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featured articles WEEKLY COLUMNS
THE CHASSID WHO CORRESPONDED WITH THE PREMIER OF THE SOVIET UNION
Shneur Zalman Berger
22 THE TORAH’S BLUEPRINT FOR
Rabbi M. M. Gluckowsky
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS
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OUT OF THE DISTURBING FLOOD waTERS aND INTO a NEw wORLD
Although leaving the exile and entering the redemption can only be according to G-d’s directive, nevertheless, when G-d sees Jews yearning for the redemption to come immediately – “we want Moshiach now!” – this itself quickens the commandment to be issued forth from G-d to “leave the ark,” to leave the exile for the true and complete redemption.
translated by Boruch Merkur
1. It is brought in this week’s Torah reading: “And it was at the end of 40 days that Noach opened the window of the ark that he had made and he sent out the raven, etc.” At first glance, Noach’s approach in determining whether the water had dried up is difficult to understand: Since his entering the ark was on G-d’s command, he should have waited for G-d’s command to leave the ark. In fact, that is what eventually happened: “And the L-rd spoke to Noach, saying, ‘Leave the ark,’” and only then does it say, “And Noach left… the ark.” Thus, on what basis did Noach send the raven (and the dove thereafter) in order to determine whether the water had dried up? He was anyway not permitted to leave the ark until he was commanded to do so by G-d! The explanation is that Noach knew that G-d had appointed him with the responsibility of overseeing the preservation of the world. Indeed, he was
commanded to exert himself in the construction of the ark, bringing within it specimens “of all living creatures, of all flesh,” and to feed them throughout the entire time they remained in the ark. All this labor, designed to preserve life in the world after they were to emerge from the ark, had to be done in a natural manner, as it is said, “And G-d will bless you in all you do.” Thus, when there was the suspicion that perhaps the land had dried up and they could now leave the ark, Noach did not delay; he immediately did all that was in his power – sending out the raven in order to determine whether the earth had dried, and then, a few days later, sending the dove, and so on. In fact, the actions of Noach and his efforts – expressing his great yearning and desire to leave the ark in order to proceed with his Divine mission – resulted in G-d commanding him to leave the ark earlier than He would have otherwise instructed.
2. The application of the above with regard to man’s service of G-d: A flood (mabul) is symbolic of worldly matters that divert a person’s focus (ha’mevalbelim) away from serving G-d. The advice in dealing with this problem, according to the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, is “enter…the ark (teiva),” referring to the words (teivos) of Torah study and prayer. A Jew must bring himself into the words of Torah and t’filla in order to be saved from the disturbing “flood waters.” Moreover, a person must bring with him “of all living creatures, of all flesh,” taking with him, into the teiva, the very best of the world; this too should be illuminated with the light of holiness. All the above, however, still does not suffice, for the ultimate intent is (not just to bring oneself and all his worldly interests and passions into the teiva, but also)
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to impact the outside world, the world outside the teiva. But this can only be done after the flood, for the entire purpose of the flood is to bring purity to the world. Only thereafter can there be effective work done to refine the world outside the teiva, to settle the land. In fact, the world can then be brought to a greater height than it was at its origin. That is, the world no longer remains in a state of “the world was created in its entirety” (as it was in the beginning of its creation), but rises higher, attaining the state described as a “new world,” a world that leaves no possibility for another flood (as the verse states, “ “I will no longer curse the earth because of man… and I will no longer smite all living things as I have done”), for the cause of the flood – “Now the earth was corrupt “ – has been nullified. (Although even after the flood the concept of “on account of our sins we have been exiled, etc.,” still exists, the severity has been greatly diminished relative to prior to the flood, as is obvious.) Even though this Divine service of transforming the outside world is only possible after the flood had ended, we learn from Noach that even prior to that point he attempted to determine whether the purity brought on by the flood had been achieved, which would permit them to leave the teiva in order to transform the outside world. 3. This instruction is especially relevant in the final days of exile: The general concept of “flood” corresponds to and exemplifies the time of exile, for “mabul (flood)” is related to the word “bilbul (mixed up),” “for it mixed everything up.” The latter message is likewise expressive
even while it is still the time of exile – a state of flooding, prior to the redemption – when a Jew speculates that perhaps the end of the flood has come, and we must leave the ark and head out into the world, verily a “new world,” redemption that is not followed by another exile, a Jew must do all that is dependent upon him in order to clarify the matter. He must send out messengers and take other similar actions, everything he possibly can to speed up the redemption.
of the state of things in the time of exile, when everything is riddled with confusion. Nothing in the world can be seen clearly. It is impossible to perceive the creative G-dly energy within it, to see how “the entire earth is filled with His glory,” to see that the true existence of the world is a dwelling for G-d in the lower realms. In the time of exile, none of this truth is revealed. On the contrary! – as stated in Scripture, “(Woe to those who say of the evil that it is good and of the good that it is evil) those who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter.” However, the ultimate intent of the flood, of exile, is to purify the world: “The spirit of impurity I will vanquish from the land.” And this purification must be to the extent that the sustaining of the world is in a totally new manner – “He saw a new world” – meaning to say that there remains no possibility for the world to revert to a state of exile (flood); it is a redemption that is not followed by another exile. To this end comes the lesson from the event of the 10th of Tammuz: “And Noach opened the window of the ark, etc.”: Even while it is still the time of exile – a state of flooding, prior to the redemption – when a Jew speculates that perhaps the end of the flood has come, and we must leave the ark and head out into the world, verily a “new world,” redemption that is not followed by another exile, a Jew must do all that is dependent upon him in order to clarify the matter. He must send out messengers – be they beast or human being – and take other similar actions, everything he possibly can to speed up the redemption. A Jew mustn’t sit and wait until G-d commands him to leave exile and enter into the redemption (going from a state of things in the ark to that of a “new world”). When there is room for conjecture that the time to leave the exile and enter into the redemption, one does all he can in order to hasten the redemption. Although leaving the exile and entering the redemption can only be according to G-d’s directive, nevertheless, when G-d sees Jews yearning for the redemption to come immediately – “we want Moshiach now!” – this itself quickens the commandment to be issued forth from G-d to “leave the ark,” to leave the exile for the true and complete redemption.
(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Chukas, 10 Tammuz 5745, bilti muga)
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THE CHASSID WHO CORRESPONDED WITH THE PREMIER OF THE SOVIET UNION
Beis Moshiach spoke with R’ Dovid Leib Chein’s wife Rivka and his son Meir Simcha, who told about his remarkable life. * A Chassid who lived among us, whose life was one of outstanding mesirus nefesh. * Presented for his yahrtzait, 10 Cheshvan.
By Shneur Zalman Berger
few weeks after R’ Dovid Leib Chein a”h returned from endless suffering in exile at the North Pole and ten years of hard labor, he tried to return to ordinary life and begin supporting himself once again. The problem was finding a job that would not necessitate working on Shabbos. The only day off was Sunday and religious Jews had a hard time finding work that would enable them to keep Shabbos. R’ Dovid Leib came up with a daring idea. He wrote a letter to Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union and said, “I
am a religious, believing Jew, and therefore it is forbidden for me to work on Saturday. I request of you to allow me to work six days aside from Saturday. I will note that Soviet law permits a believer to keep the rules of his faith.” Under the circumstances of those times, this was a crazy thing to do! Three weeks went by until he received a reply. It was an official letter, dry and to the point. “According to the law of the land, all citizens must work six days a week, from Monday until Saturday, including Saturday.
Only Sunday is a day off.” It was signed: Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev. Two days later, R’ Dovid received a summons to appear immediately at the offices of the communist party. He knew they would be taking revenge for his letter writing. After ten years of hard labor, he knew very well what they were capable of meting out. He fearfully made his appearance with a prayer on his lips that all would work out for the best. R’ Dovid was surprised when one of the senior officials offered
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him a job that did not entail working on Shabbos! Apparently, the order had come from above, from the premier, who, despite not wanting to officially allow him to not work on Shabbos, admired his courage and took this action on his behalf. R’ Dovid took a menial job doing renovations for the municipal government and did not have to desecrate Shabbos. This episode gives us an idea of what this Chassid, R’ Dovid Leib Chein, was all about. He feared no one!
*** R’ Dovid Leib was born on 8 Shevat 5674/1914, in the Chassidic town of Nevel. His father was R’ Peretz Chein. He grew up absorbing the fiery spirit of Chassidus, which he preserved until his final day. As a child, he learned with his father and with his grandfather, R’ Meir Simcha Chein. The authorities did not like the idea that the Chein family continued to cling to the ways of Torah and Chassidus. When persecution did not avail, the
family (which was well-to-do) was sent away from Nevel after all their wealth was confiscated. The family moved to Kremenchug, where R’ Dovid Leib learned in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim. At that time, the yeshiva there was one of the main branches of the yeshiva in the Soviet Union. The yeshiva was divided into two, with an older division made up of three classes, where R’ Dovid learned, and a younger division with over 100 talmidim. The mashgiach was R’ Meir Avtzon, and R’ Dovid Leib’s maggid shiur was R’ Menachem Mendel Gribov. The latter circulated among the three shuls in Kremenchug throughout the day and gave shiurim to the various classes. In Iyar 1930, R’ Gribov was arrested and was accused of teaching Torah to children. He was sentenced to clean the streets, a humiliating and difficult job. As a result, the yeshiva was closed and the talmidim, including R’ Dovid Leib, went to learn in Vitebsk. He lodged with good Jews who endangered themselves in order to host the students. Since religious harassment was intensified in those days, R’ Dovid Leib had to move from city to city, including Rostov and Yekaterinoslav and finally ended up in the yeshiva in Kutais, Georgia. There, he met his uncle, R’ Yehuda (Kulasher) Butrashvili, who helped his young nephew. As much as possible under the circumstances, R’ Dovid Leib learned Nigleh and Chassidus. He davened with avoda and attended many farbrengens, despite the unbearable life of wandering, persecution and surveillance, and lack of food and clothing. His family moved to Moscow
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as he arrived, he rented a small, two-room house where he lived. Afterward, when a stream of Lubavitchers arrived in Lvov and many of them had no place to live, they stayed with him. In those days, any outsider who came to the city had to register at the local police station and receive permission to remain in the city. Obviously, the Lubavitchers in town were there illegally, and they were terrified to walk in the street. R’ Dovid Leib, who was considered a relative old timer by that point, hosted many Lubavitchers who had no other place to stay. Among his guests were some of the great Chassidim such as the mashpia, R’ Mendel Futerfas, R’ Moshe Katzenelenbogen, and his two brothers, R’ Berke and R’ Avrohom Aharon. The forging of documents, which enabled Anash to leave the Soviet Union, was also done in the cellar of his house despite the enormous danger. R’ Mendel Garelik sat for many hours in the cellar and forged documents and passports. Many of the secret meetings among the Chassidim took place in R’ Dovid Leib’s house. Dangerous activities took place at all hours of the day. Mrs. Chein stood outside in order to warn them of any approaching danger. R’ Dovid Leib’s nephew, R’ Benzion Chein, describes life in the house: “We also lived with my uncle, R’ Dovid Leib, as did many other Lubavitchers. His house was narrow and small with only two rooms and I don’t know how we all found a place there. It was like Avrohom’s tent, open to all. Since the house was constantly full of Chassidim, we often held farbrengens during which the mashke and tears poured like
THE CHaSSID aND THE MaRGINS OF THE SIDDUR
R’ Yisachar Dov Vallis had this to say about R’ Dovid Leib: R’ Dovid Leib was a dear fellow, modest and humble, a genuine Chassid. All his acquaintances loved hearing a vort from him. Erev Sukkos, when he was in the hospital, he asked that I come to him. When I arrived, he told me what he went through behind the Iron Curtain. He included the following Chassidic story and its lesson: Chabad Chassidim went to the Rebbe (I think the Tzemach Tzedek) and on the way they stayed in a village. They were hosted by an old woman who had a Siddur of the Alter Rebbe in her possession. In the margins of the Siddur were Chassidic explanations. Such a Siddur was considered a rare find, and the Chassidim wanted to replace it with another Siddur that they would get for her, but she adamantly refused. After much pleading, she explained why she needed this particular Siddur. “My father gave me this Siddur as a gift and told me that it would last many years, since if the pages got worn out only the Chassidic explanations would be lost, while the words of the Siddur themselves would remain.” The Chassidim took this as a lesson about a Chassid who takes on extra Chassidic practices. Even if the practice wears away, at least his Judaism is left intact. where his father supported himself by baking in his house, the goal being not to work on Shabbos. He managed to eke out a living to support his seven children. In 1939, R’ Dovid Leib went to visit his family in Moscow. During this visit he became engaged to Rivka, the oldest daughter of R’ Nachman and Miriam Stroks. R’ Nachman was a Breslover Chassid, who had returned that year from a labor camp where he had been sent for being religious. During those harsh years, when dozens of Chassidim were sent to Siberia or killed, it wasn’t easy to find a religious girl from a good home. A girl like that was a precious find. R’ Dovid Leib merited marrying a fine, modest, frum Chassidishe girl from a Chassidishe family. The young couple lived in Moscow briefly until the outbreak of World War II. Then they joined the tens of thousands of civilians who fled to the interior of the country. Together with his father and brother, R’ Dovid and his wife arrived in the city of Karaganda in Kazakhstan, where there were already a few Lubavitchers, including R’ Moshe Vishedsky, R’ Yehuda Kulasher, and the Raskin family. R’ Dovid and his father started a Chabad shul. They bought a tiny house and renovated it themselves, and this served as the shul for refugees. R’ Dovid Leib’s oldest son, Yosef, was born in Karaganda. At the end of the war, the Chein family wanted to move back to Moscow, but on the way there, they heard that many Lubavitchers were heading for the border city of Lvov to try escaping across the border into Poland. Thus, they changed their destination for Lvov. After much wandering and hardship they arrived there. R’ Dovid Leib was one of the first to arrive in Lvov. As soon
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water. All wished one another that we would leave soon and in peace. I remember that one night there were so many guests that my father and I had no place to put our heads. I found a sack that I filled with straw and that is what we slept on.” Mrs. Rivka Chein relates: “Our house was always open; the door was never closed. Everyone was in our house. We held many farbrengens and every Motzaei Shabbos there was a Melaveh Malka. “I had the strength for this as a yerusha from my father, who did so much for others and was full of energy when it came to matters of k’dusha.” In the winter of 5707, the KGB laid hands on dozens of Chassidim who were involved with the escape through Lvov. It was a miracle that they did not get the Chein brothers, R’ Berke, R’ Avrohom Aharon and R’ Dovid Leib. They continued living in Lvov and worked to support their families. Although the smuggling out of Russia had stopped, the authorities did not give up. They made every effort to find the Chassidim who had been involved. They conducted searches all over the country for the people they wanted. A visitor of R’ Dovid Leib was arrested and after an interrogation and sentencing he was sent to a labor camp. At some point, the KGB suspected that he had information about the organizers of the smuggling operation out of Lvov, and he was brought back to the KGB headquarters in Leningrad. They told him that they knew he had a lot of information about what went on in Lvov. He was interrogated for days and underwent much suffering until
he finally broke and said that R’ Dovid Leib’s house was their headquarters and that is where they forged documents. He also revealed the names of Chassidim who lived there or had visited the house like R’ Berke, R’ Avrohom Aharon and R’ Mendel. This information was a treasure for the KGB who immediately worked to trap the traitors. Mrs. Chein tells about the arrest: “Four armed KGB agents broke into the house in the middle of the night and they conducted a thorough search, turning the house upside down. When they saw the s’farim on the bookshelves, they angrily threw them to the floor. When they had calmed down somewhat, they began putting the s’farim into a large sack that they had brought
R’ Peretz Chein, R’ Dovid Leib’s father
“He took his tallis and t’fillin and some food and said he would run away; he did not yet know where he was going. I gave him all the money I had on me and then I returned home, exhausted and broken.”
