featured articles WeeKlY cOluMNs


serViNG iN Beis reBBi
Nosson Avrohom

12 WHere dO YOu feel at HOMe?
caN alreadY 16 “YOu iN tHe air tHat feel tHe reBBe is aBOut tO cOMe”
Shneur Zalman Berger

4 5 24 27 38 40

D’var Malchus Moshiach Parsha Thought Moshiach & Geula Shleimus HaAretz


sPiritual 20 cHassid,aNd fearless leader WarriOr
Avrohom Rainitz

28 learNiNG frOM Our reBBeiM HOW tO
HONOr PareNts

34 frOM ViZHNitZ tO cHaBad
R’ Dovid Rov

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D’vaR MalchUs

the Rebbe himself accompanies his shluchim, “not just ‘a shtikl Rebbe – part of the Rebbe,’ for the principle is that every manifestation of an essence is indivisible. Indeed, the Rebbe, in his entirety, goes with each of the shluchim.” the degree of caution with which one must, therefore, employ in his behavior is astounding: “they must know that when the Rebbe goes with them, he personally oversees every single movement they make, and he inspects their work in fulfilling the shlichus. Thus, it is imperative to fulfill the shlichus inscrutably.” * source materials compiled by Rabbi Majeski. (Bold text indicates translation. Underlining is the author’s emphasis.)
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

imperative to fulfill the shlichus inscrutably
Towards the end of the sicha of 12 Tammuz, the Rebbe MH”M describes the extent to which the Rebbe Rayatz oversees and accompanies Chassidim on shlichus. Yes, the Rebbe himself accompanies his shluchim, “not just ‘a shtikl Rebbe – part of the Rebbe,’ for the principle is that every manifestation of an essence is indivisible. Indeed, the Rebbe, in his entirety, goes with each of the shluchim.” The degree of caution with which one must, therefore, employ in his behavior is astounding: “They must know that when the Rebbe

goes with them, he personally oversees every single movement they make, and he inspects their work in fulfilling the shlichus. Thus, it is imperative to fulfill the shlichus inscrutably.” The same applies to those who are not going on shlichus per se but are merely tending to their domestic affairs – that too must be seen as the shlichus of the Rebbe; not a pursuit of one’s own interests. Indeed, since the Rebbe accompanies all those who go on his shlichus, “he surely provides them with all they need…in order that they shall have great success, both materially and spiritually.” And the Rebbe concludes: “Der Rebbe zahl

gezunt zain (the Rebbe, may he be well)” – as one of the Chassidim wrote to me [after the histalkus – see sicha of Rosh Chodesh Sivan, above pg. 83] – “will certainly lead us towards Moshiach,” speedily in our times, amen.
(Ibid 138-139)

free of boDily limitations; not free of mitZvos
There are those who are afraid that after the histalkus the Rebbe has become [separated from the world, as expressed in the verse] “ba’meisim chofshi – free, among the dead” (T’hillim

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88:6; see Shabbos 30a, where it is discussed). However, the truth is that “ba’meisim chofshi” is not said regarding everyone, as is explained in Seifer Chassidim. Unlike others (all other men) who have died and are free from the obligation of Mitzvos, the righteous, who are called “alive” even in the wake of their passing, remain obligated in Mitzvos even after their histalkus. The latter sheds light on what is stated in the Gemara (K’suvos 103a, as well as Chiddushei Agados Maharsha there) – that after the passing of Rabbeinu HaKadosh, he would come to his home every Erev Shabbos to make Kiddush. Seifer Chassidim adds that “he would thereby discharge others (the members of his household) of their obligation to make Kiddush” (notwithstanding the fact that one who is not obligated in Kiddush is not able to discharge others of their obligation. (See Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe Orach Chayim 271:7; see also the sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach ois 6, Toras Menachem pg. 26.)). The reason why this was possible is because

Rabbeinu HaKadosh is not considered as one who has died and is exempt from Mitzvos. Rather, he maintains the obligation of Kiddush (among all other obligations) as before [his histalkus]. This concept explains how it would have been possible to include Avrohom Avinu in a minyan of ten, as related in a story brought in Eimek HaMelech, for Avrohom Avinu is unlike other deceased men, who are free of Mitzvos. The underlying premise here is that the entire concern throughout the days of the lives of neshamos klalios, collective souls, is to devote themselves entirely for the sake of their students and adherents, as well as Klal Yisroel. Nothing can possibly distract them from their focus – to the extent that even now [after their histalkus] they are not separated from their flock. (See Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz Vol. 1, pg. 141.) In order to aid and assist others in all their concerns, they remain present in the world and obligated in all matters of Torah and Mitzvos, as reflected in what was said above: liftor es ha’rabbim, discharging others of their obligation.

The concept of being “free” [of the obligation to do Mitzvos] is not applicable to them; they are obligated in all matters, as before. In fact, their obligation is even stronger, insofar as the limitations of body for them are annulled (as stated in Tanya, even one who is utterly righteous, who serves G-d with fear and “love of delights” – that person still maintains his identity as “one who loves [G-d],” which is not the case when there are no longer the limitations of the body).
(From the sicha of 18 Elul 5710, ibid 192-193)

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R’ Amram Malka from Rishon L’Tziyon went on K’vutza in 5726. That year, he had the opportunity to help out in the Rebbe’s home and the home of Rebbetzin Nechama Dina, wife of the Rebbe Rayatz. The two Rebbetzins were mekarev him and he had a special relationship with them and the Rebbe. * R’ Amram Malka reminisces.
By Nosson Avrohom Photos by Levi Yisraeli, Boruch Ezagui

ill today, R’ Amram Malka does not know how he merited the privilege of helping as mashbak (abbrev. meshamesh ba’kodesh, lit. one who serves in the holy) throughout his year on K’vutza, 5726, in the Rebbe’s home and in Rebbetzin Nechama Dina’s home. He has precious memories, such as the time he returned from Tahalucha on Shavuos and the Rebbe asked that they call him and find out if he had eaten yet, or Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka giving his wife a wedding gift as well as old shirts and coats of the Rebbe’s. R’ Malka was born in Casablanca. His family made aliya when he was a child and


settled in Pardes Chana. Seven years later, they moved to B’nei Brak. With amazing Divine Providence, when he was eleven, he and some of his brothers switched to the Chabad yeshiva in Lud. “If not for that, I would be in a different place today. The Rebbe Rashab chose our neshamos.” R’ Malka and his family now live in Rishon L ’Tziyon and are part of the Chabad k’hilla there. His friends will tell you that he is a Chassid with noble middos. He leads the way when it comes to the Rebbe and his mivtzaim. Despite his age, he works with youthful energy and regularly delivers speeches full of passion

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for the Rebbe, spiced with personal stories at farbrengens and gatherings at Chabad houses. “I kept diaries with every story and experience as each one happened.”

from the transit camp to tomchei t’mimim
As mentioned earlier, the Malka family moved to Eretz Yisroel at the beginning of the 50’s and was placed by the Jewish Agency and aliya activists in Pardes Chana. Many immigrants, especially the young ones, loved the atmosphere of freedom and pioneering spirit, which lead them off the path of Torah. The

Malka family was different, for the head of the family was a Yerei Shamayim who demanded of himself and his children to follow the straight and narrow. “My father was very close to the rav of Pardes Chana, Rabbi Diskin. He didn’t care whether the rabbi was Ashkenazi or Sefardi; he sought a Torah figure as a mentor and this rabbi fit the bill. “For a brief time we attended a public school which prided itself on its traditional stance, but my father quickly realized this wasn’t for us. He put us into a religious school, which had opened under the directorship of Rabbi Mordechai Barnes.

“Poverty made life difficult. I remember that my parents got food coupons and we waited in line for hot soup. Many were emotionally broken by this and threw off the yoke of Torah, but my father was hard as steel. He organized demonstrations in the immigrant camp so that the government would make more resources available to immigrants. He was unwilling to accept that this should come at the expense of tradition. “Our family cooperated with the Lubavitcher men who worked to save the youth from a secular education. I remember R’ Dovid Lesselbaum and others who came to the immigrant camp. We did

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not know they were Lubavitchers and received their orders from the Rebbe. “After seven years in Pardes Chana, my father decided that this wasn’t a good place for our education and we moved to a small apartment in Shikun Vav in B’nei Brak. We attended the local elementary school yeshiva. When I turned 12, I went to yeshiva at the suggestion of R’ Refael Abu of Teveria, who was the Av Beis Din in Tel Aviv. My father got to know him in Morocco after he had put in much hard work to fortify the walls of Judaism and he had started Yeshivas Otzar Ha’Torah. “That was in 1958. In Tel Aviv there was a Sephardic yeshiva with an excellent reputation, Rabbi Chafuta’s yeshiva. My father was determined that we would learn there and he asked R’ Abu for his bracha. My twin brother Avrohom and I had already packed our suitcases, but my father got the idea in his head that he still hadn’t consulted with his rav and we went to Teveria. “R’ Abu decided that we wouldn’t learn in Tel Aviv but in Lud, in the Lubavitcher yeshiva. R’ Abu’s son, Yehuda, was learning in Lud. We went to Lud that same day. We knew nothing about Chabad and the one who welcomed us there so warmly was Rabbi Eliezer Horowitz. “Learning in the yeshiva in Pardes Lud was quite an experience. Many of the talmidim were immigrants and the student population consisted of Yemenites, Russians, etc. We quickly acclimated and loved it there. “The counselors were R’ Aharon Teichman and R’ Moshe Hillel, who soon got us involved in everything. After being with the Rebbe, they were able to convey the experience in a special way. Everyone crowded around them to hear what they had to say. When we heard that R’ Zushe Posner had come from the Rebbe and was at the train station, we all left yeshiva on the spur of the moment and ran to the station to escort him with song and simcha. He emotionally described to us what he had seen and heard in Beis Chayeinu. “We felt we had gone up a rung in ruchnius. My bar mitzva was celebrated in B’nei Brak and all my classmates came on the yeshiva van, driven by R’ Yisroel Kook. I reviewed the maamer ‘U’Maayan Yatza M’Beis Hashem.’ The celebration turned into a Chassidishe farbrengen. “Every now and then we would write pidyonos to the Rebbe. We did this with great emotion. Although we did not come from Lubavitcher homes, we understood the import of writing to the Rebbe.” ‘empty vessels do not lessen.’ Three bachurim from K’vutza – Zalman Gopin, Nachum Zevin, and Sholom Ber Wolpo – took advantage of the auspicious moment to ask the Rebbe for a bracha that K’vutza not end after Pesach, but continue for an entire year until after Tishrei 5727. The Rebbe gave his bracha that this should work out legally and that is what happened. The IDF gave permission for another half a year. “My first connection with Beis Rebbi began shortly after I arrived at 770. Before Sukkos, R’ Shlomo Reinitz tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Amram, come help me put the Rebbe’s sukka together.’ I was happy to oblige. The sukka that we built was in the Rebbe Rayatz’s home upstairs. Then we built Rashag’s sukka and then the Rebbe’s sukka on President Street. “I will never forget the excitement I felt. Out of thousands of Chassidim, I was picked! What a z’chus! “We went upstairs and met Rebbetzin Nechama Dina. Reinitz introduced me as Amram Malka from Morocco. She did not hear well and we communicated through writing. The wood was in the basement and we brought up the boards which were damp and old. We built the sukka on the porch. At a certain point, I opened one of the doors and waited for Reinitz who was supposed to come. The Rebbetzin came out and asked me not to stand there. At first, I did not understand why not. After we finished building the sukka I asked Reinitz, who explained that that room was the yechidus room and it was where they did the tahara of the Rebbe Rayatz. It was a room that people did not enter.

