featured articles WeeKlY cOluMNs

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frOM Middle aMerica tO sHlicHus iN ceNtral israel
S Stern

tHe reBBe: Our leader aNd Guide
Nosson Avraham

daY Old 16 a lattercHassid scHOOl
Shneur Zalman Berger

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D’var Malchus Viewpoint Moshiach & Geula Moshiach & Geula Parsha Thought Memoirs Crossroads

WOrld is 20 tHe OBViOus! readY. it’s
Motti Tochfeld

30 HOW did r’ cHaiM sHaul BrOOK HaVe
R’ Chaim Ashkenazi a”h

tHe Mitteler reBBe’s Picture?

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D’vAr MAlchus

the main thing is to add in studying and disseminating (the teachings of the torah in general, the quality Yaakov embodies, but more particularly) the inner dimension of the torah, the oil (the secrets of the secrets) of the torah. And this dissemination should be in a manner that shines “upon one’s doorway from the outside” – as Moshiach told the Baal shem tov, “spread your wellsprings outward” – “until the tarmodians have ceased traipsing about (the marketplace).”
Translated by Boruch Merkur

The practical application of the above is that – in accordance with the lesson of the days of Chanuka, “thereafter they progressively increase” [referring to the custom to add a candle each night of Chanuka] – every day there should be an increase in activities that bring about the redemption in a way that is tangible and overt. Thus, there should be a strengthening in the faith and desire and yearning for the coming of Moshiach, to the extent that one feels that all the while that Moshiach Tzidkeinu has still not arrived – tangibly and overtly – one’s days are incomplete, his life is truly lacking. Yaakov expresses this sentiment by saying that even the 130 years of his life were seen as but “few” [meaning lacking], for the redemption had not yet been realized in the world (as discussed above). The main thing, however, is to add in studying and disseminating (the teachings of the Torah in general, the quality Yaakov embodies, but more particularly) the inner dimension of the Torah, the oil (the secrets of the secrets) of the Torah.

Our generation is the final generation of exile and the first generation of redemption. This unique period, transitioning from exile to redemption, is alluded to in this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Mikeitz, which is described as both “keitz ha’yamim,” the end of the days of exile [“all instances of “keitz” denote “end” –Rashi on Mikeitz, beg.], as well as “keitz ha’yamin,” the beginning of the redemption [“mikeitz” can mean “beginning” –Even Ezra on Shlach 13:25]. This connection with the redemption also finds expression in the holiday of Chanuka. Chanuka was founded upon the miracle of the oil, and oil is cited in the verse, “I have found Dovid, My servant; with My

sanctified oil I have anointed him” [see ibid, pg. 201: Indeed, the Messiah is called “Moshiach” in reference to “ha’m’shicha b’shemen – the anointment with oil” […] and from him there shall be the primary and complete revelation of the oil of Torah (the secrets of the secrets of Torah), for he shall teach “the secret of its reasons [underlying the Mitzvos] and its hidden mysteries” (Rashi on Shir HaShirim 1:2)]. And the concept of redemption is especially preeminent on Shabbos Chanuka, for Shabbos is connected with redemption [as underscored in the Song of the Day, “Mizmor shir l’yom ha’Shabbos – A Psalm, a song for the day of Shabbos” – “A Psalm, a song for the Future Era, for a day that is entirely Shabbos (rest) and tranquility for all eternity” (Tamid, end)].

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And this dissemination should be in a manner that shines “upon one’s doorway from the outside” – as Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov, “spread your wellsprings outward” – “until the Tarmodians have ceased traipsing about [the marketplace, for these people lingered in the marketplace at dusk, in order to sell kindling].” Simply speaking, this amounts to adding in the campaign to promote the Mitzvos of Chanuka in the literal sense, publicizing and encouraging others to celebrate Chanuka and to fulfill the Mitzvos of Chanuka, including making celebratory gatherings –

All the while that Moshiach Tzidkeinu has still not arrived – tangibly and overtly – one’s days are incomplete, his life is truly lacking. Yaakov expresses this sentiment by saying that even the 130 years of his life were seen as but “few” [meaning lacking], for the redemption had not yet been realized in the world.

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Issue 860 • �  



The story of an American girl from a Conservative home and her journey to Chabad and shlichus.
By S Stern


pleasant breeze blows, and here and there, children can be seen going to the garden to play so as not to get in the way of the Shabbos preparations. Then the happy sounds of music are heard and the quiet street immediately comes to life. Songs of Moshiach waft through the air and the voice of R’ Shmulik comes over the loudspeaker announcing the time for candle lighting. The children abandon their games and run as they shout, “Shmulik, Shmulik...” And R’ Shmulik, with his perpetual smile, encourages them to sing by motioning with his right hand, “The children of Beit Dagan are waiting for the Melech ...” Heads peer at the windows

and join in the catchy tune, “L ’Melech HaMoshiach Sh’Yavo.” A group of teens appears and when they see the familiar vehicle, decorated with signs and stickers, they exclaim, “Shmulik, Yechi HaMelech!” R’ Shmulik does his usual rounds through the winding roads of the yishuv, making sure everyone knows what time Shabbos will come in. He greets everyone he sees very warmly. An older woman sits alone on a bench. R’ Shmulik stops his vehicle and asks how she is. Next to Moshe’s house he sings out, “Today is the birthday of ...” and Moshe’s happy face pops out of the window. Next to the Levy house, he wishes them mazal tov over his loudspeaker on the birth of a son.

*** I continue walking, amazed by the sight before me and the great feelings of love and warmth towards Chabad. Moshiach flags wave proudly along the street, announcing to all that Beit Dagan is ready for the hisgalus. Then, in an entranceway of a spacious home, I see a sign which lets me know I’ve reached my destination: “Beit Chabad” – Gromach family. I walk inside and immediately feel at home. A few other people walk in with me. They have come for meat and other basic food items for Shabbos. Ruth Gromach welcomes me with a motherly smile, as though I arrived after the chulent on Shabbos afternoon and

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not during the final, pressured moments before Shabbos. After a fabulous Shabbos in an atmosphere of utter simcha, chayus, and Moshiach, I managed to have a lengthy conversation with the shlucha, a devoted eishes chayil, role model and mashpia.

I was born in Chicago to a family of four children. My grandparents grew up in religious homes but dropped religion as adults. My parents wanted to bring back some tradition and Jewish identity to our home, and so we belonged to the Conservative movement. My mother lit candles and my father made Kiddush. One day, I was

talking to a friend who said her Reform family went to temple three times a year. I remember being shocked. We went at least seven to nine times a year, on holidays and for special occasions. The knowledge that my brothers and I had was garnered mainly in Hebrew School, which we attended twice a week. There we learned Hebrew and acquired knowledge about the Jewish calendar. When I was in seventh grade, we learned Chumash B’Reishis and Shmos and that was the extent of my Jewish learning. I’ll give you another example to show how much my parents tried to get us more involved in Judaism. It was Erev Sukkos,

and a member of our community who had a warehouse of wood volunteered to prepare boards for whoever wanted a sukka. I remember that I went with my parents to the shul where the entire yard was full of boards for people who had ordered them. My parents built a sukka for the symbolism, but did not think it needed to be used. We kids would go to the sukka on Chol HaMoed with our lunch, during the break, and eat there. We even went sukka hopping, visiting all the sukkos, and that was our Sukkos. In high school, I met an Israeli girl whose father taught in a local university. She got me to join a Zionist movement, and one time we went to the movement’s Shabbaton. There they convinced
Issue 860 • �  



One asked the other, “Are you ready for the davening?” She answered, to my utter surprise, “Yes, I put in a lot of bobby pins to keep my sheitel on my head.”
us to take a break between high school and college and spend a year in Israel. I hated high school and liked the idea. We went to Israel and lived in Yerushalayim. We spent five months in an Ulpan and studied the history of the land. Then we went on trips in connection with the material that we learned. For the second semester, we volunteered at moshavim and kibbutzim. Each of us was able to pick a place, whether a kibbutz or a moshav, in the north or the south, with Ashkenazim or Sephardim. I chose a moshav in the south and I lived there with a Sephardic-Kurdish family. I wanted to get to know different cultures and customs. At the end of the year I returned to Chicago as an ardent Zionist and went to college in Minnesota. Together with my friends, we lived in an apartment that some people had donated to the school, which the school had turned into a cultural center. The first floor was under the auspices of the Jewish Agency. We spoke in Hebrew there and were given stipends to work with local Jews. One day, as I was doing homework, I heard a noise, like banging at the door. At first, I ignored it, but the noise didn’t stop. I got up to check and saw students across the street banging with a hammer and building a sukka. I crossed the street and saw that there was an apartment with eight Jewish students who had a kosher kitchen! On the spur of the moment, I decided I was staying there. I lived in this apartment for two years, a period of time of varied Jewish activity. We would cook Shabbos meals and host students. We had a library with Jewish books and we tried to do Jewish outreach. It’s interesting that six of us ended up becoming baalei t’shuva. About a kilometer from our dwelling was a Chabad House that housed Beis Chana, which had classes for girls. The shluchim were young and did not have enough manpower, and sometimes they asked us for help. One of those times was on a Motzaei Shabbos in 5739 when we heard a broadcast of the Rebbe with translation. We sat and listened. It was interesting but I still did not connect to it. One of the students in our apartment was Chana Leah Greenberg (who lives in Morristown now). She was drawn to Chabad and always tried to take me with her. She was getting married on Gimmel Tammuz in Crown Heights to a Lubavitcher from Netanya. I went to her wedding and she immediately sent me to 770 so I could see a farbrengen with the Rebbe. I went but it didn’t grab me. The first question I asked the people around me was, “Did they bring these old benches from Russia?” I went back to my friend a few minutes later and she said, “Ruth, go back! Listen to a niggun. It’s amazing! You probably only heard Yiddish.” At the end of Elul I decided to spend Tishrei in Eretz Yisroel. I tried to arrange a flight, but the

travel agent said all the flights were booked and he would let me know if anything changed. As a back-up plan, I called my friend and asked her to arrange a place for me to stay. She tried to convince me not to stay in Crown Heights for Tishrei because of the pushing and crowdedness. She didn’t think I would like it. In the end, I couldn’t get on any flight and I stayed in Crown Heights. We went into 770 and I sat in the second room where I heard two ladies talking. One asked the other, “Are you ready for the davening?” She answered, to my utter surprise, “Yes, I put in a lot of bobby pins to keep my sheitel on my head.” In my imagination, I pictured the pushing and shoving that was to come as a bloody battle but the reality was, obviously, not like that. I slowly got into things. On Shabbos Chol HaMoed Sukkos, I was a guest of Miriam Swerdlov. She told me that the night before, her brother-in-law had farbrenged in her sukka and one of the bachurim threw up and the bench broke in the middle of the farbrengen. She wasn’t embarrassed to tell me this and didn’t try to sugarcoat the reality. I loved her candidness. She made me feel like I belonged. At the time, I was working on medical research at a hospital in Chicago and my workdays ended at four. My friend Chana Leah and her husband tried to convince me it was time to stop working and start learning seriously. At this point, I was keeping Shabbos and I had kosher pots. During the winter, they did not let me end work early and it was hard for me to get home in time before Shabbos. I realized the Greenbergs were right and I moved to Crown Heights and went to Machon

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Chana from Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha until Shavuos. It was nearly a full year of learning. In those days, the Rebbe was receiving guests for yechidus in groups; first those who spoke Yiddish, then those who spoke French, then Hebrew, then English, and yechidus for brides and grooms. The last group was bar mitzva boys and their parents. We were four girls who decided to go for yechidus and we arrived at the time for English-speakers. It was very crowded and by the time we made our way through, we had missed it. I asked R’ Groner what to do and he suggested we join the brides and grooms. We brought our requests and went in. We were among the first. We went close to the Rebbe, and due to the pushing we were right up against the desk. We saw how the Rebbe received all the notes and put them together, while putting the notes from us four single girls separately. Boruch Hashem, that year we all became engaged! On Shavuos, I stood on Eastern Parkway and watched as the Rebbe gazed after the men going on Tahalucha. I felt that the Rebbe was escorting me too and giving me kochos to carry on. I went back to Chicago for two weeks, packed my belongings, and left. I flew to Tzfas and attended Machon Alta. Exactly one year after I arrived, I got married. When I was dating my husband, we spoke about his desire to open a Chabad House. All his acquaintances suggested places that needed an English speaker. After we married, we lived in Kfar Chabad and we decided that our shlichus, until we found a suitable place to settle, would involve the mitzva of bikur cholim.

