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D’var Malchus

When one is physically stuck in a place, somewhere he should not be, and not moving forward, then – notwithstanding his great progress within that place, advancing within that space, that realm – he is still in Mitzrayim! * If you’re stuck in a rut, know that it is Mitzrayim, and it is necessary to leave Mitzrayim and journey onward, until you arrive at Yarden Yericho, an allusion to “morach va’da’in – he [Moshiach] smells and renders judgment.”
Translated by Boruch Merkur

Likkutei Torah points out a difficulty in understanding the verse, “’These are the journeys of the Jewish people, who left the Land of Mitzrayim, etc.’ – ‘journeys’ in the plural. For it would seem that the Jewish people’s exodus from Mitzrayim was a single journey, the journey from Ramses to Sukkos, whereas the rest of the journeys no longer constitute ‘leaving the Land of Mitzrayim.’ Why then does it say ‘journeys’ in the plural?” The Alter Rebbe, author of Likkutei Torah, goes on to explain that all the journeys along the way were considered an exodus from Mitzrayim since they had not yet arrived at their final destination; it wasn’t until they arrived at Yarden Yericho, the entrance into the Holy Land, that their journey from Mitzrayim was complete. To elaborate: The concept of Mitzrayim can be discussed

at various levels. There is, for example, Mitzrayim that conveys evil, as well as a representation of Mitzrayim in the realm of holiness. [But in general] when one is physically stuck in a place, somewhere he should not be, and not moving forward, then – notwithstanding his great progress within that place, advancing within that space, that realm – he is still in Mitzrayim! [It is perhaps more clear how this concept applies to the realm of evil. For so long as one is caught up in evil, even were he to move forward within that realm, he remains in a state of darkness. The innovation here is more pronounced with regard to the parallel concept of Mitzrayim, the concept of Mitzrayim as it appears in the realm of holiness. Progress there, prior to arriving at one’s destination, fulfilling the mission with which one is charged, is still called Mitzrayim. It is still seen as an incomplete journey, still in the midst of the initial stage of leaving

“Mitzrayim,” which means limitation, confinement.] This point is expressed by the old adage about a clock: it goes on and on but never moves from its spot… It says in T’hillim, “days have been formed and not one of them is [in] his [power, the person’s power, to add or diminish from the allotment of days].” G-d grants individuals a predetermined number of days and does not vary by adding a single day to that allotment or by negating a single day, and one must accomplish something every day he is granted. Thus, it is vital to know that inasmuch as one does not achieve anything, or in the event that he merely holds on to the status quo – that does not suffice; more must be done. If you’re stuck in a rut, know that it is Mitzrayim, and it is necessary to leave Mitzrayim and journey onward, until you arrive at Yarden Yericho, [here the word “Yericho – Jericho” serves as] an allusion to “morach va’da’in – he [Moshiach] smells and renders judgment” [“for with the wisdom of the Alm-ghty, which is within him, he shall know and understand who is innocent and who is guilty” ––Rashi on Yeshayahu 11:3] with the

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imminent coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

We shall indeed arrive at our destination, eventually. That being the case, when you know you are certainly going to get somewhere, why bother dawdling on the way? The nature of a person is that when he knows he is going somewhere in particular, he does not want to go off on a tangent of wandering, further subjecting himself to the exertions of travel. He doesn’t

want to spend so much time on the way to where he’s going; he wants to get to his destination as quickly as possible. This is particularly the case when one makes an assessment how this applies not just to himself personally but to all the Jewish people, insofar as “Jews are guarantors one for the other.” Certainly on this basis, he would not want to delay the journey of all the Jewish people the slightest bit; he would be concerned to speed it up as much as possible. Especially knowing the ruling of Rambam that the world is in a state of equilibrium, and a

single action can tilt the scales of the world’s judgment to the side of favor. Then this personal assessment is not only in order to speed up the redemption but it is possible that by a single action he brings the redemption immediately. Therefore, certainly a Jew should act without delay. He should leave Mitzrayim and arrive at the destination, Yarden Yericho [approaching the entranceway to the Holy Land with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu].
(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Mattos, Mevarchim HaChodesh Menachem Av 5714, bilti muga)

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Several letters from the Rebbe as printed in the t’shura from the SimpsonSolomon wedding held on the 7th of Tammuz.
By the Grace of G-d 5th of Teves, 5745 Brooklyn, N.Y. Blessing and Greeting: Your letter of the 19th of Kislev, with enclosures, reached me just now. Needless to say, to make an evaluation of a situation overseas is very difficult, especially in a letter. However, this is not really necessary, seeing that you have been in consultation with competent people, and you will no doubt continue to do so. Therefore, I can only make some general observations. First of all, you surely know that nowadays such problems with children are very common, and, in fact, probably in the overwhelming majority, although, of course, not all problems are of the same degree, or in the same domain. I say this advisedly, for it seems from your writing that you are overly anxious, for which there is no real reason. Usually, the final decision as to how to deal with children who have such problems lies with the administration of the school, after discussing the situation with the parents and being advised of the way the child is handled at home. The reasons are understandable, since, firstly, the administration are more objective than a parent can be. Secondly, they are also more experienced in such problems, inasmuch as they deal with many children. And, after all, the parents can also express their opinion to help arrive at the best decision. It is also well to bear in mind that a significant number of such problems are usually straightened out in the course of time through the contact that the child has with other children and with the teacher and parents, because a child especially (subconsciously) responds to the environment and to the persons with whom the child is in constant contact. What surprises me is that there is a factor in the situation which is rarely, if ever, used. This is to give a problem child a role of leadership with a group of younger children, through some school activity and the like. This usually goes a long way to encourage the child’s self confidence, as well as making the child more sociable, etc. I trust that this method could be used also in your situation – of course with the approval, and under the supervision, of the school administration. The above will surely suffice for you and your husband to discuss the suggestions with the administration, to whom you may, of course, show this letter. I have strong confidence that the results in regard to each and all of your children will be gratifying. As for the specific problem, whether he should repeat his grade at school, or be promoted to a higher grade – this, as mentioned above, is a decision which should be made by the school administration. I would like to add, however, that to pressure the administration in one particular direction is sometimes counterproductive. On the other hand, parents can surely suggest, if they feel strongly about it, that the

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child be promoted tentatively, for a trial period. No doubt you know that the date of your letter, the 19th of Kislev, is a very auspicious day, being the Anniversary of the Geula of the Alter Rebbe, Founder of Chabad, who has left a legacy of blessings for all those who follow his teachings, especially in the area of Chinuch. May this add a further measure of Hatzlacha also to you and all yours. With blessing, • • •

By the Grace of G-d Erev Purim, 5729 Brooklyn, N.Y. Greeting and Blessing: I was pleasantly surprised to note in your editorial column in the issue of February 28th excerpts of letters from your son, as well as the spirit of your commentaries in this connection. Inasmuch as there is no end to the good, I trust that there will be a continuity in this direction and

that, moreover, the good influence of your son will create a chain reaction infecting and affecting all the members of the family. I am reminded of the well known verse (end of Malachi), “And he (Elijah) will turn the heart of parents to the children,” which, according to Rashi, means “Through the children – he will induce the children, with love and good will, to go and speak to their parents to follow in the ways of G-d.” And although I trust that in any case the parents are following the way of G-d, there is, as mentioned above, no end to the good, and always room for improvement in all matters of goodness and holiness, which are infinite, since they derive from the Infinite. You and your wife are particularly privileged in that each of you has a substantial circle of readers, a considerable number of whom undoubtedly are influenced by your writings. Clearly, Divine Providence has bestowed upon you also a special responsibility. There is surely no need to elaborate on this to you.

May G-d grant that everything should be in accordance with the text and spirit of the Megilla – “For the Jews there was light, joy, gladness and honor,” in the fullest sense of these meaningful words. Wishing you and yours a happy and inspiring Purim, With blessing, P.S. In accordance with custom to offer a comment on a printed word, I will take the liberty to do so also in reference to the above mentioned editorial, all the more so to avoid a misunderstanding that I fully agree with all that was said there. I trust you will not take amiss my remarks. I wish to take issue with you in the matter of your youngest daughter who, as your write, is eleven years old, and resisted started Hebrew school, but you “did not force the issue.” You can well imagine my reaction to this. For surely, if your eleven year old daughter would have resisted going to school altogether, you would have found it necessary to “force” the issue – if

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the term “force” can be applied here. Certainly, insofar as a Jewish child is concerned, her Hebrew education is at least as important to her as a general education. This has been generally recognized throughout the ages, but it should be particularly recognized in our own day and age. For we have seen many of the greatest and saintliest of our people exterminated by a vicious enemy. Consequently, all of us who have been fortunate enough to survive, must make up for this tremendous loss. On the other hand, the forces of complete assimilation have grown much stronger in the free and democratic countries. Worse still, in recent years assimilation has found expression not only with another memory pointed out that Jewish identity and the very basis of Jewish existence, for the individual as well as for the people as a whole, lies in this great principle of “Naaseh” before “v’Nishmah”. Certainly this is the way to train and educate a Jewish child. To refer, again, to the Megilla at this time on the eve of Purim, we note that Haman argued, “There is one people, dispersed and divided among the nations, and their laws are different from those of any other people. Therefore, it is not worth for the king to spare them.” Indeed, there were then, as there have been at all times, misguided individuals or groups who shared Haman’s view its message is eternal and always relevant. Thus, what was true for the Jews and their destiny in the days of Mordecai and Esther, is true for the Jews in the U.S.A. and the Holy Land and elsewhere. And just as the Jews could not take comfort and security from the fact that they had some influence at the Court through Esther the Queen, and Mordecai who had access to the Palace, which did not stop the enemies of the Jews from plotting the extermination of the Jewish people, so nowadays Jews cannot rely on any influence they can muster in the capitals of the world. But, in the final analysis, it is the Jewish adherence to the Torah and Mitzvoth – the source of their life and strength, that will topple all Hamans and bring “Light, joy, gladness and honor.” It is not my custom to engage in homiletics, etc. The hope and the purpose of the above observations is a practical one, namely that the curriculum of your youngest daughter, as well as of all the family, will not be limited to “Habet U’shma”, but will also include “Aseh” and, indeed, the basic Jewish approach of doing before even understanding. May G-d grant you and your wife true Yiddish Nachas from all your children. • • •

What surprises me is that there is a factor in the situation which is rarely, if ever, used. This is to give a problem child a role of leadership with a group of younger children, through some school activity and the like. This usually goes a long way to encourage the child’s self confidence, as well as making the child more sociable, etc.
people, but very often with such groups which have discarded all pretenses to morality and ethics, etc., etc. You may consider my reference to your daughter’s attitude, and to your attitude in this connection, no longer relevant, since you write that she has agreed to begin Hebrew school, though you immediately point out (with apparent satisfaction) that the method of instruction is “Habet U’shma” – a system which obviously does not aim to lead to “Va’aseh”. Surely there is no need to emphasize to you that fact that when the Torah was given to our people, “Naaseh” was not only a condition of acceptance of the Torah, but a prior condition – “Naaseh” before “v’Nishmah”. Our Sages of blessed that the trouble with Jews was their separate identity and otherliness, and that the only solution is to do away with Jewish identity and separateness, and to assimilate. However, the truth of the matter is, as we see also from the events related in the Megilla, that in order to avert the threat of Haman, Esther and Mordecai ordered the gathering of all the Jews together to emphasize their identity and strengthen their observance of their “different laws”... [raising] the esteem and respect of the Jews in the eyes of their former enemies, to the extent that Mordecai the Jew who “did not bend his knee nor bow down,” became the Viceroy of the entire Persian empire. Since the Torah is eternal, and the Megilla is part of the Torah,

By the Grace of G-d In the Days of Chanukah, 5721 Brooklyn, N.Y. Greeting and Blessing: I received your letter, in which you ask my advice with regard to certain educational problems, especially how to influence the children to get rid of undesirable habits, etc. Needless to say, these problems cannot be adequately discussed in a letter. However, experienced teachers and educators are usually

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their own best guides, for, as the saying goes, “None is wiser than the man of experience.” Besides, it is difficult to give advice from the distance, especially as the psychology of children may vary in certain aspects from one country to another. Nevertheless I would like to make one general point which can be universally applied in educational problems, a point which is emphasized in the teachings of Chassidus. I refer to the effort to make the children aware that they possess a soul which is a part of G-d, and that they are always in the presence of G-d (as explained in Chapters 2 and 41 of the Tanya). When this is done persistently, and on a level which is suitable to the age group and background of the children, the children come to realize that they possess a great and holy quality which is directly linked with G-d, the Creator and Master of the world, and that it would therefore be quite unbecoming and unworthy of them to do anything which is not good. At the same time they come to realize that they have the potential to overcome temptation or difficulty, and if they would only make a little effort on their part they would receive considerable assistance from On high to live up to the Torah and Mitzvoth, which constitute the will and wisdom of G-d. As for the problem of some children having a habit to take things not belonging to them, this may fall into one of two categories: a. The attitude mentioned in the Mishnah in Pirke Avoth “Mine is thine and thine is mine.” In this case the effort should be made to educate the child that just as it is necessary to be careful not to offend or shame another person, so it is necessary to be careful not to touch anything belonging to somebody else. b. An unhealthy condition which should be treated medically by specialists who know how to handle such an aberration.

