"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Toldot, 5762
Kislev 1, 5762 * November 16, 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:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
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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.
On Friday, Nov. 16, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh
Kislev, therefore this week's issue focuses on the new Hebrew month 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
27 Cheshvan, 5762
Brooklyn, New York
In the Torah portion of Toldot our ancestor Isaac declares, "For now
G-d has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
Commenting on the Hebrew word for "fruitful," "ufarinu," Rashi explains
that it means "to increase," to spread out, and expand.
The above verse can be divided into two parts. The first half, "G-d has made
room for us," refers to the strengths and abilities G-d bestows upon an
individual. The second part, "we shall be fruitful in the land," refers to
the obligation it implies to utilize those gifts by working to make the world
a better place.
The Torah teaches, "Man is born to labor." G-d created the world in such
a way that man has the potential to improve upon creation and add to it through
his efforts. To the naked eye, G-dliness is hidden and concealed. However,
when man acts according to G-d's will, the true underlying G-dliness of creation
becomes revealed. Man becomes a "partner" with G-d in the act of creation,
as it were, by uncovering the G-dly light that sustains all existence.
A question is asked: How can human beings improve on something G-d Himself
created? Is man really "superior" to G-d in this respect? Of course not,
as we see from the first half of the above verse, "For now G-d has made room
for us." Everything ultimately originates from G-d. Were it not for the strengths
and abilities He gives us, we could never accomplish anything. It is only
through the merit of these Divinely-given powers that we are able to reveal
G-dliness in the world and elevate creation to a higher level.
It also follows that once these powers have been granted, we are expected
to make proper use of them. As we learn from the text of our holy Torah,
"For now G-d has made room for us" is immediately followed by "and we shall
be fruitful in the land," indicating the need for practical action.
This same concept is expressed by a verse in Psalms, "I am the L-rd your
G-d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and
I will fill it." The first step is the G-dly influence that comes from Above,
i.e., G-d taking the Jewish people out of Egypt. Only afterwards does man's
service come into play, "open your mouth wide." By telling us to "open wide,"
G-d is exhorting us to "add" to what He has created, improving and enhancing
the state of the world. We can then be assured that "I will fill it:" not
only will G-d grant us the power to act, but He will also assist us in our
Divine service, thereby ensuring our success.
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.
Every year at this time we read about one of the most famous sets of twins
in history, Jacob and Esau. As any child can tell you, Jacob was the "good"
one and Esau was the "bad" one, and the two brothers never got along with
each other. But the Torah is not a history book; Torah means "teaching,"
it contains eternal lessons that are always relevant and have a direct impact
on our daily lives.
On a deeper level, Jacob and Esau represent two ways of looking at the world,
two different life styles that even modern man is forced to choose between.
Esau's attitude was "carpe diem" -- seize the day, with no thought for tomorrow.
Jacob, by contrast, lived a more elevated existence, recognizing life's spiritual
According to Chasidic philosophy, every Jew is made up of two souls: an animal
soul and a G-dly soul. Like Jacob and Esau, they too never get along, and
are in constant conflict. The animal soul is interested only in the physical;
like an animal that walks on four legs, its head is focused downward rather
than up at the sky. The only thing that matters is the here and now. The
G-dly soul, however, looks upward. Why am I here? What's the real purpose
of my life?
As we learn from this week's Torah reading, the true birthright belongs to
Jacob, and our function as Jews is to elevate the world by imbuing it with
G-dliness. The battle will always be there, but it's a battle we can win
by choosing wisely.
Kislev is a month of celebration, when we commemorate many joyous occasions.
A recurring theme throughout the festivities of Kislev is freedom.
On the 10th day of Kislev, 5587/1826, the second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi
Dovber (known as the Mitteler Rebbe), was released from incarceration
in Czarist Russia on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities.
Decades earlier, on the 19th of Kislev in the year 5559/1798, his
father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, was released
from imprisonment on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities. (Two
years later, when Rabbi Shneur Zalman was imprisoned once again, he was also
released in the month of Kislev, on the third night of Chanukah.)
On Chanukah, celebrated for eight days starting on the 25th of Kislev,
we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over their mighty Hellenic
oppressors, and their subsequent freedom to follow once again in the ways
of the Torah. We also celebrate the liberation of our Holy Temple, which
the Hellenists had defiled and desecrated. Once the Jews cleansed and purified
the Temple, it was free to be used for its holy purpose, bringing the Jewish
people closer to G-d.
