"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Vayeilech, 5762
Tishrei 4, 5762 * September 21, 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 Vov Tishrei, the sixth of
Tishrei (Sunday, Sept. 23) -- when we commemorate the 37th
yahrtzeit of the Rebbe's mother, Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson.
We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very sweet, happy, healthy
and successful 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
25 Elul, 5761
Brooklyn, New York
DEDICATED TO THE REBBE,
In Honor Of Our Daughter
on the occasion of her birthday, 25 Elul
This week's Torah portion of Vayeilech speaks about the mitzvah
of hakhel. In the days of the Holy Temple, the entire Jewish people
assembled in Jerusalem every seventh year, while the king read certain portions
of the Torah aloud, "that they may hear and that they may learn how they
are to fear the L-rd your G-d."
The Toseftah (supplement to the Mishnah) describes how the
kohanim (priests) would stand on the outskirts of Jerusalem, sounding
their golden trumpets to summon the people to the Temple. "Any kohen
without a golden trumpet," the Toseftah concludes, "did not look like
a kohen at all."
In order to understand this odd statement, the role of the kohanim
needs to be defined. The kohanim performed various duties in the Holy
Temple. Sounding their trumpets around Jerusalem was not part of their service;
it was only a preparation for the mitzvah of hakhel, and not
even an integral part of it. Why, then, was it so significant that any
kohen who did not participate "did not look like a kohen at
One of the most important services performed by the kohanim was burning
the incense. As Maimonides explains, on the simplest level, the purpose of
the incense was to dispel unpleasant odors and impart a pleasant smell. But
on a more mystical level (as explained in the Zohar), the purpose
of the incense was "to dispel the taint of the Evil Inclination."
The incense was composed of many different ingredients. One component, a
resin called galbanum, has a particularly disagreeable odor, and is thus
symbolic of the lower, more debased aspects of existence. (In the Talmud
the galbanum is likened to Jews who sin.) In spiritual terms, the function
of the kohanim was to elevate these lower elements and transform them
into holiness. In fact, regardless of the individual service being performed
in the Temple, the overall role of the kohanim was to elevate even
the most mundane aspects of physical existence.
This function was epitomized by the mitzvah of hakhel. After
seven years of elevating ordinary, everyday things, the kohanim could
now raise the entire Jewish people to a higher spiritual level.
For this reason, the sounding of the trumpets was the "test" of an individual
kohen's mettle. If a kohen correctly perceived his Divinely
appointed role and went out to summon his brethren, he was a true
kohen. If he stayed at home and did not participate, "he did not look
like a kohen at all."
In a spiritual sense, all Jews are considered to be kohanim, "a nation
of priests and a holy people." For in truth, each of us is obligated to elevate
our surroundings, and arouse the hearts of our fellow Jews to ever-higher
levels of Torah and 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.
The seven days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are an opportunity to
do teshuvah with respect to each of the seven days of the week --
i.e., on the Monday, we can make amends for whatever wrongs we may have done
on all the Mondays of the previous year... and so forth.
Shabbat -- from the evening of Fri., Sept. 21, until nightfall on
Sat., Sept. 22 -- is called Shabbat Shuvah, after the Haftorah
[prophetic reading] for that day: "Return, O Israel... for you have
This Shabbat is known by two names: 1) Shabbat Shuvah, derived
from the opening words of the Haftorah that is read in synagogue,
"Shuvah Yisrael" -- "Return, O Israel," and 2) Shabbat Teshuvah,
as it falls out in the middle of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, the Ten
Days of Repentance. This name is also connected to the Haftorah, the
theme of which is likewise the return to G-d.
The two names of this Shabbat reveal a timely lesson.
The word shuvah -- "return" is the command form of the word
lashuv -- "to return." G-d commands us to return to Him in
Teshuvah, by contrast, is a noun denoting the action itself, the
actual return to G-d.
The name shuvah relates more to the One Who is issuing the command
than the person being addressed. Shuvah alludes to a situation in
which the command has already been issued, but not yet carried out. The command
itself imparts a measure of strength but does not ensure that it will necessarily
be fulfilled in the future.
The name teshuvah, on the other hand, implies that the action has
already been taken, i.e., teshuvah has already been done. In that
case, however, why do we continue to refer to this Shabbat as Shabbat
The answer is that the act of teshuvah consists of both the command
to return to G-d and its subsequent implementation.
Shuvah teaches us that even after a Jew has done teshuvah,
he still needs to work on himself to an even greater degree. No matter how
much teshuvah a person has done, it is always possible to rise higher;
hence the directive, "Return, O Israel unto the L-rd, your G-d."
In fact, our teshuvah must be "unto the L-rd, your G-d." Thus it is
understood that there is always room for improvement -- for an even deeper
and infinite teshuvah -- as G-d Himself is Infinite.
This is the lesson of Shabbat Shuvah: A Jew must never content himself
with his previous Divine service and spiritual advancement. He must never
think that because he has worked on himself a whole week he is now entitled
to rest because it is Shabbat. No, today is Shabbat Shuvah!
Even after one has done teshuvah, more work is required! For the service
of teshuvah is continual and without end.