I would like to add one more point, which is also emphasized in the teachings of Chassidus, namely, to be careful that in admonishing children the teacher or parent should not evoke a sense of helplessness and despondency on the part of the child; in other words, the child should not get the impression that he is good-for-nothing and that all is lost, etc., and therefore he can continue to do as he wishes. On the contrary, the child should always be encouraged in the feeling that he is capable of overcoming his difficulties and that it is only a matter of will and determination.

By the Grace of G-d 11th of Adar, 5726 Brooklyn, N.Y. Greeting and Blessing: I am in receipt of your letter in which you question the wisdom of the Issur to study Apikorsus, in view of the fact that it seems to you right that G-d should want everyone to study all he can about theology and every point of view, even to the extent of doubting the very existence

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of G-d, etc. Needless to say, a letter is hardly the proper medium to discuss such a matter adequately. This should not be necessary, inasmuch as there are many Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshivoth in your neighborhood with whom you could discuss this and similar questions at length. However, inasmuch as you took the trouble to write to me, I will attempt to answer at least your first question, as briefly as possible. I will do so by referring to the wellknown saying of the Rambam, who, as you know, was the great Codifier (including in his Code also the above mentioned Issur), and at the same time was also one of the greatest physicians that ever lived. As the Rambam expressed it, the body and soul have very much in common insofar as treatment of diseases are concerned. Bearing the above in mind, let us now consider the fact that when one is desirous of doing research in a highly contagious disease, it is of course necessary first to have the proper preparation and training in order not only to hope to achieve anything, but also in order to prevent contracting that disease. Moreover, this kind of research is not done for the sake of curiosity or just as a pastime. Only that person is justified in placing himself in certain danger to his own health (for with all precautionary measures, there is always an element of risk involved), who can hope to bring some good to humanity, and thereby alleviate the suffering of others or even eliminate the disease. This calls for certain qualifications, and one would not expect a boy who is just out of high school to begin such a dangerous research. And even after many years of study and preparation and maturity, it is not everyone that is qualified to do this kind of work. What has been said above in regard to diseases of the body is also true in every detail in regard to the diseases of the soul. Especially when it concerns Apikorsus, since this is directly and essentially connected with the very well-being of the soul, to such an extent that it could possibly undermine and cripple one’s faith in HaShem Chaim, and lead to the very opposite of Chaim. It would be possible to elaborate on the above a great deal, but I trust that what has been said will suffice to answer your question. I will add, however, another point. It is unnecessary to emphasize the relative importance of the body and the soul, since the former is temporary and the latter is everlasting, but there is a further simple consideration: Any physical disorder can be easily discovered, and if caught in time, can be cured, since a physical disorder is immediately connected with physical discomfort, which serves as a warning and signal. However in a spiritual disorder, it is possible that years may pass by without being aware of the dangerous course upon which one has embarked or drifted. So much so that there can be a total disorientation and distortion, to the extent of “calling light – darkness, and darkness – light,” which is the height of spiritual disease. I note what you write about your being brought up in an orthodox environment. I trust that you are continuing this golden chain of tradition. And although you write that you have been exposed to “contemporary thought,” I trust that you have also made a study of Jewish history. If so, you will have seen that what is generally considered as “contemporary” Judaism, namely Reform and Conservatism, is nothing really new. As a matter of history, we have had in every generation deviationist movements trying to break away from the mainstream of Torah Yiddishkeit, yet hoping to remain within it. As early as Mattan Torah, and only a few weeks afterwards, there were already the Golden Calf worshippers, and so it went from generation to generation, down to Mendelsohn, the father of Reform. However, as you thumb through the pages of Jewish history, one can see at once what happened to all deviationists. Either they completely returned to the Jewish fold, as was the case with the majority of the Golden Calf worshippers, or they were completely lost, as was the case with the minority. Similarly with those who came under the influence of Mendelsohn. Many of them returned to the traditional faith of their ancestors, while the minority completely assimilated and converted. There is a well-known and wise old saying that the past should serve as a lesson for the future. It is easy to see where deviation from the right way, the way of the Torah and Mitzvoth, leads. Even if one wishes to make a change insofar as one is personally concerned, and argues that this is his own personal affair, this still does not preclude all others to try and help him. The analogy would be of one who wishes to jump from a bridge and claims that this is his own personal affair. In that case no one would question the duty of everyone within reach to try to help him, and to mobilize the police and fire departments to save that person. All the more so where there are children. Unfortunately, many parents do not realize how they are using their own children as guinea pigs for dangerous experimentations, etc. As we are about to celebrate the festival of Purim, the history of those days can, again, serve as a lesson for the present day. In those days of Mordecai and Esther, the Jews had attained a high degree of self determination and freedom, and high positions in the State. Mordecai, for example, was a favorite of the royal Court. The freedom which the Jews enjoyed at the time brought about a situation where many Jews were

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eager to participate in the great royal Feast. Many Jews felt that they were in no danger of any kind. The results of this attitude are related in the Megilla. The point that is of main concern to us here is: The non-Jews know, as Haman declared, that Jews are a unique people, with unique laws and customs of their own. No amount of effort on the part of some assimilationists will deceive the nonJew, or conceal the fact that a Jew is always a Jew. One can only delude oneself. At the same time the story of Purim emphasizes that when a crisis comes and Jews desire to turn back and return to the fold, nothing stands in the way of Teshuvo, and it brings to a reversal of the situation from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning to festivity. It is only a pity that a crisis must come before some Jews realize where they belong. Wishing you a truly happy and inspiring Purim, With blessing, By • • •

By the Grace of G-d 3rd Light of Chanukah, 5722 Brooklyn, N.Y. Greeting and Blessing: I received your letter of the 18th of Kislev, in which you write how you spent Simchas Torah in the Lubavitch House. I trust that the joy and inspiration of it will be lasting throughout the year. I read with interest about the planned second visit to Scotland. May G-d grant that it also be highly successful and in a growing measure, as indicated by Ner Chanukah which we kindl[e] each night of Chanukah in increasing numbers. You write that the success which you had is, in your trade, “fantastic.” This may be so if one considers the trade as entirely a material thing. But if the approach is one that bears

in mind that this is also connected with the Lubavitch House and with its activities, since part of the profits will, I hope, be dedicated towards that cause, the success is not fantastic at all, in view of the growing activities of the Lubavitch House and the tasks before it. For, according to the state of affairs in England at this time, it is an absolute necessity to increase the activities of the Lubavitch House, and in a steadily increasing manner, in the spirit of Ner Chanukah mentioned above. Hoping to hear further good news from you, and wishing you a happy and inspiring Chanukah,

With blessing, P.S. In reference to Mr.______, of whom you write that so far he has not succeeded in bringing in business – perhaps it would be worth trying to send him, at the beginning, with an experienced salesman to help him observe how it is done, etc. And perhaps it is even better to use him in another way, i.e., in another area of the business, since he is a man of integrity and surely wants to be useful to the business in every possible way. – Regarding your desire to visit here for next Shovuos, may it materialize with success.

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By Rabbi Akiva Wagner

he aging Rebbe called over his loyal disciple and told him: “I want you to travel to a certain village.” The Rebbe did not explain the purpose of the trip, nor what the Chasid was expected to do there. Yet all of this would have been superfluous; in no time the loyal Chasid was on the road to the unknown, with no question in his mind, focused only on his single-minded devotion to his Rebbe. The Chasid spent a few uneventful weeks in the small village, until one day a message arrived for him that it was time to return home. His return trip was permeated with the same unquestioning obedience to his beloved Rebbe, peppered with his eager anticipation of their meeting after the lengthy separation. Upon his arrival, his Rebbe greeted him warmly, and asked him to repeat a Torah thought that he had heard during his stay. The Chasid was shocked. “A D…D…D’var Torah?!” he stuttered. “Rebbe, all I saw there were simple villagers, most of whom could barely read!” But the Rebbe was insistent. “It is inconceivable that over a few months you did not hear a single D’var Torah.” The Chasid stood there racking his brains, until finally he recalled the following vort that he had overheard from the local village melamed, and he proceeded to share it with his Rebbe: “In the t’filla of Barchi Nafshi (in T’hillim, and said in davening every


Rosh Chodesh), there is something peculiar: Dovid HaMelech gives a detailed description of many of the wonders of creation. He addresses every single detail, from creatures to plants to wonders of the climate, and then there is a pasuk that sums it all up: ‘Ma Rabu Maasecha Hashem Kulam B’Chachma Assisa’ [How manifold are Your deeds Hashem, all of them You have created with wisdom]. The difficulty is that this pasuk does not seem to be in its proper place; it would seem to belong either in the beginning of the chapter as a preface to what follows, or at the end of the entire kappitel as a fitting conclusion to the theme of the kappitel. Instead, the pasuk is found right in the middle! Following it, the listing of the details continues as before. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for its placement! “The melamed went on to answer his own question: “He explained that this Pasuk was in fact not part of the kappitel, not part of the “script,” for the kappitel was only intended to be a description of all of the wondrous things Hashem does. But in the middle, Dovid HaMelech was so overwhelmed by all that he was saying, that he momentarily left the “script” and broke out in a spontaneous cry of ‘Ma Rabu Maasecha Hashem.’ Then he resumed his recitation until the end.” When the Chasid concluded, his Rebbe told him: “It was in order to hear this very D’var Torah that I had sent you to the village!” These days, with the

unpopularity of old fashioned p’nimius, there sometimes appears to be a disproportionate preoccupation with the “script.” “What is the Chassidishe thing to do in such-andsuch a situation?” and “What is the chassidishe way to act or react?” or “What would be the chassidishe look to cultivate?” At the same time, there is an increasing amount of disillusionment amongst a growing number of youth that appears to be often connected with their perception of Yiddishkait/ Chassidishkait/ Lubavitch as being a multitude of dry rules, regulations and endless shallow restraints; basically an endless “script” that consists of just lines and more lines. There is disenchantment with Gemara, especially iyun, which seems to be endless grappling over abstract ideas with no apparent point; again, just more and more script. They are seeking something “more deep,” “more real,” and “more substantial,” not just a lot of lines. I am not here to lecture you about how the thing they’re seeking is in the place they’re escaping from. But I do want us to consider that perhaps part of the problem is that we are placing too much emphasis exclusively on the “script.” To be sure, it’s a delicate balance. In Yiddishkait, as well as in Chassidishkait, the minute details, the focus on the particulars, is of paramount importance. We all hear the people on mivtzaim etc. who tell us “What’s the difference if I wrap the straps on my arm or not? The main thing is that I’m a Jew at

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heart! I am kind and upright, and I donate to the UJA (and maybe a little to Chabad too)!” But of course we know that it makes a big difference. Putting on T’fillin, along with another 612 mitzvos, is the only way to be a proper Jew. Moreover, there are a myriad of minute details, in size and color and material etc., which determine whether or not the t’fillin are Kosher. Yet, there is room for more of the spirit behind it. There is room not only for doing what I have to do, but for the excitement of the Tzavsa V’Chibur, the connection with the Eibeshter, and everything that goes along with it as well. There’s room for a spontaneous cry of “Ashreinu Ma Tov Chelkeinu” that is felt in the process (and every person in the specific way that he expresses or feels it); a cry that is not necessarily part of the script, but is a spontaneous cry from the heart, because that is what we are feeling, uninhibited by fears of being considered a chitzon or a yesh etc. (because it’s not in the script). Of course, in Lubavitch there is no lack of spontaneity; in fact lately every important farbrengen or event includes spontaneous dancing (it has become so important to us that it is even included in the schedules, along with the time-limitations, the rules about who may or may not start it, and what should take place then etc.). And still … There’s an old saying: “The difference between Chassidim and Misnagdim is that Misnagdim are afraid of the Shulchan Aruch, while Chassidim are afraid of the Eibeshter.” Without doubt, anyone who trifles ch”v with even a Kutzo Shel Yud, with the most minute detail in Shulchan Aruch, is tampering with his connection to the Eibeshter, and the Torah has strong titles for him. But that strict unwavering adherence to Shulchan Aruch was by Chassidim an outcome and expression of their

obsession with G-dliness. It’s not all about “What am I supposed to do,” “What do I have to do,” or “What does the Shulchan Aruch tell me I need to do?” Rather (after the “Reishis Ha’avoda VeIkra V’Shorsha …”) it’s about what I want to do! I want to be connected to the Eibeshter; I am excited about spirituality, enraptured with G-dliness, infatuated with holiness. The Shulchan Aruch tells me not only what I have to do, but how to get to what it is that I want and what it is that I’m looking for and yearning for. Therefore, within the framework of Shulchan Aruch, minhagim etc., there’s room for spontaneity, to not just follow the script, but rather

been many people who wrote letters to the Rebbe that “broke all of the rules.” But they wrote from the heart. And they enjoyed a phenomenal relationship with the Rebbe as well as wondrous responses to their letters. And someone else may write a letter according to all of the customs and traditions, but… In this week’s Parsha, as the Yidden were at the threshold of entering Eretz Yisroel, the longawaited climax to everything that they had experienced in their entire history thus far, the representatives of two tribes approached Moshe Rabbeinu with a bizarre request: Let us remain outside of Eretz Yisroel! Moshe Rabbeinu himself was outraged, and spared no words in

