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Parshat Beha'alotecha, 5760

Sivan 20, 5760
June 23, 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


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 the importance of Jewish children attending Torah Summer camps.


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

15 Sivan, 5760
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Beha'alotecha

In the beginning of this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotecha, Aaron the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) is directed by G-d concerning the lighting of the seven-branched menorah. From this directive there is a clear instruction to every Jew that he has to "kindle lights"--to illuminate his surroundings.

The essence of a candle (in the ordinary sense) is that it gives light and illuminates its surroundings. An unlit or extinguished candle brings no benefit and has no meaning in that state, per se. Only when it gives light and shines does it fulfill its purpose--to serve man, by enabling him to see by its light, by illuminating his way so that he will not stumble in darkness, and generally to help him accomplish what he must.

The nature of a candle is that when one puts a flame to its wick--even a small flame--so long as he does it effectively, the flame catches on, and then continues to give off light on its own. This, too, is indicated in this week's Torah portion, as our Sages comment on the verse, "When you light the lamps"--light them so that the flame goes up on its own.

How can we relate this instruction to our lives today?

G-d has endowed a human being with a soul, a Divine "lamp," as it is written, "The soul of man is the lamp of G-d." The purpose of this lamp is to illuminate his (or her) path in life, and to illuminate the world with G-dliness. But this soul--lamp--has first to be ignited with the flame of Torah in order that it should shine forth with its true light, the light of "mitzvot which are candles, and the Torah is light."

The task and purpose of every Jew is to be a brightly shining lamp and to kindle, or add brightness to, every Divine "lamp"--Jewish soul--with which he or she comes in contact. One must, do this completely, so that the lamps they light should likewise continue to shine brightly on their own, and should also become "lamp lighters," kindling other souls, in a continuous chain.

Needless to say, though the instruction to light the lamps was given to Aaron, it applies to all Jews, in their spiritual lives, as every Jew is a member of the "Kingdom of G-d's priests." Moreover, there is the exhortation: "Be of the disciples of Aaron...loving the creatures and bringing them closer to Torah." To be a disciple of Aaron one must be permeated with love for every single Jew.

If the above pertains to each and every Jew, it is even more emphatically relevant to the Jewish woman, for she is the actual candle-lighter who was given the special Divine assignment, extraordinary privilege, and bright mitzvah of lighting the candles for the holy Shabbat and Yom Tov.


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.

Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe

To Jewish Students and School Children Everywhere

G-d Bless You All!

Greeting and Blessing:

Vacation time is approaching, to release youths and children, boys and girls, from Yeshivahs, Talmud Torahs, Day Schools, etc., for a long summer recess.

The importance of a restful vacation is obvious. However, certain aspects of vacation time should be examined carefully. Is vacation time a stoppage of study, or is it a transition from one form of activity to another?

In all living forms, there is no such thing as a stoppage of life, followed by a completely new start, for a stoppage of life is death, and cannot serve as a temporary rest period. There can be a transition from one form of activity to another, but not a cessation or stoppage.

For example: The two most vital organs in our body are the heart and the brain. The heart is the principal seat of "physical" life; the brain is the principal seat of "intellectual" life. Because the heart and the brain have supreme control of the body, they are called "the Sovereigns of the body."

Now, these organs not only do not cease to operate in a living body, but they do not even undergo a radical change in their form of activity. And inasmuch as the actions of the other organs are being led by the activity of the heart and brain, it follows that the other organs of the body, though they may seem to be in a state of inactivity, as in the case of sleep, do not in reality stop working.

This is even more obvious in the case of breathing. We find that during sleep, breathing is slowed down considerably, but it never stops, for the "breath of life" must always be there.

Similarly in the case of students, boys and girls, studying our Torah, "Torat Chaim"--The Law of Life, restful vacation does not mean interruption and stoppage of Torah and Mitzvot, G-d forbid. It means only just another way of furthering their course of study, a period during which they renew their mental abilities and increase their capacities for a more intensive study later on.

Therefore, my friends, bring light and holiness into your vacation time, by remembering always that it is the time of preparation in order to improve the quality and quantity of your studies during study-time to follow. But let it not remain so only in your thoughts and intentions; be always united with our holy Torah in your everyday actions and conduct. Let not a single day pass without the "breath of life" provided by the "Torah of Life." Let every one have appointed times for the study of Chumash, Mishnah, Talmud, and so on, each one according to his or her standard of Torah education.

At this time, I wish everyone who is resolved to use his or her vacation in this productive "living" way-much success, as well as on returning to normal study later on.

With blessing,


Graduation ceremonies are taking place all over. From kindergarten students to those receiving their doctorates, commencement ceremonies are usually a high-point of the school year.