When R’ Amram finished learning in Lud, he learned for another three years in Tomchei T’mimim in Kfar Chabad. These three years transformed him into a Chassid. He and his brother began to keep Chabad customs. “For Tishrei 5726/1965 we went to 770 for our year on K’vutza. The initial plan was to remain there for half a year, until after Pesach, but we ended up spending a year there, until after Tishrei 5727. I still remember reciting the SheHechiyanu blessing when we saw the Rebbe for the first time. “Purim time, half a year after we had arrived, was very joyous. This Purim was later referred to as Purim HaGadol. Mashke flowed and the Rebbe spoke about

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“The next day, we built Rashag’s sukka. After that, I came and went from the Rebbe Rayatz’s home. Whenever Sholom Gansbourg or Shlomo Reinitz needed help with something, they called me. When we built the Rebbe’s sukka on President Street, we entered through the front door and went through the kitchen where we met Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. She greeted us, looking most regal. We went up and down the stairs many times in order to bring up the sukka boards. The Rebbetzin offered us apples and apple juice. “Pesach time, I was asked to help with the cleaning. I helped the Rebbetzin’s aide, Mrs. Mussia, quite a bit. “To my great surprise, I was invited to eat with the Rebbe on Pesach. The meal took place in the Rebbe Rayatz’s home. The Rebbe and Rashag sat facing one another and in the center was the Rebbe Rayatz’s empty chair. I squeezed in a corner, among the elder Chassidim at the end of the Rebbe’s side of the table. “That was the first Chabad seder I had ever seen. I had only seen Moroccan s’darim until that point. Sholom Gansbourg served and sometimes he gave me the honor of serving the Rebbe and taking away the plates. The Rebbe always said ‘yashar ko’ach.’ The Rebbe was particular about this in every circumstance. With both the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin one could see the concern and great sensitivity in every detail. The Rebbe would not start eating until everyone was served, including us, the waiters. He would glance towards his side of the table and the other side, and only when he saw everyone seated did he begin to eat. “I was shy; if I hadn’t been

“I spent many hours working until I reached the Rebbe’s chair. Next to it there was one open drawer. Without touching it, I could see that it was full of pictures that the Chassidim had sent him.”
Rebbe Rayatz’s apartment. When I arrived there, the Rebbe saw me and motioned me to come over. He asked whether I had davened. I answered that I was still before the davening. I understood that the Rebbe wanted me to daven and join the meal. “Later on, people who were at the meal told me that the Rebbe did not see me with everyone else and he asked where I was and where I was eating. I davened, and when I finished I stood on the side and only then did they begin to bentch. I stood there until the Rebbe finished bentching and after wishing everyone a ‘Gut Yom Tov,’ he left and I sat down to eat my Yom Tov meal. I had plenty to think about regarding the Rebbe’s sensitivity. “With the Rebbetzin too, I saw her refinement and her concern for detail. The Rebbetzin was a genteel, quiet woman with an angelic face. Her wisdom and personal conduct were astounding. After my second

expressly called and invited, I would not have come. “On Shavuos of that year, I decided that even though I was mashbak, I still wanted to fulfill the Rebbe’s horaa and go on Tahalucha. That being the case, I did not make an appearance to help serve at the table, but instead I left with some people for a distant shul. I thought that after the davening everyone ate and went to 770 and then the Rebbe came down from the Rebbe Rayatz’s apartment to bless those who had gone on Tahalucha. I left hungry and returned hungry. I hadn’t made Kiddush and hadn’t davened yet. “When I went to Gan Eden HaTachton to daven, some bachurim told me that the Rebbe was looking for me. The entrance was full of Chassidim and I couldn’t take even one step, but when they heard that the Rebbe was looking for me, they raised me above everyone’s heads until I reached the stairs leading to the

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yechidus, I went upstairs to the older Rebbetzin. Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka was there with her mother. Since I had been fasting, my head hurt. She noticed this and I said yes, I had a headache. She asked me to sit down and eat and asked that I wait while she tiptoed to another room. “The Rebbetzin was wearing heels and since the floor was made of wood, she didn’t want to wake anyone. Mussia, her helper, was already sleeping. I waited in the hall on the left, in the foyer that led to the dining room, bedroom and the Rebbe Rayatz’s room. After some time, she returned with a package of aspirin. She gave me two tablets and said, ‘Amram, take these pills and go and rest. Don’t spend time outside so you won’t get a cold.’ “What sensitivity! I felt that she was like a mother taking care of her son, rather than that I was worker in the Rebbe’s house.” touching it, I could see that it was full of pictures that the Chassidim had sent him. On top was a picture of the Heber family who was on shlichus in Romania. “I had the privilege of cleaning the Holy of Holies, Gan Eden HaElyon. “I had yechidus three times in that room: when we arrived at 770, on my birthday, and a few days before I returned to Eretz Yisroel. Before my final yechidus, I debated with myself about what to give the Rebbe as a memento. I was reminded of the pictures I had seen in the Rebbe’s drawer and asked my family to send a picture with all of us in it. I bought a frame on Kingston Avenue with glass and a special coating and inserted the picture and put it in an envelope. I included a pidyon nefesh with a request for a bracha for the future. I brought all this with me to the yechidus. As soon as I walked in, the Rebbe blessed me with wishes for my future life. As for my specific questions, the Rebbe suggested that I confer with the hanhala of the yeshiva. “Then I gave the Rebbe the envelope. The Rebbe opened it and I stood there on tenterhooks. The Rebbe looked at the picture. Then he took the frame and removed the paper and cardboard from the back. I watched and did not understand why he was doing this. “Then the Rebbe said to me: They would bring bikkurim to the Beis HaMikdash. The wealthy person would bring the bikkurim in vessels of silver, while the poor man’s bikkurim were placed in wicker baskets. The Kohanim would take the whole thing from the poor man, while from the wealthy man they would only take the fruit. They would return the vessel to him. I also am taking just the picture and returning the frame to you. “I watched the Rebbe and felt a powerful love for him. What a special Rebbe … what sensitivity … The Rebbe could have handed back the frame and simply said he didn’t need or want it. The Rebbe appeased me with a halacha.”

the visit to the rebbe on yuD shvat
Over the years, R’ Malka made a number of visits to 770 and kept up his relationship with the Rebbetzin. “When R’ Binyamin Klein would meet me, he would give me the Rebbetzin’s number and ask me to call her. I would go to a public phone and call. The Rebbetzin would always say, ‘It’s good hear from you. We will yet see you.’ “I was still single when the extraordinary Yud Shvat of 5730 came around. Those were ten fabulous days in which everyone spoke about Moshiach’s Torah scroll. I flew to the Rebbe. A shidduch suggestion had been made, but since I did not receive an answer from the Rebbe, I did not get involved. At 770, I submitted a note and that is when I received a response, but something interesting preceded it. “The Rebbetzin was spending a lot of time with her mother. I would go up, knock on the door, and they always looked happy to see me. They would serve me cake or candies. That year, I told the Rebbetzin, whom I looked upon as a mother, about the shidduch suggestion. I told her that nothing was happening because I had not yet received a response from the Rebbe. I had come for just ten days and would be leaving soon, and I didn’t

the Z’chus to clean Gan eDen haelyon
“One Friday, I returned to 770 early from my visit to Toronto. R’ Groner, who saw me and knew I helped out in the Rebbe’s house, asked me to clean the Rebbe’s room. On Motzaei Shabbos an important guest, President Shazar, would be coming. The Rebbe wasn’t in his room and the room was full of s’farim. In the center was the desk constructed by boys from the vocational school. I had to empty it all out and clean the room. “I was wearing a coat and I was soaked through, but it was sweat for a mitzva. I spent hours working until I reached the Rebbe’s chair. Next to it there was one open drawer. Without

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know what to do. She reassured me that everything would be fine. “It was shortly after that that I received the Rebbe’s response and I became engaged to my wife Shoshana. After I became engaged, I went back to 770 as it was the custom for chassanim to do. I went up again to the Rebbetzin and told her the good news. She was very happy and blessed me with mazal tov and many other wishes. She said I should not forget to come for a gift. “Before I returned home for the wedding I went to the Rebbetzin and she gave me a large box of quality chocolates. ‘Give this to your kalla as a gift from me,’ she said. Then she said, ‘Surely you will also give a gift to your kalla.’ The Rebbetzin even suggested that I consider remaining abroad because parnasa would be easier and I would be able to help my parents. She was aware of their difficult financial circumstances, but in yechidus, when I asked the Rebbe, the answer was to consult with the yeshiva’s hanhala. “Before I returned home, I met R’ Sholom Ber Gansbourg, the mashbak, who gave me a coat, shirts and socks. When I asked him where it came from, he said that the Rebbetzin wanted me to have them and they were the Rebbe’s. “The year when my brother Dovid a”h got married (he passed away a little over a year ago), I brought my wife and parents to the Rebbetzin who was happy to meet them. The conversation was awkward because the Rebbetzin spoke in Yiddish and my parents knew only Arabic and Ivrit, so I translated. But aside from that, it was a friendly meeting. The Rebbetzin asked my parents if they spoke French. My mother

knew a little French but not enough to have a conversation. Before we left, the Rebbetzin said to my wife, ‘Learn English so the next time we meet we can talk.’ “On another occasion I went to 770 and, as always, I called the Rebbetzin. She told me that on Friday, Erev Shabbos, she would be in the library and she asked me to come and wish ‘Good Shabbos.’ After candle lighting, I waited at a distance and after I saw the Rebbe leaving for 770, I knocked at her door. I could see that the Rebbetzin had been waiting for me. She welcomed me graciously and inquired about my wife and children.”

the final meetinG that DiD not happen
Every time R’ Malka wants to describe the Rebbetzin, he uses the word atzilut (nobility, refinement). “Hardly anyone knew her. She was modest, behind the scenes. You did not see her when she went to 770 and you did not see her when she left. She did everything in a low-key, hidden way. She was particular about not being obligated to anyone. After I built the sukka in her house, R’ Binyamin Klein called me and gave me an envelope from the

Rebbetzin. When I opened it, I saw $25. When I asked her later on about it, she said that since I’m an Israeli in the US, surely I needed money. That was the Rebbetzin; she wanted to pay for services rendered. “We named our first daughter Nechama Dina for her mother and then I sent the Rebbetzin a picture of her. A year later we had a son whom we named Levi Yitzchok for the Rebbe’s father. One year after that we all went to 770. I was eager for the Rebbetzin to meet my new family. “I went to the house on President Street and met Chesed Halberstam, who was also a mashbak. He said that nobody could visit now since the Rebbetzin had fallen and broken her leg. I asked him to tell the Rebbetzin that we had come to see her. He went in and came out a few minutes later and said that the Rebbetzin was very happy, but she was sorry; due to her condition she could not host us. She gave us $10 and asked me to give $5 to each child for sweets. “Unfortunately, that was my last encounter with the Rebbe’s household. Today, I try to use these memories to inspire others to connect to the Rebbe. May he come and redeem us now.”

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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. Who cries?
When R’ Shaul Brook taught us the maamer “V’Nikdashti,” he explained the section that says that in every Jewish soul there is a spark of fire which needs to be fanned into a flame. Regarding this, he said that the Dubna Maggid once went to a certain city where a wealthy but miserly man lived. They told the Maggid that it was not worth trying to see this wealthy man because there was no way he would extract any money out of him. Nevertheless, the Dubna Maggid went to see him and asked for money for the poor. The wealthy man said: If you answer three questions that I will ask you, I will give you the money. The Maggid agreed and the wealthy man asked: Why is it that when you deliver sermons everyone cries? Why don’t you cry? Why don’t I cry? The Maggid responded with a parable. Why don’t I cry? It’s like a woman who was having difficulty in labor and a midwife was called to help her. Everyone in the laboring woman’s house was crying until the baby was finally born. When they all calmed down, they asked the midwife: How come all of us were crying and only you were calm? She said: If I took to heart every woman who has difficulty in childbirth, I would be left without a heart. To respond to the question “Why does everyone except the wealthy man cry,” the Maggid told a parable about a man who was traveling in a wagon and a wheel broke. The wagon driver removed the wheel and went with his passenger to a nearby village where they saw the blacksmith blow on the coals. When a flame came out, he soldered the wheel back together. The wagon driver went back to the wagon, connected the wheel and they continued to travel. On the way, another wheel broke. The wagon driver said to his passenger: Wait here and I will go, once again, to the nearby village in order to have the wheel soldered again. The passenger said: We saw what the blacksmith did. He took a coal and fanned it into a flame. Let us also find a coal and do the same thing. The wagon driver said: Fool, didn’t you realize that inside that coal there was a tiny spark and by blowing it, it turned into a flame? Any coal you would find here wouldn’t have a spark, so how would blowing help? The Maggid concluded and said to the wealthy man: One who has a spark is moved and cries, and one who does not have a spark does not cry. It seems you don’t have a spark, and therefore my blowing doesn’t affect you at all.

you neeD to say the “lee” on your oWn
At farbrengens, R’ Shaul demanded that each of us serve Hashem ourselves and not just get by with what is being demanded of us in yeshiva. He said: An ignoramus of a chassan stood under the chuppa and the rav told him to repeat after him, word by word: “Harei At Mekudeshes.” And then the

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rav said, “Nu,” and the chassan said, “Nu.” This kept repeating itself, because the rav could not say the word “lee.” You have to say “lee” (to me) on your own.

