"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Shemini, 5761
Nissan 27, 5761
April 20, 2001
Chof Ches Nissan
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
In honor of his 99th birthday,
11 Nissan, 5761
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 Chof Ches Nissan, the 28th of
Also, in this week's issue, we highlight one of the Rebbe's Mitzvah
Campaigns, "Mivtzah Kashrut--The Jewish Dietary Laws."
Making sure her home and family keep Kosher, is one of the
three special mitzvot entrusted to the Jewish
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
23 Nissan, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
1. The other two are
Shabbat Candles," and "Family Purity," (which will be discussed,
G-d willing, in a future issue).
A large part of this week's Torah portion, Shemini, discusses the
Jewish dietary laws, kashrut. We read about the kosher animals a Jew
may eat and the non-kosher ones that are forbidden. The Torah gives us two
signs to distinguish a kosher animal: it must chew its cud and have split
One of the reasons certain foods are prohibited is that the food we eat becomes
part of our physical bodies, transformed into our flesh and blood. The Torah
prohibits us from ingesting certain foods to protect our bodies from their
negative influence. Keeping kosher enables a Jew to avoid the spiritually
harmful effect of these non-kosher substances.
We must also "chew our cud" and have "split hooves."
The hoof is the lowest part of the animal's body, coming in direct contact
with the earth and separating it from the ground. Even an animal, whose head
is closer to the ground than man's, must maintain a certain distance and
separation from the earth to be considered kosher.
A Jew must also guard this distinction between the "earth"--his corporeal
nature--and his higher spiritual faculties. Even the lowest levels of his
soul, analogous to the foot, must not come into direct contact with the ground.
We should never become completely involved in our material affairs, but maintain
a certain detachment in the way we relate to them.
The hoof of a kosher animal is cloven, consisting of two parts. So too must
the Jew's involvement in worldly affairs--analogous to the "hoof" that connects
him with the ground--consist of two simultaneous but opposite thrusts: his
"right hand draws near" while his "left hand pushes [negative influences]
away." With the "right hand" the Jew learns Torah, performs mitzvot
and draws his fellow Jews closer to Judaism. The "left hand" helps him to
avoid negative influences.
The distinction between "right" and "left" is very important. One cannot
hope to obtain goodness without shunning evil. Good and evil must never be
confused, just as the kosher animal's hooves are split into two distinct
The second characteristic of a kosher animal is that it chews its cud. Likewise,
a Jew must "chew over" his every step and consider it carefully before acting.
When we subject our behavior to this scrutiny, all our actions will be pure.
The Torah gives us several signs by which we can recognize kosher birds,
but in this instance we are not allowed to rely only on these characteristics.
Only birds explicitly regarded as kosher by our holy tradition are permissible.
From this we learn that a Jew must never rely solely on his own intellect,
as his guidelines in life must be derived from our holy tradition. In addition
to his own intellectual achievements, the Jew must connect himself to the
leader of the generation in order for his service to be pure.
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.
In this week's Torah portion, Shemini, we aren't just told what
constitutes a kosher animal--e.g., split hooves and chewing its cud
--we also learn that these animals and birds are specifically mentioned in
Although thousands of years have passed since the Torah was given, and many
new species of animal have been "discovered" by man since then, not one animal
or bird has been found possessing the kosher characteristics besides
those enumerated in our Torah portion.
There was a time when people used to brush aside the laws of keeping
kosher as outdated, food storage and production being much more sanitary
than in former years. But the G-d-given commandment to keep kosher
was never dependent upon sanitary conditions. At one period in history, the
extra cleanliness of kosher food might have been an added
benefit of observing this important mitzvah, but it was never
the reason for keeping kosher.
In fact, keeping kosher is in the category of mitzvot known
as chukim--decrees. We are given no explanation by the Torah or our
rabbis as to why we were given these "decrees." But, since our Creator knows
what's best for us--which oils, fluids, fuels, etc. make the mechanics of
our soul run the smoothest--it is prudent and wise to follow His operating
Give keeping kosher a chance. You might want to start out slowly,
but once you get your engine revved up, you won't be able to imagine any
other way to keep your soul fine-tuned.
