Shneur Zalman Berger

Mordechai Segal


4 D’var Malchus 5 Moshiach & Geula 17 Parsha Thought 36 Crossroads 39 Young Chassid 40 Chabad Geography


Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz

Avrohom Rainitz

Avrohom Rainitz

Beis Moshiach (USPS 012-542) ISSN 1082-0272 is published weekly, except Jewish holidays (only once in April and October) for $160.00 in Crown Heights. USA $180.00. All other places for $195.00 per year (45 issues), by Beis Moshiach, 744 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409. Periodicals postage paid at Brooklyn, NY and additional offices. Postmaster: send address changes to Beis Moshiach 744 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409. Copyright 2013 by Beis Moshiach, Inc. Beis Moshiach is not responsible for the content and Kashruth of the advertisements.

744 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409 Tel: (718) 778-8000 Fax: (718) 778-0800 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: M.M. Hendel

HEBREW EDITOR: Rabbi S.Y. Chazan



In every generation there is “one who is fit to be the redeemer.” Of course, it is logical to presume that this person is nasi ha’dor, leader of the generation. * Compiled by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. (Underlined text is the compiler’s emphasis.)
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur (siman 98), and see S’dei Chemed P’as Sadei maareches HaAlef, klal 70, among others. ****Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel, who is like Rabbeinu HaKadosh [Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi] in Eretz Yisroel (as discussed above in Footnote 40). Accordingly, we may infer that by Rav saying “it is Rabbeinu HaKadosh,” he is also ruling about himself* – that “it is Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel.” *****See S’dei Chemed ibid: “In this manner, in each generation, they would speculate among themselves who it is … Rabbeinu HaKadosh … in his generation they declared and knew that he is the one that is ready [for the mission of redeeming the Jewish people] … And so it is in every single generation: there must be one who is suited [to be Moshiach] should they merit [the redemption]. Also in this spirit, the disciples of the Arizal wrote that in his time it was the Arizal,” and S’dei Chemed concludes, “and all this is obvious.” _____
*Reflecting the explanation of the [unusual] wording of the Mishna (Avos 3, beg.), “judgment and reckoning” (judgment and only thereafter reckoning). This teaching is brought to light by another Mishna (ibid 16): “one is punished with his knowledge and without his knowledge.” That is, after a person rules, “with his knowledge” [according to his opinion and sense of justice] in a case about someone else, he [thus] renders judgment upon himself “without his knowledge”; in accordance with his “judgment,” a “reckoning” is made as it applies to his own case. (See Likkutei Sichos Vol. 6, pg. 283, where it is discussed.)

“Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel” traces the journey, as it were, of the Sh’china, as it follows the movements of “Rabbeinu,” nasi ha’dor, the leading Jewish rabbi of the generation. The place of nasi ha’dor is the location from which the main teachings of Torah emerge, and thus the natural place where the Sh’china resides amidst the wandering of the Jewish people in exile. One of the themes developed in the Kuntres is the notion that “Rabbeinu,” nasi ha’dor, is the most likely candidate to be Moshiach of the generation, the one ready to be appointed by G-d to redeem the Jewish people from exile. *** “Rabbeinu,” nasi ha’dor (the leader of the generation), is also the Moshiach (the redeemer of the Jewish people) of the generation,* like Moshe Rabbeinu (the first nasi) – “the first redeemer is the final redeemer.”** Indeed, it is known*** that in every generation there is “one who is fit in terms of his righteousness to be the redeemer, and when the time arrives, G-d reveals Himself to him and sends him on his mission, etc.” Of course, it is logical to presume that this person is nasi ha’dor,