Why DiD the neshama DescenD?
When R’ Shaul would wake up at night to use the bathroom, he would learn something afterward and only then go back to sleep. He said that the neshama ascends to heaven when we sleep and needs to descend when we wake up. When we go back to sleep, it ascends again and it is asked: Why did you descend? What will the neshama answer – in order to go to the bathroom?

The Maggid concluded and said to the wealthy man: One who has a spark is moved and cries, and one who does not have a spark does not cry. It seems you don’t have a spark, and therefore my blowing doesn’t affect you.
Russia with one of the Chassidim (I don’t remember his name). When it came time for Maariv, they began davening while still sitting. When they reached the Shma, R’ Shaul heard the Chassid say the words and then remain silent for a few hours. R’ Shaul thought the Chassid had fallen asleep, but then he heard him say, “V’Ahavta.” R’ Shaul realized that he had been delving into “Echad” that entire time.

he would learn Derech Chaim. It was so engraved in him that when he saw it, he would cry.

a halachic leniency
R’ Shaul said that one time Maskilim went to the Rebbe Rashab and said it was time to be somewhat more easygoing as far as Torah obligations were concerned, and not to be so stringent. The Rebbe told them he found a Halacha with which they could be lenient. The custom is that when burning fingernails one mixes in three wood matches, and he is prepared to grant them a lenient ruling that two would suffice.

to see anD cry
R’ Shaul said that in Lubavitch there were volumes of Derech Chaim that had the covers removed, because the mashpia R’ Shmuel Gronem Esterman would cry when he saw Derech Chaim. In his youth, R’ Gronem worked as a porter in a flour mill and in his free time

morninG Joy
R’ Shaul said about his chavrusa in Lubavitch that one could tell when he had recited the bedtime Shma properly. The following day his learning was different than usual.

G-D’s oneness
R’ Shaul once took a train in

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R’ Shaul asked: What is meant by, “It is Your way … to be patient with the wicked ones and the good not afraiD of Death ones.” Why does He need to be patient with those who are good? I’m not afraid of the moment of death. I’m afraid He explained it thus: The wicked is referring to of the moment afterward. those who know they are bad; the good are those who think they are good. the riGht cheshbon R’ Shaul would tell about someone who suffered greatly. The sick man said, “The accounts add up but it’s hard to bear.” Why me? R’ Shaul explained why the Evil Inclination is called a fool when it is actually clever. He said: It has so many people in the world who are ready to listen to it, so why does it come to me? no pleasure from this WorlD R’ Shaul would say that a Chassid needs to know that even if he sees, G-d forbid, that his Avodas Hashem will not bring him to delight in the World to Come, then he must implant in his soul that enjoying this world is certainly out of the question. Where Do you feel at home? R’ Shaul would say: There are three “heimen” (the Hebrew word “heim” means they, whereas the same word in Yiddish means home); that is to say three levels that a person can choose as his place of residence. V’Heim Lo Yod’u Derochoi (they did not know my ways) – the three completely unholy klipos, i.e. evil; Heim U’Nesheihem (they and their wives) – klipas noga, i.e. worldliness; Ki heim Chayeinu (for they are our life) – Torah and Mitzvos, i.e. holiness. no Great loss R’ Shaul would explain the statement of Chazal, “A pity over those who are lost and are not to be found”: a pity for the great men we have lost, whereas those who “are not,” they are the ones that are “to be found.”


to the GooD anD the baD

use the time
R’ Shaul would say: Why are you sleeping? The time will come when you will sleep and sleep until you get disgusted with sleeping (referring to after 120 years). be Grateful R’ Shaul would say: Give thanks to Hashem for giving you the ability to breathe. Imagine what would happen if the ability to breathe was taken from you for a few minutes; what would become of you? to KnoW hoW to asK Once, before we went to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Miron, R’ Shaul asked us: What will you ask for? He finally said: Ask that Hashem give you intelligence and then you will know what to ask for.

That is how R’ Shaul explained the verse, “In the evening he lies down with tears, and in the morning [he awakes with] joyful song,” that if you lie down with a Shma said with tears, then in the morning you will have the desire to daven with joy.

hoW to maKe your beD
I heard from a Gerrer Chassid (who lived in Rishon L ’Tziyon) that R’ Shaul told him before he got married: It says, “The first of your dough [the Hebrew word arisoseichem can also mean a cradle or bed – Ed.] is an offering to Hashem.” When you are getting married, “arisoseichem,” the first thing you need to know

is that there is a Ribbono Shel Olam; otherwise, you cannot get married. This Gerrer Chassid also said that R’ Shaul told him: You think that when you get married you will enjoy life? You should know it’s like a potch – beforehand there was nothing and afterward there is nothing and its entire existence is at the moment of contact.

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chaBaD In the MeDIa

In 5726, Yitzchak Nimtzovitz of Galei Tzahal, Israel’s Army Radio, attended a farbrengen that took place in Kfar Chabad. During his visit there, he interviewed two of the most prominent Chabad activists in Eretz Yisroel: R’ Zushe Wilimovsky (HaPartizan) and R’ Yona Adelkopf. During the interview, the Chassidim described the Rebbe and the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement in their own inimitable style. Mr. Nimtzovitz broadcast their fascinating description in a special Galei Tzahal program dedicated to outstanding Jewish personalities. This is the report in full.
Compiled By Shneur Zalman Berger Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

When the chassiDim speaK about the rebbe...
Thousands of Chassidim and supporters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe stream into Kfar Chabad each year to participate in the traditional celebration of the Holiday of Redemption, commemorating the release from Russian imprisonment of the founder of Chabad Chassidus, the Baal HaTanya, the Alter Rebbe, Nishmaso Eden. Kfar Chabad, the village of the Chassidim of the

Lubavitcher Rebbe, adorns itself on this day with the joy of those participating, and not just those who are outwardly affiliated with this ever-growing movement. This includes free-thinkers and public figures who see the Chabad Movement (acronym for Chochma, Bina, Daas – wisdom, understanding, knowledge) as one of the most positive religious phenomena of the Jewish People. This movement has engraved upon its banner the cause of Ahavas Yisroel, and in the words

of the current Rebbe of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the seventh generation since Baal HaTanya, based in New York: “The entire Jewish People are one body and one soul, and there exists the need for Jewish unity.” I sat with two Chabad Chassidim, original settlers in Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Zushe Wilimovsky and Rabbi Yona Adelkopf, who enlivened me with their remarks about the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the

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movement to which they belong. Rabbi Zushe lived in Selz, where his father served as the local rav, enduring all the events of [the Second World] War. However, he managed to escape from the ghetto and joined the partisan groups in Russia, fighting with them against the Germans in the Smolensk forests. At the end of the war, he emigrated to Eretz Yisroel, received his rabbinical ordination at the Lubavitcher yeshiva in Tel Aviv, and was one of the first settlers in Kfar Chabad, where he married and established his family. Today, his life is dedicated to the Chabad Movement in his role as secretary of Vaad Kfar Chabad. He does much with the other Chabad askanim to strengthen the Kfar. R’ Yona Adelkopf, a tall and stocky man, was born in Nikolayev, Ukraine. He was a mechanic by profession when he was still in Russia. When he was working in Rostov, he was drawn to the Chabad Movement in the underground, and he learned clandestinely in a yeshiva. At the conclusion of the war, he also

emigrated to Eretz Yisroel with thirty other families who had come at the Rebbe’s command, and they established their village, Kfar Chabad, located fifteen kilometers from Beit Dagan. In the course of time, this village has increased in size, and today it numbers two hundred families, some of whom are young people, under forty years of age. Most of the Kfar’s residents are Russian émigrés, who speak mainly Russian among themselves. All of them are Torah scholars; many of them have even learned in higher education. The main architect for the establishment of the Kfar Chabad was the [Previous] Rebbe himself in all his glory, who advised his Chassidim to emigrate to Eretz Yisroel and publicly spread his teachings. The world of the Kfar’s residents is a life filled with relevance and substance. Each day from four to six in the morning, before they go out to work, they come to learn a chapter in Gemara and Mishnayos. They do the same

during the evening hours – from six until midnight. Four hundred students study in the Kfar’s central yeshiva, and there are plans to enlarge the institution. Their hope is to double the number of residents in Kfar Chabad within two years and to establish additional businesses with the help of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Chassidim from America and the Anglo-Saxon countries. Vocational institutions also exist in Kfar Chabad, magnificent institutions. A yeshiva student who doesn’t show special talents in his learning and has difficulties in continuing with yeshiva studies is transferred to one of the vocational schools to learn a trade: carpentry, printing, or agriculture. He works half a day and studies Chassidic philosophy during the other half.

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Chabad Chassidim also tend to the girls, and Kfar Chabad has a primary school where 150 girls study, along with a professional vocational school and a teachers’ seminary. The teachers learn in seminary for four years, and then they immediately receive work in one of the twenty schools for Chabad Chassidim spread throughout Eretz Yisroel included in the state education network, in which about six thousand students learn. It’s literally a pleasure to speak with Chabad Chassidim. They’re always happy and cheerful, cleaving to G-d and their holy Rebbe. They see him not only as their Rebbe, but as the king of the entire Jewish People. When they’re speaking about their Rebbe, don’t interrupt them. Their words become most impassionate, their eyes sparkle, and you feel their tremendous faith and total devotion to the Rebbe. Seventy Chassidim were privileged this year to fly to New York for the High Holidays. Rabbi Zushe and Rabbi Yona were among the lucky ones, and they spoke with the Lubavitcher Rebbe in a private audience. Close to three thousand Chassidim from all over the world came to the Rebbe for the High Holidays, among them Sephardic Jews and new Chassidim, primarily young people who learn in the yeshivos opened by the Lubavitcher Rebbe several years ago throughout North Africa, giving him a great reputation in these countries. Tens of thousands of students, coming from both ultraOrthodox and secular homes, enraptured by the holy Torah, learn in eighty yeshivos that the Rebbe has founded in the United States. There have also been many cases where these yeshiva students bring their assimilated parents back to their Jewish roots. The Rebbe personally meets with his Chassidim and those seeking his guidance three times a week, from six in the evening until the wee hours of the morning. R’ Zushe and R’ Yona submitted personal questions to the Rebbe in order to receive his advice, and he responded to each one of them. At the conclusion of their visit, the Rebbe asked them to deliver his blessing to every Jew that they meet in Eretz Yisroel for a good new year. In addition, he instructed Chabad Chassidim to expand Kfar Chabad, establish additional communities for Chabad Chassidim, cleave to the Torah, and love Eretz Yisroel. to bring children back to the meaningful path of Ahavas Yisroel, not out of overzealous religious fanaticism, but out of love. “We always speak to the good inclination,” R’ Zushe tells me. “The evil inclination is the inclination of war, and we refrain from arguing with it.” They work to bring the word of Chabad to the kibbutzim, from Mapai to Shomer HaTzair. They have a connection with the secretariat of the kibbutzim, and they set a special day for them to come to one kibbutz or another. The Chabad people appear in the kibbutz’s large dining hall: two of them speak about Chabad Chassidus and another three comprise a choir to sing chassidic songs. They speak mainly about Chassidus, faith from the heart, and love for fellow Jews. Afterwards, they begin to inspire the kibbutz members with their singing. R’ Zushe, who participates regularly in these encounters, tells me that the enthusiasm among the kibbutz members is beyond description, and they welcome the Chabad Chassidim with great warmth. Many of them join the singing, and afterwards they ask questions. The Chassidim distribute material on Chabad Chassidus, and the kibbutznikim are invited to visit Kfar Chabad, where the Chabad Women’s Organization organizes hospitality for them. There have even been cases where the kibbutz members expressed their desire to begin learning in a Chabad yeshiva, and many of them even asked them to send a chazzan for Yom Tov and to open a synagogue on the kibbutz. But Chabad Chassidim don’t just operate on the kibbutzim; their work is also spread throughout the cities. Chabad Chassidim appear in