brother-in-law, Berke had left the house earlier on. I suddenly realized that my other brotherin-law was also in danger of imminent arrest and without thinking about my two little children, Yosef and Meir Simcha, I immediately ran to R’ Avrohom Aharon’s house to tell him they were looking for him. “When I arrived there, I found my sister-in-law Mina sobbing. She said her husband was in a health spa in Georgia and he had sent a telegram that said he would be arriving by train the next day. The KGB, who had come to her house in the middle of the night, had found the telegram. “As she cried, Mina asked me, ‘How can you think about
along with them. The sack was nearly full when my husband noticed one of the KGB agents holding a Torah Ohr siddur, which he davened from every day and was very beloved to him. He asked the agent not to confiscate this book. To spite him, they threw it on the floor and trampled it. I could not restrain myself and cried out, ‘If you want, kill us, shoot us, but why should you torture my husband and denigrate these holy books?’ “When they finished their search, they took the documents they found as well as the s’farim. They took my husband in their car. “I was shaken by his arrest and yet, I thanked G-d that my
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others when your husband was arrested?’ I did not have much time to talk to her since I knew that other people were in danger. I started walking to R’ Berke’s house. He lived far from our house, on the outskirts of the city. I had to cross a large wheat field in the middle of the night. I didn’t think of how frightening it was; I ran as fast as I could and thought about how I might enter his house when the entrance was locked from the inside during the night. “When I got there, I was delighted to find some drunks who had lit a small fire and while putting it out, they had opened the entrance door and had not locked it again. I quickly ran up the stairs and informed Berke of the arrest. He took his tallis and t’fillin and some food and said put me in solitary for six days. They did not allow me to wear clothes on my upper body and it was bitter cold.” R’ Dovid Leib related: “After hours of interrogation, when I repeated ‘I don’t know’ to every question, the interrogator grew angry and said, ‘You are mocking me by answering that way to every question. You should know that my patience has come to an end and you will pay for this with ten, twenty, thirty years in jail! It is your choice to admit to the crimes and suffer a light sentence or to persist in your obstinacy and be sent to Siberia for twenty-five years!’ “I said: I am a Jew who knows and believes that there is a Creator and One who is charge of the world. My body and soul are went through: “I was a little boy when my father was arrested. I remember waking up in the middle of the night due to the noise the KGB made and I saw men with weapons turning the house over. Over the years, my father told me about the arrest and labor camps. “From the KGB headquarters in Lvov, he was taken to jail in Kiev and from there to the KGB headquarters in Leningrad. He was interrogated endlessly for nine months! He was starved, put in solitary confinement, and was beaten mercilessly. One time, he lost himself during an interrogation and he lifted a chair and wanted to throw it at the interrogator. The interrogator yelled for help and some soldiers came immediately. They put my father on the floor, removed his clothing from his upper body, one sat on his shoulders and others held his arms and legs and they began beating him with an iron bar. He was left with scars from this beating. On another occasion, he was laid on the floor and beaten with electric cords until he begged them to shoot him and not torture him anymore. “Nevertheless, he did not break and did not tell them about the other Chassidim. He denied any connection and knowledge of them. When they saw that he was not breaking, they decided to arrange a confrontation with the Jew who informed on him. This was a terrible psychological ordeal. My father was a baal chesed and hosted many Jews in his home, including this man. Now, he was suffering because of him. In my father’s presence, the man told about the entire smuggling operation from Lvov and he said, ‘Your house was the center for forging documents.’
“I have no words for the shock I felt. I could not understand how my father, who suffered for ten years in labor camps because of this man’s informing, could forgive him.”
he would run away; he did not yet know where he was going. I gave him all the money I had on me and then I returned home, exhausted and broken.” The interrogations of the Chein brothers were particularly harsh. They were accompanied by threats and torture as the interrogators did their utmost to break their spirits and extract information about the smuggling operation. R’ Avrohom Aharon (see full-length profile about him in issue #724) later related: “They tortured us in jail. The interrogator was a cruel man and when I did not respond the way he wanted, he punched me in the head until I thought I would not get out of there alive. Then they in His hands and He is the one who will sentence me to life or death. I am not at all convinced that with your light sentence of five years that I am guaranteed life and I have no confidence at all that a sentence of twenty-five years means death.” The interrogations did not provide the interrogators with the information that they wanted. R’ Dovid Leib refused to inform on his brethren. As a result, he suffered tremendously. He could have easily avoided the torture if he had revealed the names of just a few people, but he was willing to sacrifice his life rather than inform on others. R’ Meir Simcha emotionally told us about what his father
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My father denied this outright in order not to divulge the names of other Jews who were involved. “Many years later, there was a family simcha and that man was in attendance. I was angry with him and wanted to send him away in shame, but first I asked my father what he thought. My father said, ‘How can you judge him negatively when he did not do this willingly. He broke under torture that a human being cannot bear. I forgive him with all my heart. Leave him alone.’ “I have no words for the shock I felt. I could not understand how my father, who suffered for ten years in labor camps because of this man’s informing, could forgive him. That was my father; he had a compassionate heart. “My mother and Aunt Mina went to Leningrad for Pesach in order to find out where their husbands were being held. They brought packages of matza and kosher food for Pesach. They went to the various jails, but in each place they refused to tell my mother where my father was imprisoned. My mother was fortunate, since my aunt was arrested and she also underwent torture and interrogation.” Kosher food was hard to obtain year round and R’ Dovid Leib sufficed with bread and water, but the problem was much greater on Pesach. A few days before Pesach, he ate less bread and exchanged the remains for sugar cubes. He hid the sugar and for the nine days of Pesach he had sugar and water. When they asked him how he was able to hide the sugar without it being stolen, he said, “I cannot explain this great miracle. Surely, if they had found the sugar before Pesach, I would not have had what to eat for nine days.” In the book Yahadus
Then they learned that they could get an exit visa in exchange for a $1000 bribe per person, and on condition that the invitation they received was from any country but Israel.
throughout the holiday. His insides shrank due to the lack of minimal nourishment. However, since it was Pesach, he would not transgress a Torah prohibition
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Ha’adama it describes R’ Dovid Leib’s first Pesach: “Fortunately, he had some sugar that he had gotten before Pesach and this sustained him
he told him he felt horrible and to call the doctor immediately. According to law, the warden had to call for a doctor if the prisoner requested this. The doctor came and examined him. He gave him no medicine, but allowed him to sleep in a bed. “For those who did not undergo the Soviet hell, it pays to mention that permission to lie down during the daytime was unusual. This is because in Soviet prison, it was forbidden to lie down and rest for even a few minutes. It was permissible to sit on a chair or to walk around the cell. Only at ten at night was permission granted to lie down on a bed of boards and broken crates. “When I recall those days,” said R’ Dovid Leib emotionally, “it is hard to understand how I could have gone through all that suffering; with hardly any food and drink, it was all measured out. There was no one to talk to, no one with whom to unburden your heart. Even if you wanted to say a few mizmorim, you did not have a T’hillim or siddur. The only thing I could do was to murmur some chapters of T’hillim by heart that I could remember, and the t’fillos of Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv which, amazingly, I had not forgotten in my great suffering. I would sing the verses of T’hillim to myself and place my trust in the Master of all who would eventually end my suffering and remove me from this quicksand.” “After months of interrogation and torture,” continued his son, Meir Simcha, “the troika (three judges who passed judgment swiftly without listening to the accused who did not have a lawyer, of course) sentenced my father and his brother, Avrohom Aharon, and their sister-in-law
wHERE IS YOSSELE?
