"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Mishpatim, 5761
Shevat 30, 5761
Feb. 23, 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.
This Shabbat is the second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, therefore
this week's issue focuses on the Hebrew month of Adar.
Also, this Shabbat is Shabbat Parshat Shekolim. Parshat
Shekolim is the first of four special Torah readings read on the Sabbaths
before the month of Nissan--Shekolim, Zachor, Parah and
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
29 Shevat, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
How does a person become a Jew? This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim,
indirectly touches upon this question.
Historically, the Jewish people entered into the covenant of the Torah by
performing three actions: brit mila (circumcision); immersion in a
mikvah (ritual bath); and the bringing of offerings, as it states,
"And they offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen
Ever since the Torah was given, a potential convert to Judaism had to undergo
a conversion process consisting of these three steps. After the Holy Temple
was destroyed and offerings could no longer be brought, a person became Jewish
after brit mila and immersion alone. When Moshiach is revealed and
the sacrifices are reinstated, converts will again be required to bring an
offering to the Holy Temple.
A question is raised: If, for the past 2,000 years of the exile, one of the
necessary requirements for conversion has been absent, how can converts be
considered fully Jewish?
The answer lies in the fundamental difference between the acts of brit
mila and immersion, and the act of bringing an offering. The first two
actions effect an essential change in the person and transform him into a
Jew, severing him from his past and imbuing him with a Jewish holiness. Bringing
a sacrifice, on the other hand, merely enhances his relationship with G-d,
rather than causing an essential change in his being.
As we learn from the Hebrew word for sacrifice, "korban," which implies
"closeness" and "affinity," a sacrifice is a gift to G-d that strengthens
the Jew's inner bond with his Father in Heaven. Thus, in the times of the
Holy Temple, a convert brought his offering only after he had already become
When the Holy Temple stood and the Divine Presence dwelt in a physical structure,
the special relationship between the Jewish people and G-d was openly revealed.
During the exile, however, with the physical Temple no longer in existence,
it is much more difficult for the Jew to perceive the true magnitude of his
bond with G-d. In such an atmosphere of concealment it is therefore possible
to become a Jew even without the enhancement of a sacrifice.
The fact that converts will be required to bring a sacrifice when the Third
Holy Temple is built does not mean that their conversions have been deficient
in any way. The coming of Moshiach and the building of the Temple will in
no way lessen the holiness of any Jew. Moreover, converts will be able to
partake of the various sacrifices like any other Jew, even before their own
individual offerings are brought.
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.
Our Sages have taught that, just as when the month of Av begins we
lessen our joy, so, too, when the month of Adar begins, we increase
our simcha--joy and happiness.
But why should we be so happy just because it is Adar? In Adar
we celebrate the joyous holiday of Purim, commemorating the time when the
unity and prayers of the Jewish people brought about the nullification of
Haman's wicked plan to annihilate the Jews.
Our Sages declared Purim a day of festivity and rejoicing; of sharing our
joy with our fellow-Jews. As Purim is the central holiday of Adar
and the "theme" of the month, the entire month is permeated with our pursuit
of joy and happiness.
The Talmud describes Adar as having "a healthy mazal." It is
a month which brings the Jewish people strength and true health. In the month
of Adar, G-d's blessings for a good and sweet year are renewed,
intensified, and increased. These provide more good reasons to rejoice!
In our day and age we have another reason to rejoice when Adar begins.
Jewish teachings explain that "Joy breaks all boundaries." As we stand literally
on the threshold of the long-awaited Redemption of the Jewish people and
the entire world, the Rebbe has suggested that our every action be permeated
with joy in the hope that this will break through the last boundaries of
May the joy we experience in these, the last days of exile, hasten the coming
of the ultimate joy, the coming of Moshiach. May we join one Redemption to
another and connect the redemption of Purim to the Messianic Redemption.
May it take place imminently!
* * *
Concerning the kind of things that should be done to arouse simcha
during the month of Adar, the Rebbe suggested that each person should
proceed according to his level: a child, for instance, should be made happy
by his parents; a wife by her husband, and visa versa.
The bottom line is that the Rebbe did not let up on encouraging an increase
of simcha in all permissible manners during the entire month of
We must hearken to the Rebbe's words and utilize simcha, especially
during this month, to turn darkness into light, sadness into joy, and pain
and tears into rejoicing with Moshiach in the Final Redemption; may it take
place, as the Rebbe so fervently prayed, teichef umiyad
As we enter the new Hebrew month of Adar, our thoughts immediately
turn to the holiday of Purim.
Every holiday is a time of rejoicing for the Jewish people. The joy of Purim,
however, exceeds that of all other holidays, even the holiday of
Sukkot, which is referred to in the Torah itself as "Z'man
Simchateinu"--the Season of Our Rejoicing.
The joy of Purim is limitless and unbounded. The joy of Purim is "poretz
geder"; it "breaks" through life's day-to-day routines and the typical
way of doing things.
As the joy of Purim is so great, even the preparations for Purim must be
filled with great joy. What preparations do we need to make for Purim?
On Purim itself we send gifts of food, mishloach manot, to friends
and neighbors. Children dress up in costumes. We listen to the reading of
the Megila of Esther and stamp out Haman's name. We eat a festive
holiday meal and we add the special "V'Al HaNissim" ("And [we thank
You] For these miracles") to our prayers.
Our preparations for Purim, then, include studying the laws and customs of
the holiday, purchasing items for mishloach manot, making costumes,
familiarizing ourselves with the Megila, readying the holiday meal,
knowing when to recite V'Al HaNissim. The more enthusiasm and rejoicing
we put into the preparations for Purim, the greater the happiness of Purim
itself will be.