Mivtza shofar in schools

Proudly displaying the Tzivos Hashem banner for Beit Dagan

Every Shabbos, we walked from Kfar Chabad to Asaf HaRofeh Hospital in Tzrifin and visited the patients and their families. We cheered them up and put a smile on their faces. In one of the departments there was a man named Mordechai, who had been in a terrible car crash as a result of which his legs had to be amputated. He was always depressed and we tried to bring him joy. One day, he happily told my husband that he would be returning home to Beit Dagan in a few days. My husband decided to

continue visiting him at home and that is how we came to know the yishuv of Beit Dagan. The first time my husband went there, he brought some bachurim along with him as well as mashke and cake to celebrate Mordechai’s recovery. Mordechai was very surprised and pleased. On their way back, my husband asked the bachurim if the Tanya had been printed yet in Beit Dagan. They said no. Some time later, we went to the yishuv with a printing press and we printed the Tanya. The locals were very impressed by the event
Issue 860 • �  



Two years ago, a woman won the raffle, and without giving it even a moment’s thought, she gave the dollar to her friend standing next to her who had been married for eight years without children.
to the point that the director of the youth sports cultural center asked my husband to arrange a large gathering for the children for Sukkos. On Sukkos of that year, the children of the yishuv had a wonderful time filled with lots of Chassidishe content. On Erev Rosh HaShana, we wrote a report to the Rebbe about the work we had done thus far and we received a letter in which the Rebbe wrote, “Hatzlacha in mivtzaim and in all matters.” We didn’t need more than that. new car! Mordechai: My father has a mitzva tank that plays music and makes lots of people happy. My children were very involved in our work and we made sure that they were our partners, whether in my rounds to announce candle lighting on Fridays or big events for which they were assigned jobs and carried them out responsibly. I was mainly involved in raising the children at home while my husband worked at the yishuv and came home very late every day. Every Shabbos my husband would walk with bachurim from Kfar Chabad to Beit Dagan to hold farbrengens. One Shabbos, we had two girls from Machon Alta who came to see what a Chassidishe Shabbos is like. On Friday, an hour and a half before Shabbos, my husband came to drive over the food that I had cooked for the farbrengen. I dropped everything else in order to arrange everything he needed. When he left, the girls said, “Wow, you are really a shlucha!” When the children were young, my shlichus was mainly focused on their chinuch at home and in supporting my husband. To hear myself being called a shlucha showed me that this was possible, even when living in Kfar Chabad. Beit Dagan’s original population consisted of Holocaust survivors who came from all over the country and large groups of Moroccan and

We continued to live in Kfar Chabad for 16 years and that is actually where our Chabad House began. My children, from the youngest ages, went around and got people to sign panim that were sent to the Rebbe, they raised funds for the needy, etc. The chinuch in the house was always under the motto: We are shluchim and we must be a shining example to others. I always had a higher standard than others in tznius and kashrus and the children knew we are not like the rest. I recall an incident which illustrates the world the children grew up in. A neighbor told me that she heard my oldest son Mordechai talking with a friend: Friend: My father bought me a bike! Mordechai: My father goes on mivtzaim every day and puts t’fillin on lots of people! Friend: But my father has a

Yemenite immigrants. The streets were full of unemployed people, criminals and drunks. Obviously, attempting chinuch in such a place would have had devastating spiritual results. Over time, the yishuv began to change. A large number of problematic families left and more stable families moved in. In 5761/2001, we moved to Beit Dagan. Interestingly, the residents didn’t notice any difference. My husband had spent so much time at the yishuv that he seemed like an old-timer to them. The children eagerly jumped in, and today a large part of the activities is done by them. The Tzivos Hashem club twice a week, candle lighting every Friday with the girls in Scouts and Kabbalas Shabbos at our house are all with Moshiach and Geula messages. This week, I met one of the girls who regularly attend the Tzivos Hashem activities. She was dressed in a sports uniform of sleeveless top and shorts and was walking with her mother. When she saw me, she was embarrassed and she immediately called out, “Don’t look at me. It’s not my fault that I am dressed immodestly; it’s just for sports.” The children here are strongly influenced and know a lot of Chassidic concepts. There is even a decent familiarity with the sichos of the D’var Malchus and in finding the “Alef” in “gola.” Beit Dagan is ready!

Even when I was alone with little children, I constantly reminded myself that I chose shlichus and that I wanted this, and therefore, I had to deal with it. I knew that difficulties pass

10 � • Rosh Chodesh Teives 5773

and I tried, mainly, to be happy. What gives someone strength to go on and provides such satisfaction are the little-big stories that we experience with the people of the yishuv. For example, there was a time that we did a Kiddush Levana every month followed by a big party. My husband loved to give out dollars that had been received from the Rebbe. Each time, he would get people from Kfar Chabad to donate some on behalf of the event. Two years ago, a woman won the raffle, and without giving it even a moment’s thought, she gave it to her friend standing next to her who had been married for eight years without children. In a voice full of bitachon in the power of the dollar and the power of the Rebbe, she said, “Take this dollar and it will bring you bracha.” The friend gave birth to a son that year! Throughout the year, many people write to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh and see miracles. At least eight children were born on the yishuv thanks to the Rebbe’s bracha. Here is one story. Ilana Matary waited seven long, painful years for a child. Then we started a shiur in Taharas HaMishpacha and she came and began observing the laws. She also wrote to the Rebbe and asked for a bracha. She credits the birth of her son to the Rebbe’s bracha.

Kos shel bracha from the Rebbe on Acharon shel Pesach

In response to the question “Did you ever imagine that your children would open their own Chabad houses around the world?” Ruth smiled and said: No. I thought they would all remain near us, in Eretz

Yisroel. But Boruch Hashem, our children are devoted shluchim to Hampi in southern India and Delhi, the second largest city in India, as well as in Beer Sheva, Ganei Aviv-Lud and another branch in Beit Dagan together with us. We had a guest from abroad who wondered how it was that the children of the shluchim in her city, who were dynamic individuals with so much potential, were not involved in the shlichus. That is when I understood that when the children of a shliach hear their father constantly discussing what he’s doing next and grow up in that atmosphere, it is only natural that it becomes a part of who they are. Here in our home there was nothing but shlichus! Boruch Hashem, I am happy that my children went on shlichus. It gives me much nachas. When my son went to India as a bachur, he said that India is a place for pioneers and that Lubavitchers ought to work there, for there is so much to be done. I naively thought he would only be there until he married,

but my son had other plans. He is there with his wife and little girl and is mekasher many souls to the Rebbe. In conclusion: “We work here with warm, simple people, and the most special thing is their pure faith, their strong desire to be mekarev the Geula. The people here live with the Rebbe and constantly look forward to his coming.”
Issue 860 • �  


MirAcle storY

There is indeed an appointed season for everything, and a time for every matter under the heavens – even a haircut for a three year-old boy. This is what happened as an entire family surprisingly became connected to the Rebbe MH”M through a totally unexpected answer in Igros Kodesh. Beis Moshiach presents two recent “Igros Kodesh” stories.
By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry


nyone with an open mind is elated to see that even in these dark days, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, continues to provide guidance and direction to his Chassidim. It seems that hiding and concealment is intensifying and darkness is covering the world, yet as “one corresponds to the other,” our fellow Jews all over the world are privileged to experience a growing emergence of spiritual revelations. Thousands of people from all walks of life, Jews and non-Jews alike, write to the Rebbe every day via Igros Kodesh, and they see miracles and wonders with their own eyes as they receive detailed instructions and amazingly clear brachos. As someone who has heard numerous miracle stories, it’s hard to remain apathetic in the

face of this Divine truth, and it doesn’t require much effort to see it. There are many Jews who prior to Gimmel Tammuz fought against anything that had even a whiff of Lubavitch. Today, however, they don’t make a move without first asking the Rebbe for his advice and receiving his bracha. What follows are two stories among dozens that the magazine has heard about in recent months.

R’ Yitzchak Yehoshua Vaknin is one of the more active participants at the Kiryat Yovel Chabad House in Yerushalayim, under the directorship of the shliach Rabbi Yossi Elgazi. “Our

Chabad House is a very special place; everyone who comes to us becomes a Chassid of the Rebbe. There’s no ‘sitting on the fence’ with us; the messages are quite clear. There’s special Chassidic warmth here with a marvelous staff, and although I am affiliated with the local Sephardic community where I study Torah and daven, I consider myself a Chabad Chassid with a strong connection to the Rebbe. “One evening before the Pesach holiday, I was making my way to the Chabad House as always. As Rabbi Elgazi met me there, he told me that there was a family, the Pesos, that had just bought an apartment nearby, and they had asked him to come to their Chanukas HaBayis. Since the shliach was extremely busy with all the pre-holiday

12 � • Rosh Chodesh Teives 5773

preparations, he asked me if I would go there in his place. I happily agreed. I set a time with the family, arrived with relevant s’farim, and we discussed various Torah subjects. During the evening, I told them the story I had read that week in the Beis Moshiach Magazine about the Jew in Costa Rica (see Issue 834, pgs. 18-20). Everyone was utterly astounded by the story. “As is customary among Sephardic Jews, the Pesos had also invited the extended family along with numerous friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. This resulted in many people being exposed to the holy teachings of Chabad Chassidus and the miracles of the Rebbe. The event lasted for about an hour and a half. As I was preparing to leave, I was approached by an elderly

couple who wanted to ask me a question. It turned out that they had a grandson who would be celebrating his third birthday on Erev Pesach, and they wanted to know what they should do about the upshernish. I suggested that it would be better to postpone it until Lag B’Omer. “My thinking was that since these were not religious Jews, preoccupation with such an event on an Erev Pesach might result in chametz being left around in their home after the time when it must be burned. This was something that I was determined to avoid. “The following day, a Monday, when I arrived at my job as a classroom teacher in special education, one of my co-workers, a Chabad Chassid, brought a Pesach Hagada with the Rebbe’s commentaries. As

I was looking through the seifer with great interest, I noticed that the Rebbe discussed the subject of a woman’s obligation to say Hallel during Pesach. “The subject intrigued me and I wanted to show the material to the head of the Sephardic kollel where I learn. The references noted Vol. 22 of Igros Kodesh as a source. Before I had a chance to peruse the material at greater depth, I became very busy with other matters and forgot about the whole subject as I returned to my regular routine. “On Tuesday evening, I came to the Chabad House to daven Maariv. As I was stepping back to say ‘Oseh Shalom B’M’romav’ at the end of Shmoneh Esrei, I noticed that there was a copy of Igros Kodesh Vol. 22 on the bima. I took the seifer with me

Issue 860 • �  


MirAcle storY
to check it when I got home. I opened to pg. 132, and was totally astounded as I started to read. “The letter was addressed to a Chassid named Yitzchak, the same name as mine, and it concluded with the following words in postscript: ‘On his question about the time for the haircut of his son shlita, whose birthday is on Erev Pesach, it would be inappropriate to delay it to a later time, rather they should make the upshernish on the night of the fourteenth or on the day of parents living in Pisgat Zeev. I spoke with them and explained that their son had been privileged to receive a remarkable answer from the Rebbe, who requested that they hold the haircut ceremony at its appointed time. The parents were delighted, and they promised that they would come to the Chabad House the following day between Mincha and Maariv. “The next day, I prepared a decorative certificate with the Rebbe’s answer. We bought a set of s’farim for the boy,

R’ Alon Levion and his wife are members of the Chabad community in the Holy City of Tzfas. Alon works as an arithmetic teacher at the Ohr Menachem Talmud Torah, while his wife teaches science at the Beis Chana High School for girls. During the past few years, they began a kiruv process that brought them closer to Chassidus and the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, together with their work for the city’s Chabad educational institutions. “Last Chanukah, the Lubavitch Women’s Organization in Tzfas was organizing a trip to Beis Chayeinu. My wife immediately registered, and she wanted me to accompany her. However, for a variety of reasons, I didn’t want to go. First of all, I had never left the boundaries of Eretz Yisroel in my life. Furthermore, it seemed a bit hasty to spend such a large sum of money without preparing for the trip well in advance. All her efforts to convince me fell on deaf ears. I was happy for her to participate in this group, but I refused to come along. “On the Friday before the trip, she tried one last time to convince me. When she saw that I remained steadfast in my refusal, she packed her own suitcases, and we decided that she would be the family representative. “That Friday night, my father came to our house for the Shabbos evening meal. During the seuda, he made a surprising request. While he was not Torah observant in any way, he had heard about writing to the Rebbe in Igros Kodesh, and he suggested that we do so. My wife and I were very surprised by this, but we were naturally quite happy

“My father knew nothing about the discussion I had with my wife over the trip. When I told him about it, even he was stunned. ‘If the Rebbe wrote this to you so clearly, you have to go,” he said with a sudden and surprising level of hiskashrus. My wife was positively overjoyed. We felt that it couldn’t be clearer. The Rebbe had simply invited me to come to him...

