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featured Articles
THE ROLE OF THE 8 PARENT AND THE ROLE OF THE YESHIVA
Menachem Mendel Arad

WEEKLY columns

SAGES SAW IT AS 18 OUR TORAH TELLS
Rabbi Shloma Majeski

4 D’var Malchus 5 Moshiach & Geula 32 Stories 35 Parsha Thought 40 Crossroads

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THE REBBE 20 BRINGING TO B’NEI BRAK
Rocheli Green

CHASSID WHO 28 THE HOSTED THREE ANSWER 38 THE FOR EVERYTHING
Rabbi Bentzion Elisha

REBBEIM IN HIS HOUSE

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D’var Malchus

THE DREAM OF EXILE
It is not correct to say that the thought of redemption in the time of exile is a dream, but the exact opposite: when we think about exile – that is the dream! * It is specifically when one accepts the illusion of exile, that it is a dream; it is only during the (dream of) exile that one fools himself into thinking that it is reality!
Translated by Boruch Merkur

DELUDING THEMSELVES THAT EXILE IS REAL
It is explained in Torah Ohr – in the maamer beginning with the words, “A song of ascents: When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers” – that exile is like a dream: “we will have been as dreamers.” However, in the midst of the dream [i.e., during exile], people delude themselves into believing that it is real. The fact is though that exile is actually a dream! The illusion of exile will be openly perceived as such in the Future Era, as the verse teaches, “When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers.” In Torah Ohr, the Alter Rebbe elaborates: “The meaning here is that this aspect of dreaming will be revealed in

the Future Era. [That is, at that time] everyone will recognize, know, and comprehend that the life-energy drawn to them during the time of exile was from the aspect of dreaming, for which reason they will say, ‘we were as dreamers.’” It is not correct to say that the thought of redemption in the time of exile is a dream, but the exact opposite: when we think about exile – that is the dream!

ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE DURING THE TIME OF EXILE
This teaching was said by the Alter Rebbe during the time of exile, knowing what he states in the maamer that begins with the words “And the one thousand and seven hundred” – that the date predicted as the

beginning of the redemption will be decades thereafter, in the year 5603 or 5608. Nevertheless the Alter Rebbe says here that they will then know that exile is a dream! [Curiously, the Alter Rebbe states a fact and then says that this fact will only be known at a later date.] [To reconcile this seeming contradiction, we must say that] the fact that exile is a dream will only be openly experienced as such in the Future Era, whereas at present, people perceive that the dream of exile is not a dream at all but reality. However, the Alter Rebbe wanted to share this insight with the Jewish people in advance, during the time of exile. In effect, Dovid HaMelech had already dispelled the illusion of exile in T’hillim with the verse, “When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will

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have been as dreamers.” The Alter Rebbe, however, quoted the verse and elucidated it according to the teachings of Chassidus Chabad, and thereafter it was further expounded upon by the Rebbes who followed him. The maamer was then published and publicized in the book Torah Ohr. Certainly the Alter Rebbe wanted Torah Ohr to be disseminated everywhere, insofar as it is relevant to all aspects of Torah, especially the inner dimension of the Torah. Thus, the Alter Rebbe wished to spread word of this insight even amidst our current state [among those who are steeped in the dream of exile]. According to the Alter Rebbe, every Jew must know that exile is a dream! Since this teaching became part of the Torah and all Jews may study it, this in turn has an impact upon the world and the exile itself, as it is said: “The Almghty gazed into the Torah and created the world” [illustrating the causal relationship between Torah and the world]. Likewise, “anyone who gazes into it, into the Torah, and exerts himself in it, sustains the world, as it were.” From this it is understood that the fact that we are speaking incessantly about the redemption and clamoring that Moshiach should come now, notwithstanding the fact that we are presently in exile – this is not a dream at all. On the contrary, it is reality! It is specifically when one accepts the illusion of exile, that it is a dream; it is only during the (dream of) exile that one fools himself into thinking that it is reality!

BUT IT’S NOT THE OPPOSITE OF PROPER FAITH
On the other hand, when Jews consider the exile to be reality, and redemption to be a dream, and when they claim that “Behold, Moshiach comes” is a dream – that is not the opposite of proper faith. Indeed, they believe in the coming of Moshiach, it is just that their faith remains detached from them; it is not internalized. Consequently, the redemption is for them like a dream. […] Nor is this approach contrary to Torah per se, for the Torah itself states, “we will have been as dreamers.” That is, according to Torah the exile is in fact a dream, a dream to the extent that the perception in the dream of exile is that redemption is a dream and exile is reality. Thus it is understandable why talk about the redemption is met with wonderment. Similarly with regard to all the questions asked in the time of exile regarding the redemption. For example, the baal ha’geula [the Rebbe Rayatz] said decades ago, “immediately to redemption,” begging the question: how is it possible that this has not yet come to fruition and Moshiach still has not come? It is necessary to know that all these questions, difficulties, and doubts come from the dream of exile. From the mindset of exile, proofs, explanations, and answers are indeed required.

because that is the fact; it is no mere dream! As discussed above, “all predicted dates for the advent of Moshiach have passed and the matter is only dependent upon t’shuva, repentance,” and t’shuva can be done “in a single moment, in a single instance.” Thus, Moshiach Tzidkeinu comes immediately, in reality! But even if Moshiach has not yet come, and even if Eliyahu HaNavi has not yet come, we speak about it again and again, at every farbrengen – once, twice, even three times, which “is a chazaka, a presumed condition.” We speak about the imminence of Moshiach even a hundred times, at which point habituation becomes habit, the person’s nature (see Tanya Ch. 15) (“second nature,” or “habituation becomes one’s nature” period) – even a hundred and one times (see Chagiga 9b, Tanya Ch. 15; see Likkutei Sichos Vol. 26 pg. 208, note 45). And if, G-d forbid, Moshiach does not come tomorrow or even by today at Mincha time, we shall speak about it yet again, until they will be pestered to such a degree (“nudged,” as people say) – both below and likewise On High, as it were – that it actually brings about the advent of Moshiach!

“MORE THAN THE CALF WANTS TO SUCKLE, THE COW WANTS TO FEED”
This is especially the case insofar as the “cow” is more concerned about it than the “calf” (ala “more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to feed” –P’sachim 112a, end), as it is written: “‘G-d, your L-rd shall return your returnees’ – it doesn’t say ‘heishiv – return [others]’ but ‘shav – [He shall]

SPEAK ABOUT MOSHIACH UNTIL THEY ARE COMPELLED TO SEND HIM
The reason why we constantly speak about the imminent coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu is

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If, G-d forbid, Moshiach does not come tomorrow or even by today at Mincha time, we shall speak about it yet again, until they will be pestered to such a degree (“nudged,” as people say) – both below and likewise On High, as it were – that it actually brings about the advent of Moshiach!
return,’ teaching that the Almghty returns with them, among the exiles.’” [That is to say that G-d Himself is anxious to bring about the redemption, for until that time, He suffers, as it were, (along with the Jewish people, His chosen nation) in exile.] So too with regard to Moshiach, “Behold, he stands behind our walls, observing through the windows, peering through the cracks” – Moshiach stands behind the wall and eagerly awaits and looks, wondering when will he finally be able to come! The wall is not fully intact; it has windows, cracks, splits, and holes. Through these windows and cracks, Moshiach Tzidkeinu gazes and watches. Of course, [he does not suffice with a passive role, just observing, rather] Moshiach’s gaze has an actual impact.

CONSTANTLY SPEAKING ABOUT IT MAKES THE “DREAM” OF MOSHIACH A REALITY
At every opportunity we continue to speak about the “dream” of Moshiach (according to those who argue that exile is

real), for Moshiach Tzidkeinu is indeed coming. If there are still questions, then “The Tishbi [i.e., Eliyahu HaNavi] will answer difficulties and enquiries,” a phrase that spells the acronym “Teiku” (Tishbi Yitaretz Kushios V’abayos). Constantly speaking about the advent of Moshiach actually brings about its manifestation in the psychical world (below ten handbreadths), “and he shall fly with the clouds of the heaven,” which is the ultimate dream… May Moshiach come immediately, on this Shabbos and in this beis midrash, and we shall daven together with him, T’fillas Mincha of Shabbos in the Third Beis HaMikdash, “with our youth and with our elders, etc., with our sons and with our daughters,” all the Jewish people, alive in this physical world.
(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Pinchas 5740, bilti muga)

Anywhere, Anytime !
CHITAS INYONEI GEULA & MOSHIACH RAMBAM SHIURIM IN LIKUTEI SICHOS KODESH

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MOSHIACH & GEULA

MOSHIACH IS NOT AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE

IT IS THE OBJECTIVE
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, In the first chapter of Pirkei Avos, which we learn this week as the cycle begins again, we learn in Mishna 3: “Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.” Many people who have learned this Mishna and who are familiar with the Rebbe’s sichos have asked: We have been told many times that when we do Mitzvos we should have the Kavana and intention that through each Mitzva we help bring Moshiach closer. Does that not contradict the above Mishna that we should do Mitzvos without any ulterior motive? The Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 22 Parshas Tazria-Metzora) gives a fascinating explanation. There is a big difference between serving Hashem for a reward and doing a Mitzva to bring Moshiach. When one serves Hashem for a reward, the reward

and the Mitzva are two separate things. When one does a Mitzva to bring Moshiach, it is the natural outcome of the Mitzva, not a prize. Here is a simple mashal that will demonstrate this concept clearly. There are two people planting tree seeds right next to each other. The first one is getting paid twenty dollars an hour and the second one is the owner of the field. The first planter is planting not for the tree that will come out, but rather for the money. Yet, there is no

will be receiving for each brick that he is laying. The second one keeps thinking of the magnificent palace that is being built brick by brick. It is not the reward that he is thinking about, but rather the goal and purpose of his action. Every Mitzva that we do in this physical world accomplishes two things. Firstly, it earns us a reward in Gan Eden. Secondly, and most importantly, it prepares this physical world for the time of Moshiach. It is building Hashem’s home in this world.  The Mishna is teaching us

Does that not contradict the above Mishna that we should do Mitzvos without any ulterior motive?

direct connection between the seeds and his pay check. When the second one is planting the seed, he is not thinking about a pay check. Instead, he is thinking about the tree that will grow from the seed! It is not an external result, rather it the direct outcome of his actions. Another example: There are two people hired to build a palace for the king. The first worker keeps thinking of the money he

that a Jew should not serve Hashem and do Mitzvos for the reward in Gan Eden. Yet when one does a Mitzva he should be aware of the home for Hashem that he is building with his hands.
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.ylcrecording. com.

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CHASSIDISHE CHINUCH FOR OUR TIMES:

THE ROLE OF

THE PARENT
The chinuch lesson we learn from Shlomo HaMelech. * The smartphone generation. * The relationship between yeshiva staff and talmidim. * How to prevent kids from dropping out. * An interview with the rosh yeshiva of the Chabad yeshiva in Tzfas, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Wilschansky on the subject of chinuch.
By Menachem Mendel Arad Pictures by Moshe Assoulin

AND THE ROLE OF

THE YESHIVA
Chazal say that in the merit of the children we received the Torah. We the parents have to train them to go in the ways of the Torah. Nowadays, when children spend most of their day in school, what responsibilities do parents have for the chinuch of their children and what are the school’s responsibilities? First, we need to realize that there is a major difference between the obligation to teach a child Torah and the chinuch for Torah and mitzvos in general. Unlike other mitzvos, the mitzva to teach a child Torah is the father’s responsibility. It is a Biblical mitzva, “and you shall teach your children.” As for the rest of the mitzvos, they are not the father’s (Biblical) obligation. Even though the mitzva of mila is obviously associated with the

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father and depends on him, there is still reason to say (as brought at length in the sichos) that this is the son’s mitzva. The advantage in Torah being a Biblical mitzva, that is a direct obligation upon the father, is that the father then gets special kochos for it. The Rebbe explains in many sichos that along with the command, a person is given the wherewithal to carry out the command. If the father cannot teach his son, he can hire a teacher to do so. We have the story of the Alter Rebbe who called over a student of the Maggid and said to him, “I have the mitzva of ‘teach it to your children,’ and you have the mitzva to support your family. Let’s switch – I’ll provide for your needs so that you can fulfill the mitzva you are obligated in,

and you teach my son (later to be the Mitteler Rebbe).” On the other hand, the mitzva of chinuch, unlike that of Talmud Torah, is a mitzva that belongs to both parents, and often falls mainly on the mother. So parents need to know that even as they send their children to school: 1) the obligation of chinuch is still theirs, and 2) although they fulfill the obligation to teach their sons by sending them to school, they have special kochos not given to the teachers, which they should use when learning with their children. Now, let’s discuss what teachers and principals need to know: In several letters of the Rebbe to people involved in chinuch, the Rebbe emphasizes that nowadays, schools are

responsible not only for teaching but also for chinuch. The Rebbe explains that in previous times it was clear cut – you learned in school or with a melamed and you received chinuch at home. At home, parents passed on good middos to their children, and cultivated within them the love and respect for Torah and mitzvos. Today, unfortunately, we often cannot rely on the chinuch that parents provide at home, for various reasons, and therefore, teachers also have to supervise the chinuch. Boruch Hashem, this approach of the Rebbe has penetrated the system, and today all schools realize that a school is not just a place to enrich students’ knowledge but is primarily a place to be mechanech a child in good middos and Yiras Shamayim. This introduction is very important because both parents and teachers need to know that they have responsibility in both areas and they cannot fully rely on one another. Each one must put in the work, into the learning and the chinuch, as though the other one doesn’t exist! We are working with the assumption that these are parents who care about their child, which is why they look for a good school and pay tuition. They chose the best schooling and feel that they put their children into good hands, but their concern and involvement have to be ongoing, even when their child is in school. When you think about the parent’s obligation to spend half an hour a day thinking about chinuch, obviously you cannot ask – where does my responsibility as a parent end and where does the school take over.

