This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
featured articles WeeKlY cOluMNs
tHree VitaMiNs: a, B, c – aHaVa, BitacHON, cHaiM
uP lOOse 18 tYiNGBer Crombie eNds Sholom
27 a cHaiN Of Miracles Nosson Avraham
lOOK 30 HOW tO JeW at a fellOW
Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz
4 14 34 36 40 42
D’var Malchus Farbrengen Parsha Thought Memoirs Crossroads Young Chassid
Beis Moshiach (USPS 012-542) ISSN 1082-0272 is published weekly, except Jewish holidays (only once in April and October) for $160.00 in Crown Heights. USA $180.00. All other places for $195.00 per year (45 issues), by Beis Moshiach, 744 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409. Periodicals postage paid at Brooklyn, NY and additional offices. Postmaster: send address changes to Beis Moshiach 744 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409. Copyright 2012 by Beis Moshiach, Inc. Beis Moshiach is not responsible for the content and Kashruth of the advertisements.
744 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409 Tel: (718) 778-8000 Fax: (718) 778-0800 email@example.com www.beismoshiach.org EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: M.M. Hendel HEBREW EDITOR: Rabbi S.Y. Chazan editorH@beismoshiach.org ENGLISH EDITOR: Boruch Merkur firstname.lastname@example.org
A BLESSING AND A CURSE? BUT NOTHING NEGATIVE DESCENDS FROM ABOVE!
If, G-d forbid, it comes out as the opposite of a blessing, the person is plagued with doubts. But this potential outcome is forewarned by the statement, “Behold, I give…a blessing and a curse.” * With the power of hiskashrus to the Rebbe, one comes to recognize that everything that comes from Above is actually entirely good. then, even the curses are transformed into blessings.
Translated by Boruch Merkur
THE REBBE IS A HUNTER OF JEWISH SOULS
The physicality of the body itself necessitates that one must contend with his animalistic nature, giving rise to the challenge of transforming the animal within into a beheima tehora, a pure or kosher animal. It says in K’hillas Yaakov that “beheima (animal)” is an acronym for “basar ha’yored min ha’shamayim – flesh that descends from the heavens,” in which case it is certainly pure, for “nothing impure descends from Heaven,” as our Sages say in Sanhedrin 59b. [Since our animalistic nature stems from a G-dly source, it can therefore be transformed into a “pure animal.”] According to Jewish law,
the kashrus of birds may not be determined strictly by simanim, characteristics common to all kosher animals of that kind. Rather, there must be a tradition, a mesora, accepting a particular species of foul as being kosher (Shulchan Aruch – Yoreh Deia 82:3, end). At first glance, after a tradition is established, one can detect which signs are required and know that the bird is kosher on his own [i.e., without relying on tradition]. The fact is, though, that we cannot rely upon our own logical deduction. We can study Shulchan Aruch and conduct ourselves in a manner that goes beyond the letter of the law, and yet [if we rely on human intellect alone we may] still be steeped in the depths of hell. There must be a mesora, a tradition. Indeed, “mesora”
also means “mesira – given over to, dedicated, devoted” and “hiskashrus – connected to, bound up with,” hiskashrus to the Rebbe. And the Rebbe is a hunter. (See Chulin 63b: “‘Ne’eman ha’tzayid lomar ‘oif zeh tahor, masar li rabbi…’” – “A hunter is believed when he says, ‘My master transmitted to me that this bird is kosher.’ Said Rebbi Yochanan: provided that he is an expert in them and their names … Does ‘master’ mean ‘a master in learning’ or ‘a master in hunting’? … it means ‘a master in hunting (rabbo tzayid)’” – cited in Rambam’s Laws of Forbidden Foods 1:15 and Tur Shulchan Aruch – Yoreh Deia 82:2). The Rebbe is a hunter occupied with saving Jewish souls. He is an expert in Jewish souls and their names, an expert in [detecting and foiling] the [seductive] advice of the Evil Inclination.
HOW TO HEAR A BRACHA FROM THE REBBE AND SEE THE BLESSING UNFOLD
And this is the meaning of “Behold, I give…the blessing and the curse,” which is said by Moshe, as well as the “manifestation of Moshe in every generation”: It can be the
4 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
case that one hears a bracha, a blessing, from the Rebbe and the blessing is fulfilled. In that case, the person sees that the Rebbe is indeed a Rebbe, causing the person to be mekushar, bound and devoted to the Rebbe. But if, G-d forbid, it comes out the other way, the opposite of a blessing, the person is plagued with doubts. But this outcome is forewarned by the statement, “Behold, I give…a blessing and a curse,” providing a heads-up from the outset that circumstances can also turn out to be the opposite of a blessing. The verse specifies, “I give – Anochi nosein,” indicating that just as there is a concept of “Anochi – I” Above, alluding to [the transcendent G-dly emanation called] Kesser (Likkutei Torah 34d), “Anochi mi sh’Anochi – I am as I am.” So too with regard to the soul, there is the concept of “Anochi,” referring to the Yechida [the highest dimension of the soul, which is associated with the “Moshe in every generation”]. How can a curse be given from the lofty level of “Anochi” [from Moshe Rabbeinu himself, from the Rebbe, when “nothing impure descends from Heaven”]? It is possible that it is in order that one should suffer a lesser sentence [in this world, rather than a much more severe punishment in the World to
The Rebbe is a hunter occupied with saving Jewish souls. He is an expert in Jewish souls and their names, an expert in detecting and foiling the seductive advice of the Evil Inclination.
Come]. (See Igeres HaT’shuva Ch. 12.) Another possibility is that if it is indeed manifest in this manner [as an apparent curse], then he shall come to the Rebbe – whether it is to the Ohel or by means of a pidyon, or in some other manner – and tell the Alm-ghty through the Rebbe, “I accept it upon myself.” If he should say these words, he will have fulfilled his obligation with that alone, as Rashi z”l says, “‘the blessing’ – on condition that ‘you listen.’” If the person listens and accepts it upon himself, then the case is that “He gives to you the blessing.” It also states in Likkutei Torah of the Arizal, on the verse, “‘Let him offer his cheek to the one who smites him; let him be filled with reproach’ (Eicha 3:30), that when he “offers his cheek” to receive the blow, he is “filled with reproach” [the reproach of humbling himself by presenting his cheek to be stricken] and is exonerated thereby from the blow itself. Or, as it is explained in Igeres HaKodesh at the end of Ch. 11, the truth is that the curses are
also blessings. In fact, they are such great blessings that they can only be manifest as the opposite of blessings. That is, in order that these blessings should not be subject to the evil eye nor subject to any accusation of the Attribute of Judgment. It is also in line with what is brought in Moed Katan (9b) and elucidated in Likkutei Torah, Parshas B’Chukosai, maamer beginning with the words “B’Shivri.” And with the power of hiskashrus to the Rebbe, one comes to recognize that everything that comes from Above is actually entirely good. Then, the curses are transformed into blessings, and he clearly sees that the Rebbe is present in all the worlds, even more so than during the Rebbe’s lifetime in this world (Zohar III 71b, elucidated in Tanya – Igeres HaKodesh siman Zach, 22), the true perfection of which will be apparent soon in the complete redemption, and the Rebbe will lead us to Moshiach, amen.
(From the farbrengen of Shabbos Parshas R’ei 5710; the original Yiddish transcript was edited by the Rebbe)
TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!
ADD IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS
Issue 846 • �
A, B, C
The day a child moves from elementary school to high school is one of the most challenging. It’s a major transition from childhood to the demanding life of “bachur-hood.” It’s at this point that many parents make fateful mistakes. * How can a parent be sure that his child is registered in the yeshiva that is right for him? * Do parents know what is best for their child? * Are tutors an effective solution? * With the new school year around the corner, Beis Moshiach spoke with four mashpiim and mechanchim. * Although we talked with educators from Eretz Yisroel, the points mentioned apply to Chabad parents around the world. * Sadly, one of the participants and a regular contributor to Beis Moshiach, Reb Chaim Ashkenazi, was since taken from us at a relatively young age. May his words and memory be for the ultimate blessing, that all of us join in learning in the yeshiva of Melech HaMoshiach.
AHAVA, BITACHON, (SIMCHAS) CHAIM
Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi a”h
Former mashpia in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim Ohr Yehuda
Rabbi MM Wechter
Mashpia, Nachalat Har Chabad
Rabbi Y.Y. Levkivker
Menahel, Chabad elementary school in Tzfas
Rabbi Zalman Notik
Mashpia, Yeshivas Toras Emes, Yerushalayim
6 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
School will be starting soon. Hundreds of bachurim will be entering high school. How can parents be sure that they registered their children in the right yeshiva? R’ Ashkenazi: There is no guarantee. We can only hope and trust in Hashem that we, as parents, did what we had to do. Nevertheless, how do you make the decision? You can consult with the teacher or menahel ruchni, who know the student and know the yeshivos out there. Ask them what would be suitable for this student. Before buying a suit or hat, you check the child’s size; all the more so should we check his “size” before registering him in yeshiva. R’ Levkivker: Parents, who know their children after seeing their progress over many years, attending parent-teacher meetings, and hearing that their children are mastering the material (not necessarily excelling), are sure that their children should attend a regular mesivta. They must still be very careful as their children make the transition to high school. As for those parents who know that their child displayed a desire for freedom and was not that interested in learning, and they heard from teachers who said their child was not mastering the material (whether because of their inability or other reasons) – all this ought to be a red light. They definitely have to think twice before registering their son, in order to ensure that the school is right for him. In addition to thinking it through for themselves, they need to speak to the child’s teachers and, if necessary, with professionals. What percentage of boys
Rabbi MM Wechter
If teachers would give compliments and make encouraging remarks to children in every area of Torah, Mitzvos and Yiras Shamayim, not just academics, the situation would be ten times better. This is precisely what is meant when the pasuk says, “Educate a child according to his way.”
Did he have friends? Who are his friends? Based on this, a parent can decide where the child should go for high school. If the answers to any of those questions aren’t positive, that would indicate the child is lacking something, for whatever reasons. You need to find out the reasons. Maybe he was offended because he did not get the attention he felt he needed; maybe there are other reasons. This child needs a high school where they will give him attention and meet his needs. R’ Notik: Chazal say a person
would you estimate require that extra degree of investigation? R’ Levkivker: I think 30% of talmidim’s parents need to thoroughly look into the matter with mechanchim and professionals. R’ Wechter: Whenever a child moves up a grade it’s a transition, but the move from elementary school to high school is very significant and parents have to think carefully about what best suits their child. How did the child do in elementary school? Did he fit in? Was he happy?
Issue 846 • �
should learn where his heart desires. Even if he’s still a child and can’t take all the factors into account, he still has an inner sense of what he needs. There’s a child who feels he needs a warm place and it’s important for parents to know this. For other children, the routine and discipline are more important. You cannot rely only on the child, a thirteen year old, and of course the decision is the parents’ to make, but they should make this decision together with the child. This will give him the feeling that they aren’t dictating to him, but are taking his needs into consideration. Why should parents consult with the staff or professionals when they know best what suits their child? R’ Levkivker: There is a letter from the Rebbe in which he says (Igros Kodesh vol. 9, p 287): You write about …sh’yichyeh, and a place to learn for the coming z’man. In matters such as these, you should consult with his teachers who encounter him every day and take what they say into account. This is because they see the boy when he is learning and when he is with his classmates, and they see objectively, unlike parents who, because of their paternal love for their children, are suspected of looking at them not as they really are. Since parents want what is really best for their child, and for the longterm and not just temporary good, obviously it is worthwhile giving up certain things for the child, as long as he goes on the straight path for days and years to come … The Rebbe tells us parents that we have a problem seeing our children’s difficulties objectively. It is natural (and this is as it should be) for us to look at our children in a positive light, but this can prevent us from seeing other things. Obviously, we can’t afford to ignore or cover over problems that need to be addressed. A teacher, on the other hand, is not biased. A Poilishe tzaddik was once asked why the Halacha is such that relatives are invalid witnesses. To say they are disqualified to speak up in their defense is understandable, as they are subjective, but why shouldn’t they be able to testify against a relative? The tzaddik answered, “It says regarding testimony ‘and the two men shall stand.’ The first qualification is that the witness be a mentch!” As parents, it is hard for us to see our children’s shortcomings, since a shortcoming in our children is interpreted by us as our own failing. Parents don’t spend six hours a day learning with their child, and they are not familiar with the classroom environment and how their child fits in. Furthermore, even for a parent who learns with his son and reports that the learning went well, this is not an indication of how the child performs in class with friends under the conditions prevalent in school and not at home. R’ Ashkenazi: Many years ago, a couple came to consult with me about their son. I told them my opinion, which was that the child should continue in a Chabad yeshiva where the level was lower than other yeshivos. They did not accept this recommendation and wrote to the Rebbe. Some time later, they came back with an answer from the Rebbe, which said that parents are subjective and can’t make the decision and they should instead speak to the hanhala and present their perspective. Then they should do as the hanhala says. Usually parents begin by saying: I know there are parents who only see the good in their children, but I’m not like that. My son is really good. Yes, he might be a good boy but the question is: what should be done so he grows up to be a good bachur? Parents cannot decide on their own. They might be afraid of how a decision they make now will affect the chinuch of their younger children, or they might be afraid a decision will adversely affect shidduchim for older siblings or the child himself, or they might be afraid their son will be considered second-rate. Of course, we need to ask Hashem and the Rebbe to guide the hanhala and the parents. R’ Wechter: There are some important reasons why parents cannot make the decision about the right yeshiva for their son on their own. Parents see the good side, because a person is close to himself and does not see his weaknesses. We know ourselves and we are never comfortable putting problems on the table, so to speak. We prefer avoiding them. Also, there are many things on parents’ minds and they are not looking for additional problems. Until the problems are staring them in the face, they will be preoccupied with other problems that are more urgent. So the simplest solution is to push them away until it’s too late. Professionals tend to be more objective. They also have more time to look into this because this is their job. This makes their perspective more accurate and legitimate. Another advantage that professionals have is they are
8 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
more savvy and experienced. There are signs that only a professional notices, like a doctor who diagnoses a problem based on symptoms that he is familiar with. An ordinary person wouldn’t even notice the symptoms. R’ Notik: The pasuk says, T’shua B’Rov Yo’etz – salvation comes after doing a lot of consulting. When there are more opinions from more people who know the child, then you are more likely to make the right decision in the child’s best interest. There are parents who prefer putting their son into a regular program, figuring that if it doesn’t work out well for him, they will switch him to another school. Is this a good idea? R’ Levkivker: A boy who starts in one high school, and after a while realizes that it’s not the place for him, will have a much harder time switching schools, both because it’s hard to start over with new friends and because of the feeling of failure. This can lead to trouble. When a boy graduates elementary school, it’s not just a matter of being promoted to the next grade. When a child goes up a grade, he has hopes and expectations that the new year will be different. But when moving on to high school, the hopes and expectations are that much greater, because it’s a completely different setting and, to a certain extent, a new life. You have to be very careful to avoid a situation in which the child won’t believe in himself, especially at this complex age when failure can take on disproportionate significance. R’ Ashkenazi: Let’s not forget that as the child grows older, if there are problems, they will grow
Rabbi Y.Y. Levkivker
It is like buying a hat that is too big and covers his eyes. When a person goes out with a hat that covers his eyes, he will bump into things and fall and hurt himself. That is just what happens when you put a child into the wrong yeshiva.
