"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Shemini, 5763
24 Adar II, 5763
Mar. 28, 2003
This week's issue is sponsored
in part by:
Mitzvahland - One Stop Judaica Shop
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, the 336th
issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue, we focus on:
1) One of the Rebbe's Mitzvah Campaigns, "Mivtzah Kashrut
-- The Jewish Dietary Laws."
Making sure her home and family keep Kosher, is one of the
three special mitzvot entrusted to the Jewish
2) Shabbat Parshat HaChodesh, the forth of four special Torah readings
read in the synagogue on the Sabbaths before the month of Nissan --
Shekolim, Zachor, Parah and HaChodesh.
3) As our Sages have enjoined us to begin preparing for each holiday thirty
days before the holiday begins,
Therefore, we begin in this week's issue, to focus on the upcoming 8-day
festive holiday of Pesach, which begins this year, on Wednesday night,
This Shabbat Parshat Shemini, the 25th of Adar II (Sat., March
29), marks the 102nd year since the birth of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the
On this day in 5748/1988, in connection with her 87th birthday (about a month
after her passing, on 22 Shevat), the Rebbe spoke about the significance
of birthdays and the importance of celebrating them in the traditional Jewish
manner, which will be discussed, G-d willing, in our next issue.
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
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
22 Adar II, 5763
Brooklyn, New York
1. The other two are: Mivtzah Neshek --
Shabbat Candles, and Mivtzah Taharat Hamishpacha --
The Jewish Laws
of Family Purity.
A large part of this week's Torah portion, Shemini, discusses the
Jewish dietary laws, kashrut. We read about the kosher animals a Jew
may eat and the non-kosher ones that are forbidden. The Torah gives us two
signs to distinguish a kosher animal: it must chew its cud and have split
One of the reasons certain foods are prohibited is that the food we eat becomes
part of our physical bodies, transformed into our flesh and blood. The Torah
prohibits us from ingesting certain foods to protect our bodies from their
negative influence. Keeping kosher enables a Jew to avoid the spiritually
harmful effect of these non-kosher substances.
We must also "chew our cud" and have "split hooves."
The hoof is the lowest part of the animal's body, coming in direct contact
with the earth and separating it from the ground. Even an animal, whose head
is closer to the ground than man's, must maintain a certain distance and
separation from the earth to be considered kosher.
A Jew must also guard this distinction between the "earth" -- his corporeal
nature -- and his higher spiritual faculties. Even the lowest levels of his
soul, analogous to the foot, must not come into direct contact with the ground.
We should never become completely involved in our material affairs, but maintain
a certain detachment in the way we relate to them.
The hoof of a kosher animal is cloven, consisting of two parts. So too must
the Jew's involvement in worldly affairs -- analogous to the "hoof" that
connects him with the ground -- consist of two simultaneous but opposite
thrusts: his "right hand draws near" while his "left hand pushes [negative
influences] away." With the "right hand" the Jew learns Torah, performs
mitzvot and draws his fellow Jews closer to Judaism. The "left hand"
helps him to avoid negative influences.
The distinction between "right" and "left" is very important. One cannot
hope to obtain goodness without shunning evil. Good and evil must never be
confused, just as the kosher animal's hooves are split into two distinct
The second characteristic of a kosher animal is that it chews its cud. Likewise,
a Jew must "chew over" his every step and consider it carefully before acting.
When we subject our behavior to this scrutiny, all our actions will be pure.
The Torah gives us several signs by which we can recognize kosher birds,
but in this instance we are not allowed to rely only on these characteristics.
Only birds explicitly regarded as kosher by our holy tradition are permissible.
From this we learn that a Jew must never rely solely on his own intellect,
as his guidelines in life must be derived from our holy tradition. In addition
to his own intellectual achievements, the Jew must connect himself to the
leader of the generation in order for his service to be pure.
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 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.
In this week's Torah portion, Shemini, we aren't just told what
constitutes a kosher animal -- e.g., split hooves and chewing its
cud -- we also learn that these animals and birds are specifically mentioned
in the Torah.
Although thousands of years have passed since the Torah was given, and many
new species of animal have been "discovered" by man since then, not one animal
or bird has been found possessing the kosher characteristics besides
those enumerated in our Torah portion.
There was a time when people used to brush aside the laws of keeping
kosher as outdated, food storage and production being much more sanitary
than in former years. But the G-d-given commandment to keep kosher
was never dependent upon sanitary conditions. At one period in history, the
extra cleanliness of kosher food might have been an added
benefit of observing this important mitzvah, but it was never
the reason for keeping kosher.
