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D’vaR MaLcHuS

Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe MH”M delivered on Yud Shvat 5713, in accordance with the custom established by the Rebbe to review each year a section of the Rebbe Rayatz’s maamer “Basi L’Gani” of 5710. • This year we focus on the third section of the profound and foundational chassidic discourse. • Part 2
Translated by Boruch Merkur

3. Now, we say that a person who commits a sin is more separate from G-d than klipos and sitra achra, inasmuch as they do not transgress the will of the King; rather [they recognize His supremacy and] “they call Him ‘G-d of gods.’” But at first glance, it is difficult to understand how the sinner is considered more separate from G-d than these forces of evil, for it is idolatrous to call the Alm-ghty “G-d of gods,” attributing divinity to the stars and constellations or to the angels ministering On High. Certainly the evil forces’ use of this appellation in reference to G-d constitutes a transgression of the Divine will. Thus, in what sense is a person who commits a sin more despicable than them? [It seems that he should at least be considered on par with them, both having transgressed G-d’s will. Or, the evil forces would be deemed even more unworthy on account of their gross error of idolatry.] [The answer hinges on the notion that a Jew stems from a more essential G-dly source, and is, therefore, subject to greater scrutiny with regard to rejecting idolatry and recognizing G-d’s oneness.] The evil forces’ referring to the Alm-ghty as “G-d of gods” is an expression of shituf, the belief that G-d “shares” His Divine authority with created beings. Shituf, however, is prohibited only to Jews, not to Gentiles [nor their spiritual source, klipos and sitra achra – see Likkutei Amarim Ch. 1, end], as ruled by the Rema (Orach Chayim siman 156 and Darchei Moshe there) among other authorities. A similar perspective can be attributed to Rambam (Seifer HaMitzvos), who writes that the call to recognize G-d’s oneness is derived from the verse,

“Shma Yisroel…G-d is one.” The inference here is that Gentiles are not obligated in this belief, for the Torah specifies “Yisroel,” Jews. The reason why Gentiles are exempt from recognizing G-d’s unity pertains to their [more external, superficial] spiritual source [external, in the sense that they are not an end unto themselves, as will be discussed, but a means to an end.] There are two manners by which G-dly vitality enlivens the worlds: Memalei Kol Almin (Filling or Interacting with All the Worlds) and Sovev Kol Almin (Surrounding or Transcending All the Worlds). The vitality of Memalei Kol Almin is manifest in a way of enclothing itself within the worlds, as our Sages say: “Just as the soul fills the body, thus the Alm-ghty fills the world.” That is, the vitality of Memalei Kol Almin resembles the way the body’s overt life-force is apportioned to each particular limb or organ in a manner that is appropriate for each of them individually. Just as there are differences between the various limbs, so there are differences in their life-force. A unique quality of energy extends to each part of the body. Since the vitality varies to suit the limbs, it follows that the body bears relevance to the energy that enlivens it. Indeed, it is for this reason that the energy varies to accommodate each limb. And since the body is significant to the energy it receives, even though the body perceives the vitality and is nullified to it [being dependent upon it], it is not overwhelmed by it, it is not battel b’metzius, nullified out of existence. Similarly, with regard to the light of Memalei Kol Almin, which invests itself within the worlds – the nullification of the creations to

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this source of vitality is not complete; they are not battul b’metzius [rather, they maintain their identity despite their dependence on it – “they call Him ‘G-d of gods’”]. The creations do not bear any significance, however, to the transcendent light of Sovev Kol Almin – and likewise with regard to the vitality that is not revealed within the body, its transcendent life-force [as opposed to the overt bodily energy, discussed above]. Although the created beings can grasp the notion that there is a transcendent lifeforce that enlivens the worlds, the vitality of Sovev Kol Almin, nevertheless they don’t perceive it, they don’t feel it. In this sense, the light of Sovev is said to be concealed. This dynamic is reflected in the concept of creation ex nihilo, yesh mei’ayin, the creation of something from nothing. In the process of creation, the ayin, the source of creation, is concealed. Although the yesh, the created being, knows and grasps that there is an ayin that creates it, it does not perceive the ayin, for the source of creation is concealed.

Jewish souls are rooted in G-d’s inner will, for they are an end unto themselves, whereas klipos and sitra achra – whose entire purpose is for the person to prevail over them and reject them – are rooted in G-d’s external will.
unto itself, not something that is only secondary to another thing. Recognizing that something is only a means to an end, it is only a desire of the person’s superficial, external will. So too with regard to Heavenly matters: Jewish souls are rooted in G-d’s inner will, for they are an end unto themselves, whereas the Gentile nations – especially [their spiritual source] klipos and sitra achra, whose entire purpose is for the person to prevail over them and reject them – are rooted in G-d’s external will. The external will is manifest within the light of Memalei. And since the light of Memalei permits the notion that there is something other than G-d, Gentiles are, therefore, not forbidden from shituf. It is only by means of applying their minds and through contemplation that Gentiles become aware of and [hence] cautioned against shituf. In this manner they can come to know that there is an existence that transcends them and that provides life to them – “and they call Him ‘G-d of gods.’” Thus, a Jew who commits a sin is more debased and lesser than klipos and sitra achra: It is indeed idolatrous for the evil forces to call the Alm-ghty “G-d of gods”; it is the opposite of the Divine will. Nevertheless, they do not oppose the level of will Continued on page 31
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4. Accordingly we can understand why specifically the Jewish people are forbidden shituf, and not Gentiles. The reason for this is because the Jewish people are rooted in Atzmus, the essence of G-d, or, in a lower manifestation, they are rooted in the light of Sovev Kol Almin. And since at this transcendent level there is no reckoning with anything other than G-dliness, Jews believe that there is nothing else [“G-d is one”]. That is, they believe that not only is there no divinity other than G-d Himself, there is no other existence other than G-d – and how much more so there is nothing else that has any authority or dominion. This belief system stems from the lofty spiritual source of a Jew, which is so sublime that it doesn’t permit the possibility of any existence other than G-d. It is for this reason that Jews are commanded to acknowledge G-d’s oneness, whereas the Gentile nations, who have no connection to the light of Sovev, do not have this obligation, for their source is [not sublime and essential, but relates, rather to] the external will of G-d. To elaborate: The souls of the Jewish people are rooted in the inner aspect of G-d’s will, whereas the source of the Gentile nations’ souls is G-d’s external will. To illustrate: A person’s inner will is directed towards something he deems to be an end



For six years, the Rebbe held his large farbrengens in four spacious halls in the vicinity of Crown Heights. * This began with the big farbrengen of Yud-Tes Kislev 5714, when the small zal of 770 was too small for the crowd. It ended in 5720 when the first phase in the expansion of 770 was completed. * Beis Moshiach surveyed those halls, accompanied by elder Chassidim, photographed three of them which are still standing, and heard descriptions of those special farbrengens.
By Yisrael Yehuda


ot many Chassidim remember the farbrengens of the early years of the Rebbe’s nesius. This is not only because they occurred so long ago, but mainly for the simple reason that in those days only a few dozen Lubavitcher families lived in Crown Heights. For the big farbrengens that took place on weekdays, on YudTes Kislev, Yud Shvat, and Purim, Anash came from all over New York and even from Montreal.

Still, they were no more than a few hundred people. The small zal on the first floor of 770 was large enough. Over the years, many more Lubavitcher families joined Anash in New York, especially in Crown Heights. At the same time, Chabad outreach work in cities near New York increased the number of Chassidim. Slowly, the small zal became too small to contain the many Chassidim who wanted to attend farbrengens. Latecomers had to

stand in the adjoining room and hall, but soon there were times that there was no room even there. The crowding in the zal was unbearable and many present could not concentrate on the holy words of the Rebbe. The Vaad HaMesader (Organizing Committee) in those days, led by R’ Leibel Groner, R’ Shneur Zalman Gurary, and R’ Shmuel Zalmanov, suggested holding the large farbrengens in various halls located in the vicinity of Crown Heights. This

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was to enable participants to attend comfortably. The Rebbe gave his approval to the idea. Until then, when the farbrengens took place in the small zal, there was no need to inform anyone of the location of the farbrengens. Once the farbrengens began taking place in halls, ads had to be placed in the newspapers to announce the location. One can see ads placed by the committee in the Yiddish Der Tog Morgan Journal with the

listing of the time and place the farbrengen would be held. The ads also specified how to reach the hall and stops where special buses would pass and pick up those who wanted to attend a Chassidishe farbrengen with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. These ads were usually placed a day before a farbrengen but sometimes they appeared on the day of the farbrengen. Minutes before the designated time, the Rebbe would enter the private car of a Chassid or

a taxi, and drive to the hall. He was followed by hundreds of Chassidim and mekuravim who mostly traveled on the organized buses. Most people did not own their own cars. This arrangement went on from 5714 until 5720, when the inner courtyard of 770, which had been used for parking until then, was refurbished. Since then, all the big farbrengens have been held there. The Rebbe farbrenged in four halls. The reason they moved

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from hall to hall, say Chassidim, is that some owners of halls did not want additional farbrengens since they were afraid the hall would collapse from the dancing.

The first such farbrengen, on Yud-Tes Kislev 5714, was held in Franklin Manor. The hall is located on the second floor of a large building on the corner of Union Street and Franklin Avenue and contains about 400 seats. Relative to the small zal, it was considered a very large hall, but due to the advertising in the papers, many mekuravim showed up who refrained from attending previously since they feared they would not be able to see or hear the Rebbe without pushing. Three years later, another farbrengen took place in this hall on 20 Kislev 5717. The Chassidim whom I spoke to, in my preparation for this article, remember the sharp words of the Rebbe about the klipa of our times in the form of luxuries. In those days, the area bustled with Jewish life and hundreds of Jews lived there. Today, only few Jews live there, who maintain a shul located near the hall.

The Rebbe leaving a farbrengen held at one of the halls

The Purim farbrengen 5719 at the Baltimore

The Baltimore hall is located between Flatbush and Bedford Avenues, in a completely black area. The hall is the furthest one from 770 in which farbrengens took place. It used to be on the ground floor but the building is no longer there. When looking at the ads that the committee placed about farbrengens in this hall, you see an interesting thing. The hall was on Church Avenue; since they didn’t want to mention the name of the street, they avoided

The Yud Shvat 5716 farbrengen at the Gayheart

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it altogether and instead referred to a high school as a point of reference between Flatbush and Bedford Avenues. This hall is where a Yud Shvat farbrengen took place for the first time, in 5714. Afterward, they held the Yud Shvat 5717 and the Yud Shvat and Purim 5719 farbrengens there. At the Purim 5719 farbrengen there were “giluyim” (lofty revelations) and the bachurim of that time remember the unusual statements of the Rebbe about the feeling of v’niflinu (being different) that they ought to have. In the middle of the farbrengen, the Rebbe announced that as is customary, he would say “Purim Torah” and towards the end of the farbrengen there were many pronouncements directed at specific people who were present.

The second floor, Franklin Manor

The hall closest to 770 is the Gayheart hall, which is on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Nostrand on the second floor of the building. The farbrengens on Purim 5715 and Yud Shvat 5716 took place there, and then the farbrengens of Purim 5717 and Yud-Tes Kislev 5718. The first farbrengen that took place there is etched in the memories of the participants. It was Purim 5715 and in the middle of the farbrengen, the Rebbe began speaking about those who complain about avoda with mesirus nefesh, who say it would be far better if everyone had material plenty. The Rebbe explained that when there is excessive gashmius, it is liable to interfere with ruchnius, as we’ve seen with some wealthy people that the test of wealth is a big one indeed. It requires much effort to withstand

The Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen 5714, the first farbrengen in the hall

A farbrengen that took place at the Baltimore

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the test of wealth, and as per what it says in Tanya, it requires meditation of several hours. The Rebbe paused and then said: Nevertheless, may Hashem give all Jews wealth and may there be exertion of soul and body and the need for meditation for several hours in order to counter the challenge. After a short break, the Rebbe said with a smile: In America, everything is voted upon, and so all those who agree to have outstanding wealth and who don’t care about the effort, should raise their right hand in sincerity. The Rebbe waited a bit. Only a few people raised their hand. The smile disappeared and in a pain-filled tone the Rebbe said: Afterward, they complain that this is lacking and that is lacking. When there’s an auspicious moment from above, they make ‘Chabad’ske shtusim’ (foolishness). What can I do with you? When it comes to gashmius, they are willing to take risks on a maybe or even the possibility of a maybe, perhaps something will come of it, and when there’s a farbrengen with more than a minyan of Jews, and it’s an auspicious moment, they don’t take advantage. It’s a matter connected with Hashem Himself and they miss the opportunity, as long as they are called ‘baal mochin’ (men of intellect). What can I do? It won’t interfere with ruchnius and there will be more time and energy to work in this physical world to strengthen Torah and mitzvos.” Those who raised their hand at that Purim farbrengen became very wealthy. Those who attended the farbrengen, as well as their children, know who they are. Speaking of heavenly

Albany Manor

Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen 5719 at Albany Manor

The Rebbe at the entrance of Albany Manor

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matters, the Yud Shvat 5716 farbrengen is also memorable to the participants. The Rebbe said that some ask why we don’t see miracles nowadays in the same way as there were in the times of earlier N’siim. The Rebbe responded with something amazing and pertinent to recent years: Those who believe in miracles see miracles. As for those who decided they are taking the natural route, we won’t “break” their path, and consequently they don’t see miracles. On Yud-Tes Kislev 5718 there was a special and very joyous farbrengen. During the farbrengen, the Rebbe held an appeal for Kfar Chabad Beis which the Rebbe called “a new neighborhood in Kfar Chabad.” The Rebbe asked that everyone give according to his means and beyond his means. The Rebbe added: Since this appeal (on Yud-Tes Kislev) is unusual, there will be something else unusual about it. With every other appeal, I take what I am given, whether I am satisfied with the amount or whether I think the person should have given more. This time, if I see that someone should have given more, I will tell him how much to add! The Rebbe promised: Regarding tz’daka in general it says, “Test Me please in this,” especially with tz’daka for Eretz Yisroel which takes precedence, and especially when this is associated with Yud-Tes Kislev, the day marking the Geula of the Alter Rebbe, surely Hashem will repay each person many times over, at least four times the amount given! And they will see this with their own eyes. After finishing the sicha, everyone gave the Rebbe a card with an amount written on it that

The Gayheart on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Nostrand

One of the ads announcing a Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen with the Rebbe

Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen 5715 at one of the halls

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And the Rebbe announced several times: Today is Yud-Tes Kislev which is an auspicious time.