Add to this the frustration the boy will feel when his peers are learning and he lags behind, especially when he will get comments from the mashgichim and teachers. The staff will ask – why is this talmid in this yeshiva when we don’t have anything to offer him? Sadly, this is the reason the street is full of talmidim who
along with him, as will the gap between him and his peers. Even if he was a quiet boy all the years, that is no guarantee that he will be a quiet bachur. This is a sure way for him to end up out on the street. We can’t assume that if a child continues to learn in a regular program, then everything will work out. This is a ticking bomb.
Issue 846 • �
have dropped out, because they did not find their place in yeshiva and they left in frustration. They imagined that on the street they would be equal (especially today, when the street is accessible and the atmosphere is about how equal they all are; a child who doesn’t think he’s on par will look for a place where he is). Putting a boy into an unsuitable yeshiva is like buying a hat that is too big and covers his eyes. When a person goes out with a hat that covers his eyes, he will bump into things and fall and hurt himself. That is just what happens when you put a child into the wrong yeshiva. As such, parents need to know that the bulk of the responsibility rests upon them, even though they are inclined to blame the hanhala of the yeshiva their son dropped out of. R’ Notik: Experience has shown that talmidim who went to regular programs when they needed something special (which a regular yeshiva won’t provide) sustained great damage that was hard to rectify. R’ Wechter: If we analyze the question, behind the idea is the fear of the shame the boy might feel if he learns in a yeshiva that is different than his friends. Therefore, maybe we ought to put him in a regular yeshiva. But that is a grave mistake. We are talking about a boy for whom this yeshiva is unsuitable and sooner or later, he will have to leave. That will be shameful. At every stage, you have to think about the past and the future. Before moving on to high school, you have to think about where he will fit in. Experiments such as putting a boy into an unsuitable yeshiva lead to damage and shame. Sometimes, parents want to put their son into a regular program and supplement this with a tutor or encourage their son with prizes. What do you think about this? R’ Notik: Not every parent can stick to this. It requires a lot of effort and consistency. Moreover, a tutor is not the solution, because the boy needs a supportive system throughout the day in yeshiva. There is a disadvantage too in that the boy can feel different than his peers because they all manage without help, while he needs help. R’ Levkivker: If the boy was evaluated and the recommendations state that the yeshiva is not for him, what is the point in trying it? Then again, not everything is black and white and there are some students who are borderline. If their parents make a big effort, and I emphasize, a big effort, because it demands nonstop involvement and encouragement, then you can consider it. However, when the recommendation is unequivocal, they need to accept it. R’ Wechter: This is a question that many parents think about. You need to remember a very basic thing; if the boy is not a fit for this yeshiva, then tutoring won’t help him. This is because tutoring is for someone who basically fits in but needs some help. However, aside from the learning there are so many other factors, such as the atmosphere is not suitable, a lack of attention, etc. There is talk about having special programs within the existing yeshivos. What do you think? R’ Levkivker: The question is only theoretical. In my opinion though, if the yeshivos would do that, it would be wonderful. Just as there are additional programs in elementary schools, we need the same for high schools. Practically speaking though, it’s not going to happen too soon. Yeshivos cannot open a separate program for a few boys, but it is the obligation of roshei yeshiva to try to incorporate such programs. The time has come to stop ignoring the existing problems; we must address them! We’re not talking about problem bachurim from the aspect of Yiras Shamayim; on the contrary, these boys, in the right yeshiva, would stand out for their Yiras Shamayim. R’ Notik: If only the regular yeshivos could take boys with needs like these and help them within the existing framework! We can compare it to a suit store that only has a few sizes. Someone who is either much bigger or much smaller won’t be able to buy a suit. Stores like these should have a tailor who will adjust a suit to your size. This is the view of the Rebbe that special programs should not be separate, but should include talmidim within existing schools. Will a child who needs a program that is different than that of the standard one offered by a regular yeshiva be insulted that less is being demanded of him? Won’t he, just by being in such a program, feel like a failure and second rate among his peers and even in his family? R’ Wechter: On the contrary, a person feels second rate when he is different than others while being in the same environment. When a child is in a yeshiva that is not suitable for him, that’s what breaks him. In a regular yeshiva, he has to constantly deal with feelings of inferiority, because the other boys are always better
10 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
than him. He doesn’t understand the material. His self-confidence takes a plunge. When a talmid cannot keep up with the pace of the yeshiva, he will look for some other place where he feels good, i.e. the street. But if he is in a program that suits him, he will be able to develop according to his abilities. It will make no difference what the learning level is. Since it’s a program that is constructed to meet his needs, he will feel good. This is where he will grow and build himself up as a Chassid and Yerei Shamayim, and then there is a chance that he will continue in yeshiva after high school. It’s true that the initial decision to put him in a yeshiva like this is hard, but only good will come out of it. It’s easier to decide to send him to a regular yeshiva, but afterward, problems will crop up. R’ Levkivker: No. If the goal of the yeshiva was explained to the boy, and the boy knows himself, and he knows that the only difference between this yeshiva and other yeshivos is in the academic load, and that the level of Yiras Shamayim is no less than that in other yeshivos and is even more, not only won’t he feel hurt, he will be proud. As for peers and siblings, the decision to learn in another sort of program should be made after consulting with professionals who know yeshivos. If they think the chances of fitting in to a regular high school are slim, this has to be taken under serious consideration. Yes, it can be hard explaining this to a child, but the child himself knows he is not able to sit an entire day and learn the way he would be expected to learn in a regular program. When a child knows that
Rabbi Zalman Notik
As the Rebbe said, our generation is Ikvisa d’Meshicha; you can tolerate a too-small garment but too-small shoes are unbearable. This generation, which is compared to the heel, cannot be pressured.
successful rather than try and succeed in areas where he will be disappointed. As for his siblings, parents need to convey the idea that just as there is a Minister of the Treasury and a Foreign Minister and a Defense Minister, and the Foreign Minister is not the Minister of the Treasury, not because he is not as smart but because this is his area of expertise, so too with children. Each child is smart and successful in different ways. R’ Ashkenazi: Parents need to value every child, even one who is not the biggest scholar or the most diligent when it comes to learning. Parents are afraid that if their child goes to a different
he will be attending a yeshiva program that will encourage him to learn and achieve and will strengthen his Yiras Shamayim, and he will be able to attend posthigh school yeshiva programs, this will encourage him. This is the goal: to help the child progress so that he will be able to continue in yeshiva g’dola/beis midrash. R’ Notik: This is a very important point for parents to take note of. Upon directing a child to a yeshiva where learning ability is not required, the child needs to know that it is not because he is second rate; on the contrary. Because the parents know their child and his talents in other areas, they want him to derive the maximum in those areas where he is
Issue 846 • �
kind of yeshiva, it will negatively affect the chinuch of the rest of their children. R’ Ashkenazi: And if the oldest boy goes off the derech, that won’t adversely affect his siblings? We are not talking here about a choice between a yeshiva that will teach him to be a rosh yeshiva versus a yeshiva where he will grow to be a balabus. We are talking about the child’s soul! Will he remain with us or, G-d forbid, will we lose him? R’ Levkivker: When parents conclude that their child needs a different sort of program, these sorts of fears have no place. If there is a chance that a younger child will fall, does this mean we can allow the older one to definitely fall?! R’ Wechter: This question and the previous ones that parents ask are an attempt to avoid the problem. Each one says it in different words, but it’s all the same thing. An important principle to remember when it comes to chinuch is that a child must know that not everything in life goes easily or automatically. There are problems in the world, serious ones, and that’s the way of the world. There is no perfection and no “smooth rides.” This is an opportunity to show the child a lesson in life. If we address the problems and look for solutions, the child will learn that this is how you deal with problems; you don’t avoid them. We cannot ignore problems, because they will get worse. They don’t resolve themselves. What about the family’s reputation? R’ Notik: The family’s honor? That sounds like something taken from our Arab cousins. Parents need to understand that what is truly important is what is good for their child and not their personal honor. The greatest damage in chinuch occurs when the father makes decisions based on his honor. He wants his child to daven so that people will say that the children of so-and-so daven. If we want successful children, we must address their needs and not our position of respect in the community. R’ Ashkenazi: I once heard from a (non-Chabad) rosh yeshiva who is also a successful psychologist about some bachurim whose parents are highly respected people in their community, which is why they sent their kids to learn in a prestigious yeshiva. But the boys dropped out. They said – some of them while standing under the chuppa – that they would never forgive their parents for the pressure they exerted on them. This foolish pride is paid for in kids who end up on the street. Then the parents are shocked and full of complaints: Why do their children look and act that way when they have such beautiful Torah’dig/Chassidishe homes? One of the main reasons is the pressure exerted on the children. Today, children cannot be forced to eat or to learn. Our generation is not made for pressure. As the Rebbe said, our generation is Ikvisa d’Meshicha; you can tolerate a too-small garment but too-small shoes are unbearable. This generation, which is compared to the heel, cannot be pressured. R’ Levkivker: I’ve met parents who were nervous about their family reputation. We need to remember this: Chinuch is a Mitzva d’Oraisa (scriptural commandment); a father must teach his son. The family reputation is not even a D’Rabbanan (rabbinic ordinance)… And you can well imagine what sort of reputation a family will have if a child of theirs ends up on the street. Parents – Do what is best for your child! It is painful to have to say this, but it is horrifying to see children put in yeshivos that are inappropriate for them because of family honor. What are the chances of a boy who learns in a special program eventually joining a regular program? R’ Wechter: As I said earlier, when a child is in a program that is appropriate for him, he has a chance of mainstreaming later on, but there is no definitive answer. One thing is clear though: the earlier a bachur attends a yeshiva like this, the higher the chances that he will attend a regular yeshiva later on. R’ Notik: When there is a warm relationship, the bachur can make so much progress that he will achieve things he never thought he could achieve and eventually go to zal/beis midrash. These might be bachurim who are bright, but who can’t or won’t sit and learn. When they are in a program tailored to them, they are given the opportunity to develop diligence over time and to develop their talents. There is no question that after a while, they can switch to a regular yeshiva. R’ Levkivker: It must be emphasized that specifically through a special learning program the chances are much higher that a boy will grow to be a Tamim who can go to zal/beis midrash, where the structure is not as rigid as it can be in high school. Why is there an association made between weak academic abilities and weakness in Yiras Shamayim? R’ Notik: It wasn’t like
12 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
that in the past. In the Seifer HaZichronos it tells about Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi a”h bachurim who were not at all bright, and yet they had yiras Shamayim that was even greater than that of the scholars. Why isn’t it that way today? The answer lies in the situation today in which in an elementary school class you have a group of students, some of whom are bright and some of whom are not. The teacher feels that it is his job to teach the material in the best possible way. The group of bright students is treated differently by the teacher; they are praised. Alas, there are also students in the classroom whose academic abilities are not their strong point, but they are strong in Ahavas Yisroel, in niggunim, in Yiras Shamayim, etc. Usually, this group is not of particular interest to the teacher, since he is hired to teach material. The message conveyed is that a child is only considered a success when it comes to learning. The non-academic talmid thinks, if he doesn’t stand But the boys dropped out. They said – some of a chance academically, he is not a success. He gains his feelings of them while standing under the chuppa – that self worth from those boys who are not behaving as they should. they would never forgive their parents for the pressure This is the number one cause for they exerted on them. kids dropping out. The story is told about a rosh yeshiva who gave compliments to be ten times better. This is precisely be loved; he has to be shown that he certain talmidim even for how they what is meant when the pasuk says, is worth a lot. Education needs to dressed. The staff didn’t go for this “Educate a child according to his be tailored to the individual without at all. To their surprise, the rosh way.” compromising an iota on Yiras yeshiva told them he prefers that a Shamayim and Chassidus. Bachurim need three vitamins: bachur hear a compliment like that R’ Wechter: “Chanoch L naar Al ’ Vitamin A – Ahava (love) and from him than from people on the Emuna (belief) on the part of his Pi Darko” is what is missing today. street. Interestingly, these bachurim parents and teachers in a talmid’s *** developed into big talmidei hidden abilities The responses are short due to chachomim. Vitamin B – Bitachon (faith/ space considerations. Every point If teachers would give confidence), which will allow a that was discussed can be elaborated compliments and make encouraging child’s hidden abilities to be revealed upon. But after all the advice, we remarks to children in every area Vitamin C – (Simchas) Chaim – need to remember to daven. “Ask of Torah and Yiras Shamayim, not for mercy from the One to whom joy of life just academics, the situation would R’ Ashkenazi: A talmid needs to wisdom belongs.”
