"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Ki Teitzei, 5761
Elul 12, 5761 * August 31, 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 Hebrew month of Elul.
We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a K'Siva Vachasima Tova,
a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
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 Elul, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
Parshat Ki Teitzei
The opening verse of this week's Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, begins
"When you go forth to battle against (al) your enemies." Significantly,
the Torah uses the word "al," literally "upon" or "above," rather
than "with" or "against."
This contains an allusion to the ongoing "battle" every Jew must wage against
his true enemy, the Evil Inclination:
A Jew might claim that it is very difficult for him to study Torah and do
mitzvot, given that he lives in a non-Jewish world. Then he must also
contend with his Evil Inclination, which continually tries to convince him
that he doesn't need to conduct himself as a Jew. "The non-Jews don't keep
kosher," the Evil Inclination says, "why should you?"
Furthermore, the Evil Inclination is a "skilled craftsman," meaning that
he is very good at his job. The Evil Inclination doesn't always present himself
as an enemy; in fact, he is at his most dangerous when he disguises himself
as a friend. Sometimes, the Evil Inclination will even pretend to the Good
Inclination, whose only desire is to improve the person's behavior. This
is the worst evil one can inflict on someone, making believe he is a true
friend while actually causing him harm.
A Jew might ask, "How am I supposed to protect myself from the Evil Inclination?
And how can I be sure whether a suggestion is coming from the Evil Inclination
or the Good Inclination?"
Then, of course, there is a more fundamental question: Why did G-d create
an Evil Inclination in the first place? Wouldn't it have been better if people
had only a Good Inclination, and instead of fighting negative impulses and
having to overcome them, all their time could be spent learning Torah and
To which the Torah answers, "When you go forth to battle upon your
G-d tells every Jew: Yes, it is true that you will have to wage a life-long
battle against the Evil Inclination. But you should know that as soon as
you determine to fight him, at the very moment you resolve to wage war against
your true adversary, the Evil Inclination, you will automatically be raised
to a superior position. And in the same way that it is easier to vanquish
a physical enemy from an elevated position, so too will it be easy to defeat
the Evil Inclination, with G-d's help.
As soon as a Jew resolves to fight his Evil Inclination, the battleground
is already tilted in his favor. G-d makes him stronger than his adversary,
and he has nothing to fear. All of his time can then be utilized for learning
Torah and doing mitzvot.
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.
When the king is enthroned in his palace, he is not easily accessible; audience
is granted only to those who have merited his attention. But when the king
is in public, anyone may approach him.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, compared
the month of Elul to a time when a king, returning to his palace,
passes through the surrounding fields and greets his subjects with a shining
During Elul, G-d -- the "King of the Universe" -- is available to
anyone who turns to Him...and He graciously accepts our petitions and grants
The Hebrew month of Elul is upon us, a time of introspection and
soul-searching. As the old year draws to a close, we take stock of our behavior
and make amends for any wrongs we may have committed. In preparation for
the New Year, we conduct an honest assessment of our conduct, that we may
be aroused to repentance and improvement of our Divine service.
During Elul, a Jew can almost sense the difference in the air. Everyone
feels an inexplicable urge to draw closer to G-d, to increase in Torah and
The G-dly soul that every Jew possesses automatically pulls him in the direction
of holiness. However, there are two basic ways to motivate a person: the
"carrot" and the "stick." Fear of punishment may yield the desired results,
but it usually causes more damage than benefit.
Historically, it was against this backdrop that the Baal Shem Tov and his
disciples first arose. In those days, itinerant preachers would "put the
fear of G-d" into simple Jews by vividly describing the punishments that
would befall them if they did not walk the straight and narrow.
The Chasidic approach, however, is the exact opposite. The Baal Shem Tov
emphasized the innate worth of every Jew, the value of serving G-d with purity
of heart, the immense power of prayer and the beauty of the Jewish soul.
On countless occasions the Rebbe has declared that the way to draw a Jew
closer to Judaism is by spreading the light of Torah and mitzvot.
"One should explain to him the greatness of being a descendent of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob
the 'only child' of the King of kings, the Holy One,
Blessed be He, and that his soul is 'a veritable part of G-d Above.'"
In Elul, G-d's Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are manifested with particular
intensity. It should thus be a time of only emphasizing the positive and
increasing our love for our fellow Jew. In the merit of our good deeds
(especially the mitzvah of charity), each and every one of us will
be found deserving, and G-d will inscribe us together with all the righteous,
for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
AN ORDERLY LIFE
Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe
...The general and essential nature of the resolution [to observe G-d's
commandments] is: to order one's life, in every aspect of daily life, in
accord with the purpose of man's creation. This purpose is, to quote the
succinct formulation of our Sages: "I was created to serve my Master," and
to serve Him with joy, as it is written, "Serve G-d with joy."