Albany Manor was on Albany Avenue, on the corner of Rutland, in a one story-building which today appears abandoned. The Yud Shvat and Purim farbrengens of 5718 and Yud-Tes Kislev 5719 took place there, and apparently all the farbrengens of 5720. Special farbrengens took place in this hall, with Purim 5718 being one of the famous ones. This farbrengen is remembered as one with wondrous giluyim and statements not usually said at regular farbrengens. At the beginning of the farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke about the obligation every Chassid has to work on avodas ha’t’filla. The Rebbe said what he heard from the Rebbe Rayatz at a Purim farbrengen about a Chassid in Lubavitch who was a very simple man. It was hard to believe that he understood the simple meaning of the words of the davening. However, surprisingly, this Chassid would daven at great length and not only on Shabbos and Yom Tov but on ordinary weekdays as well, and not only for Shacharis but also for Mincha and Maariv! People in shul asked him what took him so long. His answer was that he heard an aphorism from the Alter Rebbe as follows: It says “Zachor V’Shamor B’dibbur Echad,” which means that every utterance and every action must be carried out with the “echad” within it, i.e. G-d must be felt in everything. Said the Rebbe Rayatz, this Chassid davened with this saying for many years! The Rebbe took a lesson from this for all Chassidim that

Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen 5715 at one of the halls

An ad for a Purim farbrengen

much he should give). Regarding another Chassid, the Rebbe said: He needs parnasa, so he should give several times over! Regarding one of the Chassidim (about whom the Rebbe said that he should double and triple the amount) the Rebbe said: I don’t know where he will get that amount of money, but it says, “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine.” To another Chassid the Rebbe said: We will demand the sum from the Alter Rebbe. Throughout this time, the Rebbe was very joyous and he started a number of niggunim in

The reason they moved from hall to hall, say Chassidim, is that some owners of halls did not want additional farbrengens since they were afraid the hall would collapse from the dancing.

they pledged to give. The Rebbe told many of them to give double or triple or even four times the amount. Regarding one Chassid the Rebbe said: He needs success, so he should give several times over! (The Rebbe specified how

between announcements. When the appeal was over, the Rebbe announced: I want the payments to begin tomorrow on Friday, 20 Kislev (Erev Shabbos Parshas VaYeishev) until Shabbos comes in, so that it will still be connected with Yud-Tes Kislev.

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every Chassid can daven with avoda. The Rebbe said that this is clear proof that every Chassid, no matter his level, is capable of avodas ha’t’filla. The Rebbe then asked for someone to volunteer to be “Ad D’lo Yada” for everyone. The farbrengen lasted until late into the night. Most of the crowd left the hall and only a few dozen people, Anash and bachurim, remained around the Rebbe’s bima and sang. At a certain point, they began singing “Rachmana D’Anei L ’Aniyei,” and the Rebbe asked why they didn’t sing a happier niggun and he began singing the tune to which, in recent years, Yechi is sung. As they sang, the Rebbe said some highly unusual things to some of Anash. The Rebbe spoke very slowly and in an unusual manner (this can be heard on the tape). From some of them, the Rebbe demanded that they work on themselves on certain matters. To some, he said they should say l’chaim over a big cup, and so on and so forth, with unusual expressions.

An important guest was present at the Purim farbrengen 5720, Mr. Shneur Zalman Rubashov, known as Shazar. R’ Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, described that farbrengen: “It seemed that Shazar’s participation in the farbrengen, sitting not far from the Rebbe, greatly pleased the Rebbe and resulted in certain things being said that were directed primarily at Shazar. For example, the Rebbe spoke sharply about the meaning of ‘You chose us from all the nations,’ and it was apparent that this was in reaction to things that were said by members of the Israeli government (BenGurion suggested removing ‘Ata V’chartanu’ from the davening). “The Rebbe also spoke explicitly, though without mentioning a name, about the guest’s connection with the publication of the writings of the Alter Rebbe. “I also remember that when they sang the Alter Rebbe’s Dalet Bavos, one could see that Shazar was moved. He dropped

An ad for a Yud Shvat farbrengen

the walking stick that he held, straightened up, fixed the button on his coat, closed his eyes and began swaying in d’veikus. That farbrengen lasted nearly eight hours and Shazar was there from beginning to end.” R’ Groner also said that Shazar left the farbrengen in great amazement over the Rebbe speaking for eight hours on one topic.

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chazal tell us that the reason why King Dovid was not given the privilege of building the holy Beis HaMikdash was because his hands were red with the blood of the wars that he fought. How, then, can the Rambam say that Moshiach will fight wars and build the third Beis HaMikdash?
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Readers sh’yichyu: We have just finished celebrating the Yom Tov of Chanuka, the celebration of the miraculous oil that burned for eight days straight. In one of our previous articles, we quoted the Sifsei Kohen Al HaTorah that explains that the oil the Maccabees found was the oil prepared by Moshe Rabbeinu, known as the “Shemen HaMishcha – the anointing oil.” One of the functions of the Shemen HaMishcha is to anoint a Kohen – known as the “Meshuach Milchama – anointed for war” – to speak to the Jewish soldiers prior to any war. In the words of the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 7:1-2): “In the cases of both a Milchemes Mitzvah and a Milchemes R’shus, a Kohen is appointed to address the nation before the battle. He is anointed with the oil of anointment and is called the Meshuach Milchama. “The Meshuach Milchama speaks to the nation twice: The first time is at the border, as the army is leaving before they assume battle positions. At that time, he tells the nation: ‘Is there

a man who has planted a vineyard and has not redeemed his first crop...’ (Deuteronomy 20:6). When these individuals hear his words, they should retreat from the battlefront. He speaks a second time when the army has assumed battle positions: Then, he declares: ‘Do not be afraid. Do not panic...’” (Ibid. 20:3) The question arises regarding the time of Yemos HaMoshiach: will we need to have a Meshuach Milchama? It seems that in the times of Moshiach, when the world and all nations will be at peace, there will be no need for war and therefore no need for a Kohen to be appointed and anointed to speak to the Jewish soldiers. Yet is seems, based on the words of the Rambam, that Moshiach will still be fighting wars with some of the neighbors of Eretz Yisroel even after he has revealed his identity. In his words (Hilchos Melachim 4:8): “The Messianic king may take a thirteenth portion of all the lands conquered by Israel as his own. This will be an allotment for him and his descendants forever.”

The Rambam also states: “If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of G-d, we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach.” (Ibid 11:4) It is therefore important to understand that the wars that Moshiach will fight will not be with soldiers and weapons. It will be with miracles and verbal convincing. The Navi (Zecharia 9:10) says: “And I will cut off the chariots from Ephraim, and the horses from Jerusalem; and the bow of war shall be cut off. And he shall speak peace to the nations, and his rule shall be from the sea to the west and from the river to the ends of the earth.” The Metzudas David comments: “Melech HaMoshiach will not conquer through war, rather through convincing words.” (See also Igros Moshe, Orach Chayim Vol. 4 responsa 81.) Therefore there may not be a need for a Meshuach Milchama. The above explanation of “fighting the wars of Hashem” helps resolve an age-old question.

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Chazal tell us that the reason why King Dovid was not given the privilege of building the holy Beis HaMikdash was because his hands were red with the blood of the wars — of Hashem — that he fought. How, then, can Rambam (Ibid) say that Moshiach will fight wars and build the third Beis HaMikdash? Rather, Moshiach will fight his wars in a manner of peace, as we have just explained. I would like to finish with the words of the Rebbe (Parshas Chaya Sara 5752): “...And we see in reality how it was and it will be that ‘he will fight the wars of G-d’ and be victorious in various situations, and specifically through a war of peace. And ‘victory’ is also an expression of ‘eternity,’ connected with the revelation of ‘Endurance.’” *** One of the highest positions in the Jewish religion is that of the Kohen Gadol. He led the service in the Beis HaMikdash. He had a very special dress code. While a regular Kohen wore four garments, the Kohen Gadol wore eight. One of those garments was the “Choshen – breastplate.” It had twelve gems with the names of the twelve tribes engraved on them. The Torah (Shmos 28:30) tells us of a special addition to the Choshen: “You shall place the Urim and the Tumim into the Choshen of judgment so that they will be over Aaron’s heart when he comes before the L-rd, and Aaron will carry the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the L-rd at all times.” There were three main occasions when it was necessary to ask the Urim V’Tumim for direction: 1) The Jewish people did not go out to war (of r’shus) without consulting the Urim V’Tumim (Sanhedrin 16a). 2) The dividing of Eretz Yisroel was done through the Urim

V’Tumim (Baba Basra 122a). 3) If Klal Yisroel wanted to add to Yerushalayim to sanctify an addition to the Beis HaMikdash, it needed to be done through the Urim V’Tumim (Hilchos Beis HaBechira 6:11). This is the way things were until the second Beis HaMikdash. However, during the era of the second Beis HaMikdash “similarly, the Urim V’Tumim that existed in the Second Temple did not answer with Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration) and questions were not asked of them, as stated [in Ezra 2:63]: ‘Until a priest will arise with the Urim V’Tumim.’ [In the Second Temple,] they only made them to fulfill the requirement of eight garments for the High Priest. Thus, the High Priest would not lack one of the required garments.” (Ibid 4:1) However they will return in the times of Moshiach (48b). The question arises: Will there be a need to use the Urim V’Tumim for the three above-mentioned functions in the times of Moshiach? Regarding going out to war, we explained in our previous article that there will not be physical wars in Yemos HaMoshiach; rather everything will be accomplished peacefully and willfully. In regards to having the Urim V’Tumim when sanctifying the Beis HaMikdash and the expansion of Yerushalayim, in the times of Moshiach, we find conflicting opinions. According to the Meshech Shlomo it would seem that we would not need. He holds that just as in the time of the sanctification of the Mishkan having a prophet like Moshe Rabbeinu was enough to sanctify the Mishkan, the same will be true in Yemos HaMoshiach, when Moshe and Aharon will return (Yoma 5b). It will not be necessary to use Urim V’Tumim. Others – like the Sidrei Taharos – hold that we will still need to have the Urim V’Tumim there.

Regarding the re-division of Eretz Yisroel in the times of Yemos HaMoshiach, many commentaries hold that it will not be done through the Urim V’Tumim. Their reasoning: Firstly, the first division through Moshe and Yehoshua is everlasting (Mishnas Yaavetz) and the redivision will be done by Hashem himself, as the Navi (Yechezkel 48:29) says “This is the land that you shall allot, of the inheritance to the tribes of Israel, and these are their divisions, says the L-rd G-d.” (See Yemos HaMoshiach B’Halacha Vol. 1 Siman 34 for an in-depth analysis of the above.) I would like to finish with the words of the Rebbe (B’Haalos’cha 5751): “All this receives greater emphasis in recent generations, described as ‘in the heels of’ and as ‘the heels of the heels of Moshiach,’ particularly in this generation, the last generation of exile... Only the heel of the foot, i.e. the absolute last generation has the ability to rise on its own and elevate all previous generations, because the last generation of exile will be the first generation of Redemption – the Redemption for all Jews throughout all generations! “In particular, the shepherd Aharon HaKohen of our generation, my sainted father-in-law, the Rebbe, the leader of our generation... has emphasized this through his invocation of ‘Immediate T’shuva, immediate Redemption,’ and the announcement that we only have to ‘polish the buttons,’ and afterwards the declaration that this too has already ended, and it only requires us to ‘stand prepared all of you’ to greet our righteous Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption.”
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his indepth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording. com.