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Our thinking as parents needs to be how we can add to our child’s chinuch in collaboration with the school. What is the school’s obligation? When Hashem asked the Jewish people for guarantors that they would keep the Torah, it was their offering the children that convinced Hashem, as it were, to give us the Torah. The simple understanding of this is that the children would be the next generation who would perpetuate the chain of mitzva-observant Jews. However, we can also explain this on a deeper level as the Rebbe says in the sichos on the verse, “and He will return the hearts of the fathers on the children,” that the children babies through songs with Jewish messages. Even as children get older and go to school parents need to ensure that the atmosphere at home is less balabatish and more like Tomchei T’mimim. The yeshiva needs to influence the talmidim and get them to be ambassadors of Tomchei T’mimim to their homes. The family needs to feel that a “yeshiva bachur” came home, someone who is a Chassid, Yerei Shamayim, and a budding Lamdan, someone mekushar heart and soul to the Rebbe, who conveys how happy he is to be a Tamim or a soldier in Tzivos Hashem. Parents need to make sure that their child, the yeshiva he attends, and the staff all have a that the baby should literally be cut in two. Rather, the child’s chinuch would be shared by the two women. For a while he would be raised by one woman, and then he would go to the other woman, and so on, back and forth. When the real mother heard this, she was horrified by the idea and said, “Give her the child.” Better he should be raised by the other woman and not by his real mother, just so that he won’t be torn between my chinuch and her chinuch. Hearing this, Shlomo said this was the real mother, for she was willing to forgo raising her child for the good of her child! Can we break down the parents’ role into specific components? The power of the home in educating the child is enormous. When the house isn’t a religious one, the situation is altogether different, but when we’re talking about a boy from a Chassidishe home, you need to be sure that the hechsherim, the modest Chassidic dress, the setting times to learn Torah, davening with a minyan, etc. are in full accord with the chinuch the child gets in yeshiva. After all, the parents are the most powerful role models a child has. Parents have the tremendous ability to decide whether the chinuch he gets in school will be reinforced in the home or, G-d forbid, the opposite, which will mess the child up. Here’s a simple example. When a bright child comes home with a very good grade it might be accepted matter-of-factly. But when parents are enthusiastic about the grade, their child gets the message that “my father and mother care about me and my learning.”

If a child gets the message at home that his parents don’t have the fullest respect for what he is being taught or for the staff, the damage this causes to his innocence, his kabbalas ol and his sincerity, is catastrophic.
themselves, with their sincerity and earnestness, will inspire their parents. They won’t only “prove” that we transmitted the Torah to them, but will inspire us and get us more involved and “refresh” our hiskashrus to Hashem and the Rebbe MH”M. Parents need to appreciate their children’s sincerity and guide them to spiritual pursuits. There are certain spiritual and Chassidishe ideas that are easier to instill in a child while he still retains his childish innocence. Later on, it gets much harder. What we absorb in childhood is etched deeply and is a basis for life. This is why the Rebbe spoke often about chinuch for place of honor in their home, and that they listen respectfully to a sicha of the Rebbe that their child reviews at the Shabbos table. If a child gets the message at home that his parents don’t have the fullest respect for what he is being taught or for the staff, the damage this causes to his innocence, his kabbalas ol and his sincerity, is catastrophic. The story is told of someone who went to the Rebbe for yechidus, in which the Rebbe explained to him what Shlomo HaMelech meant when he declared that the child should be cut in half and shared by the two women. The Rebbe said that Shlomo did not mean, of course,

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When a child sees that his parents care, that they call the school and find out how he is doing, when they ask him how his day was in yeshiva, he realizes that he matters and that his efforts are valued. He will want to continue producing. To be honest, the parents’ showing that they care matters to the school too. I always ask parents to call the teachers, mashgichim and mashpiim. We are human beings and when staff members know that parents care, they treat their child with more attention. You speak about parents showing their son that they care. Are you talking about their son’s gashmius or ruchnius? Of course, you have to ask about both, but when the first questions are about gashmius, the child feels that you care about him. This encourages him to behave better, for him to care about what his parents feel too, and to want to give them nachas. I heard the following story from my brother-in-law, R’ Nachman Twerski of Crown Heights, about the Rebbe’s guidance which saved a child: Many years ago there was a bachur in Crown Heights who went off the derech and left home. The mother was devastated and wrote to the Rebbe. The Rebbe’s response was to beautify the Shabbos table. From then on, she gave much thought, and invested lots of effort and money into the Shabbos meals, starting with special food and pretty dishes. She would buy something new for each Shabbos, a bouquet of flowers, a beautiful tablecloth or a special delicacy. Her Shabbos table became a wonderful weekly experience. In the meantime, the children at home spoke with their brother and told him, “You don’t know

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what you’re missing. Each week Mommy makes a gorgeous Shabbos. You have to see it!” He came one Shabbos and was impressed. He came for another Shabbos and in the end, he remained. Today, he is a Chassidishe man. We can learn a lot from this story. The work put into it, the caring, the concern that mitzvos be done with joy and beauty. When spiritual experiences are remembered as wonderful family experiences, it is a recipe for raising children who love Torah and mitzvos. Every child has his talents and abilities. Should there be a certain model we seek to emulate, even if it’s beyond a child’s capabilities, or should we throw up our hands and say, “That’s him, what can you do in which we “let the child just be himself.” Chazal tell us “the inclination of a person is evil from the outset.” Even if that sounds harsh, that is the Torah’s view. If we don’t educate the child, he can grow up to be a vilde chaya (wild beast). So what is the solution? To see what suits the child. It is very possible that a child is very Chassidishe and what needs to be stressed with him is learning Chassidishe minhagim or halacha. It is important to highlight his strong points. Every child has strong points with which he might very well be the best in class. Focusing on those strong points strengthens him and keeps him in the system; it also connects him with other subjects because he sees that he is capable. were other cases like this one, but this story is one I remember in particular even though it happened long ago. One of the worst things to say about a child is that he’s incapable. This reinforces his feeling that indeed, he is not capable. It breaks him and most of the time results in him becoming incapable of realizing that he is capable. There are many talmidim in yeshivos who don’t relate much to learning Gemara and that style of thinking. Is it a good idea to create a different curriculum for them so that they can learn other things? Can we accept the line, “I don’t have a ‘Gemara kup’” or “I don’t like Gemara,” or are there ways of showing, even students like these, that they can learn and like Gemara? Today, there are teachers and even parents who say, “My child cannot learn Gemara.” Most of the time this is incorrect. There can be problems like difficulty concentrating, dyslexia etc., but in order to determine whether a child does in fact suffer from a genuine problem he needs to be evaluated. Boruch Hashem there are many approaches how to present Gemara to children these days. You need to evaluate whether there is a real problem, and if there is, how to overcome it. Most of the time, when there really is a problem, the right approach can get the child on track so that he have a geshmak in learning. The earlier you identify the problem, the better. It can save him. When a child is about to graduate elementary school and he doesn’t know how to open a Gemara and learn something must be done! When a boy comes to high school, instead

The Rebbe said that Shlomo did not mean, of course, that the baby should literally be cut in two. Rather, the child’s chinuch would be shared by the two women. For a while he would be raised by one woman, and then he would go to the other woman, and so on, back and forth.

...” In other words, how can we combine a child’s abilities with what we want to bring out in the child? We must remember to “educate a child according to his way,” which will ensure that “even when he gets older, he won’t veer away from it.” Obviously, all are not created the same and we need to adjust our goals to the abilities of the child. However, if we only rely on the experts who say each child needs to be regarded individually, we can end up making the terrible mistake that is widespread today

I remember a story about a bachur who had a hard time learning and was quite frustrated. He was sent to the yeshiva in Tzfas because they knew that he’d find a warm place with us. His abilities were mediocre and in addition he often melancholy. One of the teachers tried encouraging him to study halacha and minhag. He learned and was tested on the first volume of Shulchan Aruch HaRav and received a prize. This increased his self-confidence and he began learning seriously, especially halacha. Today he is a dayan in a prestigious community. There

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of learning being enjoyable it’s a burden and the desire to be in yeshiva altogether wanes. It all began when he was allowed to sit in front of a Gemara but he wasn’t told how to learn it! Today, due to the influx of baalei t’shuva, boruch Hashem, there are many Lubavitcher parents who did not attend Chabad schools. Do they have the tools to raise their children as Lubavitchers? The truth is that, sometimes, the problem is not necessarily with baal t’shuva parents but the opposite. I’ll explain what I mean. Just like you cannot drive without first learning how, so too (and more so), you cannot be mechanech without learning how to do it! Parents who want to give their children a Chassidishe education need to learn and experience it themselves. In our yeshiva there are shiurim to guide baalei t’shuva. Also, after getting married and having children, many of them come to consult and get direction. In the yeshiva in Tzfas, as well as in the community, the hosting of young baalei t’shuva couples by Chabad families is widespread. Usually, a baal t’shuva couple will relate to a certain type of family that they consider to be a good role model. The couple sees the chinuch in the home, they experience Shabbos meals, and they try to take the good things that they see and incorporate it into their own homes. On the other hand, there are born and bred Lubavitchers who don’t feel they need to learn and get direction. True, the usual way is to give your children the chinuch that you got at home; the problem is that times have changed. The chinuch that you got may not be suitable for your child.

Back in the sixties, representatives from Beis Yaakov in Boro Park had yechidus with the Rebbe. The Rebbe spoke to them about dozens of chinuch related topics (see the hosafos in Sichos Kodesh). One of the things that the Rebbe told them was that chinuch can only be accomplished through forging a closeness with the child, which was unlike what had been prevalent up until then. It was definitely a drastic change in educational policy. Back then, parents who continued taking a hard line, which is the way they were raised and which was successful up until that time, were responsible for many children going off the derech. You’ve raised the issue of differences in mentality and how chinuch changes over the generations. With changes taking place so rapidly, do parents and mechanchim have the tools to understand today’s children? The question is not whether or not they have the tools; the situation requires parents and teachers to do it right! A parent or teacher who says, “I am satisfied with the chinuch I was given and I am not interested in learning new approaches,” is like a doctor

who tries working with outdated medical treatments and doesn’t learn about new approaches and medications. Kids grow up quickly these days. Information is readily available and spiritual tzaros abound; we cannot ignore the reality. And yet, we believe that Hashem prepares the “cure” for every “illness.” In recent years there are many frum psychologists who know how to combine their professional knowledge with a frum way of life, who can provide responses to problems that crop up. Parents need to realize that even if they come from a good home, they don’t have all the tools needed to deal with today’s youth and they have to keep reading, learning, and, if necessary, consult with someone whether a rav or mashpia or a professional. Eyes and ears must constantly be open, and sometimes the hanhala needs to mingle with the bachurim to find out what’s going on. I remember that when texting became prevalent we discovered a group of bachurim who were using their phones for texting that was inappropriate for a Tamim. We realized that all those involved had come from a certain high school. We took
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care of things at our end and also informed that other yeshiva about it so they could take care of things at their end. The hanhala has to make sure that there are enough people on staff so that every bachur will have someone to turn to. For some reason, yeshivos are inclined to pay attention to “problem” bachurim while the Chassidishe bachur is assumed to be doing fine. Actually, even if the Chassidishe bachur doesn’t raise any questions, he may still have problems or things on his mind that he is afraid to talk about. Even in the rare case that he doesn’t have difficulties, no doubt he would be happy to receive encouragement and help in his growth. Even a Chassidishe bachur who works on achieving success d’Shmaya) or a professional – aside from the good advice they get, the child will feel how important he is to his parents. They don’t make do with advice from friends but invest time, effort, and money, all for his sake, so he grows up healthy and as a Chassid, Yerei Shamayim and Lamdan. And yet, there is an age when too much demonstrable caring and involvement on the part of the parents is detrimental. I once heard from a psychologist that the foolish teenage years used to be between 16-17; today you see it already at 13, and often this phenomenon extends to the age of 24! One way or another, experience has proven that developing a good relationship with a child from a young simultaneously. He can show up to learn, get a perfect score on his test, and even be considered a Chassidishe bachur, while at the same time he is immersed in another world. Is the educational system ready to deal with this? The educational system must be ready to deal with this! There are yeshivos that are at least aware of the problem and have ways of handling it. But there are schools that are simply unaware of what is going on. It’s scary that in many cases the problems start not in high school but in elementary school! Two years ago, during Yemei Iyun for melamdim, there was a workshop on tznius. I addressed the subject at length and presented the problem and solutions. After the talk a principal asked to speak with me in private and he told me a horrifying story. The school discovered that a student had acted in a way wholly unbefitting for a religious Jew. They were shocked when they discovered that the perpetrator was a refined, Chassidishe bachur that no one would have thought capable of such an act. The bachur opened up and it turned out that he had been struggling with this problem for a long time. At a very young age he had been exposed to inappropriate Internet sites. On the one hand, it was a miracle that he continued in yeshiva as usual; on the other hand, it was a miracle that he was discovered. It was all for the best because he received help and he was saved. This is a very painful topic. We have so many wonderful things today. We have an abundance of s’farim. A bachur who wants to learn can be helped with all sorts of Gemaras, halacha s’farim

