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LIVING WITH MOSHIACH
Weekly Digest About Moshiach

Parshat Shoftim
3 Elul, 5767
August 17, 2007

SPECIAL FEATURES:
The Rebbe's Prophecy


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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

NOTE:
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 ARRIVAL."

Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12

THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
OF LUBAVITCH

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.

INTRODUCTION

We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 522-539th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.

*

This Shabbat, Parshat Shoftim, is 16 years since 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.

*

We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

*

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
Administrator
Committee for the Blind

22 Menachem-Av, 5767
Los Angeles, California

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Horav Schneur Zalman Halevi
ben Horav Yitzchok Elchonon Halevi
Shagalov
Passed away on 21 Tamuz, 5766

Reb Dovid Asniel ben Reb Eliyahu
Ekman
Passed away on 5 Sivan - Erev Shavuot, 5765

Mrs. Devora Rivka bas Reb Yosef Eliezer
Marenburg
Passed away on the second day
of Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5766

AND IN HONOR OF
Mrs. Esther Shaindel bas Fraidel Chedva
Shagalov

*

Dedicated by their children
Rabbi & Mrs. Yosef Yitzchok and Gittel Rochel
Shagalov

THE REBBE'S PROPHECY

16 Years Ago, Torah Portion:
Shoftim (Chapter 18, Deuteronomy)

Miracles, foretelling the future, and an uncanny understanding of every individual and situation were always associated with the Rebbe, but the week of the Torah portion Shoftim, 5751/1991, saw the Rebbe's open acknowledgment that he is a prophet and that as a messenger of G-d, he is delivering the unprecedented news, "Behold, Moshiach is coming."

His words are all the more remarkable since in all the years of his leadership, he did not even referr to himself as the Rebbe, speaking of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, as leading the generation. Nor was it the Rebbe's way to acknowledge as such the many miracles or prophecies which came through him.

In one instance, when someone had the nerve to ask the Rebbe how he knew to announce during the Gulf War that "Israel is the safest place in the world," he is said to have responded, "I looked into the Torah and saw what it says, that G-d's eyes are on it from the beginning of the year to the end." Yet none of us would ever dare to take the same responsibility from reading that same Torah passage!

The miracles and prophecies of the Rebbe are legion, and have appeared in national and international media. Everyone knows the miracles of the Rebbe were accomplished without fanfare, with a wave of the hand, or clothed in "advice." Yet the only time the Rebbe openly alluded to himself as a prophet was the week of the Torah portion, Shoftim, which includes in it the commandment to the Jewish people to listen to their prophets.

It was this week that the Rebbe delivered what he called his most essential prophecy, that Moshiach is actually coming, and asked that it be publicized to the entire world. He also reminded the Jewish people of the Torah laws regarding a prophet, how a true prophet must be obeyed, and should not be overly tested.

The Rebbe begins his talk with a discussion of the Torah commandment from Shoftim (Judges), "You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates," and how this is similar to what is said in the daily prayers, three times a day (from Isaiah), "Return our judges as of old, and our advisors as in the beginning," which will take place in the final Redemption.

He elaborates extensively about the differences between a judge and an advisor and how both are needed in terms of Divine service. A judge is on a level above the litigants and delivers rulings from an elevated plane of authority.

On the other hand, an advisor is like a friend, similar in level to the person, and is able to communicate that it is in the person's own best interest to accept the directive from above.

The judge represents the authority of the Torah. The advisor represents the internalization of the Torah ruling which the person sees is for his own good. Torah service is not complete without these two: a decree from above, and the ability to internalize it so that the person accepts it willingly and gladly, and not because it is forced on him.

Then the Rebbe draws a parallel between judges and advisors and Torah and prophecy. Torah, like the judge, issues rulings that come from above, endowed with Divine power and assistance. Prophecy, which is G-d's message as He chooses to communicate it through His spokespeople, is given in a way of advice, first to the prophet, becoming unified with his mind and speech, and then announced to the people in a way that they can grasp it.

In the Rebbe's words (translated from the Hebrew):(1)

"Torah transcends the world, for it is the will and wisdom of G-d. Thus in the same way one cannot grasp the being of G-d in any way, the real essence of Torah is above our comprehension.

"In contrast, prophecy -- even though it is the word of G-d, 'the spirit of G-d spoke to me,' -- is the revelation of G-dliness to man. 'He revealed his secrets to his servants, the prophets,' according to their limits that it should be absorbed in the knowledge and mind of the prophet. A prophet becomes as one with the prophecy communicated to him and the vision of prophecy becomes clothed in his mind and understanding and also in his thought and speech, as it is written, 'The spirit of G-d spoke in me, and His word is on my tongue.'