The nature and end-purpose of this service is: "to make an abode for G-d
in the lowest world." This means, to conduct oneself in such a way that every
detail in the surrounding world, and certainly every detail of the individual's
personal life, becomes an "abode" for G-dliness. And this is achieved through
the everyday observance of Torah and mitzvot which permeate every
aspect of life.
All this is required of every Jew, man or woman, young or old, regardless
of position and stature, as this is also indicated in the verse alluding
to Rosh HaShanah: "You are standing firmly this day, all of you, before G-d
your G-d: your heads... down to the drawer of your water." Every Jew, without
exception, is required and expected to rise to the level of "standing before
G-d, your G-d," regardless of how it was in the past year.
The question arises: How can one expect every Jew to attain such a level,
and to attain it truly and with joy, considering that it has to do with an
"abode in the lowest world," a world that is predominantly materialistic;
a world in which Jews are -- quantitatively -- "the fewest among all the
nations"; and, moreover, to expect it of the Jew when his indispensable physical
requirements, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, making a living, etc.,
occupy the major part of his time and energy, leaving but little time for
matters of spirit and holiness?
The explanation of it -- in terms understandable to all -- is to be found
in the concept of bitachon, trust in G-d.
The concept of bitachon is the underlying theme of Psalm 27, which
is recited throughout this month, the month of Elul, the month of
preparation for the new year, and continued into the beginning of the new
year, during the greater part of the month of Tishrei:
"A Psalm by David: G-d is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?" This
trust in G-d, which King David expresses on behalf of every Jew, namely,
complete confidence in G-d's help, embraces both the material and spiritual
aspects of life, to the extent of attaining the highest level of Divine service,
as is also evident from the subsequent verses of the above Psalm, down to
the concluding verse: "Hope in G-d, be strong and let your heart take courage,
yes, hope in G-d."
The idea of bitachon is to feel reassured and convinced that G-d will
help overcome all difficulties in life, both material and spiritual, since
"G-d is my light and my help." It is especially certain that everyone, man
or woman, is able to carry out his or her mission in life, and do so with
joy, reflecting on the extraordinary privilege of having been chosen by G-d
to be His emissary on earth for the purpose of "making for Him an abode in
the lowest world," and with the assurance of having G-d's light, help and
fortitude to carry out this mission.
The joy of it is further increased by contemplating the nature of this help
from G-d, which comes to him in a manner of "I turn to my loving G-d and
my loving G-d turns to me" -- the G-d Who loves me with infinite Divine love.
And this love is bestowed particularly from Rosh Chodesh Elul through
Yom Kippur, as explained by our Sages.
Hence, during this time, as well as throughout the coming year, this
extraordinary Divine love must evoke in the heart of every Jew a boundless
love for G-d, as the psalmist expresses it: "Whom have I in heaven? and on
earth I desire nothing but You; my flesh and my heart languish for You, O
G-d." Here, too, the love and trust in G-d are underscored in all aspects
of life: "in heaven" -- the spiritual, and "on earth" -- the material.
Bitachon in G-d is, for every Jew, an inheritance from our Patriarchs,
as is written, "In You our fathers trusted; they trusted -- and You delivered
them." It is deeply ingrained in the Jewish heart and soul; all that is necessary
is to bring it to the surface so that it permeates all aspects of daily life.
In light of the rule enunciated by our Sages of blessed memory, that "By
the measure that a person measures, it is measured to him," it follows that
the stronger and more embracing one's bitachon, the greater, more
evident, and more inclusive is the fulfillment of this truth, through the
blessing that G-d bestows, materially and spiritually.
Once in a while, for safety's sake, you can and should test your smoke-detector
to make sure it's working properly. This is, of course, in addition to replacing
the battery when it starts beeping once in awhile. When it starts beeping
all the time, for your safety and sanity, you'd better replace the battery
immediately. In addition, some smoke-detectors come with information about
how often they should be tested and how often batteries need to be replaced.
There's another "safety contraption" in our homes that needs to be checked
periodically -- our mezuzot. It is customary and advisable to have
a certified scribe check the mezuzah parchment (the actual
mezuzah) during the Hebrew month of Elul. Though mezuzot
don't actually come with pre-packaged instructions, the instructions should
be followed all the same.
Since we are currently in the month of Elul, now is the time to check
our mezuzot. It's also a good time to take a moment to learn about
the place mezuzot (like smoke-alarms) hold in helping assure our safety.
The Zohar, which contains the more esoteric aspects of Judaism, explains
that the effect of having a mezuzah on one's door is to provide protection
by G-d from the time you leave home until you return.
