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A PROUD JEW AND CHASSID IN A TOP SECRET SOVIET WARPLANE FACILITY
Shneur Zalman Berger

BAAL SHEM 14 THE TOV AND MELECH HA’MOSHIACH
Menachem Ziegelboim

4 D’var Malchus 18 Mivtzaim Story 20 Moshiach & Geula 22 Chassidic Art 32 Parsha Thought 36 News 40 Crossroads

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GO FIND 18 LET’S SOME JEWS
Nosson Avraham

AT A 22 PICTURES CHASSIDIC EXHIBITION
Sholom Ber Crombie

GREAT GENIUS AND 26 A A DEVOTED CHASSID
Dov Levanon

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D’var Malchus

G-D HOLDS OUR HANDS IN THE DARKNESS OF EXILE AND REDEEMS US
A Jews asks: How is it possible, amidst these difficult and challenging times of exile, to properly serve G-d and prepare to usher in the era of the true and complete redemption?! * Even though “darkness shall cover the earth,” that has no bearing on a Jew at all, knowing that G-d Alm-ghty is present with him in every circumstance.
Translated by Boruch Merkur

HOW CAN A JEW REMAIN UNAFFECTED BY THE DARKNESS OF EXILE?
Toras Emes, the Torah of Truth, tells a Jew that we are presently in the final days of exile and that we have to prepare for the true and complete redemption. Yet, one’s perception may well contradict this truth, leaving him perplexed. He sees the world steeped in darkness, as in the verse, “darkness shall cover the earth, etc.” (Yeshayahu 60:2), and that we are still far removed from experiencing the revelation of G-dly light, certainly not the sublime revelation of the future era of redemption, when “G-d shall be to you for an everlasting light” (ibid 60:19). If so, he reasons, how can one remain unaffected by the darkness of the world? How is it possible, amidst these difficult and challenging times of exile, to properly serve G-d and prepare to usher in the

era of the true and complete redemption?!

G-D RETURNS WITH THE EXILES
In response to this, there is a lesson derived from the weekly Torah portion related to today’s daily study – the verse, “And G-d shall return (with) your captivity, etc.” (Nitzavim 30:3): A Jew must know that the Divine presence resides with the Jewish people even as they suffer in exile (and it remains with us until the final moment of exile). And when the Jewish people are redeemed, it shall be in a manner of “‘And G-d shall return (with) your captivity, etc.’ – it does not say, ‘He shall return your captivity,’ but, ‘He shall return with your captivity, etc.,’ inscribing redemption for Himself, for He shall return with them” (Rashi on the verse). Therefore, even though

“darkness shall cover the earth, etc.,” that has no bearing at all, for a Jew knows that G-d is present with him in every circumstance. Accordingly it is understood that when G-d Alm-ghty commands the Jewish people to prepare for the true and complete redemption, and to prepare the entire world for the revelation of G-dly light, by means of illuminating one’s home and environment with the light of Torah and Judaism, it is absolutely certain (without any doubt at all) that each and every Jew can succeed in His G-dly mission, for G-d is with him. Thus, he fulfills his service with joy and with a good spirit, as it is written, “serve G-d with joy.” In fact, his joy adds to the success of his service. In this manner, we will soon merit to go out of exile, as described in the commentary of Rashi (on the verse ibid 30:3), G-d “literally holds the hands of every single person, [taking him] out of his place, as it is said, ‘you shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel.’ (Yeshayahu 27:12).”
(From the address to the N’shei U’b’nos Chabad, 24 Elul 5741, bilti muga)

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Kupas Rabbeinu
Lubavitch
(718) 467-2500
Boruch Hashem, Elul 5770 5773

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jhanv lkn r"unst e"f ,uthab ,j,
P .O.B. 288 Brooklyn, New York 11225

(718) 756-3337

URG REQ ENT UES T! HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES ANXIOUSLY LOOKING FORWARD FOR YOUR GENEROUS ASSISTANCE!
To every member of the Lubavitcher community:
During this month of preparation for Rosh Hashonoh, the ”head” of the New Year, we fondly recall our Rebbe’s words that this is an especially auspicious time for strengthening our deep bond of Hiskashrus with the ”Rosh Bnei Yisroel,” the ”head” of the Jewish people and leader of the generation. Our Rebbeim explain that an important way to strengthen Hiskashrus is by participating in an organization is Kupas Rabbeinu, which seeks to continue many of the Rebbe’s activities and concerns without change from the way he would conduct them himself.

the Rebbe’s activities and concerns, consequently, by supporting an organization that brings together a number of these activities, the Hiskashrus is greater and stronger. Such

Every year at this time, the Rebbe would call upon us to contribute generously to help needy families with their extra expenses for the coming month’s many Yomim Tovim. This also coincides with the special emphasis during this month of giving extra Tzedokah, (indicated in the Hebrew letters of the word ”Elul,” as explained in many Sichos etc.), as a vital way of preparing ourselves for the new year and arousing Divine mercy upon us. See sicho in the Hebrew text of this letter. We therefore appeal to every individual man and woman to contribute generously to Kupas Rabbeinu, enabling us to fulfill the Rebbe’s desire to help all those who anxiously await our help. The greater your contribution, the more we can accomplish. Please do not forsake them! Your generous contribution to Kupas Rabbeinu will be the appropriate vessel for receiving the abundant blessings of the Rebbe, who is its Nasi, that you may be blessed with a Ksiva Vachasima Tova for a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually. May it help to bring the full revelation of Moshiach - our Rebbe - immediately now! Wishing you a Ksiva Vachasima Tova for a good and sweet year,

In the name of Vaad Kupas Rabbeinu Rabbi Sholom Mendel Simpson Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner
P.S. Of course, you may send to Kupas Rabbeinu all contributions that you would send to the Rebbe; all will be devoted to the activities to which the Rebbe would devote them. You may also send Maimad, Keren-Hashono (this coming year 5771 - 385 5774 – 385 days), Vov Tishrei, Yud Gimmel Tishrei Magbis etc. to Kupas Rabbeinu. P.S. Please send all correspondence only to the following address. KUPAS RABBEINU / P.O.B. 288 / BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11225 Eretz Yisroel address: KEREN KUPAS ADMU"R / P.O.B. 1247 / KIRYAT MALACHI / ISRAEL

Profile

A PROUD JEW AND CHASSID IN A TOP SECRET SOVIET WARPLANE FACILITY
He was a man of chesed who provided food for the needy and shared his home with any Chassid who needed a roof over his head, even if he was being pursued by the cursed communists. * He used his senior position in a munitions factory that manufactured combat planes to help his fellow Chassidim. * With his charming personality he had young men released from army duty, thus saving many lives. * His wife and family reminisce about the great Chassid, R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak a”h

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By Shneur Zalman Berger

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very week, for twentyfive years, R’ Yitzchak Zilber (1917-2003), a distinguished Russian rabbi in Eretz Yisroel, would visit the Chassid R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak and spend a long time talking to him. Why did he do this? The Krogliak family explained: “It was 5720/1960 and the authorities were after R’ Zilber. The situation worsened and R’ Zilber had to flee his home in Kazan. After he escaped, government officials appeared at his house to remove his children and place them in a government orphanage. “Their frightened mother pleaded for her children and it was a miracle that her request was granted. As soon as the officials left, she packed their few belongings and escaped with her two young children. After a long trip, they arrived in our house in Tashkent. Later on, R’ Zilber joined them. He knew my father from before, which is why they stayed in our home a long time. My father also helped R’ Zilber find a job that did not entail his working on Shabbos. He eventually found them a place to live. That is how their long-term friendship began.” R’ Sholom Zev and his wife Leah Krogliak were known for their hospitality, even for those fleeing the authorities, something that entailed great danger for them. Their home consisted of no more than two bedrooms and a small kitchen in which the parents and four children lived. “When there is room in the heart, there is always room in the house,” say the children. “Nobody said it was too crowded.”

R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak in his youth in the Soviet Union

VOLODYA IS ONE OF A KIND
R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak (in Yiddish: Velvel, and in Russian: Volodya) was born on 29 Elul 5674/1914 in Bogoslav in the Kiev district of the Ukraine. His father, R’ Aharon, was from a longstanding rabbinic family, and his mother, Tzippora, was the daughter of R’ Pinchas Auerbuch. They said about his father than when he read the chapter LaM’natzeiach before the blowing of the shofar, everyone was shaken up by his crying. R’ Sholom Zev’s family were not Lubavitchers; they were religious-rabbinic people who did not belong to any group. He acquired the midda of hospitality from his parents whose house was always open to guests. After the Communist Revolution, the family moved to Moscow in the hopes of being less visible among millions of people so that the communists

would not find the father who served as a rabbi. However, shortly after they arrived in Moscow, R’ Aharon took the trolley and an anti-Semite pushed him off the moving vehicle. His feet were severely injured and he remained a cripple for the rest of his life. As a result, the boy Sholom Zev had to support the family. At age fifteen he went to work. In Moscow, he met Lubavitcher Chassidim for the first time. When he grew older, he wanted a profession and he went to university. His studies were night classes so he wouldn’t desecrate the Shabbos. Although he was in university, he remained staunchly religious. R’ Dovid Chein of Kfar Chabad spoke about this: “In my youth, I told my father R’ Yehuda Chein that I wanted to attend university, but he refused. He was afraid for my religious commitment. I told him, ‘Volodya Krogliak studies in university and he doesn’t desecrate the Shabbos.’ “My father said, ‘Volodya is one of a kind.’” As a young man, R’ Sholom Zev was involved in communal matters. In Moscow there was a secret organization called Achim, whose purpose was to help the T’mimim who learned full time and to provide material help for families where the father had been arrested by the communists for being religious. R’ Sholom Zev volunteered to transfer money from place to place despite the great danger this entailed.

PARTING AND MEETING
In 5699/1939, R’ Sholom Zev married Leah, the daughter of
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about the father’s life. The Krogliak home in Moscow was open to all in need. This was especially important in those difficult days when many Jews were starving. On a regular basis, their table had bread, potatoes and herring. Whoever wanted was welcome to join them. This was despite the strained financial situation of the Krogliak couple. R’ Sholom Zev worked in a military factory as a metal engineer. He was one of the developers of the first Katyusha. Then he worked as an engineer in a factory that manufactured planes. As the German army approached Moscow, his wife and little son fled to Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Due to the demands of his work, R’ Sholom Zev remained behind. After some time, the authorities decided to move the factory to Tashkent, the capitol of Uzbekistan. There he united with his family after several months of separation and uncertainty. His wife relates: “After they moved the factory, I did not know where my husband was for a few months. Afterward, we found out that he had gotten orders to move away from the front along with the other factory employees. “On the appointed day, he arrived with his parents at the train station. Many were unable to obtain train tickets. At the last minute, before the train departed, his mother disappeared. In another minute the train would be moving, leaving her behind and exposed to danger. They decided to remain behind to wait for her; a few minutes later she reappeared, accompanied by other Jewish families that she wanted to bring along so they would be saved.

CHASSIDIM FROM TASHKENT SPEAK ABOUT HIM
His good friend, R’ Levi Pressman, who lived in Tashkent in those days, tells of Volodya the engineer, as he was known by his friends: “R’ Sholom Zev was tremendously hospitable. When R’ Yitzchok Zilber came from Kazan to Tashkent, who gave him a place? When R’ Dovid Gurewitz fled from Lvov, who hosted him? His house was always full of guests. He was a person who cared about others and helped them gladly. “His joyfulness was well known. At every simcha he would be the one making others happy. ‘Freilicher, freilicher!’ he would exclaim, and encourage everyone to be even happier. “His mesirus nefesh was boundless. He worked in a top-secret installation, but he went to shul regardless. Furthermore, he brought melamdim to his house to teach his sons Torah and Gemara. You can appreciate his mesirus nefesh when you know that his house was opposite the facility and the teachers sat and taught his sons Torah.” *** The shliach, R’ Abba Dovid Gurewitz, Chief Rabbi of Central Asia, describes things from the perspective of a recipient of R’ Sholom Zev’s hospitality: “It was 5721/1961. We lived in Lvov but had to escape due to government persecution. I fled to Moscow with my wife Malka and two little children and from there we continued to Tashkent. When we arrived there, we were welcomed by the Chassid R’ Elimelech Lebenhertz, who referred us to the Krogliak family. When we went to them, they helped us with the children and gave us everything we needed.” Mrs. Malka Gurewitz relates: “I had two small children, the younger one only eleven months old. I needed milk for her, but to get it one had to get up early in the morning and stand on line for a long time. I remember that every morning, very early, Leah Krogliak would knock on the door of the room we stayed in and would say quietly, ‘Malka, keep on sleeping. I’m going to get milk for the baby.’ “Their oldest son Dovid was a partner in the hospitality efforts. Every day, when he returned from work, he would take the baby from me and say, ‘Go rest.’ He took care of the baby devotedly, from the moment he walked into the house until she was put down to sleep. “After a few months, we moved to our own home. Of course, they refused to accept payment for our staying with them for two months. Nor did they allow us to go until we agreed to take oil, potatoes, and other basic food items. I felt that they treated us as though they were our parents and not our hosts who met us only as we walked into their home.” R’ Gurewitz: “Every Shabbos they had many guests at their table. Farbrengens and weddings were held in their home despite the danger and threat of the KGB. They did this without fear.” R’ Yaakov Dayan. The wedding took place in the Palant home in Moscow. Their oldest son, Dovid Yeshaya, was born a year later. They had three other children, Sarah Itta (Lerner), Avrohom Yaakov, and Chaim Tzvi. The four of them gathered to talk

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“Only later was this seen as an open miracle, since the train was strafed by the Germans and many passengers were killed. R’ Sholom Zev, his parents, and his entire family thanked Hashem for the miracle that occurred thanks to his mother’s good heart.” After many months of separation, the family reunited. The plane factory was located in Tashkent and Leah went from Samarkand to Tashkent to meet her husband.

