LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach
Parshat Ki Tisa, 5765
16 Adar I, 5765
Feb. 25, 2005
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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
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 411th
issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this issue, we focus on Purim Katan, and Shushan Purim
Katan. Purim Katan (the minor Purim) is on Wednesday, Feb.
23, and the day afterwards, Thursday, Feb. 24, is Shushan Purim
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
11 Adar I, 5765
Los Angeles, California
In honor of
Rabbi & Mrs. Yosef Yitzchok and Gitel Rochel
On the occasion of our wedding,
Sunday, 13 Nissan, 5764
Parshat Ki Tisa
This week's Torah portion of Ki Tisa contains the mitzvah of
the half-shekel, symbolic of the mitzvah of tzedakah
There are several ways in which an individual can give tzedakah. The
first is when a person is kindly and giving by nature, or when he understands
intellectually the need to help his fellow man. This is, however, considered
to be the lowest level of giving tzedakah.
A higher level is when a person gives tzedakah because G-d has commanded
him to. In this instance the incentive is not personal, but stems from the
desire to obey G-d's will. A mitzvah is an absolute that is not subject
to intellectual or emotional considerations. Thus, when a person gives
tzedakah out of a sense of obedience, his action is imbued with greater
power. Yet even here there can be personal motivations mixed in, such as
the fear of punishment or the desire to receive reward (material or spiritual)
in this world or the next.
Above these two levels is the giving of tzedakah "without the intent
of receiving a reward." In this instance, the mitzvah is fulfilled
out of pure and simple obedience to G-d, without any thought of recompense
whatsoever. The person wants to fulfill G-d's will and enjoys doing so.
The mitzvah of the half-shekel, however, represents the very
highest category of giving tzedakah. On the verse in this week's Torah
portion, "This shall they give...a half-shekel...an offering to G-d"
(the commandment for every Jew to give the half-shekel), the Jerusalem
Talmud comments: "The Holy One, Blessed be He, removed a coin of fire from
under the Throne of Glory and showed it to Moses, saying, 'This shall they
give.'" Indeed, the "secret" of the half-shekel is related to the
idea of "a coin of fire."
The nature of fire is to always ascend upward; it has no "weight" or fixed,
definable form. Similarly, the optimal way to give tzedakah is with
a fiery "flame" and enthusiasm, without any personal considerations or motives.
In this scenario, the Jew just naturally desires to fulfill G-d's will, and
doesn't even look for other reasons or justifications.
Nonetheless, it is significant that G-d showed Moses a "coin of fire," rather
than just a flame. When a person gives tzedakah (or does any other
mitzvah, for that matter), theoretical abstracts are not enough. The
point is to bring down that fiery enthusiasm to where it can actually help
someone, and express it in the realm of concrete action.
When the mitzvah of tzedakah is done in this manner, a Jew
will give unconditionally, without waiting for specific times and without
waiting to be asked. His inner "fire" will prompt him to seek out those in
need, and he will give repeatedly, over and over again.
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
In a leap year such as this year, there are two Hebrew months of Adar.
Marriages, births and deaths that took place in Adar of a non-leap
year are all celebrated in the second Adar.
The holiday of Purim, too, is celebrated in Adar II on the 14th of
the month (this year, Friday, March 25). However, it is customary to recognize
the 14th of Adar I (this year, Wednesday, Feb. 23), as Purim
Katan (the "minor" Purim). This is done by making meals of a festive
nature, not delivering eulogies and not fasting.
Since this year is a leap year, we count the month of Adar twice.
The holiday of Purim is celebrated in the second Adar. However, in
the first Adar, we celebrate Purim Katan (the "minor" Purim).
Purim Katan is a microcosm of the larger Purim. It comes exactly 30
days before the "big" Purim and serves as an official reminder that it is
time to begin preparing ourselves for the upcoming holiday. In essence, we
have 30 extra days to put ourselves in the holiday spirit.
In general, if one does not prepare for a holiday, it can just come and go,
hardly making any impression on us at all. Lacking the proper preparation
means we might not rise to the emotional and spiritual heights of which we
Let us imagine ourselves traveling on a train. The scenery outside the window
is magnificent. If we, however, but blink an eye, what we just saw is gone
from our sight. The same is true of each holiday. If we do not prepare properly,
with not more than the blink of an eye, it has passed us by.
Purim Katan is a reminder in our calendar announcing, "Wait, Purim
is going to happen. And its going to happen soon!"
If we use the reminder that Purim Katan gives us, and really prepare
for Purim, then we will be able to live the happenings of the megilah
and derive the full, rich flavor from the holiday.
As there are very few customs associated with Purim Katan and Shushan
Purim Katan [this year, Thursday, Feb. 24], let us take a moment
to understand the significance of Shushan Purim according to
The celebration of this holiday was instituted in connection with the Land
of Israel. Our Sages decreed that Shushan Purim be celebrated in those
cities that were surrounded by walls at the time of Joshuas conquest
of the Land of Israel. In this manner, they paid respect to the Holy Land,
giving its walled cities the honor given to Shushan even though they
had been destroyed by the time of the Purim miracle.
However, the holidays name is connected with a city in the Diaspora
-- the capital city of Achashveirosh, king of Persia (and thus the capital
of the entire civilized world).
The use of the name Shushan expresses the completion of the Jews
mission to refine the material environment of the world. There are several
levels in the fulfillment of this task; for example, the transformation of
mundane objects into articles of holiness. On a deeper level, this involves
the transformation into holiness of precisely those elements which previously
Shushan Purim shows how Achashveiroshs capital city was transformed
into a positive influence, indeed, an influence so great that it is connected
with the celebration of Purim in the walled cities of Israel.