Erev Pesach.’ I read the answer again and again to make certain that I was reading it correctly. I felt my hair standing on end. I had just suggested to this family that they delay the ceremony, but the Rebbe thought otherwise and wanted to update me on the matter. Amazing Divine Providence… “The very next morning, Wednesday, I went to the shliach, Rabbi Elgazi, showed him the letter, and asked him what I should do. His response was unequivocal: ‘If that’s what the Rebbe wrote, get in touch with the family, and make sure that the upshernish takes place at the proper time.’ “I managed to contact the grandparents, and they gave the telephone number of the boy’s

‘Rabboseinu N’si’einu’, along with a tz’daka pushka. At around six o’clock that evening, dozens of family members were already waiting at the Chabad House. After we davened Mincha together, everyone participated in cutting the boy’s long curls. An aura of tremendous joy reigned on the premises with much singing and dancing. But most important of all, all the guests got in line at the Chabad House and took advantage of the welcome opportunity to buy hand-made shmura matzos and sell the chametz left in their homes. One mitzvah leads to another. The family hung the Rebbe’s answer in the living room, and they eventually also bought new mezuzos.

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to comply. My father returned on Motzaei Shabbos, and I explained to him about the preparations you have to make before asking the Rebbe a question. He made a good resolution, and then he pulled Vol. 21 off the shelf. He had several questions, and I started to read from the page to where he had opened (pg. 324). Every line that I read gave my father another clear-cut answer to one of his questions. “Then I came to a certain line, and as I read it, my father didn’t understand why I was turning so pale. The Rebbe wrote as follows: “It’s possible that his son, sh’yichyeh, will be traveling here for the fifth night [of Chanukah]. And if they will give him a list of all the students learning Chassidus, he can receive Chanukah gelt for them as well, as is customary.” “My father knew nothing about the discussion I had with my wife over the trip. When I told him about it, even he was stunned. ‘If the Rebbe wrote this

to you so clearly, you have to go,” he said with a sudden and surprising level of hiskashrus. My wife was positively overjoyed. We felt that it couldn’t be clearer. The Rebbe had simply invited me to come to him... “On Tuesday, we packed another suitcase – for me – and we soon found ourselves together on a flight heading for 770. Incredibly, we had received a special budget allocation from work, and this covered a sizable portion of our travel expenses. Since the Rebbe had also written that we should bring a list of our students, I naturally collected the names of all the boys in class to daven for them when we came to the Rebbe. “Our spiritual experience of spending Chanukah with the Rebbe was beyond all expectations – lighting the big menorah, the niggunim, the overall atmosphere. I came back from the Rebbe an entirely different person. “There’s another aspect to

this story in connection with my brother. He’s been living for the past eight years on the West Coast, and I obviously hadn’t seen him all this time. He had been quite happy to hear that we were coming, and he even tried to arrange a couple of airline tickets for us to come and visit him. However, since it was late December, the non-Jewish holiday season, there were simply no tickets available. Nevertheless, he decided to surprise us, and he left his business affairs to come to Crown Heights. After many long years, he even had the privilege of putting on t’fillin. “When my brother asked me why I had come so suddenly without letting him know in advance, I showed him the answer the Rebbe gave me when even I had no idea that I would be coming. My brother thought for a moment and then said, ‘Look, it doesn’t have to refer to you alone. I’m also our father’s son, so the Rebbe invited me to come visit him as well...’”

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Issue 860 • �  



A gaon and Chassid who was always learning, he completed Shas, Likkutei Torah, and the Rambam’s Yad HaChazaka every year. Along with his genius and outstanding diligence in learning he was modest and humble. * The mashpia, Rabbi Shimon Yakobovitz of Yerushalayim, of blessed memory.
By Shneur Zalman Berger


R’ Shimon Yakobovitz at “kos shel bracha”

gaon in Torah, a gaon in tznius, and a gaon in humility. It would be accurate to say that this described the mashpia, Rabbi Shimon Yakobovitz, who passed away on Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sarah, at the age of 83. R’ Yakobovitz, in addition to being a genius in Nigleh, served as mashpia in the Baal HaTanya shul in Meah Sh’arim. For many years he was known as a devoted teacher in the Meah Sh’arim Talmud Torah (elementary school). Every morning, R’ Yakobovitz would walk to daven at the Kosel, all the while reviewing Mishnayos by heart. From the early morning hours and throughout the day, he was constantly learning Torah.

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Aside from the many shiurim he gave, he used every free moment for learning. His enormous Torah knowledge was well-known, and it was all with the utmost modesty and humility. *** R’ Yakobovitz was born in Yerushalayim in 5690/1930. His father was R’ Aharon, head of the Otzar HaPoskim Institute. His mother was the daughter of the tzaddik, Rabbi Aryeh Levin (A Tzaddik in our Time). His grandfather, R’ Elchanan Yakobovitz, was born to Kopust Chassidim, but during World War I he ended up in the town of Lubavitch. After many years he moved to Eretz Yisroel where he kept in touch with the Chabad Chassidim. Years later, his grandsons, R’ Shimon and his brother R’ Elchanan, became Lubavitcher Chassidim. As a child, he attended the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. When he grew older, he was sent to learn in Achei T’mimim in Tel Aviv where he was very influenced by the mashpia, R’ Chaim Shaul Brook. After two years, he returned to Yerushalayim and continued learning in Toras Emes where he absorbed Chassidus from the mashpiim R’ Moshe Yehuda Reichmann, R’ Dov Goldberg, and R’ Moshe Weber. At this time, many bachurim from non-Lubavitch homes learned in Toras Emes. R’ Shimon and some of his friends did a lot to ensure that the yeshiva would retain its Chabad personality, and he received particular encouragement in this from the Rebbe. When he became of age, the daughter of R’ Eliyahu Tzvi Kroizer was suggested as a shidduch for him. His future father-in-law tested him

R’ Shimon Yakobovitz

Registered as a student in Yeshivas Achei T’mimim in Tel Aviv

in learning and was favorably impressed. A few months after their wedding, he founded a Chabad shul in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood. He not only founded it, but gave shiurim in Chassidus to people of all backgrounds. Among those who learned with him and ended up coming to Chabad thanks to him were R’ Shmuel Elozor Halperin,

R’ Naftali Roth, and R’ Tzvi Greenwald. He also gave a shiur in sichos of the Rebbe Rayatz. The shiur took place in his home every Shabbos afternoon and was attended by a minyan of bachurim who were eager to learn Chassidus. The shiur was the impetus for these young men to become Lubavitchers, among
Issue 860 • �  


them R’ Avrohom Lieder, R’ Elozor Ehrentrau, R’ Yitzchok Meir Ehrentrau. A branch of Tzeirei Chabad was founded in Yerushalayim and R’ Yakobovitz was appointed a member of the hanhala alongside the following staff members: R’ Zushe Wilmovsky (the partisan), R’ Elozor Ehrentrau, R’ Nachum Rabinowitz, R’ Zev Dov Slonim, R’ Hillel Rabinowitz, and the two Halperin brothers – R’ Shmuel Elozor and R’ Levi Yitzchok. R’ Yakobovitz yearned to see the Rebbe, but his requests to Beis Moshiach, “After I began learning Chabad Chassidus, I went to Toras Emes regularly in order to hear shiurim in Chassidus from the mashpia R’ Moshe Yehuda Reichmann. When the shiur was over, I would learn with R’ Shimon Yakobovitz and review the shiur. I would ask many questions about the ways of Chabad and I was given clever, fascinating answers, which got me more interested in Chabad. After a few months, he was able to convince me to write to the Rebbe for the first Divrei Torah. Both young and old residents of the religious neighborhoods attended his shiurim and he was mekarev many of them to the light of Chabad. He asked the Rebbe about everything and did not veer an iota from the Rebbe’s instructions. He supported himself as an elementary school teacher and preferred concealing his Torah greatness in this manner. His genius was known even though he made every effort to hide it. He was extraordinarily wellversed in all of Shas, Talmud Yerushalmi, Midrash, Rambam, and in Sifrei Kabbala and Chassidus. From a young age he knew all of Chumash by heart with the proper vowels and tune. He was an expert in Hebrew grammar and knew how to properly punctuate Aramaic. One of his sons recounted how once, on the night before a bris, the vacht nacht, he and his brothers sat and recited chapters from the holy Zohar. Their father was in the kitchen making himself tea. While doing so, he corrected them in how they read the passage from the Zohar. One of the people who was in contact with him regarding a Torah project in the latter part of his life said that R’ Yakobovitz was a general editor and a punctuation editor. He would also notate every source in the Zohar that appeared imprecisely. “He would not check every source inside in order to see whether it was correct or not; he knew it by heart and when he saw that something was written improperly, he noted this immediately. Next to one of his comments he wrote ‘Don’t suspect that I know Zohar by heart because this is [wrongly]

When he was merry with wine, he would pour forth Divrei Torah, Chassidus, and Kabbala with unusual proficiency and sharpness, even though he was ordinarily very careful not to reveal how much he knew and preferred that people know him as a simple elementary school teacher.
do so were rejected by the Rebbe himself who wondered about R’ Yakobovitz’s seeking the welfare of an individual (himself) at the expense of the benefit of the public who would be deprived of his spreading of Chassidus. It was first in Tishrei 5718/1957 that he received permission to travel to 770. In an unusual step, Rashag arranged his visa for him. He had a number of private audiences with the Rebbe adding up to a total of five hours that month. The Rebbe instructed him to increase his teaching of Chassidus within the framework of Tzach as well as through other channels. Over the years, he brought many close to Chassidus. One of the bachurim who came to Chassidus through him was R’ Tuvia Blau. The day after R’ Shimon’s funeral, R’ Blau told

time. I received a response which tipped the scale, and I became a Lubavitcher Chassid. “In the years that followed, I continued learning Chassidus in his home and received explanations and answers to all my questions, which is why I refer to him as ‘my teacher and rebbi’ for Chassidus.” R’ Yakobovitz was devoted to the Rebbe’s mivtzaim and horaos. At first, he worked as a member of Tzach. Even when he no longer held an official title, he continued doing every mivtza that the Rebbe announced. He was one of the distinguished personalities of the Baal HaTanya shul in Meah Sh’arim and was eventually appointed as the mashpia of the shul. Over the years, he delivered many shiurim in Chassidus and

18 � • Rosh Chodesh Teives 5773

suspecting the innocent.’” When the publisher of one of the s’farim of explanations on the Zohar wanted to get approbation from the Badatz of the Eidah HaChareidis of Yerushalayim for the book, the Badatz refused to give it because they could not say whether the punctuation was correct. They were willing to give their approbation only if R’ Yakobovitz was willing to check the punctuation. His diligence in Torah study was remarkable. He reviewed his learning every spare moment. He fulfilled the mitzva of “when you travel on the road,” by reviewing Mishnayos by heart and maamarei Chassidus. He also lived and breathed Halacha and did not veer at all from it, including those halachos that tend to be disregarded in our generation. His acquaintances

R’ Yakobovitz finishing Shas on Yud-Tes Kislev

say that he was “a Jew of the Zohar, of Chassidus, and of Tikkun Chatzos, for whom many nights were devoted to G-d without sleeping, which is what he also did every Thursday night.”

