LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach
Parshat Tetzava, 5766
10 Adar, 5766
March 10, 2006
Your Purim Guide - 5766
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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 466th
issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
It is with tremendous pain and sorrow that this issue of Living With
Moshiach is dedicated to the loving memory of my dear mother-in-law,
Mrs. Devora Rivka bas Reb Yosef Eliezer Marenburg, who passed away on the
second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5766.
May her memory be a blessing for us all.
In this week's issue, we focus on:
1) Shabbat Parshat Zachor, the second of four special Torah readings
read in the synagogue on the Sabbaths before the month of Nissan --
Shekolim, Zachor, Parah and HaChodesh.
2) The festive holiday of Purim, which begins on Monday night, March 13.
Therefore, we present here "Your Purim Guide,"* and other related material
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
7 Adar, 5766
Los Angeles, California
*) Published by Outreach Publishing Corp
Special thanks to Rabbi M. Borisute for his help.
This week's Torah reading, Tetzave, is the only portion in the entire
Torah following Moses' birth, in which Moses' name does not appear.
Our Sages explain that the reason for this omission was Moses' own request,
made to G-d after, the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf: "And
if not (if You will not forgive them), blot me out, I pray you, from Your
book which You have written." The words of a tzadik, a holy and righteous
person, are always fulfilled, even if spoken conditionally. Thus, we find
that Moses' wish was granted in this week's Torah portion, for his name never
appears in the entire portion.
However, when we delve into the text itself, we find an interesting phenomenon:
This chapter, which specifically does not mention Moses, begins with a direct
address to the very person whose name it omits! "And you shall command
A name is of lesser importance than a person's essential nature. It is a
means of identification and a way of being known to others. But one does
not really need a name in order to live. A newborn baby exists as an independent
being from the moment it is born, and only receives its name after several
days. From this we learn that the use of the grammatical second person, "you,"
expresses an even higher level of relationship than calling a person by his
given name, which was only bestowed on him secondarily.
If such is the case, then it follows that the omission of Moses' name only
serves to underscore the very special essence of Moses, which was even higher
than the mention of his name could express.
Moses' whole life was Torah, to the extent that we refer to the Torah as
"The Five Books of Moses." But his greatness was best illustrated when the
lowest elements among the Children of Israel sinned with the Golden Calf,
explicitly expressing their desire to separate themselves from the Torah.
Yet, Moses was willing to sacrifice that which he held most dear on their
behalf. "Blot out my name from Your book," Moses pleaded with G-d, "if You
will not forgive them even this grave sin."
Moses and the Jews formed one entity, each of whose existence was dependent
upon the other. The commentator Rashi explains: "Moses is Israel,
and Israel is Moses." When even some Jews sinned, Moses suffered a spiritual
blow. Even though Moses was up on Mount Sinai when the Golden Calf was actually
made, he was still affected by the actions of the others.
It was Moses' self-sacrifice and his desire to forgo that which was most
important to him that express a unity that is beyond mere names. It is therefore
precisely the portion Tetzave, in which Moses is not mentioned, that
reveals his strength and his greatness. The willingness to sacrifice oneself
for every fellow Jew, even one who sins, is the mark of every true leader
of the Jewish People.
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
Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Adar II, 5738/1978
As you surely know, the special additional Torah portion, Parshat
Zachor, which is read on the Shabbat before Purim, contains
the commandments to remember what Amalek, the arch-enemy of our Jewish
people, did to our people when they were on their way to receive the Torah
at Sinai. Amalek's unprovoked and stealthy attack was calculated to
shake their belief in G-d and dampen their enthusiasm for His Torah and
Haman, a direct descendant of Amalek, was driven by hatred of the
Jews, because "their laws were different from those of any other people,"
as the Megillah states. Likewise did all subsequent Amalekites
and Hamans of all ages hate the Jews.
But "Amalek" -- in a wider sense -- represents all obstacles and
hindrances that a Jew encounters on his or her way to receive and observe
the Torah and mitzvot with enthusiasm and joy in the everyday life.