DOZENS OF GUESTS IN ONE ROOM
The war years in Tashkent were extremely difficult. Starvation and cold felled many. The city was flooded with refugees from areas where the war raged. They included many Chabad Chassidim. Some of them slept in the street. Even someone who found a place to rest his head still suffered from hunger, disease, and cold. R’ Sholom Zev’s family had it good. The factory gave them a one room house. They opened their tiny home to the Jewish refugees. The room was divided in two, and at night the men slept on one side and the women on the other side. Mrs. Krogliak woke up early each morning to cook for the guests. In those days, every crumb was lifesaving. Starvation prevailed throughout the Soviet Union during the war. At the factory, they took care of the employees and gave each one a small plot of land to tend as they wished. R’ Sholom Zev, who had a senior position, used his position to ask the hundreds of employees who worked for him to plant wheat in their individual plots. He promised to buy all the wheat from them.

R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak at the Rebbe

R’ Sholom Zev’s family had it good. The factory gave them a one room house. They opened their tiny home to the Jewish refugees.

When the time was right, he went with a few other Jews and cut the wheat and kept it for baking shmura matza for hundreds of Jews and Chassidim in Tashkent. After the war, most Chabad Chassidim left the Soviet Union through the famous escape via Lvov. R’ Sholom Zev also wanted to leave but his sister-in-law was arrested. In addition, his fatherin-law was sick, and so their leaving was delayed. Then the gates were closed. R’ Sholom Zev remained in Tashkent where he stuck together with the Chassidim who had remained. He joined their minyanim which took place in private homes and regularly attended the farbrengens, thus becoming a part of the Chabad family in Tashkent. His children learned Torah with Chabad

melamdim, and over the years, he hosted farbrengens in his home. This was despite the fact that he worked at a secret military factory that was near his house. His son Dovid relates: “In my childhood, I learned with Chassidishe melamdim. The first was R’ Mendel. I only remember his first name. My second teacher was R’ Bentzion Maroz who was an unusual melamed. He taught me only

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THE STORY OF A GUEST
The Krogliak daughter, Sarah Lerner relates: One of the guests who stayed in our house for seven years was R’ Shiya Teitelbaum. He lived with us until he got sick and died. This is R’ Shiya’s story: He left the Soviet Union for Austria, where he lived for a while. Then he returned to the Soviet Union. Upon his return, the authorities decided that he was an enemy of the people, a spy who disclosed secrets to the enemy. Of course, this was nothing but a dastardly lie said about a religious Jew. He was exiled to Siberia for a number of years. In 5708/1948 he was released and he returned home. A short while later, the secret police began dogging his footsteps. He realized he was close to getting arrested again and who knew whether he would survive the Siberian hell again. He packed his belongings and fled to Tashkent and after some wandering he ended up in our house in 5709. We children, as well as the Chassidim who were hosted in our home, did not know his real name. He was afraid lest his name reach the ears of the secret police. He was called Duvid (i.e. with a Yiddish accent). He stayed in our home until 5716 when he became ill and passed on. In 5712, the Chassid R’ Asher Sossonkin was arrested. His wife Freida came to Tashkent with her young son and daughter. The daughter Chava, who was 7, stayed with us. At first, 3 year old Shlomo stayed with a Lubavitcher family, but when they couldn’t have him anymore, he was sent to us. Duvid, our permanent guest, was afraid of every guest. That is why he had a hidden room. When there were knocks at the door, he would take the shelves out of the medicine chest, open the chest from the other side, and slither quickly into the concealed room and hide there until the guests had left. However, he was not afraid of Freida and her children. He realized that they were in the same situation as he. Just as she did not know his name, he did not know her family’s name. One day, Freida came into our house all excited. “I got a letter from Asher,” she exclaimed. This was after a long time of not knowing what had happened to him. Gemara and then later Chumash with Rashi. He would teach a pasuk, read the Rashi, and then for an hour he would explain what Rashi found difficult and

Now, she had received a letter from the camp he had been exiled to. Duvid figured out that her husband’s name was Asher Sossonkin. “And who is Moshe Sossonkin?” he asked hesitantly. Freida turned pale. “That is my husband’s brother,” she said. “He was arrested fifteen years ago (he had been arrested in Leningrad the night of 2 Adar I 5698/1938 along with twenty-five other Chassidim, ten of whom were immediately killed) and hasn’t been heard of since. Do you know him?” He said, “I was in a labor camp in Siberia where I was a pharmacist. The fact that I knew many languages saved me. I was assigned labor under good conditions. One time, one of the doctors told me there was a Jew in the camp who did not eat anything. ‘He said that according to his religion, he cannot eat. Speak to him in his language and maybe you can convince him to eat.’ “I approached him and saw a man with a face of an angel. He told me that his name was Moshe Sossonkin and that he had a wife and two children. Despite my importuning him, he refused to eat anything, saying that it was all treif. After much effort, I got a small pot for him and every day I managed to get two or three potatoes which I cooked for him. He was already very weak after not eating for so long and I feared for his life. “Some time later, a bottle of olive oil came to the pharmacy. In general, there was a terrible shortage of medicine. Olive oil was a vital and rare commodity in the pharmacy where I worked. Nevertheless, I had a daring idea. I went to Moshe and told him, ‘Take the bottle of oil and drink a teaspoon every day and you’ll get back to yourself.’ (Sarah became emotional in telling this story and burst into tears, and her mother Leah also sobbed.) “Moshe was very excited and he said, ‘You don’t know what a z’chus you have. Tonight is the first night of Chanuka. I can light a candle with this.’ Despite my begging him, he did not drink the oil but he lit the Chanuka lights. He died two months later in Adar, and I participated in the funeral of this tzaddik.” When R’ Shiya (Duvid) finished telling this story, the entire Krogliak household along with their guests cried bitter tears for this great Chassid and baal mesirus nefesh. the melamed who taught her brother in the days when melamdim were sent straight to Siberia:

how he answered it and why he explained it this way and not another way.” The daughter Sarah described

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“R’ Bentzion Maroz was a special teacher. My husband, Yaakov Lerner, teaches educational methodology, and some of the approaches he uses he adopted from R’ Bentzion Maroz.”

HE HELPED EVERYONE
In his position as an engineer in a combat plane factory, R’ Sholom Zev was in charge of hundreds of employees. He knew many state secrets. He acquired a good position in the factory thanks to his good hands and creative ideas. He used his talents and knowledge to help religious Jews in general and especially Chabad Chassidim. His son Dovid relates: “My father helped everyone. Since many Shomer Shabbos Jews worked in small workshops and needed various molds and tools, my father would manufacture or obtain what they needed. Thanks to this, these small factories were able to establish themselves and Chassidim were able to keep Shabbos. “My father had a way with people. All he needed were five minutes of conversation in order to gain their trust. He used his charming personality in the right places in order to help Chassidim, obtaining the right documents for those who were being pursued by the authorities, obtaining exemptions from the army for dozens of T’mimim, and more.” Chaim Tzvi: “R’ Bentzion Chein was one of the people my father had released. Bentzion was already in the induction process when my father met him on the street. ‘Why should you go to the army? You won’t go to the army!’ my father promised. My father went

At family simcha, speaking with R’ Yitzchak Zilber

Chassidishe nachas at the upsheren of his great-grandson Bentzion at the gravesite of Rashbi in Miron

to whoever he had to go to and arranged for Bentzion’s file to disappear.” Yaakov: “He had another way of releasing them from the army. He would help bachurim get accepted into university. There was a quota of Jews allowed to be accepted and he had ways of helping them get accepted. In the

Soviet Union, the law was that if you attended university, you were exempt from the army.” His wife Leah: “He would go to the person in charge of the draft with a bottle of vodka and a nice hunk of cheese. They would raise cups together and follow that with cheese. Then he would pay a sum of money and the matter would be settled.” Sarah: “It sounds simple, but the truth is that it took effort and he would go, endangering himself time and again, until it was all arranged.” Leah: “His connections with key people began when he just ‘happened’ to enter the room of the district police chief because of the heat outside. Then he turned on the charm and ended up sitting and drinking with him.” Yaakov: “Some of his connections were thanks to his senior position at work where he developed a vast network of contacts.”

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HELPING ONE MAN MEANT HELP FOR MANY
R’ Sholom Zev was a man of chesed who helped so many but did so secretly. There was, for example, the encouragement he gave R’ Chaim Milchiker (who was thus named because he sold milk). His son Yaakov tells this special story: “In those days in Tashkent, there lived a man known as R’ Chaim Milchiker. I don’t remember his real name, but I can visualize him clearly. He was a simple man who fulfilled mitzvos with hiddur and great mesirus nefesh. He was not a big scholar but was feared G-d with genuine sincerity. “He suffered from personal family and parnasa problems and this effected his state of mind. When my father saw him downcast, he gave him half a ruble (in those days, three rubles were a daily salary) and asked him to collect money from other people and to give it to one of the needy Jews of Tashkent. R’ Chaim agreed and began collecting donations from other Jews. He gave the sizable amount to a needy Jew and his mood improved. This is how my father encouraged him without him realizing that my father was trying to make him feel good. “When my father saw that he was doing somewhat better, he took the next step. After a few days, he gave him another sum of money and asked him to collect for another Jew. That is how R’ Chaim began collecting money for other old and poor people. This revived him. This initiative of my father that was designed to lift one Jew’s spirits helped dozens of poor people.” R’ Sholom Zev loved doing chesed, and he did it in many

ways. Since the economy in Russia was never good, there were Jews who needed loans from him which he gave gladly. He continued lending even when the requests were made often. When his own money did not suffice, he borrowed 50,000 rubles from R’ Yosef Eliev, which he returned down to the last penny. Many people thought he was rich, though often the money he lent to others was money he himself had borrowed. His son Yaakov told of a unique tz’daka that he gave: “My parents would buy chickens in the market to feed the family and the many guests. Sometimes, we had a needy Chassid who would not take tz’daka. My parents would cleverly tell him that the chicken cost half a ruble and they sold it for a ruble, when actually, it had cost them three or four rubles. The needy Chassid happily paid them without realizing that he was receiving tz’daka. They did the same with other items. “For Pesach, we would bake matza and sell them for half of what they were worth. The matzos were baked in the courtyard of the Chassid R’ Mordechai Sirota. Many matzos were provided for free to needy families. For many years, my father gave me five kilograms of matza and a bottle of wine, expensive items in those days, and told me to take a taxi to a family on the edge of the city. The taxi alone cost three rubles. The family paid only two rubles for the matza, the wine, and the taxi. When I grew older, I realized that my father was helping them with Mattan B’seiser so the recipient would not realize a big favor had been done for him.”

GUESTS BECAME FAMILY MEMBERS
Did they also have guests in the years following the war? Yaakov (smiling): “Guests? We had no guests. They were members of the family! Throughout the years, our house was busy with many visitors, some for meals, some for sleeping, some for a day or two and some for years!” Sarah: “R’ Yosef Schiff (the father of Gershon, Berke, and Betzalel) had also fled his home in Samarkand and hid with us for a long time. The guests were part of our lives. Hosting them was dangerous, especially when some of them were wanted men.” One of those guests was R’ Shiya Teitelbaum who was nicknamed David (see box). The Krogliaks love to talk about what was accomplished, and not about the fear and persecution that were their lot. Still, they agreed to briefly talk about the suffering they endured for being religious. Sarah: “During the infamous Doctors’ Plot in 5713/1953, my father was fired. From the position of a plane engineer who knew state secrets he was suddenly regarded as an unemployed traitor. It was only after a number of months, when Stalin suddenly died, that my father was reinstated at his job, but he did not go back to the senior position he had previously.” Yaakov: “Years later, in 5723/1963, my father was orphaned and every day he was the chazan in the secret minyan. This became known and since he was the

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manager of an entire had been in that immigrant section, he found himself camp. He lifted his large in an unpleasant position. straw hat and showed His employees and bosses me the white kippa that spoke about him and he wore. He said that he felt insecure, fearing in Vienna, my father that they would fire him encouraged him to go to momentarily. However, Eretz Yisroel and said that after a while the situation the place he was going to was forgotten.” was holy, and when you walked there, you had to Dovid: remember that G-d runs “There was a yahrtzait things. When my father in the family and my father said this to him, he gave held a farbrengen which him that very kippa which was well attended by many the man had not taken off Jews and all the Chabad for eighteen years.” Chassidim in Tashkent, His work in Vienna led by R’ Shneur Zalman ended because he Pevsner (R’ Zalman became very sick. Even Buber). One year, my after returning to Eretz father noticed that a certain Yisroel and undergoing R’ Sholom Zev’s sons person was missing. A from right to left: Chaim Tzvi, Yaakov, Dovid treatments, he continued few days later they met. collecting money for the The man apologized and Four years later, he was sent needy, ran a gemach, explained that he was instructed to Vienna by the Jewish Agency. and served as the gabbai of the to tell what went on at the In Vienna there were thousands second minyan in the shul near Krogliak home, about who went of Russian immigrants who were his house. Among the people who there and what they spoke about, on their way to Eretz Yisroel. He davened there were many young and he opted not to attend so he worked very hard to promote boys who had recently celebrated wouldn’t have to say anything.” Judaism. He took care of kashrus, their bar mitzvahs. He made sure Shabbos observance, and regular they had opportunities to lead the SHLICHUS t’fillos. He told the immigrants davening and the Torah reading. that in Eretz Yisroel they also had FROM THE REBBE Besides being someone In 5733/1973, R’ Sholom to keep mitzvos. who helped others, he was a He had a special shlichus warm, loving family man. His Zev and his family moved to from the Rebbe while he was grandchildren loved to be with Eretz Yisroel. He worked as a working with the immigrants. him and he made sure to educate bookkeeper in the Education The Rebbe sent t’fillin for him them properly. Ministry. Directors of religious to give to the famous refusenik, institutions said that once he took R’ Sholom Zev Krogliak Yosef Mendelovich. that job, there were no longer passed away on 3 Adar II 5757 at Sarah: delays in their receiving their the age of 82. May he be a role salaries. They received the money “After our father died, model for generations to come. on the first of the month. someone came and told me he
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Stories

