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Weekly Digest About Moshiach

Parshat Nasso, 5765
3 Sivan, 5765
June 10, 2005

Your Shavuot Guide - 5765

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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.



Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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 426-428th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


This week's issue focuses on the festive holiday of Shavuot, which begins on Sunday night, June 12.

Therefore, we present here "Your Shavuot Guide,"* and other related material about Shavuot.


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

Lag B'Omer, 5765
Los Angeles, California


*) Published by Outreach Publishing Corp (http://www.outreach770.com).

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Nasso

This week's Torah portion, Nasso, describes the offerings that the twelve tribal leaders of Israel brought for the Temple altar, beginning on the day the Tabernacle was consecrated. On each tribe's appointed day, its leader brought a gift. The Torah, normally sparing in its use of words, enumerates every detail of each tribe's offering, even though all the gifts were exactly the same.

There are twelve different paths by which a Jew can become closer to G-d, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. Each tribe followed a unique path in its service of G-d. Each leader dedicated the altar according to his own manner of spiritual service.

Despite the uniqueness of each offering, and the spiritual path that each represented, they were considered to be communal offerings. They were brought, not on behalf of the individual, but on behalf of all the Jewish people. It is for this reason, explains the Midrash, that the Torah does not distinguish whose offering was brought on which day.

This juxtaposition of the uniqueness of the individual and the equality of the collective whole is mirrored in the fact that the tribal leaders' spiritual intentions were unique while the actual physical offerings were the same. This is also true of the Jewish people; each Jew is unique and yet all Jews are equal.

There are certain qualities that all Jews share equally. And, there are also other qualities within each Jew that are uniquely personal. However, even the uniquely personal qualities can lead to unity among the Jewish people. How so? When Jews realize that all Jews need each other, and that only by binding ourselves with our fellow Jews, can we be complete.

The dedication gifts from the tribal leaders, mentioned above, were offered in a similar manner. Each leader brought his tribe's gift in a unique way on a separate day. However, each of these offerings was imbued with, and accompanied by, the feeling that this offering was also a communal offering -- united with all the other leaders and tribes.


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.

Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul

Passed away on 22 Tamuz, 5763


Vacation time is drawing near. Will you opt for a relaxing summer in a quiet cabin in a secluded spot, or something more exotic and interesting?

Whatever our vacation plans might include, most of us put much time and thought into making sure that the "time off" will be a success. We consider which clothing to take, what food to bring along (and what can be purchased locally), cost, accommodations, and much, much more.

While you're making your vacation plans, consider the following: Summertime brings with it a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. This special ambiance creates the perfect opportunity to give children and young people, in particular, a positive Jewish experience.

The huge network of day and overnight camps sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch centers around the world are expert in creating just such a positive, warm, authentic Jewish environment.

Undoubtedly, in nearly every city where you might find yourself this summer, there will be a Chabad camp to which you can send your child(ren). Whether for a week or an entire summer, the Jewish experience the children will have cannot be duplicated.

So, when you're writing to the Chamber of Commerce in city X, or telephoning the visitors' information center in city Y, make sure to get in touch with the Chabad-Lubavitch representative in city X or Y and find out about their camp program. It's one part of your summer plans you'll never regret.

Based on the Works of the Rebbe

The theme of the month of Sivan is intertwined with the main festival of the month, Shavuot.

On the first day of Sivan the Children of Israel encamped in the wilderness of Sinai ready to receive the Torah. Concerning this the Torah states, "And Israel encamped there..." using the singular form of the verb "encamped" regarding which our Sages teach us that this means that the people were like one person with one heart.

Though many other times when the Jews made camp there was strife and contention, when they encamped to receive the Torah they were totally united.

Thus, it is clear that one of the prerequisites for receiving the Torah -- and every year at this time we prepare to receive the Torah once again -- is to enhance and foster unity amongst the Jewish people.

The "easy way" to become more united with other Jews is to follow two essential teachings of our Sages: "Love your fellow as yourself; Judge every person favorably."

Where is the place to start? The place to start is with ourselves and our own families. This, of course, doesn't mean that we have to perfect these relationships before we can extend the teachings to others, but it is certainly the correct place to start as "charity begins at home."

If we keep these fundamental teachings in mind we will certainly foster Jewish unity in our own little world, which will ultimately impact on the entire world.