To change a non-kosher home to kosher is, admittedly, a major
undertaking. Any worthwhile change is bound to be difficult. In recognition
of this fact, Chabad-Lubavitch has formed a Kashrut Committee to assist
anyone sincerely interested in converting hers/his to a kosher kitchen.
For more information, please call 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).
"And just as the Redemption was brought about in the days of Mordechai and
Esther (through the meticulous observance of Kashrut), so too, the
Redemption will be brought about in our days through the meticulous observance
This Shabbat, Parshat Shemini, the 28th of Nissan (April
21), is an anniversary of sort. It is 10 years to the day when, in the course
of a rather unexceptional public gathering, the Rebbe changed his tone and
his topic and emotionally shared the following:
"Because of the unique stress on the Redemption in this time, an astonishing
question arises: How is it possible that despite all these factors, Moshiach
has not yet come? This is beyond all possible comprehension.
"It is also beyond comprehension that when ten (and many times ten) Jews
gather together at a time that is appropriate for the Redemption to come,
they do not raise a clamor great enough to cause Moshiach to come immediately.
They are, heaven forbid, able to accept the possibility that Moshiach will
not arrive tonight, and even that he will not arrive tomorrow, or on the
day after tomorrow, heaven forbid.
"Even when people cry out 'Ad mosai--Until when will we remain in
exile?' they do so only because they were told to. If they had sincere intent
and earnest desire, and cried out in truth, Moshiach would surely have come
"What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry
out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Moshiach? All that has been
done until now has been to no avail, for we are still in exile; moreover,
we are in an inner exile in regard to our own service of G-d.
"All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything
you can to bring Moshiach, here and now, immediately.
"May it be G-d's will that ultimately ten Jews will be found who are stubborn
enough to resolve to secure G-d's consent to actually bring about the true
and ultimate Redemption, here and now, immediately. Their stubborn resolve
will surely evoke G-d's favor, as reflected by the interpretation of the
verse, 'For they are a stiff-necked people; You will pardon our sins and
wrongdoings and make us Your possession.'
"I have done whatever I can; from now on, you must do whatever you can. May
it be G-d's will that there will be one, two, or three among you who will
appreciate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and may you
actually be successful and bring about the true and complete Redemption.
May this take place immediately, in a spirit of happiness and gladness of
* * *
Far from "passing the buck" or throwing up his hands in defeat, from
that day forth, the Rebbe continued, with increased vigor and enthusiasm,
to discuss the imminence of Moshiach's arrival and to offer suggestions what
we could do to get ready for the Redemption.
In fact, the very next Shabbat, the Rebbe said:
"Every Jew, man, woman and child, has an individual responsibility to add
to his service with the intent of bringing about the actual coming of Moshiach.
One should not try to shift the burden of responsibility to others. Rather,
each person should recognize his individual responsibility.
"This service must involve an increase in the study of the Torah, both hidden
and revealed and an increase in the performance of mitzvot in a beautiful
and conscientious manner . . .
"In addition to making such increases oneself, one should also influence
others to make similar increases. And all of this should be suffused with
yearning for and expectation of Moshiach's coming.
"May our resolutions to involve ourselves be successful and bring about the
coming of the ultimate Redemption."
"I ask that they not act foolishly and add their own explanations and
interpretations to my words, e.g., that I really meant such and such, etc.
. . I say what I mean."
The Rebbe, 21 Menachem Av, 5744/1984
Some people still ask, "What did the Rebbe really say about Moshiach
and the Redemption." The following quotes from the Rebbe were said at public
gatherings, in front of thousands of people. Some are from transcripts of
the Rebbe's talks while others are from published essays that were edited
by the Rebbe after being adapted from his public talks.