as explicitly mentioned in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 98b, and in the commentary of Rashi) regarding Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi, “Said Rav,**** if he is among the living, it is, for example, Rabbeinu HaKadosh.” “If Moshiach is among those who are presently alive, he certainly is Rabbeinu HaKadosh,” nasi ha’dor.*****
(Seifer HaSichos 5752, pg. 470) NOTES: *To note that there is a spark of Moshiach in every single Jew. (Accordingly we can reconcile the teachings of our Sages on the verse, “A star has gone forth from Yaakov” (Balak 24:17), which refers to Melech HaMoshiach (Yerushalmi Taanis 4:5), and it refers to each and every Jew (Yerushalmi Maaser Sheini perek 4, end). Both views are true and real, insofar as every Jew has a spark of Moshiach (see Maor Einayim Parshas Pinchas, end), the dimension of Yechida [of his soul], which is a spark of the general, aggregate Yechida, the soul of Moshiach (Ramaz to Zohar II 40b, among other sources). “The nasi is everything,” for the leader of the Jewish people includes within him the spark of Moshiach, the particular Yechida, of each and every Jew. Thus, the soul of the nasi is the general, aggregate Yechida, the soul of Moshiach, and he is, therefore, the Moshiach of the generation. **See Likkutei Sichos Vol. 11, pg. 8 ff., where it is discussed. ***See Responsa of Chasam Sofer Choshen Mishpat (Vol. 6), end


By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader Sh’yichyeh We just finished celebrating an amazing month of Tishrei. It was a month filled with holiness, spirituality and intense joy. Directly from Tishrei, we entered the month of Cheshvan, when we are forced into reality and we enter our regular life of our jobs and routines. At first glance it seems that the month of Cheshvan is a month that symbolizes exile. There are no official Jewish holidays and the darkness of winter begins to become apparent. Its Halachic name is “Mar-Cheshvan,” which means the bitter month of Cheshvan. Yet, in Chazal and Chassidus, we are taught that, on the contrary, the month of Cheshvan is kept bare of all holidays, so that it can be filled with the great light and holiday of Geula! In the words of Chazal: “The first Beis HaMikdash which was built by King Shlomo in Yerushalayim was completed in the month of Cheshvan. It was the Divine Will to delay its inauguration. Only about a year later, during the month of Tishrei, did the people of Israel celebrate the inauguration and dedication of the first Beis HaMikdash. G-d promised the deprived month of Cheshvan that the third and eternal Beis HaMikdash – the Temple of Moshiach – will be built and dedicated in the month of Cheshvan.” This is congruent with what is brought down in Kabbalistic sources regarding the month of Cheshvan,

“G-d promised the deprived month of Cheshvan that the third and eternal Beis HaMikdash – the Temple of Moshiach – will be built and dedicated in the month of Cheshvan.”
follows after ‘who revile the footsteps of your anointed,’ in the words ‘Blessed is the L-rd forever  Amen and Amen.’ For ‘Amen’ (and all the more so when Amen is repeated) testifies to victory in war,  through which the coming and revelation of Dovid Melech HaMoshiach will be accomplished in actual reality. “Our generation, the third generation from the Rebbe Rashab and his students, the soldiers of the House of David, will be witnesses to the conclusion and completion of their Divine service to bring the Redemption in actual reality through Dovid Melech HaMoshiach. In the words of my sainted father-in-law, the leader of our generation, while he was alive in this world, all the Divine service  has already been concluded and completed, and we stand prepared to greet Dovid Melech HaMoshiach. This is all the more so the case, since the Divine service has continued in a manner of ‘the L-rd has give you a heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear.’”
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.

the eighth month of the year (starting from Nissan). The number eight is the number that represents miracles which are higher than nature (symbolized by the number 7). What is miraculous about the month of Cheshvan? Based on the above, that it is a month that is being set aside for the miracles of Moshiach, it is very much understood. Cheshvan is also the month of the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab, the founder of Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim. That is very much connected to Moshiach. In the words of the Rebbe (18 Cheshvan “The accomplishment of 5752):  the Rebbe Rashab  in founding the Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim is explained in the well-known discourse All Who Go Out to the Wars of House of David. The students of the Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim are the ‘soldiers of the House of David’ who fight the wars of the House of David against those ‘who revile the footsteps In the words of your anointed.’  of the Rambam in his  Laws of Kings and their Wars and the King ‘He [Moshiach] will Moshiach:  fight the wars of G-d’ until he is ‘victorious.’ [That Moshiach will be victorious] is also indicated by what

