"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim, 5761
Iyar 11, 5761 * May 4, 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:
1) Beis Iyar, the 2nd of Iyar.
2) Yud Gimel Iyar, the 13th of Iyar.
3) Pesach Sheni, the 14th of Iyar.
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
10 Iyar, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Reb Zaida Moshe ben Reb Alter Asher Anshil
Passed away, on 14 Iyar, 5759
This week we read two Torah portions, Acharei and Kedoshim.
In most years, the Torah portions of Acharei and Kedoshim are
read together. In fact, they share the common theme of holiness.
The Torah portion of Acharei opens with G-d's command to Aaron, warning
him that he may not "come at all times into the Sanctuary." (The High Priest
was only allowed to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.) Parshat
Acharei thus deals with the highest level of sanctity (the service in
the Holy of Holies), on the holiest day of the year (Yom Kippur), performed
by the Jew on the highest level of holiness, the High Priest.
The Torah portion of Kedoshim also begins with a command concerning
holiness: "You shall be holy, for I am holy." Every Jew is obligated to emulate
G-d and strive for the highest degree of holiness. But, practically speaking,
how is this possible?
The answer lies in the Torah's directive "You shall be holy," the wording
of which also implies a promise: "You will be holy!" G-d assures every
Jew, "for I am holy" -- for the simple reason that your holiness is derived
from Mine. Every Jew possesses a "veritable portion of G-d Above," a Jewish
soul that is a part of the Infinite. Every Jew is thus capable of rising
to even the highest levels of holiness.
As the Torah teaches, the ultimate objective is not what happened to Aaron's
two sons, Nadav and Avihu, who achieved such a state of spiritual arousal
that their souls could no longer tolerate the confinement of their physical
bodies. The highest level of Divine service transcends even this.
In the Midrash, our Sages interpreted the verse "You shall be holy"
as meaning "My holiness is superior to yours." In other words, no matter
how high a spiritual level a Jew may attain, he should always remember that
G-d is Infinite and thus higher.
This contains a practical lesson for every Jew to apply in his Divine service,
regardless of his present spiritual standing: The greatest tzaddik
-- righteous person -- can always rise higher, while those on the lower rungs
of spiritual achievement must never despair of improvement. The directive
of "You shall be holy" applies to everyone. G-d gives every Jew the strengths
and abilities he needs to ascend. And when a Jew takes the first step and
makes the effort to sanctify himself, G-d takes him by the hand and helps
him achieve his goal.
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.
"People think," the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, explained,
"that the mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael -- loving one's fellow
Jew, means that you love the other person as much as you love yourself. They
have it all wrong. It means loving yourself as much as you love the other
Long before modern psychology focused on self-esteem, Judaism taught the
importance of loving and accepting ourselves. For it is only when we love
ourselves that we can properly love our family, friends, co-workers, and
even the cashier with the attitude. (Loving ourselves does not mean being
egotists, nor does accepting ourselves mean allowing bad character traits
to remain unchecked or unchanged. But that's another article!)
How can we foster self-love? We can start by studying and internalizing the
first words that a Jewish child is taught. "Torah Tzivah -- the Torah
that Moses commanded to us is an eternal inheritance to the Jewish people."
We have been given a precious gift from G-d -- the Torah. The moral, ethical
and spiritual teachings flowing from the Torah are ours to dip into and relish.
We have the ability to grow and change by bringing these teachings into our
lives. They were tailor made for us by G-d, who loves every Jew as a parent
loves an only child born to him in his old age.
The Torah is eternal and its teachings are eternal; G-d's love for every
single Jew is also eternal. G-d loves us! Surely we can love ourselves!
From "Torah Tzivah" we go on to "Shema Yisrael -- Listen Jews,
the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One." These words are not merely a declaration
of monotheism. They acknowledge that G-d is everywhere and affirm a basic
Jewish teaching that G-d is good. There is nothing disconnected from G-d
and everything G-d does is ultimately good. (We can hope, though, that the
"good" is something that we recognize and appreciate.)
Every Jewish teaching is a lesson in how to foster self-love. In Chapter
Three of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers, that we study this
Shabbat, Rabbi Yishmael instructs us to "Greet everyone with joy."
Extrapolating from the Previous Rebbe's words above, this means that we should
greet ourselves with joy! When awakening we should say "Good morning" to
ourselves with gusto. If we "lose" it, once we're back to normal, we should
offer ourselves a hearty "Welcome back."