And so Parshat Zachor comes to remind us, and never forget, that
Amalekites exist in every generation and in every day and age, and
that we must not allow ourselves to be deterred or discouraged by any
Amalekite in any shape or form.
If the question be asked, "Why has G-d done thus?" Why should a Jew be confronted
with such trials and difficulties?
The answer is, that every Jew has been given the necessary powers to overcome
all such Amalekites, and he is expected to use them, in order to
demonstrate to himself and others that nothing will deter him, nor dampen
his fervor, in the observance of the Torah and mitzvot in accordance
with G-d's Will. And once he recognizes that whatever difficulty he encounters
is really a test of his faith in G-d, and resolves firmly to meet the challenge,
he will soon see that no Amalek of any kind is a match for the Divine
powers of the Jewish soul. Indeed, far from being insurmountable obstructions,
they turn out to be helpers and catalysts for ever greater achievements,
having been instrumental in mobilizing those inner powers that would have
otherwise remained dormant.
This is also forcefully brought out in the Megillah, in the example
of Mordechai the Jew, who "would not bend his knee nor bow down" before Haman.
As a result of this indomitable stance, not only was Haman's power totally
broken, but many enemies became friends, as the Megillah tells us
that "many of the peoples of the land were becoming 'Jewish,' for the fear
of Mordechai fell upon them!"
May G-d grant that each and all of you should go from strength to strength
in emulating Mordechai the Jew, advancing in all matters of Judaism, Torah
and mitzvot, with joy and gladness of heart, and may you all be blessed
with a full measure of "light, joy, gladness, and honor," both in the plain
sense as well as in the inner meaning of these terms in accordance with the
interpretation of our Sages -- "Light -- this is the Torah... Honor -- this
is tefillin" -- since the Torah and mitzvot, though a "must"
for their own sake, are the channels and vessels to receive and enjoy G-d's
blessings in all needs, materially and spiritually.
Wishing each and all of you a happy Purim, and may its inspiration be with
you every day throughout the year.
On the festival of Purim, when we all listen carefully to the reading of
the Megillah and ponder upon the story it tells us, let us all remember
a few important details and facts that took place in those days at this time:
There arose a Haman, who issued a decree to murder and destroy all Jews at
a fixed date.
Queen Esther then calls upon Mordechai to "gather all the Jews and fast"
and then she would go and plead with the King to rescind the terrible decree.
Mordechai thereupon goes and gathers tens of thousands of Jewish children
and teaches them the Torah; he teaches them the procedure of offering the
Omer when the Bet-Hamikdosh would be rebuilt.
All the children are so enchanted by the new spirit that Mordechai had inculcated
into them, that even facing the danger of death, they exclaim: We stick with
Mordechai and the Torah -- for life or death!
In that very same day the decree becomes null and void. Haman's downfall
is already assured and the Jews are saved, even though they learn of it only
after a number of months.
The experience of our fathers is a lesson to us all.
Let us remember that one of the chief means of frustrating the Hamans of
our time, bring about their downfall and bring light and joy to our people
TO GATHER JEWISH CHILDREN AND TEACH THEM TORAH AND YIDDISHKEIT!
To tell them that the true and complete redemption really lies in our
own hands, for as soon as we Jews return to G-d in complete repentance
-- we are redeemed immediately, by our Righteous Messiah.
To tell them further, that our Holy Bet-HaMikdosh will be rebuilt
soon, and we must all be worthy and prepared to serve our G-d in the Holy
On the day when the Jewish children are imbued with this spirit, and are
ready to exclaim -- "We remain with thee, our Torah, for life or death" --
on that very day, our Torah assures us, all the Hamans will be defeated,
and all Jews will have 'light, gladness, joy and respect,' speedily in our
Wishing you a Happy Purim,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Danger in Exile
Jewish morale was at an all-time low. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed,
the nation conquered, and for almost 70 years, had been dispersed in foreign
lands. The prophesied end of Exile had not materialized, and the blight of
assimilation had set in.
Just then, the enemy arose to carry out his evil plans. This time it was
Haman. Descended from the Jew-hating tribe of Amalek, Haman devised
his scheme to solve "the Jewish problem" once and for all, by annihilating
every Jew, men, women and children, throughout the world, in a single day.
