these special fruits on his portion
of land was obligated to bring the very first of his harvest to G-d's
representative on earth--the priest who served in the Holy Temple--thereby
thanking G-d for His bounty and joyfully acknowledging the Creator of all
A mitzvah may be performed in one of two ways: with a minimum of
involvement and effort, merely in order to fulfill the requirement, or out
of a sense of love and joy, demonstrated by one's desire to observe the
mitzvah in the most beautiful way possible, utilizing the very best
of whatever one possesses.
This principle is best expressed in the mitzvah of bikurim,
for which the farmer must go against his natural inclination to retain for
himself the very best of the fruits of his labor, and hand them over to the
priest in Jerusalem.
As we stand now on the very threshold of the messianic era, when we will
once again be obligated to perform this mitzvah, it is fitting that
we prepare ourselves for its renewed observance, at least in the spiritual
sense. How? By thinking of ourselves as the "first fruit" of G-d: every action
we take, every thought we have and every word that comes out of our mouths
must be not only "for the sake of Heaven," but also must be our absolute
best, the most choice and select we are capable of producing.
Furthermore, this principle should be applied not only to the realm of religious
observance, but to the myriad details of our everyday, mundane lives, elevating
even our business transactions to the level of "first fruits," as our Sages
said, "All of your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven."
Until Moshiach comes, when we will be able to perform the mitzvah
of first fruits in the physical sense, every Jew must picture himself at
all times as if he is standing in the Holy Temple, about to hand over his
basket of offerings to the priest.
May our efforts to refine ourselves in this manner bring the Final Redemption
speedily in our day, and with it, the opportunity to observe the mitzvah
of bikurim in the literal sense as well.
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.
Chai (the 18th day of) Elul (Monday, Sept. 18), is the "birthday"
of the greater Chasidic movement and of Chabad Chasidus in particular.
On Chai Elul (5458/1698), the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the greater
Chasidic movement, was born. On that date 26 years later, Achiya Hashiloni
began to teach him Torah "as it is studied in Gan Eden."
On Chai Elul (5505/1745), the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman
of Liadi, spiritual grandson of the Baal Shem Tov,(1) the
founder of Chabad Chasidic philosophy and of the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty,
An individual's birthday has a very special meaning for that person. The
birthday of a tzaddik has deep significance for everyone who attempts
to live according to the tzaddik's teachings. A tzaddik's birthday
is, in some ways like the spiritual birthday of his followers.
The Baal Shem Tov and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi dedicated their lives
to teach the value of every single Jew. Ahavas Yisrael --unconditional
love of each Jew--was at the forefront of their philosophy.
Today, two centuries later, we still benefit from their guidance and revelations.
The date of their birth, then, is not only their birthday --it is also our
On our birthday we take time out to reflect on our achievements of the past
year and our goals for the future. It is fitting that on the birthday of
these tzaddikim, we reflect on how well we have followed and benefited
from them, and we make our resolutions for the New Year. We will, in their
merit, be blessed with a K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and
prosperous New Year.
One of the main teachings of the Baal Shem Tov was to always remember G-d
and to thank Him frequently.
The obligation to remember G-d constantly and thank Him begins as soon as
a Jew wakes up in the morning. Before he does anything else, he says "Modeh
Ani--I offer thanks to You, Living and Eternal King, for You have mercifully
restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great."
The lesson of Modeh Ani, that everything we have comes from G-d and
we must constantly thank Him, is connected to another important teaching
of the Baal Shem Tov: G-d did not just create the world once [5760 years
ago]. He constantly recreates everything anew at every moment, and gives
it new life.
The purpose of this "continual creation" is to allow us to appreciate G-d's
kindness. At this very moment, G-d has "taken the trouble," so to speak,
to re-create each of us. When we realize that G-d is giving us life and
everything we have at every moment, we will want to constantly thank Him.
The above teachings have a special connection not only to the Baal Shem Tov,
but also to his birthday on the 18th of Elul. the Hebrew word
"chai"--living--equals 18, and the 18th of Elul is called
"Chai Elul," for it helps us add liveliness and enthusiasm to our
appreciation of and feelings of thanks for our Creator.
May we merit, this very Chai Elul, to experience true and eternal
life, as G-d intended it to be, with the complete revelation of Moshiach
and the start of the Redemption.
The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn explained, that Chai
Elul introduces an element of chayut, vitality, to our Divine
service during Elul, the month in which we correct and make amends
for past misdeeds. In the merit of our repentance, G-d grants us a good and
sweet year. By infusing our service with vitality, Chai Elul helps
us do teshuvah with enthusiasm, not just by rote or out of habit.
Superficially, vitality and teshuvah may seem contradictory. Vitality
is associated with joy, whereas repentance is associated with bitterness,
regretting past actions and resolving to do better. Those these seem to be
opposite emotions, in Elul we feel both, and at the same time!
Every mitzvah we do should be performed with joy, for by observing
that mitzvah, we fulfill the will of G-d. As teshuvah is a
mitzvah like any other, we experience joy for having been given the
However, Chasidus gives us another reason to be happy while doing
teshuvah, by explaining how bitterness and joy can exist simultaneously.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman describes this in the Tanya as "weeping on one
side of the heart, and joy on the other side." When we do teshuvah,
we rage against our Evil Inclination and of failure to withstand temptation.
Yet at the same time we are happy, for we know that we are becoming closer
Chai Elul (and by extension, Chasidus) thus transforms the
entire month of Elul into a labor of love and joy.
1. The Alter Rebbe, was one of the foremost disciples of the Baal
Shem Tov's successor, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch.
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, Sept. 15, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tavo:
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 6:47 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 16, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tavo:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 3 &
4 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(3)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 7:46 p.m.
2. 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.
3. 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