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Parshat Ki Tisa, 5760

19 Adar I, 5760
Feb. 25, 2000

Please pray for the immediate and complete recovery of
Horav Chaim Yehuda Kalman Ben Rochel Marlow Shlita,
head of the Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court) of Crown Heights


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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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[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.


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The Jewish year that has recently begun 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

14 Adar I, 5760
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Ki Tisa

In the Torah portion of Ki Tisa, Moses descends from Mount Sinai, holding the Tablets containing the Ten Commandments he received from G-d.

"The Tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d, inscribed on both their sides." Written on two magnificent stones of sapphire were the Ten Commandments, miraculously visible from both sides. Yet they were not to last for long. "And Moses became angry ... and he broke them at the foot of the mountain... And G-d said to Moses, 'Hew yourself tablets of stone like the first.'"

In connection to the Tablets, the Torah speaks of three distinct stages:

1. The original Tablets: Moses descends from Mount Sinai, where he had spent the previous forty days and forty nights, with the Tablets in hand;

2. The breaking of the Tablets: Moses witnesses the sin of the Children of Israel with the Golden Calf and breaks the Tablets in anger;

3. The second Tablets: The Jews repent of their sin. Moses goes back up the mountain for an additional forty days and nights, to return with a second set of Tablets.

The first and second sets of Tablets were not identical. The first set was written by G-d; the second set was inscribed by Moses under G-d's direction. Yet curiously, the second set of Tablets was superior to the first in one important respect, as explained in chasidic philosophy.

The breaking of the Tablets and their subsequent replacement is an example of "a descent for the sake of an ascent." Every descent, every failure, can lead the individual to an even higher spiritual level.

According to this principle, the second set of Tablets was clearly superior to the first, for it came after the Jews' descent into idolatry and their ensuing return to G-d.

Symbolically, the three stages of the Tablets parallel the annals of the Jewish people and their progression throughout history:

The first stage (the original Tablets) spans the years between the Revelation on Mount Sinai until the destruction of the Second Holy Temple.

The second stage (the breaking of the Tablets) refers to the forced exile of the Jews from their land and the spiritual degradation endured for almost 2,000 years.

The third and final stage, the era on whose threshold we now stand, is the Messianic Era, at which time the spirituality of the entire world will be elevated to unprecedented heights, an ascent made possible only by the bitter darkness of the exile.


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.


by Yrachmiel Tilles*

When we Jews have a leap year we do it right: we add an additional month seven times every nineteen years. Because the solar year outpaces the lunar year by 11 days each year, at the end of every 19-year cycle, we achieve convergence of the solar and lunar vectors.

There is a lot that could be said about this. I'll restrict myself to two points: one about the "pregnant" year as the leap year is called in Hebrew, and one about the thirteenth month.

1) Day in, day out, always rising in the east and setting in the west, the sun is a dependable incandescent source of heat and light, even on cloudy days. As such, the sun symbolizes the power that Jewish constancy can generate: praying on a regular basis, whether you feel like it or not, studying Torah every day and night without fail, celebrating Shabbat and the Festivals, etc.

The delicate silvery moon appears nightly in a different location, and wearing an altered shape. Its phases of New, Quarter, Half, and Full are all palpable indicators to our bemused gaze of the moon's pulsating cycle. Thus, the moon represents the excitement of change and innovation. Each day the Torah should feel new, our prayers fresh, every Shabbat exciting, etc., all as if we had never done them before.

Some Jews overbalance towards "sun style," allowing the power built up by the regularity of their observances to beguile them into being satisfied with dry habit. Other are "moon men," letting the excitement and high times they occasionally achieve seduce them into ignoring the necessity for a basic level of daily commitment and consistency. The idea, of course, is to combine and harmonize the sun and moon forces, for we all need the positive qualities of both.

2) Interestingly, the added thirteenth month has the same name as the twelfth month: Adar. Thus, every "pregnant" year we have an Adar I and an Adar II. Two full months of all that Adar implies. How extraordinary!