Issue 846 • �
IT’S TIME TO REVIEW YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
By Rabbi Akiva Wagner
n incident was recently brought to my attention that caused me much heartache and aggravation. In the belief that only by identifying the ills that take place in our society are we enabled to cure them, I received permission from one of the parties involved to share it with you, in the hope that you can learn something from it. The one who told it to me stipulated that I change the main
details, to protect the identities of those involved.
WHAT IS YOUR JOB EXACTLY?
A young man, we’ll call him Chaim, moved to a certain city and established a Yeshiva there which he headed (and again, the actual story is NOT about a Rosh Yeshiva, I am merely altering these details to prevent anyone
from being able to guess who it’s really about). Chaim initially ran his Yeshiva single-handedly, managing both the gashmius and the ruchnius. He achieved a large measure of success, as the Yeshiva acquired a sterling reputation. Gradually, as the size of the Yeshiva increased, he found it too difficult to carry the burden alone, and he hired another fellow, Moshe, to help him out. Moshe was to be involved both in administration and in fundraising, but his overall job description was to provide assistance to R’ Chaim, so that he would be able to better carry out his role as head of the Yeshiva. Now, this Moshe was a really talented individual and extremely dedicated to every aspect of the growth of the Yeshiva. He spared neither time nor effort to get positive results. But his style and approach, in many areas, differed drastically from that of
14 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
R’ Chaim. Recently, this started becoming a source of constant friction between them. While both had, unquestionably, the best of intentions and only the good of the Yeshiva in mind, their conclusions were usually on a collision course. This led to the fact that Moshe, in his aim to enhance and improve the Yeshiva, began trying to restrict and tone down Chaim in every way. He felt that Chaim’s style in the running of the Yeshiva was harming his fundraising efforts. It came to the point that Chaim felt that everything that Moshe did diminished his ability to do his job properly, while Moshe felt that if something was not done to restrict Chaim and curtail his authority, then he would not be able to properly fulfill his job. They each felt that they had the right to control what the other did. I personally had a conversation with Moshe (whom I have known quite well for a number of years), and I said to him: “Your claim just doesn’t make any sense (in my humble opinion)! After all, your purpose, your mission, and job description is to help out Chaim. That is the sole reason why you are here. If, in even the smallest way, you’re interfering with him, you are no longer doing your job. “If he is interfering with your job in order to perform his in a better fashion, then that may not be nice or mentchlich etc., and it may not be oisgehalten. But if the opposite takes place, and you’re the one who restricts him, then your whole position loses its legitimacy. It’s nonsensical, ridiculous even, for you in your position to suggest pushing him aside to allow for better performance of your job – which is to assist him! It’s a
contradiction! “Basically, he can’t be curtailed for the benefit of your job, because as soon as that happens, you, for all intents and purposes, don’t have a job. Not that you should be fired. Your job (which is ultimately to help out Chaim) becomes virtually nonexistent!”
additional assistants, namely all of us (and all of them, and anyone else in between). Our “job description” is to help Him by existing, and thus being able to serve as His subjects. And yet, sometimes He gets in the way of our existence. His demands and His way of doing things don’t allow us to do our job properly, i.e., they don’t allow
We indicate out readiness to continue doing our job – which is to enable Him to do His job – so that we can get a shot at being rehired.
us to lead a proper existence (the way we perceive that our existence is meant to be). We get annoyed and frustrated; we get impatient with the restrictions and inconveniences. We may look for loopholes, for ways of getting around the restrictive laws. But, wait a second. Let’s keep things in perspective. Our sole job is to exist, in order to help the Eibeshter be a King (which can only be accomplished by His having subjects who are subservient to Him). It’s nonsensical, ridiculous even, for someone to suggest pushing Him aside to allow for a better existence for oneself, a better performance of one’s job. It’s a contradiction! For our job, our existence, serves only one purpose: to enable G-d to be the King of the world. For example: You’re taking your family to a vacation spot for a week. You (perhaps rightfully) don’t view it as a luxury, but as a necessity. Both you and your rebbetzin had a challenging year, and the break is crucial for your well being. Of course, skipping davening ch”v is not an option. But to find a minyan (let alone a mikva) can pose so
A LOGICAL FALLACY
I’m sure that many of you are thinking: “He can’t fool us this time. We know that it’s not a real story. It’s a made-up mashal, from which he wants to derive some convoluted lesson.” Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this time it IS a true story. The only detail that I modified was when I wrote that I changed all the important details. In actual fact, even the important details are accurate, because it is indeed a story about a Rosh Yeshiva. In fact, I’ll tell exactly where. It’s a story about the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Shel Maala, otherwise known as the Holy One Blessed Be His Name. You see, He used to be running things, and quite effectively, practically single-handedly. With one trusty assistant, Shmo (as in Hu U’Shmo Bilvad), they had everything under perfect control. But this Rosh Yeshiva had plans for expansion for which He wanted, or even needed, outside assistance. Basically, He wanted to be a King. And He couldn’t be a King unless He had subjects. And Shmo didn’t count as a subject. So He decided to hire
Issue 846 • �
many scheduling and logistical challenges that it just doesn’t make sense. It’s not a matter of running after taavos or anything of that sort, ch”v. But you need to live normally, to be able to exist normally. So, essentially, you come to the conclusion that you need to very slightly push aside those rules of Shulchan Aruch that acutely disturb your existence. But this reasoning is faulty. Your existence is not an end to itself, but merely a means to an end. You exist for one purpose: to be battul – subservient – to Hashem, thus enabling Him to fulfill His whim to be a King. Therefore, how can it be possible that your subservience to Hashem should be minimized or compromised in order to allow you to live a more complete existence?! Only if our existence helps Him in His desires is our “job” – our whole existence – justified. (Kabbalas P’nei HaMelech) represents Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim, renewing our commitment to be subservient to Him. This, then, is a time for us to refocus on and re-examine our perspective. The Eibeshter is not here, as a King, in order to provide us with our needs; rather, our existence, and all of the needs for which He provides us, are all in order to enable us to allow Him to experience His Kingship. There was a Chasid of the Frierdike Rebbe, by the name of Yisroel Gottesman (but, because his last name included the name of Hashem in Yiddish, which may not be pronounced, he was known in Beis HaRav as Yisroel Baal Shem). He was originally a Poilishe Chasid, who later became acquainted with the Frierdike Rebbe and subsequently became extremely attached to him. Once, the Frierdike Rebbe had a large crowd awaiting yechidus. However, the Frierdike Rebbe wasn’t feeling well, to such an extent that they had to discontinue the Yechidus in the middle of the schedule and send the rest of the crowd home. This R’ Yisroel, who was amongst those in line, approached the gabbai and began insisting that it’s extremely urgent and crucial that he go in to the Rebbe. The gabbai, sensing the urgency in his tone of voice and knowing the great kiruv that the Frierdike Rebbe would show him, relented and allowed him in for a brief yechidus. R’ Yisroel entered and spent his entire brief yechidus bentching the Rebbe, and wishing him all good things. When he left, the Frierdike Rebbe commented, “Er Hot Mir Mechayeh Geven (he revived me).” In fact, the Frierdike Rebbe felt so much better that he was able to resume the yechidus meetings! For this Chasid, a matter of urgency was not to get some bracha etc. from the Rebbe, but the opposite, to wish all good things to the Rebbe with his whole heart! I’m sure that he had many material and spiritual needs, no less than the rest of us. But they weren’t what he was there for. He was there to show concern for the welfare of the Rebbe. This is also the idea behind what the Maggid said on the Mishna “Ein Omdim LeHispalel Ela Mitoch Koved Rosh.” One’s goal and aim in davening needs to be not the provision of our needs, but rather to provide for Hashem’s needs. Even the provision of our material needs is merely a means to provide for His needs (see Likkutei Sichos Cheilek 23 Matos maaseh, ve’od). Now, as we begin another month of Elul, the month of cheshbon, it is a time for us to re-evaluate our priorities, to understand why we’re here, and to live our lives accordingly. We ought to know that our “job” in life is to exist in order that the Eibeshter may be a King and to fit all the different aspects of our life into that frame. To paraphrase JFK: “Ask not what your Eibeshter can do for you, ask, rather, what you can do for your Eibeshter!” L ’chaim! May we all do our part to be Mekabel P’nei HaMelech while He’s in the field, and may He in turn complete His job and reveal His Kingship throughout the world, through the immediate revelation of Moshiach Tzidkeinu Teikef U’miyad Mamash!!!
From a written farbrengen directed towards Alumni of Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto
TIMELY JOB DESCRIPTIONS
In fact, this is the essence of what Rosh Hashanah is all about: “Malchiyos, Kedei SheTamlichuni Aleichem.” We want the Eibeshter to renew our existence (and that of the whole world, the entire Seder Hishtalshlus), so we declare and renew our commitment to be subservient to Him, to accept upon ourselves the yoke of His Kingship, so that there should be a reason and purpose – a justification – for our continued existence. We indicate out readiness to continue doing our job – which is to enable Him to do His job – so that we can get a shot at being rehired. And this is what begins on Rosh Chodesh Elul, when the King is in the field and we have to greet Him. Greeting Him
16 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
InsIGht Into MARRIAGe
TYING UP LOOSE ENDS
R’ Ami Baram became a baal t’shuva while his wife did not. At first, he tried looking out for himself and formed a circle of couples in a similar situation. Then, he turned this into a successful organization. * “Hiskashrus” has arranged seminars for hundreds of mekuravim. In an interview with Beis Moshiach, R’ Ami Baram talks about couples and their problems, about difficulties and successes, and he has a message for shluchim about their role in guiding couples of varying religious commitments.