Sunday, the sixth of Tishrei (Sept. 23), marks the 37th anniversary
of the passing of Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, mother of the Rebbe.
What follows is a very brief biography of her amazing life.
Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson was born on the 28th of Tevet,
5640/1880, in Nikolaiev, a city near Odessa. In 1900, Rebbetzin Chana
married the renowned scholar and kabbalist, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
Schneerson.(1) They had three sons, the eldest of whom
was the Rebbe. The second son, Dov Ber, was killed by the Nazis and the youngest
son, Yisroel Aryeh Leib,(2) passed away in England in 1952.
In 1907, the couple moved to Yekatrinoslav (presently Dnepropetrovsk), where
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had been appointed to the prestigious post of Rav of
this major Jewish community. For all practical purposes he was the spiritual
leader of the entire Jewish population of the Ukraine.
Throughout the 32 years that her husband served as Rabbi of Yekatrinoslav,
Rebbetzin Chana stood at his side, assisting in his holy work. The
Rebbetzin had a good rapport with the members of their sophisticated
congregation, and she communicated especially well with Jewish university
students, in whom she took special interest, befriending them and trying
her best to imbue them with the spirit of Torah.
In 1939, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was arrested because of his energetic work to
preserve religious observance; a year later, he was exiled to a small village
in the Republic of Kazakhstan. When Rebbetzin Chana learned of her
husbands location, she joined him, paying no heed to the difficulties
and danger involved.
Rebbetzin Chana made a valuable spiritual contribution to her husband,
one from which the entire Jewish people benefited. Her son, the Rebbe, described
this special contribution:
"In the remote Russian village where my father was exiled, there was no ink
available. After my mother was permitted to join him, she gathered various
herbs in the fields, and by soaking them made a sort of ink, which enabled
my father to record his original Torah commentaries. My mother devoted her
energies to this task despite their lack of even minimally sufficient amounts
of bread and water."
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok passed away in exile in 1944. In 1947, Rebbetzin
Chana succeeded, with tremendous difficulties, in emigrating from the Soviet
Union. At the same time, she also managed to smuggle out her husbands
writings at great danger to herself. Later that year she arrived safely in
Paris where she was reunited with her eldest son, whom she had not seen for
twenty years. The two traveled by ship to New York, where the
Rebbetzin lived for the last seventeen years of her life.
Rebbetzin Chana passed away in the late afternoon on the
Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the sixth of
Tishrei, 5725/1964, at the age of 85.
* * *
In a talk following his mother's yahrtzeit, the Rebbe noted that all
women named Chana share a connection to the first Chana.
The biblical Chana was a prophetess and the mother of one of our greatest
Chana was the wife of Elkanah, a Levite. Chana suffered greatly from the
fact that she had no children. She vowed that if G-d granted her a child,
she would consecrate him to service in the Sanctuary. Her ardent prayers
were heard and she gave birth to Shmuel, who, at the age of two, was brought
to live and study under the tutelage of the High Priest, Eli. Shmuel grew
to become one of the greatest prophets of the Jewish people. The portion
from the Book of Shmuel about Chana, her prayer and the birth of Shmuel are
read as the Haftorah on the first day of Rosh HaShanah.
Two stories recounted by the Rebbe at gatherings in honor of his mother's
yahrtzeit illustrate a fundamental concept.
The first anecdote took place when the Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok,
was in exile. Rebbetzin Chana ingeniously managed to produce different
color inks from wild plants for Rabbi Levi Yitzchok to use in writing his
Torah innovations, as he was not even afforded ink with which to write.
The second incident related by the Rebbe took place after Rabbi Levi Yitzchok's
passing. Rebbetzin Chana miraculously succeeded in smuggling Rabbi
Levi Yitzchok's writings out of Communist Russia.
The Rebbe explained that these two incidents teach us that when, by Divine
Providence, a mission is given to an individual -- even if that mission seems
utterly futile or impossible -- one's efforts will ultimately be crowned
with success. Though one must work within the confines of nature, one must
not be constricted by nature, for it is the infinite and supernatural G-d
who has presented one with this mission.
As our Divinely appointed mission in these last moments of exile is to hasten
the Redemption's arrival and prepare ourselves for the long-awaited Messianic
Era, we can look to the prophetess Chana and her namesake, the
Rebbetzin Chana, for inspiration.
And, as the Rebbe concluded a letter written on Rebbetzin Chana's
yahrtzeit: "May G-d grant that everyone actively strive for the above,
in accordance with the prayer of the prophetess Chana: 'My heart rejoices
in G-d, my strength is uplifted through G-d... I rejoice in His help... and
He will raise the horn of His Anointed one (Moshiach).'"
With Moshiach, Vol. 211
With Moshiach, Vol. 246
...May the Festivals of Tishrei Bring
Blessings for You and All Your Loved
Ones, for a Good and Sweet Year,
Spiritually and Materially,
and Bring for All of Us
the Greatest of All Blessings,
the Final Redemption
Through Our Righteous Moshiach.
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, Sept. 21, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayeilech:
Light Shabbat Candles,(3) by 6:38 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22, Shabbat Parshat Vayeilech:
Shabbat Shuvah - See above.
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 7:37 p.m.
3. 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.