On Wednesday, June 8, G-d willing, we will, be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Sivan, starting the new Hebrew month of Sivan.

Rosh Chodesh is celebrated as a mini-holiday, with special prayers and finer food and clothing. Jewish women, in particular, observe Rosh Chodesh more meticulously.

What is the reason for Jewish women's stricter celebration of Rosh Chodesh?

Rabbi Eliezer wrote: "When the men came to ask for their wives' gold earrings for the Golden Calf, the women refused to hand them over. They said to their husbands: 'We will not obey you in order to make an abomination that has no power to save!' G-d rewarded them in this world, giving them a greater degree of observance on Rosh Chodesh, and He rewards them in the World to Come, giving them the power of constant renewal that characterizes [the renewal of the moon on] Rosh Chodesh."

On a more general note, the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and our people are compared to the moon. Although our light is sometimes eclipsed by that of other nations, like the moon we are always here -- both at night and by day. Our nation's history has its share of growth and decline; like the moon we wax and wane. But ultimately, these are just phases. For, although at times we seem to be as unimportant or insignificant as the sliver of the moon when it reappears, this is just a veneer.

May we sanctify the new moon this year and celebrate Rosh Chodesh Sivan in the Holy Temple with Moshiach.


Our Sages relate that "in the merit of the righteous women, the Jews were redeemed from Egypt." Similarly, the Sages associated subsequent redemptions with the merit of Jewish women. The Holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, emphasized that the future Redemption will follow the pattern of the Exodus, and thus will also come as a result of the merit of the righteous women of that generation.

From "Women as Partners in the Dynamic of Creation"


From letters of the Rebbe to participants at the annual
Lubavitch Women's Organization conventions

It is appropriate to reflect on the significance of Rosh Chodesh -- the new month -- in general, and Rosh Chodesh Sivan in particular, insofar as Jewish women are concerned. For, in some respects, Rosh Chodesh is even more significant for Jewish women than men, and that is why there are certain customs on Rosh Chodesh which apply to women only.

Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the day when the children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah, recalls with special emphasis the particular spiritual quality of Jewish women, and their particular merit and privilege in connection with the receiving of the Torah and the first great trial soon after.

As our Sages have emphasized, the Jewish women were approached first to accept the Torah. Their consciousness of the responsibility for the preservation of the Torah boldly expressed itself during the first test of loyalty to G-d, soon after the Giving of the Torah. This took place when the women categorically refused to have anything to do with the construction of the Golden Calf, even through contributing any of their gold jewelry. For this reason, the day of Rosh Chodesh is a day of forgiveness for the Jewish women. On the other hand, when it came to the building of the Tabernacle in the desert, the Jewish women were once again first in contributing generously from their personal possessions toward the building of the Tabernacle.

Thus, both in the area of "Sur Meira -- Turn away from evil," as well as in the area of "Aseh Tov -- Do good," the Jewish women have excelled themselves, and they are the ones who are expected at all times to be first and show an example to the men. This also means that Jewish women have been endowed with special Divine gifts to be able to live up to these expectations.

* * *

The Torah tells us that on Rosh Chodesh Sivan the Jewish people finally reached Mount Sinai, where they attained a state of complete unity, as indicated in the words, "and Israel encamped there" (in the singular) -- all of them as one, united and unified by the singular thought of receiving the Torah and mitzvot.

The significance of that moment is pointed out by our Sages of blessed memory, declaring that the unity of the Jewish people, was the condition for receiving the Torah.

It has been often emphasized that there are crucial moments in the life of our people, especially in the area of Torah and Judaism, where the Jewish woman plays a most important role. One of such areas is the unity of the family. Here the woman holds the main keys of harmony between the parents and the children, the parents vis-a-vis each other, and the children in relation to one another. In this area the wife and mother clearly has a decisive role, and in most cases an even more decisive role than that of the husband and father. This is one of the reasons why the Jewish woman holds the title of Akeret HaBayit -- Foundation of the Home.

It is likewise clear that Jewish unity in a broader sense -- unity between one family and another, and unity on a national level -- is dependent upon harmony within the family unit. Where harmony is lacking, G-d forbid, within the family, surely no harmony can prevail between such a family and another.

However, even where there is complete harmony within the family, there still remains the problem of achieving unity on the national level. Let us remember that the basis for true Jewish unity is the Torah and mitzvot.