Interview by Sholom Ber Crombie Pictures by Kobi Kalmanowitz
n recent years, the Hiskashrus organization has become the place to turn to for couples of divergent degrees of religious commitment. Although the main focus of the organization is organizing seminars and workshops for mekuravim who want to expand their knowledge of Judaism, especially Chabad Chassidus, R’ Ami and his wife Avital specialize in helping couples who find themselves in conflict in the t’shuva process. They have helped dozens of families find a warm and loving
home at Hiskashrus. Many of them tell about a transformation in their personal relationships. The organization has saved many relationships and in some cases, saved the t’shuva process. In classes that he gives to couples with religious gaps between them, he explains that they have to do the work themselves. He can only give them the tools that will help them approach the work in the right way. Ami Baram is aware of the tremendous responsibility he bears. He and his wife have
helped numerous couples in crisis over religious matters. Their experience is put to good use in their workshops. “It is a very complicated subject with many aspects to it,” begins Baram: Generally speaking, there are two stages to this process. In the first stage, the couple does not yet realize that they are in the midst of a process. It takes a couple a long time to realize what is going on. At first, one of them starts to take an interest in Judaism and begins to gradually
18 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
incorporate aspects of a religious lifestyle. Their spouse is sure that it’s a passing fad. For most couples, this goes on for about a year, during which the other spouse rejects the new reality. People say to themselves, “This can’t be,” and “This is not happening to me.” They don’t realize that their spouse is serious and yet they need to get used to the new reality. In the second stage, people begin to realize and accept that there is a new reality, and then they feel that a bomb has
exploded in the house. They suddenly understand that this is not a passing phase, but a way of life that their spouse has decided to adopt and things won’t be the same anymore. At this point, they have to decide what they are going to do about it. The problem that we address is that most couples who find themselves in conflict over one of them getting interested in Judaism feel that they are alone. In the first period they are confused and don’t know that today there are many couples
in the exact same situation. Until they digest the new state of affairs, they experience a significant breakdown in trust towards their spouse. They feel betrayed, as though their spouse has a new relationship – with G-d – and this relationship is more important to the spouse than they are. The tension lies in the spouse feeling marginalized, as the other person focuses his or her attention on the new relationship with Judaism. This has wideranging ramifications in areas
Issue 846 • �
InsIGht Into MARRIAGe
them. The cracks widen. In most cases, either one of them gives in, thereby creating an unhealthy relationship of appeasement and a feeling of sacrifice, which ends up exploding down the road, or they continue living with constant bickering, engendering tension and resentment. The main losers are the children, whose emotional well-being can be adversely affected. What do you mean when you say that those who come to you take a different route? What do you offer them? We have no magical elixir. People come and think we will hand them a solution that will enable them to live in peace. We make it clear that it is they who must do the work, but we provide the wherewithal. First of all, we clarify the situation for them, getting them to look in the mirror, for maybe the first time, and realize what is going on. Once the couple understands their situation, we explain that they need to make a responsible choice. If they don’t want to break up the home and they want to continue living together, they have to know this will take a lot of work and they need to be willing to roll up their sleeves and do it. You can’t force anyone. Nobody does this because they feel forced; it’s their free choice. If a man or woman wants to maintain the relationship, he or she needs to know it is possible. It’s the choice of the couple and they have to be ready to pay the price. This is the purpose of a marital relationship. In a union you need to have feelings towards the other person and to care about them. A spouse who feels threatened does not feel whole and is not capable of taking the other into consideration; a person who
FROM A “MIXED MARRIAGE” TO SEMINARS AROUND THE COUNTRY
When R’ Ami Baram speaks about “mixed marriages,” he is speaking about himself. When he met his wife, neither of them was religious. He started taking an interest in Judaism in their first year of marriage, and the new couple found themselves dealing with big differences between them that hadn’t been there previously. They found other couples like themselves and began spending Shabbos together. Then they went to workshops with psychologists and marriage counselors. Five years ago, they started Hiskashrus together. “We saw that there was nothing out there for people in our situation,” he explains. “Whatever exists out there leans towards one side so that the other spouse always feels marginalized. Take for example shul attendance. It’s no simple thing to bring an irreligious spouse to shul or any other Torah venue. It seems too threatening. I felt I had to create a framework that would be similar to what she was familiar with. To do this, I emphasized the experiential and artistic side of religion. “I brought aspects that she was familiar with from the world of Judaism. Together, we began doing art projects and meditation. The goal was to create a non-threatening atmosphere. We arranged Shabbasos and meals together for couples in the same boat, and it was great.” At first, Hiskashrus addressed couples with religious differences, but the seminars were quickly adapted so they could be open to the public at large. Today, hundreds of mekuravim from all over the country, no matter their outlook, attend the seminars. such as whether or not to go to the beach on Shabbos with the family, where the family can eat out, and which friends to socialize with. Suddenly, life cannot continue as it always did. A spouse feels that their relationship has become of secondary importance for his or her partner. What happens at this point? Those who come to us learn how to take a different route. Those who do not get the proper guidance at this stage find themselves with a growing feeling of distance between
20 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
feels whole in his own space, is capable of giving of himself. He can learn to slowly agree to the new reality and to stop feeling like a victim who gave in just for the other person. How do you explain to someone who never changed anything in his life that he has work to do? When couples come to a workshop, they meet other couples like themselves. This greatly allays the fears of the side that is worried that the whole idea is to gang up on them and pressure them to do t’shuva. We don’t force anything on anyone; we explain that the reality cannot be denied. This is the new state of affairs and choices need to be made. I tell couples, “You can break up and leave.” But if someone came to us, apparently he/she doesn’t want to do this. “If you don’t want to break up, we have many tools that will enable you to
build your home.” That’s the truth. Building a new relationship is a joint decision. They need to acknowledge that what they had is gone. They cannot deny the reality and they need to address the question of: What do we do now? Professional therapists work with the premise that in most instances, when one spouse made this unilateral move and left the other spouse behind, it can be assumed that the couple had a problem previously. At the moment, the problem appears in this form, but the problem was actually there before. If it did
not come up as an interest in Judaism, it would have come up when the husband wanted to go play soccer instead of going on an outing, or when the wife wanted to go out with her friends. However, the difference when it comes to t’shuva is that the friction is greater since it affects all aspects of life, even the smallest. A person who does t’shuva is convinced that everything he does is done in the name of holiness. He is working with the assumption that what he does is fine and the problem is with his spouse who is unwilling to accept the truth.
It’s not because something was taken from me and now I am suffering, poor me, but because I have a wife and kids and I seek their welfare. When you are trained to think like that, the concessions are not concessions.
Issue 846 • �
InsIGht Into MARRIAGe
JOINING GASHMIUS WITH RUCHNIUS
The Hiskashrus organization holds workshops throughout the year that includes ten sessions for couples with religious differences. These workshops cater to couples who want to rebuild their relationship under these new conditions. The psychologist Esther Meizlich of Kfar Chabad is on the list of professionals who work with Hiskashrus, as is R’ Yitzchok Arad, Dr. Ilana Israel, Yonatan Segal and Mrs. Avital Baram who is a personal and group trainer, Mrs. Yael Weissman, R’ Tomer Roithaus and his wife, and R’ Assaf Yechezkel. They each offer their expertise and experience, as do additional therapists. *** R’ Baram: The idea is to enable every couple to find their own way. In one session, we introduce couples to other couples who have been living this way for years, i.e. one spouse became religious, and they decided to find a way to continue harmoniously together. Every couple chooses their own way and many couples have discovered very creative ways to find a common ground that is acceptable to all sides. What happens when one spouse is not willing to compromise? Every so often we deal with extreme situations when one spouse digs in his or her heels, or alternatively, starts to make progress too quickly. In these cases, we refer them for individual therapy in the hopes that this will help, but it doesn’t always work. We have a couple that we ended up sending for individual therapy, but unfortunately it was
not helpful and they stopped. We are still trying to reach them through having a personal connection, but someone who does not want to help himself cannot be helped. In most instances, a couple comes to us at the point when they both realize that they have a serious problem that needs addressing. They know that if they don’t address it now, things will become unbearable. How do you unite polar opposites? Just as we unite gashmius and ruchnius, which requires a lot of learning and thought to be successful, the same is true for relationships, in that the way to succeed is by shifting paradigms and starting to look inward. Without this inner work, it won’t happen. For these couples though, it is critical, because they don’t have the option of not working on the relationship. In the workshops, they discover a very important word, i.e. responsibility, towards the home and towards their children. Each one has his world, his career, his hobbies, and a couple needs to learn how to respect and support the other in his world. In the middle, there is the world they share which they need to learn how to cultivate. It is in those shared areas that we work and learn how to find points of commonality about which there is no conflict. We focus on that. The avoda is all about “a little light dispelling a lot of darkness.” The work of a husband who became religious is to leave his wife alone and stop wanting to change her. As long as there is the attempt to change the other one – because I know what is good for him/her – the more opposition there is. This is where the real t’shuva process begins, in
an inner way which requires that I put what I want aside, and see where I am needed. For when we start with inner change by looking inward, we understand that what is driving us is fear and fear does not allow space for the other at our side. If the husband became religious, he cannot demand anything of his wife. He cannot force on her the way of life that he wants. Here is where the more subtle, inner work begins; starting to live with simcha in the proximity of someone who is different and living contrary to our choices. When a person supports his spouse, even when she does things differently, she is automatically positively influenced by him. It’s a process that requires a lot of time and work. So in the meantime, we focus on communication techniques and try to come up with creative ways of handling the new reality. So what you tell someone who became religious and who wants the marriage to continue, is that he or she might have to constantly give in? “Giving in” is a misnomer. Because when I give in, I anticipate being paid back. I would not use that concept, as that gets into a victim mentality, i.e. the person who suffers for his principles, and this is one of the destructive forces in relationships and life in general. I would use the word responsibility. Responsibility is the understanding that I have a family and I make my decisions freely. It’s a constructive process in which even if I don’t presently see the results, I know that I am building my home and maybe, in the future, I will get to see the results. There is a process here with
22 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
a goal that the person is willing to strive for. It’s not because something was taken from me and now I am suffering, poor me, but because I have a wife and kids and I seek their welfare. And sometimes, this comes before my welfare and this might be what is genuinely good. When you are trained to think like that, the concessions are not concessions. I realize what is important is this moment. What is important is the process, and we need kabbalas ol and can’t behave irresponsibly in a “what is due me” fashion. It sounds like all the work is being done by the one who became religious and the other party has no responsibilities. When one spouse starts becoming religious, we often hear the line, “We started out irreligious and you are the one who decided to change.” Actually though, when working on a relationship, there are no sides. Both are in this together and both need to put in the same amount of effort. From the spouse who is still not religious, the work is to agree and then support the t’shuva process. He has to live with that which is the opposite and different than him just as the religious one does. Oftentimes, he is afraid of what people will say. There is fear about a changing image. We live in a secular environment and now you are starting to change. There are changes in kashrus, Shabbos, vacations, cultural activities and it is no longer the way it used to be. The one who became religious has to understand that she chose this when she was married already, and she has a family, and therefore, especially as a religious person, work is demanded of her, with lots of listening and patience. She needs to temper the
relation to your environment. It’s a growth process, because those who opt to do the work end up with very nice homes. Under the circumstances, you can’t run away from the work. You make Kiddush on Friday night and then the family goes to the beach … Where then, is the point of connection? The couple comes to an agreement. Beforehand, they did not know how to handle things
Every couple has to find what works for them. They need to find the tools to develop communication, building and understanding between them, and they’ll find the answers themselves.
and then they discover what works for them. Each one learns to incorporate the other. When working together to create a joint reality there is a lot of relationship development. There is so much communication that it builds up the relationship, because you need to discuss every detail and try to understand one another. If you have the right tools, you create a new space and you turn the new situation, which seems to be less than optimal, into an advantage. And they should live this way forever? The premise is yes. The couple needs to accept one another and to realize that it is possible that the spouse might never change. But we know that any situation can change. If we go beyond our comfort zone, the spouse might very well do the same. If we want to influence someone, we cannot force things on them; we need to get that person to feel the delight in it and then, maybe, he or she will be open to talking. If you want your wife to keep Shabbos,
enthusiasm even though it is hard to do. It is particularly difficult for one who is first starting the t’shuva process.
NO SHORTCUTS – IT REQUIRES WORK!
The motto that everyone who comes to Hiskashrus hears is “there are no magic words.” R’ Baram explains that first and foremost a person needs to know that there is no single solution that he can follow. *** We give them the tools to come up with creative solutions to make it work. For example, Shabbos – in the public domain of the family, Shabbos is to be observed – and in the personal sphere, each one makes his or her private choices. Life is always providing us with upsets and tests and it is hard for us to accept that which doesn’t suit us. And here, it’s happening in your own house, with your own children, and you need to stand there and smile. It requires deep work, while constantly restraining yourself in
Issue 846 • �
InsIGht Into MARRIAGe
you need to show her how you make Shabbos a pleasure for her. That is what I mean when I say that in order to change nature, you need avoda that goes beyond reason; to remember that our complicated existence is not by accident and this process is being overseen. This is the avoda of bitachon. If we succeed in looking at the relationship this way and operate with the knowledge that G-d gave us this conflict, we reveal that the conflict is only external. The avoda is to stop upsetting the spouse and then the spouse will start to draw close. This is precisely the Geula process, how the Rebbe trained us to live. A baal t’shuva is excited and he needs to know that his t’shuva is not just expressed in external changes. because it goes against the grain of the shliach to slow him down, but there are times when in order to build properly, so that the entire family is on board, he needs to restrain the mekurav. How do you know when yes and when not? You can’t decide on your own. You need to consult with a rav, but you need to know how to ask the questions and explain the situation. These often involve halachic questions, which is why the shliach cannot pasken on his own. I would like to single out Rabbi MM Gluckowsy, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Ginsberg and Rabbi Yitzchok Arad. They are familiar with these issues and know how to give guidance. We have seen how their counsel saved homes. Shluchim, who don’t understand the complexities and make their own decisions, can make critical mistakes with long-term ramifications. Often, the baal t’shuva is looking for a greater degree of stringency in halachic matters and the natural inclination of the shliach is to accommodate that inclination. The shliach wants to see results, what is known in Chabad as “seeing more sirtuks” in the k’hilla. But if a shliach seeks the welfare of the mekurav, then he needs to be able to tell the mekurav the truth, and sometimes the truth is that he needs to take it slower. The shliach needs to encourage him to grow from where he, the mekurav, is at and not where the shliach is at. This point is critical, because the shliach needs to understand the dynamics of the house and see how to make the transition without destroying the home. How do you manage to get through to the spouse that is not interested? Usually, after a workshop or seminar, the husband or wife who is not religious comes and thanks us. They feel that we saved their home. It’s the baal t’shuva who has a bit of a problem with us, because he suddenly hears how he needs to do avoda and sometimes we say things that aren’t pleasant to hear. I just met a couple at a seminar that we held, where the husband, a baal t’shuva, simply did not “see” his wife. I sat with him an entire night and told him that he must first understand what t’shuva is, how one does t’shuva, in order to attain the right to demand that his wife change. I showed him how he was so preoccupied with his personal progress that he had no idea what it means to get close to Hashem. Here was someone who told him the truth and it wasn’t easy, but in the end, he began to listen and to understand that he had to change his approach. We hold regular workshops for every circle of couples that are in touch with us, for example, before sensitive times like Pesach, when there are many conflicts. There is a very strong personal connection between the couples, and we are able to successfully meld all the couples into a cohesive group. What about chinuch? Chinuch is the most complicated area for couples with religious differences. The point is that a child can do well if his father is religious and his mother isn’t, or vice versa, but he cannot thrive if his parents fight. Naturally, each parent tries pulling in their direction and when the child feels that he is the focus of their fight, he usually rebels against both parents and pulls away from both of them.