Every year, on Purim, he would fulfill “ad d’lo yada” by drinking a full cup and saying l’chaim with each person who came to visit him, and there were many. When he was merry with wine, he would pour forth Divrei Torah, Chassidus, and Kabbala with unusual proficiency and sharpness, even though he was ordinarily very careful not to reveal how much he knew and preferred that people know him as a simple elementary school teacher. *** He is survived by his wife Masha Rochel and his children: R’ Yaakov Chaim of Tzfas, R’ Tuvia of Yerushalayim, R’ Mordechai of Beitar Ilit, R’ Elchanan of B’nei Brak, Mrs. Devorah Eisenbach of Yerushalayim, and Mrs. Leah Scheinfeld of Beit Shemesh.

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Issue 860SUSHI BAR • �  



BAnquet speech

Journalist Motti Tochfeld, political analyst for “Yisroel HaYom,” gave an electrifying speech at the banquet for the Kinus HaShluchim in 770. * “I believed the Rebbe is Moshiach before I became a Lubavitcher.” * The full speech.

It is a great privilege to be here at the banquet and to address the shluchim regarding their final mission, Kabbalas P’nei Moshiach Tzidkeinu. As shluchim who spread the Besuras Ha’Geula, you are certainly aware that people, even religious ones, want to live rational lives. They don’t want you to mess with their minds. They want to live according to what their eyes see, what their ears hear, and what their minds can absorb. Yet, they are believers. They believe, for example, that there was a Mattan Torah at Har Sinai. It is not exactly an event that you can grasp and understand, and yet they believe it happened. They also believe that the sea split. They even believe that just a few generations ago, those stories about the Baal Shem Tov happened, miracles and all. All that is in the past. When you ask them about the future, they are willing to believe that Moshiach will come. We all believe that, in the future, Moshiach will come and there will be wonders then too. There will be the Resurrection of the Dead and a Beis HaMikdash will descend from the heaven. As long as we are talking about the future, they are willing to believe. However, when you speak to them about the present and say that great and wondrous things are happening today, now, they find this hard to accept. They will say, “Leave us alone. We live in the world for 70, 80, 120 years. During this period of time, let us live normally.” The truth is, though, that we are in an unusual time. We are living in Yemos HaMoshiach and the amazing thing about this is that everybody acknowledges it. Although sometimes, externally, there is some opposition and it seems as though it is not accepted as such, deep inside people are aware that it’s true. The Rebbe spoke about this over twenty years ago, but we are slow on the draw and only understand things later. Today, even we are starting to see this, that the world is ready. This reality is known to all.

A few months ago, in the course of my work at the Knesset, I was sitting in the Knesset cafeteria and talking to two journalists who are not yet religious. As we were sitting there, a senior minister who is religious joined our table. He saw me wearing a Moshiach pin and made a snide remark. I don’t even remember what he said, but a conversation ensued about Moshiach and Geula. At a certain point, we began

20 � • Rosh Chodesh Teives 5773

eyes and just obey. In the end, things work out.

In my work, I know a variety of people in the world of politics, all kinds of askanim, politicians, ministers, etc. Most of them have an interesting story in connection the Rebbe, whether an encounter they had with him or one of his shluchim. When you speak to them about the Rebbe, their eyes light up and amazing stories come forth. I’ve seen this in the course of my work in the last two to three years, when I meet with politicians who are serving today. I want to tell you a story. The

talking about Hilchos Melachim in the Rambam. Most people are not as familiar with the Rambam as Lubavitchers are, especially in the laws of Moshiach. After we discussed it for a while, he had enough. He turned to the two other fellows and said, “Okay, there are another two people here. Let’s stop this. I don’t think it interests them.” I glanced at the other two and I saw how they were both sitting riveted to our conversation. They said to this minister in surprise, without a drop of cynicism, “Why should you stop? When we’re finally hearing an interesting conversation here in the Knesset, you want to cut it off?”

“When we’re finally hearing an interesting conversation here in the Knesset, you want to cut it off?”

Before I made the move to work for Yisroel HaYom, where I work now, I was a writer for Radio Kol Chai. The workplace at Kol Chai was like a comfortable hothouse, especially

for a religious person. Then I was made an offer to work for a newspaper which did not previously exist and nobody knew whether it would exist. Even if it would finally open, nobody knew what its fate would be. I decided to ask the Rebbe. In the answer I opened to in the Igros Kodesh, there was a bracha for a transfer to a new job and the Rebbe said that the person’s influence in the new place would be even greater. As many of you know, Yisroel HaYom is now the biggest newspaper in Eretz Yisroel and is the most influential media outlet in the country. When I read this bracha, all my doubts dissipated. I had already learned that with the Rebbe’s direction, you don’t look right or left but walk with closed

hero of the story is politically active although you haven’t heard his name, because he works as a secret political advisor. He does all his work behind the scenes. For a hefty fee, he pulls political strings employing a battery of lawyers. He is the kind of person who handles major political issues. We’ve known one another for many years. Although he belongs to the Left and he is not fully religious, he has a strong feeling for Judaism. Inside, his Jewish neshama burns strong. Some time ago, he took the law boards in order to become certified as an attorney. He was tired of constantly paying for lawyers, and since he knew nearly all the laws, he decided to

Issue 860 • �  


BAnquet speech
become one himself and save a lot of money. We spoke on the phone the day before the test and I wished him luck. I told him that I would say T’hillim for him during the test so he would pass, as it’s a very difficult test. He was happy to hear that. Then I thought of asking the Rebbe for a bracha for him in the Igros Kodesh. I didn’t tell him about this idea. I wrote a letter and on the pages I opened to, I saw a long letter. I noticed wishes for bracha and hatzlacha in all areas. It looked like a very positive letter to me. I decided to call him and I said: I asked for a bracha for you and there is answer from the Rebbe, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He asked: What do you mean – how can that be? I explained what we do with the Igros Kodesh and gave him some examples (each of us has an example or even dozens of examples about answers he got from the Rebbe). I told him one of the amazing answers I opened to, as follows. be comforting but I really didn’t know what to say. The first thing that occurred to me was that I must write to the Rebbe. I called Shneur Bloch, a Lubavitcher friend, and told him what was going on. He said he would write to the Rebbe. After he opened the volume he asked me, “You’re in the Reserves now?” I said that I was and he asked me, “Are you doing mivtza t’fillin?” I said I was. (During those four days, I had suggested to the guys in my tent to put on t’fillin and they were agreeable. They even began passing it around, and I saw people taking the t’fillin on their own and putting them on.). Shneur said: I don’t believe it! I can’t believe what the Rebbe writes here! I asked: What does it say? Shneur read the Rebbe’s letter to me: In the merit of mivtza t’fillin and in the merit of the spreading of Judaism in the place you are in, there will be a refua shleima for you, your wife and your offspring. I immediately called my wife and told her: No tests, no doctors, no nothing. All is well. With the Rebbe’s bracha, we are in good hands. The other week we celebrated our daughter’s eighth birthday. She was born healthy. letter. The Rebbe began with a bracha for a move to a new home and said that it should be the source of good luck and bracha. I assumed this wasn’t relevant because he was living in Ashdod for twenty years. People like him don’t move around. But he stopped me and asked: Who is this letter written to? I said: It’s a letter to you. He asked: The Rebbe is wishing me success in my move? I said: Yes, why, are you moving? He said: Yes! Then he told me that he was about to move to a home he bought with a loan of three million shekels. He had already signed the contract and paid the advance, but the bank made its approval of the loan for a mortgage conditional on his passing his law boards. That was the guarantee that he would be able to repay the loan. I told him: If so, then you’ll pass the test, because the Rebbe said you’re moving. The test took place the next day and it was one of the hardest tests ever given by the Israel Bar Association. Those who were in Eretz Yisroel remember that at the final test, all the law students demonstrated outside the Bar Association’s headquarters in Tel Aviv about this being the hardest test ever. 51% failed, which is a very high failure rate. He passed the test and made good hachlatos, to put on t’fillin and not to smoke on Shabbos. He also agreed to serve as legal counsel, pro bono, for the shul in Givat Mordechai where I am the gabbai, an account that could easily run into tens of thousands of shekels.

When I was first married, I was very close to Chabad but not yet a Lubavitcher. I was serving in the IDF Reserves and my wife was pregnant. After four to five days in the Reserves, my wife called. In tears, she told me that she had just come back from a checkup and they told her that the fetus was at high risk for a serious illness. They even recommended that she do a dangerous test, and even went so far as to discuss the possibility of abortion. This was her first pregnancy, and obviously, this shook us up. I could not go back home and she was there alone. I tried to

I told this story to that political activist who was very interested in hearing the Rebbe’s answer. I decided not to read the entire letter to him, because it was quite long, just the points that seemed relevant, but he wasn’t satisfied. I tried to explain: Listen, there are brachos here ...He still did not understand what it was about. I decided to read the entire

This is what we see. The

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world is ready for the Rebbe’s leadership. The entire world wants Moshiach and awaits his coming. What are we doing with this? Not everybody has ready access to the media, but today there are many avenues to the media. There are unlimited opportunities for every one of us, including shluchim. Every person can have a website and on this website, he can write whatever he wants and publicize the truth, that the Rebbe is Moshiach. The Rebbe spoke about the role of radio and newspapers to spread the Besuras Ha’Geula. We can also publicize the Geula on other websites by writing comments and by sending emails far and wide. These are tools within our reach, and words are powerful.

Here is a final story which also occurred when I was getting more involved with Chabad. By the way, when someone argues with me that today it is impossible to understand and explain that the Rebbe is Moshiach, I give myself as an example. I was not Lubavitch on Gimmel Tammuz, or for a decade after Gimmel Tammuz. Yet, I believed that the Rebbe is Moshiach before I became a Lubavitcher! Yes, you can explain it! And the person you are explaining it to will be compelled to accept it at some point. At that time, I was on Radio Kol Chai and I also worked a little for Maariv’s Internet site where I wrote about Judaism. Before YudTes Kislev, I told the editor that

this is a very important holiday in Chabad, and since there is a debate as to whether the Rebbe is Moshiach, I wanted to write an opinion piece about his being Moshiach. To my surprise, he was happy with the idea. I wrote an article about what I knew at the time and I wrote it under the heading, “The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach.” The editors liked it and put it on the home page, not just on the Judaism page but on the home page of the website! The way of the Internet is that the headlines are changed for new headlines and things disappear into archives, though they don’t really disappear because the written word continues to exist. A year ago, I was with my family in Tzfas. While I davened in Tomchei T’mimim, my wife davened in Ascent. She met a girl, a Lubavitcher. When they began talking, and she heard my wife’s name, she asked: Are you the wife of Motti Tochfeld? When my wife said yes, the girl exclaimed: Wow, it’s thanks to your husband that I am a Lubavitcher! She told my wife that she came from an irreligious home. At a certain point, she became interested in religion. She became acquainted with Chabad and was drawn to it. She began keeping mitzvos and became religiously observant but one thing bothered her, the belief that Lubavitchers have that the Rebbe is Moshiach. When she tried to clarify it, nobody was able to explain it to her. She struggled with this for a long time, until this belief in the Rebbe as Moshiach undermined for her not only the belief in Chabad but belief in religion altogether. Then, she sat down at home late one night and resolved that

she was dropping out of religion. No more mitzvos for her. As much as she connected to Tanya and despite all she had learned, in Chassidus, sichos, etc. the Moshiach thing bothered her. It made no sense. If that is what they were based on, she was dropping out. At this point, she thought: I want to go on the Internet and read something from a Chabadnik, someone who writes about the Rebbe as Moshiach, in order to be able to reassure myself that I fully understand what these delusional characters have to say, and then cut myself off once and for all. She did a Google search with the words “Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach,” and she found my article which I had written years before. She began reading it and her jaw dropped. All of a sudden, whatever she hadn’t understood all that time, which nobody had managed to explain to her, it was all there in the article. She concluded that the Rebbe is Moshiach and that she would be religious. Today she is a Lubavitcher who lives in Tzfas. I don’t know her name; I did not meet her. But that’s the story.