If throughout the ages it hasn't been easy to achieve unity, the problem has become much more complicated in this age of "freedom" in the "free" countries of the world, where people are not restricted in their choice of domicile, occupation, educational facilities, free expression of opinions, ideas, etc.

All these diversities and dispersions -- geographic, social, cultural, etc. -- are by-products of the contemporary "free" society in which we live. The newly created conditions have produced new problems and difficulties, which, however, must be viewed as challenges. With the proper approach and a determined will, they can be resolved.


Wednesday, June 8, is Rosh Chodesh Sivan. On this day, 3,317 years ago, the Jewish people came to the Sinai desert and encamped there, ready to receive the Torah.

The Torah tells us, "In the third month after the departure of the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt, on this day they came to the wilderness of Sinai. They had departed from Refidim and had arrived in the Sinai desert, camping in the wilderness. And Israel camped there opposite the mountain."

Interestingly, the use of the word camp the second time here is in the singular form in Hebrew, though still speaking about all of the Jewish people.

The singular form of the verb is used because the Jewish people were united as one -- "like one person with one heart" -- our Sages tell us. And it was precisely this unity that prepared and allowed the Jewish people to receive the Torah and experience the revelation of G-dliness on Mount Sinai.

The unity of the Jewish people preceded the revelation of the Torah. Uniting and unifying our people today can and should be a preparation for the Final Redemption when we will have the ultimate revelation of the goodness and holiness of every single Jew.

The Rebbe expressed this concept in a talk, a number of years ago:

"The Redemption will unify all of Israel, from the greatest to the smallest. For not a single Jew will remain in exile: 'You, the Children of Israel, will be gathered in one by one.' Moreover, the multitudes who will then be gathered in are referred to in the singular: 'A great congregation will return -- in the singular -- here.'

"In preparation for this state, therefore, one should make every endeavor to unify all Jews, in a spirit of the love of a fellow Jew, and of the unity of all Israel."

There are times when arguments are waged for the sake of Heaven, and many great things are thereby attained. But for the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai, there had to be unity of the Jewish people. And as a preparation for the revelation of the Torah Chadasha -- new and deeper Torah, which will be revealed in the Messianic Era -- we would do well to heed the Rebbe's words and work towards unity and love of all Jews.


Dear Friend:

Following Pesach -- the Festival of Our Liberation, comes Shavuot -- the Festival of the Receiving of Our Torah. The days of sefirah (counting of the Omer), beginning immediately on the morrow of the first day of Pesach and ending on the eve of Shavuot, connect these two great festivals.

Many significant lessons can be learned from this, of which I will point out but one:

Our Sages tell us that when Moses was about to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he told them of G-d's promise to give the Torah to His beloved people following their liberation from bondage. At once they asked when would that happy day be, and Moses replied that it would be fifty days later. Every day the children of Israel counted: One day is gone, two days, three, and so on, and eagerly looked forward to the fiftieth day. For the children of Israel understood that there could be no real freedom -- freedom from any fear of oppression by others, and freedom from one's own evil inclinations -- except through laws of justice and righteousness, which only the Creator of all mankind could make, because He knows best what is good for them. It is not surprising, therefore, that they were so eager to receive the Divine Torah, containing those wonderful laws to guide them and all the world.

Let us also remember that we cannot be truly free men, nor would we be worthy of such freedom, unless we take upon ourselves to observe and do all that G-d commanded us in His holy Torah. Like our ancestors at Mount Sinai, we also must proclaim: "Naaseh v'nishma" -- we will do and obey; and only then will we have lasting freedom. Indeed, it was their determination, while still in Egypt, to accept the Torah that merited them their liberation from enslavement. Likewise at this time, our return to the Torah and its observance, while awaiting the Redemption, will hasten the coming of Messiah and merit us the true and complete Redemption in our own day.

Wishing you a happy Shavuot,

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson


Each year when the holiday of Shavuot approaches, we are reminded of the beautiful Midrash that teaches that the Jewish children of every generation are the reason why G-d gave us the gift of the Torah:

When G-d asked what assurance the Jewish people were offering that the Torah would be studied, loved and cherished, the Jewish people offered our Patriarchs as security. But this was not accepted. We then offered the Torah scholars as the guarantors. This, too, was not acceptable. It was only when we offered our children as guarantors that G-d approved our proposal and gave us the Torah.