What to write to the Rebbe? What do you mean? This is your Rebbe! Write what’s on your heart. Write what you want, what you need, and what you feel.

express what’s in the heart. For example: I have often been approached with the question “How do I write a letter to the Rebbe?” While here, too, there is a balance, it has to be in proportion. No one ever asked me “What should I say in a conversation with my best friend,” or “What should I ask my father for when I speak to him?” If a bachur needs money, he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what to do or say; he gets on the phone and says “Ta, send me money.” What to write to the Rebbe? What do you mean? This is your Rebbe! Write what’s on your heart. Write what you want, what you need, and what you feel. To be sure, there are certain guidelines that Chassidim use in writing to the Rebbe, but you have to keep things in perspective, because all of those guidelines are of secondary importance. There have

telling them so, even likening them to the most sinful of their ancestors. But they didn’t back down; they maintained their position that if only Moshe Rabbeinu will permit them to do so, if only it can be considered legal, they would like to stay outside of Eretz Yisroel and are prepared to pay a price to get their request granted. Chassidus explains that their desire to remain in Ever HaYarden stemmed from their need to serve Hashem in a particular manner, which could only be realized outside of Eretz Yisroel. Now, picture this situation: The Jewish nation is about to realize its destiny. They are all aware by now (having learned the sichos and maamarim of the past few weeks…) that this is the ultimate way of serving Hashem and the only way to realize the purpose for which the world was originally created. And suddenly, a

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group of people get up and demur: “We have a different avoda.” I think it’s pretty clear how everyone must have looked at them: Misnagdim! Nifradim! Chitzonim! Liars! Baal Taava’niks! Moshe Rabbeinu himself said as much. But they weren’t concerned with the “script,” or how they would be viewed. Their sole concern was how to best serve Hashem with THEIR souls, with THEIR hearts, with THEIR feelings. If only that would be sanctioned by Moshe Rabbeinu, then anything else was inconsequential. [I once heard that in the relatively early years in 770, there was once a visitor who was a Chasid, but when it came to davening, he davened in the manner of Chagas Chassidim, jumping and gesticulating with his hands etc. Naturally, the bachurim found it strange, and some of them (who happen to be today from the ziknei hamashpi’im) began deriding him as a chitzon etc. R’ Mendel Morozov was there Rosh Hashanah be? To be sure, there as well, and he was slightly older is a need for tangible and practical than the rest of them, old enough to Hachanos. There is a benefit to have witnessed an earlier generation some script as a frame of reference. of Chassidim and to know that But don’t attach disproportionate there can be different expressions importance to the script. of Avodas Hashem within the Follow your heart and soul. Be framework of Lubavitch. He rebuked spontaneous! the bachurim, saying: “How do you Do a random act of know that it’s chitzonius? Why can’t Chassidishkait! Do a spontaneous act there be another way of davening, of chassidishkait, of Ahavas Hashem, even if it’s not your way?” Ahavas Yisroel, or Ahavas HaTorah. The end of the story in our Don’t lose the focus on the spirit, the Parsha revealed that indeed the script soul, of your Yiddishkait. allowed for their deviation. Yes, L’chaim! May we all be Chassidus and sichos explain that spontaneous in our expressions of their remaining in Ever HaYarden love to the Eibeshter, concern for was vital for the success of their our fellows, hiskashrus to the Rebbe Express service Express service Fully Eretz and Fully Computerized brethren who would enter Computerizedmore. And may Hashem be Yisroel. Yet their request stemmed spontaneous in His expression of His Kingston Ave. from their, perhaps, flexibility. They connection 331us, by bringing Ave. to 331 Kingston about (2nd(2nd Brooklyn NY 11213 had the ability to focus not merely on the hisgalus of Flr)Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 Moshiach Tzidkeinu the “script” but on the calling of their Teikef U’miyad Mamash!!! own heart and soul as well. your tickets within minutes! Get your tickets within minutes! Get Hatzlacha Raba!! We often hear the question: Fax: (718) 493-4444 Fax: (718) 493-4444 From a written farbrengen directed What should my Hachanos for Yud towards Alumni of Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto Shvat, for Yud Aleph Nissan, for

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chaBaD hIstorY


lthough Mivtza T’fillin officially began at the start of the Six Day War in 1967, there were Lubavitcher Chassidim who put t’fillin on Jews or passersby even before that, at their own initiative. I found an interesting description of Mivtza T’fillin, which began in 1956 during the Sinai Campaign, in a book written by Rabbi Yitzchok Meir, a military chaplain for many years. R’ Yitzchok Meir is a distinguished Gerrer Chassid and one of the founders of the military chaplaincy. He was a chaplain for many years and a chief military chaplain who served as the director of Chinuch Atzmai for a number of years. He was mayor of B’nei Brak for two years. One of the reasons for Operation Sinai at the end of Cheshvan 5717 was the repeated attacks by Fedayeen terrorists. The massacre in the vocational school in Kfar Chabad, which took place on Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5716, had taken place half a year earlier. With the outbreak of war, Israel conquered the Sinai Peninsula, and effectively put a stop to terrorist infiltration. This is what R’ Meir wrote, as

“I was once invited to a base and I saw a long line of people waiting to put on t’fillin. I asked R’ Zushe how many soldiers put on t’fillin that day and he happily replied, ‘Several hundred.’” * This is not a description of the Six Day War when Mivtza T’fillin began, but a description of a chaplain who worked during the Sinai War in 5717/1956, ten years before the official start of Mivtza T’fillin.
By Shneur Zalman Berger

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chaBaD hIstorY
taken from his book, Lo B’Chayil V’Lo B’Ko’ach.

In my work as head of the kashrus branch of the military chaplaincy, I visited the supply bases several times for the purpose of checking the operational system for kashering the meat before it was sent out to the units. In order to operate the system, I enlisted G-d fearing men and bachurim whose job it was to kasher the meat, pack it, and send it out ready to cook. On one of my visits there, I spoke with members of the Reserves whom I had drafted to work with me. There were Gerrer Chassidim, people from Tzeirei Agudath Israel, and Lubavitchers from Kfar Chabad including R’ Levi Yitzchok Vidaslevsky, R’ Leibel Rosenblum, R’ Leibel Tzishinsky, R’ Moshe Erenstein (later mayor of B’nei Brak), R’ Yaakov Neiman, R’ Yaakov Vichelder and R’ Zushe Wilyamovsky (the “Partisan”), who were sent to kasher the meat. I proposed that we organize a group that would put t’fillin on with the hundreds of soldiers who came to the supply bases every day to get supplies for their units. R’ Zushe the Chabadnik loved the idea and offered to carry it out. We decided to do a test run for a few days and see how the soldiers reacted to our suggestion that they put on t’fillin and recite Shma. We brought t’fillin and Siddurim and I suggested that a group of people should be organized to put the t’fillin on others, led by R’ Zushe, because he knew how to speak to the soldiers and convince them to put on t’fillin. We took advantage of the great inspiration following the Sinai Campaign and the open miracles that the soldiers had seen, and we expected a positive response on the part of the soldiers.

R’ Zushe on mivtzaim somewhere near the border

R’ Zushe Wilyamovsky training for the War of Independence

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R’ Zushe was enthusiastically involved. The very next morning he approached every soldier who arrived at the base to get supplies for his unit and gently said, “Perhaps you would be willing to put on t’fillin and recite the Shma? We ought to thank Hashem for the big miracles He did for us.” Most of the soldiers immediately acquiesced. Some knew how to put on the t’fillin, but there were those who didn’t. The staff put t’fillin on with them and taught them how to say the bracha. Some soldiers said, with tears in their eyes, “This is the first time in our lives that we are putting on t’fillin, but how are we to blame when they did not make us a bar mitzva and did not teach us how to put on t’fillin?” Many of them promised that they would put on t’fillin and recite the Shma every time they came to the base. The staff also explained what the t’fillin are about and the significance of the mitzva. R’ Zushe addressed them and said that t’fillin are the Jewish people’s secret weapon, and in the merit of the mitzva of t’fillin we vanquished our enemies. I visited the base and saw a long line of people waiting to put on t’fillin. I asked R’ Zushe how many soldiers put on t’fillin that day and he happily replied that it was several hundred. He said that he had heard some soldiers say, as though to themselves, that they weren’t at fault since nobody had taught them to put on t’fillin. “They did not buy me t’fillin and did not make me a bar mitzva and so I don’t know how to put them on. But from now on, I will ask the military chaplaincy to provide me with t’fillin and G-d willing, I will put them on everyday.” Indeed, Jewish children have pure souls and they are “babies taken captive amongst Jews,” and there is nobody to guide them. I had the privilege of organizing

two groups at the supply bases, one that ensured the kashrus of the army and another to take care of t’fillin and t’filla. The pleasure I felt when I stood near the soldiers putting on t’fillin with R’ Zushe and others presiding over them, is indescribable. R’ Zushe announced, “Now, we will all say out loud ‘Shma Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad,’” and the camp echoed with the voice of Yaakov accepting the yoke of Heaven. Members of the rabbinate also arranged shifts of people saying T’hillim in the Air Force, especially when planes left to bomb enemy targets and to conduct air combat with enemy planes.

Some soldiers said, with tears in their eyes, “This is the first time in our lives that we are putting on t’fillin, but how are we to blame when they did not make us a bar mitzva and did not teach us how to put on t’fillin?”
without them being shechted properly. Lieutenant Rabbi Yosef Weiss was selected as religious officer of the Solomon region. He was from Tzeirei Agudath Israel. The shochtim who were sent were: R’ Zev Vilensky, R’ Leib Zalmanov (a Lubavitcher from B’nei Brak), R’ Hirshler of Kfar Saba, R’ Moshe Yaroslavksy (a Lubavitcher from B’nei Brak), R’ Mendel Raskin (of Kfar Chabad), R’ Avrohom Kav, R’ Moshe Tzvi Na’ah (rav of the Chabad community in Petach Tikva), R’ Shlomo Bloch and a yeshiva bachur who volunteered to travel to Mifratz Shlomo as a shochet without being paid. • • • If back then there were those who took charge of Mivtza T’fillin with such enthusiasm and devotion, all the more so now, when we are commanded by the Rebbe, must we devote ourselves to Mivtza T’fillin with great enthusiasm.
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R’ Meir also tells about the sh’chita and shochtim for the kosher food served in the army. These included famous Lubavitcher Chassidim: With the conquering of Sharmel-Sheik (renamed in Hebrew as Mifratz Shlomo – Solomon’s Gulf), we decided to arrange a unit of chaplains including a religious officer and a religious sergeant. Their job was to open a shul there and to arrange for systematic sh’chita so that we could supply the units that were in the area with kosher meat. After conquering the area, many sheep remained. We were afraid that if we did not arrange sh’chita, the sheep would disappear to all sorts of kumzitzes (of hungry soldiers)


3 Weeks Feature

What is the connection between the wife of a mathematics professor who is a shepherd and a weaver whose husband is a carpenter? How does the knowledge of Nachum the flax grower intersect with a professor of an Israel Studies department? What did an eccentric from America leave in Itamar? And why does one need a Rebbe? * A group of women who long for Moshiach express it through their hands. * Presented for the Three Weeks when we particularly yearn for the Beis HaMikdash.
By R Green

“But what will we spend our time doing when Moshiach will come?” asked a persistent little girl in the middle of a lesson. This question was posed to me before I spoke to Mrs. Orna Hershberg, and so aside from a clichéd response that all teachers use, I said nothing further. After my talk with Orna, I realized that when Moshiach comes, women will have serious work to do. Someone has to weave the clothing of the Kohanim, right? And no, knowing how to sew on buttons and make hems won’t

help. Meet Orna Hershberg who, together with her friend Maayan Ayash of Yitzhar, founded the Lishkat HaParochet. It’s a workshop whose purpose is to train women in the work of spinning and weaving for the Mikdash. Before we discuss this huge project, please tell me about yourself. I live in Itamar and I’m married to a math

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professor who works mainly as a shepherd. I have four children, one a married daughter and another three at home. I am 46, and in addition to being a mother, I am also a grandmother, Boruch Hashem. I grew up in a traditional home and became a baalas t’shuva when I was eight. Nevertheless, I attended secular schools which made me an odd bird, being the only religious girl in the class. When I grew up, I specialized in education. I was a classroom teacher, a preschool teacher, an evaluator … but I did not feel that I was fulfilling my purpose in life. Although Hashem expects each of us women to be a good mother to our children, I felt that my mission was bigger than that. The qualifications I had acquired over the years just strengthened this feeling, for if I was “only” supposed to be a mother, why did I have knowledge and abilities that were not used in changing diapers? Then, when I became 45, I finally understood what this feeling I had had was about.