Loving ourselves has nothing to do with what we do, who we are, how much
money we make or how we look. It is loving what we are at our very core.
And essentially, we are all sparks of G-dliness, sparks of the same One G-d.
So when we love ourselves, we truly love everyone else.
The Rebbe has spoken often of how important the Land of Israel is to the
Jewish people.(1) At a gathering in 5750/1990 the Rebbe
spoke about the importance of maintaining possession of every inch of the
"Just as the Jews are G-d's chosen people, Eretz Yisrael [the Land
of Israel] is G-d's chosen land, a holy land given to the Jewish people,
those living on the land at present, and those who are presently living in
"No one is entitled to give up any portion of Eretz Yisrael to gentiles.
Maintaining possession of these lands is the only path to peace. Succumbing
to the pressure to surrender them will only invite additional pressure, weakening
the security of the Jewish people and exposing them to danger. Heaven forbid
that the government in Eretz Yisrael should consider surrendering
any portion of Eretz Yisrael that G-d has granted us."
The Rebbe's approach to Eretz Yisrael could almost be described as
that of "L'chatchila Ariber." L'chatchila Ariber means, "to begin
with, go over."
This concept was innovated by the fourth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi
Shmuel, known as the Rebbe Maharash, whose birthday was celebrated
last Wednesday, Iyar 2 (April 25).
The approach of L'chatchila Ariber teaches that if we come upon an
obstacle to a task we are involved in, or an obstacle to a mitzvah
or project or good deed which comes our way (or we pursue), we should overcome
the obstacle in the most direct manner. The Rebbe Maharash explained
that while some people propose that when confronted with an obstacle the
best route is to go around, or under it -- l'chatchila ariber -- from
the start, go over it.
In these auspicious days, of the Rebbe Maharash's birthday and following
it, may our pursuit of Torah and mitzvot be in a manner of
"l'chatchila ariber." Surely this fortitude and persistence will have
its desired effect, true peace in the Land of Israel, and throughout the
entire world, with the revelation of Moshiach, NOW!
* * *
The Rebbe Maharash mentioned this concept -- which has been the constant
battle cry of Lubavitch outreach workers all over the world -- in reference
to one who finds himself faced with an obstacle. "The whole world says, first
try to go under or around an obstacle. If this doesn't work, then go over
it," the Rebbe Maharash noted. "But I say, 'In the first place, go
over,'" he declared.
What does it mean to go over an obstacle right away rather than trying another
method to pass an obstruction? In confronting obstacles to all good endeavors,
one should take the most ambitious and aggressive approach. One cannot remain
passive, hoping that the situation will change by itself or that the obstruction
will magically disappear. It must be approached as a challenge. And, as such,
it should be afforded one's utmost attention and energy.
In addition, when working at overcoming obstacles, we have to keep uppermost
in our mind only positive thoughts and the image of the endeavor successfully
accomplished. For this, too, will aid in our ultimate triumph and success.
1. See "EYES UPON THE LAND" - The Territorial Integrity of
Israel: A Life Threatening Concern. Based on the Public Statements and Writings
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Adapted by Rabbi
Eliyahu Touger (1997: Sichos in English).
See also: REBBE'S VIEWS
Next Sunday, Iyar 13 (May 6), is the 49th yahrtzeit
of the Rebbe's youngest brother, Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib.
The following is a brief biography, written by Rabbi Shimon Silman.
Rabbi Yisroel Aryeh Leib (known affectionately as "Reb Leibel") was a Torah
scholar of the highest caliber. He was a fascinating personality, totally
devoted to the study of Chasidus, which he learned with legendary
As a young man, Reb Leibel was a member of the household of the Previous
Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, in Petersburg for several years.
He was very popular among the chasidim, who approached him with difficult
questions in Talmud and Chasidus. At that time he began studying
mathematics in the academies of Petersburg where he organized groups of Jewish
youth to learn Torah and observe mitzvot.
In the 1940s, Reb Leibel moved to Israel and married. He continued his research
of mathematics and spent long nights studying Chasidus.
In 1948 he accepted a position in the Department of Theoretical Physics of
the University of Liverpool in England. In this position he continued his
research in mathematics and theoretical physics until he passed away on 13
Iyar, 5712/1952. He is buried in Safed, Israel.
