LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach
Parshat Vayeira, 5765
Cheshvan 14, 5765
Oct. 29, 2004
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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.
Thank G-d that, with the current issue, our weekly publication, Living
With Moshiach, has begun its eleventh year of publication.
At this time, we take the opportunity to thank our supporters who have helped
us publish this weekly publication.
May G-d bless them, with health, happiness and success in all of their endeavors.
On Shabbat Parshat Eikev, 5751 (August 3, 1991), the Rebbe spoke about
the printing of Chasidus in braille for the blind.
The full text of the Rebbe's sichah (talk) was reprinted as an
"Introduction" to Vol. 1 of the Moshiach - Holiday Series (Chanukah
5753/1992), and in "Living With Moshiach"
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,
Committee for the Blind
3 Cheshvan, 5765
Los Angeles, California
In honor of
Rabbi & Mrs. Yosef Yitzchok and Gitel Rochel
On the occasion of our wedding,
Sunday, 13 Nissan, 5764
This week's Torah portion, Vayeira, contains the account of the "binding
of Isaac," Abraham's tenth and most difficult test. Commanded by G-d to sacrifice
his beloved son Isaac, Abraham responded with alacrity and devotion, but
at the last minute was prevented from carrying out his task by a heavenly
angel. "And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him
was a ram...and he offered it up for a burnt-offering instead of his son."
Abraham intoned the following prayer at every stage of the service as he
offered the animal: "May it be Your will that this action be considered as
having been performed on my son." Abraham was not content to merely offer
the ram instead of Isaac; he prayed for his actions to be considered by G-d
as if he had actually sacrificed his son.
It was then that the angel called out to him again: "'By Myself have I sworn,'
says G-d, 'because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your
only son, I will greatly bless you and make your descendants as numerous
as the stars in heaven.'" Abraham's offering was so favorable to G-d that
He swore in confirmation of the blessings He would bestow on Abraham and
What was so special about the offering of the ram, and why did the angel
call out only after it was sacrificed? And, why was it so important to Abraham
for G-d to consider it as if Isaac had been offered, as originally commanded?
The explanation for this lies in the difference between a person's willingness
to do something and the actual performance of the deed. A person willing
to sacrifice his life for the sanctification of G-d's name is not on the
same level as one who actually does so.
When Abraham was commanded by G-d to sacrifice his son he was willing to
obey without any hesitation whatsoever. When it came to actually performing
the deed, however, Abraham was prevented from doing so. Abraham could therefore
be credited with only the willingness to carry out G-d's will, but not with
the actual deed. It was for this reason that Abraham prayed so insistently
for G-d to consider it as if Isaac himself had been sacrificed.
Because of Abraham's extraordinary devotion in this regard, he merited G-d's
sworn affirmation of the blessings He would bestow. A blessing can be averted
by a person's transgressions, but a sworn oath uttered by G-d can never be
abrogated. This oath, in the merit of the "binding of Isaac," has stood the
Jewish people in good stead throughout the generations, and will attain complete
fruition when "your descendants shall inherit the gates of their enemies,"
with the coming of Moshiach and the Final Redemption, speedily in our day.
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 LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR FRIEND AND COPY EDITOR
Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul
Passed away on 22 Tamuz, 5763
It is a Jewish custom to relate the events of the week to the weekly portion
of the Torah, and thereby to derive true instruction from the Torah of Truth.
This week's Torah portion, Parshat Vayeira, tells us of the birth
and upbringing of the first Jewish boy, born of Jewish parents, namely Isaac,
the son of Abraham and Sarah, the first ancestors of our Jewish people.
The circumstances surrounding Isaac's birth were supernatural and miraculous.
His bris (circumcision) took place when he was eight days old, and
his upbringing was fraught with difficulties and trials.
Quite different was the case of Abraham's son Ishmael, whose birth was quite
normal, and who was circumcised when he was thirteen years old, that is,
at a mature age.
Yet it was Isaac whom G-d chose to be Abraham's true heir, from whom the
Jewish people would descend.
Thus, the Torah teaches us that when new generations are to be born who are
to ensure Jewish continuity and future, the approach must not be based on
natural considerations and human calculations, for Jewish existence is not
dependent upon natural forces, but upon G-d's direct intervention and providence.
Similarly, the education and upbringing of Jewish children is not to be
determined by the same considerations and criteria as in the non-Jewish world.
Jewish parents do not wait until the child becomes mature enough to determine
his behavior and find his own way to Judaism. He is given the strongest and
fullest possible measure of Jewish training from infancy.