Issue 898 • �  



For many years, the NKVD kept R’ Gavriel under surveillance. They waited for the day that he would fall into their hands, and that day finally arrived. For many months he was interrogated. Following a wondrous dream of the Rebbe, he was released. * The story of the Chassid, R’ Shlomo Zelkind Kapilkov, known as R’ Gavriel Kagan.
By Shneur Zalman Berger

abbi Shlomo Zelkind Kapilkov, who was known as “Gavriel Kagan,” was born in Nevel in the Ukraine in Adar 5649/1889. His parents’ names were Dovid Mordechai and Kaila. His father, who would go to Lubavitch to the Rebbe Maharash and then later to the Rebbe Rashab, gave him a Chassidishe chinuch. He sent his son to learn in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch. R’ Shlomo arrived in Lubavitch on the night of Hoshana Raba 5665/1904, at the age of 15. After Simchas Torah, he was accepted to the big zal where the older bachurim learned. He learned Nigleh under


R’ Zev Levitin, and Chassidus under the mashpia R’ Michoel Bliner. He learned for only one year in Lubavitch and also had yechidus with the Rebbe Rashab. At the beginning of 5666, he was sent with other bachurim to learn in Dokshitz where a branch of Tomchei T’mimim had opened under R’ Yehoshua Laine. He learned there until the summer of 5667 when he became sick and had to return home. By Divine Providence, his teacher R’ Yehoshua Laine also went to his parents in Nevel to recover after an illness, and the two of them could be seen walking together and learning Chassidus. He did not return to Tomchei

T’mimim but did go to the Rebbe Rashab, and in 5669 he was accepted again for yechidus. When he became of draft age, he acquired forged documents under the name Gavriel Kagan and was not drafted. Since then, he was known as Gavriel Kagan. In Nissan 5671, he married Miriam, the daughter of R’ Nachum Tcherniovsky who belonged to the Litvishe community in Berezne, Ukraine. That is where they settled down. His good friend was the rav of the city, R’ Shneur Zalman Garelik, later the rav of Kfar Chabad. He sold fabric and did very well. He became a wealthy man though he worked hard for his money. He often had to travel by

8 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

horse and wagon through distant towns and villages in order to buy merchandise, and traveling was dangerous. On one of these trips, he was attacked by bandits who stole all his money and the merchandise he had. This occurred close to where he lived. The robbers feared he would report them and decided to kill him. They told him to stand near a tree with his back to them. One of them drew his gun and prepared to shoot. As R’ Gavriel stood there, he pictured the Rebbe Rashab and asked for mercy for him and his family who would be left without a source of support. One of the robbers suddenly said to his fellow, “Let’s leave him. He won’t dare tattle.” The other robber agreed and they sent him home. Although he devoted many hours to his work, he was particular about having set times to learn Chassidus. As the Rebbe Rashab told him in yechidus, “You must learn Chassidus every day. You also need Nigleh, but Chassidus is a must.” During the years that he lived in Berezina, he managed to convince some people to send their sons to learn in Tomchei T’mimim. In 5680/1920, he opened a small yeshiva. This was after going from house to house to convince parents not to be afraid of the communist government that threatened anyone who sent their children to learn Torah with dire punishments. With great effort he managed to assemble a group of about thirty boys who were taught by teachers whom he personally paid. In the winter of 5686, he and his wife and three children moved to nearby Chernigov where he opened a brush