SOMETIMES A SHLIACH NEEDS TO SLOW THE PROCESS
What is the role of the shliach? The role of a shliach is usually to help a mekurav progress religiously, but in this case his job is sometimes to slow things down and teach the mekurav how to undertake things gradually. The mekurav has discovered Judaism and everything seems magical to him and he wants to do it all. However, he needs to be shown how to go about it. You can’t tell someone who wants to take on all the hiddurim not to do so, but sometimes you are sitting at a farbrengen and all the mekuravim “gang up” on someone like this to start acting like an old-time Lubavitcher when, for him, the avoda is to wait and to allow his wife to catch up. If he takes this thing on now, he will lose his family. It’s extremely hard
24 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
A child cannot live in a home where his parents fight and he is in the middle. The job of the parent who became religious is to try and give the child warmth and love and allow him to go on his own path. The parent needs to allow the child to come to him, rather than trying to forcibly pull him. When a parent tries to force him, it is counterproductive because it engenders opposition from the other parent and the child cannot relate to this. As in the chinuch of any child, you need to provide him with the conditions for growth; when you plant a tree, you need to water it and prune it and pray that it will grow well. The less you intervene, the better the results. As in every area, the less I want something as a selfish superficial desire, the more room there is for what is truly desirable. So a baal t’shuva has to constantly bite his tongue? That’s an external gesture. He needs to be in a place of bitachon. It is like the Rebbe explains: the avoda of “thinking positively so it will be positive” is when a person sees that he has debts and he is under pressure and he really doesn’t see a solution. If he looks at it negatively he isn’t able to see the gift that Hashem provided him by putting him through this test. But when he realizes that all is good and that he has an opportunity here, he suddenly finds a way out of the problem. The same is true for relationships where a positive outlook is not just a spiritual thing, but the best way to get out of a crisis. When a person bites his tongue, he isn’t calm. He’s constantly thinking, “What’s going to be with the kids when
The couple needs to accept one another and to realize that it is possible that the spouse might never change.
Issue 846 • �
InsIGht Into MARRIAGe
they grow up?” When he looks at things positively and doesn’t worry, he draws the good to him. When a person radiates simcha and bitachon, his future becomes better. If you are happy and you project it, your influence in the home will be greater. You need to make the house a warm, pleasant place. Then all will be well, and they will want guidance from you. In one of our encounters at a workshop, we bring older couples who live this way. We have three couples like this, each with a different flavor. With one couple, the wife came from a religious home and after dropping a religious lifestyle she married. After a few years, she decided to do t’shuva. They chose not to demand any changes from their children. The wife left the kids alone and projected a lot of confidence in her choice. They have been living together like this for twenty years and they have a wonderful relationship. Today, they can laugh at the hard times. The surprising thing is that their three children became baalei t’shuva when they grew up. It’s a classic example of a relationship with few fights. The children thrived in the healthy atmosphere and chose t’shuva on their own. By now, her husband is Shomer Shabbos, and although he does not look religious, he is very religious in many ways. With another couple, the husband became a baal t’shuva and tried to force his journey on the household. His family did not take this well. The children were put into religious schools, but sadly did not want to be there. Wherever he tried to force things, he lost. Today, he realizes what he did and is trying to fix things. He is someone who can explain how important it is to be inclusive of differences and how much this does for a child when he reaches the point when he is doing his own searching. With the third couple, the husband decided to become religious at age 40. The couple came up with all sorts of ways to build common ground. They talk about their experience from a place of wholeness, since they dealt with each issue in full agreement. And although it wasn’t all smooth and simple, they managed to find a way so that the wife is willing to meet her husband part way and take his wishes into consideration. In conclusion: Many couples come to us and they want answers. There are no answers that we can provide. There isn’t one approach. Every couple has to find what works for them. They need to find the tools to develop communication, building and understanding between them, and they’ll find the answers themselves.
Express service Fully Computerized
331 Kingston Ave. (2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213
Get your tickets within minutes!
Fax: (718) 493-4444
E s t h e r ’s P a r t y G r i l l
4 6 3 A l b a n y Av e n u e B r o o k l y n , N Y 11 2 1 3 7 1 8 - 7 3 5 - 4 3 4 3
CATERING ON OR OFF THE PREMISES
CORPORATE ACCOUNTS WELCOME. SHLUCHIM; SPECIAL RATES FOR SHABBATONS &
COME SEE OUR BRAND NEW
SAVE MONEY 26 TODAY!!
� • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
A CHAIN OF MIRACLES
Afula resident R’ Yitzchak Meir recalls his personal experiences in a series of miraculous events.
By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
“The Rebbe appeared to me like a huge projector radiating with a powerful beam of light. His face shone. I was so captivated that I started coming every few days to Beis Chayeinu to see the king. As a result of my connection to the Rebbe, I began participating in Torah classes, bought s’farim, and became stronger in my Torah observance.” This is how R’ Yitzchak Meir, an ultra-Orthodox Jew living in Afula, describes his relationship with the Rebbe at the end of the seventies, when he immigrated to New York for his business affairs. A native of Bulgaria, R’ Yitzchak tells about how far he was from a life of Torah and mitzvah observance. “Unlike in other countries, the Bulgarians were not known to be great preservers of tradition,” he said. However, it seems that the miraculous chain of events that he experienced during a very important part of his life was powerful enough to awaken even the soul of a Bulgarian Jew such as himself.
A MEETING BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE
In 5708, less than a year after his birth, he and his parents left their home in Sofia, Bulgaria, and emigrated to Eretz Yisroel. “Since Bulgarians love to live in their own communities, we initially established our residence in Rechovos, where there was a large influx of Bulgarian émigrés, followed later by a move to Yafo. During the Six Day War, I served in the Golani Brigade, fighting on the northern front against the Syrian armies. After my military service, I began looking for a way to make a good living, and I came to Nigeria, where I worked for three years in the hotel business. “When the country was engulfed by revolution, all the industrialists fled, including the Jewish businessmen with whom I had worked. Lacking any viable alternatives, I went to live in New York, where I had a good friend in Brooklyn named Yitzchak Mordechai, who was good friends with Rabbi Shlomo Segal, the Rebbe’s shliach in Afula. He had started a successful business and
had asked me to be his partner. Although I lived in the very Torah observant neighborhood of Borough Park, I couldn’t relate to all the restrictions of a religious way of life. During my free time, I would go to Manhattan to enjoy myself. This continued for a few years until I started to feel a sense of inner emptiness. “I struggled long and hard over whether the time had come to return to Eretz Yisroel. I was in my early thirties and I thought that perhaps the time had come to establish a home near my parents. I was plagued by doubts: Who could give me a guarantee that I would earn a good salary if I came back home? Then one day, three ultra-Orthodox young men approached me in the street. Today I know that these were Chabad Chassidim. One of them got right to the heart of the matter: ‘We can see that something is bothering you. Go to the Rebbe and he’ll solve everything for you.’ “This young man spoke with such incredible conviction. Nevertheless, the world of spirituality was still quite foreign
Issue 846 • �
to me. I had not received a Torah-based education, and I was repelled by the whole concept. I told this bachur that I appreciated his desire to help, but the Lubavitcher Rebbe was not for me. Yet, I felt somehow that there might be something to all this, so I decided to give myself a sign. If I met these three young men again, then this was apparently no coincidence but a clear sign from Heaven. “Two weeks later, I met these same bachurim again, and when they suggested once more that I go to see the Rebbe, I agreed. “At the time, the Rebbe was still receiving people for private audiences, and I told the bachurim, ‘I’ll come with you to 770.’ They arranged a yechidus for me, and on the appointed day, I arrived at 770, where they were already waiting for me at the entrance. Following their instructions, I put my requests in writing, and when the moment came, I entered the Rebbe’s room. I was so stunned that I couldn’t open my mouth. I felt as if the entire room was illuminated with a brilliant light, the likes of which I had never seen before. The Rebbe gave me a bracha while speaking in Hebrew with a heavy Yiddish accent. When I left the Rebbe’s room, the bachurim calmed me down and gave their assurances that after receiving these brachos, everything would be all right.”
A BRACHA FOR A SHIDDUCH
“I became a regular guest at 770. No more than a day or two passed without my coming to Beis Chayeinu, and I was always thrilled when I saw the Rebbe. Naturally, I became stronger each day in my fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos. I became acquainted
with some fine Jewish families, who hosted me for Shabbos and Yom Tov, and I learned a great deal from them. I began wearing a yarmulke. This was soon followed by a pair of tzitzis and a beard. I attended many of the Rebbe’s farbrengens, and while I didn’t understand what he was saying, I was mesmerized by the whole experience. “In the meantime, I had turned thirty-five. I had tried my luck in finding a suitable match, but none of the proposed shidduchim materialized, and I was still single. Then suddenly, it hit me. People from all over the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, come to the Rebbe to receive his blessing. Why shouldn’t I do the same? This is exactly what I did. On the following Sunday, I stood in line together with thousands of other people, and when my turn came, I was again rendered speechless. “The Rebbe blessed me with ‘Bracha v’hatzlacha,’ and then he added a blessing for a shidduch. The Rebbe obviously knew quite well the purpose of my visit, even though I hadn’t uttered a word or written anything regarding this request. “A few days later, my friend Yitzchak Mordechai’s mother came to me with a suggestion: There’s a rav in Brooklyn who is actively involved in making shidduchim. I went to see him and told him my whole story. Suddenly, he heard someone knocking at the door, and he asked me to wait a few minutes. A young woman entered the adjacent room to speak with the rav, and shortly thereafter, he introduced me to her. “The rav suggested that we meet and I agreed. Within two weeks, we were engaged, and within four months, we celebrated
our wedding in a glorious and magnificent ceremony – all thanks to the Rebbe’s bracha. It had taken only two weeks since I had been privileged to receive the Rebbe’s bracha, and I had found my life’s partner. “From that moment forward, I began to feel a special connection to the Rebbe. I love him to this day with every fiber of my being. I have a particularly fond memory from the Shavuos holiday during the year I got married. Two lines of chassidim were waiting for the Rebbe to pass through the entrance to Beis Chayeinu, and I stood together with them. Suddenly, a hush fell over the crowd as the Rebbe arrived. Then, just as the Rebbe was about to enter 770, he turned to the side and came over to me. My legs were shaking and I almost collapsed from all the emotion and excitement. The Rebbe told me a few words in Yiddish, smiled and continued on his way. When the Rebbe entered his room, the chassidim immediately surrounded me and asked: ‘Who are you? What did the Rebbe say?’ I was so excited that I didn’t hear or understand a single word the Rebbe said.”
KEEPING THE LAWS OF FAMILY PURITY
“I lived for about fifteen years near the Rebbe and I saw numerous wonders, but there was one amazing and miraculous wonder in connection with my only daughter – Rivka, who today is a student in Yerushalayim, preparing for her upcoming wedding. “Months and then years passed after our own wedding, and we had still not been blessed with any children. Our mood was extremely downcast and discouraged. We weren’t getting
28 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
any younger and we desperately wanted to have a child of our own. We began visiting various experts in the field. We were beside ourselves when we were told that it would be impossible for us to have children. “Then one Sunday, I passed by the Rebbe for dollars to request a bracha for children, but I could hardly get the words out of my mouth. The Rebbe gave me a fatherly look. He blessed me with ‘Bracha v’hatzlacha,’ and then asked us to learn the
Laws of Family Purity with great precision. “I was acquainted with the Gurary family in Crown Heights, who had always given us a great deal of help and had treated us with much respect. One of R’ Zalman Gurary’s grandsons, HaRav Mendel, got married that same year and he offered to learn the halachos together with me. I naturally jumped at the offer, as if I had found a buried treasure. “Just a month later, we learned that my wife was expecting a
baby. We were overjoyed. I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. When our daughter was born, we named her Rivka, after my mother. “It was clear to everyone, especially to my wife and me, that she never would have been born without the Rebbe’s bracha. This was a miracle beyond nature, as the doctors had all said that there was virtually no chance for my wife to conceive. It’s hard to describe the great happiness we felt.”
Make a “Mivtzah Kashrus” in your own computer!
While The Internet can be a helpful tool for business, education and personal use it can also be a potentially dangerous one. That's why J Net was created. Using exclusive multi-tiered intelligent filtration, the J Net portal is probably the most effective consumer resource for eliminating material not conducive to our needs. More than virtually foolproof, J .NET is also easy – both to install and use. Plus its available in both dialup and high speed DSL and backed by highly trained customer service
Introducing JNET-The world wide web without the world wide worryTM
experts that will solve your problems fast. Most important, you can now get the JNET Advantage for only a bit more than non-filtered on line providers. If you're ready for the world wide web without the world wide worry, you're ready for JNet. DIAL UP DSL Unlimited Access 24 Tech Support 4 Profiles per Account Web Mail Call us toll free at 1-866-866-JNET (5638)
(mention code “770” for special ANASH Rate)
Issue 846 • �
HOW TO LOOK AT A FELLOW JEW
When you approach a Jew to greet him or to put on t’fillin with him, you need to regard him as he stands in Hashem’s primordial thought of Adam Kadmon.