Only in this way is it possible to ensure the "everlasting covenant" with
G-d, to come through all difficulties and trials with strength, and endowed
with G-d's blessings, materially and spiritually.
* * *
. . . This significant event, taking place on the day after the reading of
the weekly Torah portion of Vayeira, is indeed related to the concluding
highlights of the portion, namely, the birth and upbringing of the first
Jewish child, Isaac, born of the first Jewish parents, Abraham and Sarah.
The Torah tells us that Abraham made a "great feast" (when Isaac was two
years old), at which the leading dignitaries of the era were present (Rashi,
quoting the Midrash).
Some of those who attended thought the celebration unrealistic, seeing no
future for a single Jewish child, surrounded by a hostile world.
Yet G-d promised that this child would be the father of a great and holy
nation; a nation which, though overwhelmingly outnumbered, would not only
outlive its enemies, but would be a leader and a guiding light to the rest
A hint to the fulfillment of the Divine promise is to be found in the passage
immediately following the above narrative, in which the Torah tells us of
Sarah's heartfelt concern for Isaac's upbringing and proper environment even
at that early age.
Thus, the Torah sets the pattern for Jewish education.
It teaches us that regardless of the odds, the future of the Jewish child,
as of the Jewish people as a whole, is assured by Divine promise, provided
the parents fulfill their responsibilities, even to the point of self-sacrifice,
if necessary. Not the least, it teaches us that in matters of Torah and holiness,
even "a small beginning flourishes exceedingly in the end."
About the coming of Moshiach, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the first Rebbe
of Chabad-Lubavitch), said that it will be written up in the newspapers.
That is just an expression. The actual meaning is that every single Jew will
be ready for the coming of Moshiach exactly as if it were written in the
newspaper that Moshiach is already on the way!
("Torat Sholom" of the Rebbe Rashab)
On the 20th of Cheshvan (next Thursday, Nov. 4), we will be
commemorating the birthday of Rabbi Sholom DovBer (5621/1860-5680/1920),
the fifth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, known as the Rebbe Rashab.
It is said that on a person's birthday, the "spiritual source of the soul
shines powerfully." Therefore, it is important to understand what the central
point of the Rebbe Rashab's leadership was, and how it differed from
the other Chabad Rebbes.
The Rebbe explains how each of the Rebbes was characterized by a particular
dimension that reflected his individual nature.
Chabad Chasidus is characterized by the ability to make the esoteric
teachings of the Torah, which remained hidden from the majority of the Jewish
community, accessible to every single Jew. The Rebbe Rashab was able
to bring the teachings of Chabad Chasidus to an even more comprehensible
level than his predecessors.
The Rebbe Rashab's teachings put a great emphasis on summarizing subject
matter so that it could be more easily implemented into daily life. For this
he is referred to by many as the "Rambam (Maimonides) of
Chasidus," because he summarized Chasidus in the same way the
Rambam summarized the Oral Law, making it comprehensible and giving
it clear directions for every aspect of our conduct.
The lessons of the Rebbe Rashab are easily understood and are concluded
with directions for the practical application of those lessons.
In 5657/1897 the Rebbe Rashab established a yeshivah, Tomchei
Tmimim, and he was personally involved in every aspect of it, designing
the curriculum, and asking for a detailed progress report on each student.
He strove to raise both their standard of learning and their standard of
behavior. It was a great honor to be accepted into the yeshivah, and
its students were highly respected by the community.
The Rebbe Rashab published many of his teachings, which deal with
improving one's character, how to prepare for prayer and the importance of
prayer, and of studying Chasidus.
May we all benefit from his teachings.
* * *
In the year before the Rebbe Rashab was born in 5621/1860, his mother,
Rebbetzin Rivka, had two dreams in which his birth was foretold. In
her own words:
"On 10 Kislev, 5620/1859, I saw my mother [Rebbetzin Shaina]
and my grandfather [the Mitteler Rebbe] in a dream. My mother was
smiling as she said, 'Rivka, you and your husband should write a sefer
Torah' (Torah Scroll). Then my grandfather said, 'And you will have a
fine son. Don't forget to name him after me.' To which my mother added, 'Rivkah,
do you hear what my father is telling you?' At that point I woke up."
Rebbetzin Rivka kept her dream a secret. A few days later, her
father-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel (the third Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, known
as the Tzemach Tzedek), made a cryptic comment to her about "a good
dream that should surely be fulfilled."
On the night of the 19th of Kislev, Rebbetzin Rivka had another
dream. This time, her mother and grandfather were accompanied by another
elderly man,... who said, "Amen, may it be G-d's will." Then her mother
said, "Grandfather, bless her," and the elderly man gave her a blessing,
to which her grandfather and mother answered "Amen." Rebbetzin
Rivka also said "Amen" in a loud voice, which woke her up.