THE BAAL SHEM TOV AND MELECH HA’MOSHIACH
A compilation of stories about the Baal Shem Tov and the Geula of the Jewish people. * Presented for Chai Elul, the Baal Shem Tov’s birthday.
By Menachem Ziegelboim

HASHEM’S LOVE FOR HIS CHILDREN
Every year, it was customary in the home of the Tzemach Tzedek to have a “latke evening” on one of the nights of Chanuka. The family would gather, his sons and daughters-in-law and their children, and the Rebbe would tell a story. One year, he told a story about the Baal Shem Tov. He prefaced it by saying that he heard it from his grandfather the Alter Rebbe, who heard it when he was in the holy presence of the Maggid of Mezritch. Before the Baal Shem Tov was revealed as a tzaddik, he would wander and visit Jewish settlements. In each town that he visited, he would stand in the marketplace or some central area and gather the simple farmers, women, and children around

him, and would tell them stories of the Sages. The Baal Shem Tov would explain things clearly so that all could understand. In one of these towns, he gathered the Jews as usual and began speaking enthusiastically about Ahavas Yisroel and Hashem’s love for the Jewish people. In order to make his point clear, he said the following: In a certain small town lived a man by the name of R’ Yaakov. R’ Yaakov was an outstanding Torah scholar. He knew the Babylonian Talmud with Rashi and Tosafos by heart. One day, he was delving into a Tosafos when his little son came over and said something clever. R’ Yaakov was amazed by what he said and stopped learning. The same is true for Hashem, said the Baal Shem Tov. As our Sages say, “For the first three hours, Hashem sits and

is occupied with Torah. Then He stops, as it were, in order to be involved in the prayers and requests of Yisroel.” That is how great Hashem’s love for the Jewish people is. When Hashem created man, He told the angels that He wants to create a man. The angels asked, what do You need him for? But Hashem created man anyway. A Jew gets up in the morning and runs to pray vasikin with a minyan and then all day he is preoccupied and still, when it comes time for Mincha, he sets his affairs aside and runs to shul. And between Mincha and Maariv he listens to a shiur in Ein Yaakov and then he prays Maariv and tells his family what he learned in the Ein Yaakov shiur. Then Hashem gathers the angels and takes pride in the Jews He created and says: You angels don’t have

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The Baal Shem Tov gathered the local Jews and addressed them (from a painting by R’ Zalman Kleinman)

the burden of parnasa on your necks. You don’t have wives and children to support. You don’t have the concerns of this world and you have no taxes to pay. Man needs to support his wife and children and he has many worries. In addition, he has taxes to pay. Above all else, he has the burden of this difficult galus, and yet he conducts himself as he should. Then Hashem takes pride in him. Hashem loves the Jewish people. So too, each of us ought to love his fellow. If people would picture how Hashem takes pride in a Jew above everything else He made, it would have a profound effect.
(Seifer HaSichos 5699)

AN ATTEMPT THAT FAILED
R’ Eliezer Zev, the Saba

Kadisha of Kretchnif, told an awe-inspiring story about an attempt that the holy Baal Shem Tov made together with other kabbalists in order to bring and hasten the coming of Moshiach: One day, five great tzaddikim gathered in order to hasten the Geula. The Baal Shem Tov was the leader and with him were R’ Meir the Great of Premishlan, R’ Moshe Fastig, the brother of R’ Meir the Great, who was a hidden tzaddik, R’ Shabsi of Rashkov and R’ Tzvi Patiker. They convened in an abandoned house on the edge of a small, distant town. There, away from all prying eyes, they hoped to unify through their kabbalistic intentions and to intensify their prayers to hasten the Geula. The Satan saw this and knew that if these five tzaddikim were successful in bringing the Geula

then this would be his bitter end. He disguised himself as a simple person, one of the residents of the little town, and he went to the home of the governor and said that in an abandoned house were five Jews who plotted to burn down the town. When the governor heard this, he quickly sent his policemen to arrest them as they were plotting, but the tzaddikim sensed what was happening behind their backs. They realized they were about to be arrested and used combinations of letters, according to Torah and kabbala, to make themselves invisible. Only R’ Meir the Great of Premishlan did not want to use the holy names to save himself and he did nothing. A few minutes later the police arrived and were surprised to see one Jew sitting there, instead of a group of conspirators.

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Stories
arrive back in Mezhibuzh before Shabbos. I wanted to ask my master about what happened, but he preempted me and one day he explained it to me: “Do you know who that man was?” he asked me. I did not know what to say. The Baal Shem Tov said, “That was the Moshiach of our generation. “In every generation, as you know, there is someone fit to be Moshiach. When the time comes, he will be revealed in his glory.” I could not remain silent and I said, “Then why did you refuse to stay with him for Shabbos despite his importuning us?” The Baal Shem Tov sat thinking and then he said quietly, “I saw that it was decreed that he would pass away on that Shabbos, and how could I witness the loss and the passing of our anointed king?”
(Shaar Yisachar)

THE BAAL SHEM TOV’S CHIDDUSH
On the night of Acharon shel Pesach 5727, there was the following conversation between the Rebbe and his brother-in-law, R’ Shmarya Gurary (Rashag): Rashag: The Rebbe Rayatz said that the Baal Shem Tov revealed that on Acharon Shel Pesach there is the revelation of Moshiach. Was that the chiddush of the Baal Shem Tov? The Rebbe: In the Haftora it speaks explicitly and at length about the future Geula through Moshiach. Rashag: Then why did the Rebbeim say that the Baal Shem Tov innovated the Seudas Moshiach? The Rebbe: Because the Baal Shem Tov once said that the revelation and luminescence of Moshiach needs to be absorbed internally and this is through the Seudas Moshiach, in that a Jew eats a physical meal and it becomes part of his flesh. The inyan of the Baal Shem Tov was to reveal G-dliness in the world; that is the innovation of Chassidus, that the matters have an effect in an inward manner. Nevertheless, they arrested him and put him in chains and brought him on the police wagon to jail. On the way, R Meir realized that sitting in jail would interfere with his service of Hashem; especially if he would not be released until the next day, he would be unable to put on t’fillin. Without anyone noticing him, he got off the wagon and went home. The Satan was successful in that he disbanded the group of tzaddikim and the auspicious moment passed.
(Raza d’Uvda)

REFUSING MOSHIACH’S REQUEST
R’ Leib HaMochiach (lit. the rebuker) of Polnoye related: One Friday, my master the Baal Shem Tov asked me to join him on a trip. Although I did not know where he was going, I realized that this was another trip for his holy and hidden purposes. Within a short time, we had covered a vast distance. We sped

past villages and towns, fields and forests. It all passed enormously quickly with the K’fitzas HaDerech (lit. jumping of the way) that was typical of travels with the Baal Shem Tov. Within a short time, we had arrived in an isolated village where the Baal Shem Tov told the gentile wagon driver to stop the horses near one of the houses. Before we got down from the wagon, how surprised I was to see a distinguished, handsome man coming out of the house. He welcomed us warmly. The Baal Shem Tov spoke privately with him for a while and I did not hear what they said. Then the man raised his voice and I heard him ask that we spend Shabbos with him. To my astonishment, the Baal Shem Tov refused. I could not understand his adamant refusal but I said nothing. I figured I would wait for a time when I could ask my master about it. We made our way home with the same speed. Although the sun was about to set, we managed to

ASPECT OF MOSHIACH
When Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk heard about the holy Baal Shem Tov, he yearned to see him but he delayed his trip because he was concerned about the bittul Torah involved in travel. R’ Elimelech was accustomed to solitary meditation in the mountains. One day, he envisioned the Baal Shem Tov standing on the mountaintop and throwing himself into the ravine. At that moment, his body split into six hundred thousand sparks, corresponding to the six hundred thousand Jews. R’ Elimelech rushed to the bottom of the mountain and raised one of the sparks and saw it contained all the souls of Israel. Since at the time he had the vision the Baal Shem Tov had already passed away, R’

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Elimelech began his journey to his successor, the Maggid of Mezritch. After some time, R’ Elimelech said, “The true tzaddik is the aspect of Moshiach and his soul includes all the souls of Israel.”
(Shema Shlomo)

A LADDER STANDING AT MOSHIACH’S CHAMBER
The Baal Shem Tov would spend a long time on davening the Shmoneh Esrei. It sometimes lasted hours after the other people had already finished. Many of the people were not used to this, and so while the great disciples would wait patiently and gaze upon the holy face of the tzaddik, the simple people would go home, eat something, and then return to continue davening. Upon their return, they would find that the Baal Shem Tov had not yet finished davening. One day, as the disciples waited for him to finish, they were overcome by great hunger pangs and felt very weak. They looked at the time and saw that they had time to run home, eat something, and return before he finished Shmoneh Esrei. However, upon their return they were shocked to see that the Baal Shem Tov had finished davening and was waiting for them. They were ashamed and quietly continued davening. As always, when they saw something unusual, they waited for the right time to ask about it. After some time, they asked the Baal Shem Tov why he had finished early that day. He answered with a parable about a man with keen vision who stood with his friends next to a tall tree. He suddenly noticed a beautiful bird singing sweetly at the top of the tree; his friends noticed

nothing. The man wanted to climb up and capture the bird, but since the tree was tall and he would not be able to do it himself, he asked his friends to stand one upon the other’s shoulders and he climbed up until he reached the bird and caught it. Said the Baal Shem Tov, “The same is true for me. When I daven Shmoneh Esrei, wondrous things are revealed to me. However, I yearn to climb up and reach the supernal chamber called kan tzipor (lit. the bird’s nest), which is the chamber of Moshiach. Since this chamber is very high, I cannot go up there on my own. When you are standing on top of

what Hashem commands.
(Sippurei Chassidim)

YAAKOV AVINU’S NIGGUN
All his life, the Baal Shem Tov yearned to remember the niggun of Yaakov Avinu and was unable to. What was this niggun? This is what he told his talmidim: “I heard a beautiful niggun when I was in my first incarnation as a sheep in Yaakov’s flock. Yaakov would sing this niggun when he cared for the sheep. He would pour out his heart to Hashem until he heard Hashem’s voice blessing his sheep. I have a tradition that Yaakov sent

I heard a beautiful niggun when I was in my first incarnation as a sheep in Yaakov’s flock. Yaakov would sing this niggun when he cared for the sheep.”

one another, I am able to reach up high. But today, when you left the shul, I fell from the lofty levels I had reached. Having nothing else to do, I finished davening.” Regarding this, one of the great Chassidim said on the words, “And Moshe said to them, stand here and I will hear what Hashem has commanded you.” Stand here near me, and then in your merit and with your strength, I will be able to hear

his sons to Yosef in Mitzrayim with this niggun, as it says, ‘And Yisroel their father said to them, if so, this is what you should do, take m’zimras (from the fruit, but can also be read as from the song) of the land.’ (B’Reishis 43:1) “Just one other time was I able to hear this niggun, when I passed by a shepherd who was singing this song to his sheep. When I heard this, I nearly turned back into a sheep.” When the Baal Shem Tov wanted to move to Eretz Yisroel, he said, “Perhaps I will merit once again hearing that niggun. When I learn it well and know it, I will not forget it again. When this niggun becomes known to all, the Geula will come to the world.”

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MIVTZAIM STORY

LET’S GO FIND SOME JEWS
It had already been several hours since any Jews had entered the Chabad House. I had to do something. I felt that the Rebbe was giving me encouragement and ordering me to “take action.” I told my shlichus partner that I was going right out into the street to proclaim: Dear Jews, the city of refuge is here before you, come inside...
By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

ver a period of several months, two yeshiva bachurim, Yonatan Binyamini and Tzvi Zaifrani, served on the Rebbe’s shlichus in Playa-del-Carmen, Mexico, after the regular local shluchim, Rabbi and Mrs. Chaim Brod, left for an extended stay in Eretz Yisroel. The youthful T’mimim took their place in the outreach programs among the numerous tourists who come to the city. Many of these tourists were Israelis, as was a sizable portion of the local Jewish population. On shlichus in general, and particularly when working with backpackers in remote locations, you encounter some fascinating instances of Divine Providence. Every shliach working in such a place has some amazing miracle stories that he has personally experienced.

O

HaTamim Yonatan Binyamini recalls one such episode: “After we had received the Rebbe’s bracha to make the trip, we set out for Playa-delCarmen. We quickly moved into place and started organizing the Chabad House programs – prayer services, Torah classes, kosher meals, and other means of spreading Judaism. “Among the many regular activities, we would welcome the tourists coming to visit the Chabad House as we listened attentively to their personal stories. We would then use the opportunity to expose them to the teachings of Chassidus and the sichos of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. “One Thursday night, the two of us were sitting together. The Chabad House was totally empty at the time – a somewhat rare

occurrence. The weekly Torah portion was ‘VaEschanan,’ and we were learning a sicha about the cities of refuge. The Rebbe explains that there were signposts along the roads to the cities of refuge with the word Miklat (refuge), to make it easier for those fleeing for their lives after killing unintentionally to find one of these cities. “The Rebbe continues to state that the concept of a ‘city of refuge’ also exists in the spiritual realm, referring to the Torah protecting a Jew from the evil inclination in pursuit. Just as the cities of refuge require large signposts to guide those trying to find them, similarly we find in spiritual life. We must go outside the city in search of perplexed Jews who don’t know where to turn, and we must lead them to the Torah to rescue their souls.