By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz Shliach, Beit Shaan
In the HaYom Yom for 16 Elul, the Rebbe writes, “You need to look at a Jew as he stands in the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon (Adam Kadmon is a term for the first of the spiritual worlds which is even more exalted than the world of Atzilus. It is there (as it were) that Hashem’s primordial thought is, as He looks and knows the essence and purpose of every Jewish soul). In order to understand the significance of this lofty saying and its practical ramifications, we need to examine the source of this aphorism, which is a letter of the Rebbe Rayatz dated 26 Teves 5696 (Igros Kodesh Rayatz vol. 3, p 477 – 514). In this letter, the Rebbe Rayatz refers to the story about the rav who became a wagon driver. The Rebbe explains at length how a person needs to be moser nefesh to help someone else, and in connection with this he tells the following story: The Alter Rebbe appointed his son, later to be the Mitteler
Rebbe, when he was only 17, to farbreng with the many young married men who came to Liozna and guide them in the ways of Chassidus. One time, the Mitteler Rebbe was farbrenging with a group of Chassidim, young and old. There were also elderly Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe in attendance. The topic was avodas ha’t’filla and that it needs to be slow, with concentration, and from the depths of one’s heart. The Mitteler Rebbe spoke so passionately that he made a deep impression on all present. Yet, he was physically weak by nature and speaking excitedly adversely affected his health. He fell sick for several days. Some elder Chassidim went to visit him and one of them said: Why did you have to speak that way when you know it harms your health? You should have been careful! The Mitteler Rebbe replied: When my father gave me the task of guiding the young men, he told me, “A Jew needs to look
at another Jew as he stands in the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon,” and from this I learned four things (this column is not the place to list them all; I will mention just one). Every Jew in this world, no matter who he is, has prodigious abilities that come to him from the root of his soul. When we are able to reveal and utilize these abilities, it affects not only the Jew himself but all the neshamos that will be affected by him for generations to come! “When I contemplated this,” said the Mitteler Rebbe, “that my neshama includes and is responsible for many neshamos that I have to influence and guide, obviously I could not refrain from speaking with the greatest excitement. Could I bottle up my emotions?”
A SPECIAL TRIP WITH SOME PAGES OF CHASSIDUS
For this column, I chose some
30 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
stories about Jews who, when they started out, didn’t seem to have a rosy future in the world of Chassidus. In retrospect though, it turned out that in the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon, it was planned otherwise. Thanks to the efforts of a Jew who was mekarev them to Judaism and Chassidus, dozens, even hundreds of other people became interested too. Who hasn’t heard of Reuven Dunin? He was a special Chassid who was mekarev hundreds, even thousands, to Torah, to the Rebbe, to Chassidus. He became a legend in his lifetime as well as after his death. He was a Chassid with a 5000 watt (at least) neshama, whose every word affected all his listeners. R’ Reuven Dunin was not born a Lubavitcher. Someone was mekarev him, and it wasn’t easy. When perusing the fascinating book about him, “The Rebbe’s Tractorist,” as well as in conversations with his brother Avrohom, the shliach in Taanach, it turns out that in his youth, R’ Reuven was very far from Chabad. This was the period when he volunteered in the Etzel and Lechi militias, and R’ Reuven put all his energy into building up the land. Let it be said in his favor that throughout this period, before his involvement with Chabad, he was always searching for meaning and spirituality. He visited various yeshivos in order to learn. During the period that he worked with a tractor in Nahariya, he went to the yeshiva in Kfar Chassidim a few times and he heard musar talks from the mashgiach, Rabbi Elya Lopian. Here and there, he learned with bachurim, attended Torah gatherings, Yarchei Kalla in Ponovezh, etc. However, every time, after getting a taste, he went back to his tractor.
He was a special Chassid who was mekarev hundreds, even thousands, to Torah, to the Rebbe, to Chassidus. He was a Chassid with a 5000 watt neshama.
Migdal HaEmek to a group of inmates in Shaata prison, when he visited in honor of the month of Elul. In the course of Rabbi Zushe Silberstein’s (shliach in Canada) work, he met a Jew in prison who was sentenced to 18 years for drug dealing. After twelve years in jail, the inmate presented a request in which he asked that a third of his sentence be dropped. He prepared a moving speech in order to convince the judge that he was deserving of a pardon. He did not have money for a lawyer, but R’ Silberstein agreed to appear at the hearing and to put in a good word for him. At first, the man said whatever he had prepared, but R’ Silberstein could see that the judge was not at all convinced. On the contrary, the judge shifted in his seat and looked annoyed. When it was R’ Silberstein’s turn, he said, “Your honor, the reason for this sentence is so that criminals won’t be on the loose and continue their criminal activity. So I offer to take this man under my responsibility. I arranged a place for him to learn in a yeshiva in Israel, a yeshiva affiliated with the Chabad movement. The head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yigal Pizem, will look after him.” The judge asked what the Chabad movement is and R’ Silberstein said it is also known as the Lubavitch movement. The judge left the room for ten minutes. When he returned, a very strange thing happened.
When he visited his parents, he heard reports about Chabad from his brother who had already become a Lubavitcher, but hearing about it and taking action are two different things. Then one day, his brother decided to do something. Avrohom was learning in the Chabad yeshiva in Lud and he yearned to see his big brother get involved with Chassidus. He took some published pages with Chassidic ideas, put them in his suit pocket, left yeshiva and traveled to where Reuven was working with his tractor. It must have jolted Reuven to see his brother, the yeshiva bachur, having made a special trip from yeshiva to the quarry. Avrohom explained that he had come just in order to give him these pages on Chassidus. At that moment, Reuven resolved to go to yeshiva. The rest is history. Reuven went to yeshiva, then to the Rebbe, and then became Rabbi Reuven Dunin, the famous hafatza figure whose work does not stop even today (after his passing), through his students. So remember, sometimes one effort can bring hundreds and even thousands of souls under the wings of the Sh’china. It is just as we were told; from the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon.
SHLIACH IN THE COURTHOUSE
The following story was told by R’ Benzion Grossman of
Issue 846 • �
At first, the judge spoke very negatively about the inmate and he dismissed his claims. Nor was R’ Silberstein spared his criticism. But after all that, he told the inmate that thanks to one word the rabbi said, he would be released. The one word was “Lubavitch.” The judge explained that he had been watching television and he saw a Jewish rabbi speaking in front of a large audience. Although the judge did not understand Yiddish, he was very impressed by the appearance of this rabbinic figure. He found out that this was the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He occasionally watched more speeches by the Rebbe. The moment he heard that the inmate would be attending a yeshiva under the auspices of Lubavitch, he was confident that under the Rebbe’s influence, the man would be rehabilitated. The man was released and went to yeshiva and he did well, but that is not the point of the story. The point is that this happened through the Rebbe’s shliach, R’ Silberstein, who traveled an hour and a half each way to the prison and took the time to be mekarev a Jew with a criminal past and who was sentenced to many years in jail. Then he traveled to represent him at the hearing. What we need to learn from this is how to look at a Jew, not as he appears behind bars, but as he stands in the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon. to was to travel once a week, six hours each way, to bring kosher food to a Jew. R’ Yitzchok did not consider what the man was doing with this food. Years passed and one Shabbos, a young man who wanted to get acquainted with Chabad, was a guest of the Nemes family. During the meal, he said his interest in Chabad came from the fact that a Lubavitcher would bring his grandfather kosher food every week. Although his grandfather would throw the food into the garbage, he was impressed by the dedication of this Lubavitcher and that is why he was visiting. In the HaYom Yom for 26 Menachem Av, the Rebbe says: In the chassidic “exodus from Egypt” there is the Mitzva of recounting the “Exodus” verbally, to tell chassidic stories and to “sense” and apprehend the story in the deepest recesses of one’s psyche. One must know that every narrative is a guidance for living. Every story must bring forth (in the listener) a fine character trait, an inner enthusiasm for hiddur mitzva, and should enable the listener to sense the “ways of pleasantness” of Chassidic teachings. That is great encouragement for a column such as this that is devoted to sharing Chassidic stories. I would like to share some feedback I’ve gotten over the years about how people learned a lesson in life by reading this column: them): do not argue! Arguments usually do not convince anyone. They just cause each side to dig in their heels. I wrote some stories to illustrate this point. A few weeks later, I met R’ Shimmi Goldstein, shliach in Dharamsala, India. He shook my hand warmly and said, “Guess what happened thanks to your column! “A young Israeli came into the Chabad house. He had attended one of the yeshiva high schools and was knowledgeable in Torah but not exactly a friend of Chabad. With almost every Chassidic idea I presented, he had a quote that was used to contradict me. Every few minutes I had to stop the shiur or farbrengen and argue with him, which the participants did not appreciate. This went on day after day. It became urgent to deal with this and get him to stop. “At the end of one of the shiurim, I told him I wanted to have a private talk with him. We arranged a meeting for four in the afternoon. All afternoon I thought about how to make my case so he would know that he was wrong and leading others astray. “A few minutes before he showed up, I noticed a copy of Beis Moshiach on the table that was open to your column. I glanced at it and read your advice to shluchim: Don’t argue! Shine light! “I considered this open hashgacha pratis and immediately changed my plans for my talk with the fellow. When he came in, I put my hand on his shoulder and said, ‘I see you are a deep bachur. You have broad knowledge of the sources. Let’s sit together and learn a sicha.’ “We began to learn and, wonder of wonders, he listened
CAST YOUR BREAD
R’ Yitzchok Nemes a”h was a special Chassid who traveled the world on business. On these trips he would carry out various missions and reach out to Jews. One of the tasks he committed
I had written advice to all those on shlichus (and not just
32 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
and concentrated. He even asked to learn more. We met another few times to learn. Needless to say, he no longer disturbed the classes. He made progress in his learning of Chassidus and when he returned to Eretz Yisroel he went to the Chabad yeshiva in Ramat Aviv.” All because of a story in Beis Moshiach!
DAVEN FOR YOUR STUDENTS
One week, the stories in my column had to do with shluchim and rabbanim who say chapters of T’hillim for their mekuravim or talmidim, praying that they succeed in their avodas Hashem. A few days after the column appeared, I heard a story about a teacher in a Chabad high school in Yerushalayim. She was aggravated about two of her students who were not exactly going in the ways of Chassidus. She had many problems with them. The moment she read the
simple, ingenious idea in the column about davening for one’s students, she thought: I must try that. She opened her T’hillim and recited some chapters on their behalf. Incredibly, the next morning, the two girls came to class and she didn’t recognize them. They were sedate and well behaved, as though an extra Chassidishe neshama had entered them. She told her sister the story and the story made its way to me, and now to you.
TAKING CONTROL OF THE EVENT
In an early column I wrote about situations in which a shliach arrives at an event, whether a bar mitzva or a yahrtzait gathering, and there is a lot of music and speeches and who knows whether he will even be called upon to speak. Sometimes, I wrote, a shliach needs to be bold and take charge. I wrote a number of ways this
could be done and brought examples. A few months after the article was published, a young shliach called me and said: Thanks to you, I have used this approach dozens of times. I used to be shy, but after reading your article, whenever I show up at an event, I go over to the people whose event it is, display confidence and simcha, and … start running the event. This is how the Rebbe’s message gets out to hundreds (by now, thousands) of people who attend these events.
BENTCH FROM A SIDDUR
A Chassidishe businessman told me that a few years back, he read in one of my articles that the Rebbe said it is desirable to recite the Birkas HaMazon from a text. The man committed to doing this. Please daven for Yaakov Aryeh ben Rochel for a refua shleima
Issue 846 • �
THE VALUE OF TRUE WEALTH
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
FIVE AND TEN
One of the primary sources in the Torah for the Mitzvah of giving Tz’daka—loosely translated as charity, but more accurately as “righteousness”—is in this week’s parsha, R’ei. The Torah states: “You shall always take the tithe from all the produce of the seed crop that the field produces.” The straightforward understanding of this verse is that it refers to the tithing of one’s crops. However, our Sages applied this verse to the conventional giving of Tz’daka from our general income as well. According to Jewish law, we are obligated to give at least one tenth of our income to Tz’daka. It is preferable, however, to double that amount and give two tenths of our income to Tz’daka. These two levels of giving are derived from the abovementioned verse when translated more literally: “Separate a tenth, [indeed] a tenth, of your produce…” The repetition of the word “tenth” is interpreted by our Talmudic sages to suggest that we ought to give minimally one tenth of our earnings to Tz’daka, but preferably one fifth. Another Talmudic interpretation of the repetition of the words: “a tenth, [indeed] a tenth” is based on a variant reading of the Hebrew word t’aseir. In this novel translation the verse reads: “Tithe so that
you will become rich.” There is a principle, established by the Rebbe, that whenever two interpretations are given to the same words or verse, they are interconnected. What connection can we find between the interpretation that encourages us to give two tenths of our income to Tz’daka with the interpretation that encourages us to give Tz’daka as a way of achieving wealth? Another question: How can the Torah encourage us to perform such an important mitzvah—according to the Talmud it is the equivalent of all the Mitzvos and it is the Mitzvah that brings Redemption—for an ulterior motive? On the most basic level, the answer to the question is that the Torah was concerned with the welfare of the poor and needy. The Torah is not concerned about the motives of the giver as much as it is concerned with the needs of those who are hurting. Character refinement can wait; a person without food, clothing or shelter cannot!
