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"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Matos-Masei, 5764

Tamuz 27, 5764
July 16, 2004


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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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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 ARRIVAL."

Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12

THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
OF LUBAVITCH

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.

INTRODUCTION

We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 383rd issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.

*

This week's issue of Living With Moshiach is dedicated in honor of the first yahrtzeit of our dear friend and copy editor, Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul Staiman, who passed away, on Tuesday, 22 Tamuz, 5763 (July 22, 2003).

Reb Mordechai Staiman was a very kind person, who gave tirelessly from his time and effort for the success of our organization "Torah Publications For The Blind," and this publication "Living With Moshiach" in particular.

Reb Mordechai Staiman has been a prolific writer, editor, publicist, and copywriter for over thirty six years. His articles have appeared in many publications including, The Jewish Press, Wellsprings, The Algemeiner Journal, N'Shei Chabad, Beis Moshiach, Chabad, Country Yossi Family Magazine, and L'Chaim. He also published 5 books.

He will be dearly missed by all very much.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.

* * *

A web-site has been established in the loving memory and also featuring the works of Reb Mordechai Staiman. You can find it at: http://www.torah4blind.org/staiman

*

Next Monday, July 19, is Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av, therefore, in this week's issue we focus on the upcoming Hebrew month of Menachem-Av.

*

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 of blessed memory, 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,
Administrator,
Committee for the Blind

22 Tamuz, 5764
Los Angeles, California

In honor of
Rabbi & Mrs. Yosef Yitzchok and Gitel Rochel
Shagalov
On the occasion of our wedding,
Sunday, 13 Nissan, 5764

THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Matos-Masei

This week we read two Torah portions, Parshat Matos and Parshat Masei. The second Torah portion, Parshat Masei (meaning "journeys"), delineates the various travels of the Jews in the desert.

When the Jews left Egypt, they were beginning one long journey. Their departure from Egypt and their travels in the desert were all so that eventually the Jews would enter the Land of Israel. It would seem, then, that each of the forty-two stops they made along the way between Egypt and Israel was not really that significant. The stops presented an opportunity for the Jewish camp, comprised of millions of people, to take care of their various needs.

Yet, each and every stop the Jews made in the desert is mentioned separately, and each one is considered its own journey. Didn't the Jews reach the desert -- and freedom -- immediately upon leaving the borders of Egypt?

In every generation, in each individual's life, there must be an exodus from Egypt, a departure from one's own boundaries and limitations. However, simply "leaving" Egypt is not enough. We must know that even after working on ourselves and spiritually leaving Egypt, we are not finished. No matter what spiritual level we have attained, we can still go further, we are still bound by our "Egypt." We must begin a new "journey," getting stronger and stronger as we go along.

There is a twofold lesson from these "journeys." Even when one has already attained a high level, one must never be content with what one has already achieved. Our whole purpose is to move in an upward spiritual direction -- never to stagnate and remain in the same place. Each day that is granted to us by G-d should be utilized for fulfilling this mission. However, we must be cognizant that, in relation to what is above us and what we can still achieve, we are still in Egypt.

On the other hand, one must never despair of all there is left to achieve and of one's lowly spiritual state. One must remember that it is possible, through work, to leave "Egypt" immediately, with only one journey. We must never think that our toil is in vain; with one move we can elevate ourselves and reach the "good and wide land" -- the Land of Israel.

THE REBBE'S PROPHECY

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.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR FRIEND AND COPY EDITOR
Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul
Staiman

Passed away on 22 Tamuz, 5763

A DIAMOND OF A CHASID:
A Tribute to Reb Mordechai Staiman, o.b.m.

In honor of his first yahrtzeit,
Sunday, 22 Tamuz, 5764 (July 11, 2004)

By Rabbi Alexander Zushe Kohn(1)

"Mordechai the Jew... sought the good of his people and spoke for the welfare of all of his seed." I can think of no more succinct description of Reb Mordechai Staiman o.b.m. than this verse from the Book of Esther. Like the legendary Mordechai of Shushan, Mordechai Staiman sought to inspire Jews with a love for their heritage and their people. That's why he wrote Niggun, a book about the power of Jewish song, and that's why he wrote Diamonds of the Rebbe, a book about famous Jewish personalities whom the Lubavitcher Rebbe inspired to greater spiritual achievement. Waiting for the Messiah tells the story of our people's yearning for the Redemption, and Secrets of the Rebbe describes how Chabad's Mesirus Nefesh activities on behalf of Russian Jewry led to the fall of the Soviet Empire. Mordechai's last masterpiece is called His Name is Aaron, and its amazing stories will warm even the iciest of hearts with the fire of Chassidism.