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“However, the Rebbe adds that there is still a difference between material signposts placed along the roads and spiritual signposts. The material signposts stand in one place and take no initiative, and only if a person notices them will he know which route he must take. In the case of the spiritual signposts however, we must take the initiative by making an effort to save a Jew and lead him to the Torah. Chassidus teaches us that it’s not enough to be static; a Jew must constantly be ‘on the move.’ He cannot wait until another Jew comes and asks for directions. As soon as he sees that he can help someone else, he should run to him and show him the way to the ‘refuge.’ “At that very moment, something started to ‘burn’ within me. The Rebbe’s words began to penetrate deep within my soul. It had already been several hours since any Jews had entered the Chabad House, and I had to do something. I felt that the Rebbe was giving me encouragement and ordering me to ‘take action.’ I told my shlichus partner that I was going right out into the street to announce: Dear Jews, the city of refuge is here before you, come inside... “It was ten o’clock at night, but that would not deter me. I went outside and started to shout that all Jews are invited to come in to the city of refuge – the Chabad House. I did this for about ten minutes. This was no simple operation: The streets were deserted, and my shouting disturbed the evening quiet. Dogs began to yelp, and people closed their shutters in fear of the ‘lunatic’ roaming around outside. “At a certain point, I returned to the Chabad House, and we continued to learn the sicha.”

I went outside and started to shout that all Jews are invited to come in to the city of refuge – the Chabad House.
the voice, and that’s how we found you...’ “That Shabbos, they were our guests together with another group of Israelis and local Jews. We continued to meet up with them each day, give them kosher food, help the husband to put on t’fillin, and learn Torah. “The following Wednesday, they came to say goodbye before moving on to the next stop on their journey. At this point, the wife turned to the shlucha, who was also there with her husband, and asked if she could learn something with her – a little spiritual ‘provisions’ for the way. The shlucha directed her to the bookshelves and said, ‘Pick a seifer of your choice...’ The tourist went to the shelf and chose the most colorful seifer there – Maayan Chai. Incredibly, she opened the seifer to the very sicha from Parshas VaEschanan in which the Rebbe speaks about the spiritual signposts for cities of refuge in our times. “She began to read, and then became speechless,” HaTamim Yonatan Binyamini said as he concluded his amazing story. “We saw how this example of Divine Providence had a powerful effect upon them and reawakened their long dormant connection to the path of Torah and mitzvos. We exchanged e-mail addresses, and then went our separate ways. After the couple finished their Mexican tour, they returned to Moscow to resume their studies. We continue to be in touch with them on a regular basis, as we hope to hear happy tidings from them both.”

“Less than five minutes later, an Israeli couple came into the Chabad House in a very excited state. ‘Who was screaming about Jews and a city of refuge?’ they asked. I pleaded guilty. “‘Why were you yelling?’ they continued to inquire. I told them about the sicha that we were learning, and how the Rebbe taught that we have to go out and call to everyone to come in without waiting for someone to turn to us. ‘We have been educated according to the teachings of Chassidus,’ I added, ‘and we learn that everything that a Jew sees or hears is by Divine Providence. We have implemented the Rebbe’s request in practical terms,’ I explained, doubtful if they would understand. “The woman was on the verge of tears. After they sat down and had something cold to drink, they said that they had been living for some time in Moscow, where they were learning to become dentists. During the break between semesters, they decided ‘to see the world’ and go on a backpacking trip. ‘We came to the city in the wee hours of the morning, and we had already spent a whole day looking for you – but to no avail,’ they informed us. ‘We were now just walking down a nearby street, and we agreed that if we couldn’t find you there, we would give up.’ “‘Your Rebbe is amazing,’ the man explained excitedly. ‘Just a moment before despairing, we heard someone crying out in Hebrew about a city of refuge and inviting Jews to come into the Chabad House. We followed

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MOSHIACH & GEULA

THE REFURBISHED SHOFAR OF MOSHIACH
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, We now find ourselves in the special month of Elul, preparing ourselves for Rosh HaShana 5774 and the new year. Every day in Elul we blow the Shofar in preparation for and in anticipation of the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh HaShana. The main reason that we blow the Shofar is that Hashem commanded us to do this, as it says (BaMidbar 29:1): “And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you.” The Rambam (Hilchos T’shuva 3:4) adds: “Even though the sounding of the  shofar  on Rosh HaShana is a decree, it contains an allusion. It is as if [the shofar’s call] is saying: Wake up you sleepy ones from your sleep and you who slumber, arise. Inspect your deeds, repent, remember your Creator. Those who forget the truth in the vanities of time and throughout the entire year, devote their energies to vanity and emptiness which will not benefit or save: Look to your souls. Improve your ways and your deeds and let every one of you abandon his evil path and thoughts.”

Chassidus quotes the following famous Gemara (Rosh HaShana 16a) many times: “Also recite before Me on Rosh making mention HaShana [texts  of] kingship, remembrance, and the shofar – kingship, so that you may proclaim Me  king over you; remembrance, so that your remembrance may rise favorably before Me; and through what? Through the shofar!” The Rebbe adds (Rosh HaShana 5752): “The acceptance of Hashem as our king is connected with accepting the kingship of Melech HaMoshiach.” Regarding the times of Moshiach, the Navi Yeshaya (27:13) tells us: “And it shall come to pass on that day that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt shall come and they shall prostrate themselves before the L-rd on the holy mount in Jerusalem.” In a Maamer (Meluket 6) the Rebbe explains that this “sound of the great Shofar” is an inner awakening of T’shuva within every Jew. The Rebbe said that in our times we see the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy through the Baal T’shuva movement that we see unfolding

worldwide. In the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni Parshas VaYeira remez 101) the history of this special Shofar of Moshiach is retold: The first recorded Shofar is the one that our forefather Avraham sounded, as he offered the ram in the place of Isaac, his son (Genesis xxii: 13). The left horn was used as the Shofar that G-d sounded at Mount Sinai when He gave us the Torah. When we sound the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, we remind  G-d about Avrohom’s self-sacrifice, and pray that as a result He will administer His judgment upon us with kindness.  The Shofar that Avraham blew was set aside; it is the horn from which the Shofar of Moshiach is to be made. There are two famous Halachic questions on this Midrash: 1) We all know that Yitzchak was supposed to be a Korban Ola, a complete sacrifice to Hashem, which means that the ram that was used in his place had also the halachic status of Ola. If so, weren’t the horns burned on the altar as well? 2) The Halacha is that one may not derive benefit from a Korban Ola. If so, how can we use the horns of the animal as a Shofar to blow one on Har Sinai and one in the times of Moshiach? Many commentaries offer

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explanations to answer these questions. The following are two accepted answers: 1) The horns of the ram never were burned on the altar, because they were separated from the ram before the ram was sacrificed. This is seemingly evident in the verse (VaYeira 22:13): “And Avraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw, and lo! there was a ram, [and] after [that] it was caught in a tree by its horns. And Avrohom went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering

instead of his son.” It seems that he took the ram without the horns as they got stuck in the tree (Seifer Gan RaVeh). 2) It is true that Avrohom sacrificed and burned the horns as well. After the burning, Hashem took the ashes and “refurbished” the Shofaros from it. (Ramban, and See Yemos HaMoshiach B’Halacha Vol. 1 pg. 37). May we merit to witness the fulfillment of our daily prayer “Sound the great  shofar  for our

freedom; raise a banner to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth into our land. Blessed are You L-rd, who gathers the dispersed of His people Israel” now, amen! Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his indepth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

Continued from page 39 Yechezkel is the Navi of exile. Hashem’s prophecies to him were about what Geula is, as opposed to exile. The shiur concluded with the Writings, the Book of Daniel which addresses foundational ideas of Geula such as the vision of the four kingdoms and the secret of the end of galus. He says that Daniel is not a typical book of prophecies. It expresses what Daniel himself was about as a scion of royalty. He led his life in a manner of Geula, and he rose above all the difficulties of galus. He became second to the king

and merited to see the building of the second Beis HaMikdash, which is why he has the most essential prophecies of Geula. The richly packed day of learning ended with words from R’ Elimelech Thaler, director of Mamash, who spoke from the heart: After being exposed to such depth and a wealth of information about the Geula, each of us has the responsibility to carry out the Rebbe’s horaa and bring everything we learned to the wider public. We cannot keep this to ourselves. He let the audience know about the activities of Mamash

and asked them to buy material and give it out. The crowd was very inspired and the “Yeshiva for a Day” ended with a rousing “Yechi Adoneinu …” After davening Maariv, they sat down to farbreng. It wasn’t a farbrengen after a long day’s work this time, but a farbrengen after an entire day of preparation. It began on a high note in an uplifting atmosphere. The participants brought down all that they learned to practical terms. It was a time that many people made good hachlatos. It was an extraordinary experience; one more program to give the Rebbe nachas!

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CHASSIDIC ART

PICTURES AT A CHASSIDIC EXHIBITION
The artist Yosef Yitzchak Fisher was educated in his youth in Chabad institutions and absorbed the sweetness of the Chassidic world. As the years passed, he became a well-known artist, yet he felt a certain calling to create an art display on the Chassidic world where he had been raised. After two long years of work, he presented his “Tzama Lecha Nafshi” exhibition at an art gallery located in the heart of Tel Aviv, highlighted by the creative image of a three yearold boy after his upshernish, holding a Torah scroll.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

L

ast month, a most unique presentation of Chassidic street art took place in Tel Aviv, entitled “Tzama Lecha Nafshi.” The exhibition succeeded in creating a public relations sensation, resulting in about five hundred people

reserving places for the opening event. The display was highlighted by works of art from the Chassidic world. During the exhibition, there was a special evening with original “Nicho’ach” albums of Chabad niggunim playing

in the background on an old phonograph. At the entrance to the exhibition, we met the artist responsible for these marvelous expressions of creativity, Yosef Yitzchak Fisher of Hertzliya, who proceeded to tell us about

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his work and how it all came into being.

CONVEYING THE MAGIC OF THE CHASSIDIC WORLD
Yosef Yitzchak Fisher is a most unconventional artisan. He still calls his creative work “street art,” despite the fact it was now appearing in a prestigious gallery in Tel Aviv. He strictly adheres to a very simple style, yet he consistently makes a statement with every production. He was born to Chabad parents who had become Chassidim of the Rebbe thirty years ago, and they gave him the name Yosef Yitzchak. In his youth, he learned in Chabad schools until he went to yeshiva k’tana, but life’s tug-of-war pulled him in many different directions. Nevertheless, he never neglected his Chabad upbringing, and he felt that it was an integral part of his Jewish existence. Now, he had decided to make a whole presentation dealing with Chassidus and Chassidim. The exhibition displays were also designed to convey a message to those currently not Torah observant, most of whom were unfamiliar with the magic of the Chassidic world. “I used to draw throughout my entire childhood,” Fisher told us. “Ever since I was a boy, I remember doing artwork. My first sketches were published in a Chabad magazine in Eretz HaKodesh. My mother would keep copies of the magazine containing my drawings. “When I grew older, at the age of fourteen, I discovered a new art style and I began working with graffiti art. In the beginning, I would merely scribble, but I slowly developed greater skills in drawing letters of the Tanach and

the like. I learned at depth about the meaning behind each letter, and this is I how I started to get into the Jewish aspect of art. I had essentially begun to deal with the visual side to Judaism, and this led me to Chassidic folklore. “After working in graffiti art, I started dealing with a technique of carving to create an advanced form of art. Using this technique, we take a large black sticker, fashion the image upon it with cut shapes, and then remove the outlined pieces from the sticker and attach them to the wall. Instead of drawing on the sticker itself, you merely cut the shapes out. These drawings can be placed on a wall, a placard, or in a frame. I started working on a line of drawings – some were placed in public places, others were framed. “I drew a picture of a Chassid flying through the air, and I fastened it to a wall at Kikar HaSus, near the HaMashbir L ’Tzarchan department store in Yerushalayim. This is a very vibrant place, located at the entrance to the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall, and the picture of the Chassid was designed

to convey a message. I wanted everyone to understand that Chassidim are also people with personalities behind their uniform appearances. This Chassid looks joyous as he flies through the air with a most humane expression, and this enables the observer to see him as a person similar to himself.” How did you come from street art to creating a Chassidic exhibition? “Artwork that is hung in the street remains there, and that’s the end of it. I wanted to express something more, to reach more people. It is very important to me to convey an idea on the beauty of the Chassidic world. In the final analysis, this is the world from which I came and where I was raised in my youth. I wanted to create more in the Chassidic sphere. During the last two years, I have been focusing upon illustrative drawings based on the world of Judaism.” How did the idea first come into being? “This is something that comes from within, something that truly speaks to me on this matter. I thought about how it would be
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Stories
People said to me with great surprise, ‘What did you do with those religious figures?’ While they simply couldn’t understand this association between art and images of chareidim, it still seemed to captivate them. They saw a person with whom they could connect; not just some distant character. Many people living in Yerushalayim don’t have positive interactions with the ultra-Orthodox; usually it’s quite minimal. Now, they suddenly have an opportunity to see and emotionally connect with something that they had never known before.” Have there also been reactions from the ultraOrthodox sector? “Most definitely. Many chareidim have expressed interest in my exhibition. The rav of our community, the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Hertzliya, Rabbi Yisroel Halperin, took a special interest in the exhibition and he promised to come and visit. He told me that this was a truly holy project and he gave me a great deal of encouragement. “In general, there is a great interest in this exhibit. I had made other displays of my artwork, but none had ever aroused as much attention as this one. I felt an aura of tremendous Divine Providence throughout its preparations.”

“It’s here where I transmit the human side of the culture I was raised in. This is how we communicate emotions, concerns, conflicts without any high and mighty talk.”
possible to show the magic of this world specifically through art. People who don’t know about or relate to this world have great difficulty connecting to it through indirect accounts. However, visual artwork enables a person to feel this world. All these artistic creations are most inspiring and each contains its own unique message. “From a very young age, I dreamt of working on carved images. Over a period of eighteen months, I designed an authentic Jewish representation of a child holding a Torah scroll. The inspiration came from a photograph of me at the age of three, after my upshernish on Mt. Miron, standing with a Torah scroll in my hand. I decided to create a piece of art depicting a Jewish child.” And how did the exhibition actually get started? “I decided to make an exhibition of my street art creations that present Jewish and Chassidic themes. There have been no serious examples of artistic expression in this sphere, and I felt that there was much more to give here. People can easily forget that just 130 years ago – prior to the start of the Enlightenment Movement – virtually every Jew was Orthodox. I show this to them in an unconventional manner, and it arouses a genuine sense of longing. I received numerous responses to my artwork, including from non-religious Jews, and I began to realize what moved them.” Exactly what kind of reactions have you received? “I receive reactions all the time from every direction. There were some very powerful reactions from the non-chareidi world.

