"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Lech Lecha, 5763
Cheshvan 12, 5763
Oct. 18, 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
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of the Rebbe
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[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.
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Our sincere appreciation to
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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
Parshat Lech Lecha
This week's Torah portion, Lech Lecha, describes G-d's promise of
the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. It also describes Abraham's travels
through the land whereby he acquired it for his descendants forever. Abraham's
traversing of the land was not a necessary prerequisite for his taking possession
of it as G-d's promise itself sufficed to transfer ownership of the Holy
Land to Abraham.
It has been mentioned numerous times that the Rebbe's statements regarding
the Holy Land, and his staunch position not to give back even one inch of
land to the Arabs, has nothing to do with biblical promises or messianic
visions. Rather, the Rebbe has made these statements and taken this position
because of Pikuach Nefesh -- the imminent danger to life -- of Jews
in the Holy Land.(1)
Unfortunately, the Rebbe's stand has been shown to be absolutely true. And
yet, of course, there are spiritual as well as mundane lessons to be learned
from this week's Torah portion. There are spiritual implications, the Rebbe
explains, of G-d's promise to the Jewish people via Abraham:
"There is a particular relevance to G-d's promise in the present age, the
era immediately preceding Moshiach's coming. For G-d promised Abraham the
lands of the ten nations, including not only the land of the seven Canaanite
nations conquered by the Jews after the exodus from Egypt, but also the lands
of the Keini, the Kenizi, and the Kadmoni people. G-d promised -- and thus
gave -- the Jewish people all these ten lands at the same time. Nevertheless,
in the present era, we were granted only the lands of seven nations and the
fulfillment of this promise in its full sense will not be until the Era of
the Redemption.... In the Era of the Redemption, by contrast, not only all
the Jews of that generation but also all the Jews of all previous generations
who will arise in the Resurrection, will live there."
With the situation as it is now in Israel, the only solution is that G-d
fulfill His promise and give possession of the entire Holy Land to the Jewish
people under the leadership of Moshiach.
* * *
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.... 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.
There is a saying of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn,
quoted in the name of his father, the Rebbe Rashab:
"The first Torah portion, Parshat Bereishis, is a joyful Torah portion,
for in it, G-d created the world and all of its inhabitants.
"Parshat Noach, however, relates the Great Flood. The week in which
it is read is therefore a sad one, but it ends on a happy note with the birth
of our forefather Abraham.
"Yet the week which is truly the happiest is the one in which the Torah portion
of Parshat Lech Lecha is read. For each and every day of the week
we live with Abraham."
Why is Parshat Lech Lecha, this week's Torah reading, considered the
most joyful of the three?
Parshat Bereishis contains the narrative of Creation. This portion
relates G-d's actions, and describes how He created the world in six days.
The Torah portion tells us what G-d did, but it does not relate the deeds
of the creations themselves.
Parshat Noach, by contrast, deals primarily with the actions of mankind.
In this Torah portion we learn about the Great Flood, about the behavior
of the people of Noach's generation, and about the deeds of the righteous
Thus each of the first two Torah portions concerns itself with an entirely
different sphere. Parshat Bereishis revolves around G-d and G-dly
matters, whereas Parshat Noach concentrates on the more mundane affairs
of mankind. In neither of these Torah portions is the connection between
G-d and man, the higher spheres and the lower spheres, expressed.
How do Jews create that connection? By carrying out the will of G-d and
performing His mitzvot.
When Jews observe the Torah's commandments they draw nearer to G-d, binding
themselves to Him with an everlasting bond. When G-d gave His holy Torah
to the Jewish people, He thereby gave them the means to forge a connection
between the "higher worlds" -- G-d, and the "lower worlds" -- human beings.
The preparation for the giving of the Torah began with Lech Lecha,
when G-d gave Abraham the commandment to "go out" of his native land, and
Abraham obeyed. Ignoring his own personal wishes and his natural proclivities
and inclinations, Abraham set off to fulfill the will of G-d to establish
a "dwelling place" for Him in the physical world.
Thus began the wondrous connection with G-d that continues and is strengthened
with every mitzvah we perform.
This is why Parshat Lech Lecha is the most joyful of the Torah's first
three portions. The first speaks solely of the higher worlds; the second,
only about the lower. It isn't until the third portion, Lech Lecha,
that the true connection to G-d first commences.
Some people say that Avraham Avinu (Abraham our father) was the first
Lubavitcher chasid. This might sound a little (or more than a little)
self-serving. But, let us take a few moments to analyze Avraham's life; we
might find that, in fact, there is much truth in this statement.
In this week's Torah portion, Avraham is commanded by G-d to go away from
his home, leave his parents, and travel to a distant, unknown land. He always
spoke to strangers, bringing them closer to an awareness of G-d, their Creator.
Now, isn't this, actually, what Lubavitcher chasidim are doing all
over the world?
Avraham set up a huge tent in the middle of the desert. The tent had four
doors, one in each direction, so that any person passing by would always
be able to enter quickly. Doesn't that remind you of a Chabad House --
Chabad-Lubavitch outreach centers on college campuses and suburban Jewish
communities with an "open door" policy?
With Avraham as our role model and guide, let us make every effort to follow
in his footsteps, setting up our own tents, and helping others set up tents
for people to live and experience the beauty and warmth of Judaism.
This Sunday (Oct. 13) is the seventh day of the Hebrew month of
Cheshvan. In the times of the Holy Temple, the Jewish people traveled
to Jerusalem for the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot,
the seventh of Cheshvan marked the end of the pilgrimage season
surrounding the festival of Sukkot, according to our Sages. During
Sukkot, the entire Jewish people were in Jerusalem. For the Jews living
on the Euphrates River, the furthest reaches of the Holy Land, their journey
home took fifteen days and thus, was concluded on the seventh of
Cheshvan. It was beginning on the seventh of Cheshvan that
the prayer for rain commenced, once all of the pilgrims were comfortably
This fact, of the delay of the prayers for rain until the last pilgrims reached
their homes, is relevant to the concept of Jewish unity.
During the pilgrimage festivals, the essential unity of the Jewish people
is expressed. However, that unity applies to the essential oneness that binds
our people together, while transcending our individuality. The unity expressed
by the seventh of Cheshvan relates to Jews as individuals. Jewish
unity remains even after each Jew returns to his own home and his individual
The seventh of Cheshvan is the final stage of Jewish unity that was
begun during the month of Elul (the days of preparation for Rosh HaShanah)
and enhanced throughout all of the days of the month of Tishrei. May
we continue to work on and enhance Jewish unity in every way possible until
the ultimate revelation of total Jewish unity and the unity of G-d and the
entire world with the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
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. 18, Erev Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha:
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 5:55 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19, Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:54 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.
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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