On the anniversary of an event, the "spiritual energy" that was infused by G-d into that event is at its strongest. This is the reason why, for example, we should do our utmost to celebrate our birthdays properly each year. This is true, too, concerning every Jewish holiday. Which means that on Shavuot -- the celebration of the Giving of the Torah -- the spiritual energy that was invested into that day 3,317 years ago is at its strongest.

What is the special spiritual energy of Shavuot and how can we benefit from it? It was on Shavuot that our ancestors proclaimed, "We will do and then we will learn." So this is the time when we recommit ourselves to the actual performance of mitzvot -- even if we haven't yet learned or don't yet understand their reasons.

Shavuot is also the time when the spiritual energy of our children, being the guarantors for the Torah, is at its strongest. This is the time when we must renew our commitment to provide our children with a proper Jewish upbringing and education as well as facilitating the proper Jewish education of all Jewish children, wherever they may be.

We can begin doing both of the above by going to the synagogue this Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments and by bringing along with us Jewish children of all ages -- children in age, children at heart, or children in Jewish knowledge. Be there, and be a part of a 3,317-year-old unbroken chain of Jewish commitment and pride.


Three people in Jewish history are particularly associated with Shavuot: Moshe, King David and the Baal Shem Tov. And these three great leaders were also intimately connected with Moshiach and the Redemption.

As the one through whom the Torah was given to the Jewish people, Moshe is intimately connected with Shavuot. The Torah, in some places, is even referred to as Torat Moshe (The Torah of Moshe). Moshiach will be so like Moshe in his leadership qualities, humility and Torah scholarship that our Sages even stated, "Moshe is the first redeemer and the last redeemer."

Shavuot is the birthday and anniversary of the passing of King David. One of the functions of Moshiach is that he will restore the Davidic dynasty, for Moshiach will be a descendant of King David, a human king.

Finally, we come to the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov, too, passed away on Shavuot. In a famous letter to his brother-in-law, the Baal Shem Tov described a spiritual "journey" when he visited the chamber of Moshiach. He asked Moshiach, "Master, when will you come?" Moshiach replied, "When your wellsprings -- your teachings -- will spread forth to the outside."

The Baal Shem Tov's teachings -- Chasidus -- were recorded and expounded upon by his various disciples. They are a foretaste of the new and deeper revelations of Torah that we are promised will be revealed and taught by Moshiach himself.

This year on Shavuot, when all Jews, young and old, gather in our synagogues to reexperience the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, let us also reconnect with the essence of the holiday and cry out for the ultimate revelation of the Torah and G-d through Moshiach.

Sivan 6-7, 5765 / June 12-14, 2005


Shavuot, a Major Festival

Shavuot, the second of the three major festivals, comes exactly fifty days after Passover. It marks the giving of the Torah by G-d to the entire Jewish people on Mt. Sinai 3,317 years ago. In Hebrew the word Shavuot means "weeks" and stands for the seven weeks during which the Jewish people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah. During this time they rid themselves of the scars of bondage and became a holy nation ready to stand before G-d.

The Giving of the Torah

The giving of the Torah was far more than an historical event. It was a far-reaching spiritual event -- one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul then and for all time. Our Sages have compared it to a wedding between G-d and the Jewish people. We became His special nation and He became our G-d.

The Importance of Shavuot Today

Each year, Shavuot is the special time for us to reawaken and strengthen our special relationship with G-d. We can do so by rededicating ourselves to the observance and study of the Torah -- our most precious heritage.

Every man, woman and child, including young infants, should attend services at least on the first day of Shavuot, Monday morning, June 13, and hear the Torah reading of the Ten Commandments.


Many Chabad-Lubavitch Centers have "ice cream" parties for the children to make the experience even more enjoyable.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).


A Pivotal Moment in History

Our Sages tell us that the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai was a defining moment in the history of humanity. What really happened on the sixth day of Sivan, 2448 -- and why is it so significant in our everyday lives today?

"The heavens belong to the Lord," says King David in the Psalms, "but the earth, He gave to humankind." With these words, King David describes the original human condition in a nutshell. We live in a down-to-earth, mundane, material world. The spiritual essence of things is hidden from us. We go through life, trying to do the best we can with what we are given, but without knowing the true heavenly purpose of our existence, we often stumble, and sometimes we fall.