This is our mission, your mission, everyone’s mission, to write things, to inform the world. The world knows it already, but even if someone knows something, you have to push it so that not only his neshama knows the truth, but the body too, so that the body is permeated with Moshiach and believes in Moshiach. Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L ’olam Va’ed! L ’chaim!

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By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz


olid revelation abounds, if only you look.” These words were scrawled in large block letters using white chalk on a brick wall in Burlington, Vermont, where I spent a couple of weeks a while back. To this day, the image remains firmly embedded in my conscious mind. I have no idea who wrote it, or why – or even what their original intent was. But for some reason, it struck a chord with me, it grabbed me, it resonated. I was in a strange state of mind – one of those outside of self, dizzying, spinning, mind full of questions type of days where I feel the undeniable need to challenge the foregone conclusions of yesterday, and my very existence, by looking for answers to questions I have no business answering in places I have no business going to. I was contemplating where I’d been, where I was at, and where I was going, and I started feeling that my life was lacking in clarity and cohesiveness. I felt my mind unwinding out of control, like a fishing reel set loose by a wild catch too large to handle. Who do I think I am? How am I supposed to know if I am living the life that I am meant to live? Why can’t I see any sign? And, in an instant, the writing on the wall broke through all that inner static. It was an answer in plain words, in plain sight – blatant and undeniable and simple as the bricks upon which they were written. Hours later, I found myself standing there again, capturing the scene with my camera as it captured me once more. Real answers are not found in inner-dimensional wisdom or super-conscious

states of being. Though they might help me get there and see the world in its proper light, it is the world beneath my nose that contains the real answers – but only if I take the time to really take it in. To me, moments like these are the greatest miracles. They might not be grandiose. They might not be glamorous. But, if we take the time to appreciate them, they can shatter the mundane natural reality of the egocentric self and expose the soul – and anything that can accomplish that without requiring hours of focused meditation or a psychotropic cocktail is a miracle in my books. In a certain sense, this type of hidden miracle is more powerful than the open, earth-shattering experiences that make headlines, because it is mine, and because it doesn’t need to turn the whole world up-side down to make its point. I am elevated by it, but remain firmly within my earthly reality, with an instant clarity of how to bring the wisdom gained into my life. And perhaps greater than the miracle itself is the capacity and presence of mind to appreciate it, and the ability to recall it later, defying time and space to relive the moment and its lessons. But, more often than not, we tend to forget and take things for

granted – the writing on the wall, the unexplained coincidence, the undeserved success, the unbelievable sunset, the birth of a child. We tend to file them away and forget, or at least lose the sense of awe we once attached to them. A recent study published by Gabriel Radvansky out of the University of Notre Dame suggests that passing through doorways causes memory lapses. “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” Radvansky explains. “Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.” If I view my life as a series of disconnected events, then I will have trouble connecting the dots to recognize the miracles that got me here, the miracle that is my life. But if I perceive the events of my life as one thread, or perhaps more aptly one complex rope weaved of many multi-colored threads, with a unified purpose, then I am better equipped to appreciate the “little” miracles and harness them to grow further. Some people go through life with their heads buried in the sand, some with their heads buried in themselves. I’m not sure which is worse, hiding from the answers or looking for easy ones. But I know neither gets me anywhere worth going. But if I look at the signs that are right there in front of me, confront them, and trust that they are exactly what they seem, then I find that they point to a unified and elegant and intelligent order hidden within the chaos. Because solid revelation abounds, if only you look.
Reprinted with permission from Exodus Magazine

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MoshiAch & GeulA

the message derived from this analogy, as it relates to Moshe rabbeinu – as well as the “extension of Moshe in each generation,” including the Moshe of our generation, my revered father-in-law, the rebbe – is that even now he is present and shines as before. were we to go together with him, we would see that he shines in full force just as before. in fact, in an even more profound way. * source materials compiled by rabbi Majeski. (translations appear in bold. underlining is the author’s emphasis.)
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

Continuing the discussion of how not only does the Rebbe Rayatz live on but enlivens others as well, the Rebbe MH”M develops an analogy for this based on how the sun shines throughout the world, illuminating and bringing life to everything: We may add to our discussion what is written in Igeres HaKodesh “about Moshe Rabbeinu, alav ha’shalom” (Biur Al Siman 27 [citing Zohar III 273a; see also ibid 216b]) – “that [even] after his p’tira his radiance shines, in each generation, to sixty myriad souls, as the sun shines from beneath the earth to sixty myriad stars.” The Rebbe goes on to detail the manner by which the sun shines continuously, day and night. The sun shines directly upon the hemisphere that it

faces but reaches the opposite hemisphere as well by way of the sixty myriad stars, for the light of the stars is also the sun’s light, shining at present [i.e., throughout the night] by way of the stars. That is, the stars do not only receive the light of the sun during the daytime, and now (at nighttime) the stars illuminate on their own. Rather, even the light that the stars emit at night is the light of the sun. The message derived from this analogy, as it relates to Moshe Rabbeinu – as well as the “extension of Moshe in each generation,” including the Moshe of our generation, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe – is that even now he is present and shines as before (like the way the sun is present and shines even during the hours of the night).

Were we to go together with him, we would see that he shines in full force just as before (in fact, in an even more profound way.) It is just that since he has ascended On High, continually ascending from one spiritual height to another, whereas (we have not gone with him) we have remained in our place, he is, therefore, not visible to us with the naked eye (just as the sun is not visible at night). Nevertheless, even in that [sublime] state, his light reaches all the Jewish people, who comprise, in general, the sixty myriad souls. And through these souls he illuminates throughout the world (as the sun shines from beneath the earth to sixty myriad stars – as we have said, the light of the sun itself shines by way of the stars). (And even if we don’t perceive the Rebbe’s light shining, bear in mind the saying of the Rebbe Rashab, nishmaso Eden, discussed above (pg. 108) how the [very rudimentary] thought of the horse regarding hay does not negate the reality of the existence of angels!)
(Ibid 121-122)

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it is ten years since the passing of the chassid, r’ Zalman levin a”h of Kfar chabad. he walked among us but he belonged to the generation of giants, chassidim who lived lives of mesirus nefesh. in a series of meetings with him, he recounted the story of his childhood in a chassidishe home in the soviet union where children learned torah and where kosher meat was secretly slaughtered. * part 4 of 9.
By Menachem Ziegelboim

ne of the places where we went to learn was the city of Melitopol. Our mashpia there was R’ Sholom Morosow. He taught us Nigleh and Chassidus and he would farbreng with us every so often. He was excellent at explaining things. We learned there until they caught us and we had to escape. We managed to flee at the last minute thanks to a bachur whose job it was to stand guard. When he saw someone approaching us or any suspicious activity in the area, he would quickly tell us and say how much time we had left, etc. In my youth, I learned for a while in Kursk under difficult conditions and constant terror. We learned in rooms that we


rented from gentiles. Sometimes, we would rent a room as a place to sleep and did the actual learning amidst the hay and straw of the cows. Thus, we wandered from place to place so we wouldn’t get caught. This wandering was over a long period of time. Our mashpia in Kursk was R’ Henoch Rapoport. He mainly taught us Chassidus and gave us very powerful shiurim. He was a bachur who, like everyone else, had fled from other places and came here. Since he was older, he was appointed as the maggid shiur. At a certain point, the yeshiva in Kursk was discovered and disbanded. I was 14. I fled to Leningrad as I was afraid to return home to Nevel. It was very

dangerous for me to return home for they would certainly arrest me immediately and ask me where I had been and what I had done. Out of all the bachurim who escaped from Kursk, they only caught R’ Yehoshua Katzenelenbogen (the son of Mumme Sarah). They put him in jail with criminals. It was a special prison in which they supposedly reeducated criminals, including dangerous ones. He went through all the levels of hell there since he wouldn’t eat the treif food they served. He remained in this prison for two and a half years. It was a punishment for his not having attended school in his childhood, they said. Throughout this time, he refused to reveal who his parents were and where he was all those years. Since he remained silent, they made him suffer and every day he was cruelly beaten. He was a sweet bachur with a good head. He was a sort of mashpia of mine. When I ran into difficulty in preparing the Gemara, he would help me. He was a golden bachur. He was eventually released but I don’t remember how. As I escaped, I began thinking where I would stay. I knew that I had to find a house. I couldn’t go to my parents, as I said earlier, for the communists would throw me in jail without a trial and my father might also suffer. There was also the danger that they would catch the children who learned with him. These wicked people were capable of putting children in jail too. When I arrived in Leningrad I had no permanent place to stay. I went from house to house and every few weeks I moved to another house. I did this so they wouldn’t catch me and also because the people whose homes

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these were did not want to put themselves in danger. They were unwilling to have me stay with them for too long. In addition, every building had a concierge who was responsible for everything that went on inside the building. He would inform the authorities about every stranger who appeared that was not registered. In a case like mine, that of a child, it immediately aroused questions. What was a child doing here? Who brought him? Who are his parents? Why isn’t he in his own home? The good people I stayed with in Leningrad were the parents of old students of my father, from the towns near Nevel (Toropets and others), and my father would make the effort to travel to these distant towns occasionally, where he taught children secretly. Naturally, due to the great danger my father put himself in to do this, the parents were very appreciative, and so when I arrived in Leningrad, they were very happy to be able to help the son of their children’s melamed. It was a way of paying back my father for what he did for them. One of the people I stayed with was a special man. He wanted his two sons to have at least a minimal knowledge of Judaism, like knowing how to read from a siddur and how to say Kaddish, etc. This is why he entrusted them to my father. I know that my father experienced great fear and danger in order to reach those distant towns and teach these children. There were other parents whose names I don’t remember now, with whom I stayed briefly. I didn’t stay in any one house longer than a few weeks, so people wouldn’t get used to seeing a certain face for a long

R’ Henoch Rapoport

time, and later be able to testify about me and against me. For a while, I lived in the home of the Chassid, R’ Yaakov Yosef Raskin. In Leningrad there was a shul called the Kopetchka Shul, where I would daven and learn a little with the Shamash. This shul was actually a central synagogue that hosted world class cantors and it served not only as a shul but looked more like a conservatory because of the beautiful sanctuary (apparently referring to the Grand Choral Synagogue – Ed). Now and then, famous chazanim from all over the world would come and daven there. To the government, this was like a showcase for the arts, but in actual fact, the Lubavitchers ran it and handled the organizational aspects such as arranging the minyanim for davening and Krias ha’Torah and everything having to do with running a Jewish shul. In addition to the magnificent main room, there were inner rooms that served as alternate places for minyanim. Each room had a different type of minyan. There was the Litvishe minyan, the Poilishe minyan, and the Lubavitcher minyan. Of course, I davened in the Lubavitcher shul that they called Chabad’ke. The Shamash was a real tzaddik who davened with a chayus and inner,

pure concentration. Everyone called him “Moshiach” because they didn’t know his name and this name suited him well. I don’t remember the names of other people from that shul even though I had friends there. The fact that I don’t remember names is not due to forgetfulness but simply because I did not know their names. This was intentional; for if I knew and remembered them, and then the Soviets interrogated me, I could inadvertently reveal the names of Jews. I preferred not knowing. There was a Jew there who had pity on me now and then and gave me something to eat to revive me. In contrast to these good Jews, there was also another type of Jew who would come to the house I was staying in and ask who I was and what I was doing there. They looked religious, but were government agents whose only goal was to catch Jews and squeeze information out of them. I told these individuals that my house was far away and I did not have enough money to go home. I lived in Leningrad and waited to turn 16 when I could legally receive a passport as a resident of the city. Then I could register and get a job and would not have to look for a place to sleep, since the government supplied lodgings for those who worked. There was a sort of motel for people who had no place to stay, mainly for those who worked in the city and lived far away. I will tell you the truth (said R’ Zalman with tears in his eyes), I have no idea how I survived at that age and experienced all those miracles and was saved from Eisav, the hands of Satan. Boruch Hashem, I was saved time and again. It was a miracle.