“he receives almost as many letters as the presiDent of the u.s.”
R’ Zushe and R’ Yona tell me with much enthusiasm: “Not only do Chassidim visit the Rebbe. Politicians, generals, and all prominent Americans come to consult with him. He is a man of great stature, second only to the President of the United States in the number of letters he receives from his followers and disciples throughout the globe. Fortunate are we to have such a Rebbe. He is not only our pride – he is the pride of the entire Jewish People.” With great reverence, his ardent Chassidim add: “You can already feel in the air that the Rebbe is about to visit Eretz Yisroel. You live unrestricted lives; you can’t feel this. But as Chassidim, we already feel it; if only the Rebbe would come and settle in Eretz Yisroel. Our joy would have no limit.” Chabad Chassidim see themselves as being entrusted with a tremendous mission:

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almost every large school, per special agreement with the administration, which sees this as a positive educational program. However, even this is not enough. Thousands of children roam the streets during afterschool hours, wasting their valuable time. Chabad Chassidim have created for these children “Chedrei Torah Ohr,” where kids gather together after school and several young Chassidim teach them Chassidic songs and stories about Chassidus and their holy Rebbe. The children absorb their words thirstily. R’ Yona Adelkopf, who began spreading the teachings of Chabad Chassidus when he was still in Rostov, Russia, initiated the idea of “Chedrei Torah Ohr” clubs, and he is their living spirit. He has already established dozens of these clubs all over the country, and his students continue to grow in number. Is there a budget for this? He doesn’t deny that there are many difficulties, yet there are those who come to his aid, and R’ Yona doesn’t give up. He has just requested assistance from the Ministry of Education for his programs. He hopes to receive the requested budget allocation, and for his part, he’s doing the blessed work of teaching Jewish children about Ahavas Yisroel. So why shouldn’t they come to his assistance?

R’ Yona Adelkopf (far right) at a farbrengen with the Rebbe

R’ Zushe Wilimovsky (HaPartizan) at Dalet Minim distribution

“everythinG floWs accorDinG to the rebbe”
Chabad Chassidim customarily don’t do a thing without asking the Rebbe’s advice first. A copy of every letter sent from the Kfar’s secretariat is also forwarded to the Rebbe sitting in New York. All decisions made at

general Kfar Chabad meetings and by all the Kfar’s chosen representatives must receive the Rebbe’s approval. However, it isn’t just public issues that are brought before the Rebbe. Even in his private life, a Chabad Chassid doesn’t do a thing without receiving his Rebbe’s permission. If he decides to open a business, if a position is offered to him, if he chooses to expand his business or sell it, he’ll first write to the Rebbe and wait for his answer before making a move. When a young person decides to get married, he’ll submit the proposed matches to the Rebbe, detailing each one of them, and only the Rebbe will determine whom he shall marry.

If, Heaven forbid, a Chassid or a member of his family becomes ill, and the doctor feels that he has to undergo an operation or stop working for a certain period of time, the Chassid will not follow the doctor’s orders until the matter is presented to the Rebbe first. As I bid goodbye to R’ Zushe and R’ Yona, they expressed their wish that any Jew who has sorrows and worries (and what Jew doesn’t have sorrows and worries?) should write to the Rebbe and ask his advice, and then those asking will see how good and proper the Rebbe’s advice is. And as they were doing this, they stuck the Rebbe’s address in New York into my hand.
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Rabbi Avrohom Dov Hecht a”h was a Chassid and mekushar to the Rebbe. * Upon being appointed rabbi of the Syrian community, as rabbi of the Shaarei Tziyon synagogue in Flatbush, he led a k’hilla of 1000 Syrians. As president of the Igud HaRabbanim, Rabbinical Alliance of America, he carried out many missions for the Rebbe. He fought fearlessly for the Rebbe’s battles of Mihu Yehudi and Shleimus HaAretz.
By Avrohom Rainitz

abbi Avrohom Dov Hecht a”h was a second generation American, born in 1922. His parents were Yehoshua (Shea) and Sarah Hecht of Brownsville in Brooklyn. His father was born in 5656/1896 in the US after his parents, R’ Hirsh Meilich and Itta Dreizel, immigrated to the US in 5645/1885. They left the Galician town they lived in after receiving the bracha of the Shiniver Rebbe, Rabbi Yechezkel Halberstam. In those days, moving to America was out of the question for religious Jews. How could they leave the Chassidic town with its life of Torah and t’filla from morning till night, and immigrate to America where


the spiritual level was so low with no religious schools for the children? But after receiving this bracha, he began planning for the trip. When he parted from the tzaddik, his Rebbe gave him a pushka and asked him not to forget his fellow Jews back in Europe. R’ Hirsh Meilich fulfilled his Rebbe’s request and as soon as he arrived in America, he started the charitable organization called Ezras Tzaddikim for Jews in Poland and Galicia. In Brownsville, R’ Hirsh Meilich’s home was open to all and he willingly helped Jews in need. On Fridays, his wife would get up at two in the morning so she would have time to cook for Shabbos.

R’ Hirsh Meilich opened a shtibel in Brownsville called Rei’im Ahuvim. Minyanim took place there from early morning until late afternoon. Whoever went to the shul received a hot glass of tea and a piece of cake baked by his wife. Whoever tried the shul one time usually returned again and again. People were drawn there because they connected to the homey atmosphere. Within a short time, R’ Hirsh Meilich started building a mikva. He bought two houses, connected them, and built a mikva. Throughout the area people knew of the beautiful mikva he had built. When the Rebbe Rayatz visited various cities America in

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1929-1930, he also visited the neighborhood of Brownsville. The Rebbe arrived Friday afternoon and headed for the mikva. The mikva was usually closed at that hour, but R’ Hirsh Meilich anticipated that the Rebbe would want to visit the mikva and he had gotten it ready in the Rebbe’s honor. He spread out new rugs on the floor and brought new towels. After the Rebbe immersed, he left a $10 bill for R’ Hirsh Meilich, which was a large sum in those days. R’ Hirsh Meilich said: I collect tz’daka for the Jews of Galicia and Poland, how can I take such a large sum for myself? “If that is your decision,” said the Rebbe, “I want to bless you that your grandsons will be

amongst my ardent Chassidim!” R’ Hirsh Meilich answered “amen” with great enthusiasm, for in those days, a bracha like that was worth millions. Nobody was sure that he could raise all his children in the way of Torah, certainly not one’s grandchildren. And here was a bracha not only for his children but for his grandchildren too! When R’ Hirsh Meilich’s son Shia was born, there weren’t yeshivos to send him to. Since they wanted to raise their children with a proper chinuch, they sent young Shia across the ocean to Yeshivas Chayei Olam in Yerushalayim where he learned for six years. Upon his return in 1920, he

married Sarah, the daughter of R’ Yehoshua Oster, a Chassidishe man who lived in nearby Greenpoint. They established a Jewish home and had six sons: Shlomo Zalman, Moshe Yitzchok, Avrohom Dov, Yaakov Yehuda, Peretz and Sholom.

tanya classes
When R’ Avrohom Dov was old enough for yeshiva, there was an elementary yeshiva operating in Brownsville called Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin which he attended, but after a number of years he joined his older brothers who were learning in Yeshivas Torah Vodaas in Williamsburg. The Chassid R’ Yisroel Jacobson, who immigrated

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to America, also lived in Brownsville. Within a short time, R’ Yisroel became involved with all aspects of Jewish life that the Hecht family was involved in. Aside from his work in Brownsville, he also worked to spread Chassidus by giving shiurim in yeshivos etc. He would visit Torah Vodaas to give shiurim in Tanya. He later gave deeper shiurim in his home for bachurim who wanted more. R’ Shlomo Zalman took an interest in Chassidus and he brought his brother Avrohom Dov to shiurim. They were regular visitors at the Jacobsons’ house. R’ Shlomo Zalman became engaged to the daughter of R’ Jacobson on 3 Nissan 5698/1938. Right after the Tanaim, he stopped shaving, which made a tremendous impression on all the bachurim in yeshiva. Who could believe it? An American bachur who didn’t shave! as well as the bachurim themselves, had second thoughts. Should they make this trip? At a certain point, Mordechai Fisher wrote a letter to the Rebbe Rayatz about their parents’ fears and he asked whether to go or not. The Rebbe’s answer was they had nothing to fear. When R’ Avrohom and his friends heard the Rebbe’s answer, they sighed with relief. Now they had a bracha from the Rebbe for the trip. Once it was determined that they were going, they had to take care of passports and visas. With R’ Jacobson’s help they arranged their documents swiftly and R’ Avrohom began to count down towards the day when they would be traveling to the Rebbe. When R’ Avrohom picked up his documents from the post office, he ran to his parents’ home and excitedly woke his mother and told her the good news. She wasn’t pleased about his plan to travel to such a danger zone, and she woke up her husband. They both tried to convince him to remain in the US, far from Europe which was on the brink of war. However, when they saw how he yearned to travel to the Rebbe, they relented and gave him their consent for the trip. Two days later, at 11:30 in the morning, the pier was full of people who had come to escort the bachurim. The simcha and dancing of Anash mingled with the crying of relatives. Not only relatives had come to see them off but many Lubavitchers who had heard about the special trip were also there to escort them. R’ Avrohom and his friends arrived on the shore of France where the Chassid R’ Shneur Zalman Schneersohn was waiting for them.

first encounter With the rebbe
R’ Avrohom met the Ramash, the Rebbe Rayatz’s son-in-law, for the first time in France. He welcomed the group and spoke to them about the great z’chus they had in being able to go to the Rebbe and learn in his yeshiva. On Wednesday, Rosh Chodesh Elul, one week after they left New York, the group arrived at Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim Lubavitch in Otvotzk. They were welcomed by the rosh yeshiva, R’ Yehuda Eber. Their first encounter with the Rebbe Rayatz took place on Friday afternoon. R’ Yisroel Jacobson went into yechidus with them and they heard the Rebbe say a maamer, which was etched into their hearts forever. As the days went by, news about the imminent war became more insistent. R’ Avrohom Dov and his friends had been sitting and learning for only a few weeks when war broke out. They were informed by the American embassy in Otvotzk that as American citizens they must leave Poland. Before they left, they had yechidus and the Rebbe Rayatz blessed them: May Hashem help that we meet again in good health. Fortified by this bracha of the Rebbe, R’ Avrohom and his friends, along with his brother and his wife, left Poland for Riga. From there they traveled to the US and arrived back home in Cheshvan. With the arrival of the Rebbe Rayatz on 9 Adar 5700/1940, Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in New York was founded. R’ Avrohom was one of the first talmidim of the newly established yeshiva. He sat and learned until

travelinG to the rebbe rayatZ
In 1939, six bachurim traveled to Otvotzk in Poland to learn by the Rebbe Rayatz. R’ Avrohom Dov traveled with Mordechai Dov Altein, Meir Greenberg, Zorach Gordon, Yitzchok Kolodny and Mordechai Fisher. His brother Shlomo Zalman and his wife Chaya joined them and R’ Jacobson handled all the arrangements. Europe was beginning to burn. Whoever heard of their crazy idea of traveling to the continent that was quickly transforming into a battlefront could not understand why they were doing this. Were there not enough yeshivos in the US that they had to travel to a danger zone? It made no sense, which is why the parents of the bachurim,

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he married Leiba Greenhut in 5704. He moved to Worcester, MA on shlichus and opened a yeshiva and other mosdos Torah there.