In the interview with Mrs. Chein, some interesting anecdotes about Yossele Schumacher came up. Mrs. Chein is his aunt, his mother’s sister. Her sister Ida and brother-in-law Alter made aliya much earlier than the rest of the family. Neither was religiously observant. At a certain point, due to financial difficulties, the couple decided to give their two children, ages 10 and five, to their grandfather, R’ Nachman Stroks, who lived in Yerushalayim for him to raise them. A few years later, in the winter of 5709, the couple wanted their children back since they wanted to return to Russia. The grandfather gave them his granddaughter Tzina, but refused to give his grandson back. He even hid his grandson for a while and said he had suffered enough in Siberia, and he did not want his daughter and son-in-law to return to Russia because of financial reasons. The rav of Yerushalayim paskened that the grandfather was required to prevent his grandson from returning to Russia and it was everyone’s obligation to help him. The Israeli police began searching for the boy but the child had been well hidden. At a certain point, it was said that the child had been smuggled out of the country. Prime Minister David ben Gurion got the Mosad involved in the matter. Extensive searches were conducted around the world in the attempt to find the six year old boy who had moved from place to place, from the yeshiva in Yerushalayim to Moshav Komemiyus, to Lucerne in Switzerland, and to Foubline, a town near Paris, until he finally joined the Gertner family in Brooklyn. Along the way, he was even disguised as a girl with braids. The Shin-Bet turned the country upside-down in their search for Yossele. The country was in an uproar. How dare an old-fashioned religious man kidnap a child in order to brainwash him with religion? The cry of “Eifo Yossele” (Where is Yossele) resounded throughout the country. Yossele was found on 28 Iyar 5722/1962 in Brooklyn and was returned to his parents. Mrs. Chein: “I was still in Lvov at the time. The KGB called me down and pressured me to write a letter to my sister, Yossele’s mother, in which I would ask her to return to Russia. I refused. Many years later, when my husband and I had my first yechidus with the Rebbe, the Rebbe spoke to us at length about Yossele and asked how he and his mother were. The yechidus took 45 minutes and most of the conversation was about Yossele. “When we sat Shiva, Yossele came to be menachem avel. He wore a yarmulke and davened Maariv.” at any cost. Starvation was not the only source of his suffering, as he had to maneuver as much as possible in order to hide this from the authorities, since if they discovered his actions they would force feed him. “After Pesach, when he tried eating something, he suffered great pain. His shrunken organs could not digest anything. His suffering increased and he felt that these were his final hours on earth. “Having no choice, he began knocking at the door of his cell so someone could come to help him. When the warden came,
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Mina to ten years of exile and hard labor. “The journey to their place of exile was very long; in crowded compartments with hardly any food and drink. They traveled for weeks until they arrived at labor camps at the North Pole. My father was sent to a camp called Vorkuta, and Avrohom Aharon was sent to a nearby camp called Milnak. Aunt Mina was exiled to a women’s labor camp in the same area. “The prisoners were sent to do various jobs. At first, my father worked digging coal. This work was extremely difficult as they dug out rocks and coal from under the ground. My father worked the night shift for several weeks until his strength was depleted. Then he was transferred to clean roads of snow. “During his exile, he found someone who had been able to keep his t’fillin and my father put on this man’s t’fillin every day. My father also kept Shabbos, and each Shabbos managed to avoid work with various excuses. Then, one Shabbos, his excuse did not help and he was punished in the tiny, filthy solitary cell for a week. You were not allowed to lie down or sit here, just stand. “The Chassid, R’ Mule Mochkin was also in this camp and seeing my father’s suffering, he told the people in charge that my father’s health required them to give him easier work to do. R’ Mule was influential and my father was offered the job of watchman and that of directing the trains which arrived at the camp. My father agreed to work every night except Friday. “During his time in the camp, my father wrote down the chapters of T’hillim as he remembered them. One day, a
package arrived from my mother and along with food there was a T’hillim. Miraculously, the book was hidden from the eyes of the guards. Since it was large, he copied all the T’hillim onto papers from cigarette boxes. He collected every piece of paper that he found and made his own T’hillim. He hid all the papers between his belt and his pants and went to work like that. Since he was a guard who worked alone, he used the time to say T’hillim. “Many years later, when my father went to the Rebbe, he wanted to give this handwritten T’hillim as a gift, but the Rebbe told him to keep it and to say T’hillim from it every Shabbos Mevarchim. “For Chanuka, my father made prodigious efforts to obtain oil and something out of which to make wicks. After obtaining them, he began looking for something to serve as a menorah. In other camps, they lit candles in hollowed out potatoes, but in this camp which was in the North Pole, they did not even have potatoes. He ended up using an onion. After hollowing it out, he poured a few drops of oil into it. “In the barracks my father lived in, there were some antiSemitic political prisoners who tried to make his life miserable. However, the other prisoners loved and respected him, and when they saw that the political prisoners were bothering him, they threatened to harm them if they dared threaten my father again. ‘He prays for us,’ they said. ‘If you continue bothering him, we will kill you.’ Indeed, they stopped harassing him and my father could breathe with relief.” Mrs. Chein relates: “For many years, I was alone
with my two sons as well as with R’ Avrohom Aharon and Mina’s two children. I had to support them and raise them to Torah and Chassidus. A few years later, one of the children was sent to his grandfather, R’ Peretz Chein, in Moscow, and my other son was sent to his uncle, R’ Yehuda Kulasher. “I was allowed to send packages to my husband, brother-in-law and sister-inlaw twice a year. I sent a little food and medicine. I made the effort to obtain the most upto-date medicine available, i.e. antibiotics, because I knew that disease was widespread there and there were no medications or doctors. After my husband’s release, I heard that he needed the antibiotics because he had suffered from an infection that had already spread to his brain.” *** From the moment R’ Dovid Leib was released, the family began thinking about how to leave the Soviet Union. With
Issue 852 • �
great effort, they received an invitation from residents of Eretz Yisroel so that they could receive an exit visa, but their request was rejected. They tried again a year later and once again their request was denied. This went on for ten years. Then they learned that they could get an exit visa in exchange for a $1000 bribe per person, and on condition that the invitation they received was from any country but Israel. The Cheins received an invitation for family reunification from the brother Sholom who lived in England. Then they had to figure out how to get the enormous sum of $4000 for the entire family’s exit visas. Mrs. Chein relates: “The economic situation at the time made it impossible to raise such a sum, so I sent letters to relatives and acquaintances in the United States, England and Eretz Yisroel with a request for help. After a while, we began receiving parcels with various items that I could sell on the black market. When we earned the required amount, we paid OVIR and finally received our exit visas. “Everything was arranged. We just had to pack our belongings, buy tickets and leave, but then we received a short letter from OVIR which said, ‘You must come to our offices immediately.’ We were very upset, since we realized that something was amiss and we were afraid that the visas we had obtained with so much effort would be canceled. There was also the fear lest we be arrested again. After a quick family consultation, we decided that some family members must leave that very day before they closed the borders to us. We bought tickets for my husband and oldest son in the hopes that when they arrived at the airport in Moscow, the officials over there would not know about the letter from OVIR. “My husband and son arrived in Moscow and boarded a plane for Vienna. It was only after they were out of the country that I went to the OVIR office to find out what they wanted. I worriedly presented myself to them and one of the clerks informed me that we still owed them two rubles, a paltry sum. A heavy stone rolled off my heart. “Soon, my son Meir Simcha and I left Russia and joined my husband and older son. We arrived in Eretz Yisroel a few days before Pesach 1969.” *** The Cheins deliberated about where to live. Friends suggested Kfar Chabad, but Mrs. Chein wanted to live near her parents in Mea Sh’arim in Yerushalayim. They asked the Rebbe and he told them to live in Yerushalayim. R’ Dovid Leib began working in Kiryat Noar (Boys Town) in Bayit V’Gan. His schedule included learning before davening and in the evening after work. His davening took a long time and was wondrously sweet. He recited the 12 Torah Passages every day after Shacharis and when asked why he did this, he said, “The Rebbe chose these p’sukim. Since I am his Chassid, these p’sukim are important to me and that is why I say them every day.” R’ Dovid Leib was utterly devoted to the Rebbe and had yechidus several times. In 5743, instructions came from the Rebbe’s secretariat to appoint him as a member of Kollel Chabad in Yerushalayim. Every Shabbos he walked a long distance to the Kosel, and from there he went to the Tzemach Tzedek shul in the Old City. He did this for years after his brother R’ Berke told the Rebbe that R’ Dovid Leib davened in the Tzemach Tzedek shul every Shabbos and the Rebbe smiled. R’ Dovid Leib considered this smile an instruction from the Rebbe to continue davening there. He did so even when walking became difficult for him in his old age. *** R’ Dovid Leib passed away on 10 Cheshvan 5761/2000. His funeral was attended by hundreds of Anash and acquaintances in and out of Yerushalayim, mashpiim, rabbanim, roshei yeshiva and ordinary people. He is buried on Har HaMenuchos where he had bought a plot next to the grave of his father, R’ Peretz.
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14 � • 3 Cheshvan 5773
FINDING THE waY BaCK
ron Moyal credits his rescue to a chassidishe farbrengen that took place in his parents’ home at the precise time that he had given up hope.
By Nosson avrohom
in the WilDs of neW ZeAlAnD
In his childhood, Ron attended religious Zionist schools in Afula. He was a member of the B’nei Akiva youth group. He attended Yeshivas Shavei Chevron and continued learning in Yeshivas Har HaMor and Chomos Yerushalayim. His parents became involved with Chabad and became Chassidim at this time. Sadly, he dropped out of religious life. After serving in an infantry unit in the Nahal Brigade, he decided to travel to the Australian continent. Ron related: I spent a year and a half touring New Zealand. In this charming country I became friendly with a local young man who was interested in touring together with me. He took me
very Lubavitcher child is familiar with the aphorism: “What a Chassidishe farbrengen can accomplish, even the Angel Michoel cannot accomplish.” The Alter Rebbe explained this to mean that when a father sees his children sitting together in unity, he is inspired to fulfill all their requests, even if through normal channels (such as by way of angels interceding on his behalf) they are not worthy. Indeed, in Chassidic tradition there are many stories
about people who were saved after having participated in a farbrengen and having been blessed. At a farbrengen that took place recently, a young man by the name of Ron Moyal of the Chabad community in Afula told a story that happened on a trip he made. He was in a forest in New Zealand on a tour after his army service. He credits his rescue to a Chassidishe farbrengen that took place in his parents’ home at the precise time that he had given up hope.
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with him to all kinds of forests and attractions. One night, we traveled to some relatives of his, who live in a small village far from the hustle and bustle of the city. When I woke up early in the morning, I went outside and was amazed to see a stunning landscape. The pastoral village lay at the foot of a forested mountain. I thought it would be enjoyable to climb the mountain and I quickly put on my sneakers and set out. For some reason, the mountain did not seem particularly large and I figured that I would be back at my lodgings within two hours. Indeed, the climb did not take more than two hours. I was in good shape after the army and I didn’t leave the summit too fast. After the first peak there were more and more peaks. When I made it to the last one and I took a photo of myself, I was already tired and hungry. I decided to head back to the village. I decided I would return via a different route than the one that had brought me there. I was dismayed though, when the route that seemed shorter turned out to be winding and longer. I suddenly no longer saw the houses of the village. At first, I thought that in a little while I would see signs of my destination, but as the hours passed, I realized I was deep in the forest, far from habitation. In my confusion, I continued going until I was standing at a field of thorns. Once again, I convinced myself that after crossing the field I would reach the village, but that was not what happened. I ran across the field and got completely scratched up. I reasoned that the field was on a slope and it would enable me to reach the bottom of the mountain. But every time I thought I had finished with the field, I saw that I was in a small clearing and there were more acres of thorn fields beyond it. After two hours of running, I reached a small wooded clearing. I climbed a large boulder and saw that I wasn’t in a localized field of thorns, but in the midst of thousands of acres of thorns and who knew when I would get out of there. How did I manage to end up here, I asked myself. I began to seriously stress out. Time passed and I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything. The sun was beating down on me. I decided to try and retrace my steps, but I only got more confused. All the scenery looked the same. Soon the sun was going to set. When it becomes dark, I thought, it will only get much worse. I had been walking for hours, sometimes running, and I was beginning to wonder whether it had been decreed that I die in the forest. The sun set and it grew dark, but I still had a faint hope of finding my way. At ten at night I was still on the mountain. The temperature went down quickly and I began to freeze. After walking so much, I had lost sensation in my hands and feet. I rubbed them vigorously to try to restore some feeling. At a certain point, a heavy cloud cover began covering the mountain. I was walking through low lying clouds, and I knew that even if the village was a few meters away, I wouldn’t see it. I cried over my lot. That was the moment that broke me. I lay down on a slab of rock and thought: this might be where I will end my life in this world. All the experiences in my life, including the smallest ones, passed through my mind as in a slide show. I decided not to continue searching for a possible escape. I just lay there, freezing and exhausted. All I was wearing was an undershirt and shorts, and my entire body was full of scratches. I was trembling and felt the cold penetrating my bones. I knew I would not survive the cold of that night. At this point, I promised G-d that if I were to be saved, I would put t’fillin on for seven days. A few minutes later, something incredible happened. I simply got up and began running without a direction or goal. I just ran. I had this crazy idea of running until I would find habitation or until I would collapse. At some point, I encountered a section of forest that had bushes two meters high and more. I cut through them in a full out run without considering the danger. To my delight, I finally heard the sound of water. I figured that the bushes grew near a stream. I ran until I found it. I stopped and slaked my thirst. I sat down to rest a little and began thinking logically. If all streams flow downward, and the village is at the foot of the mountain, then that’s the direction I should go in. I got up and continued running near the stream as I listened out for the water. At about two in the morning I reached what I saw clearly, despite the darkness, to be a paved path. Now I didn’t know which way to go, right or left. At first I went left, but after twenty minutes of running without seeing anything on the horizon, I went back and turned right. After an hour and a half of marathon running, I saw a large farm and some wooden shacks within the thick of the forest. Having no alternative, I broke a window in
16 � • 3 Cheshvan 5773
one of the shacks and went in. On the table were some open sweets and dry pieces of bread which I ate. I did not care that it was all moldy and covered with spider webs; I ate it all. There was some open jam and the sugar in it revived me. Then I left and continued running. After another hour of running, I saw two lights. I realized they were a car’s headlights. My greatest fear was that they wouldn’t see me so I stood in the center of the path. It was impossible to miss me. The car stopped, and out came a friendly villager who looked at me in wonder. He had not thought he would see a young man in a shredded undershirt and shorts at that hour of the night in the heart of the forest, with his face and entire body a mass of wounds and scratches. He quickly took me into his car. He heard what village I had come from and was astonished. I was in the completely opposite direction. He was a nice fellow and he was willing to take me back to the village. When we arrived, I went to my lodgings and collapsed, utterly spent, physically and emotionally. It could have ended differently, I knew. My friends were totally shocked. A search team had gone out to look for me accompanied by a helicopter. The friend who Continued from page 19
That was the moment that broke me. I lay down on a slab of rock and thought: this might be where I will end my life in this world.
despair, and found new strength I did not know I had, after hours of running without food and water. This realization hit me like a thunderbolt. Before traveling I had not wanted to take my t’fillin with me and my mother had hidden them in my backpack. I discovered them when I was abroad. As I had promised G-d, I put on the t’fillin; not for seven days but for eight, which I knew represented that which is above nature. That was the turning point that got me to thinking things through. As soon as I returned to Eretz Yisroel, I began the internal process, together with my wife, of returning to my religious roots. *** Today, the Moyal family lives in Afula and Ron is one of the people who run the new Chabad center. He talks excitedly about the tremendous work being done at this center with youth, men, and women. He said that minutes before I called he had come back from the weekly shiur that he gives to young men, which is entirely in the Chabad spirit of Geula and Moshiach.
had accompanied me said he was about to call my parents in Eretz Yisroel to report my having gone missing. After I ate and rested a little, I looked for the local police station. The detectives told me that I had to thank G-d and that I had experienced a miracle. Just the week before, two tourists had gone into the forest and lost their way; in the end, their bodies were found. I called home the following day. Of course, my parents knew nothing about my adventure. I decided to tell them what happened only after I returned home. When I spoke to my mother that day, she told me that the night before they had had a birthday farbrengen for my brother Tal, and everyone had blessed me saying that just as I had left Eretz Yisroel in peace, I should return in peace. When my mother said this line, I choked up with tears. I contained myself so she wouldn’t hear me crying. I made a simple calculation and figured out that the farbrengen, according to New Zealand time, had taken place at the critical moment when I got up from the rock, shook off my
succeed in bringing Moshiach. The Rebbe continues: Even after the histalkus, rising to extreme heights, it is vital to the Rebbe Rayatz to bring Moshiach to the world below just as it was for him prior to the histalkus. In fact, after the histalkus, the physical world became even more pertinent, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Igeres
HaKodesh in his commentary on the saying in the Zohar, “The righteous who pass on are present in all the worlds more so then when they were alive” – “even in this world of action [the physical world] … he is more present.” Of course, the Alter Rebbe writes this concept (of being more present in the physical world) in connection with the passing of HaRav HaTzaddik Menachem Mendel Horodoker, who is not
counted as one of the leaders of Chabad. From this it is understood how much more this applies to the Rebbe – that after his histalkus he is more present in the physical world than in his life, and what happens here below is extremely relevant to him. Since this is so, nothing can deter him, and he will surely bring Moshiach Tzidkeinu. (Ibid pg. 11-12)
Issue 852 • �
MoshiAch & GeulA
NOTHING STaNDS IN THE REBBE’S waY TO BRING MOSHIaCH, EVEN NOw
Source material compiled and arranged by Rabbi Shloma Majeski Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur
ollowing the histalkus of the Rebbe Rayatz on Yud Shvat 5710, the Rebbe MH”M proclaimed that the Rebbe Rayatz remains alive as before. This approach is immediately apparent in the Rebbe’s sichos of that year, where the Rebbe underscores this point repeatedly. The following are source materials that appear in Rabbi Majeski’s compilation Likkutei M’koros. (Translations of selections that are most relevant to the topic are in bold; the other sections are paraphrased, for the purposes of brevity and clarity.)
to my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe זצוקללה“ה נבג“מ זי“ע .הכ’’מ However, we, on our part, must maintain and strengthen our hiskashrus and our bond with the Rebbe, with greater fortitude and resolve, by means of studying the maamarim, sichos, and letters, and by poring over the directives therein. The same is true with regard to the personal instructions we received. Then we shall go “in the straight path he has taught of his ways, and we shall go in his paths forevermore.”