With the revelation at Mt. Sinai, that reality began to change. For the very first time, heaven touched down upon earth, and earthly beings acquired the ability to lift themselves up above the mundane, to unite with the Divine. And the Sages explain that now, ever since the Giving of the Torah, this breakthrough event is re-enacted each time we perform a Divine Commandment. The mitzvot are our everyday, practical means of bringing heaven down to earth, and elevating this material world back up to its spiritual source.

Preparing for Perfection

Had the Al-mighty desired to establish an instantaneous spiritual paradise on earth, surely He could have done so. Clearly, this was not His plan. Even after Sinai, it takes effort and dedication on our part to bring heaven and earth together. We must exert ourselves to do the mitzvot. Each mitzvah we perform (the very word "mitzvah" comes from the Hebrew "tzavta" -- connection) connects the physical with the spiritual. The rewards of a mitzvah are immeasurable: our actions can bring about a powerful revelation of G-dliness in this everyday world, and enable us to actually experience our oneness with G-d.

When, for example, we take physical ink and parchment, write a mezuzah, and place it on the doorpost in accordance with the Torah commandment, we bring heavenly revelation into the home, and raise up those physical objects to a higher spiritual plane. Or when we eat kosher food, and say the appropriate blessings over the food, we elevate the mundane act of eating with holy purpose, and bring spirituality into our inner lives.

So too, with the mitzvot of human interaction. With every Torah-inspired act of kindness we perform, we bring Divine loving kindness down into this world, and make our own human character traits that much more Divine.

The cumulative effect of all these mitzvot is to prepare the world for the ultimate unification of the physical and material, with the coming of the true and complete redemption with Moshiach. Then, there will no longer be barriers between heaven and earth. We will be able to see the very essence of spiritual reality with our fleshly eyes, and we will live together, in peace and harmony, amidst material and spiritual abundance. May it occur speedily, immediately, in our days.



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

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Sunday, June 12:

  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(1) by 8:09 p.m.
    Say blessings #1 & 2.
  • Tikun Lail Shavuot during the night.

Monday, June 13:

  • Everyone, men, women and children, including young infants, should attend synagogue services in the morning and hear the reading of the Ten Commandments.
  • Light Yom Tov Candles,(2) after nightfall, after 9:20 p.m.
    Say blessings #1 & 2.

Tuesday, June 14:

  • Yizkor memorial prayers are said during the morning services.
  • Yom Tov ends at nightfall, at 9:21 p.m.


1. If lighting after sunset, light only from a preexisting flame.

A preexisting flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival, such as a pilot light, gas or candle flame.

2. Do not light before the time indicated. Light only from a preexisting flame.


After lighting the candles, recite:


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Tov.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us to kindle the Yom Tov light.


Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-ye-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu
Liz-man Ha-zeh.


Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us
to reach this occasion.


We will do and we will listen

When G-d was about to give the Torah to the Jewish people, he offered it first to all the nations of the world. After inquiring what was written in it, each of the nations found something in the Torah that was not agreeable to their way of life. When G-d offered the Torah to the Jewish people, they did not ask what it contained, but immediately exclaimed, "Naaseh v'nishma" -- we will do and we will listen. Because of this unconditional devotion and acceptance of G-d's law, G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. In addition, He gave two crowns to each and every Jew -- one for the Naaseh and one for the Nishma.

The Best Guarantors

Before G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people, He demanded guarantors who would ensure its preservation. The Jews suggested many great people, but their proposals were all rejected by G-d. Finally, they declared, "our children will be our guarantors" -- the generations to come would continue to observe and cherish the Torah. G-d immediately accepted these guarantors and agreed to give the Torah to the Jewish people.

Indeed, we see that throughout history our people's connection to Torah has been dependent upon the Jewish children. The enemies of our people understood this concept well, and they sought to prevent Jewish children from receiving a Torah education in their attempts to destroy our faith.

As we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, we must reaffirm our commitment to providing a true Torah education for our children -- our only guarantors.

The Written and Oral Law

The Torah is composed of two parts: the written law and the oral law. The written Torah contains the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings. Together with the written Torah, Moses was also given the oral law, which explains and clarifies the written law. It was transmitted orally from generation to generation and eventually transcribed in the Talmud and Midrash. Throughout the generations our people have studied these works, commenting upon them, clarifying their meanings, deriving practical applications of these principles and codifying the laws derived from them. Thus, a continuous chain of tradition extends throughout the generations, connecting the scholars of the present day to the revelation at Mt. Sinai.