RELATING TO THE WORLD OF THE ORTHODOX WITHOUT BIAS
What do you feel when you’re producing a Chassidic work of art? “To take a chunk of raw black material and turn it into a creative artistic image is almost a form of yesh me’ayin. All the entries in the exhibition were created with a cutting technique; they appear

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framed as complete works of art. These include fifteen original creations on the Chassidic sector. Some express the human side of Chassidim, while others articulate abstract concepts such as Chassidic childhood and Chassidic thought – all kinds of situations that connect to a sense of genuine authenticity. Take a child, for example: When you dress a child in Chassidic garb, this still doesn’t make him a Chassidic child. You have to give him some inner content, just as you find in all people. I even pose questions on faith during the presentation.” How does one convey an artistic message of faith? “While it’s impossible to believe in something visually, there’s a very large mural displaying a giant nine-foot image of a Chassid, his face shaded and his hand partially open. I feel that this drawing conveys something very deep, expressing a person’s inner thoughts about his faith. When I draw chareidi figures, I feel that I’m drawing my family, what I was raised on. When you pour your feelings into your artistic talents, you produce a genuine work of art.” What do you think about the whole concept of artistic creation? “The work doesn’t begin with a story. It starts with something far more profound that you

want to express; the story comes later. For example, a large piece of art filled with Chassidic children – twenty-five of them in one picture, each expressing a different emotion, serious, happy, hostile, clownish, wants to go, wants to stay. It’s here where I transmit the human side to the culture I was raised in. This is how we communicate emotions, concerns, conflicts without any high and mighty talk. When you look at someone standing before you as an equal, you can relate him as a human being. Similarly, you can see it in the artwork I did of the Chassid flying through the air, near “HaMashbir” in Yerushalayim: It shows a person dressed in black who doesn’t seem remote or serious, but happy and with a sense of humor.” How do you explain the media attention surrounding your exhibition? “I don’t think that there’s been enough attention given to this form of expression. People have never been given the opportunity to open up and connect with a whole new world, and this exhibition provides that without bias.”

What do you want to express in your art work? “I hope that I’ll be able to introduce just one person to this wealth of knowledge – Chassidus, Tanya – something that countless people have never experienced. If this exhibition gets even one person to want to learn about this rich and inspiring world, it will have been worth all the effort. This is my shlichus, my mivtzaim, and I hope that the Rebbe is pleased. “I have really tried to prepare and hold this exhibition at the highest standard possible, constantly maintaining its central theme of joy. I have done the very best I could, and I hope that the Rebbe is satisfied with the end results.”

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Profile

A GREAT GENIUS AND A DEVOTED CHASSID
The Chassid, Rabbi Yehoshua Zelig Aharonov was one of the main askanim in Orsha. He worked with mesirus nefesh for the Rebbe Rayatz and was sentenced to four years of hard labor because of these “crimes.” * Presented to mark his passing on 18 Elul.
By Dov Levanon

YOUNG GENIUS
R’ Yehoshua Zelig was born in 5656/1896 in the town of Kachanov. His father was the Chassid, R’ Menachem Mendel Aharonov. Immediately after his upsheren, he was sent to school where his teacher observed his outstanding abilities. One time, he and some friends went to his grandfather’s house where they were preparing to bake matzos for Pesach. He saw that the work was delayed. When he asked about the delay, they told him that they were waiting for a certain person who had gone to ask a halachic question regarding the flour. As they were waiting, one of the men jokingly asked him, “You are

preparing to be a rabbi, so how would you answer?” Zelig unhesitatingly gave his answer and his reasoning behind it. When the person came back from the rav, all present were astonished to hear that the answer and the reasoning were identical to his. His teacher spoke to him before his bar mitzva, saying, “You need to prepare a drasha for your bar mitzva. Study this daf and when you finish learning it in depth, come back to me.” The boy studied and went back to his teacher. “Did you have any questions on the daf?” asked the teacher. The boy mentioned a number of questions that he had thought

of as he learned, but this did not satisfy his teacher who told him to relearn the daf. The boy returned to the beis midrash and sat and learned until morning. He was gratified to find the intricate question his teacher had in mind. When he joyfully went to his teacher, his teacher said, “Now look at such-and-such tractate on such-and-such daf and you will find the answer to the question. This scene repeated itself several times until he finished the pilpul which he delivered at the bar mitzva seuda. Most of those present couldn’t follow it all the way through, but the Torah scholars among them did. Zelig became renowned as an ilui.

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A TAMIM AND LAMDAN
After his bar mitzva, Zelig headed for Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch where he passed the two admissions committees, the official one and the clandestine one, and received the Rebbe’s approval. He eventually became one of the outstanding students. Along with his diligence in learning Nigleh, he was also extremely assiduous in his learning of Chassidus and was immersed in avoda and darkei ha’chassidus. Thanks to his giftedness and tremendous diligence, he combined Nigleh and Chassidus, haskala and avoda. The maamarim he heard from the Rebbe were engraved in his mind and heart. He never missed a chazara despite how late those reviews went, and then he reviewed the maamarim until he could repeat them verbatim. He devoted himself particularly to learning Ayin-Beis. Now and then, rabbanim and roshei yeshivos would come to test the bachurim. One time, the rav from Kalinkovich came to test the bachurim in Nigleh. Afterward, he said about Yehoshua Zelig that he was an outstanding scholar with whom he could discuss divrei Torah on a deep level. During that period, Yehoshua Zelig corresponded with the Rogatchover Gaon.

SMICHA FROM RADATZ
During the war, groups of bachurim began leaving the central yeshiva. R’ Aharonov, together with some other bachurim, including Yisroel Jacobson, Alexander Sender Yudasin, Moshe Yosef Gottlieb, and Boruch Puterman, went to Chernigov where they spent precious time with the singular Chassid of that generation, R’ Dovid Tzvi Chein (Radatz).

“The deceased said to me in the dream, ‘I died this morning. Please try to do a chesed shel emes with me and bring me to a proper Jewish burial.’”

GRUELING MEDICAL EXAM
When he became of draft age, Zelig asked the Rebbe what he should do. The Rebbe told him about a certain procedure to damage one foot so it would be shorter than his other foot and he would receive an exemption. The Rebbe added, “This will be of benefit to you.” Zelig was taken aback because it sounded like the Rebbe wasn’t referring

to a temporary handicap. Nonetheless, he strengthened his faith in the Rebbe and went ahead with the procedure. When the military doctors examined him, they wanted to release him. However, there were other military personnel present who said that since too many Jews were exempt, they should examine all those present again to ensure that their handicaps were genuine. Zelig was kept in the clinic so they could keep him under surveillance. He was ordered to minimize smoking and to eat certain foods before the next exam which was done under general anesthesia. During his enforced hospitalization, Zelig listened to the doctors’ orders in the same way Chassidim followed the instructions of Misnagdic rabbanim. What they told him not to eat, he ate and what they told him to eat, he did not eat. When they anesthetized him, something went wrong and they were afraid he would not regain consciousness, but thank G-d, he recovered and was exempted from military service.

The bachurim chose to learn in a neighborhood on the edge of the town, in the wagon drivers’ shul. This was because they davened early in the morning and the shul was then empty and available for them to learn in. R’ Dovid Tzvi complained that he couldn’t do a good job raising money to support them when they learned in a place where nobody saw them. But he greatly desired having the bachurim remain near him and he maintained the makeshift yeshiva in Chernigov. When Radatz asked him whether he had smicha, Zelig said no, and he wasn’t interested. Radatz reproved him for this and said that since he was a scholar, it was worth obtaining smicha. Radatz eventually tested him and awarded him smicha.

IN THE YESHIVOS OF CHARSON AND CHARKOV
Before 19 Kislev, the bachurim received a letter from R’ Shlomo Zalman Havlin, in the name of the Rebbe Rashab, which said that since a new yeshiva was

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Profile
founded in Charson, they should go there. R’ Aharonov and other bachurim went to Charson, in the Ukraine, where they learned in the yeshiva headed by R’ Eliezer Dvoskin (may Hashem avenge his blood). Regarding the move to Charson, R’ Yisroel Jacobson wrote many years later, “In relation to the current state of obedience amongst the students, there stands before me that picture, how I did not even entertain any idea or thought, but immediately packed up and traveled.” When they arrived in the yeshiva, there were already some young bachurim there, and R’ Tzvi Gottlieb of Kovna served as a teacher. The yeshiva was run by several balabatim who were devoted to the yeshiva. They included R’ Yisroel Chartok, the Bezpalov brothers (sons of R’ Yaakov Mordechai, the famous rav of Poltava), their uncle, R’ Notte Hansburg, R’ Aryeh Leib Nannes and his wife, the Plotkin brothers, R’ Avrohom Yaakov Sklar and R’ Moshe Charitonov. In the yeshiva there learned a group of talmidim from Lubavitch. The famous ones are: R’ Ezriel Zelig Slonim, R’ Eliezer Nannes (Subbota), R’ Betzalel Wilschansky, and R’ Menachem Mendel Rosenmutter. “From the day I left Tomchei T’mimim,” wrote R’ Aharonov in a letter that he wrote twelve years later, “I was in Charson by instruction of the Rebbe to found a branch of Tomchei T’mimim there and then in Charkov. In 5620, when my father passed away, I had to leave for home.” R’ Boruch Friedman served as the mashgiach in Charkov, but the influence of the great mashpia, R’ Shilem Kuratin was strongly felt in the yeshiva. After a few months, R’ Shilem came to serve as mashpia. Before he arrived, R’ Shilem wrote a letter to the bachurim in which he told them “It was decided here to appoint over you as mashgiach, the Tamim Boruch Friedman. All your conduct is under his jurisdiction, and from now on you should not mix into anything, just keep the s’darim of learning Nigleh and Chassidus, learning diligently. He has permission to draw close as well as to push away and punish those who cause difficulties, G-d forbid, as he sees fit. Whatever you lack, present to him and he will try to improve matters, with Hashem’s help. Obey him and his words should be heard and accepted by you with full force, and that is how they will be heard by us.” Then R’ Shilem goes on to explain a deep question in Chassidus which R’ Yehoshua Zelig had asked. R’ Yehoshua Zelig was a tremendous talmid chochom. After his passing, in the prime of his life, they found material he had written with deep chiddushim in Nigleh and Chassidus. that when two Jews were talking and one sadly said to the other, “The evil empire closed down all the schools and the secret police are making sure that citizens obey the law. What will be with our children?” the other one said, “Don’t worry, as long as R’ Zelig Aharonov is here, there will be teachers for our children.” Although he did not hold an official rabbinic position, R’ Zelig was the one to turn to for all Jewish matters. In 5784, R’ Yehuda Chitrik passed through Orsha and R’ Zelig told him that the town had no rav and that after he asked the Rebbe Rayatz, he urged the townspeople to accept R Shaul Dovber Zislin as the rav. R’ Shaul Dovber arrived and delivered two talks. The townspeople marveled over his smooth delivery and he was accepted with great honor as the rav. R’ Shaul Ber’s arrival provided a new impetus in the work of promoting Judaism and Chassidus.

HARD LABOR IN SIBERIA
Like all the townspeople, the NKVD knew good and well that R’ Zelig was responsible for most of the Jewish activity in the town. After enough evidence was accumulated against him, they arrested him one night in 1932. He was interrogated for hours, day and night without stop. After bravely withstanding them and not divulging any names of his fellow Chassidim, he was sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Siberia. His wife spared no effort and managed to reach senior government officials who worded a letter for her to the president of the Soviet Union, Kalinin, who was considered more favorable to the Jews than all the other party members. These people warned

STRENGTHENING JUDAISM IN ORSHA
After marrying Chava Shpeter, daughter of R’ Aharon Chaim who was known as the genius from Lukomli, R’ Yehoshua Zelig started a business in Orsha. He was one of the outstanding askanim in the town. Orsha was a Chassidic town until World War I. After the war, when the cursed communists rose to power, the Jewish character of the town was in danger. R’ Zelig arranged underground schools for children and shiurim for young and old. He arranged minyanim and made sure that the mikva was operational. He was so involved in Jewish life upon his arrival in the town

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her that if it was discovered who had helped draft the letter, not only would they be dismissed from their jobs, but they would also be accused of the serious crime of aiding a counterrevolutionary. The letter made a strong impression on Kalinin who promised to examine the file and see what could be done. A short while later, his answer was that he would shorten the sentence to only four years. However, even four years in Siberia was a severe punishment. The bitter cold, the exhausting labor, and the paltry meals that religious Jews could eat, were a constant threat to the lives of exiled Jews. Before he knew that his sentence was halved, R’ Zelig prayed that he would at least merit a Jewish burial. It was at this time that he saw how far-reaching the Rebbe’s vision was. Upon arriving in his place of exile, they saw that one leg of his was shorter and they gave him easier work that enabled him to easily refrain from working on Shabbos. In the camp, he met a Jew who told him that he came from a respectable family and he was a religiously observant person until the Revolution. It turned out that the man’s brother had learned with R’ Zelig in Tomchei T’mimim. R’ Zelig put in great effort to be mekarev the man and bring him back to Torah, and the man became a baal t’shuva and kept all the mitzvos he could keep in the labor camp. He would consult with R’ Zelig over every question that arose.

with strings was confiscated, such as shoelaces and belts. They confiscated R’ Zelig’s t’fillin despite his protests. Each prisoner was given a certain number of postcards to be used to write home. When the cards were used up, they could not correspond until new ones were given out. R’ Zelig, who could not wait for the card distribution, gave his meager bread ration to another prisoner in exchange for his card. On it (besides his message home), he printed the letters “Rashi” in tiny print. When the postcard arrived, his wife did not understand what the significance of the letters was. When she showed it to her father he exclaimed, “Oy, he doesn’t have t’fillin!” The family put together a large package of clothing and food and sent it to him. When the package arrived, they opened it and searched it in front of him. When they didn’t find anything, they gave it to him. When he turned over the bundle, he heard a muffled sound. The hidden t’fillin had fallen out of their hiding place. From then on, he had t’fillin which he could put on in hiding. One day, R’ Zelig met another Chassid, R’ Zalman Tzeitlin, and R’ Zelig lent him his t’fillin every day even though this entailed mesirus nefesh.