"Moreover, prophecy is intended to be revealed through speech. The very term in Hebrew for prophecy, nevuah, implies that it is a subject proclaimed and announced to the people as in the term niv s'fosayim ('the expression of the lips'). This contrasts with Torah which can remain in one's thoughts. Also, the import of prophecy has connection with the events of the world. To quote the Rambam, 'A prophet is only there to inform us of what is going to happen in the future of the world.'

"Thus, the Torah and prophecy reflect the difference between 'your judges' and 'your advisors.' The task of the judge is to rule on the laws of the Torah, which is done by way of demand and decree. The advisor gives his advice 'clothed' in language acceptable to the advised, which he can understand, as is the way of a prophet."

Like an advisor, the Rebbe is coming to us in a way that takes into account our state of being, our readiness to hear G-d's message about the Redemption, and in a way that we are able to accept and internalize it.

However, there is another dimension to it. It is a commandment from the Torah to obey the prophets. Thus when we listen to a prophet, we are combining the two elements of Divine service: accepting the decree from above, and internalizing it of our own free will.

In the Rebbe's words:

"Just as there is a command to obey 'your judges' at all times, as is written in our Torah portion, Shoftim, so there is a command to obey the prophets, as is written separately in the Torah portion (18:15), 'G-d will set up for you a prophet from your midst, from your brothers, like me, and you shall harken to him.'

"In this context, the Rambam explains, 'One of the fundamentals of the religion is to know that G-d sends His prophecies through people.'

"In his Iggeres Taimon, the Rambam writes that 'as a preparatory step for Moshiach's coming....prophecy will return to Israel.' This can be understood in connection with the explanations above. To prepare us to be able to receive the revelations of the Era of Redemption, we must experience through prophecy a foretaste of the 'advice' that will be communicated in that era.

"It is therefore important for later generations to know that it is 'one of the fundamentals of the religion is to know that G-d sends His prophecies through people.' Always, in all generations, the revelation of prophecy is possible. Moreover, this will include even a level of prophecy which is akin to the prophecy of Moshe as implied by the verse, 'I will set up for them from their brothers like you.' Moshe's level is the zenith of prophecy, as the Rambam explains at great length. Nevertheless it is not exclusive to him, but reflected to others as well.

"In all generations, even before the Resurrection of the Dead, it is necessary to know that Torah law prescribes that G-d sends his prophecies through men, that the verse, 'I will set up a prophet...like you (Moshe)' applies in every generation. Every prophet is a continuation of the prophecy of Moshe and his Torah (except that in regard to revelation, there are different levels, as the Rambam explains)."

The Rebbe goes on to explain that we already have a foretaste of our "judges as of old" and our "advisors as at the beginning" in the generations of the Chabad Rebbes. "These leaders are the individuals through whom 'prophecy will return to Israel.' They are the prophets of our generation, 'like me (Moshe),' i.e. they are the 'spark of Moshe' that exists in every generation."

The Rebbe elaborates:

"They are 'your judges.' This is reflected in their function as nesi'im (leaders). This term, related to the word hisnasus, 'uplifted,' reflects how they are elevated above the people. In this capacity they serve as teachers of the Torah to the people. Similarly they serve as 'your advisors,' giving counsel in connection with our Torah service, and also giving advice in worldly matters, which is the function of prophets."

Coming closer and closer to the main point of his talk, the Rebbe urges every person to accept upon himself the rulings and advice of the judges and advisors of our generation, our Rabbis in general, and in particular, "the leader of our generation, the judge, adviser and prophet of our generation," (meaning himself!). Our acceptance of the "judge, advisor and prophet of our generation" helps this aspect of Redemption, which we pray for three times a day, to bloom.

The Rebbe emphasizes that we believe him, not only because of what we have seen with our own eyes, but because of the Divine command from the Torah to heed a prophet. He says that G-d has chosen an individual to serve as judge, advisor and prophet to the generation. Notably, this leader brings not only the Jews closer to Divine service, but indeed, "all the people of this generation." Then he delivers the prophecy that we will see Moshiach with our own eyes.

The Rebbe's words follow.

"When a person has the merits and individual perfection required of a prophet, and he performs signs and wonders -- as we saw and see continually in the fulfillment of the blessings of the leader of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, 'we do not believe in him only because of the sign [he performed]..., but because of the commandment which Moshe gave in the Torah.'

