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Parshat Mishpatim, 5763

Shevat 28, 5763
Jan. 31, 2003

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.


We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 329th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


This Shabbat we bless the new Hebrew month of Adar I, and we celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar I, on Sunday, Feb. 2, and Monday, Feb. 3, therefore, in this week's issue we focus on Rosh Chodesh (Adar I).


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for 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

26 Shevat, 5763
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Mishpatim

How does a person become a Jew? This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, indirectly touches upon this question.

Historically, the Jewish people entered into the covenant of the Torah by performing three actions: brit mila (circumcision); immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath); and the bringing of offerings, as it states, "And they offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto G-d."

Ever since the Torah was given, a potential convert to Judaism had to undergo a conversion process consisting of these three steps. After the Holy Temple was destroyed and offerings could no longer be brought, a person became Jewish after brit mila and immersion alone. When Moshiach is revealed and the sacrifices are reinstated, converts will again be required to bring an offering to the Holy Temple.

A question is raised: If, for the past 2,000 years of the exile, one of the necessary requirements for conversion has been absent, how can converts be considered fully Jewish?

The answer lies in the fundamental difference between the acts of brit mila and immersion, and the act of bringing an offering. The first two actions effect an essential change in the person and transform him into a Jew, severing him from his past and imbuing him with a Jewish holiness. Bringing a sacrifice, on the other hand, merely enhances his relationship with G-d, rather than causing an essential change in his being.

As we learn from the Hebrew word for sacrifice, "korban," which implies "closeness" and "affinity," a sacrifice is a gift to G-d that strengthens the Jew's inner bond with his Father in Heaven. Thus, in the times of the Holy Temple, a convert brought his offering only after he had already become a Jew.

When the Holy Temple stood and the Divine Presence dwelt in a physical structure, the special relationship between the Jewish people and G-d was openly revealed. During the exile, however, with the physical Temple no longer in existence, it is much more difficult for the Jew to perceive the true magnitude of his bond with G-d. In such an atmosphere of concealment it is therefore possible to become a Jew even without the enhancement of a sacrifice.

The fact that converts will be required to bring a sacrifice when the Third Holy Temple is built does not mean that their conversions have been deficient in any way. The coming of Moshiach and the building of the Temple will in no way lessen the holiness of any Jew. Moreover, converts will be able to partake of the various sacrifices like any other Jew, even before their own individual offerings are brought.


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a 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.


On Sunday, Feb. 2, and Monday, Feb. 3, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Adar I, starting the new Hebrew month of Adar I.

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 Chodesh?

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 Adar I 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 generation.

From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"


Do you have any money? No, this isn't a shake-down. But, if you have a U.S. one dollar bill, pull it out before continuing to read this article.

Being such an integral aspect of our lives, there must be something valuable money can teach us!

Turn to the side of the dollar bill that doesn't have the picture of George Washington. The most conspicuous item, you will notice, is the word, "ONE."

"One" is a very prominent concept in Judaism. A basic tenet of our faith is that G-d is one and there is nothing but G-d in the world -- the belief that nothing exists but G-d, or that everything exists only because of G-d is ultimate oneness.

Interestingly enough, the word "one" is directly below another major Jewish concept, "In G-d We Trust." The Jewish people's trust and faith in G-d has kept us going throughout the ages. This trust, however, is not limited to the Jewish people as a group, but encompasses our individual lives as well. Kabbala teaches -- and the Baal Shem Tov expounds on this teaching -- that we are never alone, G-d is always with us. Even in a person's darkest moments, G-d is with him and we can put our trust in Him, because each person is truly one with G-d.

The concept of the oneness of the entire universe is further reflected in the Latin phrase in the eagle's beak, "E Pluribus Unum," meaning, "From many you make one."

The eagle is holding arrows in one claw and what many horticulturists consider to be an olive branch in the other claw. This suggests the time of peace spoken about by our great prophet Isaiah when we will "beat our swords into plowshares..."

The number of arrowheads, the number of leaves on the olive branch, the number of stars above the eagle's head, are all 13. Thirteen, certainly, was the number of the original Colonies. But in addition, and perhaps not so coincidentally, it is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew letters in the word echad, which means "one."

Also, the stars above the eagle's head, in the shape that has become known as a "Jewish star" and has become a symbol of Judaism, have light emanating from around them. The Jewish people were commanded by G-d to be "a light to the nations."

Let's look for a moment at the other sphere across from the eagle -- the one containing the pyramid. Two Latin phrases are in this circle. "Annuit Coeptis," according to the Webster dictionary, means, "He [G-d] has favored our undertaking." The second phrase, "Novus ordo seclorum," means "a new order of the ages," which in yesterday's lingo would be "a new world order" and in today's lingo "the Era of the Redemption."

The pyramid itself -- work of human beings -- is incomplete. It becomes complete only when joined with the eye, symbolizing most probably G-d's all-seeing Eye. It is only when we connect the work of our own hands with G-d and when we acknowledge G-d's assistance in our own work that we can complete our job. As G-d tells us, "Not through your courage nor through your strength, but with My spirit."

Just as the eagle symbolizes the United States, the pyramid is symbolic of a country -- though much more ancient than the USA. The pyramid is Egypt -- the location of the Jewish people's first exile. It is from Egypt that the first Redeemer, Moses, took us out and brought us to freedom and the Giving of the Torah. And it is from our last place of exile -- symbolized by the eagle -- that the call has come forth, "The time of our Redemption has arrived. Get ready for the coming of Moshiach."


The most important principle in the Torah is the protection of Jewish life.

It's more important than Shabbat, more important than holidays, even fasting on Yom Kippur.

Right now, in Israel, and everywhere, Jews must stand together in unity and do whatever possible to protect Jewish life.

The Rebbe taught that there are ten important Mitzvot we can do to protect life. See what you can do:

1) Ahavat Yisroel: Behave with love towards another Jew.

2) Learn Torah: Join a Torah class.

3) Make sure that Jewish children get a Torah true education.

4) Affix kosher Mezuzot on all doorways of the house.

5) For men and boys over 13: Put on Tefillin every weekday.

6) Give Charity.

7) Buy Jewish holy books and learn them.

8) Light Shabbat & Yom Tov candles. A Mitzvah for women and girls.

9) Eat and drink only Kosher Food.

10) Observe the laws of Jewish Family Purity.

In addition, the Rebbe also urged every man, woman and child to Purchase a Letter in a Sefer Torah. There are several Torah scrolls being written to unite Jewish people and protect Jewish life.

Letters for children can be purchased for only $1. Send your Hebrew name and your mother's Hebrew name plus $1 to:

"Children's Sefer Torah,"
P. O. Box 8,
Kfar Chabad, 72915, Israel

or via the Internet, at: http://www.kidstorah.org


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.

Make Renewal Gatherings

The Jewish calendar is based on the moon's cycle. The beginning of each Jewish month is a mini-holiday and affords a perfect opportunity to make gatherings.

Serve some special foods, study about the holidays in the upcoming month, celebrate the imminent Redemption when the Jewish people will be totally renewed.

"The renewal of the moon after its concealment is used as an analogy for the Redemption and the complete renewal of the Jewish people 'who will in the future be renewed as [the moon] is renewed.'"

The Rebbe


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos

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, Jan. 31, Erev Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:53 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 1, Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim:

  • Blessing of the New Month, Adar I.(2)
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:56 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.

2. Rosh Chodesh Adar I is on Sunday, Feb. 2, and Monday, Feb. 3.

Laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing

"Let There Be Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.

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