"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Vayigash, 5761
Tevet 10, 5761
Jan. 5, 2001
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 the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet,
Friday, Jan. 5.
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
22 Kislev, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
The Jewish people, descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are often referred
to by the name of another of our great forebears, Joseph. "Listen, O Shepherd
of Israel, You Who leads Joseph like a flock," sings the Psalmist.
Rashi explains that every Jew is called "Joseph," "because he (Joseph)
sustained and provided for them during the famine," a narrative of which
appears in this week's Torah portion, Vayigash.
At first glance, this seems to be an insufficient explanation. Why call an
entire nation after one individual, no matter how exalted, just because he
was instrumental in aiding the Jewish people during a certain short period
in their history?
Chasidic philosophy teaches that every phenomenon in the physical world exists
only because of its spiritual root above. Indeed, the physical manifestation
in this world is only a reflection of the true spiritual reality. The fact
that Joseph sustained the fledgling Jewish people with food (as well as the
rest of the known world at the time), reflects the fact that it was he who
imbued his people with the spiritual nourishment and sustenance they needed
to survive in exile as well. The lack of food, the famine which hit Egypt,
was followed by a spiritual famine, for the exile in Egypt was a time of
great darkness and trouble for the Jewish people. It was Joseph who gave
his descendants the strength to deal with the hardships and adversity of
Joseph, in his role as second in command to Pharaoh, broke new ground and
paved an innovative path in the service of G-d. Joseph's brothers were shepherds,
an occupation which gave them plenty of time to pursue a spiritual life.
By contrast, Joseph lived a life of involvement in the world, first as the
manager of Potifar's household, later when he was in charge of his fellow
prisoners in jail, and finally, when he was appointed second in command over
all of Egypt. Although Joseph was always intimately involved in the day-to-day
details of the physical world, as was dictated by his various positions,
his greatness lies in the fact that he never severed his spiritual connection
to G-d, and in fact, emerged even stronger in his service and commitment.
Much of Joseph's life was spent in exile, in the center of the most cosmopolitan
society of his time. Yet, he remained untouched by the lure of the material
world and unbowed in his religious faith.
Joseph therefore symbolizes, more than any of the Patriarchs or the rest
of the twelve tribes, the essence of the Jewish people. As we stand on the
threshold of the messianic era, we look back on the thousands of years of
Jewish exile spent under the dominion of the nations of the world. Although
we have, of necessity, concerned ourselves with the daily, mundane details
of our lives, our relationship with G-d has remained as strong as ever. Indeed,
our goal in life is not to withdraw from the world to concentrate solely
on the spiritual; a Jew's task is to combine the two realms, imbuing the
physical world with holiness. It is in our forefather Joseph's merit that
we have been given the power to withstand any spiritual "famine" which could
possibly threaten our existence as "Joseph's flock."
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.
Sunday, the 5th of Tevet (Dec. 31), is a day of celebration and rejoicing
known as Didan Natzach--"Victory is Ours."
It is the day, 14 years ago (in 5747/1987), when U.S. Federal Court Judge
Charles Sifton rendered his legal decision on the ownership of the enormous
and valuable library of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn.
For three weeks during the previous winter, the judge had listened to testimony
concerning whether the Previous Rebbe's library was a personal possession,
subject to the laws of inheritances, or if it was the possession of
Judge Sifton was tremendously influenced by the statement of Rebbetzin Chaya
Mushka, of blessed memory, daughter of the Previous Rebbe and the Rebbe's
wife, that "My father belonged to the chasidim just as the books belong
to the chasidim."
There was great rejoicing on the day of the verdict, lasting for seven days.
Each evening the Rebbe spoke publicly and expounded on the spiritual
ramifications of the victory.
In one of these talks, the Rebbe said: "At the time of his imprisonment and
redemption, the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) found a Divine
lesson in everything that had occurred. One of his conclusions was the need
to increase with renewed vigor and strength the dissemination of chasidic
philosophy. The eternal Divine connection [of the Alter Rebbe's imprisonment
and subsequent release] to this event is obvious. Thus, especially because
the charge was brought against Agudas Chasidei Chabad as a living
and vital organization, we must strengthen even more the dissemination of
the teachings of our Rebbes, learning them privately and in groups amidst
great joy and enthusiasm, joy that breaks all boundaries...".