From the rejoicing of the preparations for Purim may we speedily experience
the rejoicing with Moshiach, NOW!
At a chasidic gathering nearly 20 years ago, the Rebbe told the following
One of the tzaddikim of Poland, when still a little boy, asked his
father for an apple. His father, however, refused to give it to him.
The enterprising youngster proceeded to recite a blessing over the apple:
"Baruch atah...borei pri haetz--Blessed are You... Who created fruit
of the trees!"
The father could not possibly allow the blessing to have been recited in
vain. And so, he promptly handed the youngster the apple.
The Rebbe used this story to illustrate the following point:
In our situation today, if the Jewish people begin now to rejoice in the
Redemption, out of absolute trust that G-d will speedily send us Moshiach,
this joy in itself will (as it were) compel our Father in heaven to fulfill
His children's wish and to redeem them from exile.
Needless to say, the Rebbe was not suggesting the use of mystical incantations
or the like to "force" the premature advent of the end of the exile. "We
are simply speaking of serving G-d with exuberant joy," the Rebbe explained.
The month of Adar brings with it not only the injunction to increase
in joy, but with every command we are also given the power and energy to
fulfill that command.
So, right from the start of the month, let us increase in our happiness,
do mitzvot with more enthusiasm, and rejoice NOW in the imminent
* * *
What benefit does joy bring us?
Chasidic teachings use the example of two individuals who are wrestling,
to teach us the advantage of joy.
When two individuals are wrestling with each other, each striving to throw
the other, if one is lazy and sluggish he will easily be defeated and thrown,
even though he may be stronger than his opponent. Similarly, when we are
trying to correct our bad habits or encourage spiritual growth, etc., it
is impossible to accomplish any of these goals with a heavy heart or
sluggishness, which originates in sadness. Rather, we are most successful
at "overthrowing" our character flaws when we use alacrity that is derived
The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Chabad Rebbe, received a letter from
one of his followers, complaining that it was difficult for him to be "joyous."
The Tzemach Tzedek's advice to him was that he think only positive
and happy thoughts, that he be careful not to speak of sad or depressing
matters, and to behave as if his heart was full of joy. "Ultimately," concluded
the Tzemach Tzedek, "this will be the reality."
As we enter the month of Adar, a month when we are enjoined to increase
our joy over and above our regular mitzvot to "serve G-d with joy"
and "to be joyous constantly," may we celebrate the greatest joy of all,
the revelation of Moshiach and the ingathering of all Jews to our Holy Land,
This Shabbat we take out three Torah's. In the first Torah we read
the regular weekly Torah portion of Mishpatim. In the second Torah
we read the Torah portion about Rosh Chodesh, and in the third Torah
we read Parshat Shekolim, the Torah portion in which G-d commands
Moshe to take a census of the Jewish people by collecting a
half-shekel from each one.
The Rebbe explains that a census emphasizes the unique importance of each
individual while at the same time reminding us that every Jew's existence
is bound to that of his fellow man.
The concept of "loving your fellow man" is further emphasized by the fact
that every Jew, no matter how rich or how poor, was required to give the
exact same amount of money, a half-shekel.
Moreover, the half-shekolim that were collected were used to bring
communal offerings on behalf of the entire Jewish people. And although we
are in exile we can still fulfill the mitzvah of half-shekel
by carrying out the custom of giving three half-dollars to charity before
These gifts will hasten the Redemption, for then "Moshe will gather," i.e.,
Moshe, "the first redeemer and ultimate redeemer," will gather every single
Jew and proceed to Israel, to Jerusalem, to the Third Holy Temple.
Though we do not yet have the Third Holy Temple to which we could bring communal
sacrifices, these mitzvot apply equally today. For, the Torah is infinite,
not limited to time and place. While the physical Sanctuary was destroyed,
the spiritual aspects of the service in the Temple are still carried out
today through learning Torah and doing mitzvot.
When a Jew makes a contribution toward a sacred cause, it is immediately
matched by a corresponding kindness from G-d to him. Sincere human effort
is met halfway by Divine Grace, thus a goal that may at first seem unattainable
to a person can actually be reached, because his goodness evokes a corresponding
May our good deeds combined with G-d's benevolence finally bring us to attain
our ultimate goal, the coming of Moshiach.
Our Sages relate that "in the merit of the righteous women, the Jews were
redeemed from Egypt." Similarly, the Sages associated subsequent redemptions
with the merit of Jewish women. Rabbi Yitzchok Luria emphasized that the
future Redemption will follow the pattern of the Exodus, and thus will also
come as a result of the merit of the righteous women of that generation.
From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"
On Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim, Feb.
24, G-d willing, we will be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Adar, starting
the new Hebrew month of Adar.
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 Adar
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.
Make Renewal Gatherings
The Jewish calendar is based on the moon's cycle. The beginning of each Jewish
month is a mini-holiday and affords a perfect opportunity to make gatherings.
Serve some special foods, study about the holidays in the upcoming month,
celebrate the imminent Redemption when the Jewish people will be totally
"The renewal of the moon after its concealment is used as an analogy for
the Redemption and the complete renewal of the Jewish people 'who will in
the future be renewed as [the moon] is renewed.'"
Increase In Joy!
This joy will be increased by our fulfillment of the special directives for
the month of Adar, to help our fellow Jews in both spiritual and material
affairs: to teach a new Torah concept that they had not previously known
(or to reveal additional depth in a concept with which they were already
familiar), and to afford them material assistance. Fulfilling these directives
will increase their happiness and thus, increase G-d's happiness, as it were.
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, Feb. 23, Erev Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim:
First day of Rosh Chodesh Adar.
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:21 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24, Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim:
Second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:22 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.
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.