"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 5760
Elul 22, 5760
Sept. 22, 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:
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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 teshuvah (lit., return; colloquially,
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
13 Elul, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
DEDICATED TO THE REBBE,
In Honor Of Our Daughter
on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah,
25 Elul, 5760
The first of this week's two Torah portions, Nitzavim, speaks about
the mitzvah of teshuvah. "And you shall return to the L-rd
your G-d and obey His voice according to what I command you this day...with
all your heart and with all your soul."
The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad
Chasidus, elucidated on the meaning of repentance in his Igeres
HaTeshuvah. Teshuvah, he wrote, does not mean fasting or mortification
of the body. Nor does it entail merely confessing our transgressions. The
simple definition of teshuvah is "the return to G-d through the
abandonment of sin."
How do we "abandon sin"? "A person must wholeheartedly resolve that he will
not repeat the folly of rebelling against G-d's sovereignty, that he will
never again disobey the King's commands, both positive and negative
The "abandonment of sin" is thus synonymous with the re-acceptance of the
yoke of heaven. When a person accepts G-d's kingship, it prevents him from
committing any and all sins, not just the particular sin he has already
When a Jew resolves to do teshuvah, it's not enough for him to renounce
a singular transgression. He must promise to keep all of G-d's commandments,
positive observances and negative prohibitions alike.
Take, for example, a Jew who has committed the sin of lashon hara
(slander). Is regretting his misdeed and resolving to never again speak
negatively about others sufficient? No! True teshuvah requires that
his acceptance of the yoke of heaven be felt so sincerely and deeply that
it precludes him from committing any sin in the future.
The reason for this is that when a person sins, the damage it causes is two-fold.
In the general sense, by acting contrary to G-d's will, the individual has
rebelled against G-d and thrown off the yoke of His authority. Yet on a more
personal level, his individual G-dly soul has been impaired.
When a Jew accepts G-d's kingship and rededicates himself to the totality
of Torah and mitzvot, he rights both wrongs at the same time. His
teshuvah goes beyond correcting his individual failure, and nullifies
the underlying potential for transgression at its source.
The Torah enjoins us, "And you shall return to the L-rd your G-d," demanding
that we accept G-d's authority in all facets of our lives. Rather than making
amends for individual transgressions, genuine teshuvah requires that
we rededicate ourselves to obeying all of G-d's commands, with renewed acceptance
of the yoke of 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.
IN JUST ONE MOMENT
Freely translated from a Letter of the Rebbe
There is a unique quality and preeminence of teshuvah [lit., return;
colloquially, repentance] in that it enables a person to rectify completely
all that should have been achieved throughout the past, in matters of Torah
and mitzvot--"with one 'turn' and in one moment."
On reflection, it can easily be seen that, all things added up, the world
contains more quantity (materiality) than quality (spirituality), and more
by far. Indeed, the more corporeal and gross a thing is, the greater is the
quantity in which it is found. Thus, for example, the world of inanimate,
(inorganic) matter is much greater in volume than the vegetable kingdom,
and the latter is quantitatively greater than the animal kingdom, which,
in turn, surpasses by far, in quantity, the highest of the four kingdoms,
mankind (the "speaking" creature). Similarly, in the human body: the lowest
extremities, the legs, are larger in size than the rest of the body, and
the latter is much greater in bulk than the head, wherein are located the
organs of speech and the senses of smell, hearing and sight, as well as the
intellect, etc., which animate the entire body and direct all its activities.
On further reflection, a person might also become disheartened, G-d forbid,
wondering how is one to fulfill adequately one's real purpose in life on
this earth, which is, to quote our Sages, "I was created to serve my
Creator"--seeing that most of one's time is necessarily taken up with
materialistic things, such as eating and drinking, sleeping, earning a
livelihood, etc. What with the fact that the earliest years of a human being,
before reaching maturity and knowledgeability, are spent in an entirely
materialistic mode of living.
The answer is, first of all, that even the so-called materialistic preoccupations
of the daily life must not become purely materialistic and animal-like, for
we have to be always mindful of the imperative, "Let all your doings be for
the sake of Heaven," and "Know Him (G-d) in all your ways."