(Toras Menachem pg. 10, 18 Shvat 5710)
THE TZADDIK APPROACHES G-D ON OUR BEHALF
My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, ,הריני כפרת משכבוwrites in one of his letters, regarding the histalkus of his father [the Rebbe Rashab], that the righteous are the “protectors of the land” even posthumously: “It is not just that they do not leave their flock; they grovel at the foot of the throne On High, approaching the glory of the great and exalted L-rd, in order to protect Am Yeshurun, the Jewish people.” All of this is true with regard
NOTHING STANDS IN THE REBBE’S WAY TO BRING MOSHIACH, EVEN NOW
The Rebbe continues with this approach on Shabbos Parshas Yisro, relating how the Rebbe Rayatz told the story that begins with the promise of the Berditchever Rebbe before his passing: There were tzaddikim who, prior to their histalkus, promised that they would not enter Gan Eden until they succeeded in bringing Moshiach, but in the
end they failed, succumbing to spiritual “bribes” from On High. I, however – the Berditchever Rebbe continues – will not allow that to happen to me. The fact is, though – the Rebbe Rayatz concludes – that they got the Berditchever too in the end. They said K’dusha in Gan Eden and immediately the Berditchever Rebbe jumped in! Since the Rebbe Rayatz knew this and related it – the Rebbe MH”M says – he was proclaiming about himself that he would not succumb to the same temptation when it came to his histalkus, and certainly he would bring Moshiach. The key factor that distinguishes the Rebbe Rayatz from other tzaddikim who made the same claim is that his approach was not tarnished by even the slightest tinge of self-interest (such as, Rebbi Akiva’s glorying in his destiny for martyrdom). The model for the avoda of the Rebbe Rayatz was Avrohom Avinu, who’s goal was to promote the knowledge of G-d in the world at all costs, being prepared to literally give his life for this goal, should that be required of him. With regard to other tzaddikim, forgoing entrance into Gan Eden is an act of selfsacrifice, something they were
18 � • 3 Cheshvan 5773
It is well known that in Iyar, 5751, the Rebbe MH”M initiated a Mivtza campaign to study Inyanei Moshiach U’Geula, requesting the formation of groups of at least ten people to study these subjects. The Rebbe reiterated this horaa many times in the ensuing months of 5751, and continued to stress its importance during 5752. As chassidim, it is surely our passionate desire to fulfill the Rebbe’s wishes, and to make every effort to inspire others to do likewise. This is so even if we do not understand the reason. How much more so considering that, in this case, the Rebbe gave us several important explanations about the benefits of learning Inyanei Moshiach u’Geula namely: A) This is the derech ha’yeshara (the best and most direct way) to bring about the revelation and the coming of Moshiach in actuality.1 B) It will increase the excitement, desire and anticipation for Moshiach’s coming.2 C) By learning about Moshiach and Geula a person will begin to live with the whole spirit and times of Yemos HaMoshiach.3 D) Torah has the power to change a person’s nature. Even if a person has difficulty feeling the imminence of Yemos HaMoshiach, learning about it will lift him to the realm of Geula and he will begin to live with Moshiach.4 From all the above, it is also clear that the more information we master concerning Moshiach and Geula, the more we can deal with doubts, questions, and issues that may bother us or others, for “safek (doubt)” is gematria “Amalek.” As we learn what is explicitly written in the written Torah, in the Oral Torah, and especially in the Sichos of Nasi Doreinu,5 all the “issues” will dissolve into nothingness, and we will be able “to open our eyes” to perceive reality through the eyes of the Rebbe, according to Torah (al _______ pi Torah). 1 Seifer HaSichos 5751 pg. 501 Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge, many labor under misunderstandings and confusion about 2 Seifer HaSichos 5751 pg. 502 Moshiach and Geula. Surprisingly, even heads of 3 Seifer HaSichos 5751 pg. 691 prepared to do for the sake of the Jewish people. However, the Rebbe Rayatz had no self-interest at all, being totally given over to the Jewish people. Thus, his mission to bring Moshiach was not an act of self-sacrifice per se, but the expression of his entire purpose. To that extent, the Rebbe Rayatz is distinguished in that he is not subject to “bribes” of spiritual revelations. Since his personal gratification is not a
yeshivos and great Torah scholars are sometimes almost totally uniformed about the subject, since it is not studied as part of the regular yeshiva curriculum. It is mindboggling to discover that sophisticated men of learning, who are proficient in many areas of Torah knowledge, can be satisfied to rely on a few pieces of information about Moshiach and Geula which they may have heard when they were young, and even after years of Torah learning, have not added to their knowledge in this area. The truth is that the only source by which a question in Judaism may be clarified, especially issues of emuna, are words of Torah and the teachings of Chazal. When dealing with issues touching the very foundations of Judaism, we must rely on books of Torah from true Torah leaders, and especially the Sichos and Maamarim of our Rebbeim, especially those of our Rebbe, the Melech HaMoshiach. For this purpose, copies of various Torah sources have been compiled in this book so that everyone can see for themselves the original source of each key idea. If a person will examine these sources, he or she will then easily be able to draw their own conclusions. The light of Torah will dispel all darkness and confusion. The material gathered in this collection is arranged in a structured manner that will facilitate its use as a text or basis for a shiur, which every teacher can develop and elucidate in their own way. Whoever wishes to make copies of these sources as printed herein is welcome and encouraged to do so. Volume 2 of this series deals with other topics of emuna that are so crucial in our unprecedented times. Let us hope that in the merit of our unyielding trust in Hashem, and our emuna in the words of Rebbe, we will speedily merit to see the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach shlita with our eyes of flesh, and he will lead us out of Galus, Teikef U’miyad Mamash! ––Rabbi Shloma Majeski
4 Seifer HaSichos 5751 pg. 501 5 Seifer HaSichos 5751 pg. 501
goal – his only objective is the welfare of the Jewish people – self-sacrifice is not an issue, and the prospect of Divine revelation makes no impact on him. Therefore, it is certain that he will Continued on page 17
Issue 852 • �
BEST PLaCE TO DIVE
By Rabbi Akiva Wagner
eb Zushe of Anipoli, one the greatest talmidim of the Maggid, lived in great poverty. Often, many days would pass with the home remaining bare. It happened once that before the Yom Tov of Sukkos, many days passed with no money at all in the house. R’ Zushe and his family members went hungry, but R’ Zushe did not complain. On the first night of Sukkos, R’ Zushe was in shul, davening Maariv with great enthusiasm, as was his custom. Ignoring the hunger pangs, he joyously poured out his heart to his Creator, experiencing the happiness of Z’man Simchaseinu. When he completed his t’fillos, he remembered about the situation at home. “Well”, he told himself, “I know that there is not a morsel of food in the house, so there’s nothing to rush home for,” and he took out a seifer, and sat down to learn awhile. In the meantime, while his Rebbetzin was preparing the house for Yom Tov, she came across a valuable discovery. In the pockets of one of her husband’s garments a coin was discovered that had somehow been overlooked. Filled with joy, the Rebbetzin rushed to the marketplace, and quickly purchased some wine, challa, and potatoes, so that she could prepare somewhat of a seudas
Yom Tov after all. When R’ Zushe finally arrived home, he was surprised to find the Sukka filled with light and freshly cooked food on the table. He didn’t ask any questions, but immediately entered the Sukka to make Kiddush and begin the Yom Tov meal. After Kiddush, his wife served him a plate of hot potatoes. Needless to say, after not having had any food for days, the potatoes had a taste of Gan Eden! R’ Zushe sat at the table and took a bite of the potatoes, and then another bite. Then, suddenly, he stopped, and pushed the plate away: “Zushe!” he said, “on Sukkos we are forbidden from eating anywhere except in the Sukka. But you are not sitting in the Sukka now; rather, you are sitting in the plate of potatoes, so you may not continue eating!” And that was the end of his meal! We too have to ask ourselves: where in fact are we?
RIDING THE WAVES
In Torah Ohr of Parshas Noach the Alter Rebbe advises us about how to protect ourselves from the raging turbulent waters, i.e. the overwhelming indulgence in, and pursuit of, worldliness and materialism that surrounds us. The way to protect ourselves,
to safeguard ourselves, says the Alter Rebbe, is – as the Pasuk states – “BO EL HA’TEVA!” Get into a word of Torah, a word of davening. Immerse yourself into a holy word. Then you will no longer be in this dangerous and daunting world. You will be in a new, safe, place. In the words of davening and learning, we are no longer exposed to the tsunamis and tidal waves that are endangering the world around us. But, the keyword here is to get into it, to be fully and singlemindedly engrossed in our learning and davening. Not just surface-deep learning. Rather, our learning and davening should be an experience that encompasses our entire being. Not to be learning or davening, only to suddenly discover that (as in the story with Reb Zushe) we are not really in the words but are in fact somewhere else entirely. During a farbrengen, the Rebbe was speaking on behalf of the Jews imprisoned behind the iron curtain. At the end of the sicha, the Rebbe said “L ’chaim far di vos zenen nisht doh” (L ’chaim for those who are not here). Then the Rebbe said another L ’chaim: “Far di vos meinen az zei zenen do, ober zei zenen nisht do!” (For those who think that they’re here, but are in fact elsewhere) We know where we should be.
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BO EL HA’TEVA! Bring yourself into the words, the words that provide our refuge from the floods around us. A word of learning… Don’t just set aside time to cover ground, to turn some pages, but sink your mind into the material. Think deeply into a maamer chassidus or an inyan in nigleh. Horeve in Torah! A word of davening… Put more effort into your davening. So that you should not just be saying the words, but all of your faculties, your whole being, should be focused on what is being expressed in the words that you’re saying. That it should be a davening that can be truly referred to as “t’filla” – a connection with the One Above!
It’s not enough to pay our dues, to participate in a few requisite Moshiach shiurim to meet the requirements to be considered a chassidisher yid. Rather, we have to live Moshiach. Get into the atmosphere of Moshiach! Focus on it and be engrossed in it. Channel all of your faculties towards Moshiach.
outside!” The Frierdike Rebbe concluded that thereafter he was ‘cured’ of this ‘weakness.’ The Rebbe lifted the corner of the veil, and allowed us to join him in the Teiva of Moshiach. It is up to us to take advantage of this, by putting ourselves fully into the G-dly words that bring this experience to us.
Needless to say, after not having had any food for days, the potatoes had a taste of Gan Eden!
It doesn’t necessarily have to be for the entire day. But everyone needs to set aside times to work on being free of any and all outside distractions, during which he can fully be in the Teiva. If we put our minds to it, we will find that “Yogaato U’motzoso.” And we will see that (as in the story) “Look! You’re not in the world of galus after all; you are actually in the world of Moshiach!” L ’chaim! May we take to heart the lessons and directives of Parshas Noach, by working harder to immerse ourselves in the words that will be our salvation, and may our collective efforts result in bringing the entire world into the Teiva of Moshiach, with the Geula HaAmitis VeHashleima Teikef U’miyad Mamash!!!
From a written farbrengen directed towards Alumni of Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto
In Chassidus we are taught that the atmosphere that was present in the Teiva of Noach resembled the atmosphere that will prevail when Moshiach will arrive. The Teiva, thus, represents (in addition to the general meaning – words of Torah and T’filla) the awaited era of Moshiach. Indeed, BO EL HA’TEIVA! For years the Rebbe has been giving us a glimpse into the time of Moshiach and exhorting us to take heed, to start to live in a more Moshiach’dige manner. Once again the directive is to get into it.
We must work on ensuring that we are genuinely preoccupied with Moshiach. That way, we won’t find ourselves dutifully learning our sicha on Moshiach, only to discover (as in the story) that in fact we’re still deeply entrenched in our Galus mindset. The Rebbe once related, in the name of the Frierdike Rebbe, that the Frierdike Rebbe said about himself that when he was very young he had a ‘weakness.’ During cheider he felt drawn to the window to look at what was going on outside. (When the Rebbe repeated the story he added: “And what was there already to see outside of the window of the cheider in Lubavitch…?”) Until, once the Rashbatz (his melamed) remarked to him: “It is better to be standing outside and looking inside, than to be standing inside and looking
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Issue 852 • �
THE TORAH’S BLUEPRINT FOR MARRIED LIFE
What should be left behind on the way to one’s wedding? * Adjusting expectations. * Who needs to enter the “taivos” of Torah and t’filla? * Marriage versus dictatorship. * How to handle disagreements. * Lessons from the parsha.
By Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gluckowsky Rav in Rechovot and Secretary of Beis Din Rabbanei Chabad in Eretz Yisroel Prepared for publication by R Studnitz
here are a number of points in the parshiyos we are currently reading that pertain to the Jewish home. Since these parshiyos contain stories, and “the deeds of our ancestors are a portent for the children,” we need to examine these stories and learn from the interactions between the Avos and Imahos.
In Parshas B’Reishis, after the story of the creation of the Woman, the Torah says, “Therefore, man ought to leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.” The Torah is telling us that when a man marries, he needs to know that
his wife and new home take first priority. This awareness is cultivated by his disconnecting from his parents’ home. There are those who, even after they marry, are still tied to their parents, and everything they do in their new home is dictated by parental instructions. A husband needs to remember that his wife did not get married to her in-laws. If she feels that everything must receive the in-laws’ approval and blessing, this is a recipe for an unhealthy situation. Parents must be respected, but a man’s first loyalty is to his wife, and there is a limit as to how much parents can get involved in the couple’s lives. The “disconnect” from one’s
parents’ home also needs to include leaving behind all the negative things he saw at home. Everyone moves into their new home with models of behavior that they saw in their parents. There are certain things that we understand on our own have no place in a new home, but there can be a situation in which a father spoke disparagingly to the mother and the child automatically adopted this. After marrying, differences of opinion arise between the new husband and wife and what does he do? Precisely what he saw his parents do. If his father shouted and that is how things ended, he thinks that it will work that way in his house too. It’s just that he forgot that his wife grew up in another
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home where, when the father shouted, the mother gave it right back to him. He suddenly realizes that things aren’t working quite as he thought they would. The husband must be committed to not bringing the negative things he saw in his parents’ home into his own home. You yourself know how unpleasant it is to live that way, so what sense does it make to copy it? “Leaving” means there are thing that are better off being left behind.
LEAVING BEHIND THE GOOD AS WELL
We spoke about negative things that ought to be left behind, but there are positive things that also ought to be left behind. Why should this be? If there are positive things that can be taken from the home one grew up in to the new home, why leave them behind? It’s because the new home that one is establishing is different than the home he was raised in. You are different than your father and your wife is different than your mother. The two of you are building a new reality that is not a copy of where you came from. I knew a woman who married a yeshiva bachur and all was well. Several months later, I heard that she was disappointed in him. People are usually full of expectations and when things don’t go as they thought they would, disappointment sets in. Expectations in marriage come from what each spouse saw at home, from what each one read (and even, sadly, from movies). People enter married life with all these influences and have so many hopes, and when these hopes aren’t realized, deep disappointment follows.
So, if a person is disappointed, he needs to ask himself how much of it is justified and how long he plans on continuing to be disappointed.
of eggs or something in the news, she was disappointed. In a case like this, if the husband hears that his wife wants a D’var Torah from him at the Shabbos table, he needs to do it even if entails changing from what he was used to from his parents’ home. There are things that we can easily implement in our new home and both parties will be satisfied. It just requires attention and the desire to change.
The woman was disappointed by how her husband ran the Shabbos table. She was used to her father sharing a number of interesting thoughts on the parsha with the people at the table. Her husband wasn’t used to this for he had not seen this at home. The woman had expected something that she had not thought to discuss during her dating. She had always seen her father saying Divrei Torah, and to her it was obvious that everyone says Divrei Torah at the Shabbos table. “I was dating a yeshiva bachur and I had no doubt that he would say something on the parsha.” This is the reason that she did not think to bring up the topic on their dates. But when she sat at her Shabbos table, once, twice, three times, and her husband was silent or he spoke about the price
LIBERATING ONESELF FROM INCORRECT EXPECTATIONS
There are also things that aren’t easy to change, yet married life will usually be different than it was in one’s previous home. I know a woman who grew up in a home where her father was the breadwinner and he was in
Issue 852 • �
charge of the home’s finances. He was an authoritarian type who worked in management and made a nice living. Her mother was a balabusta. She took care of the children, the food, the order and cleanliness of the home, and made sure the house ran properly. She greatly respected her husband as a talmid chacham and as the one who took care of their finances. The daughter married a talmid chacham who was a bit up in the clouds. He was a good fellow who did chesed and arranged shiurim and the like. He worked, but he devoted the rest of his time to mitzvos and good deeds. He brought his salary home to his wife and told her to take care of things. He ran off to his other involvements. She expected her husband to take care of financial matters as her father did, but after a while she realized her husband just wasn’t the type and she had no choice but to take matters into her own hands. Although she knew this wasn’t her husband’s expertise, she continued to complain about it. “I looked for a husband who would take care of financial matters and look at what I got,” she told me bitterly. I said to her, “The time will come when you will accept the reality. Why do you continue to fight it and get disappointed every time? Your husband is not quite like your father, but he is a good man – you yourself see that. He can do many good and important things, but he is not the type to manage money. Hashem gave you a different situation than the one you originally imagined would materialize. Adjust yourself to it and move on.” The problem persists when we continue to hold on to what we see in our childhood and are unwilling to give that up. We are disappointed time and again because of our expectations. We need to know ahead of time that things will not necessarily go the way we thought they would. This is also learned from “Therefore, man ought to leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.” Aside from the loyalty one needs to have towards his wife, and aside from leaving behind the negative things, there are things that are positive that may not accompany you into your new home. There are things that can be improved and changed, but if they can’t, you need to know how to move on, because if you go around in a constant state of disappointment, it will affect your joy in life and the way you talk to others. It will also be apparent on your face and in your eyes. Your spouse will sense all this. So, if a person is disappointed, he needs to ask himself how much of it is justified and how long he plans on continuing to be disappointed. In those situations when it is hard to let go of preconceived expectations, it is worth discussing it with someone else who can help you see whether your expectations are realistic or not. If they are realistic, then see how you can improve matters. If they aren’t realistic, find a way to stop being disappointed. Consult with someone objective. Sometimes, only an outsider can get you out of the mire you got yourself into. enter the teiva (ark) and to bring his children and wife in with him. The Rebbe quotes the Baal Shem Tov who says that the expression “Go into the teiva” means a person needs to enter the teivos (words) of Torah and t’filla. The Flood represents the flood of life, i.e. the worries of parnasa, health etc., which every person experiences, and also the worries in spiritual matters like communal work. The way to be saved from this Flood is to “enter the teiva,” to enter the words of Torah and t’filla. Learn and daven, listen to what you are saying in the davening, and pay attention to the meaning of the words. All this will give you the right perspective on life to know what is important and what is secondary, so that you don’t get swept up in the current of life and lose direction. When a person surrounds himself with Torah, then he doesn’t get confused, although life is rife with confusion. The Rebbe says that it is not enough that you enter the words of Torah and t’filla, but you need to ensure that your wife and children enter the teiva too. There is the Chassid who prides himself on learning and davening properly, but when his wife wants to go in the evening to a shiur, he dismisses that and says, “What do you need a shiur for? There’s a house that needs your attention. It’s a shame to take the time and go.” He supports his position with the fact that the house is upside-down. He doesn’t think it’s important for his wife to learn. The Rebbe says the husband should ensure that his wife learns too, because she also has a Flood to deal with, those confusing things which can throw her off-track. You need to think about her and not just about yourself.
ENTER THE ARK, YOU, YOUR CHILDREN, AND YOUR WIFE
In Parshas Noach we find Hashem saying to Noach to
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Yes, it is important for the father, the head of the family, to be immersed in the right things. It is very important for him to have set times to learn Torah and to daven with a minyan. He has to learn Torah at home (which affects the atmosphere in the home), but all that is not enough. The wife also needs time to go out and learn. There are women who love to go out and learn. They “air out” this way and it’s important that their “airing out” take place with a shiur or lecture of some kind. When a woman learns and hears things, she returns home with more to offer and is a wife and mother with more substance. There is a letter from the Rebbe in which he writes that it’s a good thing for a husband and wife to regularly learn together. I always tell young couples to learn together, something that tends to become more difficult as the family grows. “Enter the teiva, you and your children and your wife.” Participating in shiurim and things of Jewish-Chassidic content is not just for the husband and wife, but for the children too. Think of ways to get your children more into the teiva of Torah and t’filla beyond the hours they are in school. You can encourage them with prizes and you can make sure that there are books and tapes at home with Chassidic stories. There are many ways to bring more Jewish content into the home. A woman told me that she has four children. The oldest is four years old and she barely has time to drink something during the day, never mind learn the way she did before she got married. I suggested that she utilize the many aides that exist today. For example, when waking the
children in the morning, you can wake them up with Modeh Ani and play Chassidic niggunim. In the half hour before they leave the house, they get to hear niggunim in the background and this has an effect on them. Even if there isn’t time to sit with a child and read them a story, there are recordings of stories that you can play. For many years I would wake up my children with recordings of Chabad niggunim. Today, they tell me that they know the niggunim on those two tapes by heart and in order. They heard them over and over again until it became part of them. It requires consistency, but it creates the atmosphere you want in your home.
but Avrohom had also invested in his chinuch. When the angels came to his tent, he gave the cow to Yishmoel to prepare in order to train him in mitzvos, as Rashi says. Avrohom invested in Yishmoel and thought about his future and now Sarah was telling him, “This boy needs to get out of here. He is dangerous for Yitzchok!” How was this dilemma resolved? Hashem intervened and told Avrohom, “Whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her.” Sarah was a greater prophetess than Avrohom and may have been gifted with a more developed practical sense (like the Rebbe explains in a sicha about the difference between the Avos and
For many years I would wake up my children with recordings of Chabad niggunim. Today, they tell me that they know the niggunim on those two tapes by heart and in order. They heard them over and over again until it became part of them.
the Imahos, that the Imahos were more practical while the Avos were more spiritual, holy and lofty. Their wives made sure that their husbands’ influence reached the right place). It is legitimate for husbands and wives to have differences of opinion, as Chazal say, “Just as people’s faces are not alike, so too their views are not alike.” Nobody marries his exact double, and he has no right to expect that whatever he says will be accepted unquestioningly by his wife. She has her own opinions and feelings about things. She is different than he is. We need to recognize the fact that differences of opinion are valid and typical of married life. It’s not like the children’s game of “The King Commanded” (similar to “Simple
Issue 852 • �
All this is included in “Enter the teiva.” Enter the teiva and ensure that your entire family enters it too. Think of creative ways to do it, even if you are very busy. You just need to want to do it.
In Parshas VaYeira the Torah tells about the argument between Avrohom Avinu and Sarah Imeinu. After Yitzchok was born, Sarah saw that Yishmoel was a bad influence on Yitzchok and she told Avrohom that Yishmoel had to leave. Avrohom wanted some “Chassidishe nachas” from Yishmoel, as he had told Hashem, “Halevai (if only) Yishmoel will live before You!” Not only that,
I remember that a few months after I got married, one of my friends asked me if my wife and i had quarreled yet. When I said that we hadn’t, he said, “Ah, that’s no good.”
Simon Says”), in which one child gives orders and the others carry them out, and whoever doesn’t obey is out of the game. Some men think that when they marry they will give orders and the house will be run just the way they want it to run. Whoever thinks so and acts accordingly is not in a marriage, but in a dictatorship. Some men may set themselves up as dictators, and are disappointed when their spouse doesn’t do precisely as they want or think (this emerges in their deprecating manner of speech). The disappointment comes from the feeling that one’s spouse ought not to have her own opinion. A husband may say that his wife needs to follow his lead; and if he is a talmid chacham, he will quote some Maamarei Chazal to support his view. However, remember, differences of opinion are legitimate. The question is only how to deal with them. I remember that a few months after I got married, one of my friends asked me if my wife and I had quarreled yet. When I said that we hadn’t, he said, “Ah, that’s no good.” I asked him why he wished quarrels on me, and he explained, “If you haven’t quarreled, that’s a sign you haven’t yet been married. I’m not talking about an actual fight, but if you haven’t yet dealt with a lack of agreement, with some argument, then you haven’t yet attained true married life, because disagreement is an inseparable part of married life.”
THIRD PARTY RESOLUTION
So how should one handle disagreements? One way of dealing with it can be learned from the argument between Avrohom and Sarah in which a third party intervened. We say everyday in Shacharis: “When two verses contradict one another, let the third verse resolve the matter between them.” When disagreements arise that cannot be resolved, or the resolution generates lots of negative feelings, go to a mashpia or counselor and do as he says. Yes, it’s better when a couple can
resolve all differences on their own without involving a third party, but sometimes that doesn’t work and a compromise cannot be reached through their own devices. In this case, consult with a neutral third party. This is one of the things we learn from this parsha where there was a sharp difference of opinion. Expelling a child from the home is no simple matter. Hashem intervened and Avrohom accepted what He said. Some will say that the instruction to listen to Sarah was a one-time statement that applied to those specific circumstances and does not apply to all disagreements that arise in one’s home. Others say, “If my wife was like Sarah, I would listen to her!” True, “Listen to her” does not always apply when disagreements arise, but it’s worth knowing that it’s important to listen to one’s wife even when it’s hard to accept, because a woman has extra bina and generally sees things from a unique perspective that men don’t see. It’s not a terrible thing that there is someone else with another opinion. These are some points which we should learn from these parshiyos and apply in our own homes.