"Furthermore, a prophet about whom another prophet testifies that he is a prophet -- as in the case with the Previous Rebbe, and is continued in the next generation through his disciples --, he is accepted as a prophet and requires no investigation. He has to be obeyed immediately 'even before he performs a sign.' 'It is forbidden to disparage or criticize his prophecy saying that it is perhaps not true.' There is a specific negative commandment forbidding us to test a prophet more than necessary. After it has become known that he is a prophet, the people should believe in him, and they should not disparage or criticize him. Their belief should not be in the prophet as an individual, but as a messenger charged with communicating the words of G-d.

"This concept has to be publicized to everyone in this generation. It must be made known that we have merited that G-d has chosen and appointed a person who of himself is far greater than the people of his generation, to serve as a judge, adviser and prophet to the generation. He will grant rulings and advice in connection with the service of the Jews and indeed, of all the people of this generation, in all matters of the Torah and its mitzvos, and in their general day to day behavior, allowing them to 'know Him in all your ways,' so that 'all your actions should be for the sake of Heaven.'

"Surely this includes the fundamental prophecy, 'To Redemption Immediately,' for 'Behold, Moshiach is coming.'"

Adapted from the Rebbe's talk, on
Shabbat Parshat Shoftim, 5751/1991

* * *

What makes the Rebbe's declaration -- that Moshiach's arrival is imminent and the time for the Redemption has arrived -- different from those of great leaders of previous generations?

The Jewish people have believed in and awaited Moshiach's coming since the beginning of our nation. In numerous instances throughout Jewish history, tzaddikim (righteous people) of various generations pointed to hints in the Torah that the promised Redemption was near at hand. Sensing the special opportunity for Moshiach's coming, they motivated the Jewish people to study more Torah, do more mitzvot and repent in the hope that these actions would be what was needed to make the Redemption happen.

In the times of the Previous Rebbe, the anticipation for the Redemption was truly tangible. The Previous Rebbe issued an urgent call to world Jewry: "Immediate repentance brings immediate Redemption."

Even when the Rebbe accepted the leadership in 1950, though he said unequivocally that our generation is the last generation to live in exile and the first generation of the Redemption, he did not say that we had yet reached the moment of Redemption. Only forty years later, after sending thousands of emissaries around the world, initiating the Mitzvah Campaigns to reinvigorate Jewish observance, and inspiring millions, did the Rebbe proclaim, "The time of our Redemption has arrived." This is a totally different message that has never before been enunciated in the history of the Jewish people.

The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni) tells us that in a time when we will witness an event like the Gulf War, Moshiach will tell the Jewish people that the time of the Redemption has arrived. This is not a hope, a wish, or a special opportunity, but a call to prepare to greet Moshiach!

The Rebbe has said that the time is now. The question each of us must ask ourselves is not, "When is Moshiach coming?" but rather, "Am I ready for Moshiach's coming today!"

_______________

1. Adapted from the Rebbe's talk, as edited by the Rebbe, and printed in "Sefer Hasichot 5751," Vol. 2 (pp. 780-795).

For the full text of the Rebbe's talk, in Hebrew: http://www.torah4blind.org/hebrew/softim51.htm

PROPHECY TODAY
Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Of(2) all the prophecies in Scripture that refer to the messianic era, the one contained in the Torah portion of Balak, is most unusual in that it came from Bilaam, a gentile prophet. Bilaam, the foremost prophet of his time, was forced against his will to foretell the downfall of the nations of the world and the ultimate ascendancy of the Jewish people.

The very fact that this prophecy is included in our holy Torah indicates its special significance; indeed, it contains a distinct advantage precisely because it was said by a non-Jew. For when Moshiach comes, the Jewish people will no longer be subservient to the nations; on the contrary, the gentile leaders will vie with one another for the privilege of serving the Jews! Thus, the prophecy of Bilaam concerning the Final Redemption not only gave the Children of Israel cause for rejoicing over their future, it actually afforded them a "taste" of the way things will be in the messianic era.

As far as prophecy itself is concerned, our Sages foretold its reoccurrence among the Jewish people before Moshiach's arrival according to the following chronology: Commenting on the verse in the Torah portion of Balak, "At the proper time shall it be said to Jacob and to Israel, what G-d has wrought," Maimonides noted that prophecy would return to Israel after "the proper time" had elapsed after Bilaam, i.e., after the same number of years as had passed since the creation of the world until his prophecy. Bilaam's prophecy was said in the year 2488; 2488 years after that, in the year 4976 (we are now in the year 5767), prophecy was destined to return to the Jewish people.

In fact we find that this was indeed the case, for it was then that prophetic luminaries began to appear on the Jewish horizon -- Rabbi Shmuel Hanavi, Rabbi Elazar Baal "Harokeach," Nachmanides, the Ravad (Rabbi Abraham ben David), Rabbi Ezra Hanavi and Rabbi Yehuda the Chasid, and others.