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siX sTORiEs OF
Sometimes there are things that cause us problems and we don’t know the reason why we must experience the challenges. We often are forced to search our hearts: perhaps we have done an offense against one of our fellow Jews – all of whom are on the level of “children of Hashem, your G-d.” Offending another Jew is no small matter – he is the King’s son. The following six amazing stories will testify to that.
By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry



s we peruse the many letters of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, we often come across the concept of pardon and forgiveness. We find letters to numerous people who had problems finding a shidduch, married couples who still hadn’t been blessed with children, and a variety of other issues, and they turned to the Rebbe in request of a bracha. In his replies, the Rebbe instructed them to find out if they had offended another Jew. Recently, during a series of lectures by Rabbi Amram Moyal from the

Chabad community of Tzfas, he revealed a chain of six successive stories of forgiveness. “It was simply amazing,” he said with much emotion. “I told those who came to the shiur about the story that I had heard the night before during another Torah class in another city. Lo and behold, one day after another, someone participating in the class identified with the story and began telling his own story or something that he personally experienced, related to this theme.” Rabbi Moyal heard the first story at a remote settlement in northern Eretz Yisroel. It’s a well-known story that has been publicized at Chabad functions on numerous occasions, but it

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eventually served as the opening link in a chain of stories.

“Whenever we conclude a Torah class, I sit together informally with a few people. They start to ask more questions, as they identify with the subject matter, thereby increasing their sense of awareness. As a result, they began to tell personal stories. While the first of these classes didn’t deal with the subject of forgiveness, it turned out that one of the participants had apparently just heard the following story, and she decided to share it with everyone. “The story took place in Eretz Yisroel many years ago. A couple that had been married for several years still did not have any children, and they were reaching the point of despair. “One day, one of the woman’s friends suggested that she turn to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for advice. The woman agreed, and she immediately wrote a letter to the Rebbe, explaining the reason for her anguish and requesting a bracha. In the reply she received, the Rebbe asked her to check whether she may have previously offended someone in the process of looking for a shidduch. If such was the case, she should ask for his forgiveness. “The Rebbe’s words jarred her memory, and she suddenly recalled a young man who had been hurt when their shidduch had broken off. Many years had passed since then, and she had totally forgotten about the whole incident. “The woman accepted the Rebbe’s advice without hesitation, and she set out to find this young man. While

she still remembered where he lived, the search would not be so simple. When she arrived in the old neighborhood, she saw that nothing had remained the same. Old buildings had been torn down and apartment buildings had taken their place. The roads had been paved over and renovated, and it seemed as if the entire community had changed. She spent much time walking through the local streets, going from building to building, checking the names on the front doors in the hope that she could find’s the young man’s family. However, nothing turned up. “After a lengthy search, she suddenly noticed a man sitting calmly on one of the park benches. Despite the many years that had passed, she recognized him immediately. She went up to him and asked him what his name was. Once it became clear that this was the young man, she introduced herself, explaining her problem and the instruction she had received from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. With tears in her eyes, she asked for his forgiveness. The man remembered her well, and he

agreed to forgive her. She felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders, and she returned home with a great sense of relief. “The Rebbe’s bracha came to pass within the year. Just ten months later, the woman and her husband were blessed with the birth of a baby boy. They were overjoyed. At the bris mila ceremony, they invited many of their relatives and close friends from far and wide. They all had felt their pain and disappointment over the years, and now they joined in celebrating this moment of great happiness. During the festive meal, the mother asked if she could say a few words. She proceeded to relate what she had gone through over the past several years and about the Rebbe’s amazing answer. “Among those present was the shadchan who had not only arranged the match between the happy new parents, but he had also made the first shidduch which eventually broke off. When he heard about how she had asked the first young man for forgiveness, he got up from his chair, totally flustered. “‘Are you positive that you met that young man?’ the shadchan asked skeptically. “‘Yes,’ the mother replied in a tone of absolute certainty. ‘There can be no mistake. It was him. I remembered him quite well.’ The shadchan then turned to those assembled and asked if he could say something. His voice was trembling, and his face was white as a sheet. “‘You should all know that the young man to whom she is referring passed away several years ago.’ “All those in attendance sat in stunned disbelief. No further explanation was necessary…”
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As the shiur participants tried to absorb the magnitude of what they had just heard, Rabbi Moyal took the opportunity to sharpen the message of how much we have to show respect for our fellow Jews. He began to tell them a story that he had recently heard first-hand during a visit to the Rebbe MH”M for the Tishrei holidays. “During this past Sukkos, I stayed with a well-respected family in Crown Heights. Chassidim naturally were sitting together in the sukka and giving over Divrei Torah. Then, each of them recalled their own special moments with the Rebbe, and the miracles their family personally experienced. “Rabbi Moyal’s host then stood up and said, ‘Listen, I have a story to tell you, one that I experienced first-hand with the Rebbe.’ “He told how he and his wife had gone for many years without having any children. They tried everything. They went to the biggest experts in the field for treatment, but the results were always disappointing. While all their neighbors and friends had one child after another, they remained in their solitude. “As is customary among Chassidim privileged to live in ‘Sh’chunas HaMelech,’ they regularly submitted letters to the Rebbe’s secretariat in request of a bracha for children, but they never received an answer. Their hopes to become parents continued to diminish. Oddly enough, whenever they wrote to the Rebbe on different subjects, they got detailed responses. Not so regarding the bracha they longed to receive more than any other… “Once when they were

privileged to go in for a private yechidus, the Rebbe again gave a reply to all their questions – except that one. The wife suddenly began to cry bitterly, even daring to ask the Rebbe, ‘Why? What have we done? If we have sinned, may the Rebbe instruct us on a path of t’shuva!’ The Rebbe’s holy face became very serious. Then, he replied that there’s a certain spiritual obstacle due to the fact that one of them had committed an offense against another Jew. “The couple left Gan Eden HaElyon totally confused and bewildered. Who could this possibly be? To whom was the Rebbe referring? They felt that the Rebbe was placing the ball in their hands. They sat for several hours, racking their brains and trying to remember events from years past when they might have offended someone… “Finally, the husband remembered something, and it all came back to him. He recalled that when he was a yeshiva bachur learning in 770, he and several of his fellow students traveled to Canada to participate in their friend’s wedding. Another passenger on the bus was a Chassidishe bachur, who was very stringent in his mitzvah observance, devoting all his time to his davening and his Torah study. The trip back from Canada took place at night. Before this bachur fell asleep as everyone else did, he made certain to prepare negel vasser, so he could wash his hands as soon as he woke up. “Then, our hero decided to have a little fun and play a trick on him. After this bachur had finally fallen asleep, he took the negel vasser set and hid it. The bus eventually pulled in to a station to give passengers a chance to stretch their legs, and

everyone woke up and got out to refresh themselves from the long journey. When this bachur also woke up, he was surprised to discover that his hand washing set was missing. He began to call out for them to give the set back, but since he wouldn’t talk before washing, he starting to say ‘’ very loudly. The other bachurim laughed in ridicule. “The driver told the bachurim to stop all the nonsense. The central figure in our story got his friends to give the set back. “The hurt young man went over to him and said bitterly, ‘I won’t forgive you – in this world or in the World to Come.’ “Now, as he and his wife were trying to determine what the Rebbe meant, he suddenly recalled the incident and the bachur’s angry words. “He came to 770 the very next day, looking for this bachur, who had since matured but was still unmarried. When he found the bachur, he asked him if he remembered the story. “‘Of course, I remember,’ he replied sharply. ‘I told you then that I wouldn’t forgive you, and I still won’t forgive you now.’ It was quite clear that the hurt feelings had not lessened since then. “‘Look,’ my host told him with much pain, ‘I’ve been married now for several years, and my wife and I still do not have any children. We are simply beside ourselves with anguish. We had a yechidus with the Rebbe this week, and he suggested that we ask you for forgiveness. If you can’t do this for me, at least do it for my wife.’ “‘If this is what the Rebbe wants, then I forgive you,’ the now mature young man finally agreed.

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“That same year, the couple was blessed with the birth of their only son. At the bris mila ceremony, they were joined not just by close friends and family, but also by many members of the community who shared in their great joy. “The couple had always preferred to keep this story to themselves and not publicize it. The host said that this was one of the rare occasions when he has agreed to tell so many people about this incredible and amazing miracle.”

The following day, Rabbi Moyal made his way to North Tel Aviv to give over a Torah class. There too, after completing his shiur, he decided to tell the participants about the two stories he had heard and told the day before. “When I finished speaking, one of the women there asked if she could relate her own story of a similar nature. ‘This is exactly what happened to me,’ she said in a voice filled with emotion, as everyone perked up to listen. “She introduced herself as a young woman, not yet forty years old. For a period of several years since she began to follow the path of Torah observance, she had been looking for a shidduch without success. There was no logical reason for the failure she had encountered thus far. She is a very intelligent, talented, and attractive woman. Her friends tried to find a suitable match for her, various shadchanim were enlisted, but nothing seemed to help. She remained alone. “Her brother and sister, who had previously established their connection with the teachings

of Chassidus and the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, had already married and raised proper Chassidishe families. It pained them deeply to see their grown sister, seeking unsuccessfully to build a family unit of her own. They urged her to write to the Rebbe and request his bracha. She didn’t understand how the Rebbe could possibly help her. At first, she tried to ignore their advice, but as time passed and their urging grew more persistent, she eventually agreed to write to the Rebbe about her emotional misery and suffering. “After making some appropriate good resolutions, she placed her letter in a volume of Igros Kodesh in her brother’s home. In the Rebbe’s answer, he wrote that she had to ask forgiveness from another Jew. Her brother said that she should try and remember if she had perhaps offended someone in the past, and if this was true, she

should ask that person to forgive her. “After considering the matter long and hard, she suddenly remembered about a young man who had apparently been hurt by her. ‘But where could I find him now?’ she thought to herself. When she finally told her brother about it, he replied with pure Chassidic faith, ‘Just as the Rebbe wants you to ask forgiveness, he’ll make certain that you’ll find this person.’ “In her youth, she had met a certain young man who had agreed to marry her as a way for her to avoid military service. The wedding was conducted in full accordance with Halacha, and once she obtained her army exemption, she left the house and told him that she wanted a divorce. The young man was not only stunned; he was deeply hurt and insulted. While he eventually gave her a get, his anguish was almost unbearable. Twenty years

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had passed since then, and she had neither seen nor heard from him since. “The day after requesting the Rebbe’s bracha, she was sitting in a coffee house on Tel Aviv’s Sheinkin Street, thinking about the Rebbe’s answer and her former husband. Suddenly, she turned around and saw someone familiar sitting at an opposite table. Before she had a chance to recall from where she knew him, he called her by name and said that he was her ex-husband... She was shocked. Her voice was trembling and she couldn’t say a word at first. “‘You won’t believe it,’ she finally managed to blurt out. After she had recovered from the shock, she told him about everything that had happened to her and about the Rebbe’s recent answer. She eventually asked him to forgive her. “He told her that he had been deeply hurt and upset for a long time, but as time passed, he eventually got over it, remarried, and began a new life. “He accepted her apology and forgave her, wishing her much happiness and success in her own life. “Just a few weeks later, this woman met her future husband. They were married, and today they have two beautiful children. “The woman who experienced this herself told the story at the conclusion of the shiur. No one could remain indifferent after that,” Rabbi Moyal noted, “and I had yet another forgiveness story…” in Tzfas. This is a learning institution for baalos t’shuva, where young women who have begun to follow the path of Torah come from all over the world to study concepts in traditional Judaism. As in the previous settings, after completing the shiur, I proceeded to tell the stories I had heard over the past week. These stories made a powerful impression. “By then, I was no longer surprised when one of the students asked if she could relate a similar incident that she had experienced first-hand. “I know this student well. She regularly participated in my classes at one of the settlements near the Sea of Galilee. She eventually came closer to her Jewish roots, and when she decided to focus more intensely on her growth in Yiddishkait, she came to learn in a Chabad institution in Tzfas. “She said that when she began her kiruv process, she cut off all contact with a young man who did not agree to follow along the path she had chosen. She hadn’t heard from him since, and she didn’t know what had happened to him. In the meantime, she continued on her spiritual journey, but not without difficulties. While it took much longer than just a few days or weeks, she remained consistent and unyielding until she decided to take on a Torah observant lifestyle in every respect. In this way she came to Machon Alte. “One night, as she slept in the dormitory, she dreamt that this young man was staring at her with a cold and estranged look. She woke up very frightened. Her fear was intensified, because the young man had recently passed away from a terminal illness. She decided to consult with one of the rabbanim at Machon Alte to determine what she should do and how to respond to this strange dream. “The rabbi suggested that she ask for his forgiveness. To do this, she got three men to serve as a Beis Din and she asked his soul to forgive him. The men said three times, ‘You are absolved, you are absolved, you are absolved.’ That night, he came to her in a dream once more, but this time he smiled and said ‘Hello.’ From that moment, she felt that the forgiveness had put an end to this story. “When I came the next day to a seminar somewhere in northern Eretz Yisroel sponsored by the M’Maal Mamash Institute, I retold all these stories. Once again, one of the participants got up and recounted a similar experience. She had angrily broken her relationship with a young man after a serious quarrel with him, and neither of them had been privileged to bond with anyone else since then. Then one day, a third party became aware of the whole story, and helped them to reconcile and forgive one another. Not long afterwards, each of them got married…”

