"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Bereishis, 5763
Tishrei 28, 5763
Oct. 4, 2002
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 feature a letter of the Rebbe, explaining the custom
that was prevalent in many communities, to announce at the termination of
Simchat Torah: "And Jacob went on his way."
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
Los Angeles, California
DEDICATED TO THE REBBE,
In Honor Of Our Daughter
on the occasion of her birthday, 25 Elul
= 1 =
As we read in this week's Torah portion of Bereishis, the Torah begins
with a description of creation. "In the beginning G-d created the heaven
and the earth." The Sage Rabbi Isaac asks a logical question, quoted by the
famous commentator Rashi in his discussion of the Torah's very first
verse: If the Torah is a book of law, it should have begun with a commandment,
the first of which pertains to the calculation of months. Why then, does
it open with an account of creation?
Rabbi Isaac answers his own question, based on a verse in Psalms, "He declared
to His people the strength of His works, in order that He might give them
the heritage of the nations:" "For should the peoples of the world say to
Israel, 'You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven
nations of Canaan,' Israel may reply to them, 'All the earth belongs to the
Holy One, blessed be He. He created it and gave it to whom He pleased; when
He so desired He gave it to them, and when He so desired He took it from
them and gave it to us."
This answer is surprising, as it seems to imply that the entire order of
the Torah was changed solely to counter the Gentiles' argument that the Jewish
people "stole" the Land of Israel. Is the Gentiles' claim really so valid
that it would justify such a drastic step? Moreover, why wouldn't a refutation
in the Oral Law (Mishna, Talmud, etc.) have been sufficient? Why was
it necessary to change the order of the Written Law (the Five Books of Moses)?
We must therefore conclude that opening the Torah with "In the beginning"
is intended not only as an answer to the Gentiles, but also contains an important
teaching for the Jews themselves.
In general, the life of the Jew can be divided into two areas: the realm
of Torah and mitzvot, and the secular realm. When the Torah demands
that a Jew observe its commandments, the request is viewed as logical and
acceptable. But when it demands that a Jew's personal life also be sanctified,
that all of his actions be done for the sake of heaven, on the surface it
seems like an invasion of privacy.
Indeed, this is the deeper meaning of the argument, "You are robbers, because
you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan." The "seven nations
of Canaan" are symbolic of the secular domain, the physical, "earthly" aspects
of a Jew's existence. By what right can a Jew be expected to "take them by
force" and subjugate even these areas to the realm of holiness?
The answer is, "All the earth belongs to the Holy One." In truth, every area
of life belongs to G-d. Yes, G-d created a certain distinction between the
material and spiritual realms, but He also wants us to imbue our physical
existence with holiness. "When He so desired He gave it to them [the secular
realm], and when He so desired He took it from them and gave it to us [to
the realm of holiness]." When a Jew sanctifies all areas of his life, he
fulfills G-d's will and draws holiness down into the physical world.
= 2 =
Let us read carefully and take to heart the words that the Rebbe said on
Shabbat Bereishis 11 years ago:
"Throughout the centuries, the Jews have been recognized as 'the chosen people.'
In the world at large, and in particular, in the United States, the Jews
are allowed to carry out their service of G-d without persecution, indeed,
amidst rest and prosperity. Furthermore, the government offers assistance
to the Jews here and those in the Land of Israel, enabling them to progress
in the service of G-d.
"This has been made possible by the activities of many of the Torah Sages
in their relations with the gentiles, including the activities of the Chabad
"Based on the above, we can understand how inappropriate are the statements
which certain Rabbis have recently made that the Jews must comply with the
demands of the gentile nations in regard to the Holy Land. These statements
continue, stating that, heaven forbid, such compliance is necessary because
the existence of the Jews in the Holy Land is dependent on the kindness of
the gentile nations.
"The principle, 'Do not challenge the nations,' is not relevant in this context,
for this principle can never override an explicit teaching of Torah law.