Adar, which contains the festival of Purim, is the official lucky month of the Jewish people. It's also the official happy month - in the Code of Jewish Law it is written: "As soon as Adar begins, increase in joy!"

For sixty days it is a mitzvah to be extra happy. I hope that all our readers will take this mitzvah seriously. If you want to be super-religious about it, you should be increasingly happy each day even in comparison with the previous day of Adar.

May G-d help all of us to accomplish this by hastening our ultimate joy: the revelation of Moshiach and the Final Redemption.


*. Yrachmiel Tilles is one of the founders and directors of ASCENT Seminars in Safed, and editor of ASCENT Quarterly.


A chasid once approached the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, with a question. "What is the point of studying Chasidus, which deals with abstractions that no mortal mind can fully grasp? After all, when Moshiach comes even those who didn't study Chasidus will know G-d, as it says in Isaiah, 'For they will all know Me.'"

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: "A person listening to a conversation on the other side of a wall doesn't grasp everything. He only understands the general drift. But later, when the conversation is repeated in full, he understands everything he had heard previously. Every few moments he thinks, 'Ah! Now I understand all those connections and details!'

"Here, too," continued the Tzemach Tzedek, "it is true that someone who studies Chasidus grasps only part of the subject. But when Moshiach will teach it in the time to come, that person will be able to look back and say, 'Ah...!'

"And not only that, but someone hearing those teachings for the second time will understand them much more deeply than someone who will then hear them for the first time. As the above-quoted verse says, 'For they will all know Me, from their smallest to their greatest'--and it is obvious that the understanding of a young child cannot be compared to that of an adult."

Does this sound like Greek to you? If so, consider the following. Imagine you decide to become a printer. Even before you set foot in a printing shop you start finding out all kinds of fascinating facts about printing and presses. You become an expert in paper and ink. You avidly read a book that describes in detail how a four-color press works, complete with diagrams.

The big day comes when you're going to actually see a printing press. You invite a friend to come. The friend doesn't know even a fraction of what you do about printing, but he's a good friend so he comes.

You get into the printing plant and walk over to the biggest four-color press in the building. After only a moment of surveying it, you point to something. "Ah," you say excitedly, "this is where the ink goes!" An instant later you notice a row of buttons. "Ah," you say with animation, "this is the button you push to start the press." You walk around the machine pointing to levers, buttons, and thing-a-ma-jigs that you recognize from your "four-color-press-manual." And each time, you exclaim, "Ah"--as if to say, "I learned about it when it was all theoretical, but now I really understand."

What about your friend, though? He's probably bored since he doesn't really know heads from tails in the printing business.

According to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidus, the G-dly Light we will experience in the messianic era is a result of the quality of our performance of mitzvot and study of Torah before Moshiach's revelation.

So, a similar type of scene to the one described above in the printing shop will repeat itself when Moshiach comes. During this long exile, we study our manual--the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah. We learn that every time we do a mitzvah it strengthens our connection with G-d, but we don't quite understand why. We read that G-d created this world--and other worlds--but don't really understand how. We hear about the Holy Temple and wonder how it will look.

When Moshiach comes, and everything is revealed for our physical eyes to behold, we'll say, "Ah, now I see how my connection to G-d was strengthened through performing mitzvot. Ah, now I see how G-d created the world, and I even see the spiritual worlds that exist on non-physical planes that Kabbalah talks about. Ah, I recognize all these different furnishings of the Holy Temple that I learned so much about." The "Ah" will be directly proportional to the amount of effort and study we do now, in these last few moments before Moshiach!


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.

Make Others Happy:

As we are now in the 60 days of happiness comprised of the two months of Adar, we should endeavor to make others happy.

The Rebbe explained, "We should proceed to spread joy and happiness in the most literal sense, making efforts to assure that the members of one's household and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience great joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future."


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, Feb. 25, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:23 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 26, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:

  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:25 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.

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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