More generations passed until the birth of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidus, and his successor, the Maggid of Mezeritch, about whom it was said that they "could see from one end of the world to the other." The following generation produced Rabbi Shneur Zalman, who formulated Chabad Chasidus. Had he lived in the times of our prophets he would have been on a par with them; moreover, this chain of prophecy continued from one Chabad leader to the next, until the present day [when the Rebbe has prophesied that Moshiach's arrival is imminent].

The return of prophecy to the Jewish people is therefore both a prerequisite and preparation for the messianic era, which is due to begin at any moment.

_______________

2. Adapted from the Rebbe's talk, on Shabbat Parshat Balak, 5717/1957, as edited by the Rebbe, and printed in "Likutei Sichot," Vol. 2 (pp. 588-9).

"I SAY WHAT I MEAN"

"I ask that they not act foolishly and add their own explanations and interpretations to my words, e.g., that I really meant such and such, etc. . . I say what I mean."

The Rebbe, 21 Menachem Av, 5744/1984

*

Some people still ask, "What did the Rebbe really say about Moshiach and the Redemption." The following quotes from the Rebbe were said at public gatherings, in front of thousands of people. Some are from transcripts of the Rebbe's talks while others are from published essays that were edited by the Rebbe after being adapted from his public talks.

"Just as until now it was clear to each one of us that the Rebbe would lead us to greet our righteous Moshiach, so should it be clear now. That which happened is only from our material point of view. It is nothing more than a trial, one of the trials of the birthpangs of Moshiach that need to occur before the arrival of the righteous Redeemer. The sole purpose of these trials is to conceal the truth."

Shabbat Teruma, 5710/1950

"Since Jacob was mourned and buried as prescribed by the Torah, because it appeared to them that he died, this draws down the potential for every one to reach the Resurrection of the Dead through the service of refining and purifying the body -- negating the body -- via its return to the dust. Through the process of negation (which, as explained, can be fulfilled through the spiritual service of 'My soul will be as dust to all,' in which case there is no need to actually return to dust), we come to the Resurrection of the Dead in the true and ultimate Redemption."

Av, 5731/1971

"As such the Al-mighty's Redemption is actually brought about through His emissary, the righteous Moshiach, with all eight names attributed to him. This includes also 'His name is Menachem' in a way that 'One points with his finger and exclaims, 'Behold! Here he is! Here is Menachem, our righteous Moshiach!''"

1 Menachem Av, 5749/1989

"Every single Jew must perform his Divine service in a manner similar to and befitting the days of Moshiach and the subsequent era of the Resurrection of the Dead. This is exhibited first and foremost through faith, anticipation and knowledge that supernatural events will occur in the days of Moshiach, namely, the Resurrection of the Dead. Belief in these concepts must be with certainty, and must be as unshakably firm as the belief in the Ten Commandments.

"Obviously the belief in the Resurrection of the Dead requires that same degree of certainty and anticipation. This must be emphasized so much more in our present generation, when many messianic signs are unfolding. These constitute a clear indication that Moshiach is already present in the world. Moreover, he is already a prominent Jewish leader, 'a king from the House of David, deeply absorbed in the study of Torah,' etc.

"Therefore, in our present generation, great emphasis must be placed on the belief in the coming of Moshiach and anything that relates to it."

Shabbat Acharei, 5746/1986

"We see in recent years how the verse 'And Moses gathered the Jews' is occurring literally -- the ingathering of the exiles of Jews from all over the world, who are returning to the Holy Land. The number of people moving to the Holy Land is incomparably greater than those of previous generations."

Shabbat Vayakhel, 5752/1992

". . . The suggestion is the study of Torah on the topics of Moshiach and the Redemption. For it is within the ability of Torah to transform human nature. It is possible that one may be, heaven forfend, 'outside' and far removed from the concept of Redemption as far as one's own perception is concerned (as he has not yet emerged from his own internal exile). Yet, through Torah study in the topics of Redemption, he uplifts himself to a Redemption state of mind, and begins to 'live' with the concept of Redemption, amidst the realization and recognition that 'Behold, here he comes!'"

Shabbat Balak, 5751/1991

"Although in chronological order, the advent of Moshiach will precede the Resurrection of the Dead, special individuals will nonetheless be resurrected prior to Moshiach's coming. First and foremost, the Rebbe, my father-in-law, will once again enclothe himself in a body, and return. (In reality, it makes no difference how he comes, whether through the door, the window, or the roof....) He will then gather all the Jewish people together and proclaim, 'The time has come to leave Exile. Come, let us go to our Holy Land!'"