Mordechai saw himself as an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in every sense of the word. Instead of using his unique writing skills to create a New York Times bestseller -- which he could have a done on a Monday afternoon -- he devoted himself to bringing the joy of Judaism and Chassidism to as many Jews as possible. In addition to his Jewish bestsellers, Mordechai sent numerous articles to many Jewish publications, copyedited all editions of the weekly Living with Moshiach digest (for the blind and visually impaired) for free, edited Chassidic Stories Made In Heaven, prepared a rough draft of a Moshiach encyclopedia, and, for a number of years, proofread L'Chaim weekly.

Mordechai once related how on the night of Yud-Tes Kislev, 5753, when the Rebbe appeared on the balcony for six consecutive hours, he and his friend, Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov were laboring to prepare the first "blind" Chanukah issue for the printer the next morning. The temptation to go and bask in the Rebbe's light was very powerful. But they didn't go, because Mordechai maintained the Rebbe would tell them to sacrifice their noble aspirations for the sake of another Jew -- all the more so for the sake of many Jews, some of whom would be learning about Chanukah, and about Chassidism, and about Moshiach for the first time in their lives.

"Even the Gentiles liked him," notes a close friend of the Staimans. "He would say nice things to people whom you and I would be afraid to talk to, and this generated an atmosphere of peace between the Jews on the block and their gentile neighbors."

Mordechai was forever trying to make people smile. When I first met him, a decade ago, he cracked some good humored jokes with me, and for the next ten years he didn't stop. This was especially amazing considering that Mordechai suffered his own fare share of pain, and could easily justify being miserable. I remember visiting him at home after his heart surgery. The minute I saw him, I could tell that he was in a lot of pain. He whispered that he can't really talk because he's very weak. Then he said, "One minute, I'll be right back." He went into a back room and emerged with pad and paper in hand. He then proceeded to interview me -- not without managing a few good-hearted wisecracks in-between questions -- about a subject he was planning to write about in one of his upcoming books.

So, the next time you think of Reb Mordechai Staiman, go ahead and make a Jew smile; tell a Jew a Chassidic story; sing a Jew a Niggun. And if you don't know how, let Mordechai himself do it for you. For though Mordechai will be sorely missed, "he has left us the writings," (to paraphrase the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer, at the time of his passing), which will continue to inspire Jews all over, until the last page of history has been written.

*

A web site has been established in the loving memory and also featuring the works of Reb Mordechai Staiman, o.b.m. You can find it at: http://www.torah4blind.org/staiman

_______________

1. Rabbi Alexander Zushe Kohn is the founder of the Chassidic Writing Center. He can be reached at akohn@thejnet.com, or at 718-771-7290.

MOSHIACH MATTERS

A Chasid once asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the third Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, whether he should settle in the land of Israel. There he would devote his life to Torah study and mitzvah observance.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied, "Make the place where you are into the Holy Land."

What does that response mean?

To answer, we must first understand what is Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land. The Holy Land is a place where G-dliness, holiness and Judaism are openly revealed. In an ultimate sense, this will be realized in the Messianic era when the third Holy Temple will be rebuilt and the observance of all the commandments associated with holiness of the land will be restored.

This is the essence of the Messianic Era. The relationship between man and G-d will no longer be based on faith alone, but will also be nourished by a first-hand awareness of G-d's Presence here on earth. The physical setting of the world will not change in the era of Redemption. What will be different is our knowledge and awareness of G-d.

The directive "Make this place the Holy Land" means that every individual should and can draw G-dliness into his life and into his environment.

Each of us should know that one's "place," that is, each dimension of our environment and each moment of time we experience can be transformed into the Holy Land, into a place where G-dliness is openly revealed.

DON'T GIVE ME YOUR ATTITUDE

Surely you've seen the t-shirts and pins stating, "I don't need your attitude, I have one of my own."

Most likely, the person wearing this message is tired of being confronted by people with negative, angry attitudes, whether a fellow commuter on mass transit, a cashier at the supermarket, or a customer service representative for a local utility company.