VaEschanan that referred to the verse from Proverbs: “The poor speaks entreatingly but the rich responds impudently.” The Midrash, incredibly, compares the entreating poor individual to Moses and the rich person who speaks impudently to G-d. This was understood to mean that Moses acted like a poor man who did not demand entry into the Promised Land. G-d, however, wants us to act like the rich who act with impudence. G-d wants us to employ “kosher” chutzpah to demand of Him to bring an end to the suffering and misery associated with galus and bring us the Redemption without delay! Two questions still arise: If the Midrash’s reference to G-d as the rich person who speaks impudently was intended to teach us to speak with chutzpah, why does the Midrash apply this teaching to G-d and not directly to us? Second, why does the verse ascribe chutzpah to the rich?
To answer these questions we must define wealth. True wealth does not exist in our realm. No matter how much one has in terms of material or even spiritual resources, there is always something he or she is lacking. A billionaire might be lacking in health. A poor and sick person can be rich in love and
THE POOR MAN’S ENTREATY AND THE RICH MAN’S IMPUDENCE REVISITED
We can find a more insightful this last question a point made in thought” column deeper and answer to in light of the “parsha for Parshas
34 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
kindness. The only true source of inexhaustible and unmitigated wealth is G-d. And to the extent that we are connected to Him, we get a taste of that wealth and the chutzpah that goes along with it; i.e., the power to make demands and have our demands met. We can now have a deeper appreciation of what the Torah means when it intimates that we ought to give Tz’daka so that we become wealthy. Perhaps, our sages were hinting to us that if we want to acquire true wealth, i.e. a taste of G-dly wealth, we must do G-dly things, specifically the Mitzvah of Tz’daka. Generally speaking, this means that by performing any Mitzvah—which is defined as a Divine commandment and connector to the Divine—we, in turn, become Divine. However, of all the Mitzvos that we can do to become G-dly and “wealthy,” one Mitzvah stands out because it is the ultimate Divine act—the act of Tz’daka. The act of giving requires one to have possessions. Indeed, the more one has the more he or she can give. G-d is the ultimate “Wealthy One” and the ultimate Giver of Tz’daka. All of what we have is a product of Divine beneficence. It is a manifestation of the Divine source of true wealth. And when we emulate G-d in this regard, we too are accorded the title of being truly wealthy. This sheds light on a famous story of a great and wealthy sage who advised a certain king. When the king asked him for an accounting of his possessions, the Sage indicated a much smaller amount than his real wealth. The rabbi was charged with the crime of hiding his true worth to the king and was duly imprisoned. But knowing the integrity of the
Sage, the king demanded an explanation from the Sage as to why he reported only one fifth of his true worth. The Rabbi answered that the only money he really owned was the money he gave away to Tz’daka, which was a fifth of his income. All the money or other earthly possessions—and even intellectual, cultural and even spiritual possessions—do not really make you rich. Only the things that we share with others—money, knowledge, warmth etc.—are indicators of our wealth. It represents Divine wealth that has enduring value. Thus, our Sages say, if you want to acquire true, enduring and pure wealth, give Tz’daka.
we should give Tz’daka in order to acquire wealth, with the alternate interpretation, that the preferred manner of giving is to give two tenths. When one gives the bare minimum, he or she is not demonstrating the Divine trait of wealth. By giving and then giving again, one demonstrates that his or her manner of giving is not just satisfying the minimum requirement. It is instead the first step in breaking out of the parameters of the impoverishment of exile that stifle us and keep us from enjoying true G-dly wealth. To be sure, even if we act poorly and fulfill our minimum requirements of Tz’daka,
The Torah is not concerned with the motives of the giver as much as it is concerned with the needs of those who are hurting. Character refinement can wait; a person without food, clothing or shelter cannot! TZ’DAKA BRINGS REDEMPTION: WHY?
Moshiach will still take us out of exile. In fact, one of the scenarios described in the Torah for Moshiach’s arrival is that he will come as “a poor man riding on a donkey.” This is not a reflection of Moshiach, but rather of the impoverished resources we bring to bear in the pursuit of our Redemption. We prefer, and therefore strive, however, to come before G-d as rich people and be able to say to Him, “we are a wealthy and deserving people because of all the cumulative good we have done through the millennia, particularly the lavish way we have given repeatedly.” This way Moshiach arrives majestically and leads us into the ultimate age of G-dly wealth that will envelop the entire world.
And thus, our Sages also state that when we give Tz’daka we hasten the process of Redemption. One explanation for this, in light of the above discussion of the nature of true wealth, is that while every Mitzvah makes the world a more G-dly world and renders it better equipped to experience the Redemption through Moshiach, only the ultimate rich man possesses the G-d-given holy chutzpah to demand it.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
We can now also understand the connection between this interpretation of the verse, that
Issue 846 • �
“NU, WHAT WILL R’ HEISHE SAY NOW?”
the one time the Rebbe called me “heishe.” * the remarkable kiruv and the open miracle of the Rebbe when we had children.
By Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h
During the years when I worked on the Rebbe’s sichos (for the weekly Likkutei Sichos booklets), I often wondered how it happened that I became involved in such holy work. I had to conclude that it happened in the merit of my exalted parents or in the merit of my wife, my life partner. Chazal say that a person’s parnasa is in the merit of his wife and perhaps spiritual parnasa is included in this as well. The natural course of events through which I got involved was that my dear friend, R’ Tzvi Hirsh Gansbourg, pulled me in. It was definitely one of the loftiest opportunities that ever came my way, but I am a very puny maven in lofty things like these. In retrospect, it turns out that because of my work on the Sichos Kodesh, I did something extremely foolish, something that a real Chassid would never do. This is what happened: I used to work at the Shulzinger printing house at night and on certain days I worked on the sichos. One time, in the middle of the night, I received a phone call from none other than Rabbi Chadakov.
He told me that he had just left the Rebbe’s yechidus room and “there is an offer for you – to be a regular employee at the mazkirus,” for half a week. This would entail me working at the printing house four nights for nine hours each night, instead of five nights for seven hours a night. That is how R’ Chadakov thought I would be able to spare half a week to work for the Rebbe. I was taken aback and could hardly believe that this idea came from the Rebbe, but if so, what could be better? Assuming that was the case, I told R’ Chadakov that since I worked on the sichos every week, this work should be included in the “half-position” work for the mazkirus. When R’ Chadakov said that this was out of the question, I was left with nothing to say. I began thinking: From where would I take the hours for the mazkirus? It was clear that I had to remain at the printing house. Likewise, I could not consider stopping work on the Likkutei Sichos. The members of the Vaad L ’Hafatzas Sichos would not take it quietly; it would come back to me in the sharpest manner (although I did not know why I was so necessary). I was afraid.
TESTIMONY FROM ABOVE
So I did not give an immediate answer and that wasn’t good. It was very not good when I told my wife the next day. She “gave it” to me. First, she thought the suggestion came from the Rebbe; and even if this was uncertain, I should have answered in the affirmative without thinking about it. And she was right! And the Rebbe had been so good to me! Listen to what happened in those days, over forty years ago: One of the distinguished Chassidim had written a book of memoirs and Chassidishe stories that he heard from his grandfather, a big Lubavitcher Chassid from a few generations back. He submitted the stories to the Rebbe and when the Chassid went to the Rebbe, the Rebbe told him to print his stories and even gave him money for this – $3000, a large sum in those days. This Chassid met me a few days later in 770, and with a smile and a wagging finger he said that now he knew I was a big dreier (Yid. lit. one who turns or spins, used colloquially in various contexts, in this case a “big shot”). I looked at him in astonishment. Who, me? Who spin? What spin?
36 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
From left to right: R’ Yehoshua (Heishke) Dubrawski a”h, his sons: Menachem Mendel, Eliezer Lippman, Yosef Yitzchok
He said: Don’t tell me stories! I know from a reliable source that you are a dreier, a big dreier. Now I became concerned. I asked him: Can you tell me your source? “I can’t tell you,” he said. Another few days went by and I met him again. This time, he stopped me with his hand upraised. “Listen, Yehoshua, I will tell you how I know you are a big dreier. I was at the Rebbe with my manuscript and the Rebbe told me to publish it as soon as possible. The Rebbe even gave me money to print it, but the Rebbe said it could not be printed as it was written. It had to be edited.” The Chassid said that he thought for a moment and then told the Rebbe he has a friend who would do it. “Who?” asked the Rebbe. “My friend Dubrawski.” The Rebbe responded, “You don’t have to ask Dubrawski. He is needed only if it is necessary to change something big. For you, it would be sufficient to ask … who knows the language and can fix it.”
That is how I became a “groiser dreier” to this Chassid. There was another incident in which the Rebbe freed me from editing a work by a different author, a project that was very problematic for me, but I won’t get into that now.
AN INHERITANCE OF A SHLICHUS
Hashem gave me the privilege of having all my children on shlichus. Most of my married grandchildren, too, are on shlichus. I was not a shliach, so where did this desire, this urge to be shluchim, come from? They will laugh behind my back if I even suggest that it is at all on my account. As I mentioned previously, my wife grew up in a home that was constantly busy with “u’faratzta” and “shlichus.” In the Chabad version of Soviet Russia, which demanded a high level of Chassidus and mesirus nefesh, this meant to give some of your supper to a yeshiva bachur, to give a blanket to a boy who did not feel well, to stand on line for hours to get bread – all this and many other similar deeds
were woven into the chinuch that my wife, her brother and sisters received in their home in Kutais, Georgia (where Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim was hosted in the bitter 30’s). I should mention that my father-in-law began taking care of kosher mezuzos, kosher tzitzis, and so on, many years before these things became the foundation of Chabad life under the Rebbe’s leadership. It was like an inner urge of his neshama to be a shliach of the Rebbe, Nasi Doreinu. And perhaps I should mention that the births of all those shluchim are thanks to a miracle – a bracha from the Rebbe. The following is our story (and Heaven is my witness that this is not at all like the “firsthand” stories of certain overimaginative authors...):
Over a year had passed since our wedding and there were still no children on the way. My wife saw a top doctor in Paris and he stated that her chances of conceiving were slim. In 5713/1953, a few years
Issue 846 • �
after our marriage, we arrived in Brooklyn. New York was flooded with refugees and the Joint Distribution Committee wanted us to settle in Detroit (where there was a large Jewish community). It was then that we had our first yechidus with the Rebbe. I will add parenthetically that Zeide-Rav, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Dubrawski z”l, lived with us at that time and had yechidus with us. He was a broken man by that point, but when the Rebbe stood up for him and asked him to sit down, he refused. After saying the SheHechiyanu blessing and the Rebbe’s We went to Detroit and months went by without our seeing the fulfillment of the brachos. I wrote to the Rebbe and detailed our requests. The Rebbe’s answer was that we would see salvation and he showered us with brachos. More time passed with no change. I wrote to the Rebbe again. Till this day, I don’t know where I got the nerve or the chutzpa to ask not only for a bracha but for a promise too. I did not receive an answer to this letter; but my wife gave me the good news. When I informed the Rebbe of the news, he told me not to publicize it until three months had gone by. the Rebbe Rayatz or Eliezer Lippman, for my father. We were in agreement that the Rebbe would decide what name we should give.
IT IS LIKE I PARTICIPATED
The Rebbe said that parents, both the mother and father, are supposed to pick the name. I decided to be a “smart aleck” and I said that we gave this over to the Rebbe. The Rebbe answered firmly that I shouldn’t make “tricks,” and that my wife and I should decide what name to give. The Rebbe told me to go home and discuss it with my wife and then come back to the Rebbe and tell him which name we had decided on. In order that people shouldn’t give me problems upon my return, I was to tell them that the Rebbe instructed me to come back. I had never heard anything like this, to go home and then come right back just in order to report what name was chosen. I raced home and we had a quick consultation. Then I rushed back to the Rebbe. They let me in immediately and I never found out whether anyone else had yechidus in the meantime. The Rebbe welcomed me with a big smile. I cannot forget the first thing the Rebbe said to me, “Nu, vos vet R’ Heishe itzt zogen?” (What will Heishe say now?) By the way, it was from the Rebbe that I heard myself being called Heishe for the first time, as it had been the practice to nickname someone with the name “Yehoshua” in our family and in the area in which we lived, Podobronka. When I told the Rebbe that we had decided to name the baby Yosef Yitzchok, I could see
I told the Rebbe that we had been waiting a long time for children and about the Parisian doctor’s negative prognosis. The Rebbe dismissed the doctor’s words and said the following unforgettable words, “Over here it is otherwise.”
blessings, Zeide said he was a cousin of the Rebbe’s father, and so on. The Rebbe responded with his charming smile and said, “We know, we know.” I told the Rebbe that we had been waiting a long time for children and about the Parisian doctor’s negative diagnosis. The Rebbe dismissed what the doctor said and said the following unforgettable words, “Over here it is otherwise.” The Rebbe continued, “But since you need to operate within the parameters of nature, your wife should go to a local doctor.” Then the Rebbe blessed us. When I traveled to the Rebbe from Detroit for one of the special Chassidic days, he asked me whether my “balabusta” was doing whatever the doctor told her to do. Later on, when my wife was in Brooklyn, the Rebbe stopped her on the street and asked her how she was feeling and how the pregnancy was progressing. Thanks to the Rebbe’s brachos, our oldest daughter Sarah was born. She is now a shlucha in Lyons, France. When our second child was born, I had yechidus before the bris. I requested a bracha for the bris and asked what to name the baby. My wife could not go with me and so I went alone. We hadn’t yet decided whether to call him Yosef Yitzchok after
My wife was examined by an American doctor, but he did not have anything positive to say.