2nd day of Shavuot, 5710/1950

"There needs to be an increase in life, through the action of the people who proclaim 'Yechi HaMelech! -- May the king live.' For the meaning of this proclamation is that the time has come for [the resurrection, regarding which it is stated] 'Awake and give praise, those who rest in the dust,' of the Rebbe, my father-in-law, the leader of our generation, and up to and including the wakening and giving praise of the Davidic King Moshiach!"

2 Nissan, 5748/1988

"True, we currently find ourselves in the extreme darkness of Exile. Yet, nonetheless, since Exile is merely a 'dream' (in which contradictions can co-exist), the current situation can instantly be reversed, from one extreme to another. This means that we emerge from this dream of Exile and arrive at the true reality, the actual Redemption!. . .

"True, Maimonides explains that there is a natural order in the process . . . However this is only if the Redemption materializes in a normal manner. If the Jews merit, and certainly in present times when the appointed time for the Redemption has long since passed, we have merited that the Redemption will come instantly, above and beyond all natural limitations!

"It is within the ability of every single Jew to bring the Redemption right away, not tomorrow or the day after, but quite literally today, so that at this very moment, a person opens his eyes and sees that our righteous Moshiach is present with us in this very House of Prayer and Study, in his physical body, down on earth!. . .

"Some people argue that this in itself is difficult to appreciate. It has already been many years since the leader of our generation announced 'Immediate Redemption' and nevertheless, he still has not come!. . .

"This question stems from being consumed with and engulfed in the Exile frame of mind. Hence people are unable to free themselves of this 'dream' of Exile and perceive that the true reality is otherwise, a state of being awake, the actual Redemption!"

Shabbat Pinchas, 5744/1984

"One may wonder, 'What will the world say if a Jew performs his Divine service . . . particularly trying to speed the Redemption? Seemingly,' he argues, 'in order to succeed, one must take into consideration how the world will view it.' The answer is that the world is ready and prepared! When a Jew goes about his Divine service properly, rising above all limitations and constraints, yet doing so in a way that his service can be enclothed in the vestments of nature, he will see how the world, nature, and non-Jews are indeed aiding him in his service."

Shabbat Korach, 3 Tamuz, 5751/1991

"A question has been asked with regard to the recent statements that the Redemption is coming immediately. Some might suggest that it would not be so easy for this message to reach people and convince them. People are uncertain of how their families and the world at large will react to it. The response is that such concerns would only be valid if the idea of Redemption was an innovation. However, the Redemption is nothing new. Rather, all its elements have already begun, and have already been brought down and accepted in the physical world, the level beyond which there is nothing lower. Therefore, it should be of no surprise when, immediately, the Redemption arrives."

Shabbat Shoftim, 5751/1991

"We are immediately going to merit the fulfillment of the messianic promise, 'As in the days of your Exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders,' with the coming of Moshiach, whose name is 'Menachem,' like the name of the Tzemach Tzedek -- may he come and redeem us, and lead us proudly to our land. For inasmuch as the prophetic promise, 'Awaken and sing, those who rest in the dust' will soon take place . . . there will then be a realization of the meaning of 'Menachem -- King Moshiach.'"

Eve of Rosh HaShanah, 5744/1984

A footnote added by the Rebbe to an edited version of a talk after mentioning the third Chabad Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek:

"His two names, Tzemach and Tzedek (which are the numerical equivalent of 'Menachem Mendel') are the names of King Moshiach."

12 Sivan, 5751/1991

SOME OF THE REBBE'S PROPHECIES

Before the Gulf War, on the second night of Sukkot (October 5, 1990), the Rebbe began to quote an ancient passage from the Yalkut Shimoni, a 14th century anthology of Midrashic litrature: "In the year that Moshiach will be revealed, nations will challenge one another. The King of Paras will challenge the King of Aram ... and the entire world will panic and will be stricken with consternation ... Israel will also panic and will be confounded."

The Rebbe went on to explain that the King of Paras refers to the present-day Iraq. The King of Aram refers to the world's superpowers (for Aram is related to the word "rom" which means "uplifted").

This ominous situation, however, herolds the ultimate good -- the coming of Moshiach and the final Redemption.

Acording the Yalkut Shimoni, G-d tells the Jewish people: "My children, have no fear. Whatever I have done, I have done only for your sake. Why are you afraid? Have no fear; the time for your redemption has arrived!" Moshiach will stand on the roof of the Holy Temple and proclaim, "Humble ones: The time for your redemption has arrived!"