People with attitudes seem cold as ice, but if you've ever tried saying a few caring words, you were probably surprised to see the frosty exterior melt like a popsicle on a 100 degree day.

"You look like you've had a really hard day" will often get you a sigh of appreciation and a peek under the veil of indifference and anger.

But why should we put ourselves out and be compassionate toward a surly person?

Because, in these last few moments of life as we know it here in this imperfect world, we can practice honing our interpersonal skills. Kindness, compassion, and consideration are what our attitudes will be all about in the times of Moshiach.

In the Messianic Era, the inherent goodness and G-dliness that everything contains, will be revealed. We can help reveal that latent quality even now by making sure our Attitudes are caring toward our fellow human beings. Even if their Attitudes make them seem despicable and unworthy of compassion, we should respect them simply because they are G-d's creatures, and if G-d tolerates them, we should, too.

Sometimes, displaying a Moshiach Attitude takes no time at all. Like when you flash a smile at someone as you pass him or her on the sidewalk, or when you say a heartfelt "thank you" as you're given your change. At other times it might take a moment, but not much more, to let your Moshiach Attitude shine through: Letting someone with one item go ahead of you in the supermarket line; helping a little old lady cross the street (yes, there are still little old ladies who need help crossing the street!); calling a parent or sibling to say, "I was thinking of you," not cutting someone off in traffic just to get to your destination 30 seconds earlier. But those moments are timeless and well spent.

Practicing a Moshiach Attitude now is a sure way to get ready for and actually hastens the perfect world we've always dreamed of.

THE "THREE WEEKS"

This summer, during the month of July, comes a very serious time for the Jewish people, when many terrible things happened throughout history. This period is called the "Three Weeks," or Bain HaMetzorim, which means "Between the Straits."

What happened during this time? On the 17th of Tamuz: 1) Moses descended from Mt. Sinai and smashed the two Tablets with the Ten Commandments when he saw the Jews worshipping the Golden Calf; 2) The Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem in 70 c.e.; 3) During the siege of Jerusalem the daily sacrifice was interrupted by Nebuchadnezzer; 4) Apostomus publicly burned a Torah scroll; and 5) An idol was erected in the courtyard of the Holy Temple. On the 9th of Av, both the First and Second Temple were destroyed, bringing terrible suffering upon the Jewish people.

*

The "Three Weeks" begin on the 17th of Tamuz (Tuesday, July 6, 2004), and continue until the 9th of Av (Tuesday, July 27, 2004).

SOME LAWS OF THE "THREE WEEKS"

We observe some aspects of mourning: Weddings do not take place, and playing musical instruments is prohibited, as is the buying and wearing of new garments. In addition, we do not cut our hair.

Also, we should try to be extra kind to one another. We should give extra charity, and learn extra Torah, and pray to G-d to end the Exile.

*

Jewish teachings explain that when we learn the laws of the Holy Temple, its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if we are rebuilding it.

Therefore, the Rebbe stresses that during the "Three Weeks" we should spend time studying what the Holy Temple will be like, and to learn all about it.

LAWS OF THE HOLY TEMPLE

See our publication: "Laws of the Holy Temple"

The text of the book: "Seek Out The Welfare Of Jerusalem" [Analytical Studies by the Rebbe, of Rambam's rulings concerning the construction and design of the Holy Temple], published by Sichos in English -- is available on-line at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/seek-out, and is divided into a special study program.

Also, for a Audio/Visual Virtual Interactive Tour of the second Bais Hamikdosh (Holy Temple), go to: http://www.moshiach.com/temple

A LESSON FROM THE "THREE WEEKS"

There are two approaches to the present period of the "Three Weeks."

One approach is to dwell on the awesomeness of those tragedies and the difficulties suffered by our people in the exile that followed.

The other approach, while not minimizing the extent of our nation's loss, puts the emphasis on the purpose of the exile. Heaven forbid to say that destruction and exile are ends in and of themselves. Rather, within the ashes of the Temple's destruction was kindled the spark of the Future Redemption.

In an ultimate sense, this was the purpose of the exile -- to prepare the Jewish people and the world at large for the higher and deeper level of fulfillment to be reached in that era.

There is no question that the second approach is the one more followed in the present age.