ashKenaZi rav to a syrian community?
In the summer of 1945, R’ Avrohom and his wife went to a vacation spot where there was one shul divided between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. The Sephardim had their minyanim between 7 and 9 in the morning and the Ashkenazim davened after that. They joined together for Mincha and Maariv. The Sephardim had their own Torah scroll and chazan and they took care of their own community, while the Ashkenazim took care of their own community. One summer day, R’ Avrohom was sitting in shul when some leaders of the Sephardic community approached him and asked: Do you speak fluent English? R’ Avrohom, who did not know why they were asking him this question, said yes, he did. They then proceeded to ask him to deliver a shiur the next Shabbos afternoon. He was very surprised by this request but he agreed. Shabbos afternoon he stood facing the congregation, fifty men and women, and spoke about the parsha. His tremendous knowledge and articulateness captivated them. When he was done, they made him an offer that he never would have thought of in his wildest dreams. Would he be the rabbi of the Syrian community? The president of their community met with the Rebbe Rayatz and consulted

with him about appointing R’ Avrohom as their rav. The Rebbe recommended him and said that as a talmid of Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim and after his experience in running mosdos, he was suited to lead the Syrian community with great success. R’ Avrohom was officially appointed in Cheshvan 5706/1945 as the rabbi of the B’nei Magen David congregation in Bensonhurst. He approached this job with his characteristic energy and founded Jewish schools for the community. Although it was difficult to communicate with the community, who spoke mainly Arabic or Hebrew, he was greatly beloved and the schools he opened soon filled up with the children of the community. He was later appointed president of the Igud HaRabbanim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America. In this capacity, he carried out many missions for the Rebbe, some of them secret. He fought for years to have the catastrophic “Mihu Yehudi” law amended. Over the years, he developed connections with public figures from all walks of life. He was as comfortable among Sephardim as he was with Ashkenazi roshei yeshiva. As the rabbi of the Syrian

community in New York, he attended international gatherings and conveyed the Rebbe’s messages to broad audiences. He used his strong contacts with Israeli prime ministers, ministers, and Knesset members to inform them of the Rebbe’s position. He constantly sent letters about amending the Law of Return with the word “k’halacha,” for the sake of Shleimus Am Yisroel the world over. R’ Avrohom worked on behalf of Shleimus Ha’Am and the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos, no matter one’s origin. His philosophy, as he repeated many times in his sermons, was “we are all children of one man.” Every single Jew, Ashkenazi or Sefardi or otherwise, is a child of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. R’ Avrohom Hecht passed away on 24 Teves at the age of 90. He is survived by his children Mrs. Nechama Kantor – Crown Heights; Mrs. Esther Kaplan – Crown Heights; Rabbi Eli Hecht – Lomita, CA; Rabbi Yossi Hecht – Nice, France; Mrs. Rochel Weinberg – Detroit, MI; Mrs. Shani Fasten – 5 Towns, NY; Rabbi Shea Hecht – Norwalk, CT; Rabbi Ari Hecht – S. Francisco, CA; and Rabbi Yisroel Hecht – Los Angeles, CA.
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PaRsha thoUGht

Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Qualification for JuDGes
Yisro, Moshe’s father-in-law, admonished Moshe for the way he unilaterally judged the Jewish people. He encouraged him to delegate responsibility to lower courts. Moshe consulted with G-d and the Jewish multi-tiered judicial system became a reality. Yisro did not only suggest the idea of appointing other judges. He also advised Moshe about their qualifications. One of the requirements was for the judges to be “men of truth.” It is quite startling that Yisro had to mention this condition for judgeship. Would it have occurred to anyone in his or her right mind that one could appoint a dishonest judge? In truth (no pun intended), the term for truth in Hebrew, which is Emes, is not what it means in English. In English the words truth and lie are antonyms. In Hebrew there are about a halfdozen antonyms to the word Emes. To be sure, lying is certainly the opposite of Emes. But, so are the words: inconsistency, peripheral, superficial and many more.

To understand what Emes truly (pun intended) denotes and connotes it is important that

we cite the Jerusalem Talmud’s exposition of the word Emes. Emes, the Talmud states, is a composite of three letters: an Aleph, Mem and Tav. The Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the Mem is the middle letter and the Tav is the final letter. This is what Emes is: consistent from the beginning through the middle to the end. Whether we are dealing with a person or a concept, it is only worthy of the appellation Emes when it is totally consistent. To better appreciate the various nuance of Emes and its opposite, Sheker, let us analyze the very names of the letters that comprise these two words. The word Sheker begins with the letter Shin. This word is related to the word Shein which means tooth. In fact, the letter Shin resembles the teeth and it requires the use of the teeth to pronounce. The Talmud (Bava Kama 3a) discusses the tort called Shein, when an animal uses its teeth to devour someone else’s food. This tort is rooted in the Torah where it discusses the case of an animal that grazes in someone else’s property. The Torah uses the word bee’air to describe the destruction it wrought. And the Talmud proves that this word is related to destruction caused by teeth. The proof it adduces is from the Biblical statement, “As

the galal devours until its end.” The word galal, Rashi states, actually means human or animal waste, which is created by, and therefore is a byproduct, of the tooth! At first glance this association seems to be far-fetched, but it conveys a profound philosophical truth about what is Sheker, the initial of which is a Shin-Sheintooth. Something that looks appealing and appetizing does not end up that way. This is emblematic of the physical world, where everything eventually disintegrates and ceases to exist the way it does at the outset. This is the first lesson of Sheker and its reverse, Emes.

If we look at the material world and all its interests, they are but fleeting pleasures. They all end up the same and they are not Emes. To determine if something has the quality of Emes, one must look not at the present but at the past and future as well. Emes is something that endures with the same intensity and beauty as it did on day one. The first letter of the word Emes, the Aleph, is the antithesis of the letter Shin in this regard. Whereas the Shin indicates something you can get “your teeth into” for the moment, you cannot sustain that in the future.

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The Aleph by contrast means Master, alluding to G-d who is the ultimate Master of the world and is not subject to the whims and caprices of any other force. Moreover, the very shape of the letter Aleph alludes to G-d’s mastery over past, present and future. The aleph is a composite of two letters Yud that are joined by the letter Vav. These three letters that constitute the shape of the Aleph have the numerical value of G-d’s name, known as the Tetragrammaton. This name is a composite of the three words – haya-was, hoveh-is and yihyeh-will be – suggesting that G-d is master over the entire expanse of time. G-d and all that is associated with Him does not get old and worn out. The letter Aleph also alludes to the concept of Peleh, a wonder. The Aleph symbolizes the wonder of the Creator Who endures forever.

This second characteristic of Sheker is countered by the second letter of Emes, the Mem. The Mem is unique in that the letter is spelled phonetically by repeating the same letter. This implies that Mem personalities are the same on the inside as they are on the outside. There are no pretenses; no facades. The word Mem and its shape is like Mayim, which means water or a Mikveh, a pool of water. This is an allusion to such time about which the prophet states, “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea.” This refers to the total inundation of the world. It will be deluged with knowledge. Not just the outside but also the inside.

monKey sheKer
The second letter and lesson of the word Sheker is the letter Kuf. The word Kuf or Kof is monkey or ape. It is so called because it closely resembles the letter Hei, which is one of the letters of G-d’s name. The Kuf “apes” and mimics the Hei. This is the second characteristic of Sheker. While there is nothing false in the art of imitation it is nevertheless inauthentic. The external appearance belies the inner nature of the person who lacks Emes. The Talmud relates the story of how Rabbi Gamliel would only allow a select few students into the academy because the standard of acceptance was that the applicant be one “whose inside was like his outside.”

In English the words truth and lie are antonyms. In Hebrew there are about a half-dozen antonyms to the word Emes. To be sure, lying is certainly the opposite of Emes. But, so are the words: inconsistency, peripheral, superficial and many more.
identified with the verse: “And the rosh-poor person has nothing.” He doesn’t even have the modicum of integrity of the Kuf, the imitator brand of Sheker. The opposing letter in the word Emes is the Tav. The word Tav means a mark or a sign that was employed in the past to brand someone. According to the Talmud it was used to brand someone with the word tichyeh, “he will live,” which is also an allusion to the Resurrection of the Dead, at which time we will live forever. And whereas the Reish, the totally impoverished individual, is bereft of life—as the Talmud says that a poor person is like a dead person—the

The first lesson of Sheker is that it may be good now but it doesn’t last. The second lesson is that even now it is only superficially good.

the impoverisheD reish of sheKer
The third lesson derives from the last letter Reish. This letter means impoverished. It refers to someone who is so spiritually and morally deprived that he or she doesn’t even have the superficial veneer of integrity. In Hebrew, not surprisingly, there are many synonyms for poor. But of all the synonyms, the letter Reish is

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Tav is G-d’s mark guaranteeing life in its fullest and richest sense. The letter Tav, written with lines in every direction, similar to the Hei, is a symbol of wealth and is in opposition to the Reish, the ultimate symbol of poverty. The Psalmists states: “Send Your light and Your Emes.” According to the Midrash, “light” refers to Elijah the Prophet and “Emes” refers to Moshiach. In light of the above we can understand why Moshiach is characterized as Emes. environment. As stated in a And finally, according to preceding message, the depiction the Midrash, Moshiach will of Moshiach as a poor man accumulate all the wealth in the riding on a donkey is actually a world. This is to be understood reference to his mastery over the in spiritual terms, that he will material and ephemeral aspects be endowed with the greatest of physical life. He possesses the spiritual treasures. And he Aleph-master of Emes and he will therefore usher in the age therefore is eminently qualified about which it is stated, “The to place the Aleph in the word delicacies will be as abundant gola-exile that renders it Geula- as the dust of the earth.” The Redemption. ultimate state of wealth is when Moshiach is also one whose Moshiach will usher in the period entire being is permeated with of the Resurrection of the Dead. Torah. His inside is just like service Express his The world will then be marked Express service outside. As such he will usher with eternal life and experience Fully Computerized Fully Computerized in the age that will be deluged ultimate Emes on all levels. One way ofKingston Ave.Ave. with the knowledge of G-d. No 331 preparing for this 331 Kingston part of the human being will be age is to endeavor to introduce 11213 Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 (2nd(2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY left outside of the water. This Emes consistency, harmony knowledge will totally permeate between the inside and the Get your tickets within minutes! our entire being. This Get your tickets withinoutside, and the acquisition of coincides minutes! Fax: (718) 493-4444 Fax: (718) 493-4444 with the letter Mem of the word enduring spiritual wealth. Emes.

moshiach: the emboDiment of emes
Moshiach possesses the three components of this virtue. First, Moshiach is one who is a master of his body and

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MoshIach & GeUla

Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh: One of the Mitzvos that men observe everyday is the Mitzva of Tzitzis. It is part of the daily Jewish uniform that all men wear. It is a very important Mitzva, and in the words of the Gemara (Menachos 43b), “The Mitzvah of Tzitzis is equal to all of the other Mitzvos combined!” In the seifer Kesser Torah, a story is told of a Tzaddik who, before his demise, took the Tzitzis in his hand, kissed them affectionately, and cried, “It is unfortunate that I must leave such a beautiful world where one can purchase such a precious mitzvah so cheaply.” The source of the Mitzva is in Parshas Shlach (BaMidbar 15:37): The L-rd spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue [wool] on the fringe of each corner. This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the L-rd to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray, so that you shall remember and perform all My

commandments and you shall be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd, your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I am the L-rd, your G-d.” From that fact that the Torah uses the expression “and when you see it,” the Talmud derives that the Mitzva of Tzitzis is only obligatory during the daytime. Building on that, the Gemara continues: “R. Shimon declares women exempt, since it is a positive precept dependent on a fixed time, and women are exempt from all positive precepts that are dependent on a fixed time.” Based on the above, the seifer Yad Eliyahu (K’savim, Chapter 90) writes a tremendous innovative insight. He writes that in his opinion, the abovementioned Halacha that woman are exempt from Tzitzis will change, and all women will begin wearing Tzitzis! His understanding is as follows: The only reason why women are exempt from the Mitzva is because the Mitzva is not performed at night; thus it is subject to the classic principle that women are exempt from Mitzvos which have a set time. Why is Tzitzis not performed at night? Because the Torah says

that one needs to see the Tzitzis and at night one can’t see the Tzitzis. This fact that one can’t see at night will change in the times of Moshiach. The Navi (Yeshaya 30:26) says: “And the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of the seven days, on the day the L-rd shall bind the fracture of His people, and the stroke of their wound He shall heal.” If so, one will be able to see at night. Accordingly, the Biblical requirement to wear Tzitzis will be 24 hours a day, which would then make women required to wear Tzitzis. There are commentaries that argue with the above logic. This leads to a more comprehensive discussion of the responsibility of women to do Mitzvos in the times of Moshiach. This will be discussed next week B’ezras Hashem. Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.