On December 29, 1990, just weeks before the official declaration of war, the Rebbe stated unequivocally, that there is no safer place in the world today than the Land of Israel. He went on to say that no one living in the Holy Land should think of leaving at this time. On the contrary, whoever is planning to visit the Holy Land should go without fear and should let others know of his trip as well, for this will raise the confidence of the Jewish people throughout the world.

The Rebbe, of course, as he always does, based his words on the Torah. In particular, he quoted the verse in Deuteronomy: "It is a land constantly under G-d's scrutiny; the eyes of G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to its end."

As the world foundered in panic and consternation over the events in the Persian Gulf, the Rebbe announced that this would be a year when "I will show you wonders," when G-d would perform miracles for the Jewish people. His words of encouragement and inspiration were repeated time and again on Israeli radio and in the newspapers. And the Rebbe called on everyone to continue with their plans. More than one family asked the Rebbe if they should switch the location of upcoming weddings from Israel to New York, but the Rebbe was adamant that everything should go ahead as planned. The weddings scheduled in Israel took place amidst great rejoicing.

As the SCUDS flew overhead, most Israelis were calm. Not because they were issued gas masks or sat in sealed rooms. But because they heard the Rebbe's message on the radio, over and over again, saying, "Israel is the safest place in the world because the eyes of G-d are always upon it."

Thirty-nine SCUDS fell on Israel. Although there was amazingly little damage, even more miraculous was the fact that there was no loss of life directly from a SCUD. But in Saudi Arabia, when a single SCUD fell on Desert Storm troops, people perished and the damage was devastating.

Step by step, the Rebbe is showing us how to recognize the miracles that are happening here and now. As we watch events unfold, we can wholeheartedly say: Thank G-d for the Rebbe's foresight and vision.

For the ultimate wonders are yet to come.

The Six-Day War

On May 28, 1967, a giant Lag B'Omer parade and rally of tens of thousands of children from all over the New York area took place at the World Lubavitch Headquarters. Among other things, the Rebbe spoke about the tense situation in the Middle East and explained to the children what they could do to increase G-d's protection of the Holy Land. Barely a week later, on June 5, the "Six-Day War" broke out.

In his address, the Rebbe told the children about the lesson to be learned in connection with the state of affairs in the Holy Land. They are currently in a situation where G-d is protecting and bestowing His blessings and His deliverance upon them in an increased measure so that they may emerge -- and they will emerge -- from this situation with success.

The Rebbe told the children that they could help by learning an extra verse of Torah, by doing another mitzvah and yet another, and not letting any opportunity slip by in the fulfillment of mitzvot. He also encouraged the children to influence their friends and family to utilize all their opportunities to increase Torah study and mitzvah observance.

As a consequence of the children's efforts, the Rebbe said that we should see the fulfillment of the assurance in the Torah portion read the previous day, "And you will dwell securely in your land ... and I will give peace in the land."

A cassette of the Rebbe's talk was rushed off to Israel where copies were made and it was listened to by people all over the trembling country.

In addition, on the Shabbat before the war broke out, the Rebbe launched the by-now famous "Tefillin Campaign," as a safety measure for the Jewish people in general, and Jewish soldiers in particular. This campaign, too, is based on the Torah, for the Torah declares concerning tefillin, "And they shall fear you" -- specifically relating to the fear that is instilled in the hearts of the enemies of Israel as a result of the observance of this mitzvah and particularly upon defenders of Israel to vanquish the enemy in the course of battle.

Before and during the war, every soldier -- observant and non-observant -- put on tefillin. And every newspaper in Israel carried the Rebbe's telegram sent just days before the war began: "To the leaders of Kfar Chabad and the Head Rabbi who are privileged to find themselves among tens of thousands of Jews in the Holy land where 'the eyes of G-d are constantly upon it' and certainly, most assuredly 'the Protector of Israel does not sleep or slumber,' 'G-d is on our right side' and G-d will guard them and all of the Jewish people from now and forever. I am awaiting good news, good in a recognizable and revealed manner, soon."

The Yom Kippur War

In the summer of 1973, life in Israel couldn't have been better. To most, it seemed like the best of times. Israel was at "peace" with Egypt and the financial situation in Israel was the best it had been for a long time.

So when the Rebbe started speaking about a great danger that was threatening the Jewish people, everyone was confused. The Rebbe quoted the verse from Psalms, "Out of the mouths of babes and infants You have established strength ... to destroy the foe and avenger," and issued a call for all Jewish children to receive a Jewish education. The Rebbe declared that this was of utmost importance and must be implemented immediately. He asked that more day-camps be opened all over the world and gatherings for children be organized everywhere.