CAST YOUR (PALTRY) BREAD UPON THE WATER
After four difficult years, a broken and exhausted R’ Yehoshua returned home to Orsha. When Anash fled at the beginning of World War II, he managed to arrive with them in Samarkand. Despite his frailty, he put great effort into all

MESIRUS NEFESH FOR T’FILLIN
The law in the camp was that when prisoners arrived, anything

mitzvos. On Sukkos, Chassidim remember him putting the s’chach on the sukka himself and saying out loud, as he did every year, “When the Alter Rebbe would put s’chach on his sukka, he would say to do it with a thick covering, and that is what I do too.” For Pesach 5702, despite the wildly inflated costs of basic foods, he asked his only son, Menachem Mendel, to bring a guest. His son found someone who had nowhere to eat and brought him home. For this man, it was a matter of saving his life because he had barely eaten in days. R’ Zelig passed away on Chai Elul 1943. In those days, many died of starvation and the chevra kadisha were overloaded with work. The gravedigger dug graves all day and whoever was brought, was buried immediately. When they brought R’ Yehoshua Zelig, the gravedigger asked the chevra kadisha and the relatives to wait because he had a special place, among rabbanim and men of stature, for him. When the chevra kadisha asked him what he knew of the deceased and why he chose to bury him in a more respected place, he said, “This morning, the deceased came to me in a dream and asked whether I knew him. I immediately told him yes, because as I walked about on Pesach and had no kosher food and was about to expire, a boy came over to me and asked me to join him for Yom Tov. This saved my life. The deceased said to me in the dream, ‘I died this morning. Please try to do a chesed shel emes with me and bring me to a proper Jewish burial.’ “So for this Chassid who loved to do chesed, I have a place among tzaddikim and Chassidim.

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MOSHIACH & GEULA

JUDGING THE JEWISH PEOPLE FOR DECADES, AFTER HIS P’TIRA
For roughly two decades after his passing, the body of Rebbi Elazar, son of Rashbi, did not decompose. In fact, he continued to serve as a judge, ruling in actual legal cases, judgments that were carried out in practice. * Source materials compiled by Rabbi Shloma Majeski.
Presented by Boruch Merkur

Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi is noted for having returned to the world post mortem and even being obligated to perform Mitzvos. The following case in the Talmud (Bava Metzia 84b) describes how for roughly two decades after his passing, the body of Rebbi Elazar, son of Rashbi, did not decompose. In fact, he continued to serve as a judge, ruling in actual legal cases, judgments that

were carried out in practice: When Rebbi Elazar b’Rebbi Shimon was dying, he said to his wife: I know that the Rabbis are upset with me and will not properly attend to my burial.* So lay my body in the attic [when I die], and do not be afraid of me.** Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said: Rebbi Yonasan’s mother

related to me that Rebbi Elazar b’Rebbi Shimon’s wife had told her: For at least eighteen years, and up to twenty-two years, I laid his body to rest in the attic. When I went up to the attic I would examine his hair. Wherever a hair would come out, blood would appear.*** One day, however, I saw a worm coming out of his ear and I was disheartened, thinking that perhaps his body was now beginning to decay. My husband appeared to me in a dream and told me: The worm is nothing to worry about. [It is not a sign that my body has begun to rot. Rather, it was a punishment for a particular occurrence.] One day, I heard a disparaging comment about a rabbinical student, and I did not protest as I should have. [During this period of
the dead unburied (Sanhedrin 46a). How then could R’ Elazar the son of R’ Shimon have instructed his wife to do just this? They explain that there is an exception to this rule – where the non-internment is for the honor of the deceased (ibid.). Indeed, this was R’ Elazar the son of R’ Shimon’s explicit concern, that the Rabbis would not bury him properly. (Note 17 of the Artscroll Schottenstein Edition)

*Specifically, he was concerned that they would not inter him in the burial cave of his father, R’ Shimon bar Yochai. This was a valid concern: The Rabbis held that, relative to his saintly father, he was a “wayward son,” and thus undeserving of a place next to him. R’ Elazar the son of R’ Shimon sought to demonstrate to the Rabbis that he was a righteous man and had not departed from his father’s footsteps. He thus chose

to remain in his attic, unburied for years, in the hope that his miraculous preservation would change their minds. They would then inter him alongside his father on their own. This is indeed what ultimately happened (Ben Yehoyada ––Note 16 of the Artscroll Schottenstein Edition) **Maharsha and Maharal both point out that one transgresses a negative commandment by leaving

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eighteen to twenty-two years] when two people would come to Rebbi Elazar’s home to be judged, they would stand at the gate of his house and each would state his case. A voice would then emerge from his attic, saying, “So and so, you are liable,” or, “So and so, you are absolved.” One day Rebbi Elazar’s wife

was quarreling with a female neighbor. The neighbor said to her: May you become like your husband, who was not granted burial! [Hearing of this remark] the Rabbis said: [If Rebbi Elazar’s condition is] so widely known, it is certainly improper [to maintain the status quo; he should be honored with a

proper burial].**** There are those who say that Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai appeared to the Rabbis in a dream and told them: I have [only] one fledgling among you, yet you do not wish to bring it to me.***** [As a result] the Rabbis went to attend to Rebbi Elazar’s burial.

***I.e., R’ Elazar the son of R’ Shimon’s body did not decompose as corpses usually do. (Maharal ––Note 18 of the Artscroll Schottenstein Edition) ****If people know that he is not alive and yet he has not been buried, this does him no honor. (Rashi)

the son of R’ Shimon was (He must then be buried as soon as FullyElazar Computerized Fully Computerized deserving of burial in his father’s possible. His non-internment was cave, a point some Rabbis had permitted only because it dignified 331 Kingston 331 Kingston Ave.Ave. disputed (see note 16). There was no him more than internment (see nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 (2nd(2 Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 longer any reason for R’ Elazar the note 17). If he has now become the son of R’ Shimon’s body to remain subject of taunts, then the lack of in the attic. (Note 21 of the Artscroll burial is a dishonor to him.) Getyour your tickets within minutes! Get tickets within minutes! Schottenstein Edition). *****This established that R’

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PARSHA THOUGHT

HEALTHY INSANITY
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

PREPARING FOR THE NEW YEAR
One of the most difficult sections of the Torah is clearly the recitation of the 98 horrific consequences of sinful behavior, known as the “tochecha,” that appears in this week’s parsha. These were an expression of G-d’s “tough love”; intended to jolt the Jewish people, as they were poised to enter the Promised Land, into compliance with G-d’s will. According to the Talmud, we read this section of the Torah at the end of the year, as we prepare to enter the New Year. This parallels the end of the Jewish people’s preparation for their entry into a new land. Upon reflection, this approach appears problematic; we can understand why a repeat offender who has been reprimanded politely and affectionately but who nevertheless continued in his sinful ways must be reprimanded more harshly. If the approach of love doesn’t work we are permitted to use tough love. But why would we want to begin a New Year or enter a new land on the basis of such a negative approach? Chassidic thought takes a different view of these “curses.” They are curses only when viewed externally; when viewed on a

deeper level, they are powerful, unrestricted blessings. By reading these hidden blessings before the onset of the New Year, we expose ourselves to infinite blessings. We have been given the free choice to unleash the hidden energy of these blessings and transform the New Year into a year of unprecedented goodness.

WHEN FATHER READS, I HEAR ONLY BLESSINGS
This transformative understanding is reflected in a story told of Rabbi Dovber, (known as the Mitteler Rebbe, the son and successor of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement) in his youth. On one occasion, he fainted when he heard the tochecha and remained ill for weeks. The harsh words were too much for his delicate and sensitive soul. When asked why he had not reacted so strongly to the tochecha in the past, he replied: “In the past I heard the reading from my father. And when my father reads them, I hear only blessings…” When we read the tochecha from the vantage point of our Father in Heaven, we hear powerful but sweet words of goodness. It takes, however, the spiritual stature of a Rebbe to

guide us to the inner meaning of the tochecha. Notwithstanding the fact that these hidden blessings did not materialize in the past, we are guaranteed that they will ultimately be realized in the Messianic Age. Thus, before the end of the year—which symbolizes the very end of our stay in exile pending the imminent arrival of Moshiach and the final Redemption—we read of these hidden blessings and eagerly anticipate their coming to fruition. With this introduction in mind, many Chassidic masters have demonstrated how some of the verses that sound like curses can and should be interpreted as sublime blessings, In that spirit, we will attempt to reinterpret one of the verses in the tochecha:

THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF OUR EYES
“You will go insane from the things your eyes will see.” Understood literally, Moses was describing the utter devastation that would cause those who beheld it to lose their wits. Some interpret this verse figuratively, asserting that what would cause us to lose our minds would be the obsessive following

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after our eyes. When we become hedonists and follow the dictates of our eyes and the unbridled desires of our hearts that they arouse, we lose touch with reality and become meshuga. Others interpret this verse metaphorically, arguing that the “eyes” refer to the leaders, who are called “the eyes of the community.” In this view, the leaders will be so corrupt that they will cause us to lose our minds.

The transformation from the lower, negative form of insanity into the upper, positive form of insanity is occurring right now. We are on the cusp of the Messianic Age, straddling the fence between the darkness and confusion of exile and the light and clarity of Redemption.
and detach himself from the subjective sensations of his mind and heart to be receptive to G-d’s presence. The prophet, therefore, sheds his clothing, literally and figuratively, to demonstrate that he has put aside his preoccupation with material matters and no longer allows his physical needs and perceptions to dominate. Only then would he become receptive to the Divine communication. In short, a prophet had to deviate from the human norm and rise to a higher level, which he manifested by removing his garments in both the spiritual and physical senses. This gave him the appearance of a meshuga, someone who deviates from the norm. The Torah thus tells us in its coded blessing: “You will go meshuga-insane from the things your eyes will see.” A time will come when you will transform the negative form of insanity, which derives from being a slave to passion and allowing yourself to be driven beneath the path of decency and normalcy, into a positive form of insanity. You will become self-transcendent beings, who rise above the norm.

THE GOOD MESHUGA
However, from a Chassidic perspective, this same verse can be seen in an entirely different and positive light. In the original Hebrew, the term used for “insane” in this verse is meshuga, a pungent but useful adjective which has even made its way into the English dictionary and popular usage. Although meshuga is generally considered a pejorative term, is also used Biblically to denote a prophet, a person of superior vision. This descriptive term is shared by the truly insane and the prophets because people in both categories deviate from the norm, albeit in opposite directions. Another term associated with meshuga is shtus, which contains the dual meaning of folly and deviation. Chassidic thought explains that there are two ways one can deviate from the norm, leading to two forms of shtusfolly and two types of individuals, both of whom are called meshuga. A person can be labeled meshuga when behaving in an irrational and self-destructive manner. But, likewise, one who behaves in a supra-rational fashion, who goes beyond the norm in goodness and devotion to G-d, also can be accorded the title meshuga.

A prophet would be given this title because he or she goes beyond the conventions of society and rises above the spiritual norm in order to be receptive to G-d’s communication.

REMOVING THE GARMENTS
This explains what appears to be a bizarre ritual that a prophet would follow before receiving his prophecy. We are told (I Samuel 19:24) that King Saul removed his garments as a prerequisite to receiving prophetic inspiration. Chassidic thought explains that garments, in the literal sense of the word, became a necessity as a result of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. When Adam and Eve partook of its fruit, they entered the world of sensuality which necessitated that they cover parts of their bodies. Clothing which covers the body is also a metaphor for the concealment and obscuring of the Divine reality and the emergence of a new, corporeal reality, which resulted from Adam and Eve’s transgression. Had they not sinned, there would have been no need for modesty; every aspect of human biology would have been viewed as part of a Divine scheme for existence and not as an outlet for physical and sensual desires. On a deeper level, the garments removed by the prophet symbolized his own intellect and emotions. He had to transcend their confining aspects

SEEING AND NOT JUST HEARING
How does this transformation occur?

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PARSHA THOUGHT

The darkness we see now is arguably greater than ever before. The light is also more intense than ever before.
The Torah gives the answer in the concluding words of this verse: “…from the things your eyes will see.” When we begin to visualize the Divine and understand it, rather than just hear about it, it motivates and empowers us to transform ourselves. We are told that the Messianic Age will change the way we relate to G-d and spirituality. Whereas in the past we were exposed to the teachings of Torah through the medium of our ears, as the words “Shema Yisroel-Hear O Israel” indicate, Moshiach will teach us Torah through the medium of vision. The prophet declares: “And the glory of G-d shall be revealed and all flesh shall see that the mouth of G-d has spoken.” One of the salient differences between hearing/understanding and seeing is that when we grasp something based on hearing, the information is integrated piecemeal. Even when we hear and grasp the entire subject, it is based on separate pieces of information that we hear over a span of time. When we visualize something, by contrast, we see the entire picture all at once. The difference is qualitative and the visual experience can be transformational. The revelation of G-dliness that initiates the Messianic Age will enable us to rise above the norm, and experience the positive and holy form of insanity; one that inspires us to do unconventional acts of kindness and goodness. The transformation from the lower, negative form of insanity into the upper, positive form of insanity is occurring right now. We are on the cusp of the Messianic Age, straddling the fence between the darkness and confusion of exile and the light and clarity of Redemption. We are witnesses now to the paradoxical combination of both darkness

and light. The darkness we see now is arguably greater than ever before and the light is also more intense than ever before. On the one hand, we are seeing the breakdown of morality and the utter loss of decency and normalcy. Immorality has become pervasive and “in your face” in today’s world. All the institutions of society are riddled with corruption. Yet, we are also witness to an extraordinary outpouring of tz’daka and compassion for those who are in need. There are many people performing acts of random kindness to counter the ubiquitous random acts of violence. In addition, the explosion of spiritual knowledge brought on by the widespread teaching of Chassidus, with its focus on G-dly reality, has given us a foretaste of what is to come in terms of visualizing G-dliness. As we near the end of our journey in exile, the entire picture comes into focus. We are also, therefore, witnessing the desired result of this explosion: so many more people than ever before are experiencing “insanity” in its most positive and felicitous form.