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MoshiAch & GeulA

By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh: Regarding the Yom Tov of Chanuka, the Gemara (Shabbos 21b) says: “What is [the reason for] Hanukkah? For our Rabbis taught: On the twenty-fifth of Kislev [commence] the days of Chanukah, which are eight, on which a lamentation for the dead and fasting are forbidden. For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed over and defeated them, they made a search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the High Priest, but which contained sufficient oil for one day’s lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. The following year these [days] were appointed as a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving.” What is the history behind the “one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the High Priest?” The Sifsei Kohen Al HaTorah explains that this flask was the famous flask of the Shemen HaMishcha– anointing oil that was prepared by Moshe Rabbeinu. It was used to anoint Kings and High Priests as well as the vessels in the Mishkan. It was hidden during the time of the second Beis HaMikdash (see

Rambam Hilchos Beis HaBechira 4:1), and was miraculously found and used to light the Menorah. The Gemara (Horiyus 11b) tells us that the Shemen HaMishcha will reappear in the times of Moshiach. “Our Rabbis taught: The anointing oil which Moshe prepared in the wilderness was used for the boiling of the roots; these are the words of R. Yehudah. R. Yose said: Surely it did not suffice even for the dabbing of the roots! But the roots were soaked in water and over its surface the oil was poured, which thus absorbed the scent and retained it. Said R. Judah to him: Did, then, only one miracle happen with the anointing oil? Surely, it was originally only twelve logs and with it was anointed the Tabernacle and its furniture, Aaron and his sons throughout the seven days of consecration, and all of it still remained intact for the time of Moshiach, as it is said (Shmos 30:31), ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations.’” From the above it would seem to be clear that Melech HaMoshiach (literally translated to mean “the anointed king”) would need to be anointed with this special oil. This however is far from simple. The Minchas

Chinuch (mitzva 107) explains the two sides of the question: The rule is (See Rambam Hilchos Melachim 1:12): “A son who succeeds his father as king is not anointed unless he assumes his position amid a dispute over the inheritance or during a civil war. Under these circumstances, he should be anointed in order to remove all disagreement. Therefore, they anointed Shlomo because of the claim of Adoniyahu; Yehoash, because of the usurpation of Atalyah; and Yehoachaz, because of [the claim of his brother, Yehoyakim.” What would the ruling be if a king died and left two disputing sons, but before the dispute is settled, they both die? At that point the people elect a grandson unanimously. Do we say that being that there is no objection to him, that he does not need anointment? Or do we say that since, had his father been king, his father would have needed to be anointed (because of the fight with his brother) the same would apply to his son? There is no clear Halachic ruling on this question. The Minchas Chinuch explains (Ibid.) that regarding Melech HaMoshiach, the same question applies. In normal circumstances, considering that

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we have not been lead by a king from the Davidic Dynasty for many generations, that should warrant a new anointment of King Moshiach, especially since Shlomo HaMelech’s son (Rechavam) did not rule without his kingship being challenged. On the other hand, since Moshiach himself will be accepted by all Jews, it is possible that he will not need to be anointed. (See Seifer Yemos HaMoshiach B’halacha Vol. 2 page 130 for more on this discussion.) Let’s finish this discussion with the words of the Rebbe (Mishpatim 5751). “The appointment of David, the King Moshiach, has already occurred, as it says, ‘I have found David My servant, with My holy oil I have anointed him.’ It requires only an acceptance of his kingship by the people and a complete revelation of the attachment between the king and the people – in the true and perfect Redemption.” Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch

Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www. *** We have received many requests to make available to the public our weekly column on

Inyanei Moshiach and Geula. B”H in honor of 19 Kislev, we have put together the columns topically, and they are now available at! You can order them online at ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=searchalias%3Daps&fieldkeywords=gershon+avtzon


Check it out!! Educational and Fun!!
Issue 860 • �  



A treasury of stories and sayings from great chabad chassidim of the previous generation were recently discovered in r’ chaim Ashkenazi’s archives. * his family gave Beis Moshiach the fascinating stories, some of which are being publicized for the first time. * In the coming weeks, we will present stories and sayings from r’ chaim shaul Brook. * part 1: a compilation on learning torah and chassidus.
From the archives of R’ Chaim Ashkenazi a”h

An elementary school teacher went to Liozna, to the Alter Rebbe, and the Alter Rebbe asked him to give a shiur to the Torah scholars of the city. The melamed was astonished. “I only teach youngsters Gemara and Rashi. How can I teach scholars like these?” But the Alter Rebbe insisted that he do so anyway.

The melamed announced which daf the shiur would be on and all the scholars prepared questions on that daf. Incredibly, when the melamed began to teach the daf and explain it according to Rashi, all the questions they had were answered. The scholars were amazed how his explanations according to Rashi had resolved their questions. The Alter Rebbe explained that this melamed was a spark of Rashi and he came to the world

in order to show what Rashi’s commentary contains within it.

There was a certain rav who had a question in a sugya which bothered him so much that he could not continue learning. He wrote his question to a friend and the friend responded: Look on Daf X in Tos’fos Y. The rav looked up the source

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One of the passengers, apparently someone who had gone off the derech, said to him, “The proper place for learning is the shul. Here on the bus you should enjoy the view.” R’ Shaul said to him, “In the Mishna it says, ‘Know how to respond to a heretic,’ but it doesn’t specify how to respond. Apparently the answer is not so nice.” At this point, R’ Shaul censured him very sharply.

R’ M. Gansburg related that he visited R’ Shaul Brook in Tzrifin shortly before the latter’s passing, in order to give him a check. He went in to see him, having never seen him before. R’ Shaul was in a bad way. He was lying in bed and even speaking was difficult for him because the cursed disease had consumed him. When he saw R’ Gansburg looking at him, R’ Shaul motioned towards the watch on his hand as though to say: It’s a pity for the wasted time; go and learn.

R’ Chaim Ashkenazi a”h (with the cap) sitting next to R’ Chaim Shaul Brook a”h at R’ Chaim’s bar mitzva. On the right is his brother, R’ Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi; on the left is R’ Nachum Goldschmidt a”h

and did not find any connection between the words in the Tos’fos and the question that bothered him. He wrote back to his friend saying that he did not understand his answer. The friend replied that what he meant was this: the Tos’fos there asks a question and does not answer it but remains with the expression “tzarich iyun” (additional in-depth analysis is needed), and nevertheless, the Tos’fos continues.

you have in your house? He said he had a large library. The rav of the small town said that this answered his question: I have only a Shas, a Shulchan Aruch and poskim, and so I spend all my time on them, while you learn in all your s’farim and you don’t have time for Shas itself.

When it was time for the wedding of one of his sons, they looked for R’ Shaul and found him learning in the Beis Midrash. When they told him they were waiting for him to come to his son’s chuppa, he closed the Gemara in annoyance and said, “Ai, tzaar gidul banim (the pain of child-rearing).”

R’ Shaul Brook once told us that he has a picture of the Mitteler Rebbe and we were very surprised, of course, since there is no picture of him extant. He then showed us the Mitteler Rebbe’s s’farim and said: This is his picture.

A rav from a big city met his friend who was a rav in a small, poor town. The rav from the big city asked his friend some questions in learning that he had, and his friend answered them well. The rav of the big city was surprised by this. How was it that his friend was sharper than he? His friend responded with a question: How many s’farim do

R’ Shaul Brook once was traveling on the bus. As he always did, he took out a pocket Mishnayos and began learning.

R’ Shaul Brook would say: You need to learn, and to learn without interruption. Even if you see the sky falling on you, don’t stop until the moment after it

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The Alter Rebbe explained that this melamed was a spark of Rashi.
printing mistake. The talmidim were upset with him, especially R’ Yoel Kahn, who said “How could there be a mistake in Tanya?” Then the Rebbe’s list of corrections was published and R’ Yoel showed that there were corrections the Rebbe made in that same place but not always the correction that R’ Shaul thought it was. R’ Shaul said: Why is it surprising that I couldn’t get it exactly like the Rebbe; the main thing is that we understood that there is a mistake here.

falls on you.

R’ Shaul Brook said that when he was a menahel in the yeshiva in Tel Aviv, R’ Povarsky, who was rosh yeshiva at the time, asked him: “Which masechta will they learn next year?” This was before the start of the new year. R’ Shaul was taken aback: Why do you care now? You are known as a talmid chacham and at the beginning of the year, you will be informed. R’ Povarsky said: I go over the entire masechta before I start giving shiurim on it.

learned Gemara. On Shabbos, the melamed would seat all the students in a half circle and would tell the first one: Say the beginning of the sugya by heart. Then he would tell the next once to continue, and so on. So they had to know the entire sugya by heart.

While learning, when we would look up an answer, he would say: What will you do in the heavenly court? There are no s’farim there and so you have to know it by heart.

The Chassid, R’ Nota of Maladzyechna, a Chassid of the Mitteler Rebbe, was completely immersed in Chassidus. R’ Nota was once coming back from somewhere and he was so absorbed in thinking Chassidus that he stepped into a large garbage heap and couldn’t extricate himself, so he sat down there and took out a maamer and began to learn. The residents of the town, who knew that the rav was supposed to return, went out to look for him and found him in the garbage heap learning Chassidus. R’ Nota once returned from the Mitteler Rebbe and when he arrived home, he was told that his daughter had died and he sat Shiva. When people came to console him, they saw his face redden and they were sure he would burst into tears. But then he said, “Ah, what a manuscript I brought from the Rebbe.”

When R’ Shaul wanted to illustrate the dangers of learning incorrectly, he would tell about someone who traveled in a wagon without wheels because of a kal v’chomer and a g’zeira shava: At first, he traveled in a wagon with four wheels. When one wheel broke, he made a kal v’chomer; if a wagon with two wheels can move, kal v’chomer a wagon with three wheels can certainly move. When another wheel broke, he made a g’zeira shava that just as a wagon with two wheels can move, his own wagon could move too. When another wheel broke, he made a kal v’chomer from a sled. If a sled can travel without wheels, kal v’chomer a wagon can travel on one wheel. When the final wheel broke, he made a g’zeira shava from a sled. You can figure it out for yourselves, concluded R’ Shaul, where he got to after kal v’chomers and g’zeiros shavos like those.

R’ Shaul told me several times: Don’t read Tanach in bed before going to sleep, because it’s not a storybook. Read it sitting up at the table.

R’ Shaul finished learning the entire masechta with his class by the end of the year and left the final Tos’fos unlearned for lack of time. The following year he said they should bring the previous masechta and only after finishing learning all the Tos’fos of that masechta did he start the new masechta.

When R’ Shaul gave a shiur on Tanya in the yeshiva in Tel Aviv, he said several times regarding a difficult part that it was surely a

R’ Shaul described the learning in his town when he was a boy. Throughout the week they

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pArshA thouGht

By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

In Parshas Mikeitz, the Torah records a turning point in the saga of Joseph and his brothers. In last week’s parsha, Joseph languishes in prison, falsely charged with attempting to violate his master Potiphar’s wife. Joseph shows concern for the downcast mood of the king’s butler and baker, his fellow inmates, and successfully interprets their dreams. The parsha ends with Joseph asking the butler to mention his name to Pharaoh so that he could be released. However, the parsha ends: “And the butler did not remember Joseph and he forgot him.” Hence the preceding parsha ends on a rather pessimistic note. Joseph is left languishing in prison, his one hope for release dashed. This week’s parsha begins on a positive note; a ray of hope. Pharaoh has a troubling dream and the butler finally mentions his experience with Joseph, who proved to be an able dream interpreter. Joseph is liberated, impresses Pharaoh with his dream interpretation prowess and particularly with his advice on how to forestall the impending disaster of seven years of famine. Pharaoh appoints Joseph the Viceroy of Egypt, he meets his brothers and, in the next parsha, reconciles with them. The entire family moves to Egypt for what

turns out to be the beginning of the first galus/exile, the forerunner and paradigm of all subsequent periods of exile When we survey the entire episode, it becomes clear that the linchpin of Joseph’s triumph and the subsequent exile begins with Pharaoh’s dream.