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Why did the Rebbe Rayatz send a shliach to his mother under the German bombs? What aroused the Mitteler Rebbe from his faint after the passing of his father? Why did the Rebbe Rashab apologize to his mother? About whom did the Rebbe Maharash say “It’s a great pity on him?” * A compilation of stories about our Rebbeim’s respect for parents, from the book “Kibbud Av V’Eim,” presented for “Honor your father and mother” in this week’s parsha.
When he heard the news about his father, he fainted. When he was aroused from his faint, he fainted again. This happened several times. The Chassidim convened to discuss what to do. They finally brought a box full of handwritten manuscripts of the Alter Rebbe and when the Mitteler Rebbe came to, they showed it to him. When he saw the manuscripts he said, “I have what to live with,” and he stopped fainting.
(Likkutei Sippurim p. 133)

“this is my comfort in my affliction, that your WorD has reviveD me”
When the Alter Rebbe passed away, his son, the Mitteler Rebbe, was in Kremenchug. He had gone there in order to set up apartments for the Chassidim, who planned on settling there until the war Russia was waging against Napoleon ended.

because of her mother’s mesirus nefesh
The Tzemach Tzedek told his son, Maharash: When I was called to a meeting of rabbanim in 5603/1843 that

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the government in Petersburg initiated, I was at the grave of my mother [Rebbetzin Devorah Leah] in Liozna. She told me that because she gave her life for Chassidim and Chassidus, she had merited being in the chamber of the Baal Shem Tov, where she aroused heavenly mercy for me. She asked the Baal Shem Tov to give her a segula for me, so I would be able to stand up to those who opposed Chassidus. The Baal Shem Tov told her: Your son is proficient in the Five Books of the Torah, T’hillim, and Tanya by heart, and it says (B’Reishis 35:5), “and the chitasfear of G-d” etc. The word Chitas is an acronym for Chumash, T’hillim, and Tanya. One who is proficient in them breaks all that which blocks and concealments.
(Kitzurim V’Haaros L’Tanya p. 127)

On another occasion, the Rebbe Maharash said: You can imagine what kind of eating that was, with my father waiting for me and his not having eaten yet. And afterward we learned until two in the morning!
(Likkutei Sippurim p. 173 in the name of R’ Shmuel Gronem Esterman)

careful With your mother’s honor
Here are excerpts from the will of the Rebbe Maharash which was written in 5635/1865 ([…] indicates words rubbed out in the handwritten text): First and foremost, I command my sons and daughters to be exceedingly careful with

“eat, be satisfieD anD bless” – in front of father
One Motzaei Yom Kippur, right after Maariv, the Tzemach Tzedek sat down to learn with his son, Maharash. They learned Rif with the Chiddushei HaRan for several hours and still hadn’t broken their fast. The Rebbetzin entered the room and said to her husband: What do you want from him? You are an old man and don’t care about fasting, but he is young! He fasted for more than a day. What do you want from him? The Tzemach Tzedek answered: So? Bring him a cup of milk with a roll and he’ll eat. The Rebbetzin went and brought her son a roll, a cup of milk and water for washing. Maharash washed his hands, ate and bentched and then continued learning with his father.

I was standing facing the Rebbe and the Rebbe asked me to sit down facing him and to bless him with my hands on his head.
in Torah and Yira and He will bestow you with […] and in gashmius.
(Igros Kodesh – Admur Maharash p. 12)

honoring your mother, my wife, even though you are already warned about this from Sinai […] still, we find in Chazal that they instructed […] to warn about this. Even when Hashem will grant me the merit that you will grow in years [...] on your minds to doubt what your mother says, certainly not to change anything and certainly not to act against her. … All the more so since its (respect for parents) reward in this world is a long life, which cannot be treated lightly at all … … take this all to heart and be careful about your mother’s honor as much as possible […] and for this, Hashem will lengthen your days with goodness and pleasantness all the days of your life, and you and your households will be involved

Double pity
When the Rebbe Rashab and his brother R’ Zalman Aharon (Raza) were young boys, they were taught by a melamed by the name of R’ Sholom of Kadin. Rashab would spend a long time on his davening, which is why he began davening early. R’ Sholom complained to the boys’ mother, Rebbetzin Rivka, that her son had no strength after davening, and his focus, when learning, was not primarily on the material but on fulfilling what he learned. The Rebbetzin reported to her husband, the Rebbe Maharash, and he said, “We’ll see.”

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Once, on a weekday, when Rashab was davening with his tallis on his head and with a niggun, his father lifted his tallis and saw his son’s eyes sparkling. Rashab did not even realize what his father had done. Afterward, the Rebbe Maharash told his wife: Nu, is it possible to have the heart to tell him not? He, because of Kibbud Av will listen, and that would be a double pity – a pity on him to stop him and an additional pity on Hashem for taking away the nachas that this creates up Above. (Another version: It’s a double pity – a pity on him because he will stop for Kibbud Eim, and a pity for taking away the nachas created Above). When the Rebbetzin repeated this (years later) to the Rebbe Rayatz, there were tears in her eyes.
(Seifer HaSichos 5707)

to Daven With father anD to Daven alone
On Motzaei Yom Kippur 5644/1883, about a year after the passing of the Rebbe Maharash, Raza asked his brother Rashab, why he had spent so much time on his davening. Rashab answered: All the years that I davened with Father in one Siddur it was easy, but this year I had to find where Father was, and that took time.
(Seifer HaSichos 5701)

reading. An old man, R’ Pesach Cooper, lived there. He helped the poor Chassidim and collected money for them for the expenses of the trip to the Rebbe, food, lodgings, etc. R’ Pesach said: Before my bar mitzva, my father took me to the Tzemach Tzedek and asked him to bless me. When the Tzemach Tzedek wanted to bless me, my father asked him to do so by placing his holy hands on my head. The Rebbe did so. After the passing of the Tzemach Tzedek, I went to his son for yechidus. Before leaving, the Rebbe wanted to bless me and I told him how his father blessed me. I asked him to bless me the same way, with his holy hands on my head. The Rebbe did so. After the passing of the Rebbe Maharash, I went to his grandson, the Rebbe Rashab. I told him his grandfather and father had blessed me and asked him to bless me in the same way, by putting his hands on my head. The Rebbe did so and after blessing me, he said: Now I have a request of you, and don’t refuse me. Since my grandfather and father blessed you with their hands, now bless me. I was standing facing the Rebbe and the Rebbe asked me to sit down facing him and to bless him with my hands on his head. I was forced to accede to his request.
(Shmuos V’Sippurim)

They say great things about him. Are they true? The Rebbe said: He is what he is, but he doesn’t compare to his predecessors.

Z’chus avos
A Chassid of Kopust had an important matter for which he needed a bracha. This was after the passing of the Rebbe of Kopust and this Chassid went to Lubavitch to the Rebbe Rashab. The Rebbe did not want to bless him. When the man asked him again, the Rebbe Rashab began to denigrate himself and say he was unable to do so. The Chassid said: But you have Z’chus Avos (the merit of your ancestors). When the Rebbe heard that, he stood upright and blessed him.

a mother’s bracha on erev yom Kippur
The Rebbe Rayatz related: Three shidduchim were suggested for me: two with wealthy fathers who promised large dowries, and one with Rebbetzin Nechama Dina (daughter of Rabbi Avrohom Schneersohn) who was from Beis HaRav but was not financially well-off. My father even had to provide for the wedding expenses. My great-grandmother, Rebbetzin Rivka, and the Chassidim who were close to Beis Rebbi, wanted the shidduch with the wealthy men. When they went in to discuss it with him, he said: Avrohom Avinu had an only son and wanted to marry him off within his family. Every year, on Erev Yom Kippur after the seuda mafsekes, the Rebbe Rashab would go to

liKe his GranDfather anD father
In the summer, the Rebbe Rashab would go to the countryside in the town of Zavlosha. A minyan gathered in his house every Monday and Thursday and the Rebbe came out of his room for the Torah

unliKe his preDecessors
The Rebbe Rashab once traveled by train. Another Jew sat down near him and began talking to the Rebbe. He asked the Rebbe where he was from. The Rebbe said from Lubavitch. The man asked: Do you know the Rebbe?

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his mother for a bracha. That year, my father went to my grandmother and asked her for forgiveness for not fulfilling her request and she said: May Hashem give you a genuine feeling of t’shuva and opening of the heart, and revelation of the Nekuda (point, i.e. essence). If Hashem forgives us the way I forgive you, we will be pure and clean.
(Seifer HaSichos 5607)

The Chassid R’ Aharon Yosef Blinitzky, the son of the famous Chassid R’ Yisroel Noach “HaGadol,” greatly honored his parents. He prepared their food, cooked, and helped them in the most extraordinary way. Respect for parents was an exceedingly important mitzva to him in which he invested much effort. He was especially devoted to preparing good, healthy food for his father when he was an old man. Once, in yechidus, the Rebbe asked him why he prepared the food himself when he could hire someone. R’ Aharon Yosef said that only he knew how to cook good food for his father and he did not want to forgo the mitzva. It was a moving sight, seeing R’ Aharon Yosef, who was already over seventy, bringing his father to yeshiva and bringing him back home every day. They were both old men with white beards and looked like brothers, rather than father and son. If one didn’t know them, he would be convinced that R’ Aharon Yosef was the older of the two. R’ Yisroel Noach lived to the age of 99. Due to his special care in the mitzva of honoring his parents, he merited a bracha from the Rebbe. When he passed by for dollars, the Rebbe blessed him with length of days and good years in the merit of his Kibbud Av V’Eim, and he lived till the age of 96.

royal honors
When the Rebbe Rashab was in Lubavitch, on Yud Kislev, the Chag Ha’Geula of the Mitteler Rebbe, he would go to his mother and serve her tea. He would be accompanied by all the mashpiim of the yeshiva and the roshei yeshiva, the melamdim and the students of the big zal. All of them were present to see the great respect the Rebbe gave his mother. He once said about his mother, Rebbetzin Rivka: “U’Matzasa es Levavo Ne’eman Lefanecha” (And you found his heart loyal before You) – that is my mother; her sincerity is outstanding.
(Reshimos D’varim)

the rebbe rashab’s KibbuD eim
The Rebbe Rayatz related: On Motzaei Yom Kippur, my father would go to his mother, my grandmother, and pour her a cup of tea. In 5658/1807, my father took me with him from the countryside vacation spot to Lubavitch. The trip there and back took four hours, enough time to hear an inyan from my father and to absorb it too. On the trip to Lubavitch,

my father said he would ask his mother to tell me stories that she heard from our greatuncle, R’ Chaim Avrohom, from her father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek, and from her motherin-law, Rebbetzin Chaya Mussia. Fortunately, my grandmother wasn’t busy then – she was usually busy helping arrange simchas for poor people. Before we entered Lubavitch, my father said to me: My father (the Rebbe Maharash) once told me in yechidus that you will feel an inner delight in an inyan when you hear a certain story from my mother (Rebbetzin Rivka) who heard it from my father (the Tzemach Tzedek). She is a reliable storyteller. Upon arriving in Lubavitch, my father would go to his mother,

If Hashem forgives us the way I forgive you, we will be pure and clean.