Later that week, Rabbi Moyal heard the last of these stories when he came back to Tzfas. “This was at a Melaveh Malka held in the presence of mashpiim and rabbanim. This subject came up again and created a powerful reverberation among all those present. Everyone there soon began to ask forgiveness from the people seated near them. “One of those participating in this farbrengen was a young man. He had been deeply moved after I had retold the stories I had recently heard, and he later

“The next day, I gave a class at the Machon Alte Institute

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gave me a personal account of a similar story that he had experienced. “This young man was in his late twenties. He had been married for a few years, but he and his wife had not yet been blessed with children, while his friends had long since become parents. One day, he began to feel sharp pains in his chest. He became very concerned, and he quickly went to the doctor at his local health clinic to determine the reason for these pains. The doctor arranged a series of comprehensive tests, and the results showed that he apparently needed to undergo surgery. “As a preparation for the surgical procedure, he was sent for an even more comprehensive examination. It’s no wonder that he and his wife were very troubled. Heart problems are usually detected in people over the age of fifty, whereas he was still a very young man. Fear and concern only added to the feeling of pressure and pains in his chest. Before going for his scheduled exam, his wife decided to write to the Rebbe via Igros Kodesh. In his reply, the Rebbe wrote about the need to ask forgiveness from a Jewish woman. “She brought the answer to her husband, and he told her that during his previous shidduch, he had offended the young woman involved. However, she had offended him as well, and as a result, he had made no effort thus far to apologize to her. Even now, he felt that he couldn’t

possibly pick up the phone to call her. Yet, his wife, a true woman of valor, got the young lady’s phone number and made the call herself. She asked forgiveness on her husband’s behalf, and when she finished speaking, she could hear the woman crying on the line. “It turned out that this woman had been looking for a shidduch for a long time without success. Every time she wrote to the Rebbe and asked for a bracha, the answer dealt with the need to ask forgiveness. The answer varied with each request, but the message remained the same. She knew exactly who the Rebbe meant. One day, she had decided to break the shidduch after everything was well underway, but she never had the courage to call him and ask for forgiveness. Now, she was delighted that it would all come to a peaceful conclusion. “The young man had the more comprehensive examination, but the results showed that everything was normal. The doctors concluded that the chest pains were due to pressure or an improper diet. That same year, the couple celebrated the birth of

their first child. As for the other young woman, she found her bashert within a matter of weeks and established a Chassidishe home on the foundation of Torah observance and hiskashrus to the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. “Sometimes, such situations come forth from Heaven in order to bring the long-awaited results,” says Rabbi Moyal. “This young man had to go through weeks of pain and worry to close the circle of forgiveness, thereby opening a path to an abundance of brachos for him and for the woman to whom he was once engaged.”

Rabbi Moyal asked if he could conclude this fascinating series with a clear message: “Sometimes there are things that cause us problems and we don’t know the reason why we must experience the challenges. We often are forced to search our hearts: perhaps we have done an offense against one of our fellow Jews – all of whom are on the level of “children of Hashem, your G-d.” Offending another Jew is no small matter – he is the King’s son. “Many people reading this may think that it has no relevance to them. However, in reality, the Rebbe has mentioned this matter on numerous occasions in his letters and sichos. Furthermore, we see clearly how asking for forgiveness removes obstacles and opens new channels.”

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Why did the Rebbe want the study of Rambam to be promoted behind the Iron Curtain? What connection is there between the Rambam and the Alter Rebbe? * A compilation of insights and stories connected with the daily study of Rambam from the introduction to the book “Mishna Torah L’HaRambam.” * Presented for 20 Teives, the Rambam’s yahrtzait. INSIGHTS FROM THE VARIOUS CYCLES
The Rebbe established three learning cycles for the daily study of Rambam: 1) the main and preferred cycle of three chapters a day, completing Mishna Torah in less than a year, 2) the cycle of one chapter a day, completing Mishna Torah in nearly three years, 3) the cycle of learning Seifer HaMitzvos in which every day, the mitzvos corresponding to the three chapters a day cycle are learned. This cycle is intended primarily for women and children and for those who cannot join the other cycles of learning. The main cycle is comprised of 339 shiurim in which 1000 chapters of Mishna Torah are learned and another six units of study which include the introductions, the nusach ha’t’filla etc., which are part of the Yad and together add up to 1006 units, the gematria of Mishna Torah! The one-chapter-a-day cycle has three times the number of shiurim as the main cycle, and altogether the cycle consists of 1,017 daily shiurim. The shiurim of all the cycles have a set amount to be learned each day, no matter the calendar

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date. As a result, and since the number of shiurim is less than the days of a Jewish year, each cycle concludes at least two weeks earlier than the concluding date of the previous year (a cycle learned in a leap year ends even earlier).

At the farbrengen which took place on Acharon shel Pesach 5744/1984, the Rebbe said the learning should begin on Sunday, 27 Nissan. This would enable them to conclude the first cycle before Erev Pesach, the Rambam’s birthday. They actually finished the cycle on 11 Nissan 5745. This was a nice present for the Rebbe in that all 83 sections were finished on the Rebbe’s 83rd birthday. Chassidim say that the Rebbe officially accepted the Chabad leadership when he said the maamer “Basi L ’Gani” at the farbrengen on Yud Shvat 5711. As the years pass, more hints and allusions are discovered in this maamer, which the Rebbe wished to convey to the “seventh generation.” It is known that at farbrengens on special days, the Rebbe always referred to the daily shiurim as though to say: the essence of hiskashrus is expressed by fulfilling the instructions that apply daily, especially those that pertain to Torah. It is interesting that the first letters of each segment of the shiurim that the Rebbe and the Rebbe Rayatz told us to learn daily, i.e. Chitas and Rambam, spell out “Basi.” The first letter of Chumash is a beis, T’hillim begins with an Alef, Tanya begins with a Tav, and Rambam’s Mishna Torah begins with a Yud. This would seem to indicate that by fulfilling the practical

instructions of our Rebbeim, we bring to fruition the Divine Proclamation, “I have come to My garden.”

weeks in Moscow, Leningrad, and Riga and told everyone we met about learning Rambam. We left with them the s’farim we had brought with us. When we returned to New York, we wrote a detailed report to the Rebbe about our trip and about promoting the learning of Rambam. The Rebbe acknowledged our report with thanks. The Rebbe told R’ Dovid Nachshon of the Mobile Mitzva Tanks in Eretz Yisroel to have the Rambam’s Yad and Seifer HaMitzvos, as well as copies of the moreh shiur, on each tank.

The instruction and request to study Rambam daily repeated itself in dozens of sichos. R’ Shimon Aharon Rosenfeld of New York related: “In Iyar 5744, I went to Russia with R’ Immanuel Schochet on behalf of Ezras Achim. The Rebbe initiated the daily learning of Rambam on Pesach of that year. Before we left, on Pesach Sheini, we had yechidus with the Rebbe, which was highly unusual for those going to Russia. The Rebbe blessed us with success for our trip and added with a big smile, ‘No doubt I don’t need to remind you about making a big commotion there about learning Rambam.’ The Rebbe then gave us dollar bills. “We took along volumes of Rambam and Seifer HaMitzvos and many copies of the moreh shiur (study schedules) for the study of Rambam. Unfortunately, they took away our copies of the moreh shiur at the airport in Moscow. We were there for two

In response to news about a woman who had died in Rambam Hospital, the Rebbe asked: Do they learn Rambam in the Rambam Hospital? When someone asked the Rebbe for a bracha and advice about his huge monetary debts, the Rebbe answered, “Did you complete all you owe in the study of Rambam?” (See the HaYom Yom for 3 Nissan for similar wording, “During the course of the year he would conclude the entire Midrash Raba, ‘borrowing’ from the long sedrot and ‘repaying’ on the shorter ones.”) Learning Rambam is also a segula for health. The Rebbe (Motzaei Chanuka 5746, Hisvaaduyos vol. 2 p. 246) connects the segula in this to a refua shleima to the number of sections in the Rambam. The Rebbe points out that although there are various ways of counting the small halachos (individually numbered paragraphs) in the Rambam, as far as the big halachos (sections divided by types of laws) go, there are 83 as it says at the end of the

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enumeration of the mitzvos in the introduction. The Rebbe says this is in accordance with the Gemara (Bava Kama 92b) that makes a point regarding the gematria of “machala” (illness) which is 83. By learning the 83 halachos, there is healing, as it is known that Torah brings healing for all 83 illnesses in Hashem’s manner of healing, “I am Hashem your healer,” that one isn’t sick to begin with! learn Rambam is not new. G’dolei Yisroel throughout the generations considered it important to systematically learn through Rambam, especially Mishna Torah. Some did it on their own, while some told others to arrange their learning in this way too. The Rebbe apparently had a daily shiur in Rambam even before he became Rebbe. In Yemei Melech it says: A talmid from Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1948-9 had a chavrusa to learn Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deia every afternoon in 770. The two would sit next to the Aron Kodesh in the beis midrash. Nearly every evening, the Rebbe would come in for Maariv at 9:00 and then would sit and learn Rambam. This young man noticed that the Rebbe learned in order, but did not see how much the Rebbe learned each day. The Maggid also brought, in the name of the Baal Shem Tov, the tradition to be particular about learning Rambam every day after Maariv. principles the Rambam wrote in his introductions etc.) Kudos to R’ Mordechai Menasheh Laufer who, in his work Klalei HaRambam, enumerated 267 rules established by the Rebbe as to the correct approach to learning Rambam. Here are two examples of the soul-connection between the Rebbe and the Rambam: 1-The Rebbe urged the publication of the Seifer Haaros on the Rambam by the birthday of the Rambam on Erev Pesach. In order to hasten the work and enable the meeting of the deadline, the Rebbe offered to help out by obtaining sources of funding. 2-The Rebbe told R’ Avrohom Dov Hecht, “I koch in Rambam and there it states that Avrohom is ‘eisan.’ You should be strong and absolved of all nonsense.”

The close connection between the Rambam and the segula of healing can be seen in the following unusual story: In 5746 the Rebbe had a problem with his foot which prevented him from going down the stairs to daven in the shul. Erev Pesach of that year, R’ Levi Bistritzky, rav of the Chabad community in Tzfas, called Reb X after Bedikas Chametz and said he had received a message from New York that whoever went to daven for the Rebbe at the grave of the Rambam in Teveria on that day (the Rambam’s birthday) would receive $100. Although it was Erev Pesach, twenty people went to Teveria, divided the T’hillim between them, and returned to Tzfas. R’ Bistritzky said that when he told the Rebbe that they had davened for his recovery at the Rambam’s grave, the Rebbe said that since they had been to the “great doctor,” he would be able to go down to Mincha. After that, the Rebbe went down the stairs as though he had never had a problem.