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News

LEARNING AND LIVING GEULA
A Yom Iyun – Yeshiva for a Day took place recently which dealt with the topic of “The State of the World in Yemos HaMoshiach.” The gathering took place in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in B’nei Brak and was attended by shluchim, directors of Chabad houses, teachers, and balabatim.
By Yosef Yitzchok Goldberg

Day” (this is their fourth year), meant what they said; it was yeshiva.

WILL THERE BE ROAD ACCIDENTS AFTER THE GEULA?
In the beautiful lobby of Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in B’nei Brak, you could easily hang up a stop sign which says, “Stop, Learning Going on Here!” because it wasn’t a day of lectures but a yeshiva framework. There were about three hundred young men, Anash, and shluchim as well as balabatim, who had the wonderful opportunity, albeit for one day, to partake in a full day

W

hen I saw the ad in Beis Moshiach about the “Yeshiva for a Day,” I thought it was another Kinus/course/ seminar in the style of the Yemei Iyun on important topics that

often take place. On my way home that Thursday following the event, after a day packed with learning, I realized I was mistaken. I discovered that the hanhala of Mamash, who decided to launch this project called “Yeshiva for a

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of learning a vast array of Torah topics within the designated framework that I haven’t experienced since I returned from 770. When was the last time we had the opportunity to spend an entire day learning Torah? The decision to hold a Yom Iyun on Inyanei Moshiach and Geula is important, because it enables Lubavitchers to fulfill the Rebbe’s wish that we delve into this topic, which is the “straight path” to bringing the Geula. “The State of the World in Yemos HaMoshiach” was the topic chosen this year, and it was examined throughout the day from all possible angles. From ten in the morning until late at night, we were exposed to the wealth and depth of Toras HaGeula and Yemos HaMoshiach as it appears in the writings of Chazal, the prophets, the Midrash, the Talmud, Halacha, and the writings of kabbala, all made clear by the lecturers, all of whom are teachers in the Chabad yeshiva world. Upon arriving, each person received a booklet of learning material that was carefully prepared. On the side, fresh baked goods and hot and cold drinks were available. I was impressed by the technical side of things down to the last detail. As I looked around at the variegated crowd around me, I was happy to see some friends. One of them said to me that this is his third year in attendance. “It’s a real rest for the soul and a distraction from daily routine.” R’ Sholom Yehuda Leib Ginsburg, a shliach in Haifa, began the program with the maamer “Hinei Yaskil Avdi 5732,” which is about the role of Moshiach in rectifying the physical world on all levels of creation. Moshiach, by his effect

on the world, will fulfill the promise of “and all flesh together will see,” that every single person will be capable of seeing G-dliness not only with spiritual vision but with his physical eyesight, “that the mouth of G-d has spoken.” He spoke about the changes that will take place in the reality of the world in accordance with the impact of Moshiach, which is explained in Chassidus. This idea of the world transitioning into a new state, from Galus to Geula, was seen more practically according to Nigleh of Torah in the next shiur, which was given by R’ Dovid Menachem Mendel Shaer, teacher and mashpia in Yeshivas Chanoch LeNaar. R’ Shaer discussed interesting cases in the laws of accidents such as, will there be road accidents after Moshiach comes? What will change in the nature of animals that will cause a wolf to live with a lamb? And, if it’s the true and complete Geula, why will we need Cities of Refuge?

R’ Y.Y. Offen

The Admor R’ S. F. Zalmanov

A DAY OF LEARNING THAT GIVES A CHAYUS TO SHLICHUS
The next lecture, “Iyunim B’Hadran al HaRambam 5749,” was given by R’ Shmuel Kleinman, a teacher and mashpia in Tomchei T’mimim in Ohr Yehuda. He also dealt with the state of the world in Yemos HaMoshiach by delving into the Rebbe’s Hadran on the Rambam, “no jealousy, no hatred, and no competition.” The absence of negative tendencies and the brotherhood that will prevail in the world is rooted primarily in the study of P’nimius HaTorah wherein shines G-dliness in its purest form, without questions and arguments. Through

R’ Shimon Weitzhandler

R’ Meir Wilschansky

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News
the fourth lecture, given by R’ Yeshaya Goldberg, mashpia in the Chabad yeshiva in Ramat Aviv. He focused on the topic of how the world will be in Yemos HaMoshiach in light of the Rebbe’s famous sicha (Likkutei Sichos vol. 27) about two eras in Yemos HaMoshiach. First, at the beginning of Yemos HaMoshiach, none of the usual workings of the world will change. Next, at a later point in the Yemos HaMoshiach, wondrous things will take place, including that which is not the usual way the world operates. He spoke of the gradual physical changes that will take place during the first era and the revelation of G-dliness within the physical reality of the world at the end of the second era. At the end of the session there was a short break and lunch was served. It was inspiring to see two men at the table who had decided to take off from work so as not to miss this Yom Iyun. I heard R’ Mutti Anati, shliach in Florida, say, “The program is packed and the level of learning is high. After a few hours of learning here, I will go back to my shlichus completely different.” through the three stages in the revelation of G-dliness that the Rebbe teaches: 1) Elyon – drawing down from above, 2) Tachton – raising up from below, 3) Transcending Elyon and Tachton and combining them, i.e. drawing down and raising up simultaneously. For nearly two hours, he defined this approach and gave about ten examples from the Rebbe’s sichos and maamarim that clarify this division into three. Based on this, he proved how we can look at Yemos HaMoshiach as it is explained in the Rebbe’s teachings as 1) miraculous, 2) natural, and 3) a combination of the two. The first approach, the miraculous, denotes a revelation from above-downwards, based on the approach of kabbala and the determination of Chassidus. The second approach, the natural, that the world will continue to operate as usual, is according to the Rambam and the philosophical chokrim. The third and decisive approach is a combination of miracle and nature, the Rebbe’s chiddush, which divides Yemos HaMoshiach into two eras.

R’ Shmuel Kleinman

R’ Yehuda Ginsberg

P’nimius HaTorah, the true perfection of Yemos HaMoshiach will be revealed in a new world in which there is only goodness and peace without any jealousy and hatred, characteristics of Galus. In my view, here for the first time one had an opportunity to get a deep and fundamental overview of an essential subject (which is missing from many who are knowledgeable in the Rebbe’s teachings) known as “Hadranim on the Rambam.” In R’ Kleinman’s shiur, we learned about the Rebbe’s approach to learning in these Hadranim that deal with Inyanei Moshiach and Geula. In a deep and precise way, the Rebbe wondrously weaves together all parts of Torah, Nigleh, Chassidus, and Sifrei Chakira. The first session ended with

ALL OF TORAS HA’GEULA IN THREE STAGES
The centerpiece of the Yom Iyun was the “shiur klali” given by R’ Meir Wilschansky, teacher and mashpia in the Chabad Yeshiva G’dola in Tzfas, on the topic “Miracle and Nature in Geula.” In a deep, intellectual, and adeptly constructed shiur, he summarized the material under study as laid out in the materials included in the booklet. He began his shiur with a number of questions on the principles that had been learned during the day. As the basis for reconciling it all, he first went

THE GEULA – FROM THE TEACHINGS OF R’ LEVI YITZCHOK
The third session began, led by the emcee R’ Yechiel Kupchik. Three lectures were given with each speaker presenting an indepth look at three approaches based on different perspectives: the prophets, kabbala (Likkutei Levi Yitzchok), and the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov. R’ Yosef Yitzchok Offen, mashpia in Chabad yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, gave a shiur in which he explained the secrets of kabbala from Likkutei Levi

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Yitzchok. For close to an hour, he covered explanations of and allusions to Inyanei Moshiach and Geula in the teachings of R’ Levi Yitzchok.

THE CLASH BETWEEN CHASSIDIM AND MASKILIM – GOG AND MAGOG
Learning Inyanei Moshiach and Geula is widespread; learning it from the perspective of all the students of the Baal Shem Tov is a novelty. The Admur R’ Shraga Feivish Zalmanov spoke about “The Geula in the Teachings of the Students of the Baal Shem Tov throughout the Generations.” He began by asking sarcastically, “Since when does Chabad take an interest in Poilishe Toira? We must say that we are already in Yemos HaMoshiach!” The Admur has written ten s’farim on the Chassidic teachings of his ancestors and he showed proficiency in the explanations brought in the teachings of our Rebbeim and their source in the writings of the talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov. For example, a recurring line in the Rebbe’s sichos is “all your days to bring to Yemos HaMoshiach” – that the avoda of the Jewish people throughout the generations is to bring about the Yemos HaMoshiach. This explanation is from the Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk, one of the talmidim of the Yid HaKadosh of Peshischa. Also the explanation brought often in the sichos on the verse “a star went forth from Yaakov” – that it refers to Moshiach and every single Jew because a spark of the soul of Moshiach shines within the source of his neshama – is found in the Meor Einayim of the R’ Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, a talmid of the

Maggid of Mezritch. In his fascinating speech we were exposed to a world that we were unfamiliar with. We discovered how all streams of Chassidus flow to the same sea, the sea of the true and complete Geula: “The truth of the matter is, it is a mistake to search for Geula and Moshiach only within the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov because everything is Geula and Moshiach,” he declared, and he began explaining how the teachings of Chassidus and the teachings of Geula are one and the same, both the general Geula for the world and the personal Geula in man’s avoda. He quoted writings of Chassidus that identify the revelation of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov as the start of a new era leading to Yemos HaMoshiach and the opposition of the Misnagdim to the Chassidim and the clash with the Maskilim as a sort of War of Gog and Magog.

R’ Yeshaya Goldberg

R’ Dovid Shaer

17 PROPHETS OF GEULA
The final lecture was given by R’ Shimon Weitzhandler, the editor in chief of the publishing arm of Mamash and rosh yeshiva of Tomchei T’mimim in Rishon L ’Tziyon. He presented a fascinating summary of the prophecies in the N’viim, based on a series of lectures that he gave at the previous Beit Seifer L ’Torat Ha’Geula. In one hour he took us on a circuit of all the books of Tanach. He began with the unique work written by R’ Yitzchok Abarbanel, Mashmia Yeshua, in which he sums up all seventeen prophets of the Geula. Each navi had a mission based on his circumstances, location, era, and the people of his generation.

Based on the Navi’s style, Hashem revealed prophecies of the Geula to him according to the state of the people at the time: Yeshaya the Navi lived during the reign of the Kings of Yehuda, a good era before the bitter exile. In his prophecies of Geula, Hashem showed him directly what it would be like in the Geula and what positive events would take place in Acharis HaYamim. Yirmiyahu the Navi was taken down to Egypt in his old age and was the prophet of rebuke at the beginning of the galus and the churban. In his prophecies of consolation and rebuke, Hashem revealed to him the prophecies of Geula and Acharis HaYamim in the form of contrast to the negative. Continued on page 21
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CROSSROADS

HAS EVERYONE GONE MAD?
The public debate in Eretz Yisroel used to revolve around the release of Arab terrorists and whether this was a proper way to save the lives of IDF soldiers. However, this is no longer the issue. The question now is: What is the connection between the peace talks and releasing terrorists? It should be the opposite – if we make peace, all the murderers should be in prison...
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

onsider for a moment the following scenario: A murderer forces his way into a settlement and manages to kill and injure several children and elderly people. He roams around with a loaded weapon in his hand, and all the local residents know that the first person to encounter him will also be the target for his next hail of bullets. A platoon of soldiers arrives to subdue, disarm, and manacle the killer, but at the last minute, the prime minister suddenly makes an urgent telephone call and orders the attacker’s immediate release for the sake of peace. What would happen to any national leader who acted in such a fashion? Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The prime minister has just released twenty-six killers with actual Jewish blood on their

C

hands and dozens more involved in wanton acts of murder – all in order to renew the “peace talks.” Facts clearly prove that most released terrorists return to their previous violent activities, but such facts cannot be allowed to confuse the prime minister. He is determined to advance the current round of negotiations, regardless of the cost. He freed unrepentant murderers, who will now return to the terror cells they left just a few years ago and resume their prior vocation. Someone who hacks an eighty year-old man to death with an ax does not suddenly become a better person in jail. These are animals on two legs, some of whom never completed a full period of incarceration. Yet, that doesn’t seem to bother Mr. Netanyahu.

It’s interesting to note that the government has apparently forgotten how all construction throughout Yerushalayim, Yehuda, and Shomron had been frozen during the last term. This had been done for the sole purpose of encouraging the Arabs to return to the negotiating table, but, of course, they weren’t convinced. In Yerushalayim’s Ramot neighborhood, it had been forbidden to enlarge a back porch, but even that didn’t satisfy the terrorist leaders. They never considered laying down their arms and abandoning the path of aggression. The public debate in Eretz Yisroel used to revolve around the release of Arab terrorists and whether this was a proper way to save the lives of IDF soldiers. However, this is no longer the issue. The question now is: What is the connection between the peace talks and releasing terrorists? It should be the opposite – if we make peace, all the murderers should be in prison...