Our Sages declared, "All the appointed times for Moshiach's coming have passed; the matter is only dependent on teshuvah."

We have already turned to G-d with sincere teshuvah. Thus, when speaking of the readiness of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, used the allegory of a garment that is complete in all respects -- "and all that is needed now is to polish the buttons."

Surely, the many years of vibrant Torah activity that have followed since the Previous Rebbe's statement was made, have been sufficient to accomplish that purpose.

We are standing on the threshold of the Redemption. Moshiach's coming is no longer a dream of a distant future, but an imminent reality that will very shortly become fully manifest.

Through living with the concept of Moshiach, we shall hasten his coming and bring about the era in which these "Three Weeks" will be transformed from mourning into the celebration of the Redemption.

May this take place in the immediate future.

SOME LAWS OF THE MONTH OF MENACHEM-AV

During the Nine Days between the beginning of the Jewish month of Menachem-Av and the 9th of Menachem-Av (July 19-27), mourning intensifies. We abstain from eating meat and drinking wine except on Shabbat and for a Seudas Mitzvah (meal associated with a mitzvah such as a bris, or upon completing the study of a tractate of the Talmud). Lawsuits should be postponed, pleasure trips should be avoided.

*

Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem it says, "Everyone who mourns for the destruction of Jerusalem will be privileged to see its rebuilding." We are not discussing here the obligation of the community at large, but rather the obligation of each and every individual. Each one of us has to mourn Jerusalem. And, although we have been promised that the Bais HaMikdosh will be rebuilt, we are obligated to help rebuild it.

The completion of this task requires not only the participation of the community in general, but also the participation of each individual in particular.

The Rebbe has said that, in order to aid in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and bring Moshiach closer, every individual must increase in Torah study, prayer and charity. An increase in charity is especially appropriate at this time, as we are told that charity brings the final Redemption closer, and "Zion -- Jerusalem -- will be redeemed through . . . tzedakah -- charity."

May each and every one of us draw on that inner strength bestowed upon every Jew that will enable us to increase in all of the above-mentioned matters, bringing about the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the complete and final Redemption through Moshiach, NOW!

ROSH CHODESH MENACHEM-AV

Monday, July 19, is the first day of the Hebrew month of Menachem-Av. With the beginning of Menachem-Av, the three-week mourning period over the destruction of the Temple intensifies.

The First of Menachem-Av was also the day on which Aaron, the High Priest, passed away.

Concerning his passing, the Torah tells us that "All of the House of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days." But for Moses, only the men wept, not the women. Why was this? Because Aaron made peace between husband and wife, and between friends.

It is a phenomenal example of Divine Providence that Aaron, who was known as a "pursuer of peace," passed away just on the day when, hundreds of years later, we would be intensifying our mourning over the destruction of the Temple. His life's work, evident even at his passing, shows us how to rectify the reason for which the Temple was destroyed.

The Second Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred among Jews. Hatred and divisiveness are equal to the sins of idolatry, adultery and murder, for which the First Temple was destroyed.

Especially at this time, we have much to learn from Aaron. We must try to emulate his wonderful example, by doing everything in our power to bring peace and harmony amongst our people. When this happens, we will no longer mourn the passing of Aaron, nor the destruction of the Holy Temples, for we will all be united, together as one, in the Third and everlasting Holy Temple, may it be rebuilt NOW.

TO ADD IN AHAVAT CHINAM

Our Sages have taught that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam -- unwarranted hatred. The rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the correction of our past failings will be brought about through ahavat chinam -- unconditional love of our fellow Jew. What is unconditional love? When we love the other person just because he is a Jew.

There are two sorts of love, actually, love of two different "types" of Jews. One love is for the Jew I don't even know, and the other is for the Jew I know. A cynical Jew once said, "If you ask me to love the Jew that's in Russia, or the Jew that's fighting in the front lines in Israel, whom I've never met, I have no problem. But if you're asking me to love Yankel my neighbor, whose faults I know, now that is very, very hard."

In order to rebuild the Holy Temple, we have to have ahavat chinam for the people we know. Though we recognize through firsthand experience their good and bad qualities, their frailties and foibles, we must rise higher than the differences between us. And, if we look higher or overlook altogether what we don't like in another Jew, then the ahavat chinam will come much more easily. For, when we look deeper, we will certainly see the other Jew's source and essence, which, being a part of G-d Himself, are good and pure.