Issue 898 • �  


business. Half a year later he lost all his money, but even during this difficult period he would say, “Gam zu l’tova.” He was referring to the fact that the government persecuted citizens who owned businesses. Many of them were arrested for long periods. By losing his money he was saved from persecution and imprisonment. At this point, he earned a living from sh’chita. *** For about ten years, 56885699, R’ Gavriel was utterly devoted to Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim. He was both a mashgiach and a maggid shiur. He moved with his family from city to city in order to teach bachurim in the various secret yeshivos. students. It was decided that they would open another branch in Mogilev. R’ Gavriel was sent to Mogilev in the winter of 5689 where he made the necessary preparations for the bachurim. Shortly thereafter, a group of bachurim came from Vitebsk, whom he set up in pairs so they could learn in various shuls so that they would go unnoticed. They only gathered together for a few hours a day, in a hidden place, where R’ Gavriel gave them shiurim. The peaceful days did not last for long. Later in 1949, when he was in France after leaving the Soviet Union, he described his experiences: “In the winter of 5690, on the 8th of Teves, I had to escape from and they shouldn’t budge. They should learn on their own until a teacher would be sent to them from Vitebsk. “They sent one of the great talmidim, Moshe Svedskai, and he became their leader... The next day, 8 Teves, the government found out that the group of talmidim I taught was a branch of Tomchei T’mimim. They searched for me for days, not only in Mogilev but also in other nearby cities of White Russia. I escaped to the Ukraine and with Hashem’s help, returned to Chernigov.” In Chernigov, he did not have a livelihood until Hashem sent him a job as the Shamash in the city’s big shul. R’ Gavriel had tremendous mesirus nefesh. Although he was forced to flee because he was caught teaching Torah, he began teaching again as he recounted: “A few young boys, twelve and thirteen years old, came to me in Chernigov from Tomchei T’mimim. I set them up and learned with them, but secretly. In front of others in the beis midrash, I treated them as complete strangers so nobody would know that they had come to Chernigov because of me. After everybody went home and I remained in the beis midrash as shamashim do, I learned with them behind closed doors. “These were the talmidim who came to me in Chernigov: Yekusiel Kalmanson, Moshe Raskin the son of the shochet from Zhlobin, Dovber (Berel) Robinson, Yisachar Dovber Gorewitz of Zhlobin, and Chaim Boruch Alevsky the son of the shochet from Suraz (who later married my oldest daughter). They were with me for about two to three years, and then as older students only two of them sat in

The robbers feared he would report them and decided to kill him. They told him to stand near a tree with his back to them. One of them drew his gun and prepared to shoot. As R’ Gavriel stood there, he pictured the Rebbe Rashab and asked for mercy for him and his family who would be left without a source of support.
In the summer of 5688 he was appointed mashgiach in the yeshiva in Vitebsk in White Russia. At the beginning of 5689, the menahel of the yeshiva, R’ Avrohom Drizin, appointed him maggid shir of thirty bachurim to whom he taught Nigleh and Chassidus. He taught them for a few months and then was forced to move away. At this time, the yeshiva and beis midrash for rabbanim in Nevel were closed by the communists. Some of the talmidim went with their teachers and mashpiim to Vitebsk. Then there was fear of surveillance and persecution because of the many there, because that night when we gathered to learn together, the secret police realized that people were gathering every night in a certain place. Three of them came in to see what was going on and they caught me with the talmidim. They brought us to the place the secret police used for questioning. However, since they were all non-Jews, they did not realize we were part of Tomchei T’mimim. They thought I was a local teacher for the local students, which was also a big crime. I was miraculously saved; just my documents remained with them. I informed the talmidim that I had to escape from there

10 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

the beis midrash and learned on their own. “In 5697, more young talmidim came to me in my beis midrash from cities of the Ukraine. Yisachar Dovber Gorewitz came back to Chernigov, but after the summer of 5697, they began writing indictments about our beis midrash, saying we had a yeshiva with many students. Due to the fear we decided they should leave. They all left at the end of that summer.” One of the talmidim back then, R’ Berel Robinson of Lud, told Beis Moshiach about those days: “For a year and a half, from 5690 and on, I learned by R’ Gavriel Kagan and I also slept in his house. The material circumstances of the talmidim were very poor. There was barely food to eat and the talmidim suffered from various illnesses. I became lice-ridden; they crawled all over me and bothered me tremendously. “Since in R’ Gavriel’s one room home there was no place to put a bed for me, I slept on the stone stove in the corner of the room. One night, I had nearly nodded off when I suddenly felt the melamed R’ Gavriel going quietly over to my clothes. He took them to the end of the room and began washing them. With tremendous patience, he removed the lice that swarmed on them. I was eleven years old and he was an older Chassid, my teacher, and nevertheless he was concerned that I shouldn’t suffer. He wasn’t nauseated by this work but did it quietly so I shouldn’t realize it and be embarrassed. “R’ Gavriel encouraged us to learn Tanya by heart and, as is customary, we began with the introduction. Thanks to R’