In this instance, we are clearly bound by the decision of the Shulchan
Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim, 329), that if gentiles
threaten to attack a Jewish settlement we must take up arms and defend ourselves
against them. And if that settlement is located on the border, we must take
up arms against them even if they are demanding 'straw and hay' for by
acquiescing to them, we 'open the entire land to them.'
"Since such statements were made, it is obvious that greater emphasis has
to be placed on recognizing the uniqueness of the Jewish people and emphasis
on their connection to the Holy Land....(1) And this will
lead to the ultimate wonder in this year of wonders, the coming of the
Redemption. And then we will proceed together with the entire Jewish people
to the Holy Land, to Jerusalem, and to the Holy Temple."
1. See "EYES UPON THE LAND" - The Territorial Integrity of
Israel: A Life Threatening Concern. Based on the Public Statements and Writings
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Adapted by Rabbi
Eliyahu Touger (1997: Sichos in English).
See also: REBBE'S VIEWS
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 Chabad Rebbes taught that Shabbat Bereishis is a special day that
has an influence on the entire year. In fact, a Jew's conduct on Shabbat
Bereishis determines his conduct throughout the entire year to come.
Why Shabbat Bereishis? Because the foundation of a Jew's service the
whole year long is the perpetual remembrance of "In the beginning G-d created."
G-d created the world from absolute nothingness, and continues to create
it every second anew. The miracle of creation wasn't a one-time event, but
an ongoing miracle by which each individual creation is constantly being
The world doesn't exist by virtue of its own right. The only reason it continues
to exist is that G-d chooses to re-create it every minute.
A Jew may sometimes feel that keeping Torah and mitzvot is difficult.
So many problems and obstacles threaten to hinder his Divine service! But
when he reminds himself that "In the beginning G-d created," that G-d is
perpetually creating the world and preventing it from falling back into
nothingness this very minute, he will come to understand that nothing can
deter him from serving the Creator. As every creature receives its vitality
directly from G-d, nothing has the power to prevent him from observing G-d's
When a Jew thinks about "In the beginning G-d created," his personal concerns
will soon be forgotten. He will realize that G-d is the one true Source of
everything, and that only good can come from Him. And in that way he will
merit to receive G-d's blessings in all of his endeavors.
LIKE ONE BODY
Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe
7 Cheshvan, 5737/1976
We have concluded the month of Tishrei, which is designated in our
sacred texts as a "comprehensive month" for the entire year, and which is
filled with a variety of festive days and experiences embracing all areas
of a Jew's spiritual life throughout the whole year.
The month begins with awe and submission to the Heavenly Reign, the main
point of Rosh HaShanah: teshuvah (repentance), the essence of the
Ten Days of Return, and Yom Kippur; the performance of mitzvot with
diligence and joy, culminating with the highest expression of joy with the
Torah -- the essential aspects of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret,
and Simchat Torah.
It is time to recall the custom that was prevalent in many communities to
announce at the termination of Simchat Torah: "And Jacob went on his
The point of this custom was to call attention to the fact that, inasmuch
as the time has come to return to the routine of the daily life ("his way"),
it behooves a Jew to know that he is Jacob, a Jew, and that he has his own
way, a way that originates in Simchat Torah and is guided by the joy
of Torah and mitzvot.
This means that whatever a Jew undertakes, even his ordinary day-to-day affairs,
must always be conducted in the spirit of "All your actions should be for
the sake of Heaven" and "Know Him (and serve Him) in all your ways."
The month of Tishrei is a "comprehensive month" also in the sense
that in this month the Jew acquires "goods" for the whole year. Immediately
afterwards one must begin to "unpack" and draw from one's stock according
to the needs of each day in all details. One cannot consider himself free
from further obligation on the basis of the accomplishments of the comprehensive
Similarly, there are also "comprehensive mitzvot," although each and
all mitzvot have to be fulfilled with the fullest measure of diligence
and excellence. A comprehensive mitzvah should be performed with still
greater excellence and still greater diligence, for its performance is of
greater concern to all Jews and the Jewish people as a whole.