May we witness the ultimate breaching of limitations with the end of the
exile and the ultimate joy of being united as one in the true and complete
The 5th of Tevet, is the 14th anniversary of the U.S. Federal Court
ruling declaring that stolen books of the Previous Rebbe must be returned
to the library of Agudas Chasidei Chabad. However, part of the Previous
Rebbe's library still remains in Russia "in exile." To free these books,
now held captive, the Rebbe urges everyone to purchase Jewish holy books.
By following the Rebbe's advice, we can actually help create the right spiritual
climate for the release of these precious books.
On Shabbat Parshat Vayigash, 7 Tevet, 5752, the Rebbe said:
"Our efforts to show regard for Jewish holy texts will have an effect on
the future of the Previous Rebbe's library. By purchasing comparable texts,
such as the ethical and philosophical literature of Chabad Chasidus...
we can hasten the return of that library to its rightful owners. Even little
children should be given Jewish holy books as gifts" (in the hope that what
is not yet fully appreciated today will be studied before long).
Friday, Jan. 5, is the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet. This fast day
is unique in that it is the only fast day in the Jewish calendar that can
occur and therefore be observed even when it falls on a Friday.
We neither eat nor drink, from approximately 72 minutes before sunrise until
40 minutes after sunset, (1) (after the Friday night
Shabbat prayers, and reciting the Kiddush).
This fast day commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, which ultimately resulted in the destruction of
the First Holy Temple.
The strength--both of the obligation to fast and its positive influences--of
the Tenth of Tevet stems from the fact that it commemorates the first
of the tragedies associated with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.
Thus, this date begins the process of destruction. It is well known that
the beginning of any process contains more power than the subsequent stages
and for this reason, there is added power to the Tenth of Tevet. The
positive influences of the Tenth of Tevet are connected to the fact
that a fast day is a "day of will" when our prayers and teshuvah are
more willingly accepted by G-d.
As we are taught that "the beginning is wedged in the end," and the ultimate
"end" purpose of the destruction of the Holy Temples will be the rebuilding
of the Third and Eternal Holy Temple, the Tenth of Tevet is an auspicious
day to hasten the coming of the Redemption.
Of course, our most fervent prayer is that the Tenth of Tevet not
be a day of mourning, but be turned into a day of celebration and joy with
the coming of Moshiach. Thus, by our immediate decision to increase our acts
of goodness and kindness, our performance of mitzvot, study of Torah,
and specifically the giving of charity, which brings the Redemption closer,
we are showing G-d that our actions are in consonance with our heartfelt
prayers. May the realization of those prayers happen in the immediate future.
1. In New York City, at 5:22 p.m.
5 Tevet, 5736/1976
In reply to your inquiry and request for instructions in connection with
the forthcoming Fast of the Tenth of Tevet, in view of the situation
in and around Israel--
You will surely be instructed by the rabbi of your congregation. However,
since you have also approached me in this matter, I will set forth at least
several suggestions--after the following introductory remarks:
Regrettably, there are people who claim that it is necessary to think and
act "big," in terms of global dimensions and stupendous undertakings, etc.
Surely they mean well; and to the extent that such resolutions are practical
and are actually carried out--they are very helpful in improving the situation.
Yet, we must never overlook--indeed, rather greatly emphasize--the so-called
"small and unsophisticated" things that each modest congregation, moreover
each individual, can and must do--beginning with the old, yet ever-anew,
Jewish way, collectively as one people and also as individuals. This is the
action of "the voice is the voice of Jacob"--Torah and prayer--which G-d
Himself has shown us to be the first effective action to nullify the power
of "the hands of Esau"--in whatever shape or form they are raised against
Certainly this should find the fullest expression in a day that the Shulchan
Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) declares to be a day of fasting, one to which
the prophet Isaiah refers to as a "chosen fast...a fast and time favored
Now, in answer to your inquiry, and since the Fast of the Tenth of
Tevet is specially connected with the Holy Land and the Holy City
of Jerusalem (recalling the siege of Jerusalem), my suggestion--in addition
to the regular "observances" on fast days, as set forth at length and in
detail in Poskim [halachic adjudicators] and in books of Musar
and Chasidus--is as follows:
During this day--expressly for the sake of the security and strengthening
of the Holy Land, materially and spiritually, and for the material and spiritual
benefit of all Jews wherever they are--in the Holy Land as well as in the
Diaspora--and particularly for the benefit of our brethren behind the "Iron
Curtain"(2)--a special effort should be made in the areas
of Torah, prayer, and tzedakah (charity).