A parent or teacher who says, “I am satisfied with the chinuch I was given and I am not interested in learning new approaches,” is like a doctor who insists on working with outdated medical treatments and refuses to learn about new techniques and medications.
in his learning and Chassidishe behavior needs encouragement. Every talmid deserves and needs support. How should parents react when, G-d forbid, a bachur is going off the derech? I don’t think it’s right to treat such an important and complicated matter without analyzing it thoroughly. This is not the forum for it. However, from what we said until now, you see that when parents truly care and take practical steps, keeping tabs on their child’s progress and how he is doing, consulting when necessary with the menahel (whom the Rebbe says has siyata age prevents many problems that crop up in adolescence. Parents’ approach towards their child ought to be pleasant and respectful and not one that broadcasts a lack of trust in the child. Again, this is a complicated issue and the answers are not definitive and applicable across the board. It always pays to consult with others. In the past, when a bachur began going downhill, there were red flags, such as when he stopped showing up to s’darim, he changed his style of dress, etc. Today, in the generation of the Internet and the smartphone, a bachur can be in two worlds

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and Chassidus, all of which present the material in an easyto-understand way. Things that you used to have to work hard to achieve are presented in an accessible fashion. At the same time though, access to the sitra achra is also easy and simple. The first thing we need to do is talk and explain. For some reason, we assume the child knows. I’ve heard a father say to his son, “Don’t you know that it’s forbidden to talk between boruch sh’omar and Shmoneh Esrei?!” The truth is that no, he didn’t know. If you don’t tell him he won’t know. This is true for every subject as well as tznius and shmiras ha’einayim. If you don’t explain the child won’t know. What was once obvious is not obvious to today’s youth. Sadly, most of our challenges today are not strictly about seeing to it that a bachur isn’t exposed to the filth on the internet. The tragic reality is that our youth are exposed and we have to provide the tools to deal with it. We have to make it clear to ourselves and to them that Hashem, who also created our challenges, gives us the tools to overcome them. Another very important point is having a mashpia. When the Rebbe asked for this he stressed that it is the individual’s obligation. In other words, it is your responsibility to pick a mashpia, someone you can be open with. One of our yeshiva’s rules is that each talmid must pick a mashpia. We encourage them to pick someone who is on the staff, someone they come into contact with daily and someone who sees his situation and progress, and mainly, someone who understands the bachur and is not outside the yeshiva system. This is a horaa that saves lives

Things that you used to have to work hard to achieve are presented in an accessible fashion. At the same time though, access to the sitra achra is also easy and simple.
“Chassidishe immunity” at a young age against the Internet and movies, etc.? I will take this opportunity to denounce a horrible phenomenon. There are many parents who give their child an iPhone, iPad, or similar devices. We see the enormous damage suffered by children who are addicted to movies. As much as parents think they are supervising what their children are watching, they have no idea just what their children can access. There were articles about this before in Beis Moshiach. I want to say to parents: Watch your kids! You have a sharp knife in the house? Don’t let your child play with it! You have to watch even young children. There were cases in
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and not only in yeshiva but also on K’vutza, during shidduchim, and after marriage. When a mashpia is asked a question that he doesn’t have an answer for, he consults (without names, of course) with more experienced people on the staff. When necessary, he will refer the bachur for professional treatment with frum therapists. Every parent and teacher needs to ascertain that their children and talmidim have a mashpia. Staff members and Chassidishe young men should be willing to say yes when asked by younger bachurim to be their mashpia, and to consult with older mashpiim when necessary. Can a child be given

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I want to say to parents: Watch your kids! You have a sharp knife in the house? Don’t let your child play with it! You have to watch even young children. There were cases in which seven and eight year olds were exposed, inadvertently, through their father’s telephone or computer to terrible things. The spiritual damage to the child is inestimable.

which seven and eight year olds were exposed, inadvertently, through their father’s telephone or computer to terrible things. The spiritual damage to the child is inestimable. As for games and “frum videos” that are brought into the home, parents must be alert to what they are giving their children. Children should not see or be allowed to play with games or watch movies that have violence, murder and fighting. We know how much the Rebbe urged us to prevent children from seeing impure animals, even in pictures. A video can make a much deeper impression on a child. Many yeshivos these days are hiring younger staff members so that they can better relate to the students, which is a good thing. But isn’t this at the expense of the experience of older teachers? Is the perspective of younger teachers broad enough? Are they the ones to whom we should be entrusting the chinuch of our children? This is definitely a good move. There are yeshivos today that are built from the outset with young blood, and even old time yeshivos are incorporating young teachers. Young teachers provide a lot of energy, creative thought and they are able to understand young people.

Throughout this interview we have spoken about getting help when necessary. The Rebbe stressed the idea of consulting with others and when it comes to chinuch, it is vital. An older staff member who lacks what the younger ones have, may need to consult with those younger than him. Chazal say that the destruction of the elders is construction and the construction of youth is destruction, but when they work together you have the best of both. In our yeshivos we are in favor of this approach. In the yeshiva g’dola we brought in young staff; in the high school all the staff members are young. Yeshivas Chanoch L ’Naar and Machon HaTorani Technologi are run primarily by young staff. They come to consult and gain from the experience of the older staff members. In conclusion, as someone involved in chinuch for nearly forty years, how does Chabad chinuch look to you today? It’s hard to answer that question. The Rebbe always demands that we move forward and expect more from ourselves. It’s hard to compare, since our communities are larger today and the challenges are different. And yet, it’s amazing to see the bachurim, who never saw the Rebbe, dealing with difficult

challenges and who are still mekusharim to the Rebbe, who learn diligently, who fly to the Rebbe every year and live with the Rebbe 24 hours a day. Previous generations have what to be jealous of today’s generation. Take, for example, the hundreds of sifrei pilpulim that have been published in recent years, full of serious material; the great number of talmidim who participate in the Torah learning contests, the bachurim who are tested on entire tractates, and the number of T’mimim who are tested for smicha in general and at Heichal Shlomo (the Chief Rabbinate smicha program). Then there is the bekius of the bachurim in Rambam and inyanei Moshiach and Geula. One year during the Three Weeks we had a lecturer from Machon HaMikdash. The organizers asked for a senior lecturer who is familiar with all the halachos and details since the talmidim here are very knowledgeable. This lecturer was amazed by their knowledge. This goes along with a huge amount of mivtzaim. The bachurim cover all of northern Israel. To give you an idea, the budget for ATaH (Irgun Talmidei HaYeshivos) is over 100,000 shekels a year, which goes entirely for the activities, as there are no salaries or management overhead. Aside from this, in the yeshiva there are shiurim over the phone every night and special mivtzaim for Chanuka, Purim, and Lag B’Omer, in which they go to moshavim and kibbutzim throughout the country. The bachurim are on fire for shlichus and to welcome Moshiach. The Rebbe says all aspects of shlichus should be permeated with Moshiach. So too in chinuch, the Rebbe said that

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chinuch should be in such a way that when you look at a child, you see Moshiach. How should parents implement this? You can’t just say the words; you have to “live” it. When a child is asked to give in, to do something out of Ahavas Yisroel or to daven properly, you also have to say and stress (because it’s the truth), that this deed can be the one to bring about the hisgalus of the Rebbe MH”M. This is the “intent” of every mitzva and mivtza. Very often bachurim return from mivtzaim and relate that it was only when they told someone that his putting on t’fillin might bring Moshiach, that he agreed to do it. When the Rebbe says that

Moshiach is the gateway to all other things, it means that this is what success depends on. If we want to be successful in a certain thing, we need to ensure that it is permeated with Moshiach, because it is the road to success! When chinuch goes through the gateway of Moshiach, so that every action, word and thought goes through the test of – does this hasten the hisgalus of the Rebbe or not? – then it will be successful. This is how, with Hashem’s Express Expressservice service help, we will raise Chassidishe Fully FullyComputerized Computerized children who are mekusharim to the Rebbe and who want to be 331 Kingston Ave.Ave. 331 Kingston nd be said, those about whom(2 itnd(2 will Flr)Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 Brooklyn NY 11213 “see what I have raised!”
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OUR SAGES SAW IT AS TORAH TELLS
Our Sages teach that if a physical sense is put into question, contradicted by something that has been conveyed by the holy Torah – in that case we conclude that the physical sense is mistaken, and [in the case of Yaakov Avinu] it only appears that the process of embalming had been done. * Source materials compiled by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. Translations are in bold. Underlining is the emphasis of the compiler.
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

Further elaboration of this passage of Gemara is found in non-Chassidic texts. In Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg’s (19152006) halachic treatise Tzitz Eliezer, he quotes at length from Ohr Yahel, written by Rav Yehuda Leib Chasman (1869-1935), who argues that the Gemara’s statement, “Yaakov Avinu did not die,” is meant in the simple sense; he literally lives on physically, as well as in spirit. If one were to see his friend Reuven with his eyes, and hear him speak, but he perceives that it is the voice of Shimon, certainly he would conclude that his sense of hearing is deceiving him. He would know that in actual fact it is Reuven before him and not Shimon, for the sense of sight is more compelling than the sense of hearing. How much more so

in the case where someone tells you that a person has died, but you see him standing before you. Could there be such a fool who thinks anything other than, “that statement is false”?! Now, consider this wonder. Rav Nachman is perplexed and asks, “Was it in vain then that they embalmed him?” Comes Rav Yitzchok and replies: “I derive this teaching from Scripture.” But what kind of an answer is that? We have seen that he had died and was embalmed and buried! However, our Sages have informed us that if a physical sense is put into question, contradicted by something that has been conveyed by the holy Torah – in that case we conclude that the physical sense is mistaken, and [in the case of Yaakov Avinu] it only appears

that the process of embalming had been done. Since “I derive this teaching from Scripture,” using the true general principles of exegesis given to us at Sinai, it follows that it is the Alm-ghty Himself Who is telling us this. Of consequence, it is clear that it only appeared to them that Yaakov had died, but he was actually alive. This is our Sages’ approach to learning Torah, and this constitutes the great difference and vast distance between our [mundane] way of thinking and that of our Sages – polar opposites. As far as we are concerned, in our impoverished [mindset], the physical world is the [true] existence and “the Torah requires [a leap of faith to acknowledge its truth].” Whereas, from their holy perspective, our Sages perceived the Torah with their senses as the [true] existence. Indeed, when they say, “I derive this teaching from Scripture,” all their senses and visual perceptions are utterly nullified [to the truth established by Torah, knowing that, left to their own devises, the senses] are fooled by lies and convey falsity [to the beholder]. The fact is that it merely appeared to them that Yaakov had been embalmed. See this discussion in the author’s wellarticulated words there. […] For the ordinance of the Torah stands beyond all considerations, and our Sages are inclined towards this edict. Indeed, all their senses and visual perceptions are nullified to the Torah – “I derive this teaching from Scripture” – for this is the actual reality. This is the way, the way of the Torah, to go in its way, and earnestly follow it without veering to the right or to the left.

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BRINGING THE REBBE TO B’NEI BRAK
A Litvishe girl looks for deeper meaning in life and discovers Chabad. * The fascinating story of Yael Abraham, today a shlucha in B’nei Brak. * “Chabad without Moshiach is not Chabad.”
By Rocheli Green

I

had never heard of Yael Abraham. Then someone suggested that I interview her. “She has a very interesting story,” I was told. After over an hour of interviewing her, I can say it was worth every minute. See for yourself.