This means that also in carrying out the activities that are connected with
the physical and material aspects of life (which, as mentioned, take up the
greater part of a person's time), a human being must know that those material
aspects are not an end in themselves, but they are, and must serve as, the
means to attain to the higher, spiritual realm of life, namely, G-dliness.
In this way, he permeates all those materialistic-physical aspects with spiritual
content, and utilizes them for spiritual purposes. Thus, all these mundane,
and in themselves trivial matters, are elevated to their proper role, perfection
But in addition to the above, there is also the unique effectiveness of
teshuvah, which has the power to transform--"with one 'turn' and in
one moment"--the whole past--the very materiality of it into spirituality.
Time is, of course, not measured simply by duration, but by its content in
terms of achievement. Thus, in evaluating time there are vast differences
in terms of content, and, hence, in real worth, of a minute, an hour, etc.
Suffice it to mention, by way of example, that one cannot compare an hour
of prayer and outpouring of the soul before G-d with an hour of sleep. And
to use the analogy of coins, there may be coins of identical size and shape,
yet differing in their intrinsic value, depending upon whether they are made
of copper, silver or gold.
With all the opportunities that G-d provides for a person to fill his time
with the highest content, there is the most wonderful gift from "G-d who
does wonders" of the extraordinary quality of teshuvah, transcending
all limitations, including the limitations of time, so that "in one moment"
it transforms the whole past, to the degree of absolute perfection in quality
The Al-mighty has also ordained especially favorable times for
teshuvah, at the end of each year and the beginning of the new year,
together with the assurance that everyone, man or woman, who resolves to
do teshuvah--can accomplish it "in one moment."
By transforming the quantity of the materiality in the past into meritorious
quality, spirituality and holiness; and at the same time preparing for the
future, in the coming year and thereafter, in a proper manner, through Torah
and mitzvot in the everyday life, a person elevates himself/herself
and also the environment at large to the highest possible level of spirituality
and holiness. This makes the material world a fitting abode for G-d, blessed
Since the beginning of the month of Elul we've been doing
teshuvah, getting rid of negative baggage and "cleaning up our act"
before Rosh HaShanah. But this Saturday night, Sept. 23, after midnight,
we're going to really get down to business, as Jews around the world go to
the synagogue to recite Selichot ("prayers for forgiveness"). These
special penitential prayers are the next stage of our preparation for the
Chasidic philosophy makes the following distinction:
During the month of Elul, we concentrate on improving our thought,
speech and deed. But when we say Selichot, we focus on an even deeper
level of the soul and correct the emotive powers themselves.
Though it sounds serious, Chasidim have always approached
Selichot (like everything else!) with a sense of joy, rather than
sadness and gloom. We look forward to the opportunity to reach even higher
levels of holiness and sanctity.
The Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch,
quoting Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidus,
explained one of the lines in the Selichot thusly: "The needs of Your
people are great, and their knowledge is narrow and limited." Our needs are
many precisely because our knowledge is limited. If our knowledge were "wider,"
our needs would be fewer.
The pursuit of luxuries, adds the Rebbe, can even diminish the "regular"
measure of blessing a person would otherwise receive. Because our "knowledge
is limited" we demand too much, over-inflating our importance and assuming
that G-d "owes" us. Our "needs" tend to multiply when we put too much emphasis
on material rather than spiritual concerns.
Nonetheless, the Rebbe concludes, "Our request from G-d is that He fulfill
all the needs of His people, even though what we ask for stems from
a deficiency in knowledge. And may every single Jew lack for nothing."
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.
Say the Special Selichot Prayers
On Saturday evening, Sept. 23, after midnight, the first Selichot
("prayers for forgiveness") are said in synagogues throughout the world.
From Monday, Sept. 25, through the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Selichot
prayers are said every weekday, in the early morning. Go with the whole family
Saturday night, let the kids stay up late! This is a real, hands-on Jewish
experience that is bound to be remembered for months, if not years.
Call your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the exact time
and location nearest you.
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. 22, Erev Shabbat Parshat
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 6:35 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23, Shabbat Parshat
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 5 &
6 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 7:34 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