"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Nasso, 5761
Sivan 10, 5761 * June 1, 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 once again focus on the festive holiday 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
9 Sivan, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
In this week's Torah portion, Nasso, the Torah commands the Jew to
bring the first of his harvest to the Holy Temple. This is the mitzvah
of bikurim -- first fruits, through which the Jew thanks G-d for His
abundance (See Rashi Nasso 5:9).
But what is actually done with the first fruits after they are brought? The
Torah states: "Every offering . . . which they bring to the kohan
[priest], shall be his." Our Sages explain that this means that the produce
is to be given to the priests.
Why is the Torah so circuitous? Why does it instruct us to bring the first
fruits "to the House of the L-rd," rather than telling us directly to give
them to the priests?
The Torah's directive to bring the bikurim "to the House of the L-rd"
is intended to establish the awareness that the first fruits do not belong
to the individual, but to G-d. Their rightful place is therefore in the Holy
Temple, G-d's "House." Once this fundamental principle has been acknowledged,
G-d gives us the practical instruction of what to do with them.
The first fruits are the finest and most select portion of the crop, the
result of a great deal of effort on the part of the farmer. For months he
has worked the land and tended it carefully. Nonetheless, after all this
exertion, the Torah commands him to bring the very best of his yield to the
Holy Temple and give it to the priest.
In truth, the mitzvah of bikurim contains a fundamental lesson
to be applied in our daily lives, in all times and circumstances. It teaches
that a Jew must always give G-d the first and best of all his labors. Whenever
G-d grants us success and abundance, the finest portion must always be set
aside for charity.
The Evil Inclination sometimes tries to dissuade us. It's only right to give
charity to the poor, it may whisper, but why do we have to give the very
best? Or, once the person accepts that he should part with his money, it
tries to convince him to give it to a nameless institution rather than a
specific individual. Or if he already agrees to help the needy, the Evil
Inclination might advise him to divide his money among many poor people rather
than hand over the fruit of his labors to one person.
Therefore, the Torah makes it clear that a Jew must always remember that
his "first fruits" belong to the "House of the L-rd your G-d." If the Evil
Inclination tries to interfere with a person's good intentions, the reason
is that he has not fully relinquished the claim on his material goods. If
he were to truly recognize that the money he gives to charity is not really
his, he would not be troubled by these thoughts. The next step, of actually
deciding where the money will do the most good, will then flow naturally
and easily, rendering him even more worthy of G-d's blessing.
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.
On Shavuot, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn,
used to bless the congregation, that "we receive the Torah with happiness
and inner feeling." This blessing intimates that not only does Shavuot
commemorate when we were given the Torah, but also the time when we accept
and "receive" the Torah.
In a talk some years ago, the Rebbe explained that our personal experiences
on Shavuot should reflect both of these qualities: giving and receiving
It was during this same talk that the Rebbe urged every Jewish man, woman
and child to become a teacher of Torah. The Rebbe explained that the matter
was of utmost urgency and that everyone should become a teacher of at least
ten other people.
The following Shabbat, and the Shabbat after that, the Rebbe
reiterated his expectation that everyone involve himself/herself in this
campaign, which was a matter of immediate necessity. The Rebbe also explained
that not only would the people being taught benefit from the Torah study,
but that the teacher would also benefit greatly as well.
The Rebbe explained the reason for this particular call to action: the need
to reach out and involve others in study groups is particularly pressing
in the present age. There are hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women
and children who lack knowledge of the elemental aspects of Torah and
mitzvot. These are the last moments before the coming of Moshiach,
and to prepare for his coming it is necessary to extend the knowledge of
Torah, both Torah law and the inner dimensions of Torah, to as many individuals
Our Sages have assured us that an increase in Torah study will bring about
increased blessings in all matters. May this also lead to the ultimate blessing,
the advent of the age when, "a person shall no longer teach his colleague
. . . because they will all know Me," with the coming of Moshiach and the
ultimate and complete Redemption.
May it be in the immediate future!
The sixth of the Hebrew month of Sivan, the first day of the
Shavuot holiday that we recently celebrated, is the yahrtzeit
of Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the general chasidic movement.
One year on Rosh HaShanah, the Baal Shem Tov had a special soul-journey,
at which time he went into the Heavenly Palace where Moshiach's soul studies
Torah until that time when he will be revealed. The Baal Shem Tov asked Moshiach,
"Master, when will you come?" And Moshiach answered the by-now famous words,
"When your wellsprings [chasidic teachings] will spread forth outside."
Recently an acquaintance who is new to Torah study told me that he had been
studying Torah via audio tape. He popped a tape with a lecture on
Chasidus into his walkman and heard a discussion about the above-mentioned
dialogue between the Baal Shem Tov and Moshiach.
He told me that it occurred to him that the ultimate goal of the Rebbe was
not "just" to send emissaries all over the world to open Chabad Houses and
bring people closer to Judaism. The ultimate objective, as far as he could
tell, was to spread the wellsprings of Chasidus, thereby actually
Bringing Moshiach has been the Rebbe's goal since his first public discourse
in 1951 and even before then. Moshiach has been the ultimate goal and purpose
of the foundation of the chasidic movement over 200 years ago. Moshiach is
the purpose and raison d'etre of the creation of the world 5,761 years
These days, immediately following the festival of receiving the Torah, the
yahrtzeit of the Baal Shem Tov and the yahrtzeit of King David
(progenitor of Moshiach), are especially auspicious days for Moshiach's
revelation. Let us all try our best to fulfill all of the Rebbe's many directives
to each and every one of us personally to prepare for and hasten the Redemption,
beginning with studying more Torah, giving more tzedakah -- charity,
increasing in our acts of goodness and kindness.
Adapted from Letters of the Rebbe
The Baal Shem Tov writes in a letter to his brother-in-law that on Rosh
HaShanah of the year 5507/1746, his soul ascended to the heavenly realms
where he was granted the privilege of entering the palace of the soul of
Moshiach. He asked Moshiach, "Master, when are you coming?" Moshiach responded,
"When your wellsprings [teachings] will be disseminated outward."
To this end, the Rebbe has always stressed the importance of studying
chasidic philosophy and teaching it to others to hasten Moshiach's coming
and to prepare ourselves for the messianic era.
What follows are excerpts of letters from the Rebbe about the importance
of disseminating Chasidus.
The destiny of the teachings and the message of the Baal Shem Tov -- that
they should be disseminated to the furthest reaches of the world -- must
be fulfilled. Accordingly, no corner of the globe inhabited by Jews should
remain untouched by this message.
And since we are now in the era in which we hear the approaching footsteps
of Moshiach, who "is standing behind our wall," waiting only for the finishing
touches to our refinement of this physical world, it is thus imperative that
Chasidus be studied in Australia, too. This applies not only to the
Russian-born chasidim who were sent there as emissaries; it should
likewise permeate the local Jewish population. And since this is something
that must happen, all the necessary resources will no doubt be forthcoming.
* * *
I was pleased to read of your decision to engage in the diffusion of the
light of Chasidus, and so on. It is a pity, though, that you are deferring
this for some time, when "behold, [Moshiach] is standing behind our wall,"
and is being delayed only because the wellsprings are not yet sufficiently
widespread. Can anyone measure [the Jewish people's] anguish with every
additional moment of exile, or [their] bliss in every additional moment of
the Era of the Redemption?
* * *
It is my obligation (and my privilege) to make you aware of the great necessity
of studying the inner dimensions of the Torah, which in these latter generations
have been revealed within the teachings of Chasidus. And if this study
is a necessity for every Jew, how much more is this true of a person who
is in a position to influence others, and who is thus (in the words of the
Mishnah) "himself meritorious and causes many others to attain merit."
Moreover, from this affirmative statement one can infer [that the reverse
is true when one does not take steps to be meritorious].
Especially in this period of the approaching footsteps of Moshiach, when
"behold, he is standing behind our wall" and everyone should be prepared
every day for his coming, every single individual must do his duty. For,
as the King Moshiach himself stated, he will come "when the wellsprings will
be widespread." Heaven forfend that the exile be prolonged, even for the
shortest time, by reason of any inactivity in this task of dissemination,
or even by incomplete activity. For this is an exile both of G-d and of the
House of Israel, since "when they were exiled to Edom the Divine Presence
* * *
From the perspective of this world, today's world needs a more intense light
and a greater diffusion of light, because of its lower standards (as the
Sages write, "If the early generation were like angels, we are like mortals;
if they were like mortals, we are like donkeys"), and because of the seriously
depleted numbers of our Jewish brethren (as a result of the events of recent
From the heavenly perspective, year by year, in every era, a new and lofty
spiritual light that has never yet radiated is drawn down to this world each
year from a higher realm. This obliges us to provide additional "vessels"
for this light. In this era in particular, we are coming ever closer to the
time of which we have been promised, "In its time I will expedite it." This
verse refers to the time of the coming and revelation of Moshiach. The "vessel"
for this revelation is the light of Chasidus; the condition for this
revelation is the dissemination of the wellsprings of Chasidus. It
follows that this light must radiate even to places that until now were "outside"
and that everywhere, vessels to contain the light of Moshiach should be expanded.
Chasidus classes are available for people of all ages and backgrounds.
For information, call your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
A chasid once approached the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem
M. Schneerson, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, with a question. "What
is the point of studying Chasidus, which deals with abstractions that
no mortal mind can fully grasp? After all, when Moshiach comes even those
who didn't study Chasidus will know G-d, as it says in Isaiah, 'For
they will all know Me.'"
The Tzemach Tzedek replied: "A person listening to a conversation
on the other side of a wall doesn't grasp everything. He only understands
the general drift. But later, when the conversation is repeated in full,
he understands everything he had heard previously. Every few moments he thinks,
'Ah! Now I understand all those connections and details!'
"Here, too," continued the Tzemach Tzedek, "it is true that someone
who studies Chasidus grasps only part of the subject. But when Moshiach
will teach it in the time to come, that person will be able to look back
and say, 'Ah...!'
"And not only that, but someone hearing those teachings for the second time
will understand them much more deeply than someone who will then hear them
for the first time. As the above-quoted verse says, 'For they will all know
Me, from their smallest to their greatest' -- and it is obvious that the
understanding of a young child cannot be compared to that of an adult."
Does this sound like Greek to you? If so, consider the following. Imagine
you decide to become a printer. Even before you set foot in a printing shop
you start finding out all kinds of fascinating facts about printing and presses.
You become an expert in paper and ink. You avidly read a book that describes
in detail how a four-color press works, complete with diagrams.
The big day comes when you're going to actually see a printing press. You
invite a friend to come. The friend doesn't know even a fraction of what
you do about printing, but he's a good friend so he comes.
You get into the printing plant and walk over to the biggest four-color press
in the building. After only a moment of surveying it, you point to something.
"Ah," you say excitedly, "this is where the ink goes!" An instant later you
notice a row of buttons. "Ah," you say with animation, "this is the button
you push to start the press." You walk around the machine pointing to levers,
buttons, and thing-a-ma-jigs that you recognize from your
"four-color-press-manual." And each time, you exclaim, "Ah" -- as if to say,
"I learned about it when it was all theoretical, but now I really understand."
What about your friend, though? He's probably bored since he doesn't really
know heads from tails in the printing business.
According to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidus,
the G-dly Light we will experience in the messianic era is a result of the
quality of our performance of mitzvot and study of Torah before Moshiach's
So, a similar type of scene to the one described above in the printing shop
will repeat itself when Moshiach comes. During this long exile, we study
our manual -- the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah. We learn that every
time we do a mitzvah it strengthens our connection with G-d, but we
don't quite understand why. We read that G-d created this world -- and other
worlds -- but don't really understand how. We hear about the Holy Temple
and wonder how it will look.
When Moshiach comes, and everything is revealed for our physical eyes to
behold, we'll say, "Ah, now I see how my connection to G-d was strengthened
through performing mitzvot. Ah, now I see how G-d created the world,
and I even see the spiritual worlds that exist on non-physical planes that
Kabbalah talks about. Ah, I recognize all these different furnishings
of the Holy Temple that I learned so much about." The "Ah" will be directly
proportional to the amount of effort and study we do now, in these last few
moments before Moshiach!
Vacation time is drawing near. Will you opt for a relaxing summer in a quiet
cabin in a secluded spot, or something more exotic and interesting?
Whatever our vacation plans might include, most of us put much time and thought
into making sure that the "time off" will be a success. We consider which
clothing to take, what food to bring along (and what can be purchased locally),
cost, accommodations, and much, much more.
While you're making your vacation plans, consider the following: Summertime
brings with it a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. This special ambiance
creates the perfect opportunity to give children and young people, in particular,
a positive Jewish experience.
The huge network of day and overnight camps sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch
centers around the world are expert in creating just such a positive, warm,
authentic Jewish environment.
Undoubtedly, in nearly every city where you might find yourself this summer,
there will be a Chabad camp to which you can send your child(ren). Whether
for a week or an entire summer, the Jewish experience the children will have
cannot be duplicated.
So, when you're writing to the Chamber of Commerce in city X, or telephoning
the visitors' information center in city Y, make sure to get in touch with
the Chabad-Lubavitch representative in city X or Y and find out about their
camp program. It's one part of your summer plans you'll never regret.
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 Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers -- each
Shabbat following the afternoon prayer. Pirkei Avot contain
ethics and moral exhortations.
Many have the custom to continue reading these chapters throughout the summer
months until Rosh HaShanah; summer is a time when people are prone
to become more lax in their Jewish observances.
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, June 1, Erev Shabbat Parshat Nasso:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 8:01 p.m.
Saturday, June 2, Shabbat Parshat Nasso:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 1 of
Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:11 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.