"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Toldot, 5761
Kislev 4, 5761
Dec. 1, 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
in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
"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.
On Tuesday, Nov. 28, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh
Kislev, therefore this week's issue focuses on the new Hebrew month of
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
28 Cheshvan, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
In this week's Torah portion, Toldot, we read of our Matriarch Rebecca's
infertility; the subsequent birth of her and Isaac's twin sons, Esau and
Jacob; the twins' growth into adulthood; and the blessing for the firstborn
that Isaac bestows upon Jacob instead of Esau. Isaac became blind in his
old age, as this week's portion states: "And it came to pass, when Isaac
was old, and his eyes were too dim to see." For many years Isaac was sightless,
unable even to leave his home because of his infirmity.
One explanation offered by Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator,
for Isaac's blindness is that he lost his sight "so that Jacob could receive
Isaac was not aware of the full extent of his son Esau's evil conduct and
therefore, when he grew old, wanted to bless him. G-d, however, knowing that
Esau was unworthy and that the blessings should go to Jacob, caused Isaac
to become blind, allowing Jacob to come to him instead of Esau and receive
the blessings intended for Esau. If Isaac had been able to see that it was
Jacob, he would have made sure that Esau would have received his blessings.
Why was it necessary for Isaac to suffer for so many years just to ensure
that Jacob should receive the blessings? Couldn't G-d have arranged for Jacob
to receive the blessings in another manner? Indeed, Isaac knew that Esau
was not as virtuous as his brother; when Jacob mentioned G-d's name, Isaac
realized that "the name of Heaven" was not usually on Esau's lips. Surely
G-d could simply have told him that Esau was an evil person; Jacob could
then have received the blessings without Isaac's becoming blind.
Why didn't G-d simply reveal the truth to Isaac?
The answer is that G-d was reluctant to speak lashon hara (slander),
even against an individual as evil as Esau. Despite the fact that Esau was
a rasha (evil person), G-d refrained from saying so outright. The
Torah thus emphasizes the degree to which we must avoid committing this
If G-d refrained from speaking lashon hara against Esau, how much
more must we be careful to avoid speaking lashon hara about any Jew!
For every Jew, is essentially good.
By emulating G-d's ways and being careful with what we say, we fulfill the
mitzvah of safeguarding our tongue.
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.
Kislev is a month of celebration, when we commemorate many joyous occasions.
A recurring theme throughout the festivities of Kislev is freedom.
On the 10th day of Kislev, 5587/1826, the second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi
Dovber (known as the Mitteler Rebbe), was released from incarceration
in Czarist Russia on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities.
Decades earlier, on the 19th of Kislev in the year 5559/1798, his
father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, was released
from imprisonment on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities. (Two
years later, when Rabbi Shneur Zalman was imprisoned once again, he was also
released in the month of Kislev, on the third night of Chanukah.)
On Chanukah, celebrated for eight days starting on the 25th of Kislev,
we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over their mighty Hellenic
oppressors, and their subsequent freedom to follow once again in the ways
of the Torah. We also celebrate the liberation of our Holy Temple, which
the Hellenists had defiled and desecrated. Once the Jews cleansed and purified
the Temple, it was free to be used for its holy purpose, bringing the Jewish
people closer to G-d.
Torah in general, and chasidic teachings in particular, help liberate us
from our personal (often self-imposed) "prisons." During the month of
Kislev, then, it is appropriate to increase our study of Torah. This
study will help us reflect upon how best to use the opportunities available
to us because of the religious freedom that we are fortunate to enjoy today.
Let us pray that G-d speedily grant us the ultimate freedom that will come
with the revelation of Moshiach. For then we will truly be free to serve
G-d, in the third and final Holy Temple.
On Tuesday, Nov. 28, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh
Kislev, starting the new Hebrew month of Kislev.
Rosh Chodesh is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with special prayers
and finer food and clothing. Jewish women, in particular, observe Rosh
Chodesh more meticulously.
What is the reason for Jewish women's stricter celebration of Rosh
Rabbi Eliezer wrote: "When the men came to ask for their wives' gold earrings
for the Golden Calf, the women refused to hand them over. They said to their
husbands: 'We will not obey you in order to make an abomination that has
no power to save!' G-d rewarded them in this world, giving them a greater
degree of observance on Rosh Chodesh, and He rewards them in the World
to Come, giving them the power of constant renewal that characterizes [the
renewal of the moon on] Rosh Chodesh."
On a more general note, the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and our people
are compared to the moon. Although our light is sometimes eclipsed by that
of other nations, like the moon we are always here--both at night and by
day. Our nation's history has its share of growth and decline; like the moon
we wax and wane. But ultimately, these are just phases. For, although at
times we seem to be as unimportant or insignificant as the sliver of the
moon when it reappears, this is just a veneer.
May we sanctify the new moon this year and celebrate Rosh Chodesh
Kislev in the Holy Temple with 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.
Awaken Your Core This Month:
"Awakening the core of our being must be reflected in a concern for the
fundamental existence of every Jew. This should be expressed in efforts to
provide our fellow Jews with the necessities required to celebrate the holidays
of the month of Kislev [the 'chasidic New Year' on the 19th of
Kislev and Chanukah] with happiness and joy. Similarly, they should
have the means to fulfill the custom that the Rebbes followed of giving
Chanukah gelt to the members of their household."
(1 Kislev, 5752/1991)
Simply stated, this means that as we think about our own family's holiday
celebrations this month, we should make sure to help provide for other, less
fortunate people in the greater Jewish family.
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, Dec. 1, Erev Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:11 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2, Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:15 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