Rallying the Jews
And it almost worked. Were it not for Mordechai. A descendent of King Shaul,
and advisor to King Achashverosh, Mordechai sensed the danger. Donning sackcloth
and ashes, he went to the gate of the palace, crying aloud, rallying the
Jews to return to Torah.
His niece, Queen Esther, called for him. He told her that she must go to
the King and plead for her people. Officially in disfavor, she feared to
go, but saw that she had no choice. She undertook a three-day fast of penitence,
and called upon the whole Jewish people to do likewise. Then she went to
the King . . .
It is a story of great courage and self-sacrifice -- first and foremost by
Queen Esther and Mordechai, and ultimately by the whole Jewish nation. For
throughout the duration of the whole year, not one single Jew chose to convert,
even to save his life. The nation was awakened to a whole-hearted return
to Torah and mitzvot, and throughout the year strengthened their faith
And in the merit of this, they were able to rise up against their enemies
and destroy them, on the 13th of Adar, the very day destined for the
The Jewish people had shown their true character. They had earned the right
to leave Exile, to return to the Holy Land, and rebuild the Temple.
As it was in those days, so may it be with us today. Each year in fulfilling
the special mitzvot of the Purim festival, we reaffirm our commitment
to the eternal values of the Torah . . . and we share in the very same merit
that redeemed the Jewish people in the days of Mordechai and Esther.
Remembered and Reenacted
One of the Purim mitzvot is the reading of the Megillah --
the Scroll of Esther, in which the miracle of Purim is recounted. The Talmud
tells us that "whoever reads the Megillah backwards does not fulfill
his obligation." Our Sages explain that "backwards" does not only mean in
reverse order; it also means that whoever reads the Megillah merely
as ancient history has missed the point.
The Purim story is directly relevant to our contemporary world. As the
Megillah itself tells us, that when we celebrate Purim each year,
the miraculous events of Purim are "remembered and reenacted" in our lives.
Haman, Then and Now
One does not have to look far to find Haman's modern-day heirs. Now, as then,
there are evil schemers who seek to scapegoat the Jewish people and -- Heaven
forfend -- to erase us from the face of the earth. Each time they rise up
to destroy us, their schemes are foiled by the miraculous Hand of G-d.
The most striking example in recent times was the Persian Gulf War that ended
victoriously on Purim, 5751/1991.
From Redemption to Redemption
Throughout our history, we have seen miracles. Despite centuries upon centuries
of persecution, we have survived and flourished, by the Grace of G-d.
Yet we have remained in exile for nearly 2,000 years, hoping and praying
for the final and complete Redemption -- the Redemption that will end suffering
and exile forever. May the observance of Purim be a precursor to the coming
of Moshiach, our Righteous Redeemer, whose imminent arrival will bring about
a better life for all the nations of the world.
Every generation has its Mordechai. In our generation, the Rebbe has taught
some deep things about joy and Purim. Have a taste:
1. Explosive Joy
Joy is an overflowing, an explosion. Something enters a person's life for
which he could never be prepared and his previously tidy self erupts in song,
dance and joy.
Approach the Divine with a calculated mind and there is no window for joy.
Embrace the infinite beyond mind and let joy surprise you.
2. G-d with the
Visit the prisoners and bring them some happiness. Even if they are guilty.
Even if, in your eyes, they deserve whatever misery they have. Bring them
G-d is always with the oppressed. Even if the oppressor is righteous and
the oppressed is wicked, our sages tell us, G-d is with the oppressed.
3. Fear of Joy
People are afraid of joy. They are afraid they'll get out of hand and lose
These people haven't experienced real joy -- the joy that comes from doing
something G-dly and beautiful with all your heart. The fact is, there is
nothing that will lift you higher. Where there is that joy, the Divine Presence
can enter. Where there is that joy, there are no pits to fall into, and all
obstacles evaporate into thin air.
4. Joy Unleashed
There are many kinds of barriers: Those from within and those from without.
Barriers between people. Barriers that prevent you from doing good things.
