LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach
Parshat Ki Tisa, 5767
Adar 19, 5767
March 9, 2007
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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.
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 516-517th
issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue, we focus on:
1) Shabbat Parshat Parah, the third of four special Torah readings
read in the synagogue on the Sabbaths before the month of Nissan --
Shekolim, Zachor, Parah and HaChodesh.
2) As our Sages have enjoined us to begin preparing for each holiday thirty
days before the holiday begins,
Therefore, we begin in this week's issue, to focus on the upcoming 8-day
festive holiday of Pesach, which begins this year, on Monday night,
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
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
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
This Shabbat, in addition to the regular Torah portion read in
shul (synagogue), Parshat Ki Tisa, we will also read the additional
Torah portion known as "Parshat Parah" (the "red heifer"). In the
days of the Holy Temple, if a person became spiritually unclean through contact
with a dead body, the ashes of the red heifer were used to remove the spiritual
impurity. As a person had to be in a state of ritual cleanliness in order
to bring the Passover offering, these laws were read publicly in the weeks
leading up to the holiday.
Although we cannot bring offerings in the literal sense at present, the spiritual
lessons they contain are timeless.
Our Sages likened mitzvot to the human body. Just as the body is composed
of 248 limbs and 365 sinews, the Torah is composed of 248 positive and 365
But the Torah is also likened to the soul. Just as the soul animates the
physical body and transforms it into a living being, so too does the Torah
enliven the practical mitzvot and illuminate them with its light.
When a Jew studies Torah and understands the deeper significance of the
commandments, his mitzvot are performed with joy and happiness, and
with a heartfelt enthusiasm.
This principle sheds light on the Talmudic statement, "He who studies the
laws of the burnt-offering is considered as if he has brought one." During
the exile, when we cannot bring sacrifices in the literal sense, our study
of the law stands in its stead. The mitzvah of bringing the sacrifice,
however, just like the human body, is limited by the boundaries of time and
space; the actual mitzvah can only be fulfilled in the proper time
and at the proper location (indeed, it is forbidden to offer sacrifices outside
But our holy Torah, just like the soul, is spiritual; it is not limited by
the restraints of time and place. Our study of the Torah's laws of offerings
is therefore relevant and appropriate in any age and in any location.
As we gradually "rev up" for the Passover season, let us remember that every
positive action we do draws nearer the day when "The spirit of uncleanliness
I will remove from the earth," with the coming of Moshiach and the Final
May it happen immediately!
Springtime happens to bring with it one of the most colorful, widely observed,
and vividly recalled Jewish holidays -- Passover. In fact, one of the three
names by which Passover is mentioned in the Bible is "the Holiday of Spring."
Our Sages enjoin us to begin preparing for each holiday thirty days before
the holiday begins. When our Sages made this suggestion, they had in mind
learning the laws pertaining to the holiday. The holiday of Purim falls thirty
days before Passover, which serves as an easy reminder of when to start
preparations. Many people use Purim, and the thirty-day guideline as a reminder
that it's time to start getting serious about cleaning the house, and getting
the chometz (leavened foods) out of the house, for Passover.
We've already passed the thirty-day mark. So, certainly, it's not too soon
to make plans for where you'll be spending the seders. Also, check
out your local supermarket or grocery store and see if they'll be stocking
the kosher-for-Passover food that have a reliable Rabbinical
supervision that you will need for the eight-day holiday. If they don't
have everything, find out who does.
In addition, call your local rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center to order
shmurah matzah -- special hand-made matzah just like the Jews
used when they came out of Egypt -- at least for the two seders.
With the first crocuses starting to peep their heads up, even through the
frost, it's really time to start thinking about Passover. This year, bring
the "Holiday of Spring" into your thoughts, now.
When it comes to getting ready for Passover; teamwork is essential to do
the job right. If you consider the task of removing all traces of
chometz from your possession as an adventure, it makes it more fun
and rewarding. And when you're having fun, everyone wants to join in.
Start early enough -- traditionally we start preparing for a holiday 30 days
before the festival -- and consider cleaning according to the ABC's.
Attack the attic. Go through all of those storage spaces that accumulate
chometz during the year.
Beware of bedrooms, books and even briefcases. Even if your policy
is no food in bedrooms, crumbs wind up there. Chometz also wedges
itself in books if you eat while you read.
Clear the cabinets, chairs, car and closets of chometz. This
is a perfect time to have the carpets cleaned, too.
Deal with the drawers and desks.
Eliminate your ego. What does ego have to do with Passover and
chometz? To make a long chasidic discourse short, chometz contains
leaven and rises. Matzah doesn't have any leaven and therefore remains
flat. As we rid our physical surroundings of leaven, we should try to eradicate
our pompous, haughty and self-righteous aspects, those parts of our personality
which grow and rise.