The 'Blueprint' for Creation

Speaking metaphorically, our Sages tell us that G-d constantly "gazes into the Torah and creates the world." The Torah is not only a practical guide for our behavior in daily life, but also on a deeper level it is actually the "blueprint" for creation. Everything that happens in our lives is a manifestation of G-d's wisdom, as expressed in His Torah. As such, Torah represents the very source of our vitality, and the key to the fulfillment of our deepest aspirations.

When we study Torah, even on the simplest level, we link our minds and hearts with G-d's true purpose in creating the world. Our actions become a direct expression of G-d's will; our feelings become imbued with His benevolence; our minds become illuminated with His wisdom.

Reliving the Revelation of Mt. Sinai

The Revelation at Mt. Sinai was a tumultuous, awe-inspiring experience. The entire universe, our Sages say, trembled with the piercing sound of the ram's horn. Thunder and lightning filled the skies. Then -- silence. Not a bird chirped. No creature spoke. The seas did not stir. Even the angels ceased to fly, as the voice was heard: "I am the L-rd your G-d . . ."

Our Sages tell us that the Revelation at Mt. Sinai is an event that is not merely ancient history, but an experience that can be relived each time we study the Torah. The awe and delight of Divine revelation are available to us, if we will only open our awareness to G-d's gift and learn it the proper way.

The Ten Commandments

When G-d revealed Himself on Mt. Sinai, our entire people heard His voice proclaiming the Ten Commandments:

"1) I am the L-rd your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt.

2) You shall have no other gods before Me.

3) Do not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain.

4) Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

5) Honor your father and mother.

6) Do not murder.

7) Do not commit adultery.

8) Do not steal.

9) Do not bear false witness.

10) Do not covet."

These ten commands range from the highest and most refined concept of the belief in the oneness of G-d to the most basic laws that every society has found it necessary to enforce for not killing and not stealing.


Keeping Secrets

Contrary to popular opinion, it was not just the Ten Commandments that we received on Mount Sinai. The revelation encompassed every dimension of Torah, including the deepest mystical secrets. Our Sages tell us that every Jew at Sinai saw a vision of the Divine Chariot, as described (many centuries later) in the prophecy of Ezekiel. This sublime manifestation of G-dliness is the core of the wisdom of the Kabbalah.

Throughout most of our history, this esoteric, inner dimension of Torah was kept hidden, studied only by the select few. While mainstream Jewish scholarship focused primarily on talmudic logic and practical laws, the mystical aspects of Torah were taught only in private, one on one, to those deemed worthy. The secrets of the Kabbalah were considered too potent to be revealed to the masses.

The Affliction and the Cure

As the centuries passed, the Jews of the Diaspora became increasingly engulfed in the darkness of exile. Persecution and poverty eroded our faith. The spiritual awareness that had been prevalent in biblical times gradually gave way to ignorance and despair. Jewry was "fainting"; powerful medicine was required to revive her.

By Divine Providence, the "elixir" appeared: the esoteric wisdom of Torah began to emerge from private sanctuaries into the public domain. Kabbalistic texts that had been buried for centuries were suddenly unearthed and published. Sages began to promulgate profound teachings that kindled sparks in the hearts of the downtrodden. And with the advent of a remarkable man named Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the ancient mystical truths were eventually revealed and rendered accessible to every man. The new movement was called Chasidism, and its goal was to unleash the unlimited potential of the human soul.

Inner Vitality, Outer Joy

Chasidism explains the inner dimension of the Torah in practical, understandable terms. Those who study Chasidus find that it has a profound effect upon their lives. Spiritual concepts that may have once been obscure are imbued with new light and new relevance; mitzvot that may have once seemed rote and ritualistic become vibrant, alive and full of significance. Chasidus can transform pessimism into optimism, despair into joy -- and help us reexperience the illumination of the Revelation at Sinai.

Most important, chasidic thought affects our actions. A greater awareness of the Divine inspires us to make this world a better place in which to live. We become more charitable, more just, more appreciative of one another... and ultimately, we help hasten the imminent Redemption of the messianic age.


Chasidus classes are available for people of all ages and backgrounds. For information, 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).