Barriers of your own mind and your own hesitations. There are the barriers
that exist simply because you are a limited being. Joy breaks through all
5. The Highest
True happiness is the highest form of self-sacrifice. There, in that state,
there is no sense of self -- not even awareness that you are happy. True
happiness is somewhere beyond "knowing." Beyond self. All the more so when
you bring joy to others.
Purim is the festival that commemorates the breathtaking victory over the
murderous designs of Haman. Observed on the fourteenth of Adar, this
joyous festival reveals the hidden Hand of G-d in the events of man.
It is a day to be celebrated by the entire family -- not only adults
and boys and girls past bar/bas mitzvah, but youngsters too should
be encouraged to fulfill the mitzvot of Purim.
Listen to the
To relive the miraculous events of Purim, we listen to the reading of the
Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) on Monday night, March 13,
and again on Tuesday, March 14, during the daytime.
When Haman's name is mentioned, we twirl graggers and stamp our feet
to "drown out" his evil name. Tell the children Purim is the only time when
it's a mitzvah to make noise!
Send Gifts of Food
On Purim we emphasize the importance of Jewish unity and friendship by sending
gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat
foods (for example, pastry, fruit, beverage), to at least one friend on
Tuesday, March 14, during the daytime.
It is proper that men send to men and women to women. Sending these gifts
should be done through a third party.
Children, in addition to sending their own gifts of food, make enthusiastic
Give Gifts to the
Concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility for the Jew. On Purim,
particularly, it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity
to at least two, but preferably more, needy individuals on Tuesday, March
14, during the daytime.
The mitzvah is best fulfilled by giving directly to the needy. If,
however, you cannot find poor people, place at least several coins into
pushkas (charity boxes). Even small children should fulfill this
Eat the Festive Meal
As on all festivals, we celebrate Purim with a special festive meal on
Tuesday, March 14, during the daytime, when family and friends
gather together to rejoice in the Purim spirit.
The Fast of Esther
To commemorate the day of prayer and fasting that the Jews held before their
victory, we fast on the day before Purim, on Monday March 13, from
approximately 72 minutes before sunrise until 40 minutes after
1. In New York City, the fast ends at 6:39 p.m.
It is a tradition to give 3 half-dollar coins to charity to commemorate the
half-shekel given by each Jew in the time of the Holy Temple.
This mitzvah, usually performed in the synagogue, should be done on
Monday, March 13, or Tuesday, March 14, according to your custom.
On Purim we recite the V'Al HaNissim liturgy in the Amidah
(Silent Prayer) for evening, morning and afternoon, as well as in the Grace
In the morning service there is a special reading from the Torah Scroll in
Hamentaschen, a traditional Purim delight, is a three-cornered pastry
filled with mohn (poppy seed) or other sweet filling.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup margarine
4 cups flour
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 lbs. mohn filling
Cream sugar, oil and margarine. Add eggs and juice and mix well. Blend with
dry ingredients and roll into a ball. Divide into four parts. Roll out each
piece very thin (approximately 1/8 inch) on a floured board. With the rim
of a cup or glass (depending on desired size), cut into the dough to make
circles. Place 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle.
To shape into triangle, lift up right and left sides, leaving the bottom
side down, and bring both sides to meet at center, above the filling. Lift
bottom side up to center to meet other two sides.
Preheat oven to 350o. Brush dough with beaten egg before baking.
Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350o for approximately
Yields 4 dozen Hamentaschen.
Purim is such a great holiday.
Children and adults alike love to celebrate Purim with the exciting and unusual
mitzvot and customs of the day. Dressing up, eating
hamentaschen for dessert at the Purim meal (do you like prune, poppy
seed, raspberry or apricot?), twirling the gragger at Haman's name
in the Megillah, and giving shalach manot -- food gifts to
friends. These are the reasons why the young of age and the young at heart
look forward to Purim each year.
Did you ever stop to think what the Purim mitzvot and customs have
in common? Let's take off the masks, open up the shalach manot, look
inside the Megillah -- peel the layers off of everything -- and see
the common denominator intrinsic to all of them.
When someone is dressed up in a costume or mask, his identity is concealed.