In fact, keeping kosher is in the category of mitzvot known
as chukim -- decrees. We are given no explanation by the Torah or
our rabbis as to why we were given these "decrees." But, since our Creator
knows what's best for us -- which oils, fluids, fuels, etc. make the mechanics
of our soul run the smoothest -- it is prudent and wise to follow His operating
Give keeping kosher a chance. You might want to start out slowly,
but once you get your engine revved up, you won't be able to imagine any
other way to keep your soul fine-tuned.
To change a non-kosher home to kosher is, admittedly, a major
undertaking. Any worthwhile change is bound to be difficult. In recognition
of this fact, Chabad-Lubavitch has formed a Kashrut Committee to assist
anyone sincerely interested in converting hers/his to a kosher kitchen.
For more information, please call 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).
"And just as the Redemption was brought about in the days of Mordechai and
Esther (through the meticulous observance of Kashrut), so too, the
Redemption will be brought about in our days through the meticulous observance
This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevorchim, the Shabbat before
the new Jewish month. Literally translated, it means a Shabbat in
which we bless the upcoming Jewish month. This Shabbat Mevorchim is
special because it is the Shabbat before the month of Nissan,
which is often referred to as "the month of Redemption."
On the surface, calling Nissan the month of Redemption is explained
by the fact that Nissan is the month in which we celebrate
Passover,(2) the holiday that commemorates the Jews' redemption
from Egyptian slavery. But the month of Nissan is also connected to
the Final Redemption, as our Sages say, "In Nissan, our people were
redeemed, and in Nissan, they will be redeemed in the future."
This Shabbat represents the transition from the month of Adar
II to the month of Nissan. Both months contain within them commemorations
of miraculous events. In Adar II we celebrate the downfall of Haman
and the victory of the Jewish people, and in Nissan we celebrate our
freedom from slavery.
The difference between the events is that the miracles of Purim occurred
within the natural order of the world, while the miracles of Passover transcended
the natural order. The story of Purim can be traced through a natural sequence
of events. But by cloaking miracles in the natural order of the world, we
are actually elevating the natural order.
That is our true purpose on this earth, to elevate the physical to the spiritual
and have G-dliness revealed on this plane.
Another concept that the two months have in common is redemption. Adar
II celebrates redemption from Haman's wicked decree, and Nissan celebrates
the redemption from Egypt. Shabbat is also a kind of redemption, a
weekly redemption from mundane cares and worries to a place of light, joy,
song and Torah-study.
May all of these redemption's be stepping-stones to our complete, final,
and ultimate Redemption, the coming of Moshiach.
2. This year, Passover begins on Wednesday night, April 16.
This Shabbat is one of the four special Shabbats preceding
the Yom Tov of Pesach. It is called Shabbat Parshat
HaChodesh. We read a special Torah portion from the book of Exodus which
states: "This month shall be the head month for you. It shall be the first
month of the year."
Shabbat Parshat HaChodesh always falls either on the Sabbath when
we bless the month of Nissan or on the first day of Nissan
The month of Nissan is special in that it is a month of miracles --
not the everyday miracles of human existence, or hidden miracles such as
those that took place on Purim. But, rather, Nissan contains revealed
miracles that are higher than nature itself.
With the command that the month of Nissan, a month of revealed miracles,
be designated as the first and "head" of the months, the Torah emphasizes
that in all the months of the year, whether we see open miracles, miracles
in the cloak of natural events, unusual success or a seemingly unchangeable
cycle of nature, we must realize that G-d is the Creator of the Universe,
the sole Master of the world, who directs and cares about even the smallest
detail of the world and each individual person.
If each and everyone of us would sit down for only a brief few moments and
pay close attention to what has happened to us personally, we will detect
minor and major miracles that happen in our personal lives.
Many times we are just too busy to stop for a moment and take stock of what
has happened. But we shouldn't pass it off as another "natural" happening.
It is a miracle of G-d, whether it has occurred in the month of miracles,
or in an average day.
Springtime happens to bring with it one of the most colorful, widely observed,
and vividly recalled Jewish holidays -- Passover. In fact, one of the three
names by which Passover is mentioned in the Bible is "the Holiday of Spring."
Our Sages enjoin us to begin preparing for each holiday thirty days before
the holiday begins. When our Sages made this suggestion, they had in mind
learning the laws pertaining to the holiday. The holiday of Purim falls thirty
days before Passover, which serves as an easy reminder of when to start
preparations. Many people use Purim, and the thirty-day guideline as a reminder
that it's time to start getting serious about cleaning the house, and getting
the chometz (leavened foods) out of the house, for Passover.