Rebbetzin Rivka. This was one of his holy practices in fulfilling the mitzva of Kibbud Eim, that when coming from a trip, he would immediately visit her. When he entered the house, an urn and pastries were ready in the guest room. My father prepared a cup of tea and served it to his mother and I prepared a cup of tea and served my father. After my father answered his mother’s questions about the countryside, if there was a place to stroll etc. my father asked her, if it wasn’t difficult for her, to tell me stories from her parents that she had witnessed and stories that she heard from reliable people who saw or heard things themselves from reliable people.
(Seifer HaSichos,– 5700)

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i Want to hear from you
On Rosh HaShana 5681/1920, which was within the year of mourning following the passing of the Rebbe Rashab, the Rebbe Rayatz refused to serve as the baal tokeia (one who blew the shofar). The Rebbe hadn’t yet officially accepted the nesius. He said Maamarei Chassidus but hadn’t yet accepted pidyonos. His mother, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah, who knew about his decision not to blow the shofar, said to him, “I want to hear the shofar from you ...” The Rebbe acceded to her request, but did not blow all the t’kios. After he blew the first blast, he gave the shofar to someone else.
(Ateres Malchus)

concerneD for his mother’s health
In a letter to R’ Shlomo Yehuda Leib Eliezrov, one of the older Chassidim who lived in Yerushalayim, the Rebbe Rayatz wrote about his mother’s health and asked him to daven for her refua at the holy places in Eretz Yisroel. “The health of my mother, the honorable Rebbetzin, thank G-d, is much improved and we had oneg Yom Tov because she was able to be at the s’darim… please pray… if possible, with three or ten [people] at the holy sites.” The Rebbe wrote to a doctor who treated his mother during her illness and helped cure her, “I thank you and bless you for your warm and sensitive interest in the medical arrangements and treatment of my mother, the Rebbetzin. May Hashem give you length of days and good and shining years with much good. May the angels of life and healing precede you so that you are successful in whatever you do.” In a response to a relative who reported the death of her husband, the Rebbe Rayatz wrote, “I did not give your letter to my mother, the Rebbetzin, because she will be very upset and the longer she doesn’t know

about it, the better.”
(Igros Kodesh Admur Rayatz)

stayinG close
When the Rebbe Rayatz went to live at 770 in Av 5740, he asked that his mother’s private room be next door to his yechidus room for he wanted to be as close to her as possible and that she should be close to him. (R’ Leibel Groner)

from australia to neW yorK
R’ Gedalya Segal, who came from Australia to visit his mother who lived in New York, had yechidus and told the Rebbe Rayatz that he had come to visit his mother. The Rebbe said: By visiting your mother you fulfilled the mitzva of “Honor your father and mother,” about which the Torah says the reward “Your days will be lengthened” – you will have length of days and good years. R’ Yitzchok Groner related this, having heard it from R’ Segal. R’ Groner added that R’ Segal indeed lived a long life and lived in Australia for many years after that.
(Yoman/diary 8 Shvat 5710)

unDer fire
During the bombing of Warsaw in 1940, the Rebbe Rayatz and his mother stayed in different bomb shelters. At first light of day, the Rebbe sent one of his talmidim to find out how his mother was and to report to her that he was fine.
(Shmuos V’Sippurim)

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32 � • 21 Shvat 5773


By R’ Dovid Rov


hen I was asked to write about how I came to Lubavitch, I thought it might upset my parents or relatives who don’t fully understand why I’ve done what I’ve done. But then I thought about the great benefit that could result. Who knows – some young bachurim who are in spiritual turmoil might come across my story and it will enable them to find their way to simcha in the fulfillment of mitzvos and Torah study. I asked the Rebbe for a bracha and was amazed by the clear answer I opened to in the Igros Kodesh (Volume 12, p. 259): … I was pleased that you were invited to lecture before different groups. Surely you will try diplomatically to be invited on regular occasions … and only that the matter actually happens, and this is similar to the aphorism of Rabbi Hillel of Paritch that everything he did was in order that he better apprehend a word of Chassidus.

What bothereD me in viZhnitZ
I grew up in the Vizhnitz community in Rechovos, one of the oldest and strongest communities of this Chassidic

34 � • 21 Shvat 5773

group. My family has been Vizhnitz for three generations and is one of the more wellknown Chassidic families because of its size. My grandfather has twelve children and each of them has over twelve children, bli ayin ha’ra. My grandfather has over 150 grandchildren and nearly 100 great-grandchildren, kein yirbu. The main messages I was raised with were Shmiras HaLashon (watch what you say) and Shmiras HaEinayim (watch what you see). It was all without much in the way of explanation; we did what we did because Hashem thus commanded. A mitzva creates a good angel and a sin creates a bad angel. How does that work? What is an angel? How does its rank compare to that of a Jew? They didn’t quite say, and someone with the desire to know more would find himself in a quandary. Much emphasis is put on dress and external appearance. One can say this is the most sacred value not only in Vizhnitz, but throughout the Chassidic world. In Chabad, if a bachur isn’t doing well spiritually, you will immediately see this in how he dresses, but in other groups a bachur can sink to the spiritual depths and still shukl while davening with a face displaying d’veikus. In Chabad the emphasis is on p’nimius. A Lubavitcher bachur who is not doing well spiritually will have a hard time playing the game of someone whose thoughts are in the Gemara or a maamer Chassidus. However, he can pick himself up quicker because the truth is clear to him. He knows good and well that he deteriorated because of his impulsive desires and not necessarily because of questions of faith.

This is the crux of the issue. The basis of the chinuch I was raised with was “see and do;” we don’t ask questions about emuna. We don’t explore or investigate. This may have been a fine approach a few generations ago, but our generation wants to understand and relate to things. I began a process of searching and investigating. At a certain point, I lacked clarity as far the deeper significance and tangible veracity of the fundamentals of Torah. I went on a search in order to find answers to my questions. I thought the problem might be with me, and that if I would

When I learned in Yeshivas Vizhnitz in B’nei Brak, I felt even more of a need to search. I read general Chassidic works like Arvei Nachal, Likkutei HaBaal Shem Tov, and other s’farim of various Admurim. None of them gave me clear answers that I found satisfying. I saw the set of s’farim called Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh. The author is not a Lubavitcher, but he is one of the biggest disseminators of Chassidus that there are today. In his s’farim, he explains many Chassidic concepts and he uses Chabad sources. By reading his s’farim, I began to see that

I had a friend who went through a great spiritual yerida (descent). I dragged him with me to the library where he saw a video of the Rebbe singing “Tzama Lecha Nafshi” and he began to sob. This was a bachur who cynically mocked everything sacred, but when he saw the Rebbe, he saw the truth and it moved him.

learn more and more s’farim, then matters would become clear. By nature I love to read and do research. So I read and learned hundreds of s’farim of other branches of Chassidus. I considered Chabad the antithesis of what I was looking for. In general, someone outside of Chabad doesn’t realize that each Nasi of Chabad has dozens if not hundreds of deep Chassidic works, works that give the sense that it wasn’t a mere human being who wrote or taught their content. My perception of Chabad Chassidim was as a group of delusional people who help Jews in Tel Aviv with t’fillin. How could they allow their bachurim to walk in the streets there?! And who cares about the secular anyway?

Chabad has depth, and it’s not just about going on mivtza t’fillin and spreading the Besuras HaGeula. I decided to check out Chabad despite its being strange and different. I found out about the Chassidus library in B’nei Brak where one can borrow s’farim. I met the mashpia R’ Zalman Gopin there. On my first visit, I listened to him just a little because I found him too philosophical. I borrowed some s’farim and returned to yeshiva. I came across issues of Beis Moshiach and eagerly read the articles by the mashpia R’ Chaim Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg and was impressed. They touched me and I felt that there was truth there. I remember that merely the thought that perhaps I had
Issue 867 • �  


found my derech caused me to experience a sort of inner light. before. People are thirsting for Chassidus. In Chabad I understood for the first time what ruchnius (spirituality) is, which is spoken about so much. Ruchnius is not a passing cloud; true ruchnius affects and penetrates the world and is expressed in the Rebbe’s conduct. I felt that I had begun to believe but with an inner desire, without being forced. I love Torah and love the Nosein HaTorah (Giver of the Torah). A window was opened for me, to a magical world. It is hard to express the feeling I had. It is like an ordinary guy who discovers a diamond mine worth billions of dollars. It wasn’t just I who experienced the truth of Chabad. I had a friend who went through a great spiritual yerida (descent). I dragged him with me to the library where he saw a video of the Rebbe singing “Tzama Lecha Nafshi” and he began to sob. This was a bachur who cynically mocked everything sacred, but when he saw the Rebbe, he saw the truth and it moved him. was heresy. Later on I found out that the mashgiach himself learned Chassidus, but his answer was meant to calm down the bachur who could not deal with what I had said. Throughout his life, he was taught that Hashem is a sort of “image,” and now someone came along who negated this approach. I will admit that back then, when I was first starting out in Chabad, what the mashgiach said caused me to experience a crisis. I wanted to scream “What are you talking about?” Until then, the entire topic of emuna wasn’t clear to me; my outer appearance was that of a religious Jew but I had been like an empty container, minus the inner faith. The teachings of Chabad Chassidus restored me, making me a more connected Jew, so how could he say I was a heretic? Today I realize that there are people whose faith needs to be through an “image,” as a law, and not through understanding. My parents knew about what I was going through. My father later told me that he took a sample of my handwriting to a famous graphologist in B’nei Brak, who said, “Although you are Vizhnitzer Chassidim, your son is suited to be a Chabadnik; it suits him to serve Hashem through his mind.” Perhaps this is what caused my father to more readily swallow the “bitter pill” when I told him that I was becoming a Lubavitcher. All along my new path, I needed approval and encouragement so that I would know I was making the right move. I remember that one day I was in a s’farim store and I saw a book that explains concepts in emuna, written by a Lubavitcher. I wanted the book but did not have the money. I made a deal

the alter rebbe as the Direct continuation of the baal shem tov
I came across a maamer of the Rebbe Rashab, “T’fillin D’Morei Alma,” which he said at the bar mitzva of the Rebbe Rayatz. I related to the content; it wasn’t similar to anything that I had read previously. It sent me back to R’ Gopin’s shiurim. For two years I learned with him every week and this developed my understanding. I connected to Lubavitch on two levels. Firstly, I was drawn to the Toras HaChassidus. I felt that there was an entire, organized teaching here which was founded by the Alter Rebbe. Second, I very much connected to the image of the Rebbe, to his leadership, to his genuine Jewish pride. When I “got it,” I was euphoric. The moment I understood the approach and logic of Chabad, along with the sense that this was true, that the Alter Rebbe was actually the successor to the Maggid in promoting the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, then the issue of “Chai V’kayam” and Moshiach didn’t bother me. On the contrary, it was thanks to that that I started believing that there really is a Creator, that there is G-dliness in everything in creation, and so what is the problem with Moshiach? I realized that if Chabad is the natural continuation and the Rebbe is the seventh generation, then Gimmel Tammuz could not stop all this. Woe to us if we think there is a break. Moreover, the fact is that we see that this works. Chabad today is reaching places that it did not reach

siGn from heaven
One day, I returned from a Chassidus shiur all excited. I asked my roommate in yeshiva, “How do you picture Hashem?” He responded immediately, “I visualize pyramids with tens of thousands of angels with Hashem above them all, and they all praise Him.” I told him what the Rambam writes, the way the Alter Rebbe explains it, that Hashem is the True Existence and that there is G-dliness within everything. He thought I had lost my mind and ran to the mashgiach to ask him about what I said. The mashgiach dismissed him, saying that this

36 � • 21 Shvat 5773

with Hashem (today, I wouldn’t dream of it; it’s out of the question). The deal was that I wanted a sign from Above that I was on the right path and the sign would be if this book came to me. The next day, I went to my parents by bus where I met a librarian who was holding this book. We got acquainted and I asked him if I could borrow it. He readily agreed and said he just had to read it first himself. The next day he came especially to my parents’ house to give me the book. During my ten month engagement, I learned Hemshech 5666 and this helped draw me in even more.

