"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Vayeira, 5761
Cheshvan 19, 5761
Nov. 17, 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:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
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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.
Thank G-d that, with the current issue, our weekly publication, Living
With Moshiach, has begun its seventh year of publication.
At this time, we take the opportunity to thank our supporters, who have helped
us publish this weekly publication.
May G-d bless them, with health, happiness and success in all of their endeavors.
On Shabbat Parshat Eikev, 5751 (August 3, 1991), the Rebbe spoke about
the printing of Chasidus in braille, for the blind.
The full text of the Rebbe's sichah (talk) was reprinted as an
"Introduction" to Vol. 1 of the Moshiach - Holiday Series (Chanukah
5753/1992), and in
Moshiach" Vol. 137.
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
14 Cheshvan, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
It is a Jewish custom to relate the events of the week to the weekly portion
of the Torah, and thereby to derive true instruction from the Torah of Truth.
This week's Torah portion, Parshat Vayeira, tells us of the birth
and upbringing of the first Jewish boy, born of Jewish parents, namely Isaac,
the son of Abraham and Sarah, the first ancestors of our Jewish people.
The circumstances surrounding Isaac's birth were supernatural and miraculous.
His bris (circumcision) took place when he was eight days old, and
his upbringing was fraught with difficulties and trials.
Quite different was the case of Abraham's son Ishmael, whose birth was quite
normal, and who was circumcised when he was thirteen years old, that is,
at a mature age.
Yet it was Isaac whom G-d chose to be Abraham's true heir, from whom the
Jewish people would descend.
Thus, the Torah teaches us that when new generations are to be born who are
to ensure Jewish continuity and future, the approach must not be based on
natural considerations and human calculations, for Jewish existence is not
dependent upon natural forces, but upon G-d's direct intervention and providence.
Similarly, the education and upbringing of Jewish children is not to be
determined by the same considerations and criteria as in the non-Jewish world.
Jewish parents do not wait until the child becomes mature enough to determine
his behavior and find his own way to Judaism. He is given the strongest and
fullest possible measure of Jewish training from infancy.
Only in this way is it possible to ensure the "everlasting covenant" with
G-d, to come through all difficulties and trials with strength, and endowed
with G-d's blessings, materially and spiritually.
* * *
. . . This significant event, taking place on the day after the reading of
the weekly Torah portion of Vayeira, is indeed related to the concluding
highlights of the portion, namely, the birth and upbringing of the first
Jewish child, Isaac, born of the first Jewish parents, Abraham and Sarah.
The Torah tells us that Abraham made a "great feast" (when Isaac was two
years old), at which the leading dignitaries of the era were present (Rashi,
quoting the Midrash).
Some of those who attended thought the celebration unrealistic, seeing no
future for a single Jewish child, surrounded by a hostile world.
Yet G-d promised that this child would be the father of a great and holy
nation; a nation which, though overwhelmingly outnumbered, would not only
outlive its enemies, but would be a leader and a guiding light to the rest
A hint to the fulfillment of the Divine promise is to be found in the passage
immediately following the above narrative, in which the Torah tells us of
Sarah's heartfelt concern for Isaac's upbringing and proper environment even
at that early age.
Thus, the Torah sets the pattern for Jewish education.
It teaches us that regardless of the odds, the future of the Jewish child,
as of the Jewish people as a whole, is assured by Divine promise, provided
the parents fulfill their responsibilities, even to the point of self-sacrifice,
if necessary. Not the least, it teaches us that in matters of Torah and holiness,
even "a small beginning flourishes exceedingly in the end."
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.
On Shabbat Parshat Vayeira, the 20th of Cheshvan (Nov. 18), we
will be commemorating the birthday of Rabbi Sholom DovBer (5621/1860-5680/1920),
the fifth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, known as the Rebbe Rashab.
It is said that on a person's birthday, the "spiritual source of the soul
shines powerfully." Therefore, it is important to understand what the central
point of the Rebbe Rashab's leadership was, and how it differed from
the other Chabad Rebbes.
The Rebbe explains how each of the Rebbes was characterized by a particular
dimension that reflected his individual nature.
Chabad Chasidus is characterized by the ability to make the esoteric
teachings of the Torah, which remained hidden from the majority of the Jewish
community, accessible to every single Jew. The Rebbe Rashab was able
to bring the teachings of Chabad Chasidus to an even more comprehensible
level than his predecessors.