We've already passed the thirty-day mark. So, certainly, it's not too soon
to make plans for where you'll be spending the seders. Also, check
out your local supermarket or grocery store and see if they'll be stocking
the kosher-for-Passover food that have a reliable Rabbinical
supervision that you will need for the eight-day holiday. If they don't
have everything, find out who does.
In addition, call your local rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center to order
shmurah matzah -- special hand-made matzah just like the Jews
used when they came out of Egypt -- at least for the two seders.
With the first crocuses starting to peep their heads up, even through the
frost, it's really time to start thinking about Passover. This year, bring
the "Holiday of Spring" into your thoughts, now.
When it comes to getting ready for Passover; teamwork is essential to do
the job right. If you consider the task of removing all traces of
chometz from your possession as an adventure, it makes it more fun
and rewarding. And when you're having fun, everyone wants to join in.
Start early enough -- traditionally we start preparing for a holiday 30 days
before the festival -- and consider cleaning according to the ABC's.
Attack the attic. Go through all of those storage spaces that accumulate
chometz during the year.
Beware of bedrooms, books and even briefcases. Even if your policy
is no food in bedrooms, crumbs wind up there. Chometz also wedges
itself in books if you eat while you read.
Clear the cabinets, chairs, car and closets of chometz. This
is a perfect time to have the carpets cleaned, too.
Deal with the drawers and desks.
Eliminate your ego. What does ego have to do with Passover and
chometz? To make a long chasidic discourse short, chometz contains
leaven and rises. Matzah doesn't have any leaven and therefore remains
flat. As we rid our physical surroundings of leaven, we should try to eradicate
our pompous, haughty and self-righteous aspects, those parts of our personality
which grow and rise.
Face the freezer and all furniture. And, if you've contemplated cleaning
your upholstery, now is the time.
Go for the garage, garbage cans and wastebaskets.
Hide the high chair. Unless you still need to use it. If so, thoroughly
scrub it, and cover the trays.
Ignore the idea to quit. You're nearly half-way through!
Joyously de-chometz the jig-saw puzzles and all other toys.
It's easy not to be happy when you have 300 pieces of Lego to clean -- all
with Cheerios meshed in. But think of all the quiet playtime these toys
encourage. And think of all the joy that the children give you when you're
playing with them -- the kids, that is, not the Lego.
Keep at the kitchen and kitchen appliances. The kitchen is "not within
the scope of this article." Ask a rabbi or rebbetzin how to do it!
Lather the luggage. Go through your suitcases and carry-on bags.
Make-over the medicine cabinet. Many non-prescription medicines contain
chometz and should be dealt with properly. If you must take medicine
during Passover, consult your rabbi (probably a nice guy who would love to
hear from you).
Nurture your needs. Take a break. Sit down with a drink and relax
for a few minutes. While you're relaxing, peruse one of the many interesting
Haggadahs available today and you'll be preparing yourself mentally
for the holiday, as well.
Overtake your office. Unless you're taking the whole week off, you
have to clean your office for Passover.
Peruse your pockets, purse and porch for chometz.
Quarantine your quarterback. Or, for that matter, anyone who goes
running through your ready-for-Passover rooms with chometz.
Ready the refrigerator. Use up all those open jars and then clean
Scrub the stroller. If you don't have one, help someone who does.
Tackle the telephone. It's probably sticky if you talk while you're
Unclutter the utility room.
Validate the vacuum cleaner by throwing out or emptying the bag after
you vacuumed the last chometz.
Wash the wall where all the cake batter splatters when you bake.
Xerox your favorite recipes which can be used for Passover since
your cookbooks are probably so full of chometz that they are
Yield chometz from your yacht. Although, if you have a yacht
you're probably not doing most of the cleaning, anyway.
Zee, it wasn't zo bad after all!
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:
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 Others Happy:
As we are now in the 60 days of happiness comprised of the two months of
Adar, we should endeavor to make others
The Rebbe explained, "We should proceed to spread joy and happiness in the
most literal sense, making efforts to assure that the members of one's household
and similarly, all of those with whom one comes in contact, experience great
joy. And this will lead to the ultimate joy, the coming of the Redemption.
May it take place in the immediate future."
3. See Living
With Moshiach, Adar I, 5763.
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, Mar. 28, Erev Shabbat Parshat Shemini:
Light Shabbat Candles,(4) by 5:57 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 29, Shabbat Parshat Shemini:
Blessing of the New Hebrew Month,
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:58 p.m.
4. 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.
5. Rosh Chodesh Nissan is on Thursday, April 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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