One of the main comprehensive mitzvot is the mitzvah of ahavat
Yisrael (love of a fellow Jew).
Of this mitzvah it has been said that it is a "great principle of
the Torah," and the "basis of the entire Torah." The basis of this
mitzvah is the fact that all Jews constitute one entity, like one
body, so much so that every Jew sees every other Jew as "his own flesh and
blood." Herein is also the explanation why the fulfillment of a
mitzvah by every individual Jew affects the whole Jewish people; how
much more so the fulfillment of comprehensive mitzvot....
May G-d grant that all the good wishes that Jews wished one another for the
new year should be fulfilled, that it be a good and sweet year in every respect,
with the realization of the above-mentioned pattern of Jewish conduct:
"And Jacob" -- an appellation that includes all Jews, not only those
who have already attained the higher status of "Israel" and "Jeshurun";
"Went" -- in accordance with the true concept of motion, namely, moving
away from the previous state to a higher state (for however satisfactory
a state is, one should always strive to advance to an ever higher state in
all matters of holiness);
"On his way" -- that "his way," even in non-obligatory matters, becomes
a G-dly way, as stated immediately after: "And G-d's angels met him" -- in
keeping with every Jew's purpose in life to be an "angel" messenger -- of
G-d, to make for Him an "abode" in this earthly world.
May all the above be done with joy, derived from Simchat Torah, and
Jacob "will sing (and praise) the G-d of Jacob," and merit the speedy fulfillment
of the continuation of the verse, "The glory and strength of the
tzaddik will be uplifted," the coming of our righteous Moshiach.
Chof Hei Tishrei, the 25th of Tishrei (Tuesday, Oct. 1), is the
yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, the paradigm of
ahavat Yisrael, beloved by the Jewish people for the tremendous and
all-encompassing love he had for them.
At the very moment Reb Levi Yitzchok was born, miles away, the Baal Shem
Tov served his disciples food and a made a "l'chaim," saying: "A soul
has just come into this world that will be a good advocate for our fellow-Jews."
And, in fact, stories abound about Reb Levi Yitzchok's tremendous ahavat
Yisrael -- love for every Jew. It was Reb Levi Yitzchok who, even when
he saw a Jew openly transgressing, would find a way to judge a person meritorious
and report the positive verdict to the Supreme Judge.
Reb Levi Yitzchok was very close to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the "Alter
Rebbe"), the first Chabad Rebbe; the two became "mechutanim"
(in-laws) when their grandchildren married. At that wedding, the Alter
Rebbe delivered a discourse which ended, "'G-d is righteous in all His
ways': G-d is the Tzaddik Above, and Reb Levi Yitzchok is the
tzaddik here below."
The Alter Rebbe was also known to say about Reb Levi Yitzchok that
because of his abiding love of the Jewish people, whenever a Jew, while reciting
Psalms, mentions Reb Levi Yitzchok's name, the letters of the Psalms will
go up to the chamber of "merits" and will awaken mercy for that person and
his entire household.
May we all emulate Reb Levi Yitzchok's boundless ahavat Yisrael, thereby
enjoying a foretaste of the love we will exhibit toward our fellow Jews in
the Messianic Era, and may it commence immediately.
The town of Berditchev was buzzing with the news of the death of a certain
very wealthy Jew. The townspeople, however, didn't shed a tear, for this
man, who had been so blessed in his life, shared not a penny of his great
The Chevra Kadisha (burial society) planned to compensate the community
for his miserliness; they would charge the man's heirs a high price for the
burial. When they presented their demands to the man's children, they were
shocked at the sum, and insisted that the case be heard by the rabbi of the
town -- none other than the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchok.
When the heirs and the representatives of the Chevra Kadisha appeared
before Rabbi Levi Yitzchok, they were surprised to see the depth of his grief
at the passing of the rich man. He not only ruled in favor of the heirs,
but he said that he would be sure to attend the funeral.
Of course, when the news spread throughout the town that the Rabbi would
be attending, every other Jew made certain that he would be there as well.
As a result, the entire town closed up and every able-bodied man and woman
came out to accompany the deceased to his final rest. Needless to say, they
were full of curiosity as to why this stingy man was receiving so much respect.
When the funeral was over, people approached the rabbi and asked the reason
for such a show of honor to such a person. "No one knew him as I did," was
his reply. "Everyone took him to be a miser, but I came to discover his true
character through three legal cases which I was called upon to decide. If
you have the time, I will tell you about it.
"The first case concerned a wine merchant who acted as an agent for all the
other merchants in the town. They would give him the money to purchase the
wine, and he would receive a commission for his trouble. Well, once, just
as he was about to go to make his purchase, he realized that the money was
"The shock of losing the money of so many others affected him so badly that
he went into shock and passed out. A doctor was summoned, but the poor man
could not be revived. Suddenly a man stepped out of the crowd and announced
that he had found the missing money. The merchant was instantly revived by
the good news.
"Not too long after, another man came forward and said that he had really
found the lost money, but he had succumbed to his evil inclination and kept
it. When he heard about the person who had claimed to have found it and had
in actuality parted with such an enormous sum in order to save the life of
a stranger, his conscience troubled him. Now, he wanted to return the money
to the generous donor.
"That man, however, refused to accept it. He didn't want to relinquish his
mitzvah of saving a person's life. The culprit insisted that I hear
the case and make a ruling. My decision was that the donor -- the man whose
funeral we just attended -- was not required to accept the money.
"The second time I met him was when a man came to me with a similar demand.
He wished to repay a generous benefactor, but the benefactor refused to accept
the money. In this case, a poor man had fabricated a story to placate his
wife while he would be away in a distant town trying to 'strike it rich.'
It so happened that he had no money to support his family and he told his
wife to go to a certain wealthy man in the town and demand payment every
week for a fictitious 'salary.'
"She innocently went and asked for what she thought was her due, and the
rich man, understanding the delicacy of the situation, paid her for many
months. When the husband returned, having succeeded in making his fortune,
he insisted on repaying his benefactor. He, however, replied that his business
was solely with the wife, and he had nothing to do with the husband. Again,
I ruled in his favor; he was entitled to keep his mitzvah.
"Finally, the third time I met him was after a very wealthy man who had gone
bankrupt asked this man for a loan. 'Who will be your guarantor?' the rich
"'My only guarantor is G-d Al-mighty,' he replied.
"With a smile, the rich man said, 'He is a Guarantor I can really trust!'
"When the day arrived for the man to repay his loan, he failed to appear.
Several months later, however, he did come, begging forgiveness for his lateness.
'You owe me nothing,' the rich man answered. 'Your Guarantor was very honest,
and He paid me very well with a large, unexpected profit. Therefore, you
owe me nothing.'
"Again, the recipient of his largesse appealed to me, but I, once again,
ruled in favor of the deceased. He was not required to accept repayment of
his loan, if he refused to do so.
"So, my friends, you see, your assessment of the deceased was very wrong.
He was no miser. On the contrary, he was a great and saintly person who practiced
the giving of charity on the highest level -- that of giving quietly, with
no fanfare and no public acknowledgment. Just as the deceased stood in my
court and accepted my verdicts three times, he is now standing before the
Heavenly Court, accompanied by his mitzvot, which are testifying to
his saintliness before that highest court."
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, Oct. 4, Erev Shabbat Parshat Bereishis:
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 6:17 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5, Shabbat Parshat Bereishis:
Blessing of the New Month, Cheshvan.(3)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 7:15 p.m.
2. 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.
3. Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan is on Sunday, October 6, and Monday, October
Laws of Shabbat Candle
Lighting for the Blind
"Let There Be
Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.
Back to "Living With Moshiach"