WHAT REALLY WAS THE DECISIVE ISSUE IN THE RABBINATE ELECTIONS?
Last week, after the tumult from the recent campaign for the chief rabbinate in Eretz Yisroel appeared to have died down, the newly elected chief

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rabbanim, Rabbis David Lau and Yitzchak Yosef settled in to their offices. While their desks were piled with numerous issues demanding immediate attention, the main subject at hand is the issue of conversions. This subject stood at the forefront of the election campaign, as each of the prospective candidates presented his viewpoint on the matter. The handling of this issue underscores the real problem caused by the misuse of the law on “Who is a Jew.” This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of non-Jews entering Eretz Yisroel, who now wish to “convert” simply to acquire the official documents classifying them as Jews. The Israeli public suddenly realizes that there are countless Gentiles living in their midst who immigrated to the Jewish state in accordance with the Law of Return. The conversion issue is far more than just a question of the separation of religion and state. This is a matter dealing with the future of the Jewish People. As long as the state of Israel continues to register Gentiles as Jews, who then assimilate into Israeli society, this causes immeasurable harm to the coming generations of Am Yisroel. By the power invested in neo-Reform rabbis, thousands of non-Jews are registered each year as members of the Jewish People without requiring their acceptance of the yoke of Torah and mitzvos, thereby rendering their conversions null and void. Last week, when the newly elected Ashkenazic chief rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, announced that he would consult with rabbinical judge Rabbi Avraham Sherman of Yerushalayim on all conversion matters, his opponents charged that Rabbi Sherman had

previously nullified conversions made by religious Zionist rabbis. They neglected to emphasize that these “converts” did not accept the yoke of Torah and mitzvos, and consequently, the entire claim is baseless since these were not valid conversions to begin with. However, the Torah is irrelevant to someone who first defines Judaism in Israeli terms, and only afterwards according to the traditions from Sinai. To the president of Israel, for example, the matter is quite clear. “They are so Israeli that I call upon the rabbanim to recognize their conversions,” Mr. Shimon Peres said last year during the debate over the “quickie”

in order to become Jewish,” perplexed as to why the rabbanim refuse to issue them their prized conversion certificate. The harsh fact is that most people converting today via the standard procedure authorized by the chief rabbinate cannot be considered as halachically kosher Jews. When the ministry for religious affairs initiated an Internet campaign, inviting hundreds of thousands of Gentiles to conversion clinics, it was impossible to know whether the person was actually converting out of a longing for G-d or a longing for new immigrant benefits from the absorption ministry. In recent

“They are so Israeli that I call upon the rabbanim to recognize their conversions,” Mr. Shimon Peres said last year during the debate over the “quickie” conversions in the IDF. It has reached the point that they genuinely believe that you can determine whether someone is eligible to enter the covenant of the Jewish People according to how Israeli the person is.”

conversions in the Israel Defense Forces. But it’s not just Mr. Peres. There are many people who simply don’t understand the difference between a Jew and an Israeli. They’ve been swept up by the fervent secularreligious debate prevailing in Eretz Yisroel today, which deems “Israelis” to be some holy entity. It has reached the point that they genuinely believe that you can determine whether someone is eligible to enter the covenant of the Jewish People according to how Israeli the person is. Prior to last winter’s Knesset election, one of the religious party leaders said that these Gentiles “are prepared to do a whole list of things

years, evidence has clearly shown the tremendous harm caused by the rabbinate’s erosive conversion policies over the last three decades, especially since the arrival of the waves of immigrants from behind the Iron Curtain. The very nature of this campaign is a clear contradiction of the whole concept of conversion to Judaism. In contrast to other religions, Judaism does not cultivate new members through missionary tactics. Anyone who wants to become Jewish has to prove that his motivation is sincere, bereft of any selfish personal interests. At the present time, a welloiled machine is in operation
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CROSSROADS
for the purpose of “converting” the hundreds of thousands of Gentiles living here, with no need to mandate the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos. The standard conversion process includes a study of Ruth and Naomi, along with a few other pleasant stories from the Tanach, spending Shabbos at the homes of Torah observant families, and developing a familiarity with the magical world of Yiddishkait. At the conclusion of the course, graduates receive a “Jewish” certificate, as if it were a high school equivalency diploma. Thus, it should come as no surprise that ultra-Orthodox Jewry has been refusing to validate conversions by the chief rabbinate for years. Yet, all these reforms are not enough for those plagued with a perpetual inferiority complex, as they seek to breach all walls of traditional Judaism. Instead of demanding that the chief rabbis put an end to this travesty and set proper standards for the conversion process, they want the courses to be made shorter. They fail to understand why “converts” must first be required to study Judaism for a whole three months… in connection with building in Yerushalayim and the Shomron, when Lapid claimed that publicizing the construction of apartments there merely angers the Americans and needlessly harms our relations with them. Last week, the ministry of housing declared that it was making 1,170 housing units in Yerushalayim and the main settlement blocs available for sale on the public market. This announcement was met with accusations by the political rightwing that the housing minister, Uri Ariel, was merely trying to con the settlers and buy their silence with construction projects in the liberated territories, instead of building the thousands of homes he had promised to the voters. But there was another claim: The construction itself poses no problem whatsoever; it was the publicity surrounding the construction project that was irritating the Americans and creating friction between Washington and Yerushalayim. In a sicha from Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha 5738, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, spoke most forcefully on this issue: “They just shouldn’t declare it out loud; there should be a settlement of the territories without noise or tumult. What’s relevant is the actual settlement activity. With regard to Heaven – when the Jewish People decide as they should – “it is revealed before Heaven,” while in regard to the physical world – the deed is the main thing.” The Rebbe continued: “As a result, there is no need to make noise over this, and surely not to boast that ‘My strength and the might of my hand has accumulated this wealth for me.’ On the contrary, boasting that ‘My strength and the might of my hand, etc.’ could ch”v spoil things, and in addition, it’s not true. “We must know that we are doing this on G-d’s shlichus and with His strength, and this will increase the power of the settlement activity – and regarding the strength of G-d, there is nothing that can hold it back ch”v. “When they will follow this path – not only won’t the nations of the world protest [and there surely won’t be any Jewish casualties ch”v (for one person is an entire world), not even any wounded ch”v, in a manner of ‘half-killed’], on the contrary: it will bring the ‘Praise Hashem, all nations, laud Him, all peoples; for His kindness has overwhelmed us, etc.’ Even the ‘nations’ and the ‘peoples’ will say and praise openly before everyone that ‘His kindness has overwhelmed us,’ and that G-d’s Kindness has strengthened us (the entire Jewish People throughout the world, and particularly those Jews in the ‘land that the eyes of Hashem your G-d are always upon, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year’) – they will assist the Jewish People (not only in what they have already promised, but) in all manners of assistance (financial, etc.) that the Jewish People still need because Israel remains in exile.”

WHY MUST THEY MAKE SUCH A FUSS OVER SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION?
This didn’t happen often during the previous parliamentary term, but now even someone like Finance Minister Yair Lapid makes some correct statements every once in a while. One such statement was made recently

TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!
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ADD IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS

Feature

“DO YOU KNOW WHAT RUSSIA IS?”
We brought up the idea of going to Russia in order to print the Tanya but the Rebbe ignored our questions. * One time, when we brought Tanyas to the Rebbe and it seemed like a good time, R’ Leibel Zajac asked once again about going to Russia. * The Rebbe negated this out of hand * Part 1
By Rabbi Shneur Zalman Chanin

DON’T GET THE EXISTING ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED
The early 90’s were years when Ezras Achim flourished in Russia under the direction of the devoted Chassid and askan, R’ Moshe Slonim a”h. He was the one who arranged the trips of the shluchim from New York to areas all over Russia. He started doing this even before perestroika, when the communists ruled with an iron fist. He increased his activities ten-fold after the fall of communism. To R’ Moshe’s credit let it be said that he was a man of action, one who took action himself and pressed others into action, and a brilliant scholar. He would turn over worlds, the main thing being that the Rebbe’s wishes be carried out. This is why we thought he was the best person for our plans of printing

R’ Moshe Slonim a”h

the Tanya throughout Russia. As we anticipated, R’ Moshe liked the idea and expressed his willingness to devote himself to this in order to give the Rebbe nachas. He said he would convey to the activists in Russia all the printing instructions that he would get from us. We were sure that we were all set and the historic project of

printing the Tanya throughout Russia would begin. But after a week or two we suddenly received the Rebbe’s response that we should print the Tanya ourselves without involving any organizations, and that we should not work with organizations that were already operating in Russia. When we received this answer, we did not know what the Rebbe was referring to, as we hadn’t spoken to any organizations other than with R’ Moshe Slonim. Why would the Rebbe warn us about this? It was only several months later that we found out that the Rebbe told someone that the reason for this was that, right after we spoke with R’ Moshe, the Rebbe received a letter from a certain chassid in Russia complaining, why wasn’t he given this Tanya printing project? So the Rebbe said not to get any

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R’ Leibel Zajac receiving a dollar from the Rebbe

existing organization involved.

THE REBBE DID NOT REACT
Months went by and the collapse of communism was well under way, and it seemed like a fait accompli. We very much wanted to print the Tanya throughout Russia and to make a big deal of it. We figured that Russia was a wonderful place to carry out the Rebbe’s instruction to print the Tanya wherever Jews lived, because there were hundreds of cities with Jewish communities that had never had a Tanya printed there. Since the Rebbe had told us not to work with existing organizations, we had to find a reliable person who would want to do this and who would also have the technical knowledge of how to get the job done. We

could not think of anyone who met these requirements and tried to contact people in Russia, but nothing panned out. It seemed that this project could not get off the ground. The truth is that someone who was never in Russia, especially Russia of those days, cannot fully understand what it meant to print the Tanya in Russia and how difficult this was. I heard from my father about the severe shortages in Russia, from wool for weaving to flour for baking. I did not fully grasp what “there is none” meant, until I saw it for myself when I finally went to Russia to print the Tanya, as I will relate. In the meantime, we contacted R’ Zev Wagner who lived in Moscow and had government connections. He promised to help and he was able

to obtain printing permits for us for public places as well as other things. At the end of Iyar 5751/1991, we were told that he had obtained permission from the leadership of the shul in Leningrad to print the Tanya in that city and its environs. Naturally, we immediately sent R’ Wagner’s letter to the Rebbe as well as the permits, but the Rebbe did not respond.

DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE ASKING?
On Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5751, we wrote to the Rebbe that as a follow-up to the previous time that we gave the Rebbe 31 (lamed-alef) Tanyas, and the Rebbe had said it was an inyan of Hashem’s name AlefLamed which is strength and he blessed us that we start working

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Feature

R’ Leibel Zajac presenting the bookcase of Tanyas to the Rebbe

with more strength and print additional Tanyas – now we wanted to inform the Rebbe that I had finished printing 62 Tanyas which was double E-l, and nearly all of them were bound already. We wrote to the Rebbe that some editions were missing, but in the meantime we would print several more Tanyas, so that in the end we would print more than double the 31 we had printed at first. When the Rebbe received the Tanyas, we saw that he was pleased. He asked that next time we print more Tanyas. After seeing how pleased the Rebbe was, my friend R’ Leibel Zajac wrote to the Rebbe that after seeing that nothing was happening with the printing of the Tanya in Russia, and since he very much wanted to carry out the Rebbe’s horaa and to print in Russia, therefore, he wanted to travel to Russia himself on condition that I join him. Together we would arrange for a mobile printing press and we would go from city to city to print the Tanya. Once again, the Rebbe

ignored this request. During those weeks, we brought new Tanyas to the Rebbe several times. Each time, when giving them to him, the Rebbe said that more Tanyas should be printed wherever possible. One time, when giving the new Tanyas, R’ Leibel said to the Rebbe that we had already written about the idea to print dozens of Tanyas throughout Russia but we had not received a response. The Rebbe made as though he did not hear what R’ Leibel said and gave us his brachos for the Tanyas we had brought. Once again, he urged us to print more, but he did not respond to the idea of printing Tanyas in Russia. One time, we brought the Rebbe an entire bookcase of Tanyas on wheels. There were more than 100 editions of new Tanyas and we had built a nice bookcase to contain them all. On it was a map with all the places where the Tanyas had been printed. When the Rebbe saw the mobile bookcase his face lit up.

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He smiled broadly. When R’ Leibel saw that in k’dusha there is significance in numbers, and the more Tanyas there were, the more nachas the Rebbe had, he wanted to ask: Perhaps the time has come for us to travel to Russia to print the Tanya? We were alone in Gan Eden HaTachton and R’ Leibel got up the nerve to say: Since, up until now, he had not received a response to his idea of going to Russia to print the Tanya, he wanted to take this opportunity to ask: Perhaps the time had come? Suddenly, the Rebbe’s smile disappeared. He looked frighteningly somber and he said to R’ Leibel, “Do you know what Russia is? There is nothing there, no paper, no ink, not a glass or a plate, so of course there is no printing press. How do you want to print Tanyas there?” Leibel said, “We will bring one from here.” The Rebbe said, “Do you hear what you’re saying? You will go to Russia with a printing press, with paper, with ink, with a generator, etc. Do you think that they will meet you and welcome you at the Foreign Office with diplomatic protocol?

The Rebbe entering his room and R’ Groner bringing the mobile bookcase of Tanyas into Gan Eden HaTachton

“Do you know who will welcome you? Policemen will welcome you and the first thing they will do will be to confiscate everything, then they will arrest you for bringing propaganda into Russia. It will take six months until we find out where you are and another six months to extricate you. And for this you want to go there? “And what about the anguish of the families? Do you hear what you’re saying?” There was silence in the room for a few moments. Then the

Rebbe smiled broadly and took the Tanyas and went into his room. Leibel did not expect such a reprimand. He knew that Russia had been a communist country, but he thought that after perestroika it had become a free and democratic country. Obviously, after such a response, we dropped the idea. Until one day, when we received a surprising horaa from the Rebbe. But that’s for the next article.
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