Rich or poor, smart or average, pretty or homely, we no longer perceive the
physical, economic, or intellectual differences that often separate us. Yes,
one costume is expensive, another more original, and there are hundreds of
Queen Esthers. But it's obvious that these are just externals. They aren't
the person inside the costume. On a very basic level, when we dress up on
Purim our superficial differences are, for the moment, concealed.
The Megillah, that exciting story recounting the triumph of right
over might, good over evil, and the Jews' faith in G-d over the vile schemes
of Haman, is also a lesson in Jewish equality and unity. For, it was only
once the Jews united, that they were saved from Haman's plan of total
annihilation. Men, women and children, scholars and shoe cobblers, peasants
and the Queen all fasted and prayed as one for three days and nights to avert
the evil decree. And because they united, because each one felt equally
responsible and able to effect a change, their prayers and penitence were
Now, on to those delicious hamentaschen of varying fillings and recipes.
Some say they are meant to remind us of Haman's hat or his ears. But they
are also symbolic of that which is hidden within. G-d's Hand, so to speak,
was hidden during the whole Purim episode -- the incidents that led up to
Esther being crowned queen, Mordechai overhearing the palace guards' plot
to kill Achashverosh, etc., seemed quite natural. But they were -- like
everything in life -- Divine Providence, G-d's way of putting together an
Just as the filling is concealed in the hamentaschen and the Divine
was hidden during the Purim epoch of Jewish history, the Divine within each
one of us is hidden -- very often to others and often even to ourselves.
The Divine within each of us is our soul -- the actual part of G-d that gives
us life. And though it is intangible, though its existence is often concealed,
the soul is the great equalizer of all of us. For, though one Jew might do
more mitzvot than another, or have a more comprehensive Jewish education,
or be kinder or gentler, the essence of our souls and their source are the
same -- an actual part of G-d.
Lastly, we have the shalach manot, those delightful packages of goodies.
They range from a sandwich bag with raisins, cookies and a drink to a
three-foot-high wicker basket filled with aged-wine and elegant treats. There
are numerous differences in packaging, price and products, but, once again,
all shalach manot have one thing in common: they foster unity. Unity
not just because we feel good when we give and when we receive. But unity
also because we customarily give the shalach manot through a messenger
-- we involve another person in the mitzvah. When giving the shalach
manot we connect not only with the person to whom we are giving, but
to a third person as well. And the messenger can be anyone -- young or old,
friend or stranger, male or female.
This Purim in particular is a special time to participate in the
mitzvot of Purim or to enhance our observance of them. For, as the
Rebbe explained, the Redemption is imminent and each act of kindness, every
deed, any additional mitzvah, helps us better prepare ourselves for
that era which is unfolding before our very eyes.
The Jews of Persia celebrated their victory over Haman and their other enemies
on Adar 14. The Jews of the capital city of Shushan -- a walled
city -- however, had a longer battle, waging war on the 13th and 14th of
Adar. They therefore celebrated on the 15th.
To honor the Land of Israel, our Sages ordained that any city in Israel that
had been surrounded by a wall -- like Shushan -- during the times
of Joshua would also celebrate Purim on Adar 15. Thus, the 15th of
Adar became known as Shushan Purim.
Jerusalem is the only city in Israel where Purim is celebrated on Adar
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.
The Rebbe has called on every Jew to observe the mitzvot of Purim:
hearing the Megillah read, giving charity, eating a festive meal,
sending gifts of food to friends and reciting the V'Al HaNissim prayer.
In addition, the Rebbe asked that everyone take part in spreading the awareness
of the mitzvot of Purim. "There should not be a single Jew in a far-off
corner of the world who does not have the opportunity to fulfill all the
mitzvot of Purim."
May this Most Joyous of Jewish Festivals
Bring Joy to You and All Your Loved Ones...
May the Miracle of Purim be Reenacted
in Your Life, Your Family's Life
and in All Our Lives...
And May We Rejoice Together
in the Culmination of the Miracle of Purim --
the Imminent Arrival of Moshiach,
and a Better World for All Humankind.
Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat
For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
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, March 10, Erev Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 5:39 p.m.
Saturday, March 11, Shabbat Parshat Tetzave:
2. 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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