The Midrash, in its inimitable style, asks a question on the opening words of the Parsha which states: “And Pharaoh has a dream”: “Doesn’t everyone dream?” And the Midrash answers: “The dream of a king is a dream of the entire world.” What is the meaning of the Midrash’s question, “doesn’t everyone dream?” Of course everyone dreams, but the story here is about Pharaoh’s specific dream. The Torah does not say that only Pharaoh dreamed. What else should the Torah have written? The Midrash’s question appears to focus on the fact that the Torah employs the present tense in describing Pharaoh’s dream: “And Pharaoh has a dream” or, more precisely “And Pharaoh dreams,” rather than “and Pharaoh dreamed.” The implication here is that Pharaoh’s dreaming abilities were a unique

phenomenon. The Midrash therefore asks: “Doesn’t everyone dream?” What was so unusual about Pharaoh’s dream? The Midrash’s answer is that, indeed, a king’s dream is different because his dream affects the world. When a king dreams, it is a heavenly message that G-d chooses to transmit and channel to the entire world through the leaders of their respective countries.

One could find a deeper understanding of this Midrashic question and answer that is based on the Zohar’s commentary, that Pharaoh is also a metaphor for the Supreme King of Kings, A-mighty G-d. As strange as it may sound, we find that even G-d is described in the Torah as being in a sleeping mode and dream state. Of course, we cannot attribute any physical properties to G-d. Nevertheless, the Torah employs the metaphor of sleep to describe the manner in which G-d is revealed or concealed. When G-d, the life force of the universe, is concealed, it is analogous to one who is asleep. Sleep is defined as a state of being where the soul is partially removed from the body, leaving the body with only a trace of the soul’s full

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G-d is not the only one whose energy is obscured. Every person experiences occasions when his or her energy is stifled; when they are in a sleep and dream state.
capacity. It is a state where the soul does not fully express itself. The result of sleeping is dreaming. When one’s soul is concealed he or she is out of touch with reality. A dream state is one in which reality is exchanged for fantasy and fantasy for reality. When our souls are actively involved in animating us, we know who, where and wherefore we are. When it is said that G-d is “asleep” it means that G-d conceals His presence. As a result, the world loses its sense of reality. Here the Torah states “Pharaoh dreams.” The world is experiencing a state of G-dly concealment, and the paradoxical state of galus/exile, in which opposites can co-exist, ensues. The mystical literature of Judaism explains that galus prompts the generation of the most sublime G-dly energies, but they manifest themselves in the opposite mode of exile. Redemption thus means that we are able to access these Divine energies. This prompts the question: Doesn’t everyone dream? G-d is not the only one whose energy is obscured. Every person experiences occasions when his or her energy is stifled; when they are in a sleep and dream state. What is so unique about the King who is in a dream state? The answer is that when the King is in a dream state the entire world is affected. When we experience our own state of sleep, it is localized and doesn’t suggest that the world is in a state of galus. The difference between G-d in a dream state and the individual is that the former affects everyone while the latter is limited to the individual.

The above distinction between two forms of exile—collective and individualistic—applies, specifically, to the present. On the one hand, we are living in the most opportune time for the Jewish people. There was never a time in all of our national existence—from the days of King Solomon onward—when the Jewish people, as a nation, enjoyed as much freedom as they have today in virtually every country in the world. Even the “Evil Empire,” the former Soviet Union, has disappeared and been replaced with a regime that affords Jews unprecedented opportunities to live and thrive as Jews. It is something which people could only have imagined in their wildest dreams. Yet that became the reality. In addition, we have witnessed incredible and unprecedented miracles of Biblical proportions in the last few decades, particularly in the Land of Israel. Unprecedented numbers of Jews are discovering their roots and dedicating themselves to Torah study and Mitzvah observance. Never before have so many thousands of Torah classes and lectures been made available to so many millions of Jews via

the various medias that modern technology has given us. If the exile is likened to a dream, and that G-d appears to us to be in a “sleep state,” then we are now witnessing the transition described in the Biblical verse, from: “Awaken, why do you sleep O G-d” to: “and G-d awakened from His sleep.” In the Megilla, when King Achashverosh couldn’t sleep at night, our Sages explained metaphorically that it was a reference to G-d “awakening” as it were and breaking out of the dream state of galus and enabling the miracle of Purim. We are indeed living in Messianic times, when unprecedented positive things are happening before our eyes. We are witnessing a waking up from the general dream state the world has been in since the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. This is the dream of a King and conversely the awakening of a King; it affects the entire world. But there is still another side of the story. There are still negative things. Evil has not been eradicated. Assimilation is rampant in the Jewish community. Anti-Semitism is still alive, and the land of Israel is still surrounded by enemies who pray for its destruction. But most troubling, perhaps, is that there are individuals who are so entrenched in the exile mentality that they “insist” on seeing only the dark side of things. These are lingering symptoms of exile that remind us that there are still sleepers in a dream state who resist the emerging energies of Redemption. However, there is a fundamental difference between these two dream states: The first is the dream of a King. It is a sign that there is a

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significant disconnect between G-d and the world. The world is then in a coma, out of which only extraordinary measures can succeed in rousing it. When the G-dly energy that gives life to the world is no longer withdrawn, the world will awaken and begin to pulsate with a new life. Miracles and cataclysmic changes will become so common that one will hardly even notice them anymore. We have already tasted that phase of awakening from the dream of galus. In this first stage of getting out of galus, G-d removes the veil

that He spread over the world, which obscured the world’s vision and feeling of G-d’s presence and prompted all of the negative events that are a consequence of the Divine state of sleep and dreaming. But that is only a first— although major—step. The next crucial step—the mission of our “liberated” generation—is to awaken ourselves as individuals to the new realities. In the historic words of the Rebbe we have to “open our eyes!” The Rebbe stated that the Jewish people collectively— the

Jewish people as one people throughout history—are essentially a healthy people. All the elements that are associated with the Messianic Age are already here. And while we each have flaws and galustainted moments, our general health is good. Our task now as individuals is to awaken from the bitter dream of galus by living a more vibrant and positive Jewish life. To paraphrase a well-known cliché: “It is not enough to get us out of galus; we must also get the galus out of us.”

Continued from page 38 and there is a shiur every day to learn the parsha with Rashi and a shiur in Shulchan Aruch.” In the early years of the yeshiva, the study of Chassidus was at a minimum, since the talmidim came from the Ashkenazi k’hilla and had never heard of learning Chassidishe maamarim, certainly not in the yeshiva curriculum. The students had all heard of Tanya though, so they managed to teach Tanya twice a week, Thursday night and Shabbos before the davening. In general, the parents insisted that their children learn only Gemara and poskim. He ended his letter with a request for a bracha. “I need much heavenly assistance so that I succeed not in accordance with our limited abilities, so

that our work with the talmidim will produce good fruit, so that they be vessels to receive and be inspired with an inner enthusiasm for Torah study and prayer.”

Along with his concern for the spiritual aspects of the yeshiva, R’ Zalman invested time and much effort to improving the gashmius, mainly by looking for a new building for the yeshiva. He was greatly helped by R’ Sholom Gutnick, who looked through the ads in the daily paper every day, and when he saw that a building was for sale in a Jewish area, he would take R’ Zalman in his car to see it. In those days, there were two Jewish centers in Melbourne. Carlton was the old area where

Jews settled even before World War II. The new area was Caulfield where Jews settled after the war. At first, wealthy Jews settled there, but over the years, Jews from all income brackets settled there and they all formed a Jewish community. In the meetings, the vaad discussed both areas. Carlton had many Jewish families who wanted to provide their boys with a Jewish education. However, Jews were beginning to leave Carlton for Caulfield, and some feared that as the years went by, Jews would not remain in Carlton. A majority of them decided to concentrate on the new neighborhood. Many years later, they saw that this decision was wise because by the 1970’s, most of the Jews had left Carlton for Caulfield or S Kilda.

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the rebbe urges Anash to get involved with the yeshiva and makes it clear that this is for their material and spiritual good. * From the life of r’ Yehoshua shneur Zalman serebryanski a”h.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz

t is said that it is darkest right before dawn. That is the way it was with the yeshiva in Melbourne. Before the great success with the purchase of the yeshiva building on Hotham Street in 5714/1954, the yeshiva went through a terrible time in 5713. The building in Burwood was very old and without proper maintenance it continued to deteriorate. While the yeshiva was in Shepparton, R’ Zalman saw to the cleanliness of the yeshiva and other such concerns, but after the yeshiva moved to Burwood, there was no physical upkeep. The physical conditions made learning difficult and so the spiritual state went downhill too. If that wasn’t enough, a tragedy occurred which made the atmosphere in yeshiva even more oppressive. Between the yeshiva in Burwood and the Jewish center of Melbourne was a highway exclusively for cars with no pedestrian walkway. The talmidim who wanted to travel on foot, which took half an hour, had to walk on the side of the highway and this was highly dangerous. One day, a passing car hit a bachur, Shimon Altheus, on his way to yeshiva, and he died of his injuries. He was only fifteen and his passing cast a pall


on the yeshiva. On Isru Chag Pesach 5713, Anash of Melbourne convened for an urgent meeting to discuss the situation of the yeshiva and they then reported to the Rebbe.

assured that he and his children would leave Egypt, he still sent Yehuda ahead of him in order to establish a yeshiva.

The Rebbe’s letter galvanized Anash and they asked R’ Zalman to go back to taking care of the material concerns of the yeshiva. R’ Zalman agreed on condition that Anash would help by raising money. R’ Zalman committed to improving the gashmius of the yeshiva as well as strengthening the spiritual state of the yeshiva with the keeping of s’darim, etc. He also said he intended on preparing a multi-year plan for developing the yeshiva. On Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Pinchas, there was a meeting of Anash, in the course of which R’ Zalman summed up the difficult situation; there were only eight bachurim learning in the yeshiva with three of them attending public school in the morning and only coming to the yeshiva in the evening. R’ Zalman thanked Anash for their support of the yeshiva and said he anticipated more help and involvement, especially in regards to money and in attending meetings where decisions had to be made.

The Rebbe deeply felt the pain of the yeshiva and in a letter sent on 5 Iyar, he urged Anash in general, and the members of the hanhala in particular, to realize the great importance of the success of the yeshiva, being the first Chabad mosad in Australia. If the mosad would be successful, they would be able to expand and start other mosdos. The Rebbe also urged Anash to make a spiritual accounting about the running of the yeshiva till that point and to see what they could do to improve matters, setting aside self-justifications and personal considerations. The Rebbe said that the welfare of the yeshiva was intertwined with the welfare of Anash and especially those who ran the yeshiva, both materially and spiritually. The Rebbe noted that even after Yaakov was promised that the Sh’china would descend with him to Egypt and he was thus

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As to the future of the yeshiva, R’ Zalman thought the only way to expand the yeshiva was to start an elementary school that would have limudei kodesh and limudei chol. R’ Zalman felt that when they would have a government recognized school, many students would attend and many of them would continue on to yeshiva high school.

The immediate obstacle to R’ Zalman’s vision was the dilapidated yeshiva building. Even if they raised money to renovate the building, because of the distance between the suburb of Burwood and the Jewish centers of Melbourne, they would have to open a dormitory or buy a bus to shuttle the students every day. These two options were not within their limited means. So R’ Zalman suggested that they sell the yeshiva property in Burwood and use the money to buy a nice building in one of the Jewish centers. In a letter that he wrote to the Rebbe at the end of the meeting, he reported about the yeshiva’s difficulties and their plans for the future. He said they had decided to look for someone to buy the yeshiva property in Burwood. However, wrote R’ Zalman, the money they would receive would not be enough to buy a nice building in the Jewish area and it would be necessary to raise funds, not only in Melbourne but in all Australian Jewish communities. Since a talented fundraiser was needed, he asked the Rebbe to send someone for at least a year. He said they really needed someone to run the yeshiva on a regular basis, but if that wasn’t possible, they needed

someone for at least a year. At the end of the letter, which was written in the name of all of Anash present at the meeting, it said, “We hereby inform the Rebbe that our friend R’ Zalman Serebryanski, seeing the lack of order in the yeshiva, began working to arrange things and all his time, after work, is devoted to this.” Anash asked for a blessing that R’ Zalman’s efforts and the efforts of all the askanim and the teachers and talmidim be successful. Next to the yeshiva there was a Jewish school called Mount Scopus. They had a large building, but the yard was very small. When they heard that the yeshiva building was up for sale, they wanted to buy it to turn it into a playing field for their students. They planned on tearing down the yeshiva building. The vaad arranged for the sale to go through only after they found a new building for the yeshiva.