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SaVE THE wORLD!
be fruitful AnD MultiPly
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
In the aftermath of the Great Flood that destroyed the entire human and animal population of the world except for Noach, his immediate family and a token representation of all other forms of life on earth, Noach begins the arduous task of rebuilding and repopulating the world. Upon leaving the Ark, Noach is instructed by G-d to be fruitful and multiply – the very words that were originally spoken to Adam soon after he was created. The question may be asked, why the need to repeat the commandment? Why would Noach feel that the original charge given to Adam would no longer be in effect now that he had to start all over again? Wouldn’t it have been obvious to him that he should encourage repopulating the earth?
HUMANS: THE CAUSE OF ALL PROBLEMS?
One simple answer to this question can be offered in light of the tendency of some who eschew bringing children into a cruel world because of a society that is bent on self-destruction. When we consider all the man-made devastation caused by violence, war, pillaging, destruction of the environment
etc., we might shudder at the prospect of bringing children into such a world. Indeed, this was the thought of none other than Amram, the father of history’s greatest human being – Moses. Our Sages tell us that when Amram—who was then the unofficial leader of the Israelite slaves in Egypt— heard of Pharaoh’s decree to have all the boys thrown into the Nile, he separated from his wife. His argument was, why bring children into the world to have them thrown into the Nile? Upon hearing of their leader’s action, all of the men separated from their wives until Amram’s daughter Miriam declared that his actions were worse than Pharaoh’s. Pharaoh had only decreed against the males, whereas, she reasoned, Amram’s actions threatened the females (that would not be born) as well. In addition to this very sentiment that we hear expressed in our own day and age, we also hear of those who invoke Malthusian predictions of the world coming to an end because of what they term “overpopulation” and the depletion of the earth’s resources. Humans, in their estimation, are the cause of so many problems, and “too many” humans, they believe, can only magnify the
problems exponentially. To deflect this attitude which regards the growth of humanity as a source of misfortune, G-d therefore expressly commands Noach to propagate and populate the world. Notwithstanding the flood that just destroyed a world that was self-induced, G-d commanded him to disregard the past and start all over again.
HUMANS, THE SOLUTION
Human beings are often the problem, but they are almost always the solution. Imagine what life would be like had the people who invented or discovered the cures for so many illnesses not been born. Imagine where we would be without the people whose G-dgiven ingenuity provided us with modern technological means to feed billions with so much less effort than in earlier historical periods when the dire predictions were made. In effect, the two commandments to be fruitful and multiply—the one addressed to Adam and the one addressed to Noach—reflect two separate situations. Be fruitful when you can see the benefits of human capital, but also be fruitful when it seems that humans are the problem. The rationale for this
Issue 852 • �
To deflect this attitude which regards the growth of humanity as a source of misfortune, G-d therefore expressly commands Noach to propagate and populate the world.
second commandment is that while we are the only species that can cause real harm to the world, we are also the only species that can correct our mistakes and save the world. In truth, when G-d reintroduced the commandment to be fruitful and multiply to Jacob and the Jewish nation, a radically different understanding of what humanity is all about was introduced to the world. We are not just resources that compete with other resources and we have to reach the conclusion that we are more valuable and therefore deserve to survive and even thrive notwithstanding the problems we cause. We are the very purpose for which the entire universe was created. Why?
A THIRD COMMANDMENT
We still have a need to understand why—later in Genesis—we find a third commandment directed to Jacob to be fruitful and multiply. Indeed, the Talmud makes it clear that there is a special commandment directed specifically to the Jewish people to propagate. Why the need to turn this universal imperative into a parochial one? There must be an added dimension to the need for propagation. Thus far we have explained that human life is a mixed bag. We cause many if not most of the problems (we don’t usually cause earthquakes and other “acts of G-d”), but we have the capacity to remedy them as well. Frequently, we can respond to and ameliorate the conditions that are wrought by G-d as well. Thus, human resources are the most indispensable resources that we possess. However, this approach has one flaw in it. In this paradigm, we have a world and we have people. And there seems to be an inherent tension between the two. We plunder the earth and destroy it but we also help to cultivate the earth and reveal its treasures and remedy the things that go wrong with it. Humanity and Earth seem to be in an adversarial relationship.
THE PURPOSE OF CREATION
Mount Sinai—the mountain upon which the Torah was given and on which G-d revealed the very purpose for which we and the entire cosmos were created— introduced the reality that the world was created for us. The world was created for us to make the right choices that will thereby bring G-dly awareness and G-dly values into the world. To accomplish this there are two stages: Stage number one is to have a civilized, inhabited world, where people use their talents and ingenuity to harness the world’s resources to make it a productive, verdant, vibrant, thriving, moral and ethical world. To this end, we need a world populated by humans to elicit its maximum potential. And this indeed was the main charge of the world before the Torah was given on Mount Sinai when the only laws
that were in effect were the Seven Noachide commandments that focus on maintaining a civilized society. Being fruitful and multiplying served that end. At Sinai (and a “sneak preview” prior to that when G-d communicated with Jacob, the progenitor of the Jewish people who would stand at Sinai) G-d informed us that we are not just His instruments to repair the world and enable it to realize its full potential. We do that and more. We are the ones chosen to bring G-d into this civilized and vibrant world because we have been infused with G-dly energy at Sinai and that enables us to make the world into what our Sages call “a dwelling place for G-d.” How do we accomplish this goal of making the world into a dwelling place for G-d? This goal is also accomplished in two stages:
First, by just showing up. No sooner than a baby emerges from its mother’s womb, the world irreversibly changes for the good. When a G-dly soul enters the physical world and is no longer concealed and subsumed within, and nurtured by, the mother’s soul, this newly independent soul comes onto the scene with an unprecedented surge of Divine energy. Then comes stage two. This human being, in possession of a G-dly soul that was energized at Sinai, must also act in ways that are consistent with his or her G-dly soul. When we perform a Mitzvah—which means a G-dly commandment—it unleashes an unprecedented surge of G-dly energy that contributes further to the ultimate goal of making the world a “dwelling” for G-d.
28 � • 3 Cheshvan 5773
In the aggregate of souls entering into the world and the accumulation of Mitzvos over time, we bring the world closer to the age when G-d’s glory will fill the entire cosmos. That is what the Messianic Age is all about. It is we—not G-d exclusively— who bring about this era through showing up and living a G-dly life.
We can now understand Judaism’s emphasis on life. The Torah asserts that human life has intrinsic value. Even if a person has no quality of life (although the definition of
quality is so subjective and vague to be irrelevant in determining which and when human life should be saved) his or her life is sacrosanct. Life itself is the greatest asset because it is the presence of a Divine soul within our physical existence. The above will also shed light on the Talmudic statement that Moshiach will come when all the souls will have left their storage Express service Express service place in heaven and will have Fully Computerized Fully entered our world. The Messianic Computerized Age is when G-d’s presence will spread to the entire world. And the means to achieve this goal begins with the birth of each and every individual child. Get your tickets within minutes! Get your tickets within minutes! Mazal Tov!
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Issue 852 • �
MoshiAch & GeulA
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS
The School for Toras HaGeula concluded its first program this summer. * Impressions of the course.
By Yisroel Lapidot; Photos by Eliyahu Levy
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Awarding certificates upon completion of the course
hey’re finally making a school for us!” That was the headline of the ad publicizing another project of the Mamash – Merkaz HaHafatza. When the School for Toras HaGeula began, Beis Moshiach went to check it out. They were also there at its conclusion. The following is a report on one of the most creative, quality programs of the past decade for the study of Inyanei Moshiach. Over twenty years after the Rebbe said (Balak 5751), “Through the learning of the Torah of Inyanei Geula, one is elevated to a position of Geula and begins to live the Inyanei
HaGeula with the knowledge and awareness and feeling that ’hinei zeh ba,’” the hanhala of Mamash decided to create a serious, professional course that would fulfill the Rebbe’s horaa.
I AM NEVER SATISFIED
Over fifty people from all over Eretz Yisroel completed the course. Some of them work full time and some have communal roles. What they had in common was their choice to devote one day a week, for four months, to the systematic study of Toras HaGeula by taking a long and demanding course. The concluding ceremony took place on the last day of
the course with senior staff, rabbanim, shluchim and important guests in attendance. The administrative dean of the school, R’ Betzalel Wilschansky, said, “We are concluding a long journey on the Derech Ha’yeshara, a journey that was spread out over thirteen weeks packed with material covering a broad array of topics. We discovered worlds we didn’t know existed, new worlds in Inyanei Geula and Moshiach, through shiurim from top lecturers, each of whom made a unique contribution: R’ M.M. Halperin, R’ Shimon Weitzhandler, R’ Aryeh Kedem, and R’ Moshe Kornweitz. “A few years ago, I heard
Issue 852 • �
MoshiAch & GeulA
about someone who passed by the Rebbe and reported about some activities that he did. The Rebbe responded with a few short words which seem representative of how the Rebbe looked at everything. He said, ‘I am always happy, but never satisfied.’ “To call this evening a siyum-farbrengen doesn’t seem accurate, for what did we finish? For thirteen weeks we have been going on the derech ha’yeshara, learning Inyanei Moshiach in depth, but the hisgalus didn’t happen. So we did not achieve the goal! “I’ll compare this to driving on an intercity highway. We were all on the same derech ha’yeshara, collecting lots of material and work. The material covered and tremendous knowledge that you acquired here in this course must be disseminated further. “The avoda when learning Chassidus, which is Toraso shel Moshiach, is that by meditating deeply on a concept, you can reach the level of certainty regarding spirituality that you would naturally have by physically seeing something. The Rebbe demands that the learning of Inyanei Moshiach and Geula be done in a way of ‘seeing.’ This is why this School for Toras HaGeula is so important. It is an important stage in the process of ‘opening our eyes.’ “For example, when a person looks at the sun (although this is not healthy and should not be done), the power of the light of the sun is such that whether he closes his eyes or opens them, whether he enters a dark room or a room that is lit up, the light from the sun will continue to dance before him. This is how a Chassid ought to live with the learning of Inyanei Moshiach and Geula. It needs to penetrate his mind with such depth and purity of faith that in whatever he does, he sees the Geula in front of him. “You learned amazing things in this course. You sat and delved into all-important topics of Moshiach and Geula. Now you need to review them, again and again, until you see that even after you go about your business, the core teachings will remain with you.”
“Think of who Rav was, a tremendous scholar, and how he left his position as rosh yeshiva for a year and a half in order to spend time with shepherds. The Rebbe said that the lesson is that if Rav did this, certainly every rav ought to devote time to expanding his knowledge.”
knowledge. Now, before we disperse, we are at the gas station and filling up our tanks with energy to continue onward. We cannot allow ourselves to stop or go backward, i.e. to look at what we accomplished as something that is finished. We need to move forward, each of us with the knowledge we gained, and speak to the people with whom we come in contact.”
R’ Shlomo Yitzchok Frank, rav in Akko, was asked to speak as a participant in the course. He said, “Many people wondered why I was taking this course. Do rabbanim also need it? “The Gemara tells of Rav,
MAKING IT REAL
R’ Yisroel Halperin, the director of the mosdos and rav of the Chabad k’hilla in Hertzliya, delivered the main address. “Yashar ko’ach for all your
32 � • 3 Cheshvan 5773
the famous Amora, who spent eighteen months in the company of shepherds in order to learn which blemishes are permanent and which heal, for halachic purposes. Think of who Rav was, a tremendous scholar, and how he left his position as rosh yeshiva for a year and a half in order to spend time with shepherds. The Rebbe said that the lesson is that if Rav did this, certainly every rav ought to devote time to expanding his knowledge. “I will admit that I did not think the School for Toras HaGeula would be that serious. A few months ago, when I saw an article about it, I immediately decided to register since it was an important initiative. After I attended three sessions, I was pleasantly surprised by the professional tone and the high level of learning. “Beyond the work in arranging the course material, I was particularly impressed by the educational approach, each one of you in your own style. You all taught us how to not divert the discussion to other topics. You wisely avoided getting dragged into matters that were tangential. “Our many thanks also go to the technical and logistical team for keeping things on time and setting up the place down to the small details, like an equipped coffee corner and providing booklets and sources before every lecture. Those who devoted themselves to the holy work of learning and spreading the Besuras HaGeula and the Goel, may you continue until we achieve the immediate hisgalus.”
Rising for the Rebbe’s chapter of T’hillim and Yechi
From right to left: R’ Elimelech Thaler (speaking), R’ Aryeh Kedem, R’ MM Halperin, R’ Moshe Kornweitz, and R’ Shimon Weitzhandler
TO BE A LUBAVITCHER CHASSID TODAY
“The truth is, I need to make a cheshbon ha’nefesh,” said R’
Chaim Yosef Ginsburg, rav of the Chabad community and director of the mosdos in Ramat Aviv. “A few months ago, when I read about this special school, I felt a kinas sofrim. I’m always having ideas about Inyanei Moshiach. Here was a project that should have been done long ago and this organization, Mamash, decided to do it. I thought it was something special but I didn’t think I would participate. As I said, I need to make a cheshbon ha’nefesh. “In the sicha of 28 Sivan 5751, there is an interesting
The article in Beis Moshiach that introduced the course, 11 Nissan 5772
Issue 852 • �
MoshiAch & GeulA
to be a partner in bringing the Geula. “What does it mean to be a partner? Businessmen know that every person has his talents and uniqueness which he can contribute to make the business successful. When a person no longer has anything to contribute to the business, he is no longer needed. “In the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem, how can the Jewish people give anything? What can we add to the Omnipotent G-d? “The answer is that Hashem wants every Jew to contribute his part. To do this, we need to agree and want it; we need to live with it and get others to do the with, and now, it’s all about Moshiach and Geula. “Chabad demands p’nimius. The only way to live and instill Geula and Moshiach in a p’nimius’dike way is through daas. It’s only when he learns together with a friend that a Chassid feels deeply that the Geula must come; it cannot be otherwise. The Geula penetrates into the power of ratzon until it arouses from within us the enormous question of how this galus can continue for even one more moment. “When you learn the D’var Malchus of 5751-5752 and accustom yourself to live in a state of Geula, you are able to see the Geula through the curtain of galus. Then you don’t feel embarrassed to stand up and publicly announce that the Geula is here, because through learning, it becomes clear to you.”