May each and every one of us be permeated with true ahavat chinam for those Jews whom we know as well as those Jews we don't know, thus helping to rebuild the Third and eternal Holy Temple, NOW.

WINDOWS XP AND LOVE

by Rabbi Noach Vogel(2)

Where I live, computers are the talk of the town. You see, I live in Silicon Valley and I hear a lot about computers, whether it's hardware or software.

The Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chasidic movement) taught that everything that one sees or hears is placed before us in order to teach us a lesson.

It is with this teaching in mind that I began to think about Windows XP (or Windows 2000). It struck me that there are many similarities between the "new" (or newest as of today) version of Windows and the commandment to love one's fellow Jew.

For many computer aficionados, and even for your average two computers in the den and a dog in the yard users, one of the major differences of note between the previous editions of Windows and the latest upgrade is as follows: In the older versions, if a program had a problem and it shut down, it took Windows down with it. Typically, you would find yourself staring vacantly and with more than a little annoyance, into a blank screen.

However, in Windows XP, only the program that is in trouble will shut down and the rest of Windows is left intact.

As I was pondering what one could learn from this as a way to serve G-d better, I began to zero in on one aspect of interpersonal relationships. Let's imagine a scenario where two friends (or relatives) are speaking with each other. One of the two says something insensitive or callous, knowingly or unknowingly. The other person takes offence and begins remonstrating. Before you know it, a full-blown argument ensues. The final result? The two don't speak with each other for a few days, a few weeks, or, as unfortunately happens all too often, they never speak to each other again.

In other words, the whole system crashes. But life is too short! They've been friends or relatives for a long time. How can one irrational word cause the relationship to disintegrate?

Windows XP reminds us that we are made up of many diverse programs, that our relationships are encoded with varied data. It is a sign for us that just because one program has crashed, just because there is a glitch somewhere, the whole relationship doesn't have to break down.

In truth, however, human relations should be even better than a mere computer operating system. For, we are told that we should model all of our actions on that of our Creator. "Just as He is merciful, so too should you be merciful. Just as He is compassionate, so too should you be compassionate...." G-d sees all of our failings and He still puts up with us and loves us. Shouldn't we try to be G-dly in our person-to-person dealings?

Surely if we all do something to upgrade and repair our interpersonal relations, G-d will inaugurate the Messianic Era at which time there will be no more "crashes," large or small.

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2. Rabbi Vogel directs the Almaden Valley Torah Center in S. Jose, California.

LET'S BE READY!

Reb Zalman Estulin, an elderly chasid, told this story many years ago at a chasidic gathering -- a farbrengen.

Once, there were two brothers, Avraham and Shlomo, who exhibited unbelievable brotherly love. As children they never fought. They studied Torah together and eventually, after they married fine, Jewish women, they settled down in the same city.

Sad to say, the brothers got into a foolish argument as is bound to happen. Things went from bad to worse until it got to the point where as friendly and loving as the brothers had once been they now hated and abhorred each other.

Years passed in this way until the time came when Reb Avraham was going to marry off his eldest daughter. Despite the fact that they had not spoken for over a decade, Reb Avraham wanted his brother to share in his happiness.

And so, he sent Shlomo a letter of apology for all past wrongs and an invitation to the wedding. When no reply came, Avraham sent a messenger. But the messenger came back with the message that Shlomo would not even consider coming to the wedding.

The evening of the wedding arrived, and though Reb Avraham was happy, his joy was tinged with sadness in knowing that his brother would not attend the wedding.

For his part, Reb Shlomo had scheduled his evening in such a way that feelings of remorse would not get in his way of staying home. He had a huge, seven-course meal, took a long, relaxing bath, got into his pajamas and went to bed early.

The wedding on the other side of town was in full swing when the violinist, an extremely talented musician who could change people's moods through his music, noticed that Avraham's joy was not complete.

The violinist approached Avraham and asked if there was anything he could do: "My reputation will suffer if I can't make the father of the bride happy."

Avraham told the violinist that he was saddened by his brother's absence. "I will go and bring him here," the violinist offered.

And so, the violinist went to Reb Shlomo's house. He stood outside of Shlomo's bedroom window. Half asleep, Shlomo came to the window to see who was playing. He was so intrigued and entranced by the violinist's recital that he opened his door and went outside.