May we use all of the extra spiritual energy given to us on Purim
Katan and Shushan Purim Katan to transform the mundane
into the holy and that which opposes holiness into holiness, until the whole
world is transformed into a dwelling place for G-d in the Messianic Era.
The first of September (1996) was the date by which everything had to be
in place. The goal was to complete the new Chabad House that would provide
a home away from home for the Jewish students of Rutgers University. The
five-million-dollar building was almost complete, ready to house two dozen
women, provide kosher meals to thousands of students a week, and serve as
the center for the vibrant Jewish life that Chabad has built at Rutgers.
But Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, director of Chabad of Middlesex/Monmouth counties
in New Jersey, had a problem. In mid-July he was still eight hundred thousand
dollars short of the money he needed to raise to complete the project and
get the building open.
By the end of August, the situation looked pretty bleak, indeed. The contractor
had walked off the job and wouldn't return unless more money was forth coming.
However, there was still a good deal of work left to do before the certificate
of occupancy could be issued, and the mortgages could be obtained.
Rabbi Carlebach had called Rabbi Leibel Groner, from the Rebbe's secretariat,
who had spoken at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Chabad House, for some
more leads. But Rabbi Groner was unable to help.
Rabbi Carlebach continued to pray at the ohel twice a week, as he
had been doing all summer. The frustration and stress of the situation were
taking its toll, as was evidenced late one Sunday afternoon when Rabbi Carlebach,
in the midst of making calls to solicit funds, fell asleep with the phone
cradled in his hand.
Moments, or maybe hours later, the shrill of the telephone jarred him awake.
It was Rabbi Groner, asking how much money was needed to complete the
mikvah in the Chabad House.
"Forty thousand dollars," was Rabbi Carlebach's response.
Rabbi Groner called back Monday morning with good news.
A New York business man might be able to help. Time was of the essence so
Rabbi Carlebach called the man, Mr. A., and offered to drive into New York,
pick him up, and bring him out to the uncompleted Chabad House. Mr. A. agreed
and Rabbi Carlebach picked him up the following afternoon. Mr. A. sat quietly
for the whole drive.
As Rabbi Carlebach showed Mr. A. around the Chabad House, he seemed to be
only mildly interested. However, when the two men entered the area designated
to be the mikvah, Mr. A. just stood there and stared. Five minutes
passed, then ten. After fifteen minutes, Rabbi Carlebach told Mr. A. that
he would be upstairs saying the afternoon prayers. When Rabbi Carlebach finished
praying, he heard Mr. A. downstairs, talking excitedly to someone on his
Later, on the way back to New York, Mr. A. explained his strange behavior
to the rabbi.
Mr. A. was born in Russia, and his family had moved to Israel when he was
a child. There was very little money, and Lubavitch in Israel had taken care
of the family's material and spiritual needs.
As a young man Mr. A. had come to the United States and started a business.
From the moment he had set foot in this country, he had maintained close
contact with the Rebbe. Every step he took, in his business or personal life,
he kept the Rebbe informed. When he had started his business, he had written
to the Rebbe for a blessing and had committed himself to observe the
mitzvah that requires giving one tenth of one's earnings to
tzedakah (charity). Over time his venture had been blessed with success.
A few years ago, his wife had given birth to a baby boy weighing only two
pounds, three ounces. The doctors were not certain that the baby would survive.
If he did he might never see or speak. Mr. and Mrs. A. had asked the Rebbe
for a blessing for their son. The Rebbe assured them that the baby would
develop normally, and he did.
In the past few months, however, the doctor noticed that the boy's muscles
weren't developing correctly, and that he might not walk properly. Mr. A.
went to the ohel to pray for the health of his son.
Soon afterwards, he had a puzzling, yet fascinating dream. He dreamt that
he approached the Rebbe for a blessing, and the Rebbe told him to follow
the instructions of Rabbi Groner and then to come back to the Rebbe. Rabbi
Groner told him to go and inspect a mikvah. In his dream he watched
himself go to a mikvah, and, seeing that it was still not completed,
grew more and more angry, wondering how could it be that here in America
there could be a mikvah that cannot be finished?
When Mr. A. awoke, the dream came back to him in bits and pieces. When he
recalled the dream in its entirety, he checked with his accountant and
ascertained that, in accordance with his customary charitable giving, he
had fallen behind in the amount of $40,000. Mr. A. told his brother about
the dream and that he was going to Rabbi Groner. If Rabbi Groner told him
of a mikvah that needed somewhere around $40,000 to be completed,
he would know his dream was true.
While Mr. A. was in his office, Rabbi Groner called Rabbi Carlebach. When
Rabbi Groner turned around to tell Mr. A. that the mikvah needed $40,000
to be completed, he saw Mr. A.'s face turn white.
And now, when Mr. A. arrived at the Chabad House, he was amazed to find that
the unfinished mikvah looked exactly as it had in his dream.
On Thursday Mr. A. brought Rabbi Groner the $40,000. Although it was 10:30
p.m., Rabbi Groner called Rabbi Carlebach who immediately drove into New
York to pick up the money.
The next day, Rabbi Carlebach had a meeting with the contractor and the workers
at 8:00 a.m. The meeting did not go well and the contractor got up to leave.
Rabbi Carlebach stopped him on his way out and handed him the envelope,
containing the money, from Mr. A. When the contractor realized that there
were immediate funds available, and, even moreso, after hearing the story
of the dream, he ordered his workers back to the site and before long the
work was completed. The following Friday, the city officials and the board
of health gave the building a "thumbs up." That night, hundreds of Jewish
students were able to celebrate Shabbat in the new Chabad House.
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
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 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
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
"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!"
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.
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 happy.
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."
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, Feb. 25, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) 5:25 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 26, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 6:27 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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