The Rebbe’s sichos explicating the daily portion of Rambam indicate a significant basis in the teachings of the Alter Rebbe, on his Shulchan Aruch and other s’farim. It has been long accepted by those many that the principles of the teachings of Chabad are sourced in the teachings of the Rambam. In Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 26, p. 26, the Rebbe draws parallels between the Alter Rebbe and the Rambam, with the high point being the fusion between the worlds of Nigleh and P’nimius HaTorah. This is hinted at in the Alter Rebbe’s name “Shneur” (shnei-ohr, two lights), the light of Nigleh and the light of Chassidus. This is also hinted at in the acronym “Rambam” which in Hebrew has an open Mem, representing Nigleh and a

If you look at the thousands pages of sichos of the Rebbe in which the teachings of the Rambam are explicated you will discover a unique global Maimonidean Torah perspective. The Rebbe, over decades, and especially since establishing the takana, offered up hundreds of deep explanations of the words of the Rambam. A few of the Rebbe’s explanations have been collected in Likkutei Sichos and other works. If one examines these explanations, he will find that the Rebbe innovated a way of learning Rambam (whose thematic elements are based on

The idea of a schedule to

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closed Mem, representing Nistar of Torah. The Rebbe also shows textual similarities between the beginnings and endings of the Rambam’s works and the beginnings and endings of the Alter Rebbe’s s’farim. When the Alter Rebbe was only 12 years old, he taught the complicated laws of Kiddush HaChodesh of the Rambam in public! There is also the story of the Alter Rebbe sending one of his Chassidim for a bracha for children to R’ Shlomo Karliner on the yahrtzait of the Rambam, since R’ Shlomo learned Rambam regularly and was making a siyum on Rambam. On 20 Teives 5748, the Rebbe gave a gift to the members of the delegation that traveled to Russia in order to work on getting the Rebbeim’s s’farim released. It was a maamer that had been printed that day, and he said to them, “Today is the yahrtzait of the Rambam and this week, 24 Teives, is the yahrtzait of the Alter Rebbe. Both of them will work together with you.” R’ Cunin said, “And the Rebbe together with them,” and the Rebbe responded, “Amen.”

If you look at the thousands pages of sichos of the Rebbe in which the teachings of the Rambam are explicated you will discover a unique global Maimonidean Torah perspective.
It is fascinating to note regarding the famous question about how it can be said that the Rambam did not merit the revelation of the teachings of Kabbala until the end of his life when we find many times that the Rambam (in his magnum opus that he wrote in his middle-age) is often in line with kabbalistic teachings – the B’nei Yissoschor writes that this was a glimmer from Heaven which the Rambam merited.

Over the years, in stages, the Rebbe conveyed the idea of a connection between the Rambam’s classic work and the mystical part of Torah: 1) The Rambam knew Kabbala, 2) Analysis of the Rambam reveals chiddushim in Toras HaNistar, 3) Rambam should be learned in the manner that one studies a guide in avodas Hashem, 4) One should analyze the Rambam according to the teachings of Chassidus until the point of

revealing a new way of learning Rambam according to Nigleh, 5) The Rambam is practically a part of the chain of the teachings of Chabad. (R’ Yeshaya Marantz pointed out to me that even if that last statement seems exaggerated, we should note an amazing phenomenon. From Yud Shvat 5745, i.e. from the start of the Rambam takana, the Rebbe mentioned the Rambam in every maamer “Basi L ’Gani,” just as he mentioned all the Rebbeim starting with the Baal Shem Tov. Likewise, in a sicha of Erev Pesach 5750, the Rebbe said, “The Maaneh Lashon, which is said at the holy graves like the Rambam’s and the grave of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, Nasi Doreinu ...”)

Mishna Torah is the name the Rambam gave his work, as he explains in the introduction. The origin of the other name, Yad HaChazaka, is not clear.

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20 teIves
In Sichos Kodesh 5733, Vol. 1 the following sentence appears: “This work is called Yad HaChazaka, which is not a random sobriquet but a title given by the author. It is connected with ‘I will rule over you with Yad HaChazaka (the strong hand),’ (Yechezkel 20:33) to ensure that the situation in which ‘we shall be like all the nations, the House of Yisroel’ ‘will not come to pass.’” From this statement of the Rebbe it would seem that the Rambam himself assigned the alternate name to his work. Nevertheless, in the past generation it has become accepted that the name did not originate with the Rambam. Rather, it is a name which developed in stages later on. On other occasions (Hisvaaduyos 5748), we see that the Rebbe left it as a question. “It needs to be clarified (and as of now it is not clear) who was the first one to give this title. For despite the allusion to the number of sections, Yad=14 and the strength (chozek) of the halacha, which is why it was named Yad HaChazaka, obviously, not anybody who wants to can change or add a name to the Rambam’s work after the Rambam himself established its name! Therefore, if we see that this name has become widespread and accepted to the point that in the first editions of the Rambam there appears the verse “U’l’chol HaYad HaChazaka etc.” on the title page, or it says “Mishna Torah V’Hu HaYad HaChazaka” on the title page – we must say that this was established by a gadol b’Yisroel who had the authority, according to Torah, to add the name Yad HaChazaka. The adding or changing of a name is so rare that it demands an explanation. The title Yad HaChazaka is so entrenched that many adopted it as the only name. Among Jews we see there are those who (like the Yemenites) zealously refuse to acknowledge the name Yad HaChazaka, and those among the Ashkenazi communities who incline towards using Yad HaChazaka. On other occasions, the Rebbe quoted s’farim as saying that three authors did not merit that the original names of their s’farim become accepted: 1) Shnei Luchos HaBris of R’ Yeshaya Horowitz, which is referred to as the Shelah, 2) Toras Moshe of R’ Moshe Alshich, which is referred to as the Alshich, and 3) the Rambam’s Mishna Torah, which is called Yad HaChazaka. The generally accepted explanation is they gave their s’farim names that are supposedly preserved for the Written Torah given at Sinai, and Heaven does not allow these names.

In order to illustrate how absurd it to think that one can understand the Rambam only after convoluted reasoning and discussion which require vast knowledge, the Rebbe once told the story he heard in his early school years: A great rosh yeshiva who said farfetched pilpulim in the Rambam passed away. When he appeared in the Heavenly Court, he proudly described how he had explained the Rambam in various intricate ways. They asked him: How do you know your explanations are correct? He said: They have to be. Go and call the Rambam himself and let’s see. They called for the Rambam and the rosh yeshiva presented his chiddushim. The Rambam did not look enthused by his pilpulim and said that his intention was entirely literal and this and that statement was based on such and such, and therefore there was no reason for all these questions. The rosh yeshiva twirled his thumb, and speaking in the style and tone of the yeshiva world, he said: It is possible to resolve the matter in that fashion, but if your intention was so literal, what does that teach us? What is the chiddush is here in the Rambam?

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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 6 of 9
By Menachem Ziegelboim

Already at the beginning of the war, there was a feeling of tension in the air. As for me personally, all was destroyed after I had finally gotten settled with lodgings and work. Work at the factory stopped because of a severe shortage of workers who did not show up due to fear and starvation. I was left without work and hardly any food. The mikva I was responsible for had sustained a direct hit. Logs for heating were no longer obtainable since many bombs had fallen in the forest and had burned trees, and there was nothing with which to heat the mikva. The war progressed slowly but steadily in the direction of Leningrad, and

the fear was paralyzing. Who spoke of work, which was no longer existent? It was dangerous to go out in the street because of the bombing that thundered from every possible direction. There was a palpable danger to life. Food was limited and starvation confused the mind. All were in despair. I began looking for a way to start a new life under these terrible circumstances. One day, I heard that there were groups of youth who were organizing to leave the city in JanuaryFebruary, the height of winter. In the meantime, I was at home. I was with the elderly couple during these five months

until the exodus from the city. I remember that on Sukkos, bombs fell right near our sukka since it was lit up and the light attracted the attention of the German bombardiers. Thank G-d, we weren’t harmed. Who knows, perhaps this was in the merit of the acts of chesed which the couple did. What helped me tremendously in prevailing and continuing to live during this difficult period when food was unobtainable was my regular practice of anticipating shortages. During the time that I had the horse and worked with it, I made the rounds to distribute the shoes from the factory and made sure to collect

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anything connected with food. I mainly collected leftovers from the factory cafeteria. It was bread that they threw into the garbage, for who imagined that a time would come when there wouldn’t be enough food and people would fight over a slice of bread? I regularly collected the leftover bread, whether it was dry or wet, as well as other leftovers. I had stored up a large quantity of food for the purpose of feeding the horses in a time of need, because even before the war, it was hard to obtain fodder for horses. So I had saved up food for the hard times and had sacks full of bread. It was dry bread that in good times would not even be valued as a shard of pottery, but now, during wartime, was very precious. In exchange for a piece of dry bread, people would give a gold watch, for lives were at stake. Due to the situation, my bread collection was a great treasure. Of course, I guarded it carefully. I hung it all in a storage place and made sure it did not rot. I locked it with several locks. People who came to the mikva received bread from me, and thus I revived them and they managed to hold on a while longer until the next piece of bread. I was able to help many of Anash, like R’ Boruch Shifrin, whom I helped with bread and saved from certain death. I helped R’ Zalman Kalmanson with bread, as well as a Chassid named Lazer Zhlobiner. He was a unique personality. He was a Chassid and gaon and one of the distinguished T’mimim in Lubavitch. He would also come to the mikva now and then and I would help him. At a certain point, I went to Leningrad (the couple I lived wit lived in a suburb of Leningrad) and stayed for a while in the

home of R’ Yaakov Yosef Raskin. When I returned to the couple’s home, they were not there. I found out that their son had taken them to his house due to fear of bombs. He wanted them to be closer to him and under his protection. I went in the direction of the mikva and saw that the entire pipeline was bombed, not to mention the warming system which no longer existed. Nothing was left. From the mikva I continued to the storehouse and saw that it was broken open, the locks broken, and nothing remained in its place including, of course, the bread I had stored there. My heart recoiled and refused to believe it, but that was the situation. After some thought, I thanked G-d that at least I hadn’t been in the house at the time, for these gentiles, who had suffered starvation (just like us Jews) could even commit murder to obtain what they wanted. If they

It was dry bread that in good times would not even be valued as a shard of pottery, but now, during wartime, was very precious.
There was special food for animals that was manufactured out of sunflower seeds. They placed the sunflower seeds in piles, and with the help of an enormous compressor they pressed them together and produced a lot of sunflower oil. The dry sunflower seeds that remained after the pressing would be in the form of dry plates a half meter wide and three centimeters thick and this was given to animals to eat. Horses, in particular, liked it and it was even considered very special food for them, far better than the hay

had demanded of us to open the storage place in order to take out food, and we had been unwilling to do so, it would have cost us our lives. There was no law and order and people did as they pleased. Starvation and war conditions made people crazy and warped their values. Even good and cultured people lost their humanity when it meant obtaining another slice of bread. I continued looking around and saw that they did not touch the plates made of sunflower seeds. What were these plates?

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and barley that was their usual food. Whenever they wanted to strengthen a horse before a long trip or a trip that entailed a heavy load, they would give it these special sunflower seed treats. We would sell these plates to gentiles for good money. When I worked with the horse, I collected these plates in my storage room so I would have food for my horse. After one horse was stolen and the other one died, I had a lot of these left. Since I had no use for them anymore, I buried them deep in the ground in the storage room where they remained safe. When the robbers broke in, they did not notice them since I had strewn straw over them. I took these plates with me, to the place I was staying in, and I gave them to Anash too. Many of Anash were saved with this, after they sold them to stores as animal fodder. I still had a bit of money left from my work for the shoe factory, but there wasn’t much I could do with it since it wasn’t worth much. The stores were empty and there was nothing to buy. The streets were full of people who walked around aimlessly and every day, thousands dropped dead. The bombing did not stop. A bomb landed near the shul, and thank G-d nothing happened. The situation seemed hopeless. Tens of thousands perished in battle, from starvation or from the cold. And if not from those things, they still faced the danger from the German bombing. Everyone sought a way to leave. I did not know whether to leave the city and return home to Nevel, to my parents who were so worried about me and whom I hadn’t seen in so long, or whether they should come to me so at least we would be together. Although I worked hard and helped others, I was still only a sixteen year old boy. I needed family support and a warm, loving environment during this time of upheaval. The days passed and the psychological traumas were intense. We heard that the Germans had entered small villages and towns, including Nevel, and destroyed them. You can imagine how I felt after I realized that nothing remained of my family in Nevel. My state of mind was abysmally low. During this time, when I felt broken, I had a letter in my pocket that I had gotten from my father. It was the last letter from him. In order to explain the letter, I want to regress a bit and give you some background. When I worked for the shoe factory, I had no one to prepare cooked food for me. The gentiles ate from the food cooked in the kitchen, while I was particular about kashrus and did not eat that food. My food intake consisted of two kilograms of bread with a little margarine. I ate this in the evening too, after a hard day’s work. When Pesach was approaching, I began thinking about what to do about matzos. Obviously, the treif kitchen would be of no use to me. I knew that I would have to obtain matza so I would have my own supply. The main problem was in finding a way of getting matzos in these crazy times. I knew that in the small towns, such as Nevel, they secretly baked matza, and people would travel there and buy matza and bring it back to the big city. In the big cities it was impossible to bake matza since the NKVD was constantly watching. So I had written to my father and asked him to send me eight kilograms of matza. I figured that since I did not eat in the factory cafeteria and I needed two kilograms of bread a day, I concluded that I needed eight kilograms of matza. That was a mistake on my part since you eat more bread than matza, and for each kilogram of bread that you consume, the amount of matza needed to replace that is far less in weight. When my father received my letter, he was annoyed and he wrote me back a letter asking me: How can I anticipate what will be with you, and who is responsible that you will remain a religious Jew in these circumstances when the klipa increases from day to day and you have nobody supervising you? He reminded me that I had removed my parents’ authority (as I related previously), which meant that I was no longer under their jurisdiction, and if my “parents” were the elderly couple, how were they taking care of my spiritual future? My father asked me, with great bitterness, how I could manage among gentiles without working on Shabbos and assumed that I had found those who permitted working on Shabbos due to danger to life. At the end of the letter, my father wondered: How could I be asking for such a large quantity of matza? How could he send such a large quantity and who could take so much matza with him from Nevel to Leningrad and hide it? People like R’ Meir Askin, who came and went from Nevel to Leningrad on business, could be asked to take two kilograms or three, but no more, and certainly not eight! (I somehow made it through