Making a paroches? How did you get to that?! I always felt drawn to the topic of the Beis HaMikdash. It was always somewhere in the background. My husband and I recently decided to start a tourist farm experience on our property. The plan was to combine it with some shlichus, with a loftier purpose. After solidifying the initial idea, I thought to myself: the whole topic of plants and nature, and even being involved with the Mikdash, is nice but doesn’t fill any purpose. Why not do it for real? That was the point at which my friend Maayan and I decided to open a workshop for women’s work for the Mikdash. It includes anything having to do with spinning and weaving, from the clothes of the Kohanim to the biggest

project of all – making the paroches. Before we thought of a workshop, we went to a course at Machon HaMikdash. We wanted to weave a paroches, but discovered that we were taking class after class and nothing was happening. Furthermore, nothing was planned either! We approached the coordinator of the course, Mrs. Einat Ziv from Ofra, and asked what was happening with the paroches. We learned that they did not have enough professional information in order to make it. They had plenty of halachic knowledge, but in order to weave a paroches one needs to be expert in spinning and weaving. The dream of making a paroches was felt very strongly by us. We told her, “We will weave the paroches either with you or without you.”

If we thought she’d be offended, we were in for a surprise. The entire staff of Machon HaMikdash was thrilled by our initiative. They had been waiting for someone to take on this project. Then what? It depends how you look at it. For two years we thought about the idea. Before last Rosh HaShana we started getting women involved and giving courses in weaving and embroidery for the purpose of training them for a high level of embroidery, spinning and weaving. Since this concerns a holy item, there are many miracles, but problems crop up too. For example, looms, those things that are used for weaving, and spindles which are

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3 Weeks Feature
used for spinning – in order to make a paroches, you need to learn how to work with these tools, but finding them is a problem. In Eretz Yisroel they don’t sell antiques like these in stores, and in the free market only craftsmen or those who inherited them from their grandmother have them. In the entire world there are a limited number of factories that make looms. Ordering looms and transporting them to Eretz Yisroel is complicated and very expensive. When we founded our workshop, Mrs. Shosh Alon from Kedumim donated a few looms. When our numbers grew though, we did not have enough. Whoever has inherited a loom or spindle from his or her grandparents and doesn’t know what to do with it is welcome to send it to us. What miracles did you experience? Sometimes you see the miracle after a while, and sometimes you see it right away. An example of a miracle that we discovered later has to do with collecting materials. For years I would get all sorts of odd things: special needles, various tools – an eccentric man came to us from the US and he left a spindle and a loom here and disappeared. My husband would ask me, “What do you need all this stuff for?” and suddenly, all these things – the needles, the gadgets, the threads – they are all needed. It’s astounding how Hashem helped us without my realizing it. An example of a miracle that we saw right away happened with the flax. Flax is a plant from which you make the linen threads that are used to make the paroches and the priestly garments. In our daily lives we are prohibited from wearing linen and wool, not even one fiber of linen without a large quantity of wool. That is shatnez and the Torah forbids it. However, in the Beis HaMikdash the Kohanim had to wear shatnez;

otherwise, the priestly garments would not be made according to Divine Instruction and could not be worn during the avoda. Wearing shatnez is only permissible in the Beis HaMikdash. The Kohen cannot wear his priestly clothing outside the Mikdash. He has to change into permissible clothing which doesn’t have shatnez before he leaves. Getting back to the flax – it is something associated with spirituality. The spies in Rachav’s house hid in a pile of flax. According to the Yalkut Reuveni (Rabbi Avrohom HaKohen Sofer, a kabbalist from the sages of Prague and a grandchild of the Kli Chemda) the secret of flax is that it is a material that has spiritual properties, which is why it serves to ward off magic, the evil eye and the evil spirit. According to him, this is also the reason that

the High Priest wore white linen clothing on Yom Kippur, and it is also a protection for the dead whose shrouds are made of this material. I gave you this introduction in order to explain the importance of linen in the Mikdash. However, the information we found was only about wool. What could we do? We looked for a flax expert. We found someone by the name of Nachum Ben Yehuda of Kedumim. All we wanted from him was a lesson on the subject, but when I spoke to him he said to me, “I have a pile of flax that I grew. The pile is on the street and although it’s stuck away in a corner, it still presents a health hazard. The municipality wants to take it away. If you want it, come today.” I took the car and raced over there. He gave us an informative

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lesson on flax and we filled up the car with lots of it. I returned home and wanted to make another run the next day. When I called him to arrange it, he said, “You’re too late. They took it all yesterday.” Hashem delayed the municipality until we spoke to the expert so that we could obtain information we could not obtain elsewhere, as well as material we could not obtain elsewhere. There was another miracle recently. Someone called me and explained that she is completely irreligious but her husband, a carpenter, wants to make us a loom. I was very happy to hear this. While talking to her, I learned that she is an expert in weaving. You can be sure that from that moment we had plenty in common. How is the work coming along?

The paroches is huge – it’s the height of a five or six story building. Aside from the immense size it is also between 8-10 centimeters thick. In other words, we are trying to make a wall out of thread.
fact that nobody has done anything like this in 2000 years, and you will realize that this is no simple task. We need to figure out the system needed to create such a weave. In weaving and embroidery, on one side you see the picture and on the other side you see the “negative. With the paroches though, on one side there was an eagle and on the other side was a lion. This is very specialized and complicated weaving! We know how to do this now, but I now understand much better why the verse calls it maasei choshev.

After Pesach we got in touch with a very special weaver. She is the one who made the clothing for the High Priest for Machon HaMikdash. We asked her if she knows how to make a paroches; not from the halachic angle because we have Machon HaMikdash and other sources for that, but from a professional standpoint. The paroches is huge – like a five or six story building. Aside from the immense size it is also between 8-10 centimeters thick. In other words, we are trying to make a wall out of thread. Add to that the

Issue 842 • �  


3 Weeks Feature
The technique is so complicated and clever that it’s unbelievable. As step one, we decided to make two small samples of a paroches, each one being on a scale of one twelfth of a paroches. In other words, every detail on these samples will be minimized by twelve. We are not starting with the real thing, because it would be a shame to waste so much time and resources when in the end there might be some halachic nuance that would make it not usable in the Mikdash. Why do you need two samples? Each sample will be in a different style. When they are ready, we will go from rabbi to rabbi to get their approbations. Since the paroches is for the entire Jewish people, we need everyone’s approval. In order to get everyone’s approval, we need to hit upon the exact halachic formula that will be acceptable to all. It may be a bit hard, but we will do that too. Once we have the halachic approval and the haskamos from rabbanim, we will move on to creating the large scale paroches. I estimate that within half a year we will construct a loom big enough for a paroches. Just to give you an idea – the room where we will sit and weave needs to be at least the length of the paroches, which means at least twelve meters long (over 39 feet long). It’s a small auditorium! We are helped throughout by Machon HaMikdash. They took us under their wing and today we have a budget from them. This makes it far easier for us, because the amount of money that Maayan and I spent until that point really started getting beyond our means. Their taking up the burden really helps a lot. If not for them, we would only be able to first start getting down to business in another two years and maybe more. Now we are focused on finishing the work. We are twenty women, all weaving simultaneously on one item. We are a full staff, not just one person who decides to weaves one row for an hour. Aside from that, the women are very connected to the Beis HaMikdash. They are passionate about it. Each one came from somewhere else. There are women from Telmon, Ofra, Pisgat Zeev, Yitzhar, Itamar, Shiloh, an entire group from Yerushalayim, and another one from the university in Tel Aviv. It is a pleasure to work with them. They eagerly await our call for their help and they’re here in a jiffy. So I estimate that at this rate, within a year to a year and a half, everything will be ready, but I’m not planning anything. Until now, my plans did not work out, Boruch Hashem – I thought we would start within two years and we started in half a year. trees, we can get a large quantity of the eggs we need for the dye. This won’t affect the tourists in any way, both because the worms appear for only a short time and because it’s not at all unpleasant to see. These worms look like bumps on the tree. They suck sap from the bark with a beaklike appendage which they attach to the bark. Nothing happens to the tree and even if it’s very infected, the worm does not budge, move or fall on anybody standing under it. It’s quite an interesting tourist attraction, but that interests us far less than our goal which is the Mikdash. If I would have told you ten years ago that in another ten years your dream would be to plant a forest of infected trees so you could get red dye, would you have believed me? (Laughing) I don’t know how I would have reacted if you put it that way, but I know that I always wanted to do things for the Beis HaMikdash. I dreamed about Moshiach and Yemos HaMoshiach. I had a whole file of materials on the subject of the Mikdash. I would put in brochures, ads, summaries of lectures … I would go to any lecture on the subject. I made donations to institutes that are involved with the Mikdash. Yet, I did not know where I fit in. I knew I wanted to do something, to be a part of this, but I didn’t know precisely what this was about. With the threads and weaving I discovered that I must be there. There are people who see a mess of threads and it gives them a headache. Even my daughter who is an artist doesn’t like the threads. I, on the other hand, enjoy working with threads. And when I became aware of the work the women did for the Mikdash, I felt I had come home.

Speaking of plans, do you have something else in the works? Yes – collecting worms in the summer (she continued quickly before I would faint on my end of the phone). Another important item needed for the paroches is tolaas shani for the red dye. These are tiny worms whose life cycle goes from eggs to worms to aphids. This worm loves oak trees, and they are there in the summer for a limited period of time. The best time to harvest the red dye is in the egg stage, when the egg is full of red dye. To harvest the dye we gather the eggs, boil them, and get the red color described in the Chumash. (The research done on identifying this worm was done by Dr. Zohar Amar.) At our tourist attraction farm, Eretz U’Mlo’a, that will be open to the public shortly, I am dreaming of planting a forest of oak trees for this purpose. The worms come to the trees? If the tree is clean of lice, then no. We need to bring them to an infected tree and then they slowly multiply and go from tree to tree. When I have a forest of infected

How did you family react to your involvement with the Mikdash?