LEARNING CHASSIDUS UNDERGROUND
“Where shall I begin?” asked Yael. “From the beginning?” I offered. Yael laughed. “If I’m going to start from the beginning, let it be from the beginning.” And Yael shared with me an unforgettable saga of struggle, transformation and triumph: There was a young bachur who learned in Ponovezh yeshiva. Ponovezh is the code word for

the bastion of Litvishe yeshivos and this bachur was a diligent Litvishe bachur. One day, a friend suggested that they learn a maamer before they davened. Our young bachur, like every fine Litvishe bachur, looked the fellow up and down; when he realized he was serious and had no fever, he asked him which paragraph in Shulchan Aruch says you can learn before davening. The friend insisted that this learning was different. What was different about it? It was learning for the davening. The young bachur was convinced and they sat together and learned Likkutei Torah. Many years would pass before that young bachur, my father, would tell me that his davening that day was unforgettable. As in other areas of life, when

you get a taste of something and see that it’s good, you want more. It seems that in all Litvishe yeshivos there is an underground program for learning Chassidus. In Litvish yeshivos there are actual shiurim and in those yeshivos that are very opposed, Lubavitcher bachurim would sneak in, put Sifrei Chassidus among the many seforim in the library and sneak back out. My father began learning the daily Chitas and attended the Tanya classes and farbrengens that took place under the radar and under the noses of the mashgichim. One farbrengen even took place in my parents’ house when they were first married. But somehow, those youthful experiences got filed away and my family became a regular Litvishe family. They were so typical that by

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the time I was born, and I’m the ninth in my family, there was nothing Lubavitch about us. Still and all, our home always had a different feel to it; it wasn’t 100% typically Litvish. My parents taught us about hashgacha pratis and bitachon in Hashem. They are humble people and love peace. My mother has a special learning schedule every day in a number of seforim. She created a sort of Chitas of her own. My father’s background in Tanya gave him a different outlook on life. We are a family of Levites. We can all sing or play an instrument or both. My parents are from Eidot HaMizrach (Sephardic). In Halacha, they followed the p’sak of the Ben Ish Chai, a Sephardic posek, but we all attended Litvishe schools so that the Litvishe spirit made a

tremendous impact in our home. We were a frum, fine family. All the girls learned in the best school (I won’t get into what girls from non-Ashkenazic homes have to go through to be accepted into this top school). Interestingly, we had certain Lubavitcher connections. We had neighbors who were Lubavitchers. Today, that might be commonplace, but then it wasn’t – certainly not in our environment. They “happened” to have a girl my age and she “happened” to be my best friend. We attended the same preschool and elementary school because the Ateres Chaya School did not exist yet. I remember that as a little girl I realized that if our house was different, then her house was really different: the sign “Hichonu L ’Bi’as Moshiach” with the sun on it; stories about

parades they attended on Lag b’Omer … Ateres Chaya opened around fifth grade and she switched there. Later on, our neighbors moved away and we parted ways. In the meantime, I went on to the well-known high school, Seminar Meir. It’s a branch of the famous Wolf Bais Yaakov School, a place where the “elite” go. It is so elite that it’s harder to get in there than into Wolf. Since all my sisters went there, the way was paved for me to attend it too.

DESCENT FOR THE SAKE OF ASCENT
I remember always being drawn to studying. I even learned Chovos HaLevavos with my father, but I didn’t relate to it. In all the classes of R’ Meir (the eponymous dean of the seminary), I was the one who
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asked the questions but the answers did not satisfy me. At a certain point, I began going downhill spiritually. Not all at once but in stages. I never had doubts about emuna, but I was confused by the fact that anything to do with davening or the details of mitzvos was hard for me and did not at all interest me. As someone who loved to learn, I tried to find answers. When I didn’t find answers in the usual places, I began looking elsewhere. I tried Breslov and a little in the religious-Zionist sector, because maybe the slogan from Hashem. I play the piano, drums, guitar … as is fitting for a girl from a Levite family. At some point in my childhood, I developed a dream to create a band of girls that would perform for women. A real band, like the men have, something that did not exist at that time for women. Whenever I tried realizing this dream, I saw it was too complicated and I let it remain as a dream. One day, I was visiting my sister in Elad and was looking at a local paper. Just looking through it was out of character since I really do not like politics. with a new idea. She said that in Chabad they were always celebrating. By us, from Tishrei until Chanuka there is nothing; in Chabad, there is always something going on. Miri’s idea was to create a musical program based on Chabad niggunim and to perform at farbrengens. What spoke to me, as a seventeen year old, was one word: money. I was willing to learn Miri’s songs for money. Miri was an excellent teacher. She got CD’s for me and also sat with me and taught me the niggunim. One of the first niggunim I learned through her, which I really liked, was “Shamil.” I liked it even before I knew that there is a story to it. There was also “B’nei Heichala” which is sung at the third Shabbos meal, and there were others. I eventually discovered a unique phenomenon with niggunim that does not exist with other songs. There is a huge difference between a niggun and a song and I felt it. An ordinary song does not lift me up. Today, I understand why. A regular song comes from a regular person who composed it from the emotional well of his soul, whether his animal or G-dly soul, it makes no difference; it is still limited. A regular song can touch the soul or be particularly soothing, but it does not have the ability to raise me up. With niggunim, I felt as though Someone was lifting up my soul and doing a massive job cleansing it. After each niggun, I would feel like a new person, as though the dust and mud had been removed from me and I returned to the world with a cleaner neshama. Miri and I began attending all kinds of farbrengens. The way farbrengens work, you don’t

With niggunim, I felt as though Someone was lifting up my soul and doing a massive job cleansing it. After each niggun, I would feel like a new person.
“Smile – Hashem Loves You” would speak to me or maybe the combination of Judaism and all the pleasures of this world would get me closer to Hashem. But in neither place did I find that which would motivate me to progress in Torah and mitzvos. It was nice but I wasn’t moving forward. I spent entire nights sitting and talking and crying to Hashem. I would ask Him to bring me a derech I could live with. I remember that while talking, I would say to myself: Why are you talking to Heaven? What are you trying to achieve? This world is a place where you work. You know the derech, get to work! Stop dreaming about experiences of love and fear. For me, my “descent” got me to an encounter with the Rebbe. Before I tell you of this encounter, I will tell you about my musical abilities that I received as a gift But I looked through the paper and got to the wanted ads. Among all the ads for tutors or tables to give away, I saw a small ad which said they were looking for girls or women to form a band – precisely my dream. I called and a nice girl named Miri answered the phone. We arranged to meet. My drums were kept in the bomb shelter of my parents’ building. I hadn’t touched them in nearly a year, but with the first taps and first rehearsals that Miri and I did, we discovered we were a good pair. Our relationship went deeper than partners with music in common. After a while, we realized that we had become good friends. During rehearsals, Miri told me offhandedly that she is Lubavitch. That didn’t bother me. I was searching in any case, so this was no big deal. One day, Miri came to me

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A street in B’nei Brak

just show up to play and leave. Someone speaks first, people sit and eat … so I began listening. I did not always understand what was said, especially at first. But it was interesting. I remember that I felt good when I heard these talks, even if I did not understand them. It touched me somehow. When I discovered how much it spoke to me, I decided to try giving it over in my own way. The bomb shelter that we used for rehearsals became a kind of “hangout” for farbrengens and Tanya classes. I wasn’t yet a Lubavitcher and I did not know much, but it was important to me to give over what I already knew. Miri and I continued our farbrengen circuit. As we did so, we had many long discussions into the night about what is Chassidus, what is the difference between religious groups and their ideologies, etc. Until then, Chassidus to me was defined by a Chassid with a shtraimel who ate “kigel” in a “shtibel.” It was nothing

with depth but something that bordered on the bizarre. I slowly began to get acquainted with the world of Chabad. I discovered a profound way of life, packed with meaning and discoveries. For example, one of the ideas that amazed me was the special bond between Rebbe and Chassid. There is nothing like it in other sectors. We are connected. It makes no difference what you did or where you stand spiritually; you are connected! It was so entirely unlike the world I came from, in which if you did mitzvos, good for you; if you didn’t, scram until you fix yourself up. There is great love here, and this is something unique that I had not encountered before. Aside from that, the bond with the Rebbe lifts you up. When you go to a rav and ask him a question, he answers you. He doesn’t raise you up to him. Another discovery was getting to know myself through Tanya and the Rebbe’s sichos. The

amazing thing about Chassidus is that nothing is stuck in a gray area. There is a horaa for every situation and an explanation for everything. Before I learned about two souls, I discovered the yetzer tov and yetzer rah. I always regarded them as two guys who come and visit now and then. Nobody explained to me that the yetzarim are actually my soul powers that are always within me. Then came the souls, the G-dly soul and the animal soul. I realized I do not have a split personality. In the Litvishe world, you learn about working on your middos, but they never told me I was comprised of both sides. I always wondered who I, Yael, am. We also did not talk openly about situations in which we fall or struggle. I always felt that I was the bad one and everyone else were tzaddikim. I thought I was the one with challenges and other people, at least externally, were managing just fine.

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In short, I realized that what was missing in my life was depth. I was not able to do things merely in a technical way. Once I realized this, the questions began: Why don’t you sleep in the sukka? Why don’t you eat the third Shabbos meal? And then, how can you say that the Rebbe is Moshiach? Although I was spiritually down and was not that familiar with Shulchan Aruch, when it came to Moshiach there was a real fear. I began studying the subject in depth. The point where I understood that Chassidus without Moshiach someone who is not involved in the subject. I figured this out at the Shabbos table when I saw that the discussions weren’t accomplishing anything, except for something inside me that said how important this subject was for me. I have met with all kinds of Lubavitchers. I see that when I am with certain types of Lubavitcher women, it brings me back to my Litvishe days. They have the Nasi Ha’dor but it’s all cold. These are flashbacks that I have till today. If the “moisture” of Moshiach is missing, it feels into action. As a result, they supported me. This was also the time that my father told me about his connection with Chabad, not only as a bachur but also as an adult. For example, one of my brothers was born prematurely and my parents sent a letter to the Rebbe. I would give a fortune if I could find that letter, but just knowing about the hidden connection that my family had with the Rebbe made me feel good. I saw where my interest in Chabad came from. I had wondered how on earth a B’nei Brak girl like me could have come to the Rebbe. We married and lived in B’nei Brak. We intended on living there for one year and then going on shlichus. My husband had been in Kazakhstan on shlichus for nearly five years, in the area of Alma Ata where R’ Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn, the Rebbe’s father, had lived. He wanted to return to Russia. I wasn’t ready to think about another country and so we decided to look within Eretz Yisroel. There is plenty of work here too, but all the Igros we opened to from the Rebbe contained either no answer, or a negative response, or it had nothing to do with what we asked. I did not understand what was going on. One day, I wrote to the Rebbe. I wrote that I wanted to do what he wanted, and go on shlichus, so could the Rebbe please answer me clearly: Should I go on shlichus? And why did I get those other answers until now? The Rebbe’s answer had a story. R’ Hillel of Paritch wanted to move to Eretz Yisroel. The Tzemach Tzedek told him “make Eretz Yisroel here.” I understood. The Rebbe wanted us to work here, in B’nei

The Rebbe does all the work here. I’m just not supposed to get in the way. That is our goal – when we focus on being the conduit, all the water will flow in the right direction.
is not Chassidus came after I learned at Machon Alte. I had gotten to know Miri’s sisterin-law, Chana Ruth Abraham, and decided to ask her to be my mashpia, once I became acquainted with that idea. She sent me to Machon Alte. There were lots of classes and I participated eagerly. I hoped that with all the information I learned, when I returned to my family I would be able to respond to their questions. Their questions were not necessarily antagonistic. Often, they came from a real desire to know, but I soon discovered that Moshiach is not a topic for discussion. It’s a subject to learn. You want to know? Learn a sicha with me. Today, after eight years in Chabad, I declare: I have not found a magical line or proof on the topic of the Rebbe being Moshiach that would convince like I’m in another part of B’nei Brak.

STARTING A CHABAD HOUSE
I learned more and ended up marrying Miri’s brother! The idea came from three different people. And it all began with a tiny ad in a paper! As for my family’s reaction to my marrying a Lubavitcher, before they could accept him, they had to accept me. They did this with lots of love and respect. Their acceptance came from a very interesting place; they saw what Chassidus did for me. They saw how a girl who had to be constantly reminded about hechsherim had blossomed, and now kept after them about hechsherim not being good enough … They saw I had a special chayus that was translated

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Brak. So we began working. Around the same time, the Rebbe gave me a bracha to study a profession. I’ve been interested for a long time in the field of human relationships and once I had a bracha, I began studying Parental and Family Guidance at Beis Rivka. I derive a lot of inspiration from the Eitan method, which is psychology of the soul according to Tanya that was developed by my sister-inlaw, Chana Ruth. These courses enabled me to realize that I have the ability to speak, not just to sing. I began giving lectures, farbrenging and playing music at Chabad Houses. My wish is to reveal the light, power and love which lie within every woman in the audience facing me. At these farbrengens, I literally feel the aphorism “Chassidim never part,” in deep bonding experiences with the participants. My “Ani Maamin” is something the Rebbe brings in the HaYom Yom: Within each of us lies everything. We just need to dig and reveal the wellsprings of living water. This is true for Lubavitchers and true for other B’nei Brak women whom I work with in our shlichus.