The modern-day emergence of Torah mysticism into the public domain began with the 13th-century publication of the Zohar -- the kabbalistic magnum opus of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, written more than 1,000 years before.

In the sixteenth century, Rabbi Isaac Luria, known as the "Holy Ari," unveiled his systematic exposition of the mysteries of the Kabbalah. The Ari bestowed an unprecedented richness and clarity upon the esoteric teachings. But his doctrine was accessible only to accomplished scholars. It was not until the 18th-century beginnings of the chasidic movement that the inner dimension of Torah became available to the ordinary Jew.

The Baal Shem Tov (whose yahrtzeit is on the first day of Shavuot), was the founder of modern Chasidism. He and his disciples communicated the highest wisdom in everyday language, bringing mystical joy and enthusiasm to the oppressed masses of European Jewry. Then, two generations later, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi -- the Baal Shem Tov's "spiritual grandson" -- founded the Chabad school of chasidic philosophy. Contemporary Chabad Chasidus expounds the chasidic teachings in rational, readily understood, intellectual terms, and illuminates every facet of the Jewish way of life.


Fruits, Flowers and Greens

It is customary on Shavuot to adorn the synagogue and home with fruits, flowers and greens.

Fruits: In the time of the Temple the first fruits were brought to the Temple beginning on Shavuot.

Flowers: Our Sages taught that although Mt. Sinai was situated in a desert, in honor of the Torah the desert bloomed and sprouted flowers.

Greens: Our Sages taught that on Shavuot judgment is rendered regarding the trees of the field.

Tikun Leil Shavuot

The Torah was given at daybreak. Our tradition relates that the Jewish people did not rise early to be prepared for that revelation, and that it was necessary for G-d Himself to awaken them. To compensate for their behavior it is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavuot studying Torah. This custom is called "Tikun Leil Shavuot."


Cheese blintzes are served hot, with sour cream or applesauce. They are a special favorite on Shavuot when it is customary to eat dairy products (not hard cheese) before the main lunch meal.


4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
pinch of salt


16 oz. cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
2 tbsps. margarine or butter, melted
2 tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/3 cup oil for frying

Batter: Combine eggs and milk. Add sour cream and blend well. Add flour gradually. Mix well until batter is smooth. Heat on a low flame a small amount of oil in an 8-inch frying pan until hot but not smoking. Ladle a small amount of batter (approx. 1 ounce) into pan, tipping pan in all directions until batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Fry on one side until set and golden, approx. 1 minute. Slip pancake out of pan and repeat until all batter is used. Add oil to pan as necessary.

Filling: In another bowl mix all ingredients for filling.

Assemble: Fill each pancake on golden side with 3 tbsps. of filling. Fold in sides to center and roll blintze until completely closed. Replace rolled blintzes in pan and fry for 2 minutes, turning once. 


Everyone should attend, especially children and infants. 3,317 years ago, the children of Israel stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and received the Torah from G-d. Together they proclaimed: "We will do and we will listen." Each year on the holiday of Shavuot, this historic event is relived as we commit ourselves anew to observing the Torah.

Every Jewish man, woman and child should make every effort to be present in the synagogue at least on Monday morning, June 13, as the Ten Commandments are read from the Torah.

This message is in response to a special call by the Rebbe, that all Jews, especially children who are the "Guarantors of Torah," hear the reading of the Ten Commandments and the account of the revelation at Mt. Sinai on the Holiday of Shavuot.

At a synagogue near you


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


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.

Get Ready for Shavuot

"The coming days must be used in preparation for 'the season of the giving of our Torah.'

"In particular, based on the concept that our children are the 'guarantors of the Torah,' efforts should be made to bring all Jewish children, even those of a very young age, to shul on Shavuot(3) to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. Even though the children may not appreciate what they hear, their presence has an influence on the source of their souls."

(The Rebbe, 24 Iyar, 5750/1990)


3. This year, on Monday morning, June 13.


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

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

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, June 10, Erev Shabbat Parshat Nasso:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(4) by 8:08 p.m.
  • After nightfall, after reciting the Shabbat evening prayer, count Omer 48.(5)

Saturday, June 11, Shabbat Parshat Nasso:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 6 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:19 p.m.
  • After nightfall, after reciting the evening prayer, count Omer 49.


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. For this year's S'firat Ha'omer Calendar - See our publication: Living With Moshiach, Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide, 5765

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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