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My children are very connected to Moshiach and Geula. They go to Chabad schools where everything is connected to the Geula. They are very interested in the paroches. Whenever I discover something new, I immediately include them. I teach them to spin and weave. They still don’t know how to do it well enough but that’s how everyone begins. I am not saying it is all smooth going. Sometimes, when they think I don’t hear them, they complain, “The paroches again!?” But in general, they enjoy being a part of it. Our house revolves around this. I remember when my daughter, who is now 24, was 10, she opened the door one day and the atmosphere was strange, an orange haze. She yelled to me, “Ima, come and see! Moshiach has come!” It was obvious to her that if something strange was happening in the world, then that meant Moshiach had come. That’s how my kids are and my entire house. We look forward to the building of the Beis HaMikdash with all “248 limbs and 365 sinews.” From this aspect, I’ve always said that I am more Lubavitch than most Lubavitchers. Are you a Lubavitcher? My connection to Chabad is long

and ongoing. Here, in Itamar, the Chabadnikim are very involved in the idea of the Rebbe and Moshiach. I will admit that at first I had a hard time with it. I did not understand what we needed a Rebbe for. Why not connect to Hashem directly? I loved Chassidus, but the topic of “Rebbe” was not something I related to. Then, at one of the shiurim, we had Rabbi Yehuda Rubin, shliach in

moment I got the point, I was in. In conclusion: Until now, I thought that my role is to weave the paroches. I will certainly be one of the weavers, but I think that my real goal is to bring together all the things that have to do with the paroches and make it happen; the weavers, the donors, Nachum Ben Yehuda with the flax, Professor Zohar with his research

It was obvious to her that if something strange was happening in the world, then that meant Moshiach had come.
on worms, Machon HaMikdash … I need to bring all the information together in one place and create something incredible out of it that is connected to the fulfillment of “And they shall make Me a Mikdash,” which will lead, with Hashem’s help, speedily in our day, to “And I will dwell within it [within them].” Want to be a part of this paroches project? You can contact Orna Hershberg or Maayan Ayash at:

Alon Moreh, who taught us a sicha about Shavuos. In the sicha the Rebbe said that the Jewish people stood near the mountain at the Giving of the Torah and wanted to see Hashem and died. When they were resurrected, they asked Moshe, the Rebbe, to be their conduit to Hashem. In this shiur I understood why we need a Rebbe in the middle as a “connecting medium.” I felt that the Rebbe was speaking to me. Since then, I openly say I’m a Chabadnik even though this sometimes instigates debates and outbursts on the part of various people. It took me time, but the



Issue 842 • �  



Rabbi Dr. Yosef Yitzchok Shagalow, a shliach and psychologist, analyzes the challenge of the Internet and says that in most cases it is an addiction in which the person substitutes the real world for a virtual world. * How does one identify the problem? How does one handle a child who is involved with the Internet? Why isn’t it enough to use a filter? * Part 4 in a series about the Internet.
Interview by Avrohom Rabinowitz


hen we began this series on the subject of the Internet, we thought about how we could present different perspectives without veering from the Chabad view and the instructions from our Rebbeim. That is how the idea came up for interviewing Dr. Y.Y. Shagalow who, along with his shlichus work in Minneapolis, is also a psychologist who received a rare bracha from the Rebbe before he began his studies. We asked R’ Shagalow to tell the

curious amongst us how a shliach ended up becoming a psychologist. He shared with us the following fascinating background: I went on shlichus in 5746 to Minneapolis, Minnesota where I opened a Chabad house. For a few years, I was involved solely in shlichus work. At a certain point, I observed that many Jews who came to the Chabad house needed guidance in their lives, not only spiritually but also emotionally and psychologically. I felt I did not have the tools to help them sufficiently.

Since I was drawn to the field of psychology from a young age, I thought it might be a good idea to study it professionally. I asked the Rebbe and was told to do “as per the advice of knowledgeable friends.” I consulted with some knowledgeable friends, and they all encouraged me to study psychology. I wrote to the Rebbe again and received a bracha. I received my Masters from the University of S. Thomas in Minnesota and my doctorate from Argosy University. After I started working in the

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field, a fellow shliach asked me in dismay, “How could you leave shlichus to be a psychologist?!” I repeated this to Rabbi Moshe Feller, shliach to Minnesota, and he said that my impact as a shliach would be greater and I would reach more people and fulfill my shlichus in a better way by operating in this manner (obviously, this applied to my specific situation to which the Rebbe gave his bracha and is not to be taken as a precedent for others). So, for many years now, I run a Chabad house with minyanim and shiurim and I also work as a psychologist which I view as a shlichus too. Does your area of expertise include the Internet? For many years, I was involved in a different subject that is not at all connected to the Internet, but my expertise is in addictions and so the subject was also close to my heart. In recent years, many clients have approached me to address their Internet addictions, so I have become extensively involved in this area as well. I want to point out that the Internet damages not only individuals or the minority, but nearly every person who uses it. A while ago, I farbrenged with talmidim-shluchim at one of the yeshivos and we got on to the topic of the Internet. Before I began talking about it, I asked them whether there was anyone to whom this topic pertained or was there no point in talking about it since they were all very Chassidishe bachurim. After nobody said a word, I asked them directly: Is there anyone here to whom the topic is irrelevant? Although it is very hard to say numbers, from what we know, it is a very widespread phenomenon. There is hardly anyone who has not been negatively affected by the Internet in some way or another.

I want to point out that the Internet damages not only individuals or the minority, but nearly every person who uses it. ADDICTION


As a psychologist, how do you define the problem of the Internet? Putting aside the enormous religious-spiritual danger in being exposed to undesirable content and websites, the number one problem with the Internet is addiction. The Internet in an addictive product, the side effects of which include disengagement from one’s surroundings, escaping family life, and more. In life, we all encounter

Issue 842 • �  


challenges within our families, our environment, etc. The Internet provides an escape since you don’t have to deal with any of those challenges while on the Internet and you will always be accepted there as you are, no questions asked. I sometimes sit with young men who tell me about their Internet usage, who say they can’t understand how they waste so much time on the computer. One of them said to me, “All I wanted to do was to learn the daily Rambam online and I suddenly found myself spending hours surfing various websites.” My response was that he did not describe the situation accurately. He did not go over to the computer to say the Rambam, but to escape reality. The Rambam was to be hurt. On the Internet though, someone can be so-called friends with lots of people without real openness and with hardly any risk of being hurt. We exchange the real world for an imaginary world. Are you saying that the Internet is addictive? I am saying that the Internet has the same characteristics as any other addiction. The definition of an addiction is a psychological dependency on a substance or activity. Addiction is characterized by compulsive behavior that is aimed at obtaining the addictive substance, which continues even when it leads to negative results and is at the expense of other important needs, both psychological and material. to religious Jews, but even to goyim (l’havdil). Couples come to me who aren’t Jewish whose lives have been destroyed because of these things. I heard in the name of Rabbi Heller of Crown Heights that a computer with Internet should be treated with the same din as seclusion with a woman, but the truth is that it is far more serious because in the din of yichud there is still natural shame. When a person is alone with the computer, there is no shame involved and so the danger is greater. If someone has free access to Internet without a filter, the chances of a person’s innocence being retained are zero. In normal Internet usage, a person ends up seeing things that no Chassidishe bachur or adult should see in his life, but people are losing their sensitivity to these things. I myself do not have a computer in the house or in the office. I have a Smartphone that is connected to email for work purposes, but the Internet is otherwise locked with a pass code that I don’t know. If I want to visit a website, I have to ask my wife. But even someone who, for whatever reason, needs the Internet and got permission from a rav to bring a computer into his house, must have an effective filter, must have the computer in a public place where other people are, and must have set times for computer and Internet usage. A person needs to decide that he is going to use it for a certain amount of time, and at a pre-determined time he shuts it and walks away. When there are clear rules and everyone knows what they are, it greatly lessens the ability to waste time and to stay online unnecessarily, which is one of the things that lead people to enter sites that they don’t want to visit. Are you talking about youth or adults? About adults too, of course. A teenaged girl came to me with very serious social problems. I looked

The crisis we are experiencing with the Internet is actually a crisis in our personal lives. When love isn’t there in daily life, it is more likely that a person will fall prey to the Internet.
just the excuse and the truth is that he went to the computer and not to the Rambam. The problem gets more serious for someone who is alone, physically or emotionally, since then the computer is his friend and he is unable to get off of it and he wastes innumerable hours on it. Obviously, the addiction is not to the computer, but to what the computer and Internet provide. This is a danger that we don’t think about, but is one of the biggest problems one can imagine. The Internet and computer cause us to lose out in our personal lives, since our personal lives demand a lot of work and the computer provides us with the illusion that we can get the same relationships without effort. For example, in real life we need to be open, accepting, and even vulnerable and of course it is possible Every addiction has three components: tolerance, avoidance and withdrawal. “Tolerance” is when a person gets used to the addictive element so that he is no longer satisfied with the previous amount and feels a desire for more. “Avoidance” is when he makes repeated attempts to stop the addiction. “Withdrawal” is when he stops doing it and feels empty. In my experience, those who use a computer a lot, spending hours on the Internet, have all three symptoms and thus it is definitely an addiction.

Why don’t you emphasize those aspects of the Internet that are a spiritual danger (i.e. inappropriate images) and a far greater problem than addiction? Those aspects are definitely an addiction and are dangerous not only

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into her background and there didn’t seem to be any logical reason for her acting out, until she told me that it was impossible to speak to her father because he was on the computer all day. Towards the end of our meeting, her father came to talk to me and I saw what she was talking about. Even as the father spoke to me, he was using his cell phone to read emails, respond to them, and check out websites. If someone thinks that his computer usage is his own business and doesn’t affect his family, he’s wrong. It affects everything and everyone around him, and those who suffer from it most are those family members who don’t get the attention they deserve, since the computer is used as an escape from interacting with the family. I sometimes hear women saying that they don’t have a husband since he is married to the computer. Whenever they talk to him, he says, “Yeah, yeah,” but he can’t get off the computer. When a child goes over to his father as he sits at the computer and his father says, “One minute,” the child gets the message that the computer is more important than he is. The child interprets it as the computer being the most important thing in his father’s life. It shouldn’t be a surprise if later the child uses a computer whenever he has free time. That all relates to regular computer and Internet usage. The problem is that much greater when the person is viewing inappropriate material. As we said about the prohibition of yichud, Chazal did not only prohibit the resulting sin, but even forbade being secluded together. With the computer too, the problem is not only with inappropriate sites but the ability to visit them, because if there is no distancing, one can easily stumble. A woman came to me and said she did not understand what’s the

We see that the Rebbe treats addiction as an illness that needs treatment and not just stronger willpower to combat it.
problem with allowing unfiltered Internet in her house. She said there are bad things in the world but we still live in the world, and we should regard the Internet in the same way. I told her I would try answering her question later on. Towards the end of our meeting, I told her that I had a very important book for her that could help her with her problems. It’s a wonderful book that helped many people, but it has one problem. After 250 pages there


Issue 842 • �  


are things that are not very modest and she should be careful not to read those pages and she should tell her children not to look past that page. When the woman refused to take the book, I asked her why. She said she wasn’t willing to bring a book like this into her home when it presented a constant danger. She certainly couldn’t rely on her children not looking at the immodest pictures in the book … but what amazes him time and again is the Alter Rebbe’s unbelievable knowledge of psychology. He quoted what it says in Tanya about the wicked being full of regrets and he explained that this describes a person with an addiction, who did something enough times that he can no longer stop himself even though he truly regrets it afterward. That is what it means when it says that the wicked are controlled by their hearts and are not in control of their hearts. As a professional, I see that one of the problems is denial. A person can sit at the computer for hours and be addicted to reading the news or to a social network or things worse than that, but he denies it and says he can stop if he wants to. As a professional, what advice would you offer to someone who is addicted to the Internet or to parents who discover that their child is addicted to the Internet? Many err when they think that Internet addiction is a moral failing which shows a lack of faith or bad chinuch. The truth is that it usually has nothing to do with chinuch or emuna, because the pitfalls are mainly associated with unsupervised exposure which causes deterioration and loss of control over certain areas of one’s life. It is important to know that this is a test that the best and strongest people can fall into if they don’t have the requisite control and awareness. This message is important for those who think it won’t happen to them, as well as for those who are faced with challenges and think they have become evil people and despair of ever changing. Neither approach is right. And from a psychological perspective, the two approaches are even dangerous. If a parent discovers that her son is exposed to inappropriate material and is engaged in a difficult struggle, the first thing to do is to let the child know that no one will break him and that the fact that he was exposed does not turn him into a not-Chassidishe bachur or a bad person. If a bachur or child feels that he won’t get support from his parents, he will just run further away and it will be even harder for the parents to handle the situation on their own. So the role of parents and teachers is to share the child’s pain and to provide support and mainly love. Nobody has protection from tests in this world, but experience shows that children who have open relationships with their parents are less at risk than those children who can’t talk openly with their parents. When the child knows that he can ask his parents for help, this diminishes the need to escape and the chances that he will end up on inappropriate sites. Parents need to talk to their children regularly and it makes no difference what they talk about; the main thing being that their children feel closeness to their parents and a sense of openness. Sadly, many people don’t know what it means to love. There is a lot said about “open communication” and about “understanding,” but that is not synonymous with love. Parents need to love their children, and children need to know that the ones who love them the most in this world are their parents, more than their friends and anyone else. Along with this love, children need boundaries, but when they feel that their parents don’t love them, they are at much higher risk. This is also true about our relationship with Hashem. A Jew needs to be religious because he believes in G-d, not that he believes in G-d because he is religious! Many people live in the absurd situation in which emuna is a product of their lifestyle instead of their lifestyle being a product of their emuna. We need to teach love for Hashem, not just as a level in a Maamer Chassidus, but as a basis for our lives, for without love

Do you consider addiction as a psychological illness that requires special treatment? Without getting into it deeply, when we talk about an addiction, we are referring to compulsive behavior. That means that the person doesn’t want to do something, but does it anyway. It becomes unstoppable behavior. There is a letter from the Rebbe on a similar subject, written to an alcoholic who tried again and again to wean himself off drinking but kept failing. The Rebbe refers to this as an illness and writes that he should go to a doctor in this field, since today there are ways of treating it. The Rebbe also provides practical advice, such as not going around with cash in his pocket so as to minimize access to alcohol (in our discussion, this would mean to stop using the Internet). At the end of the letter, the Rebbe recommends knowing Mishnayos by heart, which will occupy him with positive things. We see that the Rebbe treats addiction as an illness that needs treatment and not just stronger willpower to combat it. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski is considered an expert on addictions. He once visited me in my home and we got to talking about Tanya. He said everyone knows the Alter Rebbe was a genius and a tzaddik,

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it is very hard to fulfill Torah and mitzvos when we are exposed to the world around us.