The Rebbe Rashab's teachings put a great emphasis on summarizing subject
matter so that it could be more easily implemented into daily life. For this
he is referred to by many as the "Rambam (Maimonides) of
Chasidus," because he summarized Chasidus in the same way the
Rambam summarized the Oral Law, making it comprehensible and giving
it clear directions for every aspect of our conduct.
The lessons of the Rebbe Rashab are easily understood and are concluded
with directions for the practical application of those lessons.
In 5657/1897 the Rebbe Rashab established a yeshivah, Tomchei
Tmimim, and he was personally involved in every aspect of it, designing
the curriculum, and asking for a detailed progress report on each student.
He strove to raise both their standard of learning and their standard of
behavior. It was a great honor to be accepted into the yeshivah, and
its students were highly respected by the community.
The Rebbe Rashab published many of his teachings, which deal with
improving one's character, how to prepare for prayer and the importance of
prayer, and of studying Chasidus.
May we all benefit from his teachings.
* * *
There is a beautiful story concerning the Rebbe Rashab, illustrating
the high esteem in which he held every Jew.
One of the Rebbe Rashab's followers, Reb Monye Monissohn, was a wealthy
gem dealer. Once, when they were sitting together, the Rebbe spoke very highly
about some simple, unlearned Jews.
"Why do you make such a fuss about them?" Reb Monye asked the Rebbe.
"Each one of them has many special and noble qualities," explained the Rebbe.
"I can't see any of these qualities," said Reb Monye.
The Rebbe remained silent. A while later, he asked Reb Monye if he had brought
his package of diamonds with him. Indeed, Reb Monye had brought the diamonds,
but asked the Rebbe if he could display them later, when they could be seen
to their best advantage.
Later, Reb Monye took the Rebbe into a different room and arranged the diamonds
for him to see. Reb Monye pointed to one gem in particular, extolling its
beautiful color and quality.
"I can't see anything special in it," the Rebbe said.
"That is because you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at
diamonds!" explained Reb Monye.
"Every Jew, too, is something beautiful and extra-ordinary," the Rebbe said.
"But you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at him."
About the coming of Moshiach, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the first Rebbe
of Chabad-Lubavitch), said that it will be written up in the newspapers.
That is just an expression. The actual meaning is that every single Jew will
be ready for the coming of Moshiach exactly as if it were written in the
newspaper that Moshiach is already on the way!
("Torat Sholom" of the Rebbe Rashab)
There is a famous teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, that from everything a
person sees or hears--whether in the realm of holiness or the seemingly
secular--he can learn a lesson in his G-dly service.
In recent days, we in the U.S.A. see the power and importance of even a single
This accent on the importance of each individual's vote brings to mind a
similar idea with regard to our actions as Jews.
Moses Maimonides, the 12th century philosopher, doctor, Jewish legalist par
excellance, explains that every person must consider himself and the whole
world as if it were perfectly balanced between good and evil. Through one
good deed, one word or one thought, a person can swing himself and the whole
world to the side of merit and bring redemption to himself and the whole
That's a pretty powerful concept. After all, one wonders, does my
mitzvah really matter? So I put a penny or two in a
tzedakah--charity--box every day. At the end of the year there will
be maybe seven or ten dollars. That isn't going to clothe many orphans.
But those pennies do matter! Those two pennies that you put in the
tzedakah box today just might tip the balance of the scale.
But one shouldn't err in thinking that we have to perform an actual physical
act to tip the scale. By refraining from making a not-so-nice comment about
a co-worker, we tip the scale. And even by stopping ourselves from dwelling
on an inappropriate thought, we affect the world in a real, positive sense.
Each and every action we do causes a reaction. Long before the Law of
Conservation of Matter was proposed, Judaism taught that nothing is ever
lost. Every bit of energy we expend, whether thinking, speaking or doing,
stays in this world.
Yes, each mitzvah we do does matter. A kind word, a smile, a penny
in a pushkah, another Shabbat candle, etc., any of these actions
might be the one that tips the scale and brings Redemption not only for the
doer, but for the entire world.
Every mitzvah is a vote for a better world, the best world, the world
of good and Moshiach.
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, Nov. 17, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:18 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18, Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:21 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
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat