"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Chukat, 5761
Tamuz 8, 5761 * June 29, 2001
The Third of Tamuz
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:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
"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 Gimel Tamuz, the 3rd of
Tamuz, Sunday, June 24.
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
28 Sivan, 5761
60th anniversary since the Rebbe and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka
arrived in the United States
Brooklyn, New York
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Horav Chaim Yehuda Kalman ben Horav Avrohom Yehoshua
head of the Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court) of Crown Heights,
On the occasion of his first yahrtzeit, 20 Sivan, 5761
In this week's Torah portion, Chukat, we learn that when the Jewish
people sinned by repeatedly complaining about Moses and Aaron, G-d punished
them by sending "fiery serpents." Moses, who was the epitome of selflessness,
prayed on the Jews' behalf, whereupon G-d instructed him to "Make a fiery
serpent and set it upon a pole. And everyone who is bitten, when he sees
it shall live." Moses followed G-d's instructions, and fashioned a serpent
of copper. "It came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he
looked upon the serpent of copper, he lived."
Our Sages explain that it was not the serpent that had the power to kill
or revive; rather, "When the Israelites looked upward, and subjected their
hearts to their Father in heaven, they were healed; if not, they perished."
The purpose of the copper serpent was to arouse the Jews to repentance; once
they repented, they were healed.
Chasidic teachings provide an even deeper dimension: A person who had been
bitten by a "fiery serpent" was already "dead," by virtue of having already
been injected with a poisonous substance. In other words, the "serpent of
copper" had to effect what was essentially a "resurrection." However, the
power to resurrect the dead could not come from the same level of G-dliness
that sustains "regular" life, as the person who was bitten had already lost
that particular source of vitality. His "resurrection" had to be derived
from an infinitely higher level, described in Chasidic philosophy as "the
aspect of abundant mercies of the Divine Essence of Infinite Light, which
is higher than the Source of life."
Thus in order for the bitten person to be healed, he had to rise above the
"regular" level of G-dliness that sustains life and access G-d Himself, to
Whom "life and death are equal." The bitten person's repentance had to be
so profound that it could transform death into life.
In fact, the "serpent of copper" expressed this concept of resurrection.
The snake itself is symbolic of death, as it was through the serpent that
death was introduced into the world in the Garden of Eden. In this instance,
however, the "serpent of copper" had the opposite effect, saving people from
death rather than killing them.
On the level of the soul, this "resurrection" is the service of turning darkness
into light, transforming the Evil Inclination itself into goodness and holiness.
By subjugating his heart to G-d, a Jew can turn even deliberate sins into
merits, thereby rendering himself a proper vessel for G-d's infinite blessings.
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.
Gimel Tamuz, 5710/1950
. . . Many seek to explain the qualities and greatness of the Chabad
Rebbes in general, and in particular the Rebbe of our generation, my
father-in-law, of blessed memory, in various areas: as a man of self-sacrifice,
of Torah genius, of lofty character, a tzaddik, of prophetic ability,
a miracle-worker, etc., etc.
These qualities are further magnified when viewed in the light of chasidic
teaching, which explains what is true Torah genius, and so on.
And yet, none of this addresses the primary quality of the Rebbe, a quality
that is not only primary in essence, but which is most important to us, his
chasidim and followers, namely the fact that he is a Nassi,
and particularly a Chabad Nassi.
A Nassi, broadly defined, is a "head of the multitudes of Israel."
He is their "head" and "mind," their source of life and vitality. Through
their attachment to him, they are bound and united with their source on high.
There are several types of Nesi'im: those who supply their constituents
with internalized nurture (penimiyut), and those whose nurture is
of a more "encompassing" nature (makif). This is further divisible
into the particulars of whether they impart the teaching of the "revealed"
part of Torah, or the esoteric part of the Torah, or both together; whether
they offer guidance in the service of G-d and the ways of chasidim;
whether they draw down material provision, and so on.
There are also Nesi'im who are channels in several of these areas
or even in all of them.
Such was the nature of the leadership of the Nesi'im of Chabad, from
the Alter Rebbe to and including my father in law, who embraced all these
categories and areas: they nurtured their chasidim in both the "internal"
and the "encompassing" qualities of their souls; in Torah, divine service
and good deeds; in spirit and in body. Thus, their bond with those connected
with them was in all 613 limbs and organs of their souls and bodies.
Each and every one of us must know -- that is, dwell and implant the awareness
in his or her mind -- that the Rebbe is our Nassi and head: that he
is the source and channel for all our material and spiritual needs, and that
it is through our bond with him (and he has already instructed us in his
letters how and by what means this bond is achieved)(1)
that we are bound and united with our source, and the source of our source,
up to our ultimate source on high.
1. "You ask how you can be bound to me when I do not know you personally...
"...The true bond is created by studying Torah. When you study my discourses,
read the talks and associate with those dear to me... and you fulfill my
request... in this is the bond." ("Hayom Yom" -- "From Day To Day,"
See also below Living With The Rebbe
"Some people are apprehensive about having the Redemption arrive so suddenly.
What will come of all the businesses that they have set up, the property
and possessions they have accumulated, the friendships and the contacts that
have been established, and so on?
"They need not worry. The Redemption does not imply the annulment of the
natural order nor the loss of the good things that came into being (in the
spirit of the Torah) during the exile. Indeed, these very things will be
comprised in the Redemption, and will be elevated to a state of Redemption,
to the level of their true consummation."
(The Rebbe, 5751/1991)
Many people express wonder at the fact that the Rebbe's leadership is spoken
of in the present tense, that the Rebbe's leadership is uninterrupted despite
our inability to perceive him physically.
Jewish teachings state that G-d showed Adam, the first person, all future
generations together with their great leaders. These leaders are the
tzaddikim (righteous individuals) whose souls G-d, in His wisdom and
kindness, sent into this world to guide the generations, caring for them
both spiritually and materially and showing the Jewish people the correct
path to follow. Chasidic philosophy explains that these great leaders are
the mind and the heart of the body of the Jewish people.
Each generation has its own unique mission and role in the overall fulfillment
of G-d's purpose in the entire creation: to create a "home" for G-d in this
physical world through the revelation of Moshiach and the Redemption. In
the Tanya of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, (the first Rebbe of
Chabad-Lubavitch and the founder of Chabad Chasidic philosophy and the
Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty), it is explained that earlier generations are like
the head, their major preoccupation being Torah study; later generations,
known as the "heels of Moshiach," are more closely associated with raw action.
Sincerely our generation is characterized by "Action is the main thing,"
as the Rebbe told us.
The Al-mighty sends each generation the leader appropriate to the task of
the times. This leader comes to guide his generation in a unique direction
in the fulfillment of G-d's purpose for creation commensurate with their
own nature and purpose.
Let us apply these principles to our own generation. In the first official
Chasidic teaching articulated by the Rebbe when he accepted the mantle of
leadership, the Rebbe declared unequivocally that the unique purpose of our
generation, the seventh from Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, is to fulfill
the original intent of G-d's creation. This is to be achieved by drawing
down G-d's presence into this mundane physical world with the complete revelation
of Moshiach and the commencement of the Redemption.
The Rebbe has told us numerous times in his most recent public talks that
we have finished the Divine service of exile and that our purpose now is
to prepare for the Redemption. "The time of your Redemption has arrived,"
the Rebbe declared with prophetic vision. This is a totally different message
which has never before been enunciated in the history of the Jewish people.
He explained that we should involve ourselves in more good deeds, more Torah
study, the enhanced fulfillment of mitzvot, as a preparation and foretaste
of the Redemption. However, until the Redemption actually begins, with the
rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the ingathering of all
of the Jews from the Diaspora, the ultimate fulfillment of our purpose has
not been achieved.
Why the Al-mighty willed that the leadership of the Rebbe at the conclusion
of the service of this generation should be in its current form will most
likely remain a mystery until the completion of the process of Redemption.
But what we know clearly is what the Rebbe himself has told us in no uncertain
terms, that the role of our generation is to actually bring about the Redemption
and to prepare ourselves and the entire world for it. Until this has been
achieved, we remain in the same generation.
The Rebbe and his leadership are very much of the present and will continue
until G-d has mercy on us and our mission is crowned with success.
This date itself, while ingrained in the minds of Lubavitcher chasidim
around the globe, has significance for all Jews and, indeed the entire world
Although we have not seen the Rebbe with our physical eyes since Gimel
Tamuz seven years ago, his presence in the lives of his hundreds of thousands
of chasidim and millions of admirers is evident. And the Rebbe's
involvement in the thousands of institutions he established, and the hundreds
of institutions set up since Gimel Tamuz seven years ago, is palpable.
Gimel Tamuz, Sunday, June 24, is the third day in the Hebrew
month of Tamuz. The number three has much significance in Jewish
teachings. Our Sages teach that the world stands on three pillars: Torah
study, prayer, and acts of kindness. In addition, they teach that the
tzaddik is the foundation of the entire world.
What has been the thrust of the Rebbe, the foundation of the world, in his
five decades of leadership? As is well known to our readers, since the Rebbe's
acceptance of the mantle of leadership he stated clearly the purpose of
our generation, the seventh generation (since the inception of Chabad
Chasidism), is to bring the Redemption.
And since then, the Rebbe has elucidated how we can accomplish this in a
threefold campaign: through Torah study, prayer, and acts of kindness:
Our Torah study should be increased in all areas of Jewish knowledge in general,
chasidic philosophy in particular, and specifically those matters found
everywhere in Jewish teachings that deal with Moshiach and the Redemption.
Our prayers should be suffused with heartfelt requests of G-d to bring the
Redemption, crying out, "How much longer?" and even to the point of demanding
the Redemption (as explained by the Chofetz Chaim).
Lastly, through love of our fellow Jew in general and even simple acts of
kindness and good deeds, we can prepare ourselves for the Redemption and
hasten its inception.
May we be together with the Rebbe this year on Gimel Tamuz, not just
"feeling" his presence but actually seeing the Rebbe, a soul in a physical
body, leading us to the Holy Land and ushering in the complete and eternal
According to Jewish thought, especially as elucidated in the teachings of
the Baal Shem Tov, nothing in this world happens by chance; everything --
even the movement of a blade of grass -- is governed by Divine Providence.
Additionally, a tzaddik, a wholly righteous person, has Divine powers
of insight and far-reaching vision that allow him to see that which is unseen
or not yet visible to the untrained eye.
What can we glean from the Rebbe's very own thoughts on Gimel Tamuz?
In the book Hayom Yom (From Day To Day, which the Rebbe compiled
on the instructions of his father-in-law from the teachings of the previous
Rebbes), the quote the Rebbe included for Gimel Tamuz, 5703/1943,
reads: "A Jewish groan that, G-d forbid, arises from physical misfortune,
is also a great repentance; how much more so, then, is a groan arising from
spiritual distress, a lofty and effective repentance. The groan pulls him
out of the depths of evil and places him on a firm footing in the realm of
The Rebbe was assuring us, even then, that our groans resulting from that
date, rather than paralyzing us, would ultimately point us in the right direction
and inspire us to rededicate ourselves to the Rebbe's goal of bringing the
revelation of Moshiach and the Redemption.
In a letter dated Gimel Tamuz, 5710/1950, five months after the passing
of the Previous Rebbe, the Rebbe described what a Rebbe
On Gimel Tamuz, 5751/1991 -- the last time the Rebbe spoke on that
date until we are once more reunited -- the Rebbe discussed two historical
events that occurred on Gimel Tamuz.
The more recent event was in 5687/1927, when the Previous Rebbe was released
from Soviet prison and exiled to Kostrama for three years. Before his release
to internal exile he had been sentenced to death.
Thousands of years earlier, Gimel Tamuz was the day on which Joshua
beseeched G-d to allow the sun to stand still in the sky so as to be able
to continue the Jewish people's battle against the enemy and be victorious.
The Rebbe notes, in the talk of ten years ago, that both of these events
were miracles, but miracles that occurred within the realm of nature rather
than totally outside of nature. The Rebbe connects these points to an event
in the weekly Torah portion of that year, which was the portion of
In Parshat Korach we read of G-d's command to Moses to take the staffs
of princes of the 12 tribes, including that of Aaron the Kohen Gadol
(High Priest), and to place them overnight in the Tent of Meeting.
The staff that is rejuvenated, G-d informs Moses, will be the one belonging
to the family that rightfully serves as priests. This miracle, G-d assures
Moses, will surely end the complaints of the Jewish people against Moses
and Aaron. Aaron's staff sprouted, blossomed and even bore fruit. And the
staff became an eternal sign to the Jewish people of the validity of the
priesthood being with Aaron and his descendants.
As we await the immediate revelation of the Rebbe, may we all sincerely attempt
to implement the Rebbe's call to all men, women and children of our
generation to "do everything you can to bring Moshiach in actuality!"
and to fulfill our last communal mission in this pre-Redemption world, "to
prepare ourselves and the entire world to greet our righteous Moshiach!"
2. See above The Rebbe Is The
"Head", for an adaptation from the original Hebrew.
The Rebbe's followers, admirers, even people who have had only casual interaction
with the Rebbe, are still "living with the Rebbe," following his directives,
turning to him for advice, asking for his blessings.
How is this being done?
Studying the Rebbe's teachings is one of the most important and basic ways
to live with the Rebbe. The Rebbe often quoted the Previous Rebbe's letters,
which explain that a true connection with the Rebbe is attained only by studying
the teachings of the Rebbe. The Rebbe clarified, though: "Most certainly
the Rebbe is a tzaddik who bestows blessings; G-d surely fulfills
his blessings to the utmost, to each and every individual, according to his
need. Specifically, the Rebbe holds each person by the hand and guides him;
one must only be careful not to involve his own will in the matter."
Just two months after the Previous Rebbe's passing, the Rebbe wrote the following
to someone: "You worry that now one cannot ask the Rebbe when he is in doubt
how he should conduct himself. If you stand strong in your connection to
him...and send your questions to the Rebbe's ohel [gravesite], the
Rebbe will find a way to answer."
Some people fax letters to the ohel (718-723-4444), some come from
near or far to go personally. Others ask one of the Rebbe's secretaries to
read the letter at the ohel.
Another way people "live with the Rebbe" is by placing a letter to the Rebbe
in any of the nearly 100 volumes of the Rebbe's Torah teachings or
correspondence. This is, in fact, what chasidim of previous generations
did when they were unable to correspond with their Rebbe in the conventional
There's a modern twist, though. Today we have 26 volumes of Igros Kodesh
-- letters written by the Rebbe to private individuals over the past 51 years.
As they are letters to private individuals -- and the Rebbe "custom makes"
the advice to fit the soul -- there are different answers to similar questions.
For instance, to one person who asks the Rebbe if he should move, the Rebbe
answers yes. To another person the Rebbe's answer is no.
After writing to the Rebbe, one opens the book "at random" and the advice
in that letter is one's answer.(3) And we haven't heard
of a case yet when one sincerely asks the Rebbe advice in this manner that
there hasn't been an answer.
3. See Living With Moshiach, Vol. 135:
Once a chasid went to his Rebbe and cried, "My son is about
to be drafted to serve in the Czar's army! I have been informed that the
draft board will be comprised of people from a different town. If a father
brings a note from a doctor saying that his son is ill, the boy receives
a three-month reprieve. I will bring a note saying my son is ill. In three
months, when he has to appear before the board again, it will be comprised
of local people with whom I am close and they will easily exempt him."
The Rebbe listened and then said, "I understand your plan, but I think your
son should appear at this hearing."
The chasid left the Rebbe's room bewildered, for his plan was completely
logical. He went home and decided to continue as planned. He procured a doctor's
note and appeared at the scheduled hearing. Upon entering the room he nearly
fainted: it was the local board! He had no choice but to hand them the note
and receive the three-month grace period. But he knew that when he appeared
three months later, before the board of strangers, his son would surely be
The distraught father came to the Rebbe again and pleaded with him for help.