38 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
that he was very pleased and he blessed us. The Rebbe asked that I not honor him with sandakaus (the Rebbe gave a reason which I do not recall). The Rebbe then said that since I wanted him to participate in the bris, when the bris took place I should place a “picture of the Rebbe” (his precise words without the titles “my teacher and father-in-law”) “and that will be just like I am participating.”
A WONDROUS BLESSING
I am not such a hypocrite to think that I deserved all those kiruvim from the Rebbe. I know for a certainty that it is thanks to my ancestors, my wife, etc. You cannot fool the Rebbe and the Rebbe does not operate with any pretense – he surely knew my lowly spiritual state. So how then did he pour forth goodness and kindness to one such as me? The
Unfortunately, I was answer is that the Rebbe uplifted to k’dusha so many thousands of not careful enough and did Jews that he decided to raise me not properly protect certain important documents and this led up too. One time, I saw how the to a great loss by way of extralegal Rebbe wanted to raise me from expropriation. This response the lowest depths to the greatest from the Rebbe also disappeared and I did not have a copy of it. heights: In 5738/1978, some But I remember its contents well schlimazel doctor decided that and some of the phrases. The Rebbe wrote that my cure I was suffering from a severe is to learn Nigleh, Chassidus etc. heart attack when I felt fine. They salted me away in the worst with Jews, and then he gave many department of a hospital for the brachos. Whatever anybody else has worst diseases. They pumped me full of medications, mainly lots of to say on the matter, I must “drugs” and I left the hospital … conclude that I had a certain Express service the Rebbe wanted Express service z’chus that a sick man. FullyComputerized Computerized Fully to endow me with plenty of I went home and felt awful. R’ happiness but, sadly, I did not Chadakov demanded work of me 331 Kingston Ave. and I told him that I did not feel utilize this properly. nd331 Kingston Ave. (2 (2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 Above all else, and for many at all well. He asked me whether I had written to the Rebbe about other positive things, I must Get Get your tickets my wife tickets within minutes! this. I kept quiet. R’ Chadakovyour thank within minutes! who should be Fax: (718) 493-4444 the (718) 493-4444 himself wrote to the Rebbe and well and happy until Fax: coming of the righteous redeemer. received a response for me.
(718) 493-1111 (718) 493-1111
Radio Moshiach & Redemption Radio Moshiach & Redemption
"The quickest way to reveal Moshiach learning the Torah "The quickest way to reveal Moshiach is by is by learning the Torah sources about Moshiach & redemption" grumnu grumnu sources about Moshiach & redemption" t"ab,wvt"ab,wvghrz, p"aghrz, p"a 1620-1640 AM around Crown Heights & Boro 1620-1640 AM around Crown Heights & Boro Park Park & & 1710 AMparts of Brooklyn 24/6 24/6 1710 AM in in parts of Brooklyn worldwide live broadcast: www.RadioMoshiach.org worldwide live broadcast: www.RadioMoshiach.org
Rabbi Jacob Schwei Rabbi Jacob Schwei Member of the Rabbinical Member of the Rabbinical Court of Crown Heights Court of Crown Heights
SAVE MONEY SAVE MONEY TODAY!! TODAY!!
Get a Get a FREE analysisyour credit Card Processing! FREE analysis on on your credit Card Processing!
Call Today 888-468-3256 x 2770 Call Today 888-468-3256 x 2770
Better rates guaranteed – If we – If we save you money we will will pay you $100 Better rates guaranteed can’t can’t save you money we pay you $100 For a limiteda limited time – get your CC Terminal or software up absolutely FREE For time – get your CC Terminal or software set set up absolutely FREE
It’s a It’s a matter of ONE minute and ONE fax. matter of ONE minute and ONE fax.
Contact Mendy Chanin Chanin at 888-468-32562770, email@example.com Contact Mendy at 888-468-3256 ext: ext: 2770, firstname.lastname@example.org Dalmao, LLC 5th LLC 5th Floor 245 W 17th St, York,York,10011 Dalmao, Floor 245 W 17th St, New New NY NY 10011 New Businesses Welcome | Exclusive Referral Program | Organization Charities Partnership New Businesses Welcome | Exclusive Referral Program | Organization Charities Partnership
Please give your generous support Please give your generous support to a special fund $100,000 to a special fund of of $100,000
For donations dedications make checks payable to: For donations oror dedications make checks payable to: 383 Kingston Ave. #94, Brooklyn, NY 11213 383 Kingston Ave. #94, Brooklyn, NY 11213
"Radio Moshiach & Redemption" "Radio Moshiach & Redemption"
718 756-4530 Tel/Fax 363-1652 Email: RadioMoshiach@erols.com 718 756-4530 Tel/Fax 363-1652 Email: RadioMoshiach@erols.com sgu okugk jhanv ubhcru ubrun ubbust hjh sgu okugk jhanv lknlkn ubhcru ubrun ubbust hjh
Issue 846 • �
LUBAVITCHERS MUST ENLIST
In the days preceding both the six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, the Rebbe expressed complete confidence that we would emerge victorious. Yet, he also demanded security measures of the highest order. the things that the Rebbe said then apply today with equal force. It is forbidden to sit quietly with our hands folded. now is the time to go out with greater motivation on the various mitzvah campaign activities.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
Last week’s attempted terrorist attack on the border between Egypt and Eretz Yisroel merely strengthens the perception that should have been clear to everyone: whether we like it or not, we are confronted by a complex and challenging security crisis on all fronts. The explosion heard last week on the Egyptian border shattered any false sense of tranquility. Up until now, we’ve been talking about the tense situation with Iran. Yet, virtually no one thought about the estimates of potential flare-ups on other fronts
in the event of the abduction of IDF soldiers r”l. The defense community has also considered such scenarios against the backdrop of the likely collapse of the brutal Assad regime in Syria. It’s only a matter of time before Hezbollah’s friend and ally in Damascus will fall from power. The question now is whether the newly developing situation will be good for the Jewish People or not. The more optimistic viewpoint is that the end of Ba’ath Party rule in Syria will allow for the establishment of a more friendly policy with our northern neighbor. Thus far,
Assad has been the magnanimous benefactor of the terrorist forces in south Lebanon, which now find themselves without the strong backing of Damascus. However, national security professionals are concerned about the possible deliberate leakage of chemical materials as part of a last ditch attempt by Assad to cling to power. In such a case, it would appear that there will be no alternative except to get directly involved in events beyond the Syrian border. The defense community is not taking any chances and its experts are investigating all possible scenarios. Former Mosad head Efraim HaLevi recently said that if he were an Iranian he would be worried in the coming weeks. In other words, he estimates that the government of Israel is planning to take action – and in the very near future.
The tense atmosphere within the defense community is eerily reminiscent of what prevailed just before the Six Day War. Without getting people into a state of hysteria and apprehension, it would seem that all options are on the table. No one is promising us that the current Egyptian government will uphold the peace agreements. No one is promising
40 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772
that Hezbollah will sit quietly and honor the wretched ceasefire agreement signed six years ago after the Second Lebanon War. No one is promising that Iran will not ignite a full-scale war in the Middle East if we attack them. However, no one is promising that these things will happen either. We all remember how just a year ago we were barraged with the threats of “September” violence. The left-wing fervently claimed that we should expect all-out war with the ‘Palestinian’ Authority as soon as the latter proclaimed its independent state. Yet, lo and behold, here we are one year later, and there was no war – political or military. All of the terrible threats of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians marching towards the settlement fences and inciting riots have turned out to be a bunch of fables and fairy tales concocted by the folks at “Peace Now.” None of these dismal and dramatic forecasts were realized. The events that did transpire didn’t even vaguely resemble the nightmarish descriptions we heard in the months leading up to that September, resulting in heavy pressure upon the government to declare its unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. It turns out that not all leftwing reports of doom and gloom come to pass. Ehud Olmert ordered the destruction of the Syrian reactor, yet nothing happened. Netanyahu avoided making a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, yet nothing
happened. Thus, it doesn’t seem that everything promised by the newspaper editors in Eretz Yisroel is in step with reality.
For our part, we must not take any chances. In the days preceding both the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, the Rebbe expressed complete confidence that the People of Israel would emerge victorious. Yet, he also demanded security measures of the highest order. The Rebbe came out with the T’fillin Campaign, urged Jews to purchase a letter in the Seifer Torah, and called upon Jewish children to gather at the Western Wall in Yerushalayim to daven. Together with the clear faith that “Eretz Yisroel is the safest place in the world” and “a land that the eyes of Hashem, your G-d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” the Rebbe asked that anyone for whom the security of the People of Israel is dear to him, must utilize his time in noble activities that will increase the level of security. The things that the Rebbe said then apply today with equal force. It is forbidden to sit quietly with our hands folded. Now is the time to go out with greater motivation on all the various holy mitzvah campaign activities of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach – Seifer Torah, T’fillin, Shabbos candles, etc. We must take full advantage
of this opportune moment to give Eretz HaKodesh the best form of protection – spiritual protection. If the predictions of the possibility of another war ch”v prove correct, we must not sit by quietly during these most difficult days. This is the time to “Ker a veldt” and create an uproar on behalf of the mivtzaim designed to protect the Jewish People, better than any other activity.
All the talk about a general conflagration in the Middle East and all other kinds of frightful possibilities is totally irrelevant, as the Jewish People have already proven that their very existence is beyond nature. The Jewish People miraculously won all its wars and subdued the forces of terrorism with the help of Alm-ghty G-d. In the face of the weakness and uncertainty expressed by those who say that we must not be allowed to defend ourselves, instead placing the burden upon the Americans to rescue us, we must spread the holy words of the Rebbe. Speaking with great pride and assurance, he said that there is no reason whatsoever for concern and we will merit to see great miracles and the fulfillment of great prophecies. The Rebbe’s declarations, constantly emphasizing how Eretz Yisroel is the safest place in the world, persistently reverberate in our ears, and the words of the tzaddik live and remain in force today more than ever before.
Raskin's “if it grows we have
Michal & Aaron Raskin
Consistently r i t ” Superio
Fruit and Produce Emporium WHOLESALE & RETAIL
335 Kingston Ave. Brooklyn NY 11213 * Tel: (718) 756-3888 756-2221 * Fax: 756-2440
Issue 846 • �
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR
By M.E. Gordon
hen Rivky heard the door open and her sister’s voice calling her name, she had no desire to find out what Bassie wanted. She was pretty sure that she knew what her older sister was going to request, and she was definitely not interested. I’ll just pretend I don’t hear her, she thought to herself. It’s better than saying no and then having to listen to a lecture on Ahavas Yisroel.
Mitzvah? It’s like giving tz’daka, except it’s giving your time and energy instead of your money.” “But how many times do I have to help them? Haven’t I helped them enough already? I know that you go every evening to help with bedtime and cleanup, but I’m not on your level, Bassie.” “Do you know that the answers to your questions can be found in this week’s parsha?” “Really? Where?” “There are two p’sukim in Parshas R’ei about giving tz’daka again and again. One pasuk says ‘Give, you shall give’ to the poor
so curious to hear the answer that she forgot that she hadn’t wanted to listen. “The two p’sukim are talking about two different aspects of Tz’daka. ‘Give you shall give’ is focusing on the obvious purpose of this Mitzvah: to help another Jew by supplying him with what he needs. That is measurable, so Rashi gives a measurable amount, give even 100 times. “The pasuk that says ‘open your hand,’ however, is talking about another result of this Mitzvah: the effect it has on the giver, namely that he overcomes his natural selfishness to give to others. This is immeasurable, so Rashi uses an ambiguous amount.”
Rivky hadn’t counted on Bassie’s perseverance, however. The older girl came into the bedroom that she shared with her younger sister. “Oh, here you are, Rivky! I’ve been looking
Rivky was quiet for a few minutes, and then she said in a small voice, “Bassie, how come you’re “Oh.” Rivky was quiet for a few minutes, and then she said so naturally kind, while I find it so hard?”
man. Rashi says that this means that you should give him what he needs, ‘even if you have to give him one hundred times!’” “A hundred times?” “Yes, until his needs have been taken care of. Just before this, the Torah says, ‘Do not be tight-fisted, but you shall certainly open your hand to give.” Here Rashi says ‘even a number of times.’” “What is the difference between the two p’sukim? And why does Rashi specify 100 times by one and just says ‘a number of times’ by the other?” Rivky was
for you. I was just at Mrs. Levy’s house, and she asked me to ask you if you can walk her kids to school tomorrow, like you did today.” “Right,” Rivky rolled her eyes, “like I did today, and yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Why should I have to help take them to school every day?” “Well, how about because their mother is sick and weak and can’t do it herself, and because the Levy’s can’t afford to pay someone to do it? How about doing it simply because it’s a
in a small voice, “Bassie, how come you’re so naturally kind, while I find it so hard?”
“Don’t worry Bassie. When you find it hard, yet you overcome your nature and give Tz’daka, you are truly expressing your power of free choice which is connected to the essence of the neshama, which is connected to Hashem Himself.” “Wow! Okay, tell Mrs. Levy that I’ll take the kids to school. This that I don’t want to do it is all the more reason for doing it!”
The above story is fictional. The lesson is based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. 34 pp.-88.
42 � • 29 Menachem-Av 5772