Torah in general, and chasidic teachings in particular, help liberate us
from our personal (often self-imposed) "prisons." During the month of
Kislev, then, it is appropriate to increase our study of Torah. This
study will help us reflect upon how best to use the opportunities available
to us because of the religious freedom that we are fortunate to enjoy today.
Let us pray that G-d speedily grant us the ultimate freedom that will come
with the revelation of Moshiach. For then we will truly be free to serve
G-d, in the third and final Holy Temple.
On Friday, Nov. 16, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh
Kislev, starting the new Hebrew month of Kislev.
Rosh Chodesh is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with special prayers
and finer food and clothing. Jewish women, in particular, observe Rosh
Chodesh more meticulously.
What is the reason for Jewish women's stricter celebration of Rosh
Rabbi Eliezer wrote: "When the men came to ask for their wives' gold earrings
for the Golden Calf, the women refused to hand them over. They said to their
husbands: 'We will not obey you in order to make an abomination that has
no power to save!' G-d rewarded them in this world, giving them a greater
degree of observance on Rosh Chodesh, and He rewards them in the World
to Come, giving them the power of constant renewal that characterizes [the
renewal of the moon on] Rosh Chodesh."
On a more general note, the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and our people
are compared to the moon. Although our light is sometimes eclipsed by that
of other nations, like the moon we are always here -- both at night and by
day. Our nation's history has its share of growth and decline; like the moon
we wax and wane. But ultimately, these are just phases. For, although at
times we seem to be as unimportant or insignificant as the sliver of the
moon when it reappears, this is just a veneer.
May we sanctify the new moon this year and celebrate Rosh Chodesh
Kislev in the Holy Temple with Moshiach.
Our Sages relate that "in the merit of the righteous women, the Jews were
redeemed from Egypt." Similarly, the Sages associated subsequent redemptions
with the merit of Jewish women. The Holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, emphasized
that the future Redemption will follow the pattern of the Exodus, and thus
will also come as a result of the merit of the righteous women of that
From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"
Ten years ago, on Rosh Chodesh Kislev and the following
Shabbat, the Rebbe spoke about how "All the days of your life should
be directed toward bringing the era of Moshiach." Every waking moment of
a person's life, the Rebbe stated -- indeed, even during the time he sleeps,
for he is alive then as well -- must be devoted to this goal. This should
include not only his conscious activities (thought, speech and deed), but
also his every essence. In other words, the very core of a Jew's being must
be focused on bringing about the Final Redemption.
In this context, the Rebbe explained what it means to "breathe the air of
Moshiach." The essence of a person's life is reflected in his breathing
processes. In fact, the Hebrew word for breath, "neshima," shares
the same letters with the Hebrew word for soul, "neshama." The service
that is necessary at present, the Rebbe explained, is to connect the core
of our being to the core of Moshiach. This will ultimately awaken a pattern
of conduct that will permeate every dimension of our being.
In practical terms, this means having a concern for the fundamental existence
of every Jew, and providing our fellow Jews with the required necessities
to celebrate the holidays of the month of Kislev with happiness and
joy. Additionally, every Jew should also have the means to fulfill the custom
of giving Chanukah gelt (money) to the members of his household.
As the Rebbe concluded, these activities will bring about the advent of the
ultimate Redemption in this month, which is also called "the month of
redemption." At that time, we will merit to see not only the essence of Moshiach,
but also the revelation of Moshiach in the world at large, when Moshiach
will "perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d
together, as it is written, 'I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that
they will all call upon the name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.'
May it happen immediately.
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.
Awaken Your Core This Month:
"Awakening the core of our being must be reflected in a concern for the
fundamental existence of every Jew. This should be expressed in efforts to
provide our fellow Jews with the necessities required to celebrate the holidays
of the month of Kislev [the 'chasidic New Year' on the 19th of
Kislev and Chanukah] with happiness and joy. Similarly, they should
have the means to fulfill the custom that the Rebbes followed of giving
Chanukah gelt to the members of their household."
(1 Kislev, 5752/1991)
Simply stated, this means that as we think about our own family's holiday
celebrations this month, we should make sure to help provide for other, less
fortunate people in the greater Jewish family.
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, Nov. 16, Erev Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:20 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17, Shabbat Parshat Toldot:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:22 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.
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