In this manner the violinist and Shlomo walked through the town until they reached the wedding hall.

Slowly, slowly, they approached the wedding until Reb Shlomo found himself in the middle of the dance floor at the wedding hall. He looked around and saw everybody so beautifully dressed. Then, he looked at himself and realized, with quite a bit of embarrassment, that he was hardly dressed as befits the uncle of the bride. Indeed, he was a sorry state in his pajamas!

"Brothers," Rabbi Estulin concluded, "we're all going to be there in the middle of the dance floor when Moshiach comes. Because, as our Sages teach us, the Redemption is like the consummation of the wedding ceremony between G-d and the Jewish people, which took place at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

"The Torah and mitzvot that we do are like the clothing of our souls. It is up to us to come to the wedding dressed as befits the uncle of the bride, and not in our pajamas!"

IT HAPPENED ONCE

The Holy Temple lay in ruins, its resplendent beauty plowed under by the conquering Roman Legions. The remnants of the population were in despair. The Talmud relates that four great rabbis were walking along a road in The Land of Israel. Suddenly they heard a rumbling sound rising from the distance. One rabbi inquired of the others, "What is that noise?"

"That is the sound of a multitude of Romans far away in the distance," replied another.

Three of the rabbis began to weep; the fourth, Rabbi Akiva, began laughing. The others were surprised by their colleague's reaction and asked, "Akiva, why are you laughing?"

He countered: "Why are you three crying?"

They said: "Here we see that the Romans, who worship idols and burn incense to them, are living in safety and prosperity. And we [who worship the true G-d], the House which is G-d's footstool [the Holy Temple] lies burned in fire. Why shouldn't we weep?"

Rabbi Akiva replied: "That is precisely why I'm laughing. For, if this is the lot of those who violate the will of G-d, how much more joyous will be the future for us Jews who do His will?"

On another occasion the same four Sages were traveling together to Jerusalem. When they reached the point of the Mount of Olives, they tore their clothes [in mourning] as is prescribed by Jewish law. Proceeding further they arrived at the desolate Temple Mount, and as they gazed toward the Holy of Holies -- where the sacred incense had been offered to the Al-mighty -- they saw a fox emerging. Three of the rabbis began to weep at the sight of the degradation of the holy place. Rabbi Akiva, however, laughed. They turned to Akiva and asked, "Why are you laughing?"

He asked in return, "Why are you weeping?"

They answered him, "This is place of which it is written, 'And the stranger who approaches will surely die.' Yet, now we see foxes strolling about. Why should we not weep."

Replied Akiva, "That is precisely why I am laughing. In the prophecy of Uria it says, 'Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will be desolate and the Temple Mount will be a forest.' The prophecy of Zecharia says, 'Aged men and women will yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem.'

"Before I saw the prophecy of Uria fulfilled I worried that the prophecy of Zecharia would not be realized. But now that I have witnessed the fulfillment of the first, I know surely that the second will come to pass as well."

They turned to him and said, "Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva you have comforted us!"

TIME FOR UNITY;
TIME FOR STRENGTH!

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 teaches 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

A CALL TO ACTION

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.

Study About the Holy Temple:

Jewish teachings explain that when we learn the laws of the Holy Temple, its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if we are rebuilding it.

Therefore, the Rebbe stresses that during the "Three Weeks" we should spend time studying what the Holy Temple will be like, and to learn all about it.

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"This study should be carried out in anxious anticipation of the Holy Temple being rebuilt. We should study about the Holy Temple with the awareness that in the very near future we will see what we are studying about in actual reality."

The Rebbe, 24 Tamuz, 5751/1991

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"G-d told the prophet Yechezkel that through studying the laws of the structure of the Holy Temple it is considered as if we have been involved in its actual construction.

"As we are so close to the Redemption, the subject must be approached as a present reality; at any moment the Third Holy Temple which is already built in the heavens will descend and be revealed on earth."

The Rebbe, 17 Tamuz, 5751/1991

THE WEEKLY SHABBAT CALENDAR

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:
http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/general/shluchim.html.
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, July 16, Erev Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(3) by 8:07 p.m.

Saturday, July 17, Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:

  • Blessing of the New Hebrew Month, Menachem-Av.(4)
  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:14 p.m.

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3. 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.

4. Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av is on Monday, July 19.

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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