On three separate occasions during the ensuing months the Rebbe urged there to be gatherings at the Western Wall. And in the Rebbe's annual letter of the Sixth of Tishrei, addressed to all Jews all over the world, the Rebbe added a footnote before it was published. The footnote, which seemed to come from nowhere, read: "The Metzudat David [a commentary] explains that the Jewish hand will be superior."

And then came Yom Kippur, 1973. Anyone who was more than a mere toddler at the time will never forget Yom Kippur of 1973. On the Sunday after the war began, when two chasidim asked the Rebbe what would be, the Rebbe answered, "There will be a great victory, a victory greater than was in the previous war."

When the war was over, Israeli papers were emblazoned with the headline, "The Lubavitcher Rebbe saw the war and its outcome." The Rebbe, in his humility, answered with a verse from the Prophets, "I prophesied but did not know what I prophesied."

Russian Immigration

In 1987, when the Iron Curtain was impenetrable, the Rebbe made a startling request. He asked that settlements be built to accommodate the tremendous influx of Russian immigrants who would soon be arriving in Israel.

At the time, the border of the Soviet Union was virtually sealed. It was next to impossible for Jews to leave. Yet the Rebbe announced, "It is proper for all Jews to participate in building dwellings in Jerusalem for the Jews from Russia who will soon be coming out. Those who have already been appointed to head this project should do so with great haste and energy, and this should be the main point in their lives from now on."

In June of 1987 the Shamir neighborhood in northern Jerusalem was born. Within the Shamir neighborhood SATEC -- the Shamir Center for Advanced Technologies -- was established. It is a commercial enterprise that allows highly skilled Soviet Jewish scientists and engineers to find high-level jobs.

Two years later, in 1989, the doors of the Soviet Union suddenly sprung open. Millions of Jews streamed into Israel. The housing prepared for them was barely enough!

The Collapse of Communism

Well before the advent of the year 5750 (September 1989 through September 1990), the Rebbe announced that the Hebrew letters whose numerical equivalent equals 5750 are an acronym for "This will be a year of miracles."

Indeed, the Rebbe spoke many times throughout the year about the miraculous nature of 5750, including the collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the freedom granted to Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel.

The fall of Communism happened almost overnight. No war, no revolution, no bloodshed. Never in the history of the world had an empire tumbled so quickly, so silently. The Rebbe clearly saw this event in 1966, when he said that the victory over the "evil rulership" will be when "tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews will leave Russia."

IT HAPPENED ONCE

by Rabbi Bentzion Grossman

To those who live in Jerusalem, Rabbi Eliezer Chaim Streicher is a familiar figure. Rabbi Streicher is known for his unwavering trust that G-d will come to his assistance when he is in need. Many stories are told about the salvation that came to him in the nick of time.

As a young man, Reb Eliezer Chaim learned in a yeshivah, where he devoted himself to Torah study day and night. After he was married he began to search for a job, but could not find a suitable position.

After consulting with several friends, they all told him that it was easier to make a living in the United States, he decided to move to New York. The young couple relocated to the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, and Reb Eliezer Chaim found a job without difficulty.

However, with every passing day, Reb Eliezer Chaim found that he had less time to devote to his beloved Torah studies and spiritual pursuits.

It became obvious to Reb Eliezer Chaim that he had to make a decision about where his life was going. He was hesitant to leave his job and return to full-time Torah study. And yet...

With these thoughts going through his mind, Reb Eliezer Chaim went to pray in a small shul that he did not usually frequent. He came across a book that spoke about the importance of trusting in G-d. A person who has trust, the author wrote, can be assured that G-d will never abandon him wherever he goes.

The book made a strong impression on Reb Eliezer Chaim, and he decided that from that day on he would rely on the beneficence of G-d. With his wife's approval, he left his job and began to study Torah full-time in a kollel -- a yeshivah for married men.

His faith and trust in G-d, that the Al-mighty would provide him with his livelihood from another source, was unshakable.

A few years passed and the Streichers decided to return to Israel where Reb Eliezer Chaim would continue to devote his life to Torah study. Indeed, G-d took care of the Streichers. Several friends helped them out and within a short time of their return to Israel the couple was settled in a furnished apartment in one of the religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Years passed. Reb Eliezer Chaim found that he missed the insights and guidance of the Rosh HaKollel, dean of the kollel, in New York. He decided that he would travel to New York for a short while to see him. Again, G-d provided Reb Eliezer Chaim with the necessary airfare in the merit of his trust.

Before leaving, however, Reb Eliezer Chaim consulted with his wife, in accordance with the Talmud's instruction to obtain one's wife's permission before embarking on a journey. She agreed, but on one condition: that he buys clothing for their children when he was in Borough Park. They sat down and figured out how much it would cost: $600 would cover everything. Of course, Reb Eliezer Chaim had not a penny in his pocket when he set off, but he agreed to his wife's condition; G-d would somehow provide.