So what can we do? I am not a mashpia or a rav and my role is not to make public statements to Anash about how to change the situation. As a professional, I deal with those who are not succeeding in stopping their compulsive behaviors, and I get to hear sad stories every day about families breaking apart and other things that we really want to prevent. There is a lot to be done to stop addictions like these, whether they are more serious or less so, but this requires individual treatment that is tailored to the situation. There are general principles that pertain to all Internet addiction, but even those require knowledge about how to implement them on a case-by-case basis. My small but strong recommendation to parents and

educators is to be aware of the importance of creating and fostering a caring relationship with children and students. Such relationships are the strongest defense that parents and teachers can provide against this challenge of the Internet. The crisis we are experiencing with the Internet is actually a crisis in our personal lives. When love isn’t there in daily life, it is more likely that a person will fall prey to the Internet. The more we strengthen our ties with our children and students, the less likely they are to fall. This is one of the most important things we can do about the problem. The very fact that we are discussing the topic and bringing it to people’s awareness is important as well. Knowing that there is a problem, even if we don’t yet know the best way to deal with it, is half the battle. We are moving in the right direction. There was an Internet Asifa in May in New York. There were no magical solutions, but the message

was clear: We know there is a problem and we want to deal with it. In Eretz Yisroel there was a meeting of Chabad rabbanim and people in chinuch and they didn’t innovate anything either, but the message was similar. It provides the possibility for creating a change. Teachers, mashpiim and rabbis need to talk about the Internet. Those who are facing problems want to know there is someone to talk to. We should be conveying the message that yes, there is someone who will listen to you and understand what you’re dealing with. Some people need professional help; here too, it is important that such people feel they are not alone and that someone understands them and loves them despite their problems. In conclusion: I am sure that many readers will decide to take action, to get rid of the Internet or to put on a filter, but the decision is not enough. You need to do it!

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Issue 842 • �  



It sometimes happens in a person’s life that a certain event brings back memories of decades long past and then he discovers what really protected him and what saved his life. In this case, it was a camp counselor and ultimately, the Rebbe.
By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz Shliach, Beit Shaan

Please daven for Yaakov Aryeh ben Rochel for a refua shleima he Rebbe quotes the first Rashi in Parshas Massei about the prince who became sick, and whom the king took with him to be cured. On their way back home, the king reminisced, “Here is where we slept, here is where we were chilled, here is where your head hurt etc.” The Rebbe explains that Rashi is alluding here to four stops, which are the four necessary stages in the journeys of the Jewish people towards the Geula. “Here is where we slept” expresses the darkness of galus. “Here is where we were cooled” expresses the light, Hashem’s help in


enduring the period of darkness. “Here is where your head hurt” expresses the ability to discern and make a choice between good and bad, “And you shall choose life.” “Etc.” – even when the prince is sick, at the height of galus, it is obvious that the purpose of the illness is only so that the prince will have the additional quality of a sick person who recovers, i.e. intentional sins that become like merits.

One of the difficulties that shluchim have to deal with is chinuch. A shliach in distant Nepal, Rabbi Chezki Lifschitz, told about

one of his chinuch challenges at a Chassidishe farbrengen in Beitar Ilit: “Our son Mendy has been learning in a yeshiva far from home for years already. In order to get there, he needs to take two flights with a stopover in a foreign country. Usually one of us accompanies him, or we pay the airline and they provide an escort for him. We once showed up at the airport with our son, but the airline apologized and said that due to a glitch there was no escort for him. We had to postpone the trip to the next day. The following day we went back to the airport and introduced our son to his escort. As planned, there was a stopover, but our son noticed that the escort had disappeared. He was twelve years old and on his own in

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a foreign country where he did not know the language. It’s a country where Jews hardly ever go and it would be unlikely for a Jew to pass by and help him. He went to the airline desk and barely managed to communicate that his escort had disappeared. They were very nice and explained that in another three days they would put him on a plane back home. He was stuck. He had nowhere to go. What could he do alone for three days? Who would help him? Who would tell us, his parents, what happened? Then a phone call came in to the Chabad house in Nepal. It was a friend of ours, a shliach to a Far Eastern country. He asked me, “Is it possible that I saw your son in an airport in country X?” “Yes,” I said. “He is on his way to yeshiva. Maybe you can find him and see that he’s all right.” The shliach went over to my son, who told him what was going on. The shliach immediately took charge, taking him to the next flight and finding him an escort. Our son arrived safely in yeshiva.

R’ Chezki Lifschitz at a bris of one of his children at his Chabad house in Katmandu

This story is from R’ Yosef Yitzchok Wilschansky, shliach to Eretz Yisroel and rosh yeshiva of the Chabad yeshiva in Tzfas. He heard it from someone who heard it from the son of the protagonist. There was a wedding last year in Crown Heights, where one of the mechutanim was Rabbi Mordechai Krasniansky of Australia. The band consisted of some musicians who came from Staten Island. During the wedding, one of the musicians heard the name of the baal simcha from Australia and it sounded familiar to him. He too was from Australia and the name of the mechutan brought

back memories from dozens of years ago. At the end of the wedding, he went over to the baal simcha and asked him, “Are you the Mordechai Krasniansky who was a counselor in a Chabad camp in year X?” “Yes, I was,” he said. “Then you saved my life,” said the musician, and this is the story that he told: My family is from Iran and we immigrated to Australia. When I was a boy, my parents sent me to a Chabad camp and I enjoyed it very much. Some years later, I met a gentile woman and we were friends for a while. I did not want to marry a non-Jew, but she suddenly began talking about marriage as though it was our plan. I couldn’t think of a way out. Then I had an idea. I would bring her to meet my parents. They would surely be upset that I was thinking of intermarrying and would yell at her and embarrass her until she would realize that this would never work. So I brought her home, but unfortunately, they liked her. They did not faint over the fact that she

wasn’t Jewish, and they got along just fine. My parents even wanted me to change the wedding date to an earlier one. Their request only complicated matters and I could not think of a way to break the engagement. One day, she said to me, “You have savings in the bank. I know someone who is a financial adviser. It’s worth your while to withdraw your money and give it to him. This way, we will have more money for the wedding.” I agreed and gave her all the money. It was quite a large sum that I had amassed over the years. The next day, she disappeared. That was the end of the bride and my money. When I told my parents, they said, “What a fool you are. How could you give her all your money? You are irresponsible! We don’t want to see you anymore. Get out of here!” I left the house with just my clothes on my back. I had nowhere to go. I looked for a job and didn’t find one. My state of mind deteriorated until I thought, “I have no money, no parents, no fiancée, and no home. I’m better off dying.” I went to a

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nice living – thanks to the Rebbe and thanks to camp.

Rabbi Leibel Schildkraut, shliach and dean of Chabad schools in Haifa, relates: My father, R’ Zev, was an educator in the early years of the Rebbe’s leadership. (The Rebbe was the mesader kiddushin at my parents’ wedding). Once a week, my father would travel to a distant neighborhood and teach a group of American kids. These children were not religious. They went to public school, and once a week they had this Talmud Torah where my father taught them about Judaism. My father told the children repeatedly, “Never ever marry a goy.” Some people laughed at him, wondering why he discussed marriage with ten year olds. What would they remember in another ten or fifteen years? But he kept it up and repeatedly conveyed his message: don’t marry a goy. Years went by and he got a phone call that proved how worthwhile his efforts were. The caller introduced himself as his former student at the Talmud Torah and said, “Rabbi Schildkraut, please stop disturbing my sleep.” The young man said that he had met a gentile girl and had decided to marry her. The wedding date was the upcoming Saturday at a church. Then he dreamed that he saw Rabbi Schildkraut, whom he knew from the Talmud Torah, warning him not to marry a gentile because if he did, his children would not be Jewish. He had this dream every night until he decided to cancel the wedding. “Now that I’ve canceled the wedding, I am asking you to stop bothering me.” My father told him that based on his description of the situation he would no longer be bothering him.

I stepped back and the Rebbe gave me another dollar and said in English, “This is for a new beginning.”
local library and distracted myself by reading. I started thinking about my life thus far. I remembered my childhood, my maturing, and the recent years. I observed that the nicest time in my life was the time I had been in the Chabad camp with my counselor Mordechai Krasniansky. I remembered the atmosphere of achdus and love in camp, and how we were always involved in good things. I recalled that in camp they had told us a lot of stories about the Lubavitcher Rebbe who is a tzaddik who can bless people and save them from their sorrows. I decided that I had to go to the Rebbe before I ended my life prematurely. It took me a few days until I got the money for the trip. I found out that anyone can meet the Rebbe on Sunday when he gave out dollars for tz’daka. I stood on line and waited two hours while I planned what I was going to say. I naively thought that when it would be my turn, I would get to sit down with the Rebbe and discuss whatever was on my mind. The line slowly moved forward and I suddenly realized that I would have only a few seconds with the Rebbe. I could see people in the distance moving quickly past the Rebbe. I revised what I wanted to say to him, thinking of how to condense my entire story into a few seconds. As I tried to find the words to express myself, I found myself swept along by the line, receiving a dollar from the Rebbe and leaving out the door. I felt I had lost out big time. I had pinned my hopes on this encounter and it had ended just like that. As I sadly thought about this, I heard them calling me back to the Rebbe. I stepped back and the Rebbe gave me another dollar and said in English, “This is for a new beginning.” From that point on, I had a new beginning. The Rebbe’s words echoed in my ears. All my thoughts were focused on how to begin anew. Some time later, I found a place to study music. Later on, I joined a band which today provides me with a

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a tour of the Dubrawski home, then of the yard, the cellar, and the corner where the armed guard stood at his post … Read and find out.
By Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h

Our home in Krolevets was not bad, considering our financial situation. We had a medium sized dining room; two bedrooms – one for my parents and one for ZeideRav and my grandmother; and a kitchen with a large oven, as was the practice at the time in towns – a deep fireplace which was heated with logs, into which was placed clay pots and iron skillets, and came with a long shovel and poker. These were ovens with a large and warm upper surface and a large storage space under the oven (usually for chickens). There was a small foyer between the rooms. One hallway, which led to the yard, contained a pantry, and another smaller hall that led to the street was where we stored our Pesach dishes since we did not use it to get in and out of the house. In the yard we had a sort of shed (for firewood) and part of a deep cellar. Our furniture was something else entirely (if it could be called furniture). Each item of furniture was very old, but that was the only thing similar about them. In appearance, each one had a different “yichus” (pedigree), a different color, and many other deficiencies. There were

two bookshelves of s’farim, one near the southern wall and one near the northern wall. I had never seen anything like the southern bookcase; its wooden sides and shelves were ancient and very thick and heavy. How did we obtain it? I don’t know. Zeide-Rav would say about the carpenter who built it that he was definitely a first rate partatz (unskilled laborer) with two left hands and three cockeyed eyes.

The other bookcase, on the northern side, was just the opposite. It was woven of branches and its very existence was miraculous. It was a miracle in itself that it was able to stand upright, even when empty, without falling over. The bigger miracle was that it could support s’farim on its shelves (actually, Zeide added some wire, rope and nails on top of these miracles). Our table was, bli ayin ha’ra, blessed with old age but still strong. The seven or eight chairs were also elderly, but just as each one was different, with a worn faded color, so too each chair had its “ailment” and a different slant. We had a few strong stools that were very useful when we had a gathering or farbrengen. They

would spread out a bed from stool to stool and that is how more guests were able to sit. On the western side was a sort of couch that mostly served as my bed. The original upholstery over the straw had long since torn and my mother put patches on the patches. Despite this, the pointy ends of the straw poked through anyway. I must add that we had another piece of furniture that was in decent condition: the sideboard. My mother put in great effort to clean and decorate it with a number of embroidered tablecloths and other chotchkes. My mother also hid some better food there, for guests, such as cherry preserves (in better times, my mother cooked jam).