Face the freezer and all furniture. And, if you've contemplated cleaning
your upholstery, now is the time.
Go for the garage, garbage cans and wastebaskets.
Hide the high chair. Unless you still need to use it. If so, thoroughly
scrub it, and cover the trays.
Ignore the idea to quit. You're nearly half-way through!
Joyously de-chometz the jig-saw puzzles and all other toys.
It's easy not to be happy when you have 300 pieces of Lego to clean -- all
with Cheerios meshed in. But think of all the quiet playtime these toys
encourage. And think of all the joy that the children give you when you're
playing with them -- the kids, that is, not the Lego.
Keep at the kitchen and kitchen appliances. The kitchen is "not within
the scope of this article." Ask a rabbi or rebbetzin how to do it!
Lather the luggage. Go through your suitcases and carry-on bags.
Make-over the medicine cabinet. Many non-prescription medicines contain
chometz and should be dealt with properly. If you must take medicine
during Passover, consult your rabbi (probably a nice guy who would love to
hear from you).
Nurture your needs. Take a break. Sit down with a drink and relax
for a few minutes. While you're relaxing, peruse one of the many interesting
Haggadahs available today and you'll be preparing yourself mentally
for the holiday, as well.
Overtake your office. Unless you're taking the whole week off, you
have to clean your office for Passover.
Peruse your pockets, purse and porch for chometz.
Quarantine your quarterback. Or, for that matter, anyone who goes
running through your ready-for-Passover rooms with chometz.
Ready the refrigerator. Use up all those open jars and then clean
Scrub the stroller. If you don't have one, help someone who does.
Tackle the telephone. It's probably sticky if you talk while you're
Unclutter the utility room.
Validate the vacuum cleaner by throwing out or emptying the bag after
you vacuumed the last chometz.
Wash the wall where all the cake batter splatters when you bake.
Xerox your favorite recipes which can be used for Passover since your
cookbooks are probably so full of chometz that they are unsalvageable.
Yield chometz from your yacht. Although, if you have a yacht
you're probably not doing most of the cleaning, anyway.
Zee, it wasn't zo bad after all!
Last Thursday, the 11th of Adar, marked the beginning of the month
Hey, wait a minute. In a Jewish publication, shouldn't we reserve our discussions
for Jewish months and not secular months?
A famous teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is that from everything a person
sees or hears -- whether in the realm of holiness or the seemingly secular
-- he can learn a lesson in his G-dly service.
So, what can we learn from March?
Most of us know the saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like
a lamb." And the juxtaposition of the lion and the lamb brings to mind a
time of world-peace. So powerful is this image of lion and lamb connoting
world-peace that a grass-roots group of parents who promote non-violent toys
for children call themselves the Lion and the Lamb.
In truth, when our prophets speak of the ultimate world peace in the Messianic
Era, they state, "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will
lie down with the kid..." The prophet continues, "...And the lion will eat
straw as the ox."
One might ask, "Is this allegorical, or will animals that were previously
adversaries actually co-exist peacefully?" That's a good question! (Every
sincere question is a good question, actually.)
According to the opinions of many of our great Sages, these prophecies should
be taken literally. Nachmanides documents this stand profusely, although
he maintains that their fulfillment will not necessitate great changes in
Creation because, "Initially when the world was created, prior to the sin
of Adam, animals were not predatory. Only after Adam's sin did their natures
Similarly, Rabbi Dovid Kimchi, the Radak declares that animals were
not originally predators, as G-d created only one male and one female of
each species. If either one would have been killed, the species would have
However, there are other great Sages whose opinions differ. No less a giant
than Maimonides declares: "Do not presume that in the days of Moshiach the
nature of the world will change, or there will be innovations in the work
of Creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern."
How are we to understand Maimonides' words, knowing that he established as
one of the 13 principles of Judaism the belief in the resurrection of the
dead, an act that is certainly a change in the nature of the world?
The Rebbe explains that there are two stages to the Messianic Era. In the
first stage, "the coming of Moshiach," everything will go according to its
natural pattern. In the second stage, the actual Redemption, we will experience
supernatural and miraculous occurrences.
However, it is possible, according to the Rebbe, that we could by-pass the
first stage and go straight to the miracles -- if we are meritorious.
Differing opinions aside, whichever way it's going to happen, let it just
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.
Make Others Happy:
As we are in the midst of the 30 days of happiness comprised of the month
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.
For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ
Friday, March 9, Erev Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 5:38 p.m.
Saturday, March 10, Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa:
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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