"Just as until now it was clear to each one of us that the Rebbe would lead
us to greet our righteous Moshiach, so should it be clear now. That which
happened is only from our material point of view. It is nothing more than
a trial, one of the trials of the birthpangs of Moshiach that need to occur
before the arrival of the righteous Redeemer. The sole purpose of these trials
is to conceal the truth."
Shabbat Teruma, 5710/1950
"Since Jacob was mourned and buried as prescribed by the Torah, because it
appeared to them that he died, this draws down the potential for every
one to reach the Resurrection of the Dead through the service of refining
and purifying the body--negating the body--via its return to the dust. Through
the process of negation (which, as explained, can be fulfilled through the
spiritual service of 'My soul will be as dust to all,' in which case there
is no need to actually return to dust), we come to the Resurrection of the
Dead in the true and ultimate Redemption."
"As such the Al-mighty's Redemption is actually brought about through His
emissary, the righteous Moshiach, with all eight names attributed to him.
This includes also 'His name is Menachem' in a way that 'One points with
his finger and exclaims, 'Behold! Here he is! Here is Menachem, our righteous
1 Menachem Av, 5749/1989
"Every single Jew must perform his Divine service in a manner similar to
and befitting the days of Moshiach and the subsequent era of the Resurrection
of the Dead. This is exhibited first and foremost through faith, anticipation
and knowledge that supernatural events will occur in the days of Moshiach,
namely, the Resurrection of the Dead. Belief in these concepts must be with
certainty, and must be as unshakably firm as the belief in the Ten Commandments.
"Obviously the belief in the Resurrection of the Dead requires that same
degree of certainty and anticipation. This must be emphasized so much more
in our present generation, when many messianic signs are unfolding. These
constitute a clear indication that Moshiach is already present in the world.
Moreover, he is already a prominent Jewish leader, 'a king from the House
of David, deeply absorbed in the study of Torah,' etc.
"Therefore, in our present generation, great emphasis must be placed on the
belief in the coming of Moshiach and anything that relates to it."
Shabbat Acharei, 5746/1986
"We see in recent years how the verse 'And Moses gathered the Jews' is occurring
literally--the ingathering of the exiles of Jews from all over the world,
who are returning to the Holy Land. The number of people moving to the Holy
Land is incomparably greater than those of previous generations."
Shabbat Vayakhel, 5752/1992
". . . The suggestion is the study of Torah on the topics of Moshiach and
the Redemption. For it is within the ability of Torah to transform human
nature. It is possible that one may be, heaven forfend, 'outside' and far
removed from the concept of Redemption as far as one's own perception is
concerned (as he has not yet emerged from his own internal exile). Yet, through
Torah study in the topics of Redemption, he uplifts himself to a Redemption
state of mind, and begins to 'live' with the concept of Redemption, amidst
the realization and recognition that 'Behold, here he comes!'"
Shabbat Balak, 5751/1991
"Although in chronological order, the advent of Moshiach will precede the
Resurrection of the Dead, special individuals will nonetheless be resurrected
prior to Moshiach's coming. First and foremost, the Rebbe, my father-in-law,
will once again enclothe himself in a body, and return. (In reality, it makes
no difference how he comes, whether through the door, the window, or the
roof....) He will then gather all the Jewish people together and proclaim,
'The time has come to leave Exile. Come, let us go to our Holy Land!'"
2nd day of Shavuot, 5710/1950
"There needs to be an increase in life, through the action of the people
who proclaim 'Yechi HaMelech!--May the king live.' For the
meaning of this proclamation is that the time has come for [the resurrection,
regarding which it is stated] 'Awake and give praise, those who rest in the
dust,' of the Rebbe, my father-in-law, the leader of our generation, and
up to and including the wakening and giving praise of the Davidic King Moshiach!"
