"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Matos-Masei 5761
Tamuz 29, 5761 * July 20, 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
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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 Saturday, Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei, July 21, is Rosh Chodesh
Menachem-Av, therefore, in this week's issue we focus on the upcoming
Hebrew month of Menachem-Av.
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
25 Tamuz, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
This week we read two Torah portions, Parshat Matos and Parshat
Masei. The first Torah portion, Parshat Matos, contains a seemingly
unusual request by the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Citing their "great multitude
of cattle," the sons of Reuben and Gad asked Moses to grant their portion
of the land of Israel on the other side of the Jordan. "The country...is
a land for cattle; and your servants have cattle," they said. "If we have
found grace in your eyes, let this land be given to your servants as a
possession; do not compel us to go over the Jordan."
Even more surprising is the fact that Moses acceded to their request. How
many verses in the Torah speak of G-d's promise to Moses to bring the Children
of Israel into the promised land? Yet these verses mention only "the land
of Canaan," an area west of the Jordan river. If so, why would the tribes
of Reuben and Gad have even considered settling in the cities of "Atarot,
Divon, Ya'zer and Nimrah" on the eastern shore of the Jordan, part of the
land of Sichon and Og? Did these tribes intentionally seek to distance themselves
from their brethren?
Furthermore, how valid was their claim that the territory east of the Jordan
would provide superior grazing land for their cattle? Why would the tribes
of Reuben and Gad have willingly forgone entering the promised land with
their wives and children just to benefit their livestock?
In order to understand what really occurred we need to refer back to G-d's
very first promise to Abraham concerning the land of Israel. At that time,
G-d said to Abraham, "To your seed will I give this land...the [land of]
the Keni, the Kenizi and the Kadmoni..." In all, G-d enumerated ten nations
that the Jewish people would one day inhabit. Seven of these ten nations
were defeated and conquered by the Children of Israel 40 years after they
left Egypt; the other three will only be conquered by the Jewish people in
the Messianic Era.
The true intent behind the request of Reuben and Gad to dwell east of the
Jordan was in order to hasten this process. The portion of land they settled,
formerly belonging to the kings Sichon and Og, was part of the territory
of the three nations that still remained to be conquered. This is the reason
Moses agreed to their request and granted them their inheritance east of
the Jordan, for he saw their settlement of that territory as a "preparation"
for the full and complete settlement of the land of Israel that would occur
in the Messianic Era.
In truth, the actions of the tribes of Reuben and Gad lent an added dimension
to the Jews' first conquest of the land, one that brought our ultimate conquest
of the entire land of Israel in the Era of the Redemption much closer.
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.
This summer, during the month of July, comes a very serious time for the
Jewish people, when many terrible things happened throughout history. This
period is called the "Three Weeks," or Bain HaMetzorim, which means
"Between the Straits."
What happened during this time? On the 17th of Tamuz: 1) Moses descended
from Mt. Sinai and smashed the two Tablets with the Ten Commandments when
he saw the Jews worshipping the Golden Calf; 2) The Romans breached the walls
of Jerusalem in 70 c.e.; 3) During the siege of Jerusalem the daily sacrifice
was interrupted by Nebuchadnezzer; 4) Apostomus publicly burned a Torah scroll;
and 5) An idol was erected in the courtyard of the Holy Temple. On the 9th
of Av, both the First and Second Temple were destroyed, bringing terrible
suffering upon the Jewish people.
The "Three Weeks" begin on the 17th of Tamuz (Sunday, July 8, 2001),
and continue until the 9th of Av (Sunday, July 29, 2001).
We observe some aspects of mourning: Weddings do not take place, and playing
musical instruments is prohibited, as is the buying and wearing of new garments.
In addition, we do not cut our hair.
Also, we should try to be extra kind to one another. We should give extra
charity, and learn extra Torah, and pray to G-d to end the Exile.
Jewish teachings explain that when we learn the laws of the Holy Temple,
its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if we
are rebuilding it.
Therefore, the Rebbe stresses that during the "Three Weeks" we should spend
time studying what the Holy Temple will be like, and to learn all about it.
See our publication: "Laws of the Holy Temple".
The text of the book: "Seek Out The Welfare Of Jerusalem" [Analytical Studies
by the Rebbe, of Rambam's rulings concerning the construction and design
of the Holy Temple], published by Sichos in English -- is available on-line
and is divided into a special study program.
Also, for a Virtual Interactive Tour of the second Bais Hamikdosh
(Holy Temple), go to:
During the Nine Days between the beginning of the Jewish month of Av and
the 9th of Av (July 21-29), mourning intensifies. We abstain from
eating meat and drinking wine except on Shabbat and for a Seudas
Mitzvah (meal associated with a mitzvah such as a bris,
or upon completing the study of a tractate of the Talmud). Lawsuits should
be postponed, pleasure trips should be avoided.
Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem it says, "Everyone who mourns for
the destruction of Jerusalem will be privileged to see its rebuilding." We
are not discussing here the obligation of the community at large, but rather
the obligation of each and every individual. Each one of us has to mourn
Jerusalem. And, although we have been promised that the Bais HaMikdosh
will be rebuilt, we are obligated to help rebuild it.
The completion of this task requires not only the participation of the community
in general, but also the participation of each individual in particular.
The Rebbe has said that, in order to aid in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and
bring Moshiach closer, every individual must increase in Torah study, prayer
and charity. An increase in charity is especially appropriate at this time,
as we are told that charity brings the final Redemption closer, and "Zion
-- Jerusalem -- will be redeemed through . . . tzedakah -- charity."
May each and every one of us draw on that inner strength bestowed upon every
Jew that will enable us to increase in all of the above-mentioned matters,
bringing about the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the complete and final Redemption
through Moshiach, NOW!