R’ Zalman got to work by organizing a special committee to buy a building. He turned

first to the Feiglins, whom he referred to in one of his letters to the Rebbe as “the finest of the finest of the congregation of G-d fearing Jews in this country.” At the same time, he tried to get other askanim from Melbourne to join the vaad. The biggest obstacle in their way was that most of the askanim belonged to the Mizrachi movement and were Zionists. In his discussions with them, R’ Zalman made it clear that the yeshiva would run solely according to Torah, but there was always the apprehension that they would try to have a say in the running of the yeshiva (as will be related). One of the distinguished rabbanim in Australia was R’ Asher Abramson, leader of the ultra-Orthodox community in Sydney. He was a talmid of the Chafetz Chaim z”l, but felt close to Chabad and considered himself a Chassid of the Rebbe. As rav of the Mizrachi shul (which was so-called not because of the political leanings of the worshipers but because, at that time, it was the shul located furthest east in the world), he ensured that the nusach there was that of the Arizal.

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He turned first to the Feiglins, whom he referred to in one of his letters to the Rebbe as “the finest of the finest of the congregation of G-d fearing Jews in this country.”
R’ Zalman spoke to R’ Abramson and asked him to join the vaad and to speak to his fellow rabbis and ask them to make an appeal for the new yeshiva. R’ Abramson saw the need for a yeshiva and had even tried starting a yeshiva in Sydney, but after seeing how hard it was, he had given up. When R’ Zalman asked him to join the vaad, he said he did not think the people in Australia understood the importance of a yeshiva and an appeal would be unsuccessful. In later years, R’ Abramson joined the efforts on behalf of the yeshiva, mainly with his superb oratory. This can be attributed to a letter he received from the Rebbe in which the Rebbe urged him to do all he could, including traveling to Melbourne more frequently. R’ Zalman wrote that he met with R’ Isser Kluvgant and R’ Nachman Zalman Gurewitz, and with an askan from Melbourne who was interested in helping the yeshiva. This askan brought them a list of askanim that he thought could join the vaad, and it was arranged that they would meet on the Tuesday following Rosh HaShana. He asked the Rebbe for a bracha for great success, especially in their dealings with the Zionist askanim of Melbourne who would want to have a say in the chinuch, even though, in principle they agreed that the chinuch must be only according to tradition and Shulchan Aruch. He said that in order to ensure the Chabad spirit of chinuch, he would emphasize at the meeting with the expanded vaad that the yeshiva is one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s mosdos chinuch and was under his direction. He added that he would try to see to it that the vaad have a majority of Lubavitchers. In conclusion, he wrote, “I take an interest in the yeshiva as before, in all my free time from work, and it is likely that I will have to give more time for the yeshiva. May Hashem help me with expansive good health as is needed and have mercy on me to guide me with good counsel and in finding favor and success that fulfills His will … and there be a sanctification of His name, and that I have the broadness of mind to find time for regular learning and davening.”

R’ Zalman stayed in the yeshiva in Burwood for Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, in order to daven with the talmidim and boost their morale. The terrible material state of the yeshiva screamed out from every corner, and in order to toivel (immerse for ritual purity), they had to use rainwater collected in a pit in the yard. The water was cold but the t’fillos were warm and pure. In a report that R’ Zalman sent to the Rebbe on 7 Cheshvan 5714, he wrote that after the Yomim Tovim, eight boys returned to the yeshiva plus another four from the Hungarian community, after their maggid shiur left for Canada. One of the bachurim announced that soon he would be forced to leave the yeshiva and go home since his father was sick and couldn’t work. In the meantime, his sister was supporting the family, but she would be marrying soon and then he would have to leave yeshiva to live with his father and support him. R’ Zalman wrote about this to the Rebbe and asked for his bracha that Hashem heal the father, so that the boy would have no reason to leave yeshiva. He said it would be a pity if he left since he had come two years earlier during vacation and had remained. He had come to the yeshiva with no prior knowledge of Yiddishkait, nor did he know Yiddish, and now he was a G-d fearing bachur who could learn Gemara and Tos’fos on his own and even spoke Yiddish. “They are presently learning Gemara Bava Basra in yeshiva Continued on page 35

R’ Zalman wrote a letter to the Rebbe on Erev Rosh HaShana, in which he wrote that they would be getting 6000 Australian dollars from the Mount Scopus school for the Burwood property. This would be enough to buy an average building in one of the Jewish centers, but since the plan was to open a modern school with all the amenities in order to attract students, they needed double that amount, if not more. They would also need large sums for ongoing operating costs, which would certainly increase many times over once the school opened.

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A pAlestiniAn stAte?

to our great regret, even some in the ideological right-wing are talking about granting autonomy to the “palestinians.” Just recently, political novice naftali Bennett, the newly elected head of the joint Jewish home/national union party, presented his diplomatic platform, which gives Area A to the palestinians. this didn’t seem to bother the moderates on the political right, who have entrusted Bennett with their renewed electoral hopes.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

Two weeks after the abortive Operation Pillar of Cloud in the Gaza Strip, the Likud government in Eretz Yisroel achieved yet another colossal failure. While it has been steering the ship of state, the ragtag group of people who farcically call themselves “Palestinians” succeeded in getting the United Nations General Assembly to approve a wretched proposal to recognize the PLO terror

organization as an observer nation. While this decision has no pragmatic effects upon changing the current security situation, its symbolic value is considerable. In an official sense, another country had obtained the recognition of the world community for its declared claim upon Eretz Yisroel. This decision is a wake-up call for anyone who understands the great danger in the establishment of a Palestinian state r”l. In recent years, the Israelis’ ability to stand

up against the idea of such an entity has seriously eroded. While the general public in Eretz Yisroel has come to the sober realization that the path of territorial compromise is no longer relevant, the political left-wing continue to hammer home the point that we must give de-facto recognition to Palestinian sovereignty in their cities, opening the door to the establishment of an independent state. One of the examples to this approach is found in the Arab town of Rawabi, situated in Yehuda and Shomron. This is the first Palestinian planned city and its construction has been progressing by leaps and bounds. Its establishment will constitute the first harbinger of the new Palestinian state. The settlers in Yehuda and Shomron watch with great distress as this city continues to grow. Yet, while they fight to keep every new front porch they build from being demolished, the Palestinians proceed to establish their conurbation with the tacit approval of the government of Israel.

In the past, Binyamin

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Netanyahu proclaimed that “anyone who says ‘Yes’ to a Palestinian state is saying ‘Yes’ to the destruction of the state of Israel.” This same Binyamin Netanyahu – the prime minister during the last term – announced that he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state within the boundaries of Eretz Yisroel. He also said this in a speech before the United States Congress, where he explained that all his demands are based upon a “military presence” in the Jordan Valley, while preserving the right to exercise self-defense beyond the Green Line. He no longer sees a danger in the establishment of a PLO terror state and has forgotten his previous declaration that such an entity would represent “the destruction of the state of Israel.” As a result, it should come as no surprise that the Arabs managed to secure recognition of their status as an independent country before the UN on his watch. However, instead of responding to them in kind by proclaiming that the cursed Oslo Accords are nullified and the government of Israel would implement Israeli law throughout Yehuda and Shomron, he chose

The government of Israel has its own set of rules. It is the only country that gave weapons to its enemies and then gave them a territory to establish terrorist bases, and now it is allowing them to found a terror state within its own borders.

to sit quietly and settle for a declaration on the expansion of Maale Adumim. He didn’t proclaim the establishment of five new settlements in Yehuda and Shomron, despite the fact that such a step could also help towards solving the Israeli housing crisis. Instead, he merely issued a nebulous statement on further construction “beyond the Green Line,” when it really referred to nothing more than neighborhoods within or in close proximity to the city limits of Yerushalayim. For those unfamiliar with these neighborhoods, Ramat Shlomo is an integral part of Yerushalayim in every respect, located just five minutes by car from the city’s center. Similarly, there is the nearby neighborhood of Ramot and the settlement of Maale Adumim, just five

minutes outside the city. Thus, an announcement to build in these communities should really be nothing more than a normal municipal project in a properly functioning state. If this is Netanyahu’s sole response, it’s not clear why they waited until now to submit their petition to the United Nations. Even the symbolic sanctions in not transferring tax revenues directly to the Palestinian Authority, using the funds instead to offset their outstanding debts to the Israel Electric Company, were totally pathetic. If the PLO is engaging in open hostilities against Eretz Yisroel, there is no reason for the government of Israel to transfer to them this money, regardless of any unilateral steps they might take at the UN. And this is especially true when they have an unpaid electric bill of eight hundred
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The story of the “Palestinian people” has deeply penetrated the Israeli psyche. It has even reached the point that it’s hard to explain that we’re actually talking about a dangerous enemy, and whatever we give them, they use against us in a most deadly manner.

promises, after he had personally declared that he would establish a Palestinian state.

At the conclusion of another disappointing parliamentary term with a Likud-led government, it’s impossible to forget that this was the first government to impose a total freeze on construction beyond the Green Line – including neighborhoods in Yerushalayim. One of the bitterest episodes during the period of the settlement freeze took place two years ago during a meeting between Housing Minister Ariel Attias (Shas) and former prime minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert, who was not known as a friend of the settler movement, proceeded to chastise Attias: “Even in my tenure, we didn’t halt construction in Yehuda and Shomron, and I never spoke about a building freeze in Yerushalayim.” The housing minister was embarrassed. However, this is the reality of the situation created by this government. Despite the presence of strong ideological right-wing Knesset Members from the Likud Party, the government stopped all construction in the settlements, demolished Jewish outposts, and suspended budget allocations. While the citizens of Eretz Yisroel had voted for the candidate who declared that he would strengthen the settlements, they instead got someone who did everything to harm the settlers. This Likud-led government appointed the worst defense minister for the settler movement and carried out acts of sheer destruction. On dozens of occasions, it sent soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces in the middle of the night to drag children out of their beds and tear down their homes.

million shekels. Why should it have to cover such a huge debt when there are starving citizens living in the Jewish state while the Palestinian Authority continues its relentless incitement against Eretz Yisroel?

However, the government of Israel has its own set of rules. It is the only country that gave weapons to its enemies and then gave them a territory to establish terrorist bases, and now it is allowing them to found a terror state within its own borders. The story of the “Palestinian people” has deeply penetrated the Israeli psyche. It has even reached the point that it’s hard to explain that we’re actually talking about a dangerous enemy, and whatever we give them, they use against us in a most deadly manner. The line of thinking that we apparently have to give the “Palestinians” autonomy in their territories has now reached the heart of national consensus among Israeli citizens. To our great regret, even some in the ideological right-wing are talking about granting autonomy to the Palestinians, without fully understanding the great danger created by such statements. Just recently, political novice Naftali Bennett, the newly elected head of the joint Jewish Home/ National Union Party, presented his diplomatic platform, which

gives Area A to the Palestinians. According to Mr. Bennett, since “the Arabs aren’t about to go anywhere,” we have to learn to live with them in a state of co-existence. This didn’t seem to bother the moderates in the political right, who had entrusted Bennett with their renewed electoral hopes. This is perhaps the root of the whole problem. When Yitzchak Shamir went to the Madrid Conference, he spoke about giving autonomy to the Arabs in matters of education and water. The Rebbe emphatically opposed this, even declaring that he would fight to bring down Mr. Shamir’s government. Today, there is a prime minister who has persistently declared that he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, yet he continues to receive accolades from the political right. There is no difference between the unilateral declaration of the chairman of the Palestinian Authority on the establishment of his country and the prime minister’s demand that it should done through negotiations on a “permanent peace agreement.” In fact, each side is talking about a PLO terror state. The prime minister who invented the term “Hamastan” after he had actively supported the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron is the same prime minister who has tried to ingratiate himself before the voters with empty and hollow

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