THE SHLICHUS IS HERE!
What’s it like to work in B’nei Brak? It’s not easy. In a certain way, I would say that it’s harder, harder to be mekarev frum people to Chassidus than people who are not religious. The attitude of the first group is: What? You want to tell me that you know more than us? You were born the day before yesterday and until yesterday it wasn’t clear what path in life you were taking. Now, all of a sudden, you know everything?

I heard a very nice story about the strength to teach Alef to other people. There was a young boy who went with two older boys on an outing. On the way, they came to a crossroads and did not know how to continue. One said to go one way, and the other said to go the other way. One took out a compass and the other took out binoculars. The young boy looked at the two older boys and pointed in a certain direction and said: That’s the way. The older boys began shouting at him, who was he altogether and he had never been there before, etc. He listened to them calmly and said: You are right, but there is one thing you didn’t notice. I have the map. When I say to go there, it is not because I am so smart, but because I see it written on the map! When we put ourselves into the Rebbe’s hands, it is not that I know but that this is the map. Aside from this, I think that the Geula is waiting for frum women to become aware of Chassidus

and the Rebbe. Out of Ahavas Yisroel we need to tell people that Moshiach is here and we just need to accept his malchus. So my husband and I decided that as phase one, we would have shiurim for women. I had just given birth to my oldest and I was nervous – how to go about it, how to word the flyers, will women come or not … There was lots of uncertainty. I remember that I wrote to the Rebbe about the shiurim that we were going to start on Wednesdays in my home. The letter I opened to was addressed to someone who was organizing a meeting in his house on Wednesday. There were a lot of brachos. It was so moving that until today we do all we can to ensure that the shiur continues, no matter what is going on. We distributed lots of flyers. I saw flyers that were ripped; I don’t know whether it was on purpose, but in any case, I decided not to take it to heart. Boruch Hashem, more than fifteen women came to the first shiur. It was a wonderful
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surprise. I was counting on three or four. It sounds simple, but actually the idea of these shiurim was to cover a gap of 200 years. These women were stuck in the period prior to Chassidus and now I had to bring them into the era of Moshiach. How did I bridge the gap? With little steps. In the specific area of B’nei Brak where I live, you cannot label everything by its name right away. What helps me work in such a difficult place is a story: A pair of Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe ended up in a place that was anti-Chassidic. One Chassid nearly fainted when he heard how the Alter Rebbe was defamed. The other Chassid sat and smiled. The first one said to him, to remain quiet is one thing, but to sit there so calmly? The second one said: I don’t understand what you want. They are not talking about my Rebbe. If they knew him, they would speak altogether differently. The same is true for our Rebbe. Whoever gets to know the Rebbe just a bit, immediately understands. Whoever is somewhat opposed, it’s not because he doesn’t want all the goodness that you get with the Rebbe; he simply does not understand that all the goodness that he dreams about is in the Rebbe’s hands. As time goes by, I see more and more that people are searching for something powerful. It is just that not everyone realizes that what he is looking for is the Rebbe. That is where I come in. I teach things slowly, in small spoonfuls, explaining in simple words what Geula is, what the Rebbe is, and what importance this has in Judaism. Today, Boruch Hashem, people are familiar with Igros Kodesh and some women write. But we still do not talk about Moshiach explicitly. We started producing a quarterly brochure for women under the auspices of R’ Belinov (son-in-law of R’ Landau). The idea is for it to have a family orientation and touch upon many areas of relevant Halacha. The brochure is published as a gift to the Rebbe. It will have a series of articles on hiskashrus to the Rebbe. I opened to a very interesting letter from the Rebbe about this, about how to work with people who are not Lubavitchers (in actual fact and metaphorically, who don’t understand the subject of Moshiach). The Rebbe writes that you need to work with them so that the wolf will be satisfied but the lamb will remain whole. In other words, present in a way that it is accepted, but contains the truth within; and this is my shlichus here in B’nei Brak. I remember a story about the Chassid, R’ Reuven Dunin. One day, he said to the Rebbe: Rebbe, I want to go to B’nei Brak and make everyone into Chassidim! The Rebbe smiled and said: Why go to a place where they don’t want to listen to you? Go to a place where they want to listen to you. When I read this story I thought, if the Rebbe told R’ Dunin to go elsewhere, how could little me work here? Why would the Rebbe pick me to do such a big job? I don’t have a clear answer to all these questions, but it seems that only someone who comes from this world can work here. The Rebbe does all the work here. I’m just not supposed to get in the way. That is our goal – when we focus on being the conduit, all the water will flow in the right direction.

THE MIRACLE
My message is to all shluchos who are having a hard time in their shlichus. I’d like to share a story with your readers. My oldest son, Nosson, was born with developmental problems. We went to all kinds of people with important names and titles. What they had in common was the experience to help a child develop and to understand why the child is having a hard time speaking, comprehending, etc. All these treatments required a lot of time and energy. My extended family, which still does not appreciate the importance of shlichus, would say to me: What do you need all these shiurim for? See how much work you have with your son? Whenever I faltered, I would write to the Rebbe and the answer was always the same: there is nothing to talk about and I had to continue my shlichus. Over half a year ago, when my son was three and a half, we were guests of relatives for Shabbos. The subject of my son came up versus all sorts of plans to expand the shlichus. One of the ladies at the table said: You need strength to deal with your son. How can you be making all these plans? I thought she might be right and maybe this was not the time for it. It was Shabbos Mevarchim Elul. I wrote to the Rebbe once again. The answer was not to stop my work. But I got the real answer five days later. We went to consult with a top doctor about whether to do a test on my son that required anesthesia. He examined my son and said: Did you know that he’s suffering from X?

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I didn’t know. Apparently there is a bacterium that is a cousin of the bacteria that causes throat infections. It causes delays in speech, difficulties in social interactions and restlessness. Most doctors don’t connect these symptoms with the bacteria. Then he began asking me a series of questions to which I answered “yes” to all of them. I asked him: How do you know my son? He said: I don’t know him, but I know the bacteria. The medication for these bacteria and all the problems it created was an antibiotic that had to be taken for two weeks. When I thought about it afterward, I

realized that my son had never gotten antibiotics. If he had, because of a strep throat or something else, everything would have been resolved without my realizing the miracle. But Hashem decided that I should be aware of what happened. And today, Boruch Hashem, my son is doing great. The message I got from this story was very powerful. When the Rebbe says to continue working, he knows what he is talking about. He was telling me: You deal with my inyanim, and I will take care of yours. I think this is the most powerful answer that I’ve

received from the Rebbe in all my years in Chabad. Shlichus is not easy. Each of us has times we want to throw up our hands. But the Rebbe says that to take a shlichus from someone is to do him an injustice. When someone speaks about hardships, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. At farbrengens where I play music or tell my story, I try to emphasize this point, that when we “get it,” when we understand what a Rebbe is, what Moshiach is, and what era we are living in, we have all the reasons to rejoice! Yael can be contacted at bizchutnashim@gmail.com

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Chabad History

THE CHASSID WHO HOSTED THREE REBBEIM IN HIS HOUSE
Highlights from the life of the Chassid, R’ Shmuel Nimotin (may Hashem avenge his blood). * A T’shura from the Goldfarb-Chanin wedding.
In order to get a special permit, he had to be a businessman. He opened a business that sewed sacks and thanks to this business, he got a residency permit. He hardly worked in the business, but dedicated his time to carrying out the shlichus that the Rebbe Rashab had assigned to him. Since the soup kitchen was in his house, every Chassid who ended up in Petersburg found himself at home there. R’ Shmuel had the privilege of the Rebbe Rashab and his son, the Rebbe Rayatz, eating of his food. Usually, the Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Rayatz would stay in an expensive hotel and one of R’ Shmuel’s daughters would bring them food each day. The Rebbe Rayatz would

ON SHLICHUS FOR THE REBBE RASHAB
The life and death of R’ Shmuel Nimotin is an awesome saga of mesirus nefesh. He was one of the first talmidim in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim, where he learned until 5663, at which time he became engaged to his wife, Itta Mera. After he married, the Rebbe Rashab sent him to Petersburg (around the year 5664/5) in order to serve as a shochet for the Jews of the city. He was also to set up a soup kitchen for Jews who ended up in Petersburg so they would have kosher food. In those days, the Pale of Settlement prevented Jews from living in a city like Petersburg.

often visit R’ Shmuel’s house where he would farbreng with the old Chassid, R’ Shmuel Michel Treinen (a Chassid of the Rebbe Maharash and the Rebbe Rashab) who stayed in his house. The Rebbe MH”M also ate and slept in his house for about half a year, when he stayed in Leningrad during the years 5685-7.

THE MYSTERIOUS SUITCASE
R’ Shmuel acquired a reputation as a very erlicher (honest) man. Even the non-Jews knew that R’ Shmuel Nimotin was a trustworthy man who could keep a secret. This is how he became closely acquainted with members of the government and later, with members of the GPU too. In 5679/1919, after World War I, many generals returned from the front and brought with them items they had stolen during the course of the war.

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A drawing of R’ Shmuel Nimotin

One of them, a general by the name of Obyanik arrived in Petersburg and looked for a safe place to hide the loot he had with him. He did not want to take it home because he did not know what tomorrow would bring, nor did he know what part of Russia he would be sent to. He was also afraid of his wife and did not trust her. While at a bar, he asked some of his friends whether they knew a trustworthy man. They all recommended R’ Shmuel Nimotin. He went to R’ Shmuel

and said, “Listen my friend, I heard that you are trustworthy and I can rely on you. I have a small, wooden suitcase and I am going away for a few days. I’d like you to watch it. When I come back, I will take the suitcase and pay you for your trouble.” The general left and disappeared. He never came back and R’ Shmuel forgot about the story. Over time, the suitcase was moved to a wooden shed, and was forgotten about. It was a bitter winter and R’ Shmuel’s house was freezing.

There was no money for firewood. Having no choice, they decided to take apart the wooden shed and use it for firewood. When they broke the shed they found the small wooden suitcase. Nobody knew what it was and what was inside it. They broke it open and found something that looked like milk powder. R’ Shmuel took a small sample to shul and began to ask people whether they knew what it was. Nobody knew. Among R’ Shmuel’s friends was a sailor who had served in the Navy by the name of Matras. He told R’ Shmuel that he had a friend who ran a pharmacy and he would know what it is. R’ Shmuel gave him the powder and waited for an answer. A few days later, on Shabbos, soldiers surrounded R’ Shmuel’s house. They conducted a thorough search of the house and then began questioning R’ Shmuel. R’ Shmuel calmly told them that it was his Sabbath and he did not speak of mundane matters. If they had questions, they should return after Shabbos and he would answer them. The soldiers shackled his arms and legs, threw him into a waiting car and took him to the GPU offices. They interrogated and tortured him but to no avail. On Shabbos R’ Shmuel did not speak. It was first on Motzaei Shabbos that he opened his mouth and told them that he had been given a suitcase with mysterious contents from a general. They did not believe his story and they said: The suitcase was full of a sleeping drug (anesthesia), and since it was a time of emergency there was none of this drug available for operations, and now some private citizen has this merchandise! This

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is an act of rebellion! After a quick trial, he was sentenced to be shot. At this point, R’ Shmuel’s connections with senior GPU officials stood him in good stead. They testified that he would not be dealing with such things and his story about the general had to be true. In the end, after much intervening over a period of months, he was released. The Gaon asked that he be brought his coat and was ready to leave. Then his rebbetzin said the Gaon hadn’t eaten anything yet that day. The Gaon ate a little something from what she served and said, “We must hurry. The Nasi is waiting!” When they arrived, the Rebbe came out to welcome the Gaon and they sat together for a while. Then the Rebbe escorted the Gaon and said goodbye. By the way, R’ Shmuel’s son, Refael, was also in touch with the Rogatchover Gaon. For a period of time, he would serve as his aide and accompany him from the shul to his house every day. He said that the Gaon would talk to him pleasantly. When R’ Refael would ask him questions, the Gaon would answer everything at length and in a simple manner that could be understood even by a child. This was completely unlike his brief, sometimes cryptic, responses in letters. (Since we are talking about the fond relationship between the Rogatchover and the Rebbeim, we will mention what the Gaon said back then which has bearing on the nesius of the Rebbe MH”M, after the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz many years later. This was conveyed by R’ Zalman Yitzchok Chanin (R’ Shmuel Nimotin’s mechutan). R’ Shaul Brook wrote it to R’ Yisroel Jacobson during the year before the Rebbe officially accepted the nesius, quoting R’ Zalman Yitzchok: “Now I will tell you what I heard from R’ Zalman Yitzchok Chanin (the father of Chaikel Chanin, if you know him) who was in Leningrad at the time. The Rogatchover went to the Rebbe (Rayatz) and when the Chassidim inquired as to why he had come, he said: I am going to give smicha

HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ROGATCHOVER GAON
When the Rebbe Rayatz arrived in Leningrad in 5684, he visited the Rogatchover Gaon, whom the Rebbe held in high esteem. R’ Shmuel told a frightening story about the greatness of the Rogatchover. Before the Rebbe came to settle in Leningrad, he told some Chassidim to ask permission from the Rogatchover Gaon who, until then, was the pride of the city. This was to ensure that the Rebbe’s coming would in no way infringe on the Gaon’s honor. Some “bright” Chassidim who were zealous for the Rebbe’s honor, wanted the Rogatchover to leave the city and they must have said something rude to him. When the Rebbe heard about this, he told them to hurry and ask the Gaon’s forgiveness since they were “playing with fire!” One of the Chassidim rushed to ask forgiveness saying, “The Rebbe told me to ask forgiveness.” The Rogatchover said, “That’s a Chassid! He personally does not want to ask forgiveness, but the Rebbe told him to do so, so he does it.” He forgave him. Another two Chassidim did not go and ask forgiveness. Not a year went by and one of them died and the other one, who had always been an outstanding Chassid, went off the derech. Nobody could understand how this could have happened. It was only ten years later that he began doing t’shuva, but not one of his descendants remained frum. The Rebbe took R’ Shmuel along for the visit. R’ Shmuel related that before leaving his house, the Rebbe prepared for the meeting as if he was going to meet a king (for example, the Rebbe asked R’ Shmuel whether he was dressed properly). As he left the house, the Rebbe stood erect and his holy face shone like that of an angel. When R’ Shmuel told the Gaon that the Rebbe had arrived, he immediately went out to welcome him. The two sat together for two hours. A short time later, the Rebbe Rayatz asked R’ Shmuel to bring the Gaon to visit him. On this occasion, R’ Shmuel saw the great respect the Rogatchover had for the Rebbe, like a Chassid for his Rebbe: When R’ Shmuel told the Gaon that he had come from the Rebbe to bring him to the Rebbe, the Gaon said, “Indeed, that is what we agreed upon. The Nasi calls!”

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to your Rebbe. The Rebbe heard this and went out to greet him. He entered his room and they spoke for a long time. When he came out, they asked him what he has to say about our Rebbe and he said: Jews need a Nasi. His father was worthy for nesius, [the laws of inheritance of spiritual positions is] his son-in-law comes before anyone else, and his son before his son-in-law. Especially a son if he is worthy, he certainly ought to be a Nasi. “It pays to remember what the Gaon said at that time (i.e. alluding to the case of a son-inlaw).”

R’ Shmuel Nimotin when he was under arrest

A LIFE OF MESIRUS NEFESH
During the days of terror under the communist regime, R’ Shmuel stood strong in preserving the spark of Judaism. After the Rebbe Rayatz left Russia in 1928, he was devastated. He sat day and night and poured out his heart in T’hillim. At this time, he risked his life to do chesed. Any Jew who had savings and was afraid it would be confiscated by the government (and it was dangerous to put the money into the bank because of fear of questioning), knew that he could deposit it with R’ Shmuel. R’ Shmuel took it on condition that he could lend the money to those in need until the person wanted his money back. The NKVD got wind of this. R’ Shmuel heard that they were looking for him in order to arrest him and he managed to escape and hide. The NKVD took his fifteen year old daughter Chaya Leah hostage and put her in Spalerka prison. When R’ Shmuel heard this, and knowing what this meant, having experienced it himself several times, the conditions there

being deplorable (his daughter later related that they put her in a packed room with hundreds of people. Forget about food, drink and basic amenities. They were forced to stand there for days until they broke and confessed to everything), he couldn’t bear it. Although his family members advised him not to go since after a number of days the NKVD would give up and release her, he could not bear the thought that his daughter was there and he turned himself in. He was in prison for about half a year and when he was released, broken by what he had endured, they threw him into the street and he lay there, so weak that he could not go home. Someone who knew him found him and after barely managing to identify him, helped him get home. A few weeks later, when R’ Shmuel had recovered somewhat from his ordeal, he wrote a letter to the Rebbe Rayatz who was in Riga. He poured out his heart and asked whether he should leave Russia. The Rebbe responded in a letter dated 19 Adar II, 5689/1929 in which he said that the weaving work was a good

thing and he blessed him with good parnasa. As for his question about traveling, the Rebbe agreed that trying to immigrate to the US was a good idea but pointed out the difficulties involved and again blessed him with parnasa in his current place. Sadly, he was arrested again at the end of 5697/1937. The NKVD accused him of spying. On 22 Av he was killed al kiddush Hashem, may Hashem avenge his blood. Recently, the file and documents of his interrogation were discovered. At the end of the file it dryly notes that after some time the charges against him were found to be false and the government cleared him of all wrongdoing, and those who provided false testimony were responsible for his being killed. His wife and two sons, Refael and Yosef were exiled from Leningrad to Siberia immediately after his arrest. During the war, his wife and Refael fled to Tashkent where they lived among Anash. After the war, the government found Refael and sent him to exile in the most desolate of places. He was there for twenty years and it was only with miracles that he survived the harsh conditions. Nevertheless, as soon as he was released, he went right back to being a shochet in Leningrad. He had G-d fearing talmidim who served as shochtim in Russia. As for his brother Yosef, he fled to Alma Ata in the middle of the war where he aided R’ Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn, the Rebbe’s father and Rebbetzin Chana. He paid for this when after the war the NKVD found an excuse to send him to prison for seven years. The Rebbe once said to him: I can never repay you for the mitzva you did in my place.

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Stories

STORIES AND SAYINGS FROM THE GREATS
A compilation of stories about great Chassidim of previous generations.
By R’ Chaim Ashkenazi a”h

ACCEPTED WITH A SONG
The bachur Nosson Nota of Pahar, who was the leader of a group of singers of niggunim in Lubavitch, was almost not accepted to Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim. When he arrived in Lubavitch and was given an entrance exam, he did not pass and he was told that he would not be accepted. R’ Nosson Nota was quite upset by this and he went off to a side room and began singing to himself. Some bachurim heard him and followed the sound and stopped nearby to listen to him sing. More and more bachurim joined them and listened in. When the mashgiach noticed this, he went over to listen and enjoyed it very much. When the mashgiach heard that the singing came from the broken heart of a bachur who wasn’t accepted into the yeshiva, he went to the committee in charge and said that since the bachur had a good ear for music, he should be accepted. That is how he came to be accepted and was one of the founders of the Seder HaNiggunim in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim.

STRENGTH AND MIGHT HE GAVE TO THEM
Two people once went to R’ Hillel of Paritch for a Din Torah. R’ Hillel ruled in favor of one of them. The man who lost the case was a tough guy, and he became angry about the p’sak din and did not want to follow it. R’ Hillel said to him: I will explain to you the meaning of the words “Goodly are the luminaries that our G-d created,” which we say in the Shabbos Shacharis prayer. It refers to the rabbis, who are our luminaries, about whom it is said, “He created them with daas, bina and intelligence.” But you need to know that “strength and might He gave to them, to be rulers b’kerev teivel – in the midst of the earth.” If they are not obeyed, they have the ability to rule the kerev – the middle – of the word teivel. In other words, they have the ability to remove the middle letter beis, which leaves the word tel [a pile of dust]. Hearing this, the man who

lost the case was frightened, and he said: I will obey the p’sak din.

THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO READ
A rabbi went to R’ Hillel of Paritch and complained that the people of his town did not appreciate him and did not listen to him. He even showed R’ Hillel his smicha certificates that he was given by great rabbis in order to prove that he deserved people’s respect. R’ Hillel said to him, “The residents of your town are simple people, who don’t know how to read your certificates. They merely form an impression of you based on your personality and how you treat them.”

DON’T WORRY
A certain chazan cried copiously during the davening on the Yomim Nora’im. After the davening, R’ Hillel of Paritch went over to him and said: Don’t cry, don’t cry, they will pay you for your davening.

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R’ SHMUEL MUNKES’ BRACHA
R’ Shmuel Munkes and a group of Chassidim once went to the Alter Rebbe. On their way, they stopped at an inn where R’ Shmuel paced back and forth, deep in thought. The innkeeper, who was a simple man, saw him and thought he was a big tzaddik and asked R’ Shmuel to bless the baby in the cradle. R’ Shmuel looked in the cradle and said, “He’ll have a good old age.” The innkeeper was happy to hear this bracha, but wanted to know what R’ Shmuel meant by it. R’ Shmuel said: If you give our group of Chassidim room and board, I’ll explain it to you. The innkeeper treated them royally and after the meal, R’ Shmuel explained: When I looked at the baby’s nose I saw that it was turned up a bit at the tip. That is why I said he’ll have a good old age, because in his old age his glasses will stay in place on his nose and won’t fall off.

THE RABBINATE OR HONOR
A young man went to R’ Izel (of Homil) to receive smicha from him. Then R’ Isaac said: If you want to be a rav to earn a living, I wish you success; if you want to be a rav in order to pasken halachos, I also wish you success. But if you want to be a rav in order to receive honor, I hope that wherever you go, they throw you out. The young man received a rabbinic position in a certain town. It was the practice there that the attendant took the rabbi’s coat off when he came. One time, the rabbi waited until the attendant came to remove his coat. When the people saw him waiting for this honor, they fired him.

SHORT THOUGHTS – CHASSIDIC APHORISMS
JUST AS YOU KNOW …
Regarding a Misnaged it is said: Just as you know your good points, so too, you should know what you lack. To a Chassid you say: Just as you know what you lack, so too, you should know your good qualities.

PLACE VERSUS SPACE
R’ Peretz Mochkin explained the Mishna in Avos, “There is nothing (davar) that does not have a place (makom) and no person (adam) that does not have his time (shaa).” Something that does not have a place – that is a Misnaged, for

The Rebbe does all the work here. I’m just not supposed to get in the way. That is our goal – when we focus on being the conduit, all the water will flow in the right direction. HOW CAN YOU MAKE A BLESSING ON A CRAVING?
R’ Itche the Masmid (may Hashem avenge his blood) once told R’ Efraim Wolf: If you eat something out of taava (craving), don’t say a bracha. R’ Efraim asked in surprise: Is it better to eat it without a bracha?! R’ Itche said: No, don’t eat it altogether! he is a thing and he takes up space. A Chassid, on the other hand, is a person – adam – Adameh L’Elyon, and there is no person who won’t have a shaa throughout his years of avoda, shaa also meaning a turn for the good in Avodas Hashem.

TO BURN THE YESHUS
R’ Isaac of Homil’s last name was Epstein and his family was known for its scholars and geniuses. They once saw R’ Isaac sitting on a hot stove and they asked him what he was doing. He said: I need to burn out the Epstein (i.e. his ego) [perhaps related in part to his illustrious rabbinic lineage]. Once, when R’ Isaac was at the holy Ruzhiner tzaddik, the tzaddik tried to convince him to stay with him and said he’d make him into a person of stature. R’ Isaac said his entire avoda was not to raise himself up but to “nullify the Epstein” (i.e. his ego).

A FARBRENGEN IS WHAT MAKES IT STICK TOGETHER
What does a farbrengen contribute? Learning Nigleh is like the bricks of a building. Learning Chassidus is like the cement that is placed between the bricks. A farbrengen is like water; it makes it all stick together as one complete, stable structure.

BURIAL PLOT
Before R’ Alter Simchovitz died, they asked him where he wanted to be buried: On the Mt of Olives? Which section? He said: In the ground.

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Stories

There used to be cold mikvaos and warm t’fillos; today the mikvaos are warm and the t’fillos are cold.

passengers! Why are you asking them to pick you up and lower you? Are you still expecting them to think how great you are?!

COLD AND HEAT PLACING THE BLAME
The Rebbe Rayatz said to a Chassid: What is a shliach? The good things he does are attributed to him, while the foolish things that he does are attributed to the one who sent him. So, don’t do foolish things and they won’t say it about me.
(From R’ Zalman Gurary)

there), that the letters of “shama” are the same as Moshe. If you seek Hashem, go to the Moshe of the generation, to the Rebbe.

Chassidim say: There used to be cold mikvaos and warm t’fillos; today the mikvaos are warm and the t’fillos are cold.

YOU NEED TO OBEY
R’ Yisroel Jacobson would say that the Rebbe Rayatz would say: The grandfather (Rebbe Maharash) would command, my father (the Rebbe Rashab) would say, and I request. But you still need to obey. R’ Jacobson would add: and the Rebbe Shlita advises.

WHO IS LEARNING? WHO IS RESTING?
Chassidim used to sit and learn and the Rebbe was able to go on vacation. Today, Chassidim go on vacation, which is why the Rebbe needs to stay home and learn.

REBBE IN YOUR HEART
A Chassid once asked the Rebbe Rashab to keep him in mind. The Rebbe said: If I am with you in your heart, then you will be with me in my mind.