"Have pity on a poor fool. Should my innocent son suffer because he has a
father such as me?" he wailed. The Rebbe thought for some time and then said,
"Get your son a false passport and send him far away."
The father nodded. "But that leaves me with another big problem," he then
related. "When a draftee runs away, the father is fined three hundred rubles,
which I don't have! They will take my small children as hostages, until I
The Rebbe fell deep into thought again, then answered: "Don't worry. There
is a project in the works."
The chasid was relieved. He bought a passport on the black market
and sent his son off to safety. But what of the fine? He wondered. He tried
to put his questions and doubts out of his mind.
Three months passed. A soldier came to his store and handed him many
official-looking papers, announcing: "Sign these and appear at the bureau
in 24 hours."
The chasid was shaking as he entered the lawyer's office. He could
not read Russian, and so he had been unable to persue the documents. The
lawyer, a local Jew, studied the pages closely. Then he looked up with a
smile. "Do you know that they have given you their entire file on your son?
Were you to throw them into the fire, nothing would be left; it would be
over." With that, he tossed the papers into the fire, and the chasid
suddenly understood his Rebbe's words, which had been so unintelligible at
the time: "There is a project in the works."
* * *
The Rebbe has told the world that "There is a project in the works" -- the
time of the Redemption has arrived. And though at times it might appear that
things are going in a different direction, there really is "a project in
We needn't accept on blind faith the existence of the "project." The Rebbe
has shown us how the world is changing and moving toward the Redemption.
He has pointed out examples of the fulfillment of ancient prophecies. Nor
should we be discouraged by temporary setbacks, for these, too, have their
precedents: Even after we had gone out of Egypt amidst great wonders, some
Jews wanted to turn back when faced with adversity. Later, though the journey
to the Holy Land had already commenced, Moses was hidden from us as he studied
the most sublime aspects of G-d's Wisdom, in order to ultimately share it
with the Jewish nation.
Surely we will all contribute to the completion of the project and very soon
we will join together with all Jewry of all generations in the holy city
of Jerusalem, NOW!
Is the so-called "Moshiach Campaign" a Lubavitch invention? At a gathering
on Shavuot 1985, the Rebbe spoke about people's perception of the
desire for Moshiach as an "innovation" of Lubavitch. The Rebbe said (freely
"Someone wrote to me recently that he met a religious Jew who doesn't 'hold'
from Lubavitch (not that the Jew has any idea what Lubavitch is, he just
knows that he doesn't 'hold' from Lubavitch) and asked, 'Why do Lubavitchers
cry out and proclaim, "Moshiach now!" '
"The person who wrote the letter wasn't sure what to answer the other Jew
and therefore was writing to me for an answer.
"It is mind-boggling that the letter-writer didn't know what to answer the
other Jew! But to answer the question:
"Belief in Moshiach and awaiting his coming -- 'I believe in the coming of
Moshiach... I wait every day that he should come' -- is one of the 13 fundamental
principles of the Jewish faith as enumerated by Maimonides.
"Every Jew requests in each of the three daily weekday services, 'Speedily
cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish... for we hope for Your
salvation every day.' And each day, including Shabbat and holidays,
in the three prayer services, we beg, 'May our eyes behold Your return to
Zion in mercy!'
"After all of this, there are those who say that the request that we go out
of exile to the Redemption -- 'Moshiach now,' -- is a 'novel' idea of Lubavitch!"
The Rebbe quoted a verse from Psalms, "As the deer longs for the springs
of water, so does my soul call out in thirst for You G-d." The Rebbe explained
that this verse emphasizes our great pain over the exile and our desire and
longing for the Redemption. This desire is not just that we want "Moshiach
now," but much more: In the same way a person who hasn't had water for a
long time thirsts for it in order to revive his soul, so should our thirst
for the Redemption affect our lives literally.
May our cry of "Moshiach now!" be filled with a true thirst for the Redemption
that will reunite us with the Rebbe and bring the Redemption NOW!
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, June 29, Erev Shabbat Parshat Chukat:
Light Shabbat Candles,(4) by 8:12 p.m.
Saturday, June 30, Shabbat Parshat Chukat:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 5 of
Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:22 p.m.
4. 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.