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that Pesach. I ate a little bit in the home of one Chassid and another and that is how I survived that Pesach with a small amount of matza. When I lacked matza, they gave me of their own and they cooked chicken for me. All in all, they had pity on me because of my situation as a young child without parents nearby and with no support during this difficult time for the Jewish people, especially in a time of starvation). I was offended by this letter and wanted to explain myself in a return letter. It wasn’t a pleasant letter, but I treasured it and carried it wherever I went. It was my only possession from my father’s house. I held on to it for a long time until I destroyed it, in fear that someone would discover it and would not understand why my father was “giving it to me,” not understanding the reason my Continued from page 5

I was offended by this letter and wanted to explain myself in a return letter. It wasn’t a pleasant letter, but I treasured it and carried it wherever I went. It was my only possession from my father’s house.
war broke out and the Germans destroyed Nevel. I heard nothing further from him.

father was upset. That was the last letter I received from him because the

to which they have a connection. However, it is a veritable act of rebellion for a Jew to commit [even] a [minor] sin. Being that he stems from the inner will of G-d, his sin opposes the level of Divine will that pertains to him, that is connected with him. Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that this matter itself, with respect to a gentile, is not an act of rebellion – it is an act of a rebellion for a Jew. And in that sense he is more debased than klipos and sitra achra, and totally removed from G-dliness. But since the nature of every Jew is that he does not want to be – nor can he be – separated from G-dliness, therefore, it is entirely unfathomable that he should transgress, were it not for a ruach shtus covering over the truth. On account of this concealment it appears to him that by committing a sin, he is not separated from G-dliness. The inherent impossibility of a Jew to commit a sin is apparent [when pushed to the extreme case of idolatry (see Likkutei Amarim Ch. 25)] when confronted with circumstances that leave no room to err and to think that he is not separated from G-dliness were he to sin. Then, even the most superficial, lowly Jew stands in self-sacrifice so as not to transgress G-d’s will, knowing that this sin would cause him to be separated from G-dliness, rachmana litzlan. The Mitteler Rebbe taught that the same is true even of one who has brought

upon himself much evil by committing all the sins in the world – he too would forsake his own life [rather than commit idolatry], dying for the sake of G-d’s name, knowing that he becomes separated from G-dliness [by so doing], and that is utterly unfathomable to him. Since the source for this willingness to die in the sanctification of G-d’s name rather than to succumb to the sin of idolatry is in virtue of the Jewish soul being rooted in Atzmus [or Sovev Kol Almin], which transcends division, as above, therefore this self-sacrifice is present in each and every Jew. Indeed, the pervasiveness of this quality among Jews is entirely without distinction, existing equally in the greatest of the great as well as the most inconsequential. Moreover, when selfsacrifice is aroused in even the least among them, all aspects of his soul accord with this heightened state. Even with regard to merely paying lip service to idolatry [such as insincerely affirming the belief in idolatry] or just going through the motions of an idolatrous rite [such as bowing down to an idol without actually meaning it – even for these more superficial expressions of idolatry], a Jew stands in self-sacrifice. The reason for this is because a Jew’s essence transcends distinction, and thus [when his core beliefs are confronted in this manner], all of his soul-powers attain this heightened state.
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stories and sayings from R’ chaim shaul Brook a”h as recorded by his close talmid, R’ chaim ashkenazi a”h.
of Shnayim Ochazin, “If the one who is liable admits, why shouldn’t he have to return it?” and R’ Levi Yitzchok interpreted this as: If the Gra admits there is something here, why doesn’t he come himself?

The Alter Rebbe once asked one of the Chassidim if he went to the theater. The Chassid, of course, said that he had no connection with such things. The Alter Rebbe then instructed him to visit a certain theater, and the Chassid did so. As the Chassid sat in the audience he thought – the Rebbe did not tell me to watch what goes on here, only to visit, and so he took out a Tanya and began learning. He sat and learned Tanya until the show was over, but even after everyone had left he was still sitting there, oblivious to his surroundings. A janitor went over to him and asked: What are you holding? When the Chassid showed the janitor the Tanya, he looked at it and said: A fine book. When the Chassid returned to the Alter Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him whether or not he had been to the theater. When the Chassid said he had, the Rebbe asked him to tell him about it. The Chassid told him and the Rebbe said joyfully, “I have a haskama (approbation) from him too!” R’ Shaul concluded the story remarking that it was said that this janitor was one of the big tzaddikim of the generation. I

think that R’ Shaul also said that there were those who said that he was from the sitra achra (the side of evil) and he also gave his approbation to the Tanya.

R’ Shaul Brook said that the Vilna Gaon was not at home when the Baal Shem Tov passed away. A note was found by his descendants, which said regarding what the Baal Shem Tov said that the clocks would stop when he died that this did indeed happened, and nevertheless, he did not believe in him.

Two of the Vilna Gaon’s talmidim or mekuravim went to the Mezritcher Maggid. The Gaon had told them to check three things: If the students of the Maggid were Torah scholars, if they were in awe of their teacher, and whether or not their teacher had Ruach HaKodesh. Upon arriving in Mezritch and entering the beis midrash, they saw the talmidim involved in a question about the kashrus of a chicken and they heard ingenious reasoning from them. Then they heard the tapping of the Maggid’s crutches (for the Maggid had problems with his feet). As soon as the talmidim heard this, a dread fell upon them. Later, these emissaries of the Gra went to the Maggid, who immediately said to them, “So, I’m all right with two of the items.” Thus they understood that the third item checked out too. Later, they heard R’ Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev learning a piece of Gemara in the chapter

R’ Shaul also related that the Alter Rebbe said that he was not afraid of debating with the Vilna Gaon; not only in Nigleh but even in Kabbala. The greatness in this, that he wasn’t afraid to debate him, is that the Vilna Gaon had visited the Vatican and had seen many manuscripts on Kabbala, and the Alter Rebbe suspected that the Gaon might try to support what he said by saying he had seen it in a manuscript at the Vatican.

There was a city where Chassidim and Misnagdim lived. The Chassidim did not have their own shul and wanted

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to build one. To cut costs, they considered using a wall of the Misnagdim’s shul. When they asked the Misnagdim for permission, they agreed on condition that the Chassidim did not build a cheder sheini (lit. second room, designated for those who daven at great length), but when the Chassidim built the shul, they built a cheder sheini. The Misnagdim complained that they had not complied with the condition. They all went to R’ Isaac of Vitebsk for adjudication as, despite his Chassidic affiliation, he was a gaon and accepted by all. When he heard their claims, he said to the Misnagdim: You disagree with the Chassidim about “Hu Echad V’Ein Sheini” (lit. He is One and there is none second to Him, which Chassidim understand to mean that nothing else exists besides for Him), as well as the “Nefesh HaSheinis” (the second [G-dly] soul referred to in Tanya Ch. 2). Since this is the case, you can disagree about the cheder sheini too.

R’ chaim shaul Brook farbrenging with his talmid, R’ chaim Ashkenazi at his bar mitzva

In a city where Chassidim and Misnagdim lived, the Chassidim wanted their own sh’chita. They sent a melamed to the Tzemach Tzedek to ask him about this. The Tzemach Tzedek approved of the idea, but he said it required mesirus nefesh. The Chassidim resolved to be ready to even give up their lives and began to carry out their own sh’chita. When the rav of the city, a Misnaged, heard about this, he called for the Chassidim and especially the melamed who organized the sh’chita and rebuked them for their chutzpa. He said: You are ignoramuses; what motivated you to do this?

As he yelled at them, the melamed said: Let us see who is ignorant. The rav grew even angrier at this chutzpa and continued shouting. The melamed stood firm and said: Let us, you and me, be tested; let us see who is more ignorant. The rav agreed that he and the melamed should be tested and each took a Maharsha which was printed on its own (before it was included at the end of printed Gemaras) and opened it randomly. The test would be that each of them had to say what it said in the Gemara, Rashi and Tos’fos, about which the Maharsha they had opened to was discussing, and what the Maharsha said about it. When they tested the melamed, he knew the material wherever they asked him about it. The melamed said: Now I will test the rav in the same way. At first, the rav opposed this, but the people present insisted he do as they had agreed. When the melamed tested the rav, he did not know what to answer. The rav asked the Chassidim not to

publicize this and he would allow them to have their own sh’chita. That is when the melamed realized what the Tzemach Tzedek meant when he said he would need mesirus nefesh, for he had to publicly reveal what he had worked so hard to hide for many years, namely that he was a scholar.

R’ Shaul would say: A Misnaged hates a Chassid from afar and loves him up close. A Chassid loves a Misnaged from afar and despises him up close. He explained: A Misnaged thinks a Chassid doesn’t know how to learn, but when he meets him and sees that the Chassid is a talmid chochom and mehader in mitzvos, he immediately loves him. A Chassid thinks, at first, that a Misnaged is a Jew like anyone else and just doesn’t know Chassidus, but when he meets him he discovers that he is not the Yerei Shamayim he thought he was, and he despises him.

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By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz Shliach, Beit Shaan


e are told that when the Alter Rebbe went to the Maggid of Mezritch for the first time, it was with his wife’s consent. He remained in Mezritch for a longer time than his brother, Maharil, who had gone without his wife’s consent. A wife’s consent is a very important detail in life on shlichus. I would like to mention here, at the outset, a certain shlucha who has steadfastly maintained, “I will never prevent my husband from leaving the house for holy work even though there are times I really need his help at home with the children etc. If there is a shiur, davening, mivtzaim, or any other activity, I tell him – you can go; I’ll manage.” From what I can tell, that is what most, if not all, shluchos do. Even if they don’t announce it, it is in the merit of this sacrifice and the extra effort that it takes to enable her husband to go out early in the morning as well as late at night, that they are true partners in the shlichus enterprise. Of course, this is in addition to the work that they themselves do as shluchos. They also provide counseling

services and direction at all stages of planning and executing a program, and when necessary, encouragement and moral support when the going gets tough.

In the pair of yishuvim Katzir-Harish, somewhere up north, there are 800 families. The shliach is Rabbi Avichai Cohen, together with his family. Throughout Katzir there is about a minyan of men who wear kippot, but even those who preserve the secular character of the yishuv declare that they are disciples of R’ Cohen. The women are disciples of his wife. In Katzir there are three shuls. R’ Cohen is the rav of them all. R’ Cohen told me about one of the families, mekuravim, and the role a woman played in their lifestyle change: It was Rosh HaShana five years ago and I was a new shliach. I had been on the yishuv for two weeks and was walking down the main road with a shofar in hand. A car stopped next to me. To be more precise, a driver slowed down because of a safety bump and he glanced at me for a second. I asked him if he wanted

to hear the shofar and he said yes, so I blew it. He continued on his way, but following that encounter he came to shul for Mincha on Rosh HaShana. He continued coming to all the other t’fillos and has continued to do so until today. Today, he is an inseparable part of the shul and the Chabad family on the yishuv. He once told me that he and his wife had only a civil marriage and although they have two children, they still had not had a Jewish marriage. He wanted a proper Jewish wedding. I checked to make sure that this was halachically okay (because sometimes, couples have civil marriages when the rabbinate will not allow them to marry) and then only one “little” problem remained. His wife was not interested. She refused, because agreeing to a chuppa would signal her consent to her husband’s becoming more religious. At this point, the shlucha entered the picture. Many, many conversations were needed over a two year period until the woman finally gave her consent. They married on Chanuka. Since then, the family has continued to grow stronger in its observance of mitzvos.

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All along the way, the husband and wife commented that the shlucha played no less a role than the shliach. The shlucha is both a rebbetzin as well as a friend and she had the means to explain, influence, change and build the family.