AFRAID OF A DEAF ANGEL
R’ Avrohom Maiyor said that he was not afraid of destructive angels after he would be 120, because he had excuses and reasons for everything. Rather, he was afraid of one thing: lest it be a deaf angel who won’t be able to hear his excuses.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AYIN AND EFES
R’ Shmuel Levitin explained: What is the difference between ayin and efes? Ayin is like a person who had money and lost it. Efes is like someone who never had money.

WITH HIS OWN EYES
It is said in the name of R’ Chaim of Sanz that when a Chassid relates a miracle story and says that he saw it himself, he actually heard the story tenth hand. But the Chassid so fully believes that his Rebbe did this miracle that he is sure he saw it with his own eyes.

THREE PRINCIPLES
The Rebbe Rashab said that Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim was founded on three principles: 1) Brotherly love, 2) diligence in learning, and 3) Shmiras HaLashon

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BEE AND A SPIDER
What is the difference between a bee and a spider? A bee gives that which comes from others, since it sips the nectar from the flowers; what it produces is sweet honey. A spider gives of itself; it spins a web which can trap, catch and kill. It goes to show that not everybody who innovates in Torah on his own produces sweetness, but one who can transmit what he received and learned from others, he is like a bee and his words are sweet.
(I heard this from R’ Shneur Zalman Garelik a”h)

WHERE IS THE SHULCHAN ARUCH?
A Chassidic aphorism: When you are at the Rebbe, the Rebbe is your Shulchan Aruch. When you return home, the Shulchan Aruch is your Rebbe.

LIFT ME UP
Chassidim would comment regarding what Yona the Prophet said, “Lift me up and lower me into the sea … because I know that this big storm is because of me” – if you know that it’s your fault and admit as much, then jump into the sea and save the

SHAMA-MOSHE
R’ Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev would explain the verse, “You will seek His dwelling place u’vasa shama (and you will come

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Parsha Thought

DIVINE BAKER
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

THE UNIQUENESS OF THE ALEPH BEIS
The Hebrew alphabet is unlike any other. Kabbala and Chassidus teach us that each letter represents a spiritual energy that corresponds to the characteristics of the individual letters. When G-d created the universe, He did so by channeling His creative powers. The channels were, and remain, the letters of the Hebrew Aleph Beis. With this premise, we can understand why the Talmud assigns such significance to a prayer in which each verse begins with another letter of the Aleph Beis. This, the Talmud (Brachos 4b) says, is one of the reasons we recite Psalm 145 thrice daily. It also explains the uniqueness of Psalm 119, which contains 176 verses, 8 for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. What does that have to do with this week’s parsha— Pinchas? In this parsha, G-d commands the Jewish people to offer the Korban Tamid, two daily sacrifices in the Temple. Ollelos Efraim makes the observation that this paragraph of the parsha contains all the letters of the

alphabet except for Gimmel and Tes. According to him, the inclusion of all the letters (save two) points to the pivotal nature of this section of the Torah. What is so special about the Tamid offering? And why does the inclusion of virtually all the Hebrew letters in this section of the parsha indicate its importance?

G-D’S “BREAD”
The daily sacrifice in the Temple is described by the Torah as “G-d’s bread.” Chassidus explains that the term “bread” here is obviously a metaphor. Bread—the staff of life—is what unites the soul and the body. Without food the soul would return to its source—the Heavenly worlds, and the body to its origin—dust of the earth. What makes the shidduch-match between these two disparate entities? It is the food that we ingest, which contains within it spiritual energy that the soul craves. And only by staying put within the body can the soul access this elusive spiritual “fix” that it cannot get even in paradise. In a similar vein, there must be a compelling reason for

G-d—the Soul of the universe— to want to be wed to our physical and material existence. What is so enticing about our world that it provides G-d with the rationale for entering into our domain and thereby continuing to keep it in existence? It is the Korban Tamid, the daily sacrifice. The Korban Tamid demonstrated our desire to give of ourselves to Him. It is this gesture of love and devotion, repeated twice daily, that makes dwelling in this world appealing to G-d. We can now understand the significance of the fact that this parsha section on the Tamid contains virtually all the letters of the alphabet. It indicates that these daily sacrifices activated all the Divine forces responsible for G-d creating and dwelling within our world.

PINCHAS AND THE SEVENTEENTH OF TAMMUZ
We can now appreciate why this parsha is always read in close proximity to the Seventeenth of Tammuz. This day is a fast day. Although the primary reason is that it commemorates the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem on the way to the destruction of the

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Parsha Thought

It is the food that we ingest, which contains within it spiritual energy that the soul craves. And only by staying put within the body can the soul access this elusive spiritual “fix” that it cannot get even in paradise.
Beis HaMikdash and the ensuing exile, the Talmud (Taanis end of 26a) lists four other tragedies that occurred on this day. One of those tragedies was the decree that banned the offering of the Tamid. This tragedy is emblematic of the entire concept of exile that necessitates fasting on this day until the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash The difference between exile and Redemption revolves around the degree of G-d’s relationship with the world, which in turn is based on G-d getting His “bread,” as it were. When the Tamid—G-d’s “bread”— was offered, the world was an appealing place for G-d. This cemented G-d’s “marriage” with His world. When, however, the daily sacrifice ceased to be brought, it indicated that our world was no longer appealing to G-d and G-d’s presence was withdrawn from it. This state of separation has been Biblically likened to a divorce and it ultimately led to the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the long exile. Parshas Pinchas, particularly the section about the Korban Tamid, read either on the Shabbos before or the Shabbos after the 17th of Tammuz provides the cure for the tragic results of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem. By reading the words of the Torah about the Tamid we generate a Divine energy parallel to that of the actual Tamid sacrifice and hasten the process of our Redemption.

RESPONSE TO MOSES
The parsha of the daily sacrifice appears as a response to Moses’ request of G-d to appoint his successor. G-d’s response, in effect, was: “Before you ask me to do something for My children, tell My children to do something for Me.” On its face, it is difficult to understand why G-d made this demand for the Tamid as a response to Moses’ request for the appointment of a successor. Weren’t the Jews already commanded to observe all the commandments? Why did G-d have to add a new one concerning the daily offerings? Moreover, the commandment to bring a daily offering was not really new. It was mentioned in an earlier parsha. Why did G-d mention just this one Mitzvah and not all the others as prerequisites to His choosing a new leader?

THE ULTIMATE SHADCHAN
The function of a genuine leader is not just to guide and inspire. The ultimate leaders from Moses through Moshiach are conduits of G-d’s presence into the world. They serve as the matchmakers who facilitate the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people. There is a caveat to the shadchan analogy. Whereas the shadchan merely brings bride

and groom together after which he or she is out of the picture, Moses, and other leaders in his mold, are also an integral part of the marriage, for they too are members of the Jewish community wedded to G-d. Indeed, they are the ones who feel the relationship most acutely. The relationship of Jewish leaders to the people has been compared to the relationship of the brain to the entire body. Without our brain, we cannot interact with anything outside of ourselves. For example, without the brain we could not travel to another location to visit another person. However, the brain is not merely a map that you can leave in the car when you enter the other person’s home; the brain goes along with the person and is actually more intimately connected to that location and the other person than the legs that transport the person, or the hands that shake the other’s hands. Similarly, Moses and Moshiach—and all the great leaders in between—bring G-d into the consciousness of the world. However, they are an integral part of that same world even as they are transparent souls that enable G-d’s light to shine through them onto the world. A great leader must therefore be simultaneously connected to the world that he leads and to G-d, whom he channels. Thus, when Moses asks G-d to appoint a successor, he was asking for the ultimate “shadchan.” In response to Moses’ request, G-d shows him that before He appoints a new leader to channel G-d’s energy into the world, the people have to do their part in creating the marriage, which is achieved by way of the

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Tamid offering.

THE MISSING LETTERS
The question remains, why are the letters Gimmel and Tes missing from this parsha of the Tamid sacrifice? If the presence of all the letters signifies the all-encompassing power of this offering—that it embodies all of the Divine instruments of speech that give existence and life to the world—why are two letters missing? Ollelos Efraim answers that these two letters form the world get, which means divorce. The Talmud (Gittin 90b) states that when two people get divorced “the Altar sheds tears.” The Altar upon which the sacrifices were offered symbolizes the ultimate union between G-d and Israel and by extension the entire world. A get, which affects a separation between husband and wife, is a direct contradiction to the concept of the Divine union with Israel. Thus, the letters that signify separation are absent in this parsha. Ollelos Efraim adds another fascinating morsel: The very reason a bill of divorce is called a get is because there is no place in the entire Torah where these two letters are written together. Thus, these two letters represent the ultimate in separation.

Thus, when Moses asks G-d to appoint a successor, he was asking for the ultimate “shadchan.”
It opens with the verse: “I place G-d before me tamidconstantly” and it concludes with: “a happy heart celebrates Tamid-constantly.” Moshiach’s power to remove the stigma of the get and the tears associated with Galus-separation requires a twined approach of constant awareness of G-d and constant joy. G-d cannot dwell in a place of sadness. The key to revealing Moshiach and the ultimate Redemption (read: marriage) is to study and meditate on the parts of the Torah which focus on G-d’s presence in our lives and dismiss all depressing thoughts from our minds. This approach is not only a way to hasten the Redemption; it is our way of beginning to experience the Redemption itself.

constrained. Moshiach, like Moses and Joshua, is not just a great leader and teacher but one who channels Divine energy into the world and thereby cements the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people.

TWIN CONSTANTS
In addition to our prayers that take the place of the Tamid sacrifice, there are also other aspects of the Tamid that we can do now to reverse the tragedy of exile. The Tamid sacrifice was offered twice daily. This alludes to the two “constants” with which the Orach Chaim section of the Shulchan Aruch – Code of Jewish law – begins and ends:

REVERSING THE REVERSAL
As mentioned, the entire existence of exile is a form of separation and a “taste” of divorce. In exile, there is a reversal of the Tamid dynamic which keeps the Gimmel and the Tes separated. In exile, the Altar sheds tears because we lack the Beis HaMikdash. Our ability to bring G-d into our collective consciousness is severely

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Farbrengen

THE ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING
A collage of inspirations from several Farbrengen & Hitdabruyot circa 2004/5 with Rabbi Chaim Shalom Deitch, Rosh Kollel of the Kollel Tzemach Tzedek, of the old city of Jerusalem.
Transcribed by Rabbi Bentzion Elisha

UNBOUND
Yesterday, I met a most remarkable individual. He is a teacher in Oholei Torah who literally transformed an entire class of “bad” boys. Apparently, everyone had given up on these kids; not only the school system but also their own parents. Yet when this teacher was given the dreaded job of educating these kids who were labeled as lost cases, he astounded everyone by succeeding. How did he do it? How did this teacher reach these kids when everyone else failed miserably? I asked him to reveal his secret. He answered “I simply saw past the stifling labels that their previous teachers and very own parents put on them. Instead of treating them as bad kids, or even as pity cases, I tried to see the good in them, to look inside them past all the baggage. I ignored the

constricting categorizations and boxes they were put into while concentrating purely on their essence. I tried to see them for who they really are – amazing, brilliant and sharp children with unlimited potential. Addressing them in a positive light, with Hashem’s help, brought out their true selves and created a space for them to grow and learn!”

THE CURE
A certain man felt weak so he went to the doctor. After the check up, the doctor suggested the man start eating a certain type of grapes as a cure. The man immediately went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of those prescribed grapes. Immediately upon his return home he took out one grape and ate it. After he ate the grape he flexed his muscles and analyzed how he felt now. Unfortunately he did not feel any better… Undeterred, he proceeded

to take another grape and again checked himself for any improvement, but there was none. Before he gave up on the doctors recommended cure he decided to try taking one more grape. He took the grape and chewed it slowly hoping this grape will cure him. To his great disappointment also the third grape did not help. The man went to the doctor the next day and complained that his prescription, the grapes, did not cure him. The doctor asked him how he had come to this conclusion. The man described exactly what he did, to the amusement of the doctor. After the man finished, the doctor explained to him that if he wants to be cured he needs to eat many grapes over an extended period of time; one grape – or for that matter three grapes – is not going to do it! The Tzemach Tzedek said that there are three things that if a person has enough of them, it is guaranteed that they will cause

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change. The first thing is wealth. If a person amasses enough financial success, at some point, he will change… The second thing is liquor. If someone drinks, if he drinks more and more, then at some point surely he will get drunk… The third thing is Chassidus. If an individual learns Chassidus, continually, it’s impossible to remain unchanged. He will be transformed. Likewise, when a couple builds a home, in order for it to be a Chassidish home there are several things on the to-do list: 1) Learning Torah with one self; 2) Learning Torah with one’s spouse (by Torah learning with one another they introduce K’dusha, holiness, into their dialogue, and thus into their relationship); 3) Participating in Farbrengens regularly (this is vital and shouldn’t be underestimated, since this is a tremendous tool for Chasidim to strengthen each other both personally and spiritually). Each holy endeavor or action is like a grape which contributes to the overall picture. One or two are not enough, but if a Chassid does them plentifully and frequently, with Hashem’s help, he’ll have a house that radiates Chasidic light.