Rabbi Dr. Hanoch Miodovnik
“In our generation, anyone who wants to be called by the name ‘Lubavitcher Chasid’ may use that title only if he lives with those topics that the Rebbe lived with, and now, it’s all about Moshiach and Geula.”
point. The Rebbe explains that every Jew will be a partner in Geula. In other words, every Jew needs to ‘conquer’ his part of the world and be a partner in bringing the Geula. “When working with others, there are two extremes. On the one hand, nowadays, everything is clear. There is the revelation of G-dliness in the world, the identity of Moshiach is out in the open, and you can hear the Besuras HaGeula all over. On the other hand, the reality as it is seen from the perspective of the world is unusually dark. Suddenly, we have to deal with situations that we never had to deal with before. We ask ourselves why things are this way, because if Geula is real, then why doesn’t it fit with the reality of the world? Says the Rebbe, Hashem wants every Jew same until we all proclaim that the Geula began, Moshiach is here, and he is already affecting the world. “However, when the Geula is not readily apparent and Hashem creates a reality that seems contrary to Geula, this is the time when we can and must do our part in bringing the Geula. For after the true and complete Geula comes, it won’t be a big deal to announce the Geula in the world and it won’t be worth anything. Hashem wants partners in the darkness of galus who are not fazed by the darkness and who announce that the Geula is here. “In our generation, anyone who wants to be called by the name ‘Lubavitcher Chasid’ may use that title only if he lives with those topics that the Rebbe lived
THE LUBAVITCHERS WILL START LATE AND WON’T BE ORGANIZED
One of the people who took an active part in the course was Rabbi Dr. Hanoch Miodovnik, a psychiatrist who is a department head at a psychiatric hospital in Beer Sheva. “I was skeptical about this idea. A school for Toras Ha’Geula? I figured those Lubavitchers will start late, they won’t be organized, and they’ll send us home with a bunch of excuses. But I was disappointed, pleasantly disappointed. “When we were asked to fill out a questionnaire, everyone sat and wrote, because it was a serious course, well-organized and with a lot of flavor. I missed one session and was very sorry about that. Today, on the way here, I was very moved. When
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all is said and done, we had established a habit of coming here every Wednesday … “I will take you back thirty years. I wasn’t always religious and I became religious when I was already a doctor. When someone is recognized in his profession, and one day, he decides to show up wearing a kippa, it takes courage. When the director of the department saw the kippa, he asked me what that growth on my head was about. I nervously told him, ‘It is something very serious and I took this step after a lot of study. I think that that which is serious, is worth studying.’ I don’t know if I meant it when I said it, but I began learning. The more I was questioned, the more I learned. I discovered that there are things that even religious people don’t know. “Inyanei Moshiach and Geula are in the category of things that religious people don’t know. Even Lubavitchers are not expert in it, and this course raised the knowledge level significantly. We just heard from many angles how we should take this material and do something with it. The Shabbos table will look different. We read the course material with all the citations in the footnotes. Even as we are finishing digesting what was served up, there is a lot more material out there and we are hardly finished. It’s just amazing, the depth that was given to us here. “The main thing is to put it all into action and the goal is to reach not only the family. Last Shabbos, we discussed how now that the course is over and our Wednesdays are freed up, we want a shiur in Inyanei Moshiach and Geula in our shul that will be based on the course material. Bless us that the shiur will grow
until we disseminate all the Rebbe’s material on the Geula and not only within Beer Sheva.” *** Standing off to the side and scanning the crowd, the view was of quite a disparate group. R’ Avrohom Kali, rosh yeshivas Chabad Neve Tzedek shared his doubts before he registered for the course: “At first, it seemed out of the question. How could I leave all the shlichus and hafatza work for several hours every week? After I came here, I saw that the opposite was true; it was out of the question for me to be involved in hafatzas ha’maayanos without attending this course! “How could I leave all the shlichus and hafatza work for several hours every week? After I came here, I saw that the opposite was true; it was out of the question for me to be involved in hafatzas ha’maayanos without attending this course!” “I’m not talking just about the fact that I am walking away with real life skills in that the practical tools I acquired here will serve me well on shlichus. The fact that I attended this course made me see that when I learn Inyanei Moshiach and Geula and do what the Rebbe wants, suddenly things fall miraculously into place.”
R’ Yossi Ginsburg
COMPLETING THE FINAL SHLICHUS
The director of Mamash, Rabbi Elimelech Thaler, called upon the participants to unite in the central goal of the organization which is expressed in the word “mamash” – to carry out the Rebbe’s wishes and to do the only shlichus that he gave us to do in preparing the world to greet him. “We need to take the hours of
shiurim and intensive learning, the lectures and the broad knowledge in Inyanei Moshiach that we amassed during the course, and put it into action! “The ‘Mamash’ center for hafatza holds monthly farbrengens, Shabbatons and Yemei Iyun. In addition to publishing books on Inyanei Moshiach and Geula, numerous brochures, booklets, posters, signs, flags and stickers are produced. Before holidays the center produces quality material along with holiday products, all on the topic of Moshiach and Geula. “Each of us needs to get involved and be active participants. That is the hachlata with which we are ending this course. Let us continue to walk on the derech ha’yeshara to the goal – bringing the Geula with the Rebbe MH”M.”
Issue 852 • �
MaGICaL MOMENTS & a MaGICaL TOUCH
What began as a young teen’s passion for videography has evolved into one of the best kept secrets in the New York area, as Yosef Shidler of CJ Studios continues to provide customers with dazzling video footage that literally brings their simcha to life with every viewing. A Crown Heights resident, Shidler has had a video camera in his hand for more than half his life. “It is always a thrill to be able to capture a moment in time,” explained Shidler. “It gives people who were at the event an opportunity to relive the experience and those weren’t in attendance the ability to feel as if they were there.” After toying with videography as a hobby for many years, Shidler made the decision to take his work, previously done under the pseudonym Cool Jew, to a more professional level, with an eye towards video production that was innovative, creative and revolutionary. The result was the launch of CJ Studios, which has rapidly created a loyal following of extremely satisfied customers. “He really captured the essence of my simcha,” said Yudi Holtzberg, who hired CJ Studios to film his son’s Bar Mitzvah. “I admit to having been a little skeptical hiring someone who was relatively new. But Baruch Hashem, I couldn’t have possibly made a better choice.” “CJ Studios did a great job on my son’s Bar Mitzvah,” added Yossi Goldstein. “We had an acapella Bar Mitzvah and I was very impressed with Yosef’s creativity, which highlighted the many aspects of the simcha so well that when we watch the video we feel like we are really there all over again.” CJ Studios prides itself on offering customers video services that exceed those traditionally provided by videographers, which includes quick turnaround time, generally about six to seven weeks, and taking advantage of technology to produce the best possible product, tailored to the client’s specifications. “Not only do work exclusively in High Definition video, which yields a crystal clear product, but we provide raw video footage to our clients within 72 hours, using digital, unlisted YouTube links,” said Shidler. “This gives customers the ability to relive their simcha just hours after the event as well as providing them with the opportunity to work with our editors, telling them which portions of the video they want highlighted and placing requests for video style and music.” Candid interviews with the baalei simcha are another unique feature that makes each CJ Studios video especially meaningful, as the stars of the day share their thoughts and feelings about this milestone event in their lives. Extremely affordable pricing and friendly service are always part of the package at CJ Studios, where no detail of any simcha is overlooked. While a second videographer is generally available at a nominal charge for weddings, for a limited time, the second video crew is included in the package price at no additional charge. “With one video crew you are faced with a difficult dilemma,” explained Shidler. “Which one is more important – the chassan dancing with his father, or the kalla dancing with her mother? How can you possibly capture both with only one videographer?” For Shidler himself, being present at a client’s simcha is not about working a job, but about being able to capture the essence of a once-in-a-
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lifetime event, in a way that never interferes with the affair. “I am here to work with customers and capture the most special moments of their lives, but they are the stars of the show,” said Shidler who takes a personal interest in every simcha and insists on working every job with a positive attitude and his ever-present smile. “There are moments in life where there are no do-overs. It is my job to get everything right the first time around, because when it comes to a simcha, there are no second chances. Every affair I attend becomes my simcha too, and I will do whatever it takes to work with both my clients and my video editor to transform the raw footage I shoot into a one of a kind masterpiece that will be treasured by family members.” While CJ Studios works with all photographers, Shidler particularly enjoys teaming up with veteran photographer Eli Robinson to capture milestone moments, both live and still. “Eli and I are like-minded so we work very well together,” said Shidler. “At many simchos, Eli doesn’t leave the hall until they are about to turn off the lights, while so many photographers leave after the second dance. More importantly, he is genuinely warm and open and the nicest guy I have ever met in this field, making him a joy to work with.” For Robinson, photographing a simcha is an opportunity to let his skills as a photojournalist
speak for themselves. “I look to capture the moments that the subjects create themselves so that their attitude and energy is evident in every picture,” explained Robinson. “There isn’t a moment missed, from the kids playing, to getting chocolate on their face, to capturing the reactions of the mothers when they see their kids dancing. Every image tells a story and it is my job to capture that as well as the accompanying emotion.” Robinson uses three point lighting to enhance his subjects and edits his high resolution photos using the latest photo enhancement software to make the most of each image, cropping photos as needed, adding visual effects and often creating several new photographs from different portions of the same picture. Both Shidler and Robinson recognize that when they are hired for a job, they are being entrusted with the most important moments in their clients’ lives. “It bothers me that there are people who treat this as nothing more than a job,” said Shidler, who often stays late to shoot every moment of an event. “I am not here to work nine to five. I am here to capture a simcha so that my clients can relive those magical moments for years to come.” CJ Studios is available for weddings and Bar Mitzvah. Please call 718.781.6405 or email email@example.com.
Issue 852 • �
r’ Zalman joins the committee of askanim who organized the exodus from russia. even after he left, he continued to help with mesirus nefesh. * from the life of r’ yehoshua shneur Zalman serebryanski a”h.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz
t the end of World War II, in 1945, an agreement was signed by Russia and Poland in which all Polish citizens who fled to Russia during the war were permitted to leave Russia and return to their homeland. The Russian government provided freight cars, known as eshalons, to transport the hundreds of thousands of Polish refugees. Since many of the refugees had not taken their passports or any official identifying documents with them, the Russians allowed anyone who had any sort of paper that testified that he was a Polish citizen to cross the border. When Chabad askanim found out that there was a way of leaving Russia, R’ Leibel Mochkin was sent to Lvov (Lemberg), the border city between Russia and Poland, to check out the opportunity for escape. Upon his arrival there, he learned that the emigration of Polish citizens had ended. However, he made connections in the right places by giving handsome bribes, and managed to have the border opened again. He then traveled to Samarkand and Tashkent, and urged Anash to take advantage of this one-time opportunity.
MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE
Among the hundreds of Lubavitchers to leave Samarkand for Lvov were R’ Zalman and his family. Upon arriving in Lvov, the Chassidim asked him to take a position in the special committee that had been formed to arrange the mass flight. The committee was responsible for obtaining the large amounts of money needed to procure Polish documents, as well as to bribe border officials and NKVD agents. R’ Zalman, who was a reliable and organized person, was appointed as treasurer of the committee. After they successfully enabled hundreds of Lubavitchers to leave, the money in the fund was used up. In a most unusual move, the committee formed a beis din of 23 rabbis, which has the power to judge issues of life and death, which ruled that whoever crossed the border had to leave all his money with the members of the committee so that they could continue to finance their holy work. Anash acceded to this p’sak din and left their silver and jewelry (excluding marriage
bands) with the committee. However, this wasn’t enough. R’ Zalman’s brother-in-law, R’ Benzion Shemtov, who came to Poland at the end of Kislev 5707, wrote a letter on 2 Teves to his friend, R’ Sholom Mendel Kalmanson (who was in Prague and who frequently sent letters to the Rebbe Rayatz), and asked him to send them money: I just received a letter from Lvov from the people involved in the move, R’ Menachem Mendel ben Mariasha (Futerfas), Yehoshua Shneur Zalman ben Nechama (Serebryanski), Yehuda Leib ben Henya (Mochkin), Moshe Chaim Dubrawski (I don’t know his mother’s name), whose work conditions have worsened due to the impending danger and they request that the Rebbe remember them for good literally every day. In brief, the message in their letters is that if the means are not sent to them at the earliest possible opportunity, they are in absolute danger, r”l. They request to first pay off two thousand dollars … In our camp they established a beis din of 23 and everyone gave whatever they had, down to the last penny. R’ Zalman threw himself into the communal work. When
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necessary, he included his son Chaim who was a young bachur at the time, to carry out errands for the committee. Chaim would meet up with Polish citizens in bars and would get their Polish documentation in exchange for money that he had been given by the committee. He would often go to R’ Mendel Garelik, who was an expert at forging documents, and give and take documents to and from him. Lubavitcher rabbanim, who considered these activities hatzolas nefashos and pikuach nefesh, allowed them to work on Shabbos when necessary. It sometimes happened that Chaim had to carry documents on Shabbos. As the rabbanim told him, he would put the papers under his yarmulke so he would be carrying in an unusual way. R’ Zalman and his family were in the last group that was able to leave Russia for Poland, on 9 Teves 5707. Hundreds of people crowded onto this train into two compartments. Lubavitchers were afraid to remain on this train until its intended destination and they paid the conductor so that he would stop for a few minutes in Krakow. He stopped and within a few minutes, they had all alighted from the train.
citizens. They had businesses there. The only one who remained of the Lubavitcher refugees was R’ Yitzchok Goldin. He stayed in Poland in order to help the Lubavitchers coming from Lvov, and from there he was also in touch with Anash in Lvov. R’ Goldin remained in Lodz for nearly a year, and he helped many Lubavitchers. In Kislev-Teves 5707, Mrs. Hadassah Perman joined him and was a big help. Within a short time though, she was arrested. After being miraculously released, she was smuggled out to Prague. R’ Goldin then asked R’ Zalman to stay and help him in his holy work. R’ Zalman, who was a member of the committee, decided to remain with his wife and daughter (Nechama) in Poland. He sent his mother-in-law and two sons with a group of Lubavitchers, who crossed the border with the help of the Bricha, to Austria and from there to Paris.