moshiach DiDn’t scare me off
I began looking into the belief that Chassidim have in the Rebbe as “Chai V’kayam” and Melech HaMoshiach. At first, it seemed ridiculous. However, I felt that now I would investigate it, starting with a “clean slate.” I quickly learned that it is strongly grounded in the sources. The Rebbe himself laid out the blueprint and there couldn’t be a mistake. He was a successor from the Baal Shem Tov, and if he was mistaken, G-d forbid, then the entire approach was a mistake because Chassidus is all about leading to Moshiach. The topic of Moshiach turned me from an admirer of Chabad to a Chassid. Many religious Jews will never understand the idea of “Chai V’kayam” if they don’t examine it objectively. Ultimately, everyone will need to learn Chassidus. We are already seeing a tremendous interest in Chabad Chassidus. It is clear to me that only by learning Chassidus in a

way of intellectual understanding can we fulfill Torah and mitzvos from a place of truth. Without the Alter Rebbe, I don’t know whether Jews today would sense G-dliness. It was for a reason that he was an “original soul.” His teachings are a new Torah, a thousand times deeper than anything else I learned in the other writings of Chassidus. You see this in Tanya and Likkutei Torah even without reading about or knowing about the greatness of the Alter Rebbe. All of Judaism owes a great deal to the Alter Rebbe, whether we realize it or not. Most of the general works of Chassidus derive their ideas and inspiration from Tanya, even without quoting it. The Alter Rebbe taught us to look from an innermost place and not to focus on the outer covering. According to the Baal HaTanya, doing mitzvos is not in order to receive a reward but to connect with Hashem. There is a reason why it says that we will walk towards the Geula with the Tanya. Today we feel that the world is ready for Geula. There is an

enormous “Yisbareru V’Yislabnu” (truth coming to light). People are looking for truth. Chassidus today is accessible to all groups; it has penetrated through all the obstructions. It can be found today in psychology and science, in p’shat, remez, drush and sod. All segments of the population can connect to the ideas hidden within it. It is hard in this generation to be a G-d fearing Jew without learning P’nimius HaTorah. It is only with the strength of the Yesh HaAmiti (True Existence) that we can be saved from the Yesh HaNivra (Created Existence). In order to be saved from heresy, we need to learn Chassidus. This is the shlichus of every Chassid, to publicize Chassidic works, maamarim, etc. In my experience, the best way to affect the religious crowd is through shiurim and disseminating Sifrei Chassidus. The religious population is no less thirsty than other groups. Spreading the wellsprings is not only for those who are bareheaded. I definitely feel that I owe my spiritual life to the Alter Rebbe.
Issue 867 • �  



Translated by Rabbi Binyomin Schlanger

part 1
These days something very shocking is taking place, specifically involving Hebron. It is unbelievable – a gathering of tens of Jews. How are they preoccupied? How are they putting their minds to use? By standing in judgment over Hebron! Was Hebron captured, or re-occupied from a foreign power? They have no shame – not from themselves, nor before others, nor before gentiles who know what is written in the Bible – that Hebron, the Cave of Machpela and the surrounding field was bought by Abraham our forefather even before the giving of the Torah, and that he paid 400 silver shekels to purchase it. They know of the conquest of Joshua and of Jews who ascended from Babylon. Yet regardless, these Jews publicly present themselves at a special meeting to express their ‘wisdom,’ attempting to purify their vile thoughts. Their thinking is far below the impurity of vermin. They ought to be using their intelligence to

choose [a policy of protecting Jewish] life; [the Divine presence is forced down into this world when ten Jews are gathered together, whereby an angel present would be nullified before the energy of the Sh’china.] A Jew is entrusted with a mission – a soul descends into a physical body to create for Almighty G-d a dwelling place in this lower realm. Rather, they utilize their G-d-given minds to cheat themselves and those around them by announcing that Hebron belongs to others, making announcements as if Hebron is some sort of liberated territory. Recently I received a letter from a Jew in NY, a naïve Jew immersed in his studies. He toiled and gathered together statements of our Sages trying to bring proof to support his foolishness, that since these territories were conquered and an agreement was signed by Jews who must never lie, he came to the conclusion it is forbidden to retract! What does that mean, they signed a contract? The property signed

for did not belong to them! This is the property of the entire Nation of the Jewish People. Even someone possessing all qualities and good intentions has no power of attorney or permit to sell property belonging to someone else, even of a single individual, certainly not of a great number of people. This is even more so in a case regarding property under the ownership of men of this generation and of all past generations beginning with the Divine Promise of the Covenant whereby G-d said to Abraham our forefather “To you have I given [this Land]!” First they signed an agreement, and then stubbornly insist that since it is forbidden to lie, they must be bound to uphold the lie and take away from tens of generations of the Jewish people their possession and cede to others! Are you master to dispose of property and estates belonging to tens of previous generations and to generations after you to the end of all generations?!

38 � • 21 Shvat 5773

G-d chose Israel from amongst the Nations and Eretz Israel from all lands as an everlasting inheritance! Only through our sins were we exiled from our land and distanced from our soil. Yet it remains our Land! This is ghetto mentality, far from the beginning of redemption! Never before did Jews stand in official judgment over Hebron. Worse still, the world stands by in silence! Jews are showing on a public forum – may G-d protect us – that Hebron does not belong to the Jewish people but was mistakenly captured! They [the Israel government] send representatives recommending [to the Arabs] to take it back. They nullify their own lie that the reason for their surrender is [international] pressure. In truth it is they themselves of their own free will, who offer to surrender!

part 2
[The members of the Government of Israel themselves are recommending the surrender.] The absolute proof of this is that after ‘they conquered the territories’ [this is how they call this. In truth however, they freed and returned, openly before the eyes of all the nations, Jewish land and borders to their rightful owners]. Even before the advent of any international pressure, at a time when not one of the gentile nations ever dreamt that there would be discussions with Israel about giving back territories, they, the government of Israel, sent emissaries on a special mission. With full intent they chose an observant Jew in order to make known that this recommendation is forthcoming in the name of Torah – may G-d protect us! These emissaries recommended that Israel would return to the Arabs all the land

which was conquered in the SixDay War. At that time, after the open miraculous victory, not only was there no pressure from Washington, there was not even and protest from the Arabs. The Arabs were overjoyed that they were not harmed and were not in receipt of the treatment which they would have meted out to the Jewish People had they been the victors; it did not even enter their minds to exert pressure. It was exclusively those Jews who stubbornly took this line. To our great pain, those very same people carry the influence now also. It is only with one difference: now they lean on the broken walking stick. Why are they taking this line [of retreat]? Because of outside pressure! If [asks the Rebbe], you are doing so because of pressure, why were you prepared to return land in 1967 when there was no pressure? When there were elections you should have made known that they are electing one who is not subject to changing his mind! G-d gives man the chance to repent, regardless of the fact that for 119 years 364 days his conduct was unacceptable. Should he choose to return from his path, then, not only will there be no mention of his past conduct, in fact his deliberate sins will be regarded as merits. But this is only when he regrets the past, or at least he accepts upon himself good intent for the future. But here, he did the contrary. He stated explicitly, “I have eaten [treif] – and I will continue to do so!” Not only does he state so, but turns this into a system of thinking [of retreat], pressurizing other Jews that they be bound to accept his view. Then when they meet up with gentiles and speak with them,

the gentiles say to him, “I don’t even know what pressure you say you are subject to!” He, the gentile, never even dreamt that that this recommendation would be forthcoming. He, [says the gentile] was only speaking [for political reasons] this way for public consumption, and for that matter, only these last few weeks. A representative of Israel arrived here [to the USA]. When he was in the capital [Washington], when newspaper reporters were not nearby, he was asked: “What is going on? What are you talking about? We never dreamt that you would offer to retreat.” I do not know if he will relay this upon his return to Israel, because then, he would not have fulfilled his mission and [it will become obvious that he] was mistaken in his assessment. The government of Israel calls out: “Take back all the territories, Hebron, and the Old City of Jerusalem.” And nobody raises a voice of protest! (From the farbrengen Parshas VaYeitzei, 1980) Dear reader, Please take a few moments to copy, paste, and email this sicha to 10 friends, asking your friends in turn to email the same to 10 further friends, ad infinitum. Thereby you will be taking a strong and active part in the Rebbe’s battle to protect the lives of millions of Jewish people whose lives are so endangered. This is, as the Rambam writes, Milchemes Hashem, and we will see it through to the final Nitzachon! Please go to http:// where you will find the current sicha.

Issue 867 • �  


PaRsha thoUGht

By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz

Got GarbaGe?
In a recent survey of the most insane plans for re-engineering the earth to solve the problems of caused by pollution and other potential environmental catastrophes, the editors of Wired Magazine compiled quite a list. Among the most implausible scenarios were a plan to use robotic boats to spray mist into the air to block out the sun by covering the earth with clouds, a vertical farm built into a skyscraper to compensate for increased demands on food production, and giant vacuums that would suck carbon emissions out of the air. But the number one craziest idea according to Wired is to continue doing what we’re doing now – to continue putting short term gain ahead of long term sustainability; to continue dumping industrial waste into the water we drink; to continue driving our gas-guzzling cars until it consumes the very air we breathe. It is a compelling statement about the global state of affairs when it comes to the environmental issues facing the planet, and the economic realities that propagate them and to which they are inexorably tied. It is also a poignant metaphor for the human condition. We all have parts of our selves that are self-defeating,

aspects of our lives that hold us back from breaking free and really experiencing growth. Like shipwrecked sailors lost at sea, we cling to these false dogmas as if they were the last hope of stability, as if we have no other choice. Like the manufacturers who continue to produce inefficient automobiles, the oil cartel that continues to fuel the addiction, and the consumers who buy into this as an unavoidable reality, in our lives we surrender to realities that – because we have been programmed to think so – are immovable. But, honestly, what makes these monsters so unshakable? When we consider breaking ranks from the status quo, we are inevitably met with options that seem – at least from our brainwashed perspective – completely outlandish. Buy locally. Drive less. Get an electric car, or a bike. Live every moment with a conscience. Impossible. Outlandish. Crazy. Don’t worry. Everything is fine. So stability replaces the moral imperative, comfort supplants wisdom, and the bottom line takes the place of the quest for meaning. Instead of taking the leaps at our disposal to make change that, while threatening varying degrees of discomfort, would enable us to attain new heights, we sit back

and watch the garbage pile up all around us – and inside of us. Is there anything more insane than knowing there is an issue, and yet to do nothing about it, continuing recklessly on the same course knowing that the problem persists, living in complete denial even when there are alternatives? Yet, at the same time, there is perhaps nothing more common. In our personal lives, as in global affairs, we have to be willing to let go of our comfort to change, we have to accept that insanity may be the answer to all this craziness, we have to acknowledge that by far the worst disease of the soul is to find solace in rubbish because we refuse to let go of its familiarity.

alienation synDrome
I wonder if anyone else notices the profound loneliness that seems to pervade, even define, contemporary society. Everyone is so busy making a living and trying to find happiness that no one has time for themselves or their own families, let alone anyone else. A half-hearted, cheerful greeting to a stranger feels like a feat of great self-sacrifice, and good luck finding anyone to listen when you need to talk about your problems. Even the homes and neighborhoods we live in are mass-produced with profit, not people, in mind. There is no room for thought, no space for self-discovery, no time for love. Loneliness is obviously not

40 � • 21 Shvat 5773

a new phenomenon. But what we are witnessing today is vastly different than the periodic feelings of social and existential isolation experienced by our great-grandparents. What we are witnessing today is the product of a thick skin of insensitivity that hinders us from even realizing how alienated we have become. The solution, as in all matters of the spirit, comes from seeing past the surface symptoms and addressing the core issue. In chapter 32 of Tanya, the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, defines love. Essentially, the Alter Rebbe explains that love stems from the soul because in essence all souls are one. My soul and your soul are naturally in love, it’s just that our earthly manifestations, our bodies and our circumstances, get in the way. The more I transcend those physical barriers and access my soul, the more I can love you. And then the Alter Rebbe sums it up with his characteristically sweet directness: Those who make their material selves primary and their spiritual selves secondary cannot have real love and brotherhood between them.

Have you ever met a child who cannot love? … Instead of working to assert our spirits over this strife, to assert our humanity, we develop this thick skin that blocks out the pain but, consequently, blocks in the soul. And the result is, I cannot love.
of working to assert our spirits over this strife, to assert our humanity, we develop this thick skin that blocks out the pain but, consequently, blocks in the soul. And the result is, I cannot love. The solution to chronic alienation is love. Where do we find love? In the transcendence of the soul over the body. The cure then is to avoid the trap of falling into the materialist’s dream, and instead seek opportunities to discover and nurture the soul. It is a constant struggle and an ongoing odyssey, but one that is guaranteed to yield the sweetest of fruits both personally and collectively, as each day of the journey prompts us to awaken from yesterday’s dream and rediscover our selves, our families, our friends and our world.
Reprinted with permission from Exodus Magazine

Cannot have. The Alter Rebbe is not being poetic here. If I’m steeped in materialism, I cannot love. An astonishing thought. Have you ever met a child who cannot love? A child has yet to confront the paradoxes of being a living soul in a material world. But through the pain and struggles of our history as a people and our individual lives, we develop insensitivity, a thick skin that supposedly protects us as we attempt to make a living and make a life in world that is often cold and harsh. So instead

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