These ceremonies are called "commencement" because, truly, the person is now beginning a new stage in his or her life.

And, as the word commencement or even graduation implies, the person is hopefully going to proceed on to a newer and higher level.

The above certainly applies to Jewish students in particular and all Jews in general. Each year we should be striving to graduate to a new and higher level of Jewish observance. Whatever level we have currently reached is adequate for today, but for tomorrow it is not enough. For, as we all must certainly know, if we stay in one place we stagnate; if we are not going up, inevitably we are going down.

For those who have not had the opportunity to graduate even from the "kindergarten" of Judaism, one must never think that it is too late to start. As we learn from one of our greatest sages and teachers, Rabbi Akiva (who did not even learn the Hebrew alphabet until the age of 40), it is never too late to start. Though long overdue, it is incumbent upon each of us to start the educational process that will undoubtedly keep us growing and reaching up, for all our days.


Summer is a great time for kids. Without the pressures of school, children have the opportunity to spend their summer vacation in enjoyable and educational pursuits. The summer schedule is particularly suitable for children to grow spiritually, by attending a day or overnight camp with a vibrant, exciting and Torah-true Jewish atmosphere.

Each year, without exception, as the summer approached, the Rebbe emphasized the importance of Jewish children attending Jewish camps. The amount that a child can learn in the summer, unencumbered by the pursuit of reading, writing and arithmetic, goes far beyond what he can accomplish at any other time of year. And, as this knowledge is being imparted in an atmosphere of fun and excitement, in an environment totally saturated with Jewish pride, it remains with a child long after the summer months are over.

It's still not too late to enroll your child in a Jewish camp. And it's certainly not too late to facilitate other children attending a Jewish camp if you do not have camp-age kids. By calling your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center, you can find out about a summer camp experience for someone you know whose benefit will last a lifetime.

By the way, adults, too, should take advantage of the more relaxed atmosphere of summer to revitalize and nourish themselves Jewishly.

Try a Jewish retreat or even just a weekly Torah class to enhance your Jewish pride and knowledge.

And may this summer be our last one in exile and our first in the Era of the Redemption.


Have you made your summer plans yet? If you're intending to go away, you might already have started packing or thinking about what you'll take along with you.

Usually, before we go anywhere--even if it's just a day trip to the country--we need to know what the weather is going to be like, what kind of activities we're going to be involved in and how long we'll be staying. This information makes our packing easier and the trip more pleasant.

Imagine the ordeal of packing for a surprise, mystery trip. You'd have to take your whole wardrobe along--not knowing whether you're going to a hot or cold climate, to casual or elegant affairs, or taking walking tours or sightseeing buses.

Each and every mitzvah we do is a journey -- an excursion to self-betterment, an adventure to a heightened relationship with G-d, our fellowman, and ourselves.

Mitzvot are not many people's typical idea of a vacation, though, certainly not the kind of lazy, laid back, relaxing vacation many of us envision when we're at the height of a frenzied, hectic day.

They are a different kind of vacation, however, a kind of vacation you can go on every day of your life, every minute of your day. Because who doesn't want to take a vacation where you can visit new sights, reconnect to your past, carve out for yourself a place in history, experience something eternal.

One of the greatest things about vacation via Torah and mitzvot is that because of the diversity of each mitzvah, you can experience the whole spectrum of vacations each and every day that you do different mitzvot.

Relax by communicating with G-d (praying in the vernacular), putting on tefillin, lighting Shabbat candles. Bathe in the vast sea of Torah that is available through attending classes, reading books, or listening to pre-taped lessons in the privacy of your home. Be dazzled by the bright lights of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) when you contemplate G-d's greatness and the purposefulness of the world and its every creation. Wine and dine at sumptuous banquets on Shabbat and holidays. Exercise your conscience and workout on your self-control by fulfilling the mitzvot between one person and another: not being jealous; loving your fellowman; judging everyone favorably; honoring your parents. The list goes on.

But, what kind of packing should you do for a vacation of mitzvot? The rule of thumb that the better you've packed the more you'll enjoy your vacation applies to mitzvot as well. Ask questions! Find out why, when, and how to do each mitzvah. Learn the significance and the inner meaning behind the customs. Pack in all of the knowledge you can as you go along.

But, don't hesitate to do a mitzvah just because you think you might not be properly prepared. After all, would you pass up a surprise, mystery trip just because preparing is a hassle or you didn't have a chance to pack?

Enjoy your vacation!


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, June 23, Erev Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 8:12 p.m.

Saturday, June 24, Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotecha:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 2 of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot).(2)
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:22 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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