LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach
Parshat Vayeira, 5767
19 Cheshvan, 5767
Nov. 10, 2006
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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 thirteenth year of publication. It is also
by Hashgacha Pratis -- Divine Providence, our 500th issue.
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
8 Cheshvan, 5767
Los Angeles, California
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Horav Schneur Zalman Halevi
ben Horav Yitzchok Elchonon Halevi
Passed away on 21 Tamuz, 5766
Reb Dovid Asniel ben Reb Eliyahu
Passed away on 5 Sivan - Erev Shavuot, 5765
Mrs. Devora Rivka bas Reb Yosef Eliezer
Passed away on the second day
of Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5766
AND IN HONOR OF
Mrs. Esther Shaindel bas Fraidel Chedva
Dedicated by their children
Rabbi & Mrs. Yosef Yitzchok and Gittel Rochel
This week's Torah portion, Parshat Vayeira, introduces us to the second
of our forefathers, Isaac. It also relates that Isaac was occupied with digging
Abraham and Isaac achieved greatness by paving two distinct paths in connecting
with G-d. Abraham traveled from place to place, both within the borders of
Israel and in other lands, and caused G-d's name to be known everywhere he
went. Through his boundless hospitality, as well as through other means,
he caused countless wayfarers to thank G-d for His bounty and goodness. Abraham's
basic nature was chesed (kindness) -- giving and favorably influencing
his fellow man.
Isaac, on the other hand, had a totally different approach. He never left
the Holy Land and his basic nature was the personification of gevura
(strength). Isaac's way of bringing holiness into the world involved elevating
the lowly and bringing it closer to G-dliness; Abraham's method was to bring
G-dliness down into the lower realms.
This path to spirituality is even apparent in Isaac's preoccupation with
digging wells. A well is made when one digs and uncovers the water that was
always there, albeit in an unrevealed state. Isaac did not bring the water
to the well from an outside source; he merely removed the soil and rocks
so that the water could flow forth on its own.
Whereas his father Abraham was primarily occupied with bringing holiness
down into this world, Isaac spent his life uncovering the inherent holiness
that already existed in the world. Isaac taught others that through their
own efforts they could uncover the good and arrive at Divine truth.
From Abraham we learn how to elevate the physical world through studying
Torah and performing mitzvot, causing the Divine light to descend
and illuminate our surroundings. We also learn from him the obligation to
spread the knowledge and appreciation of G-d through our own example and
influence on others.
But this in itself is not enough. We must also learn from Isaac how to "dig
wells" -- how to uncover and reveal that spark of goodness and spirituality
which exists within ourselves and every Jew. It is not sufficient to merely
teach others about G-dliness; we must also know how to dig under the surface
and reveal the "pintele Yid" -- the inherent faith in G-d and spark
of holiness -- which is our birthright.
Even if a Jew seems to be "dust, clay and stones," that is, his Jewish spark
seems to be dormant and hidden underground, we can learn from Isaac not be
discouraged -- this appearance is merely a camouflage. Under the lifeless
surface lies a rich source of running water, of goodness, faith and love
of G-d. All we have to do is remove the superficial layer of "clay" to reveal
the pure Jewish soul within.
And what can we answer a Jew who cries, "But I've tried! I've dug and I've
dug, and I can't seem to uncover my Jewish spark!" We must direct him to
the example of Isaac, who persevered in his digging and was not discouraged,
even when his wells were deliberately stopped up by his enemies, time and
time again. For we are promised success if we, too, persevere and are relentless
in our quest for G-dliness.
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 (Shabbat Parshat Vayeira, Nov. 11),
we will be commemorating the birthday of Rabbi Sholom DovBer
(5621/1860-5680/1920), the fifth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, known as the Rebbe
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."
* * *
The Rebbe Rashab was a great tzadik and a person of tremendous
insight. This can be illustrated by the following incident.
The Rebbe Rashab founded, in 5657/1897, the Tomchei Tmimim
Yeshivah in the city of Lubavitch. The Rebbe Rashab was an honorary
member of the council which was formed to help establish the new government's
policy toward the Jews after the deposition of the Czar. In 5678/1918 he
traveled to Petersburg to participate in a council meeting. At one of the
stops on the journey, he sent his attendant to buy a newspaper. Returning
with the newspaper, the attendant read to the Rebbe Rashab: "The
Communists have taken over, and the council has been abolished."
The Rebbe Rashab responded, "We must now establish yeshivot
in every city. I do not see their [the Communists'] end, but ultimately,
their end too, will come..."
In the (former) Soviet Union, as the Communist arm stretched forth with ever
increasing strength, the yeshivot went underground. Today, thank G-d,
there are still hundreds of people living all over the world who were educated
in those underground yeshivot. In the last few years, yeshivot
have been started in 11 cities including Tbilisi, Moscow, Minsk, Dnepropetrovsk,
Kishinev, and Kharkov.
Dozens of Tomchei Tmimim Yeshivot continue to educate young Jews in
many countries around the world, including Canada, Australia, Israel, Venezuela,
and throughout the United States.
How visionary were the Rebbe Rashab's words concerning the ultimate
demise of Communism.
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 urges that:
Every Jewish man, woman and child should have a letter written for them in
a Sefer Torah.*
Every person should study either the Rambam's Yad Hachazakah -- Code
of Jewish Law -- or the Sefer HaMitzvos.
Concerning Moshiach, the Rebbe stated, "The time for our redemption has arrived!"
Everyone should prepare themselves for Moshiach's coming by doing random
acts of goodness and kindness, and by studying about what the future redemption
will be like. May we merit to see the fulfillment of the Rebbe's prophecy
*. 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,
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 of 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.
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, Nov. 10, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 4:25 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11, Shabbat Parshat Vayeira:
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:24 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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