To my young eyes, the best piece of furniture in the house was the clock. Although it wasn’t beautiful, it was nice enough. The main thing was that it was a bi-weekly clock. That meant that after winding it once, it worked for two weeks straight! I found this miraculous. Only ZeideRav handled it, winding it and setting it. In general, Zeide, being a rav nearly all his life in a number of towns, fulfilled the statement

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of Chazal “Love work and hate rabbanus” in a paradoxical fashion. He had great pleasure in learning Gemara with someone, Ein Yaakov and the like, but he did not like all the other things associated with his position, such as having to employ all kinds of diplomatic tricks in dealing with the leaders of the community; flattering the wealthy who sat comfortably on the mizrach (eastern) wall (he would call them the “mizrach-pempikes” [derogatory term for the stout of form]), as well as all other ceremonial duties. He truly loved work, physical labor in and out of the house. When we bought logs in the market, they something positive about myself, it is that by nature I noticed everything. Throughout all the years of my childhood, I did not observe or hear anything that indicated any annoyance or anger, or anything remotely similar to that between the two older generations in our home. I think this was mainly thanks to my mother, her warmth, good heart and pleasant character; and of course, an important part of that must be attributed to her being born to such parents as she had. My mother said that in their home, she never heard their parents quarrelling. Furthermore, she never heard them raise their voices. years the pair flew back (I think it was the same pair) and during the summer they raised a new chick which joined its parents at the end of the summer when they flew to warmer parts. I also remember that they would communicate by tapping with their beaks. I sometimes noticed that one of them brought food for their baby. During the winter there were also things to see and hear in the yard, a place full of activity. There were two storage sheds at the end of the yard, one that was ours and one that was the landlord’s. In Russian they called it a soroi. It was something a bit more than a simple shed. That is where large pots and all sorts of old things were kept, boards and poles for the sukka; and the largest place was for logs for the fireplace and for the bitumen to light the iron stoves. Bitumen is a flammable material that I did not see anywhere outside of Russia. It is mined from the ground and is soft, and is not considered valuable and good for burning like coal, which is probably why it would make a lot of smoke and produce unpleasant odors. (Under the bitumen in our shed, Zeide buried pictures and manuscripts that had to be hidden from the eyes of the red demons of destruction. They might even be there till this very day).

I’d like to mention that although there was no harmony among the various items of furniture, there was beautiful harmony among the people who lived in the home. THE YARD AND THE BIRDS’ NEST
Our yard was not spacious, but it was crowded. The larger section of the yard had a fenced in garden. The large-bodied neighbor grew onions, potatoes, beets and other vegetables. However, it did not seem as though the gentile owners of the garden derived benefit from this garden. I had a special connection with a narrow and very tall tree on the edge of the garden. On a thick branch, almost on the edge of the tree, was a wide nest made out of interwoven twigs and branches. It was the “summer home” of a pair of storks. They would come and nest at the beginning of the summer. At the end of the summer, they would fly (in an organized flock) faraway. We were told that they flew to warmer climes. The amazing thing was how they knew the way back! It’s a special ability that the Creator gave them. I remember that for quite a few

were often large and cheap. Zeide (who was an older man and had a white beard) would chop them. He did not always wait for Hirshke the nudnik to come. Zeide also would often fix a broken chair, beds that had fallen apart and doors that had come off the doorposts.

As for the furniture in other rooms, I think this is enough; you can picture the furniture that I described previously. I’d like to mention that although there was no harmony among the various items of furniture, there was beautiful harmony among the people who lived in the home. Simply put, the life of our family that we shared with my grandparents in one apartment, in our straitened circumstances, were so natural, so homey and united, that when I think back to those days, I am amazed. If I may permit myself to say

If it could boast of anything, our yard could boast of a cellar whose pointed roof, made of stone, was located near the shed. It was a wonderful cellar! In order to get to it, you had to go way down a flight of stone steps; I once knew how many. All the way at the bottom were two rooms – and thick darkness – for the two families. There was a moist coolness there, even on the hottest days. We stored in the cellar, especially

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A typical yard in Krolevets

in the summer, all those things which could spoil in the house. In the good days, we pickled a large barrel of cucumbers for the entire winter and had a barrel of pickled cabbage as well. Sometimes, there were pickled sour apples, a delectable food to which even the infinite number of delectable foods in the world cannot compare. Not far from the cellar was a wooden hut that served as a two-room outhouse for the two neighbors. As you can imagine, there was no indoor bathroom in our town. In the yard, they built an outhouse over a large pit that was used by all, day and night, summer and winter … When the pits filled up, peasants came with wagons and shoveled out its contents and brought it (I think) to the fields. Right near this double outhouse was an open pail of garbage. Most of the time, you saw only a pile of garbage and not the pail itself which overflowed (I take the liberty of describing unpleasant things like

these, but I do so on purpose, so that future generations will thank G-d that they don’t need to live under the conditions that their grandparents lived under). A large hog was a regular visitor at the garbage, and it would grunt contentedly to display its pleasure.

Near the garbage were small wooden cages where the shkatzim, the children of the neighbor, raised rabbits. They ate the rabbits and sold their fur. A band of chickens roamed the yard, including a large rooster that walked proudly, with head held high, with large red hanging cheeks. Tobik, the irascible dog, was tied up by day with a long rope. He yapped not only at strangers who entered his royal territory, but also at more familiar creatures in the yard. When the hog entered the yard to its territory, Tobik greeted it by grabbing it by the ear. The dog was even more annoyed when the large rooster would sometimes “forget”

and approach him. The dog would attack it and the rooster would flee nervously with outspread wings and a noisy commotion. On one side of the yard was a brick wall that separated our yard from the only bakery in town. In the free world of today, you would not understand why the bakery was closed to ordinary passersby. Not only that, near the door stood a guard booth with a guard and not just any guard but one who was armed. The truth is that they said the rifle was a museum piece because it was from back in the days of Napoleon. The guard wasn’t just anyone, but a man by the name of Kozkovitz, a middle aged man, hunchbacked but strong. At the end of the 30’s, when it was impossible to buy as much bread as you wanted, and in the few bread stores you had to stand on line in order to get bread, Kozkovitz would bring us thin loaves at night, that had been kneaded out of the remnants of dough. We paid him much more for this than the usual price in the stores.

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Parsha thought

By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

The Jewish nation is poised to enter the Promised Land after so many obstacles and delays. And now a new monkey-wrench is thrown into the mix. The two tribes of Reuven and Gad want to stay behind and receive their portion of the land on the east side of the Jordan River. Moses is very upset and rebukes them for appropriating the errant ways of their fathers who refused to enter the Promised Land. It seemed that the new generation had not learned a lesson from the past. The two tribes respond that they never intended to remain behind while their brethren would be fighting the battles of conquest. Rather, they were prepared to go into the Promised Land and fight alongside the other tribes. Only after the land would be successfully conquered and settled would they return to the east bank of the Jordan and receive their share of the land there. Moses then ratifies their proposal in the following manner: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves for battle before G-d, and your army crosses the Jordan before G-d—then afterwards you may return. You will be free to G-d and Israel, and this land will become your inheritance before G-d.” Moses is not satisfied with his clear directive to them and rephrases the same message in the negative:

“But if you do not do so, then you will have sinned against G-d, and you should know that your sin will find you.” Moses reiterates this message to Elazar the High Priest and all the other Jewish leaders: “If the descendants of Gad and Reuven cross the Jordan with you before G-d, and the Land is conquered before you, give them the land of Gilad as an inheritance. But, if they do not cross over with you armed, they will receive an inheritance with you in the Land of Canaan.” The fact that Moses stated his condition for them in both the affirmative (“If you do this thing…”) and in the negative (“But, if you do not do so…”) serves as the basis of a Talmudic law concerning conditions attached to all transactions and agreements. For example, if someone were to stipulate, “I am selling you this house on the condition that you travel with me on this day,” the condition would not be binding unless it was followed by the negative statement: “If you don’t travel with me on this day, the sale shall be null and void.” What is the spiritual meaning of the need for phrasing a condition in both the positive and negative forms? And why did the Torah choose to teach this law with regard to the conquest of Israel?

A certain Chasid went to his Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek (the third Rebbe of Chabad), seeking permission to move to Israel. The Rebbe’s response was: “Make Israel here.” Despite the fact that we pray daily for the day that all the Jews in the Diaspora will return to Israel under the guidance of Moshiach, our mission now is to transform our own environment in the Diaspora into the spiritual “state” of Israel. Conquest of Israel implies that we harness our material resources in the service of G-d and transform our environment into one that is conducive to the performance of the Mitzvos. This is perhaps what the two tribes of Gad and Reuven wished to achieve by settling the east bank of the Jordan, implying that they wanted to take the area that is outside of Israel proper and make that an extension of Israel. They were not content with G-d’s presence revealed in the Land of Israel; they wanted to extend it beyond its borders. Their goal was to ultimately enable G-d’s presence to extend even to the farthest reaches of the world. Initially, Moses was not happy with their proposal. Moses was concerned that they were trying to evade participating in the conquest. Perhaps, Moses thought, these two tribes believed that one need not be connected to the paradoxical concept of a Holy Land; a land that

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synthesizes the idea of detachment from the physical land (the definition of “holy”) within the framework of a physical land. The words of the Tzemach Tzedek to the Chasid to “make Israel here” were not intended to extinguish the Chasid’s passion for the Land of Israel. On the contrary, it was meant to take the ideal of the Land of Israel and extend it to his own turf. Moreover, making our own environment an extension of Israel is a stepping stone to getting there. In truth, these two tribes were passionate about Israel. They were even interested in extending the concept of transforming the “land” into “Israel” to the land that was not Israel proper. We can now understand why Moses had to stipulate with them that if they would not join their brethren they would not get their share in the east bank of the Jordan. If Moses would have simply stated that if they would join their brethren in the conquest of Israel they would be allowed to inherit their share on the other side of the Jordan, it would have implied that all Moses wanted from them was for them to assist their co-religionists. It would not have been fair for all the other tribes to engage in battle while these two tribes sat at home in comfort. By stating the negative as well— that if they would fail to join the other tribes in the conquest of Israel they would not inherit the east bank of the Jordan—Moses was, in effect,

saying that there is no way we can live in the Diaspora if we are not committed to the ideal of conquest; of transforming the physical land into a Holy Land. In other words, the positive statement was intended to inform them that it would be unbecoming of them to let their brothers fight for the land while they remained safe and secure in their own territory. By adding the negative, Moses was stating that if they would not cross the Jordan with their brothers it would be impossible for them to remain in their own homes outside of Israel. We cannot survive as Jews in the Diaspora if we are not committed to the spiritual ideal of “conquest.” This is the legal basis for a contract requiring both the positive and the negative. The positive part of the contract—“I’m selling you my house on the condition that you travel with me”—establishes that the seller wants good faith on the part of the buyer. The additional negative clause—“But, if not, I am not willing to sell the property”—is intended to say that if the condition is not met, there can be no sale. In the former statement, the seller merely intimates displeasure if the buyer fails to meet the sellers condition. In the latter, he plainly states that in that circumstance, the sale would be null and void. In the same way, Moses was enunciating this double stipulation to the two tribes of Gad and Reuven. Moses was expressing displeasure with them for not shouldering the

responsibility of conquest with their brothers. In addition, Moses was also making it clear that there was simply no way that they could hold on to their land if they did not join in the conquest of the Land of Israel proper.

The lesson for us in our own mission is to prepare the world for the Messianic Age when, according to our Sages, the holiness of Israel will spread to the entire world. This occurs when we draw upon the ideal of the Holiness of Israel and extend it to every part of the world. G-d offers us success in our mission to make Israel here when we realize that we must give unconditional support to our brethren in the Land of Israel who ensure the physical and spiritual integrity of Israel. Doing so expresses our solidarity with the Land of Israel and our brothers and sisters who reside there. Moreover, supporting the integrity of Israel empowers us to transform our own turf into Israel. This, then, becomes the force that propels us into the final Redemption at which time the entire world will experience the holiness of Israel, even as the sanctity of Jerusalem will spread to the entire Israel, and the Beis HaMikdash will spread to the entire Jerusalem. All of existence will be elevated to a higher level of spiritual sensitivity and awareness.