R’ Gedalia Katz and his family are shluchim at Yishuv Kadima, with a population of 18,000. Every Shabbos, they have at least one family as guests at their Shabbos table. R’ Katz emphasizes the role of his wife, not only in preparing the food and setting the table but mainly in the conversations that she has with the women of the yishuv. The K. family came to Kadima from South Africa. They came with some Chabad background and yet they looked for a quiet place, without an official Chabad community. Without planning it, they found a beautiful Chabad k’hilla around the Katz Shabbos table. They also found a Chabad shul. Every Shabbos that they are on the yishuv they eat with the shluchim, and nearly every day Mrs. K. calls Mrs. Katz to schmooze. Every so often, they drop in to visit and learn a Chassidic concept and strengthen their connection to the Rebbe and to Chassidus. Mrs. K. called the shlucha and told her that they had finally found a house on a nearby yishuv and they planned on moving soon. They were even planning the first shiur in Chassidus that R’ Katz would give in their new home. “However,” said Mrs. K., “your house is our true home. In your house we learned what a Chassidishe home looks like, and we will continue to visit you as often as we can.”

And they had thought they were going to a yishuv without a Chabad presence. The G.’s are another family who are regulars at the shluchim’s Shabbos table. They are also mekuravim to Chabad for several years. For them too, their second home (or maybe their first) is the Katz home. The G.’s had been married for a number of years without children. One day, Mrs. Katz spoke about the growing interest in having a shiur for women on the topic of family purity. Mrs. G. volunteered to organize it as a segula to have children. The shiur began and Mrs. Devora Zilberstrom came every week from Kfar Chabad to speak. Incredibly, as soon as the

When I asked him if he could give me examples of his wife’s contribution towards being mekarev people, he sounded surprised. “What do you mean? There are no examples of cases where she does not play a prominent role!”

series of shiurim began, Mrs. G. was expecting a child and she gave birth to a sweet boy they named Mendy. He also joined the Katz Shabbos table as a regular participant. Some say that the reason the kalla walks around the chassan seven times under the chuppa is so that she will understand that from that day on, her life will revolve around her husband, around the home and the shlichus they establish together. Considering the stories in this article, sometimes an entire shlichus, including the activities of the shliach, revolves around the shlucha.

One of the dynamic and successful shluchim in Haifa is R’ Yehuda Dunin. When I asked him if he could give me examples of his wife’s contribution towards being mekarev people, he sounded surprised. “What do you mean? There are no examples of cases where she does not play a prominent role! The shlucha is a full partner in accompanying, teaching and guiding entire families on the long road towards a life of Torah and mitzvos. It’s odd to speak in terms of examples.” Yet, he gave me two examples.

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Take the Y. family. The husband became interested and attended all the t’fillos and shiurim. His wife, however, not only didn’t participate; she opposed it. She didn’t want to hear a word about Judaism, not to mention a meeting or a visit with the shluchim. As I expected, my wife came to the rescue. She called the woman and invited herself (and her husband) for a brief visit. “We showed up,” said R’ Dunin, “and the woman was all prepared for us with endless questions. We sat together, drank coffee, spoke, and addressed some of her concerns. The ice melted and we sat there for a few hours. The woman saw we weren’t that scary after all and a friendship was formed. We concluded that it was now their turn to visit us. They came for a Shabbos meal and then for another one. A year and then two years went by and today the family is united in their love of Yiddishkait and their home has a Chassidishe atmosphere. The shlucha’s role is critical and it is only thanks to her friendships with women in the neighborhood that people get on board and establish religious and Chassidish homes. and living in Kiryat Shmuel. It often happens that after a busy day of shiurim at the yeshiva in Tzfas, instead of going home to spend some time with the kids, he rushes off to a Siyum HaRambam or a farbrengen at the Nachalat Binyamin Chabad shul in central Tel Aviv. He sometimes sits until late at night with a young couple from the community in Tel Aviv who need guidance regarding their marriage or Jewish life. As usual, his wife bears the brunt of it as she cares for six children, but she is a full partner in this new shlichus, which is in addition to his and her “regular” shlichus. They often go to Tel Aviv for Shabbos. Every two or three weeks, they pack up the family and take the train to Tel Aviv. The children are afraid of the numerous dogs in Tel Aviv. They are not used to this in Kiryat Shmuel. It is also hard to keep the children in all day in Tel Aviv. It is not like back home where there is an enclosed place to play and all the neighbors are religious. In Tel Aviv, when they open the door, they are right on the street, the famous Rothschild Boulevard. However, the Halpern children have gotten a Chassidishe chinuch as well as a chinuch for shlichus. The Halperns lived in Beit Shaan for their first two years of marriage and were active in shlichus. The Halperns’ 6 and 8 year old boys join the bachurim from the Chabad yeshivas on mivtza t’fillin on Fridays. Sometimes, even 4-year-old Devori goes along and helps her big brothers give out candles for Shabbos. Mrs. Halpern not only supports her husband and raises her children. When necessary, she substitutes and gives the weekly shiur to the ladies; she arranges everything that is needed for the Shabbos farbrengen in shul, and prepares the house on Rothschild Boulevard for the many guests who come from all over for the Shabbos meals. The one who runs all this is her mother, Rebbetzin Ashkenazi, who hosts 20-30 people every Shabbos. Dozens of boys and men who, until not long ago, were part of the Tel Aviv street scene, are now Chassidim who daven regularly at the Chabad shul. The Rebbetzin gives a shiur every Shabbos to the Chassidic women of Ger, Belz, and other Chassidic groups who still live in old Tel Aviv. Among her guests are top women doctors who live in the neighborhood, businessmen, a veteran tour guide who, thanks to her connection with the Ashkenazis, created a special tour for teachers tracing the histories of various courts of Admurim that were first established in Tel Aviv. Each of these tours ends at the Ashkenazi home with a conversation with the Rebbetzin about the Rebbe and Moshiach. The Ashkenazi home on Rothschild Boulevard has served as a center of outreach for years. Rabbi Aryeh Kedem and others regularly give shiurim in Gemara, Halacha, and Chassidus. Menasheh Dziashvili pays for hundreds of D’var Malchus booklets, and numerous people in the area come every week to get one. When the Ashkenazi grandchildren come, they sit on the porch that is on the busy street and hand out brochures, booklets, and Shabbos candles to passersby. Please daven for the author, Yaakov Aryeh ben Rochel, for a refua shleima.

When Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi a”h passed away suddenly Erev Pesach two years ago, his sonin-law R’ Shlomo Halpern took over his position as rav in Tel Aviv. R’ Halpern took on this new role despite his busy schedule of teaching in Tzfas, providing guidance for chassanim in Eretz Yisroel and abroad, giving shiurim to men in the Haifa area,

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PaRsHa tHouGHt

By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Before Jacob passed away, he blessed his son Joseph. Among other blessings he stated: “I have given you one portion more than your brothers, Sh’chem, which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.” The Aramaic translator of the Torah, Unkelus, translated two of the Hebrew words used here in a rather novel way. Instead of a literal translation he turned the words “charbi-my sword” into “tzlosi–my prayer” and “kashti–my bow” into “b’usi–my petitions.” The same translation can also be found in the Talmud (Bava Basra 123b). Unlike the Talmud which frequently focuses on the subtle nuances of the text, Unkelus generally remains faithful to its simple meaning. Yet, here he deems it necessary to deviate from that approach and interpret the two words for weapons allegorically as a reference to two forms of prayer. What most likely prompted Unkelus to translate Jacob’s blessing in this way is the fact that we cannot find any reference in the Torah to Jacob fighting in a physical battle over the city of Sh’chem. His sons Shimon and Levi destroyed the city unaided when they learned Dinah had been violated by the son of the city’s mayor with the complicity of the entire community. Nowhere does our parsha

mention Jacob’s role in that battle. On the contrary, Jacob was rather troubled by his sons’ rash and violent behavior and criticized them for it. Many years before, when Jacob, disguised as Esau, appeared before his father to receive the blessings, Isaac said: “The voice is the voice of Jacob and the hands are the hands of Esau.” Our Sages understood this to mean that Jacob personified the ideal of spoken prayer, while Esau embodied physical violence. How then can we understand Jacob’s claim that he had conquered Sh’chem with his sword and bow? Unkelus must have concluded that Jacob was using these terms figuratively, while actually referring to prayer. There is still a need to understand how the sword and bow relate to prayer and why Jacob referred to his prayers using two figures of speech: “my prayer” and “my petition.” Isn’t every prayer a petition to G-d and every petition to G-d a prayer? Maharsha, one of the leading commentators of the Talmud, explains that the term “sword” is used in the Torah in reference to Esau, whereas the “bow” is mentioned as Yishmoel’s instrument of choice. Jacob’s two forms of prayer correspond to the two violent modes of Esau and Yishmoel. How are we to understand these two “weapons” and their connection to Esau and Yishmoel?

Prayer, according to the Zohar, is a time of battle. We spend our entire lives surrounded by influences unreceptive to G-d and spirituality. While Torah study and Mitzvah observance fortify us against these threats to our spiritual life, it is prayer specifically that brings us to the battlefield where we tackle those negative influences head on. Regarding Jacob’s dream of the ladder, our Zohar Sages interpret it as the ladder of prayer. Midrash states that it had four rungs, which correspond with the four tyrannical empires that subjugated the Jewish people. These two explanations complement one another. Prayer is the means by which we combat the negative forces represented by these nations.

One of the obstacles we encounter is our internal Esau, which is characterized by anger, hostility, violence, bullying, brute force, obsession with power, and destructive tendencies. Esau personified the Divine trait of g’vura, which translates as “power” or “toughness.” And while his father Isaac used this trait in a positive way by being harsh on evil and demanding

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PaRsHa tHouGHt

The primary challenge we have today comes from our over indulgence in the material world – representing the inner Yishmoel. The temptations, enticements and powerful allure of the secular world have wreaked havoc on the moral and spiritual fiber of the Jewish nation, just as they have done to society in general.
of himself, Esau allowed this inherited trait of g’vura to degenerate into an evil and destructive power. Yishmoel was a son of Abraham, the paragon of kindness and love. When the Divine trait of love gets out of hand — as it did for Yishmoel — it can lead to excessive indulgence in the material and sensual aspects of life. Satisfying every desire and whim might be less destructive in the short run than the destructive evil of Esau, but in the long run it can cause a society to crumble and even disappear. The evil associated with our internal Yishmoel is more subtle and insidious. To combat the internal Esau effectively, one must use a sword. A sword is a close-range weapon that deals with an adversary standing in close proximity. It cannot be employed to reach a distant and subtle enemy. For that distant adversary one needs a bow and an arrow which can fly long distances and strike a more elusive target. Hence, the “sword” to which Jacob referred is better understood as the aspect of prayer that he used to combat the more blatant and conspicuous form of evil — the Esau form — whereas his “bow and arrow” referred to the petition component of prayer that he wielded to combat the more elusive and subtle form of evil — the Yishmoel form.

The word used for prayer that is related to the bow is “b’usi,” which means “petitions, or requests.” Of all the requests that a Jew makes in his daily prayers — specifically, in the Amida, or the Shmoneh Esrei as it is also known — the most significant one is the request for Moshiach and Redemption. This is true not only because Redemption is the most important request, but also because all our other requests are contained within it. When Moshiach takes us out of exile and ushers in the Redemption, illness, famine, poverty and all the other ills of society, particularly war and bloodshed, will cease. So when Jacob said he took Sh’chem with his “bow” – “petition” – he was intimating, prophetically, that our prayers should revolve around the request for Moshiach and Redemption. At the time of their coming, we will triumph over all our internal adversaries, including Yishmoel, the most insidious and arguably the most difficult to vanquish. To be sure, we still need to use the spiritual equivalent of the “sword” to strike against all of the overt forms of external and internal violence. In our current time, we are still witnessing the “marriage” of Esau with Yishmoel — i.e., the inclusion of violence and bloodshed within Yishmoel’s distorted aspect of “love.” This unholy merger was foreshadowed by the Biblical story of how Esau married into the family of Yishmoel, thus impregnating Esau’s violence with Yishmoel’s lust and vice versa. Recent tragic events in our own country starkly remind us that we continue to have a serious problem with violence as symbolized by Esau. We still need to wield the “sword” aspect

The Midrashic work, Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, states that the era of Moshiach will follow the Kingdom of Yishmoel. This statement implies that the Kingdom of Yishmoel will be the final “empire” and challenge for the Jewish people. For thousands of years the Jewish people have been subjected to the worst forms of tyranny and oppression – the inner Esau – culminating with the Holocaust and the spread of Communism in the last century. The primary challenge we have today comes from our over indulgence in the material world – representing the inner Yishmoel. The temptations, enticements and powerful allure of the secular world have wreaked havoc on the moral and spiritual fiber of the Jewish nation, just as they have done to society in general. No matter how insular we might think our community is, we are not impervious to the outside world’s insidious influences. This is indeed the formidable last challenge we must face before the ultimate Redemption. For that struggle, we need not only the “sword” aspect of prayer but also the “bow and arrow” of petition that can reach the most insidious influences.