2 Nissan, 5748/1988
"True, we currently find ourselves in the extreme darkness of Exile. Yet,
nonetheless, since Exile is merely a 'dream' (in which contradictions can
co-exist), the current situation can instantly be reversed, from one extreme
to another. This means that we emerge from this dream of Exile and arrive
at the true reality, the actual Redemption!. . .
"True, Maimonides explains that there is a natural order in the process .
. . However this is only if the Redemption materializes in a normal manner.
If the Jews merit, and certainly in present times when the appointed time
for the Redemption has long since passed, we have merited that the Redemption
will come instantly, above and beyond all natural limitations!
"It is within the ability of every single Jew to bring the Redemption right
away, not tomorrow or the day after, but quite literally today, so that at
this very moment, a person opens his eyes and sees that our righteous Moshiach
is present with us in this very House of Prayer and Study, in his physical
body, down on earth!. . .
"Some people argue that this in itself is difficult to appreciate. It has
already been many years since the leader of our generation announced 'Immediate
Redemption' and nevertheless, he still has not come!. . .
"This question stems from being consumed with and engulfed in the Exile frame
of mind. Hence people are unable to free themselves of this 'dream' of Exile
and perceive that the true reality is otherwise, a state of being awake,
the actual Redemption!"
Shabbat Pinchas, 5744/1984
"One may wonder, 'What will the world say if a Jew performs his Divine service
. . . particularly trying to speed the Redemption? Seemingly,' he argues,
'in order to succeed, one must take into consideration how the world will
view it.' The answer is that the world is ready and prepared! When a Jew
goes about his Divine service properly, rising above all limitations and
constraints, yet doing so in a way that his service can be enclothed in the
vestments of nature, he will see how the world, nature, and non-Jews are
indeed aiding him in his service."
Shabbat Korach, 3 Tamuz, 5751/1991
"A question has been asked with regard to the recent statements that the
Redemption is coming immediately. Some might suggest that it would not be
so easy for this message to reach people and convince them. People are uncertain
of how their families and the world at large will react to it. The response
is that such concerns would only be valid if the idea of Redemption was an
innovation. However, the Redemption is nothing new. Rather, all its elements
have already begun, and have already been brought down and accepted in the
physical world, the level beyond which there is nothing lower. Therefore,
it should be of no surprise when, immediately, the Redemption arrives."
Shabbat Shoftim, 5751/1991
"We are immediately going to merit the fulfillment of the messianic promise,
'As in the days of your Exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders,' with
the coming of Moshiach, whose name is 'Menachem,' like the name of the
Tzemach Tzedek--may he come and redeem us, and lead us proudly to
our land. For inasmuch as the prophetic promise, 'Awaken and sing, those
who rest in the dust' will soon take place . . . there will then be a realization
of the meaning of 'Menachem--King Moshiach.'"
Eve of Rosh HaShanah, 5744/1984
A footnote added by the Rebbe to an edited version of a talk after mentioning
the third Chabad Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek:
"His two names, Tzemach and Tzedek (which are the numerical
equivalent of 'Menachem Mendel') are the names of King Moshiach."
12 Sivan, 5751/1991
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.
Study Ethics of the Fathers
We read one chapter of Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) each
Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, because these are the days
leading up to the Giving of the Torah and Pirkei Avot contain ethics
and moral exhortations to help us improve ourselves so that we are worthy
of the Torah.
The Rebbe emphasized the importance of not only reciting the chapters, but
also actually studying them.
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, April 20, Erev Shabbat Parshat Shemini:
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 7:21 p.m.
After nightfall, after reciting the Shabbat evening prayer, count
Saturday, April 21, Shabbat Parshat Shemini:
Blessing of the New Month, Iyar.(4)
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 1 of
Pirkei Avot--Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:25 p.m.
After nightfall, after reciting the evening prayer, count Omer 14.
2. 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.
3. For this year's S'firat Ha'omer Calendar - See our publication:
"Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide," 5761
4. Rosh Chodesh Iyar is on Monday, April 23, and Tuesday, April 24.
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.