Weeks passed, during which Reb Eliezer Chaim was happily and dilligently studying in his former kollel in New York. In a few more days he was scheduled to return to Israel; the clothing for his children had been completely forgotten.

On the last day of his visit he suddenly recalled the promise he had made to his wife. There were only a few hours left before he would have to take a taxi to the airport. But what could he do? He still had no money; even if he had, he would have been hard pressed to fit a shopping spree in. Reb Eliezer Chaim put his trust in G-d and continued to learn.

Then the door to the study hall opened suddenly and Reb Eliezer Chaim looked up from his book. At that hour the study hall was empty, except for the man who was rapidly walking toward Reb Eliezer Chaim.

The stranger was smiling; from the way he was dressed it was obvious that he was a Lubavitcher chasid. The man came over and placed his arm on Reb Eliezer Chaim's shoulder. Reb Eliezer Chaim greeted him warmly and asked, "What can I do for you?"

"The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave me this envelope and told me to deliver it to the person I would find sitting and learning in this study hall." The man handed Reb Eliezer Chaim the envelope and left.

When Reb Eliezer Chaim opened the envelope a small cry escaped his lips. Inside was exactly $600.

Needless to say, Reb Eliezer Chaim made it to the airport on time, his suitcases bulging with the clothing for his children that his wife had indicated.

Years later, Reb Eliezer Chaim was still shocked by what had occurred. "Why are you so surprised?" I asked him when he told me the story. "Hadn't you seen with your own eyes time and time again how G-d came to your assistance whenever it was necessary?"

"Never mind that G-d knew about my problem and came to my aid," Reb Eliezer Chaim replied. "That I can understand. But how did the Lubavitcher Rebbe find out?"

MOSHIACH MATTERS

"The future Redemption will apply not only to Israel, but to the whole world as well. In preparation for this Redemption, therefore, action needs to be taken so that the world at large will be ready for such a state.

"This is to be achieved through the efforts of the Jewish people to influence the nations of the world to conduct themselves in the spirit of the verse that states that G-d 'formed the world in order that it be settled' (Isaiah 45:18) in a civilized manner, through the observance of their seven mitzvot."

The Rebbe, 5743/1983

*

In light of the about, this is, once again, the perfect opportunity to consider the implications of the Rebbe's campaign to disseminate, among non-Jews, the knowledge and observance of the Seven Noachide Laws.

The nations of the world were given a Divine code of conduct, the Seven Noachide Laws, which consist of six prohibitions against: adultery, murder, robbery, idolatry, blasphemy, cruelty to animals -- and one positive command, to establish a judicial system.

The Rebbe has encouraged his emissaries around the world to meet with governmental officials and heads of state to sign proclamations, encouraging the study and observance of the Seven Noachide laws. Governmental proclamations, however, are not the Rebbe's only concern.

An important part of the Jew's task is to see to it that all people, not just Jews, acknowledge G-d as Creator and Ruler of the world and to therefore conduct themselves according to the Seven Noachide Laws. Each and every Jew has an important role to play in this task. But how can this be accomplished?

When a Jew conducts himself properly in all areas of his life -- business, recreation, family, and religious -- he will automatically influence the people around him. When the nations of the world see Jews acknowledging G-d as Ruler of the world, through prayer and by following His commandments, they, too, will come to realize the importance and truth of G-d's omnipotence.

*

For more information about The Seven Noachide laws, go to:
http://www.torah4blind.org/noahide.htm

TIME FOR UNITY;
TIME FOR STRENGTH!

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 now!

_______________

*. 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

A CALL TO ACTION

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.

Preparations for the High Holidays:

"Our Sages state that thirty days before a holiday, we should learn the laws pertaining to it. It is already less then thirty days before the holidays of Tishrei begin and in this context, it is necessary to mention the importance of providing Jews with their holiday needs so that they will be able to celebrate Rosh HaShanah(3) and the holidays that follow in the manner stated in the Bible, 'Eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages and send portions to those who do not have them prepared.'"

The Rebbe, Elul, 5750/1990

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3. This year, Rosh HaShanah is celebrated on Thursday, September 13, 2007 and Friday, September 14, 2007.

THE WEEKLY SHABBAT CALENDAR

Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
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:
http://www.chabadworld.org

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, August 17, Erev Shabbat Parshat Shoftim:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(4) by 7:33 p.m.

Saturday, August 18, Shabbat Parshat Shoftim:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:33 p.m.

_______________

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.

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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