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of prayer to combat this more flagrant form of evil. The most potent threat to the survival of our country – and its wellbeing – is still the decay of moral values symbolized by Yishmoel. The “bow and arrow” component of prayer is indispensable in confronting that threat and should receive

even greater emphasis. The intensity of our heartfelt pleas to G-d contained in the words “Ad Masai” (“How much longer?”) — which has reverberated through the ages — must be increased. It is not that G-d doesn’t hear the faint and muffled sounds of our cries. The problem is that we do not hear our own

voices and thus may appear to be saying these words perfunctorily. We must therefore shake the rafters with our cry and shout out to G-d: “We can’t tolerate galus – exile – in any form or shape; whether it is Esau’s or Yishmoel’s. Bring us Moshiach now!”

Continued from page 42 suited to this for they don’t have the requisite patience and there are other deficiencies. Therefore, I present the situation as it is and ask for the Rebbe’s instruction in this matter. If the Rebbe decides that they should be involved in the yeshiva, then I ask and plead for mercy for them that Hashem increase their physical strength and give them spiritual strength so they can accomplish in a proper fashion and bring about the necessary benefit, and also that Hashem provide what they lack in their own chinuch and may they still merit to go to the Rebbe. *** R’ Zalman then went on to bring up a sensitive point that could create tensions between the members of the committee. Amongst the members were some who belonged to the Mizrachi party. R’ Dovid Feiglin, for example, who was an active member of the committee and a major player when it came

to buying the building, was chairman of the Mizrachi party in Australia. Although, in his personal life, R’ Dovid zealously observed Torah and mitzvos, he was also very devoted to the party. Now that the yeshiva had bought a building in the center of Jewish life in Melbourne, R’ Zalman feared that R’ Dovid, as well as other members of the committee, would want to allow the children of the Mizrachi party to meet in the yeshiva building. Perhaps they would even ask to allow them to hold the Yavneh youth activities in the building. If these talmidim would attend activities run by Lubavitchers that would not be a problem; on the contrary. But R’ Zalman was afraid that they would want to have other activities there, under their own auspices, and would sing their songs there, etc. This was out of the question. So R’ Zalman asked the Rebbe for a bracha that he be able to walk between the raindrops by standing strong on the principles of the yeshiva while not insulting

them. He did not want them to become his opponents! R’ Zalman concluded his long letter with a request that he repeated several times in his letters, that the Rebbe send a Chassid of stature, who knew English, who could lead the Chabad mosdos of Australia forward, at least for a year. As he put it, if until then, during the yeshiva’s stay in Shepparton and Burwood, they had excuses for all the deficiencies (like being located at a distance etc.), now that they were in the center of the community and in a big, beautiful building, they could not justify not being up to par. “The goal is to increase the number of students and to expand proper chinuch, especially inner (i.e. Chabad Chassidic) chinuch. It is obvious that we, who don’t know the language and are not familiar with the children’s sensibilities and games, even if we were good educators, would not be able to properly work with the children here.”

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R’ Zalman reports to the Rebbe about the miracles that happened in connection with the purchase of the new yeshiva building. * From the life of R’ Yehoshua shneur Zalman serebryanski a”h.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz

t was after R’ Zalman thought he had explored all possibilities and had nearly reached the point of despair that salvation suddenly occurred. A suitable building was found in the center of the Jewish community. The committee was enthusiastic about it and decided to buy it. The owner agreed that they could pay part of the sum in cash and the rest in installments. When the owner died a short time later, his wife and son donated the rest of what was owed to the yeshiva in the man’s memory. All this did not happen in one day, of course, but over a period of months, yet R’ Zalman felt that the wheel was starting to turn and the many brachos that the Rebbe had showered them with were beginning to be fulfilled. This is how R’ Zalman described the chain of events in a long letter that he wrote to the Rebbe on 20 Adar I 5714/1954: After half a year of searching for a building for the yeshiva, and after the anguish we suffered, and in recent weeks seeing that under these circumstances the


holy mosad might collapse, I was despondent and there were days that I could do nothing. I did not even have strength to walk. In my personal life, Hashem granted me what definitely came from the “concealed world,” and we endured great suffering, may Hashem have mercy. However, this must be accepted with love, and this is what we did. We accepted the suffering with love and we ask Hashem to have mercy on us with the endowment of open good, especially when the Rebbe displayed great kiruv to us in our personal matters. But regarding the yeshiva, I could not find consolation. I spoke of my sorrow to Anash and my children, and we wondered: Why doesn’t Hashem grant us success in finding a suitable building? There were two buildings that could be considered because they were suitable in some way. For the first building they wanted 15,000 and for the second building they wanted 13,000, but most members of the committee opposed buying these buildings

because of the cost. Seeing the situation with the yeshiva, that we could wait no longer, I went last Thursday evening to Mr. Neuman and asked him to help us buy the building for 13,000. He promised to meet with me the following week, on Sunday, at three in the afternoon, for me to show him the building. In the meantime, I found out from the newspapers Sunday morning about the sale of a big building for 20,000. Although I could not even speculate about buying such a building, I still asked R’ Sholom [Gutnick] to arrange a meeting for 3:30 to see it. I waited for Mr. Neuman. When three o’clock passed and he hadn’t arrived, I was very upset. I said to my son Chaim that I had no more strength to bear this. I would have to write to the Rebbe that if Hashem did not grant me success, I could no longer be involved with the yeshiva. As I was saying this, Mr. Neuman arrived and we went to see the 13,000 building and nearly decided to buy it. Nevertheless, we decided to also see the large building. As soon as we arrived, upon seeing the large rooms which were more beautiful

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than anything we had seen, Mr. Neuman was very impressed and he told me we had to buy it. He immediately began talking with the owner. The end of the matter was reached last night. Nearly all the members of the committee met at Mr. Neuman’s house, and after some discussion we all went to the building as Mr. Neuman had prearranged with the owner. It was 9:30 at night and we were there for over two hours. Thank G-d, we concluded the purchase at 18,000 lira (referring to Australian Dollars – Ed.), but now we have to get permits from the city to have a yeshiva there and a shul, because they told us that if we did not get a permit, it was possible that when they heard that we were doing it on our own, that they would not allow it. So we need great mercy, because a building like this is hard to find, especially in the very center of where Jews live. May Hashem have mercy on us to grant us success in our buying and arranging for the yeshiva to be located in it, and that from now on we should be able to report to the Rebbe only good, happy news. *** In the letters that R’ Zalman sent the Rebbe in those days, he noted in amazement how the members of the committee had changed their minds when they saw the new building. For during the previous year they had said that a small building would have to suffice at a cost of up to 10,000 (they had 6000 from the sale of the building in Burwood, another 2000 from commitments of wealthy people, and the members of the committee were willing to undertake responsibility for another small sum) and now they sat down for serious negotiations

over a building whose cost was 20,000! The building made a good impression on all the members of the committee. It was spacious and had a huge yard behind it, much like a ranch, with forty fruit trees and chicken coops. The owner was a Jew in his seventies by the name of David Lieber. In his youth he had emigrated from Europe, had done well in business, and was very wealthy. He owned a number of theaters. His wife was good natured and kept basic mitzvos like kashrus of foods and separating milk and meat. When he met with the members of the committee, his wife was present. Mr. Lieber told the committee that a few days earlier a delegation of members of a Christian community had visited him. They wanted to buy the building and have a cloister there. They offered 25,000 for the building and he nearly agreed, but then his wife intervened and said she refused to have a Christian building on their land. Now, when the members of the vaad wanted to buy the building for the yeshiva, his wife was happy and he agreed to lower the price to 20,000. R’ Dovid Feiglin conducted the negotiations and managed to get the price lowered to 18,000. Since the vaad had 6000 available and another 2000 in commitments, they suggested to Mr. Lieber that when they signed the contract they would give him 8000, and would pay the rest in installments, 1000 a year. Mr. Lieber, who was not religiously observant, asked how much interest they were willing to pay. R’ Zalman explained that according to the Torah, it was forbidden to pay or accept interest. Mr. Lieber finally agreed

to forgo the interest. At this point, R’ Zalman saw they were about to sign a contract and he quickly sent a telegram to the Rebbe with the good news. But when he went to Mr. Lieber’s house to sign the contract, he discovered that it would not be happening so fast. Mr. Lieber was very particular about every clause in the contract. The contract he had prepared contained thirty pages with every detail about the sale. He wanted to be sure they would pay all the money, down to the last penny, and he put dozens of conditions and exceptions into the contract, in which only after they finished paying would the hanhala of the yeshiva receive absolute ownership of the building. Until then, according to the contract, the hanhala could make no changes to the building. All this took close to a month. R’ Zalman reported to the Rebbe about the delays, and in a letter that he sent on 26 Adar I he wrote: About the building, I sent a telegram about the completion of the purchase and that we need much mercy to obtain a permit from the city to have a yeshiva there. When we went yet again, yesterday, to complete the purchase, the owner began weighing us down with conditions. We were there for two hours, and the matter remained hanging. Now, the main protagonist in this is R’ Dovid Feiglin. Previously, the opinion of the Feiglin family was that we should buy a building commensurate with the money we had, but when they saw this building they changed their minds and all agreed to buy it, not considering the great expense, and that according to their assessment it is not worth that much. They

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R’ Zalman believed that within a short time he would have 150 students who would need several talented teachers, and these did not exist.

estimated it at 15,000, but since it is suitable for the yeshiva both because of its size and quality and because of its location, they all agreed to buy it. Now, the delay is due to the weighty conditions of the seller. As for applying for a permit, the entire Feiglin family is of the opinion not to ask for it now, and we will see later. They are residents of this country, and therefore we relied on them in this matter. Regardless, we need great success in completing the purchase so that we can, with Hashem’s help, buy it immediately on easy terms and so that we don’t have concealments and difficulties from the police. Just as Hashem helped us by providing us with this building, so too it is vital that Hashem help us buy it and in all the rest of the details, for we do not know what else we can do. We visited with Mr. Gutwirth and he gave us regards, as well as twenty shekel (i.e. dollars) for the farbrengen, from the Rebbe. We have yet to suggest any specific involvement in the yeshiva on his part and we only spoke in general terms with him. When we buy the building, G-d willing, and approach the issue of setting up a working committee, we will consider then what to propose to him. And may Hashem have mercy and help us with good counsel and with much success. We are willing to devote ourselves to the yeshiva and all matters of the Rebbe with all our beings; it is only vital that Hashem grant us success, for otherwise, G-d forbid, we cannot

hope to sustain and certainly not develop the mosad. Yehoshua Shneur Zalman ben Nechama *** After sending off the letter with the report, R’ Zalman received the Rebbe’s response to his first letter and the telegram. It contained the Rebbe’s blessing to buy the building and a check from one of the Rebbe Rayatz’s funds. R’ Zalman gave the check for 100 AUD to the Feiglin family as a sign of appreciation for their efforts on behalf of the yeshiva. While arranging the final details in the contract, the committee also worked on obtaining permits from the city which would enable them to change the legal status of the building from a private farm to a public building. They received the permit at the end of Adar II and R’ Zalman quickly reported about this to the Rebbe. *** Since the committee did not want to incur great expenses, R’ Zalman decided to carry out his plans for the yeshiva in stages. In the first phase, he planned on having an afternoon Talmud Torah. This would be a program for Jewish children attending public school, whose parents wanted them to gain general Jewish knowledge. Once the students became used to attending Talmud Torah and the parents would like it, it would be possible to move on to the second phase, a full-time program. R’ Zalman also planned on

having another program for the evening in which talmidim from the yeshiva would learn with older bachurim or men from the community in an evening Kollel. R’ Zalman knew a scholarly young man who had learned in the yeshiva in Lublin and was willing to come once or twice a week to the Kollel and give shiurim. R’ Zalman hoped to enlist other men from Anash to give shiurim in Nigleh and Chassidus. The biggest challenge was organizing the afternoon Talmud Torah. R’ Zalman believed that within a short time he would have 150 students who would need several talented teachers, and these did not exist. The only one he could ask to learn with young boys was the talmid Yaakov Eliezer Herzog, one of the older bachurim in the yeshiva, who gave shiurim in Gemara to younger boys in the yeshiva. He would be able to teach children for two hours a day. R’ Zalman himself could not teach, both because he still did not know English well enough and because as menahel of the yeshiva he had to travel occasionally and might have to go on fund-raising trips. Having no other options, R’ Zalman thought he would have to ask his son Aharon and his friend Shmuel Gurewitz to leave their learning for two hours every day and teach the younger boys. In his letter to the Rebbe he described this option as a “painful consideration,” and he wrote, “I say ‘painful’ because simple logic dictates that they themselves should still be learning, and I hoped they could travel to the Rebbe. Also, according to my understanding, they are not so Continued on page 39

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