This aspect of "protection" is also hinted at by the Hebrew letter
shin that appears on most mezuzah covers. The shin is
the first of three letters, shin -- dalet -- yud, which
spell out one of G-d's names. Those letters are also an acronym for Shomer
Daltot Yisrael -- Guardian of the Doors of Israel.
Finally, just as the blood placed on the doorposts of the Jewish homes in
Egypt kept away the Angel of Death, so, too, the mezuzah has the effect
of "not allowing the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you."
With all of the above in mind, however, we are told not to look upon the
mezuzah as a charm or amulet; it is not a good luck symbol, garlic,
etc., to be worn around one's neck. It is also not just a symbol or quaint
ritual, to tell the outside world that this is a Jewish home. Of course,
it does serve as a concrete reminder to the people living in the home, when
coming in or going out, that the people in the home, in fact, are Jewish,
though this is not its primary purpose.
How can we understand how the mezuzah protects us inside and outside
the home and is yet not some sort of charm or amulet? A mezuzah can
be compared to a helmet. A soldier wears a helmet to protect him from enemy
bullets, and a mezuzah, too, protects us, our family and our possessions
Yet, "bad" things do sometimes happen to someone with mezuzot on his
doors. How is this possible? If, while wearing a helmet, an enemy bullet
does manage to wound a soldier, it is the enemy bullet, and the enemy bullet
alone that has pierced him. The helmet provides added protection, but is
not the only factor involved in the soldier's safety.
Similarly, a smoke detector offers a certain amount of protection in case
of fire. However, if a fire does, G-d forbid, cause damage, it is the fire
and not the smoke detector that has brought about the disaster.
Have your mezuzot checked soon.
If you don't have mezuzot or you need more, make sure to purchase
them from a reputable Judaica store or certified scribe. Or call your local
Chabad-Lubavitch representative for more information.
METRIC, ENGLISH, OR...
Based on the last public talk of the Rebbe
on Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel, 25 Adar I, 5752 
Though most of the world operates on a metric system for weight, liquid,
cubic, square and linear measurements, the United States continues to use
a system still known as the English system, despite the fact that the English
switched to metric decades ago.
Years back, it was expected that Americans would gradually wean themselves
off English and switch to metric; thus products produced in the U.S., even
those not manufactured for export, carry both the metric and English
measurements. Goods imported into the U.S. from Israel and Europe carry both
metric and English designations. But for most American schoolchildren, their
only familiarity with the metric system is the knowledge that soft drinks
come in one, two or three liter bottles.
There is, however, another system of measurement, linear at least. And it
is called the "Jewish yardstick."
The Jewish yardstick is simple to use, and it doesn't interfere with any
other system of weight, liquid, cubic, square, or linear measurement.
The rules for using the Jewish yardstick are as follow: When measuring up
your neighbor, friend, co-worker, relative or any stranger, judge him leniently
and favorably. When measuring yourself and your accomplishments, be stringent.
In Chasidic terminology one would say: Look at another with the "right eye"
-- with kindness; look at yourself with the "left eye" -- with strictness.
Such an approach is based on the commandment to "Love your fellow as yourself."
Just as a person's intrinsic self-love allows him to overlook his own faults,
so too, must we overlook another's faults.
In regard to our personal conduct, we strive to both push away the negative
and to do good. When relating to another individual, however, the Jewish
yardstick's method is to channel our energies solely into the positive path
-- "Do good."
Although there may be times when someone's conduct warrants reproof, before
criticizing -- even before giving "positive criticism" -- we should question
ourselves as to whether we are fit to be the one to administer it. Furthermore,
if reproof must be given, it should be offered gently, which will obviously
enable it to be accepted more readily than harsh speech. Moreover, such words
should be spoken only on select occasions.
The old saying, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," is a derivation of the
Biblical verse, "One who spares the rod hates his son." Judaism indicates
that rebuke and reprimand are not only important, but at times, essential.
However, admonishment may be given only when the relationship between two
individuals is like that between a father and son: To give rebuke, one must
love the other person just as a father loves his child; additionally, the
difference in level between the two people must be as radical as the difference
between a father and a son. Needless to say, this does not apply in most
Why is all this true? Because the ultimate value of every Jew is immeasurable.
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.
Preparations for the High Holidays:
"Our Sages state that thirty days before a holiday, we should learn the laws
pertaining to it. It is already less then thirty days before the holidays
of Tishrei begin and in this context, it is necessary to mention the
importance of providing Jews with their holiday needs so that they will be
able to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and the holidays that follow in the manner
stated in the Bible, 'Eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages and send
portions to those who do not have them prepared.'"
The Rebbe, Elul, 5750/1990
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, August 31, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:13 p.m.
Saturday, September 1, Shabbat Parshat Ki Teitzei:
On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapters 1 &
2 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:13 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.