DANGEROUS ACTIVITY IN THE BORDER TOWN OF PREMISHLAN
While his wife and daughter stayed in Bitom, R’ Zalman would travel to the border town of Premishlan and bribe the train officials there so they would give envelopes to members of the committee who remained in Lvov. Money was placed in these envelopes as well as documents, along with passports of Polish citizens who had already crossed the border that would be reused. The members of the committee that remained in Lvov also conveyed messages via the train employees. They employed secret codes used by Anash in Russia. R’ Mendel Futerfas, for example, would sign his name with the words Chem’a Chavis which means “butter barrel” and translates into Yiddish as “Futerfas.”
THE FAMILY SPLITS UP
Anash went from Krakow to Lodz. From there, they continued their long, indirect journey until they arrived in free countries. At this time, there were a number of incidents of pogroms against Jews returning to Poland and it was dangerous to remain in Poland. It was even more dangerous for Anash who had left Russia, since the Polish government was under Soviet rule and they feared having their forged documentation exposed and being sent back to Russia. They tried leaving Poland as fast as they could. In Lodz, there were only a few Lubavitchers who were Polish
Staying in the border town was very dangerous, especially for someone like R’ Zalman who looked obviously Jewish with his beard. Nevertheless, he was committed to his goal and relied on the brachos of the Rebbe Rayatz for those involved in holy work. After a short time, the Soviet police discovered the smuggling operation and began a large scale hunt for the Lubavitchers remaining in Lvov. After hearing of their arrest, R’ Zalman wondered whether he should continue endangering his life by remaining in Poland to help the few Lubavitchers still in Lvov. He asked the Rebbe through R’ Sholom Mendel Kalmanson in Prague who conveyed the question. The Rebbe’s response was: Regarding your letter of 27 Nissan about the Tamim Zalman Serebryanski, to whatever degree possible it would be good if he still remains where he is and helps his brethren. As far as his health, efforts should be made that he not lack any of his bodily needs, and may Hashem strengthen him and be of help to him in everything he needs, materially and spiritually. R’ Zalman remained in Poland for another few months. He moved between Lodz, Krakow, and Bitom. In Bitom there was an orphanage run by the Vaad Hatzalah and R’ Zalman worked to transfer these children to western countries. On 10 Elul 5707, he asked the Rebbe again, through R’ Kalmanson, whether he could go to Paris and join his family. The Rebbe’s response, dated 25 Elul, said: If the place is dangerous, it is proper that he move to Paris [it should be] in success. However, it is necessary to try to find a way, even after he travels, to remain in contact with our friends Anash in the homeland, and may Hashem help him materially and spiritually.
Issue 852 • �
RaMaT aVIV IN EXCHaNGE FOR PEaCE?
it’s always the right-wing that has to make concessions for the sake of peace. they’re the ones who have to pay the price and divest themselves of their most valuable assets to preserve unity, while the leftists are never prepared to concede anything for peace. the question was asked once: What would happen if the Arabs would demand ramat Aviv in exchange for peace? Would this pack of bleeding hearts be willing to leave their homes for the cause of “the new Middle east”?
By sholom Ber crombie translated by Michoel leib dobry
n a peaceful Sunday last month, in the span of just thirty minutes, one of the longest struggles in the history of the settler movement came to an end. A settlement established with great toil and built over a period of several years was razed to the ground. The same familiar scene was played out: hundreds of riot police clad in black, joined by uniformed border patrolmen, took control of the yishuv, struck terror into the hearts of the local residents, and expelled them from their homes. After the residential units were cleared out, the Special Forces completed their appointed task. The settlement of Migron was no more. The battle to preserve the Jewish presence there was “over,” but by no means “done with.” Prime Minister Netanyahu chose that bitter day to speak about the importance of “the rule of law.” At that same time, the
camera lens caught the policemen who completed the expulsion job as they were making a barbecue on the ruins of what was once a beautiful settlement. Just a few minutes earlier, they had finished throwing crying women and children out of their homes, casting their families into the wilderness. Now, the representatives of the “rule of law” had found time to show respect for the settlers’ feelings by making a cookout on the rubble they had left behind. It’s interesting to consider what would have happened if this had been an illegal Bedouin village in the Negev. How would the media have reacted if Israeli policemen acted this way toward our enemies? The headlines would be plastered with cries of “insensitivity” and charges that we’re harming the exploited and the oppressed. This time, there was no need
for the media to get all excited. It was only a bunch of innocent settlers who purchased land at full price and then were evicted from their homes, despite the fact that the settlement where they were living had been built with the approval of the government of Israel. There’s something symbolic in these pictures, taken with the policemen’s full knowledge. It represents the stark difference between the sob stories of the Israeli left, the proverbial “robbed Cossack,” and actual reality. *** Just seven years ago, the IDF chief of staff, Gen. Dan Chalutz, established the slogan “With Sensitivity and Firmness” for the military operation to expel the Jewish residents of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Less than a year later, he was caught sensitively cashing in his chips, as he sent his soldiers into battle in southern Lebanon – many of who would not return. This has always been the left’s greatest forte. They speak like very civil and cultured individuals. They appear to the public as being very ethical and considerate, as if they only have everyone’s best interests at heart. However, they end up doing the worst things imaginable. Only such people are capable of speaking about sensitivity while simultaneously throwing their brethren out of their homes. Over the years, the Israeli left has managed to brand the rightwing community with the label of “hostile settlers.” They always
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speak quietly and respectfully, using sesquipedalian words. They bring quotes on peace and love, and they declare that they only want the very best for their fellow Jews. In contrast, when someone cries out that they’re taking away his home, they immediately get up and say, “How dare you speak that way! Talk with a little respect...” The right-wing’s image problem stems from the left’s ability to turn them into an overemotionally outraged community, as they continue to fight for their homes. They turn every struggle into an emotional one, as if the right-wing continues to cling to their homes simply because they’re small-minded people, unwilling to compromise. The reality however has always been quite different. It’s always the right-wing that has to make concessions for peace. They’re the ones who have to pay the price and divest themselves of their most valuable assets to preserve unity, while the leftists are never prepared to concede anything for peace. The question was asked once: What would happen if the Arabs would demand Ramat Aviv in exchange for peace? Would this pack of bleeding hearts be willing to leave their homes for the cause of “the new Middle East”? The slogans of the Israeli left always work the same way. They’re very big talkers, experts in forging campaigns to sway public opinion. The left-wingers know better than anyone else how to sit in a studio and speak sweetly about the importance of peace. In recent years, the rightwing in Eretz Yisroel has begun to change its strategy. In the past, when people would ask why they are so agitated and upset,
they would become perplexed and try to play the leftists’ game, appearing to be just as nice and pleasant as they are... Now, a new generation has arisen that has no problem if they don’t seem pleasant. Besides, there’s nothing pleasant about being forced out of your home. It’s not pleasant when people come along and take action against you using methods of deception and underhandedness. Wars are not waged merely by posing for the camera. When you’re fighting a war, you sometimes have to get your hands dirty, even scream out and say that someone is stealing your home, for otherwise we’ll be just pleasant gentlemen with no land and no security. *** At the disgraceful expulsion from Gush Katif, the settler leadership preferred being photogenic to fighting for their homes. They preferred the nice pictures of smiles and embraces, as long as they didn’t appear like a bunch of lunatics determined to fight irrationally for what they believe in. All the pleas and requests by those who sought to awaken the national consciousness to the realization that expelling Jews from their homes in Eretz Yisroel would not pass quietly went to no avail. All the claims against this unethical injustice were for naught. In the final analysis, they preferred looking good to fighting for their principles. The results are known to all: The media took some excellent pictures of the settler leadership, and everyone spoke about how civil and pleasant they were. Yet, just six months later, thenprime minister Ehud Olmert announced his intention to uproot all the residents of Yehuda and Shomron. When someone
demonstrates an unwillingness to fight to preserve his home – why should we show any respect for him? The Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, did not waver in speaking about the issue of shleimus ha’aretz in the firmest possible manner, even when it appeared that his words had no effect and those listening did not seem to be impressed. On the contrary, he expressed this position with resolve before every policymaker and politician who came to visit him. The Rebbe showed no hesitation, and he was prepared to say things that weren’t pleasant to hear. The main objective was to convey the clear and simple message that this is our land, given to us by Divine right, not through the kindness of others. The Rebbe brings us a most instructive example on how to wage a real battle without compromise. There’s no need to be pleasant and pose nicely before the camera. That’s not the way to preserve the security of the residents of Eretz HaKodesh. Over the years, the Rebbe showed respect for every Jew, and he always spoke to the heart of the matter without seeking to offend anyone. However, this in no way interfered with his role as the faithful shepherd of Israel, who truly cares for the Jewish People, not ch”v for his personal image. The Rebbe’s approach never included hesitancy or proposing ill-advised compromises that can harm our ability to stand firm in protection of Eretz Yisroel’s security. The Rebbe always kept the reality of the situation in line with the G-dly truth. The G-dly truth is that no one has ownership over this land except those who received it as an eternal inheritance.
Issue 852 • �
SHOw ME THE MONEY!!!
By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz
Money and toilet paper have a few things in common: It is considered impolite, even uncultured, to speak about them openly in public. Nevertheless, both are necessary parts of life that everyone has to deal with. And if you need some and you don’t have any, you’re in deep trouble. The Kopishnitzer Rebbe of blessed memory once came to the Rebbe, and in their wideranging discussion they came to the issue of poverty and wealth. They entered into a friendly debate about which is preferable, the test of wealth or the test of poverty. The Kopishnitzer was uncomfortable with the Rebbe’s blessing that all Jews should be wealthy, saying that possessing wealth is a tremendous test, and he quoted Proverbs, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth.” The Rebbe pointed out that both wealth and poverty are dismissed in the verse, and that poverty is in fact dismissed first. There was the sense that the righteous sages were not just engaging in an academic debate, but in fact sparring over the fate of their people, that their financial status was hanging in the balance. The Rebbe wanted to channel wealth. Dealing with materialism in a healthy way, whether I have lots of it or not enough of it, is certainly a most formidable challenge. And as the economic realities of the 21st Century set in, as the middle class shrinks and the gap between the rich and the poor widens, the challenge becomes even greater. Even in
the best of times, money is a universally polarizing issue, the source of countless arguments, family feuds, corruption, power struggles, class wars and overall unbecoming selfish behavior. There is perhaps nothing more divisive, other than the great gefilte fish debate — whether it is a Jewish delicacy (the official Ashkenazi position), or a form of torture invented by sadistic Polish housewives (the Sephardi position). The trouble with money is rooted in the fact that it is often used as a reflection of my selfworth, either as perceived by others or my self. In a sense there is a very intimate connection between what I am worth materially and what I am worth as a person, since a tremendous amount of my time and energy are invested into earning money. From a kabbalistic perspective, that life energy is actually transferred to the money itself, which explains, on a spiritual level, why I am hesitant to depart with it. And, as
a rule, materialism divides. But spirituality unites. When I am able to overcome the inherent selfishness, usually in times of great joy or intense sorrow when the egoistic self is shaken, then the barrier created by materialism disappears. Even the greatest miser will spend exorbitantly to celebrate a special occasion and give spend millions on treatments that have even a remote chance of saving the life of a loved one. The joy and the love in these cases break all the usual boundaries between the material and the spiritual. This view of money also explains why what I choose to do with my money is profoundly significant and powerful, and a test that reveals the status of my spiritual consciousness, my connectedness to the oneness of existence: If I approach it in a selfish way, then it means I am engrossed in materialism; if I avoid it, then I am espousing an escapist approach to material reality that is equally unhealthy. But if I find a balance between materialistic needs and spiritual pursuits, and seek to infuse my materialism with meaning while giving my spirituality practical earthly expression, then I am in harmony with my material and spiritual self, and am on the path to living a truly beautiful life. Reprinted with permission from Exodus Magazine
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