Saturday, Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei, July 21, is the first day of
the Hebrew month of Av. With the beginning of Av, the three-week
mourning period over the destruction of the Temple intensifies.
The First of Av was also the day on which Aaron, the High Priest,
Concerning his passing, the Torah tells us that "All of the House of Israel
wept for Aaron for thirty days." But for Moses, only the men wept, not the
women. Why was this? Because Aaron made peace between husband and wife, and
It is a phenomenal example of Divine Providence that Aaron, who was known
as a "pursuer of peace," passed away just on the day when, hundreds of years
later, we would be intensifying our mourning over the destruction of the
Temple. His life's work, evident even at his passing, shows us how to rectify
the reason for which the Temple was destroyed.
The Second Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred among Jews. Hatred
and divisiveness are equal to the sins of idolatry, adultery and murder,
for which the First Temple was destroyed.
Especially at this time, we have much to learn from Aaron. We must try to
emulate his wonderful example, by doing everything in our power to bring
peace and harmony amongst our people. When this happens, we will no longer
mourn the passing of Aaron, nor the destruction of the Holy Temples, for
we will all be united, together as one, in the Third and everlasting Holy
Temple, may it be rebuilt NOW.
Our Sages have taught that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of sinat
chinam -- unwarranted hatred. The rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the
correction of our past failings will be brought about through ahavat
chinam -- unconditional love of our fellow Jew. What is unconditional
love? When we love the other person just because he is a Jew.
There are two sorts of love, actually, love of two different "types" of Jews.
One love is for the Jew I don't even know, and the other is for the Jew I
know. A cynical Jew once said, "If you ask me to love the Jew that's in Russia,
or the Jew that's fighting in the front lines in Israel, whom I've never
met, I have no problem. But if you're asking me to love Yankel my neighbor,
whose faults I know, now that is very, very hard."
In order to rebuild the Holy Temple, we have to have ahavat chinam
for the people we know. Though we recognize through firsthand experience
their good and bad qualities, their frailties and foibles, we must rise higher
than the differences between us. And, if we look higher or overlook altogether
what we don't like in another Jew, then the ahavat chinam will come
much more easily. For, when we look deeper, we will certainly see the other
Jew's source and essence, which, being a part of G-d Himself, are good and
May each and every one of us be permeated with true ahavat chinam
for those Jews whom we know as well as those Jews we don't know, thus helping
to rebuild the Third and eternal Holy Temple, NOW.
Reb Zalman Estulin, an elderly chasid, told this story many years
ago at a chasidic gathering -- a farbrengen.
Once, there were two brothers, Avraham and Shlomo, who exhibited unbelievable
brotherly love. As children they never fought. They studied Torah together
and eventually, after they married fine, Jewish women, they settled down
in the same city.
Sad to say, the brothers got into a foolish argument as is bound to happen.
Things went from bad to worse until it got to the point where as friendly
and loving as the brothers had once been they now hated and abhorred each
Years passed in this way until the time came when Reb Avraham was going to
marry off his eldest daughter. Despite the fact that they had not spoken
for over a decade, Reb Avraham wanted his brother to share in his happiness.
And so, he sent Shlomo a letter of apology for all past wrongs and an invitation
to the wedding. When no reply came, Avraham sent a messenger. But the messenger
came back with the message that Shlomo would not even consider coming to
The evening of the wedding arrived, and though Reb Avraham was happy, his
joy was tinged with sadness in knowing that his brother would not attend
For his part, Reb Shlomo had scheduled his evening in such a way that feelings
of remorse would not get in his way of staying home. He had a huge, seven-course
meal, took a long, relaxing bath, got into his pajamas and went to bed early.
The wedding on the other side of town was in full swing when the violinist,
an extremely talented musician who could change people's moods through his
music, noticed that Avraham's joy was not complete.
The violinist approached Avraham and asked if there was anything he could
do: "My reputation will suffer if I can't make the father of the bride happy."
Avraham told the violinist that he was saddened by his brother's absence.
"I will go and bring him here," the violinist offered.
And so, the violinist went to Reb Shlomo's house. He stood outside of Shlomo's
bedroom window. Half asleep, Shlomo came to the window to see who was playing.
He was so intrigued and entranced by the violinist's recital that he opened
his door and went outside.
In this manner the violinist and Shlomo walked through the town until they
reached the wedding hall.
Slowly, slowly, they approached the wedding until Reb Shlomo found himself
in the middle of the dance floor at the wedding hall. He looked around and
saw everybody so beautifully dressed. Then, he looked at himself and realized,
with quite a bit of embarrassment, that he was hardly dressed as befits the
uncle of the bride. Indeed, he was a sorry state in his pajamas!
"Brothers," Rabbi Estulin concluded, "we're all going to be there in the
middle of the dance floor when Moshiach comes. Because, as our Sages teach
us, the Redemption is like the consummation of the wedding ceremony between
G-d and the Jewish people, which took place at the giving of the Torah on
"The Torah and mitzvot that we do are like the clothing of our souls.
It is up to us to come to the wedding dressed as befits the uncle of the
bride, and not in our pajamas!"
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 Torah Celebrations:
As a further preparation for the messianic era, to reveal the positive qualities
and joy that are latent in these Three Weeks, conclusions of Torah works
(siyyumim) should be held on each of the Nine Days (July 21-29), including
"These activities will hasten the transformation of these days into days
of celebration, when with true and complete joy we shall proceed together
with Moshiach, to the Holy Land, in the true and ultimate Redemption."
The Rebbe, 18 Tamuz, 5751/1991
For a siyyum in your area, contact your local rabbi or Chabad-Lubavitch
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, July 20, Erev Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 8:04 p.m.
Saturday, July 21, Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:
Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 2 of
Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:12 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.