Especially after prayer (both in the morning and at the afternoon service)
one should learn (and where there already are daily study groups, to add)
a subject in Torah, including final ruling of Jewish law. Immediately following
the prayers, even before learning, one should say several chapters of
Psalms (in addition to the regular portion).
Before and after praying--one should give tzedakah (in addition to
the regular donation), including tzedakah for a sacred cause or
institution in the Holy Land, the "Land of Living."
Needless to say, one who repeats the above again and again in the course
of the day is to be praised.
And the more one does it (in quantity and quality), the more praiseworthy
And, as in all matters of holiness, it is desirable that all the above be
done b'tzibbur (with at least a minyan).
May G-d accept, and He will accept, the prayers and supplications of Jews
wherever they are.
And soon, in our very own days, may the Promise be fulfilled that "These
days will be transformed into days of rejoicing and gladness," with the true
and complete Redemption through our righteous Moshiach.
2. This letter is dated 5 Tevet, 5736/1976. Ed.
The Holy Temple lay in ruins, its resplendent beauty plowed under by the
conquering Roman Legions. The remnants of the population were in despair.
The Talmud relates that four great rabbis were walking along a road
in The Land of Israel. Suddenly they heard a rumbling sound rising from the
distance. One rabbi inquired of the others, "What is that noise?"
"That is the sound of a multitude of Romans far away in the distance," replied
Three of the rabbis began to weep; the fourth, Rabbi Akiva, began laughing.
The others were surprised by their colleague's reaction and asked, "Akiva,
why are you laughing?"
He countered: "Why are you three crying?"
They said: "Here we see that the Romans, who worship idols and burn incense
to them, are living in safety and prosperity. And we [who worship the true
G-d], the House which is G-d's footstool [the Holy Temple] lies burned in
fire. Why shouldn't we weep?"
Rabbi Akiva replied: "That is precisely why I'm laughing. For, if this is
the lot of those who violate the will of G-d, how much more joyous will be
the future for us Jews who do His will?"
On another occasion the same four Sages were traveling together to Jerusalem.
When they reached the point of the Mount of Olives, they tore their clothes
[in mourning] as is prescribed by Jewish law. Proceeding further they arrived
at the desolate Temple Mount, and as they gazed toward the Holy of Holies--where
the sacred incense had been offered to the Al-mighty--they saw a fox emerging.
Three of the rabbis began to weep at the sight of the degradation of the
holy place. Rabbi Akiva, however, laughed. They turned to Akiva and asked,
"Why are you laughing?"
He asked in return, "Why are you weeping?"
They answered him, "This is place of which it is written, 'And the stranger
who approaches will surely die.' Yet, now we see foxes strolling about. Why
should we not weep."
Replied Akiva, "That is precisely why I am laughing. In the prophecy of Uria
it says, 'Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem
will be desolate and the Temple Mount will be a forest.' The prophecy of
Zecharia says, 'Aged men and women will yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem.'
"Before I saw the prophecy of Uria fulfilled I worried that the prophecy
of Zecharia would not be realized. But now that I have witnessed the fulfillment
of the first, I know surely that the second will come to pass as well."
They turned to him and said, "Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva you have
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.
The Fast of Tevet 10:
"In addition to the regular observances of fast days... expressly for the
sake of the security and strengthening of the Land of Israel, materially
and spiritually... a special effort should be made in the areas of Torah
study, prayer and charity... specifically: to learn or add to one's learning
after the morning and afternoon prayers; to say several chapters of
Psalms after the prayers (even before study); to give charity before
and after prayers, including charity for a sacred cause or institution in
(From a Letter dated 5 Tevet, 5736/1976
-- the full text is printed above)
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, Jan. 5, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayigash:
Fast day of Tevet 10.
Light Shabbat Candles,(3) by 4:24 p.m.
The fast of Tevet 10 ends at 5:22 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 6, Shabbat Parshat Vayigash:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:30 p.m.
3. 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 Candles.