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Issue 842 • �  


Young chassID

By M.E. Gordon


hloimy wiped the sweat off his brow and took another drink. He figured that it would take another half hour until they would reach the power station. The old camp bus was full to capacity and too antiquated for such amenities as air conditioning. The campers were getting restless and bored, having spent the first hour of the drive singing camp songs. Shloimy knew that he’d have to think of something to distract the kids from the heat and boredom for the next half an hour. They were disappointed enough when they had discovered that instead of going white-water rafting, they were going to tour a power station. The explanation that thunderstorms were predicted for that afternoon fell upon deaf ears. Couldn’t the camp director have found an alternate excursion that was a bit more exciting instead of sending them on a two hour bus ride to an electricity plant? Shloimy knew that one of the keys to running a successful camp is to keep the campers busy: too busy to argue, too busy to fight, too busy to get bored or make trouble. He thought of what he could do to capture the boys’ interest, something meaningful. “Attention alleh mentshen!” Shloimy announced in his booming voice. “The boys who can answer some parsha questions will win competition points for their bunk! Listen carefully, and if you think you know the answer wave your camp hat high! I’ll give each group a turn to answer first.”

The bus began to quiet down as many strained their ears to hear the first question. “This week’s Parsha, Massei, starts out by listing the travel stops that the Jewish people made during the forty years in the desert. Starting with bunk Alef: How many places are mentioned?” A flurry of hats appeared above the high seats. Shloimy picked one of the waving caps. “Mottel, what’s the answer?” “Forty-two!” “Excellent! One point for Alef! Bunk Beis: On which date did the Jews leave from Ramses in Mitzrayim?” A few hats went up. He called on one hat waver. “Leibel?” “The fifteenth of Nissan.” “Good answer! One point for Beis.” Shloimy continued the quiz until the bus pulled up to its destination. Not all of the questions had been answered. “Okay, the quiz is on hold. If anyone thinks of the answer to any of the unanswered questions, tell it to me privately on the way back, and I’ll credit your bunk with a point.” Shloimy had noticed that the boys had easily answered the questions that involved straight Chumash and Rashi. They did not however seem to be aware of the Chassidishe insights on those p’sukim. Questions like “Why are the resting stops called travels instead of stops?” or “Why is ‘travels’ plural if it only took the first journey to get out of Mitzrayim?” were beyond them. Shloimy resolved to mention this to the learning

director; maybe he could include the Chassidishe Parsha in the learning program. As the boys got off the bus and went bunk by bunk into the power station, the sky was getting darker, and the air was getting heavier. Shloimy could even detect a distant rumble of thunder. It hadn’t been a bad idea after all to exchange whitewater rafting for an indoor trip. Hopefully the campers would think so too and maybe the power plant would even turn out to be interesting. By the end of the hour-long tour, the boys were so fascinated that they kept the guide an extra half hour answering their questions. He was happy to comply and appreciated their interest. Afterwards, the boys were free to look at the explanatory exhibits in the large entrance foyer. One of the older campers, Avremy, came over to Shloimy. “Can I talk to you about the quiz now?” he asked. “Sure! Did you figure out some answers?” “Well, as the man was telling us about how the power plant sends electricity to transfer stations, where the electricity is either boosted or weakened, and then sent to the next transfer station and so on, until it reaches your house, it gave me an idea how to answer your Parsha questions.” “Really?” “Well, you asked why the Torah says ‘These are the travels of B’nei Yisroel with which they went out of Mitzrayim.’ ‘Travels’ is used rather than rest-stops, because just like by the electricity transfer station, even though there is a purpose in the electricity being there, it is important to send it on to the next part of the journey. The same with the Jews in the desert: although each stop was important, it was not the end of the journey.” “Very good, Avremy!”

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“I was thinking…” “What were you thinking, Avremy?” “Well, I heard once that the Baal Shem Tov said that each Jew goes through forty-two spiritual journeys. Maybe there’s a message here; that each time you get somewhere, you still have another journey ahead.” “Exactly, and the Rebbe explains that no matter how high you’ve reached, there’s still higher to go.” “But I still don’t know the answer to the other question: Why does the Pasuk refer to ‘travels’ from Mitzrayim in plural?” “It’s because each time you get to a new level, you have left behind your Mitzrayim, but now the new level is like Mitzrayim for you, so each of the journeys is truly an exit from Mitzrayim.” “I think I get it. So if I work on learning Chumash of Chitas regularly and I succeed, I shouldn’t just stop at that, but try to learn Tanya of Chitas next, and when that becomes comfortable, it’s time to add one perek Rambam. Is that the message?” “Something like that. One more point, though. The Rebbe points out that even the stops which did not seem to turn out well were part of the journey to the ultimate goal. In life, too, sometimes we seem to be going backwards. That too is part of the journey forward, so don’t give up; keep on going.” “I suppose it’s like the electric transfer stations; the electricity has to keep moving on, whether the voltage is increased or decreased at that particular station, until it gets to its ultimate destination.” “And may we get to ours, speedily!” cried Shloimy. “The bus is about to leave!!” And they ran through the rain and jumped onto the bus, ready for the next part of the journey.
The lesson in the fictional story above is based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. 23, pp. 224-228.

Issue 842 • �  



everyone is currently speaking about “quotas.” It would be appropriate to recall the holy position of the rebbe on this matter, combining absolute and indisputable adherence to the values of torah study, while taking a real good look at the reality of the situation, without any political consideration or interests.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

The Kadima Party’s election campaign is off and running with full force, all the way to the ballot box. This time their excuse is the ultra-Orthodox, who managed last year to escape the wrath of mass demonstrations – but not for long. This summer’s protests have been far more intense, and you can see the fire in the eyes of the demonstrators. They are demanding that all yeshiva students be subject to compulsory military service, asserting that Israel’s melting pot makes no distinctions among its citizens. They apparently have no concept of an eighteen-year old yeshiva student, entering his second year of yeshiva g’dola, totally immersed in the Talmudic teachings of Abayei and Rava. They can’t imagine how far his inner world is from the world of those young recruits arriving at the induction center at Tel HaShomer. Yet, they are determined to draft them, no matter the price.

The protesters are not the slightest bit interested in the real draft dodgers – the ones in Tel Aviv. Furthermore, they don’t care about the hard evidence showing that the army programs geared for the ultra-Orthodox communities are filled to capacity. On the other hand, it seems that this approach is driving a wedge within Israeli society, causing deep resentment within the ultra-Orthodox community towards the citizenry at-large and contributing nothing towards a compromise on this most painful subject. It’s a pity that the two sides don’t implement the position of the Rebbe on this front-burner issue. Decades ago, the Rebbe responded to the growing demand made of the ultra-Orthodox community to become active partners on the war front. The Rebbe averred that Torah study represents the most important of values, and those yeshiva students who devote their time to its study should not

ch”v be forced into army service. However, those who do not attend regular yeshiva programs cannot exempt themselves from their military obligations [in the words of the famous saying of our Sages, of blessed memory, “Who says that your blood is redder? Perhaps his blood is redder?”] Everyone is currently speaking about “quotas” and the ultra-Orthodox also admit that conditions must be created to enable those who don’t learn Torah full-time to fulfill their duty to the country. It would therefore be appropriate to recall the holy opinion of the Rebbe on this matter, combining absolute and indisputable adherence to the values of Torah study, while taking a real good look at the reality of the situation, without any political consideration or interests.

The recent saga began with the Kadima Party’s entry into

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the government. It declared that its sole objective in joining the coalition was the forcible conscription of the ultraOrthodox into the army, or at the very least, the imposition of stiff and far-reaching economic sanctions. The timing couldn’t have been better for the Kadima Party, just prior to the expiration of the Tal Law, upon which the ultra-Orthodox had been depending in recent years. Under the existing legislation, yeshiva students are permitted to continue their Torah studies until the age of twenty-eight, provided that they declare Torah study as their “vocation,” i.e., they have no other source of professional income. In ninety-nine percent of the cases, when a Torah scholar reaches the age of twentyeight, he is already married with children, and is thereby no longer suitable for regular army duty. Thus, only someone who really wanted to join the IDF could enlist. The current arrangement essentially grants an all-inclusive

“exemption” students.




No politician has been able to guarantee a “glatt kosher” army program for the young ultraOrthodox inductee, appropriate for his spiritual and religious world. On the contrary, just last year, the headlines reported on the tumult caused when female singers performed for IDF soldiers. The religious servicemen were forced to partake in this immodest production, which also included female soldiers dancing on the stage, against all principles of tznius. This was not an isolated occurrence. Every religious soldier who has joined the IDF can tell you about countless incidents where he faced a serious conflict between his spiritual world and the rigid military establishment. The army prides itself on harsh discipline, and it doesn’t even try to understand the vantage point of the religious soldier.

These trials take place on a day-to-day basis: courses run by female soldiers, mixed singing, military assignments under female commanders. Army meetings between men and women are a standard procedure, and military service is conducted jointly. Now, take Avremele from B’nei Brak and place him on the military base at Tzrifin with half of his company comprised of women who aren’t necessarily stringent about keeping the limits of modesty.... Along with the issue of tznius, there are numerous other challenges accompanying the religious soldier and his lifestyle at every step of the way. For example, the army has to ask itself: Is it prepared to kasher all of its kitchens at a level befitting the ultra-Orthodox community? Will it erect mikvaos on all IDF bases? Will the daily times for communal prayer be set in accordance with the soldier’s spiritual needs (not merely the minimum obligations for a soldier

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who somehow manages to daven under the strict limitations of a ticking clock, as prevails today)? Only after the IDF announces that it’s ready to accept ultraOrthodox recruits and adapt itself to the needs of the chareidi community, can they can start discussing conscription “quotas.” In the meantime, it seems that even the national religious community, whose sons became the flag-bearers for service on the battlefield, has failed to reach any understanding with the army regarding the needs of the religious soldier. The public relations storm created by the IDF “girls’ chorus” was not due to ultra-Orthodox soldiers, but the national religious soldiers – those who lead the charge during every war or military operation and bear the torch of the army’s morale and motivation. Therefore, if the IDF isn’t smart enough to consider their needs, what will happen when tens of thousands of young chareidim flood the training camp in Nitzan? a year ago, they were screaming solidarity and spoke about a just and united society. Does anyone honestly think that after such a campaign of hatred, in which they incited one sector against another, we can possibly live together? Where’s all the talk about the Israeli melting pot available for all – and how we are all one society? It is most regrettable that specifically during “Bain HaM’tzarim”, the three weeks when the Jewish People commemorate the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash caused by baseless hatred, those same voices of divisiveness are again reawakened. They ignore the fact that the IDF neither needs nor is interested in most yeshiva students, and anyone who is suitable for military service quickly finds himself in one of the recently created programs for ultra-Orthodox recruits. would he deal with his children’s education? The Rebbe MH”M: For a child to go to cheider, he already has to be four years old. Thus, when these kollel students go out … until the child turns four, when they will start thinking about his education – he will be able to serve as a rav on a moshav, etc.” Another point: Every concept must be according to the ways of nature – and since there’s a great deal of noise, and they’re afraid of yeshiva students being drafted – this is a chance to invalidate the claims, the confusion, etc. They claim that those who watch on the borders serve for three years and are released afterwards. Thus, when they tell them that the yeshiva trains and sends out teachers who go out to the kibbutzim, settlements, and development towns – this invalidates all the claims and confusion. This is perhaps the reason why Chabad Chassidim don’t feel the firestorm over the issue of army induction as strongly the overall ultra-Orthodox does. Every Chabad Tamim knows that the question is not whether to remain secluded within one’s own Dalet Amos or to go out and fight in the trenches. The main question is: How do I join in helping my fellow Jew? We’re not talking merely about some excuse; this is the real reason. We truly feel a sense of partnership in the fate of the Jewish People in Eretz Yisroel and throughout the world, and therefore, we believe that it is forbidden to cause harm to the students of our holy Torah; but as soon as it becomes possible for our students to leave the yeshiva world, they will be the first ones to do their part for the sake of humanity.

The Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, already foresaw that the day would come when we could no longer avoid the question of military induction. The Rebbe tried to propose an idea that would save the ultraOrthodox community from charges of draft dodging and provide a real contribution to the People of Israel. This happened when the Gerer Rebbe shlita visited the Rebbe MH”M on the 24th of Iyar 5737. During their conversation, the Rebbe demanded that kollel students should be sent out to Israeli cities and trained as teachers, thereby bringing real change to many of these places where there were no practicing rabbis. The Gerer Rebbe: The problem is that it’s difficult to send out an avreich, as how

The recent crisis would have been totally unnecessary, were it not for the interference of all the outside political considerations. It all began with the fervent desire of Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz to join the government, for which he needed a good excuse – and what better excuse than hatred of the ultra-Orthodox? He utilized the zeal and passion of the unproductive summer protests, but instead of emphasizing last year’s call for social justice, they needed a more interesting pretext to whet everyone’s appetite... The problem was that those leading the charge into battle had already forgotten that only

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