I have been to another burial similar to this and the stench of the decomposing body was unbearable. I was surprised that this funeral was different. This man didn’t stink! His body was intact. Usually, this kind of thing is found only by Tzaddikim, yet externally he had always seemed like an ordinary man. He was not a famous Tzaddik. He was just a “simple man,” yet his actions were extraordinary. He was committed to Mivtzaim of the Rebbe and was always occupied with helping others. Whether it was learning with people one on one, affixing Mezuzahs, or assisting in koshering a home, he was always busy with Mitzvos. He was not an official Shliach or Rav. He was not officially part of any organization. He was without any formal vessels; however his life was all about sharing light. The lack of vessels didn’t stop him. If anything, it made his light limitless…

THE ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS FROM A FARBRENGEN
At the beginning of a major farbrengen in Kfar Chabad where Rabbi Deitsch was the main speaker, he stood up and started by declaring that Likkutei Torah (by the Alter Rebbe) on the Parsha contains the answer for everything! He enumerated several specific problems as his examples. The most memorable one was Machshavos Zaros, impure thoughts. The reason that this particular topic comes to the forefront of my mind is because a senior Chasid present, who was also a featured speaker, interrupted Rabbi Deitsch’s

LIGHTS WITHOUT VESSELS
It was a chilly, wintry day and I really didn’t want to go travel to the funeral. Nevertheless, I forced myself since I knew this Chasid whose funeral was to take place. He passed away several years ago; however his body was being relocated to a different gravesite.

speech and dramatically opposed him. He stated that Rabbi Deitsch shouldn’t attempt to change people on a personal front, claiming the Rabbi would definitely not affect any change in his Machshavos Zaros, but rather he should concentrate the speech on more lofty ideals such as Shlichus! This outburst and opposition clearly validated for me just how important Rabbi Deitsch’s words truly were because they obviously were touching sensitive buttons. He specifically chose to personalize Chassidus as a catalyst for change, both personal and global. For him it was not cosmetic. He affirmed how spiritual self-neglect doesn’t help accomplish or satisfy an individual’s cosmic mission in life even while masqueraded behind noble acts. A Chasid has to invest in oneself seriously and actively work on personal change internally, not just talk about lofty ideals; he has to authentically live it. This masterful Torah scholar who seems to almost always wear a friendly smile does nothing but inspire and truly teaches on many levels how the learning of Torah in general and Chassidus in particular should be “the answer for everything.” However he stresses and exemplifies that all the learning is not for check-marking another page of Torah as “I learned it, I know it already” or only to adorn one’s mind with lofty concepts that provide a spiritual trip. Rather Torah must be sincerely and positively applied to everyday life on a personal level. That is the answer for everything… In merit of Devorah Bas Simon

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TANACH HEROES VS. REALITY TV HEROES
When those currently not Torah observant learn more about Yiddishkait, the walls protecting traditional Judaism will be strengthened and the need to struggle against their possible undermining will be significantly lessened.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

E

ver since the deputy minister for religious affairs, Eliyahu BenDahan, assumed his new position, many people have pinned their hopes on him, more than anyone else. This is a very erudite man with a scholarly appearance, who had managed the offices of the chief rabbi of Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, of blessed memory. As a result, many people hoped that he would be the man to help steer the ship of state on its proper course and put a halt to the foolhardy plans of his party chairman on the issue of halachic conversions and the growing attacks upon the values of Yiddishkait. In an interview with Beis Moshiach, Ben-Dahan promised that he was a man committed to Jewish law and he would not stray from it even one scintilla. Therefore, it was surprising to see in recent months a series of dangerous proposals emanating from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, led by its minister in charge, the chairman of the

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, Mr. Naftali Bennett. It all began around the Shavuos holiday, when Bennett called a press conference together with Ben-Dahan, and the two announced “the transformation of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.” They said that they were seeking to create a revolution in all matters of religion in Eretz HaKodesh. In the process, however, they would trample upon the protective safeguards of traditional Judaism, as based in the Shulchan Aruch. The proposed reforms would simply crush the country’s entire religious structure, preserved to this day by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. One example is the decision to dismiss all municipal rabbis who have reached the age of seventy, despite the fact that Halacha forbids the dismissal of a rav from his post during his lifetime. According to the claim made by the ministry, a rav over

the age of seventy is no longer fit to serve in his position, regardless of what the Shulchan Aruch has to say on the matter. In the last two months we saw the removal of the chief rabbis of Givatayim and the Holy City of Teveria, even though they were fulfilling their responsibilities with much devotion. To succeed them, Bennett and Ben-Dahan want to appoint Zionist rabbis, i.e., those affiliated with their party. Other “religious reforms” include the closing of about forty religious councils throughout Eretz Yisroel, shortening the amount of study time required for new converts – thereby implementing the concept of “Dial-a-Conversion,” opening marriage registration zones, an end to sanctioning “neighborhood rabbis,” and worst of all, official support for the Reform and Conservative movements. It hasn’t taken long to discover that while the voice is the voice of Ben-Dahan, the hands are the hands of Bennett. The person now in control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs is the same person who promised during his aggressive election campaign this past winter to fight the ultra-Orthodox and register hundreds of thousands of Gentiles as Jews. Now he is coming to keep those promises in his official role as religious affairs minister, while his deputy,

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Ben-Dahan, is simply there to say ‘Amen.’ This is not the first time that something of this nature has occurred. This is exactly what used to happen on a regular basis more than three decades ago. The “Mizrachi” officials controlling the relevant government ministries would do the very same thing, and the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, cried out fervently against such conduct. Even then, these were good Jews with large yarmulkes and full beards, claiming that they were merely carrying out policy dictated by their superiors and that they couldn’t leave the ruling coalition. In a letter to one of these Cabinet ministers, the Rebbe wrote a stinging reply: “And may it be the Will of the compassionate and gracious Alm-ghty G-d that he should arouse a spirit from Above upon each and every one, and he and his friends should immediate leave the coalition (with pride and joy and) for the stated reason, and not due to trivial matters. The content of future letters should be happy and truly good, good to Heaven and good to man, according to our Holy Torah, regarding which it said, ‘I have given you a good Teaching.’”

THE RABBANIM FIGHT AGAINST ATTACKS UPON TRADITIONAL JUDAISM
Early last week, approximately two hundred and fifty rabbinical figures from the national religious community, represented in the Knesset by the Bayit Yehudi Party, gathered for an emergency conference. They came to this urgent meeting to protest against the proposed reforms in religious services. Among the

issues discussed was marriage registration, which the Bayit Yehudi Party wishes to change. This is a clear effort to break down the existing framework, thereby enabling anyone to choose their own rabbi, based on the need for leniency in ruling whether a couple can marry in accordance with Jewish law. In practical terms, this refers to a removal of the control over marriage registration, which will grant power to any rabbi to decide who is fit to be registered as a Jew in establishing the Halachic composition of the Jewish People. The person responsible for marriage registration with the Shomron Regional Council, the rav of the Shaarei Tikva settlement, Rabbi Shmuel Feirstein, explained the issue in one sentence: “Registering marriages is not like buying vegetables in the marketplace.” According to Rabbi Feirstein, “Re-organization is a commendable thing, but directives must be issued by the chief rabbis, and not by government clerks. The Ministry of Religious Affairs carries out the guidelines of rabbanim – not the other way around.” Last week, we saw further evidence of the problematic nature of the proposed legislation. The chief rabbi of Ashdod, Rabbi Yosef Sheinin, refused to recognize the conversion of a woman who wished to get married, claiming that she still hadn’t accepted the yoke of Torah and mitzvos. When Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan heard about the incident, he came up with an original solution: He overruled Rabbi Sheinin and registered her as a Jew against his ruling. This woman had undergone a “conversion” ten years earlier, but she still didn’t fulfill Torah

and mitzvos. She had previously been married to a Jew, but they eventually got divorced. Now, she had come to the rabbinate offices to receive a Halachic ruling on her status as an unmarried woman. When Rabbi Sheinin investigated the matter and discovered that she doesn’t keep Torah and mitzvos, he sent her for three months of Torah study and to strengthen her mitzvah observance, thereby giving legitimacy to her conversion and enabling her to marry. However, Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan decided to allow her to marry within two weeks. He brought this case as ironclad proof of the need to establish marriage registration zones. Thus, if a couple comes across an overly stringent rav, they can find a more lenient rabbi acceptable to them who can perform the marriage ceremony. It’s no wonder why the rabbanim are so upset. It’s easy to understand how terribly dangerous it would be if these treacherous reforms, G-d forbid, are passed into law.

WITH WHOM DID THEY FORGET TO SPEAK ON THE ISSUE OF COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE?
It wasn’t just the subject of religion and state that was discussed at this emergency rabbinical conference. The chief rabbi of Rechovot, Rabbi Simcha HaKohen Kook, spoke in especially harsh tones against the planned forced conscription of yeshiva students. “Would it ever cross one’s mind to make changes in the universities without speaking with the lecturers there? Would they make changes in the theatre without speaking with the actors?” he asked with consternation. “Then

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how can they close the yeshivos and draft the bachurim without anyone speaking with a single rosh yeshiva? This is the first time since the founding of the state of Israel that people are discussing the issue of military conscription without speaking with ultra-Orthodox leaders at all,” cried Rabbi Kook. Rabbi Kook’s statements represent the silent majority of the national religious community, which has long since understood that their charismatic party leader has been breaking the rules for some time. Many of them have been quietly saying “Al Cheit” for supporting him in the recent Knesset election, despite his unambiguous positions against the world of Torah. We also heard this last week from Yaakov (Ketzele) Katz, former chairman of the Ichud HaLeumi (National Union) Party. He said that Bennett is planning to run on a united list with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid in the next Knesset election, with the intention of serving as his foreign minister or defense minister in the next government. If you consider the matter for a moment, the whole idea sounds quite logical. The two of them think identically and act accordingly. In matters of religion, they speak the same language—persecuting the ultraOrthodox and tearing down the walls of Jewish tradition. Even on the foreign policy front, the differences between them are relatively small. While Bennett is still considered part of the political right-of-center, the truth is that his autonomy plan for the Arabs in the territories is strikingly similar to the commonly held ideology held by the political far left. Ketzele’s comments remind all of us how just five months ago Bennett’s party was vying for the votes of Chabad chassidim with the false claim that it would preserve the integrity of the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Torah of Israel. It didn’t take long to realize that the Bayit Yehudi Party was endangering the integrity of all three, as it declared unrelenting war against their institutions. with his very own hands. When schoolchildren don’t understand the meaning of the Torah of Moshe, all the protective walls of Yiddishkait will eventually crumble, and we will soon find the Land, the People, and the Torah of Israel under siege by people who wear yarmulkes, yet lack any authentic Jewish consciousness. Today, schoolchildren mindlessly imitate the “reality stars,” but when we speak to them about the Tanaim and Amoraim, the whole subject seems alien to them. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this generation of young politicians fails to understand why it is so important to protect the world of Torah study or the institution of halachic conversions. When their only hero is the IDF soldier serving on a battle-cruiser, it’s no wonder that they understand nothing about giving honor to Torah scholars. Our job is to strengthen Jewish awareness, in order that every Jewish child will know who Moshe Rabbeinu is and what is written in the Chumash. In a society where children know their Jewish heritage, they won’t be estranged from scholars of Torah. In a society where children know the meaning of “and You have chosen us” and the Giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, there will no calls to breach the wall of halachic conversion and to permit hundreds of thousands of Gentiles to be registered as Jews. The formula is quite clear and simple: When those currently not Torah observant learn more about Yiddishkait, the walls protecting traditional Judaism will be strengthened and the need to struggle against their possible undermining will be significantly lessened.

THE ANSWER TO ANY BREACH OF THE WALL OF YIDDISHKAIT: GREATER TORAH STUDY
The problem is neither Bennett nor even Ben-Dahan. The Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, indicated the real problem decades ago, when he constantly spoke about the need to turn the residents of Eretz Yisroel into the nation of Eretz Yisroel. In a conversation with Knesset Member Rechavam Zeevi, may his blood be avenged, the Rebbe explained that what must be done now that has not been done thus far is: “To make a people of Eretz Yisroel from the residents of Eretz Yisroel (also a spiritual form of dwelling) and to proclaim at every available opportunity that ‘Eretz Yisroel’ means that anyone found in this territory is ‘instilled with Yisroel.’” In other words, there is a serious lack of understanding as to the meaning of the People of Israel as a Jewish nation dwelling in its land – the people of Eretz HaKodesh. When we carefully examine these words of the Rebbe, we come to the realization that anyone who thought that it would be enough to establish a thriving and highly advanced country in the Jewish homeland with good law-abiding citizens has brought this current calamity upon us

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