Pesach Sheni, means the "Second Passover," and is observed one month
after the first Passover.
Until the destruction of the Holy Temple, any Jew unable to bring the Passover
sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan -- either because he was ritually
impure, in a distant place, was prevented by unavoidable circumstances, or
even if he intentionally did not bring it -- could bring it on the 14th of
Pesach Sheni was instituted the year after the Jews left Egypt while
they were still in the desert. Before Passover of that year, G-d again commanded
our ancestors to bring the special Pascal sacrifice. However, some of the
Jews had become ritually impure in their desert travels and thus were not
permitted to bring the offering.
They protested and posed a question to Moses and Aaron, crying: "Why are
we kept back, that we may not offer the offering of the L-rd in its appointed
season among the children of Israel?" And G-d told Moses that all those who
were unable to bring the offering on Passover could bring it one month later.
This date became known as the Second Passover.
They could have left well enough alone. After all, our Sages have taught,
"If a person intended to perform a mitzvah and circumstances prevented
him from it, it is regarded as if he had performed it!" Since they were forcibly
kept from performing the mitzvah, they were still rightfully entitled
to its reward.
But that wasn't enough for them. And due to their protest and great desire
to fulfill this mitzvah to its fullest potential, they and all future
generations were rewarded with "Pesach Sheni."
The complaint of the Jews to Moses and Aaron, "Why are we kept back..." teaches
us an important lesson in how we are to approach those mitzvot that
we currently can not perform because we are still in exile.
Why, G-d, are we kept back from offering the sacrifices in their right time?
Why are we kept back from seeing Your glory revealed?
Why are we kept back from performing each mitzvah to its optimum,
as each mitzvah is incomplete while we are in exile?
Let us also not be content with the words of our Sages, that if we desire
to perform these mitzvot it is enough. Like the Jews in the desert,
let us rally together and cry out to G-d, "Why are we kept back...bring the
true and ultimate Redemption that You promised us!"
And may G-d immediately heed our heartfelt cries as He did those of our
Next Monday, Iyar 14 (May 7), is Pesach Sheni, the "Second
It is customary on Pesach Sheni to eat matzah (together with
bread), in commemoration of the day.
The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, wrote: "The theme of
Pesach Sheni is that it is never too late! It is always possible
to put things right. Even if one was ritually impure, or far away, and even
in a case when this impurity or distance was deliberate -- nonetheless it
can be corrected."
It's never too late! We can always make up for a past misdeed, omission
or failing through sincere desire and making amends.
It's never too late! What an inspiring and optimistic thought! There's
always a chance to improve, to become better, to learn and do.
This is truly a motto worth memorizing (and hanging on the refrigerator).
Rather than muttering about yourself or another person, "You can't teach
an old dog new tricks," realize that it's never too late.
You didn't put on tefillin yesterday? Today's a new day and it's never
You didn't light candles for Shabbat last Friday night? Do it this
week; it's never too late.
You never went to Hebrew school, so you can't read Hebrew? Enroll in an adult
education course; it's never too late.
You never knew that Judaism had so much to offer? Now that you know, do something
about it, because it's never too late!
From Pesach Sheini we learn that a Jew must never despair. No matter
how spiritually estranged from Judaism a Jew may be it is never too late;
G-d will always give him a "second chance." It is always possible to correct
This also teaches how important it is to repeatedly implore G-d to bring
about the Final Redemption. The initiative must come from us. Again and again
we must beg Him until He relents and sends us Moshiach.
For when Jews ask, G-d heeds their request, and Moshiach will indeed arrive
speedily, in our time, and at once.
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.
Enroll your child in a Torah Summer Camp
The Rebbe spoke many times about the unique learning opportunity for Jewish
children afforded by the months of summer vacation. Without the pressures
of tests, homework, etc., children enrolled in camps permeated with a Torah
atmosphere eagerly learn about their heritage and are instilled with pride
in being Jewish. Creative methods are used to make Judaism come alive. The
soul is nourished as the body and mind are strengthened through sports, crafts,
If you don't have camp-age children, help sponsor a child in a Torah camp.
Call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center for more information.
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, May 4, Erev Shabbat Parshat
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 7:35 p.m.
After nightfall, after reciting the Shabbat evening prayer, count
Saturday, May 5, Shabbat Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 3 of
Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:41 p.m.
After nightfall, after reciting the evening prayer, count Omer 28.
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
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.