Text Only

Parshat Ki Tavo, 5760

Elul 15, 5760
Sept. 15, 2000

Visit TruePeace.org
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


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.



Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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 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

3 Elul, 5760
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe 

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 things.

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 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.


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, was born.


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 birthday.

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 privilege.

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 to G-d.

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 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. 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: 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.

Back to "Living With Moshiach" Home Page