When Rebbetzin Rivka related both dreams to her husband, the Rebbe
Maharash, he insisted that the sefer Torah be written on the highest
grade of parchment, made from the skins of kosher animals that were ritually
The Torah scroll was completed on the 13th of Cheshvan. When
Rebbetzin Rivka brought the mantle (outside Torah cover) she
had embroidered for the sefer Torah to her father-in-law, the Tzemach
Tzedek, he said, "Mazal tov, and may G-d fulfill the blessing
that was given to you by my father-in-law [the Mitteler Rebbe] and
my grandfather [the Alter Rebbe]."
Rabbi Shalom Dovber was born a week later.
* * *
There is a beautiful story concerning the Rebbe Rashab, illustrating
the high esteem in which he held every Jew.
One of the Rebbe Rashab's followers, Reb Monye Monissohn, was a wealthy
gem dealer. Once, when they were sitting together, the Rebbe spoke very highly
about some simple, unlearned Jews.
"Why do you make such a fuss about them?" Reb Monye asked the Rebbe.
"Each one of them has many special and noble qualities," explained the Rebbe.
"I can't see any of these qualities," said Reb Monye.
The Rebbe remained silent. A while later, he asked Reb Monye if he had brought
his package of diamonds with him. Indeed, Reb Monye had brought the diamonds,
but asked the Rebbe if he could display them later, when they could be seen
to their best advantage.
Later, Reb Monye took the Rebbe into a different room and arranged the diamonds
for him to see. Reb Monye pointed to one gem in particular, extolling its
beautiful color and quality.
"I can't see anything special in it," the Rebbe said.
"That is because you have to be a maven to know how to look at diamonds!"
explained Reb Monye.
"Every Jew, too, is something beautiful and extra-ordinary," the Rebbe said.
"But you have to be a maven to know how to look at him."
"On the United States' currency it is written, 'In G-d We Trust.' Trust implies
more than faith. It is faith so strong that one invests all that one has.
Similarly, our faith in G-d must encompass our entire being."
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
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."
There is a famous teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, that from everything a
person sees or hears -- whether in the realm of holiness or the seemingly
secular -- he can learn a lesson in his G-dly service.
In recent years, we in the U.S.A. saw the power and importance of even a
This accent on the importance of each individual's vote brings to mind a
similar idea with regard to our actions as Jews.
Moses Maimonides, the 12th century philosopher, doctor, Jewish legalist par
excellance, explains that every person must consider himself and the whole
world as if it were perfectly balanced between good and evil. Through one
good deed, one word or one thought, a person can swing himself and the whole
world to the side of merit and bring redemption to himself and the whole
That's a pretty powerful concept. After all, one wonders, does my
mitzvah really matter? So I put a penny or two in a tzedakah
-- charity -- box every day. At the end of the year there will be maybe seven
or ten dollars. That isn't going to clothe many orphans.
But those pennies do matter! Those two pennies that you put in the
tzedakah box today just might tip the balance of the scale.
But one shouldn't err in thinking that we have to perform an actual physical
act to tip the scale. By refraining from making a not-so-nice comment about
a co-worker, we tip the scale. And even by stopping ourselves from dwelling
on an inappropriate thought, we affect the world in a real, positive sense.
Each and every action we do causes a reaction. Long before the Law of
Conservation of Matter was proposed, Judaism taught that nothing is ever
lost. Every bit of energy we expend, whether thinking, speaking or doing,
stays in this world.
Yes, each mitzvah we do does matter. A kind word, a smile, a penny
in a pushkah, another Shabbat candle, etc., any of these actions
might be the one that tips the scale and brings Redemption not only for the
doer, but for the entire world.
Every mitzvah is a vote for a better world, the best world, the world
of good and 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 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:
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.
Encourage the Kids!
Do the doorposts of your children's rooms have mezuzahs on them? If
they do, point them out to the children and encourage them to kiss or touch
the mezuzah cover as they go in and out of the room. If not, purchase
a hand-written mezuzah scroll from a reliable Judaica store or your
local Chabad-Lubavitch Center. You can even let the child choose his or her
own mezuzah cover.
The Rebbe explained, "We see that children have a unique attraction to a
mezuzah, and kiss it eagerly several times a day. From the
mezuzah, one goes from one's house to the world at large as the
Rambam writes, 'Whenever one enters or departs, one will confront
the unity of G-d's name.'"
(18th of Cheshvan, 5752/1991)
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. 29, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:38 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 30, Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:38 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.
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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