Gavriel, during the time I learned by him in Chernigov, I learned the introduction and twelve chapters of Tanya by heart.” R’ Gavriel’s daughter, Dr. Chana Kagan of B’nei Brak, spoke about her father: “My father,” she said emotionally, “lived a life of modesty and serenity. He was devoted and loved his children and his talmidim like his children. He never raised his voice, and whenever he entered the house we felt as though the good angel had arrived. “It is important to me to describe the general atmosphere that prevailed in those days, the terrible fear of the secret police was so great that I did not know my father’s real name until we left the Soviet Union. I knew that he was always called Gavriel Kagan but that it was not his real name. We, his children, wondered why his mother’s name was Kapilkov

and his name was Kagan. They would tell us that she remarried and that he was from her first marriage and that is why their names were different. “My father gave his children a Chassidishe chinuch to the best of his abilities. He did not allow me to go to school until I was ten, and even then, he did not let me go to the Jewish school which was run by the Yevsektzia, but to the gentile school. I did not go to school on Shabbos. I would say I was sick or there was some family event as excuses. After a number of months, I began to feel that my excuses were no longer credible. My teacher asked me why I did not show up on Shabbos and I mumbled that I wasn’t able to come, without providing any reason. “One of the gentile students got up and said, ‘This Jewish girl is a Subbotnitza (Sabbath observer).’ Everybody stared

Issue 898 • �  


Jewish families. “My father once walked into the house with a smile on his face and said, ‘Boruch Hashem Judaism was not forgotten. A Jewish woman who was immodestly dressed came to the shul and said she wanted to put up a mezuza in her home.’ My father managed to obtain a kosher mezuza, I don’t know from where, and he put it up for her. “It was only years later that it turned out that she was none other than an agent for the secret police. Years later, when he was being interrogated, they reminded him of that mezuza.” R’ Gavriel Kagan officially served as the Shamash of the shul but he did all he could in all aspects of Judaism. He wrote about some of his activities: “As far as mohalim, the mohel in Chernigov stopped performing brissin due to fear, so I announced in shul that whoever knew of a baby that needed a bris should speak to me, and I would bring a mohel from a nearby town. For many years, the mohel R’ Elchanan Segal from Homil would come. After he was caught and jailed for his holy work, I would bring mohalim from other towns. The bris would be done secretly and many communists also circumcised their babies. “I would repeat Chassidus every Shabbos in the beis midrash during the third meal. On weekdays I would give a shiur in Gemara and after the davening a shiur in Mishnayos for the balabatim.” In 5694, on the second night of Pesach, a large crowd gathered in the shul. He used the opportunity to speak about Pesach, while taking care not to speak directly about the subject of a pure Jewish education, a very

R’ Gavriel was mekushar to the Rebbeim and always felt the obligation to travel to see them. His daughter Chana relates: “My mother came from a Litvishe family. In the period after their marriage she did not want time and money spent on traveling to the Rebbe. Therefore, while traveling on business to buy merchandise, he would stop in Lubavitch or Rostov to see the Rebbe Rashab and later, the Rebbe Rayatz. This is what he wrote: “During 5671-5680, I saw the Rebbe [Rashab] many times, at first in Lubavitch and then in Rostov, but I was very distressed over not going to see him regularly, at least every year. Although there were external impediments, the main reason was unfounded humility. I thought that going every year was the level of great Chassidim, but the truth is the contrary, it is more important for someone lowly like me.” Upon arriving in Eretz Yisroel, he was unable to go to the Rebbe and the trip was postponed time and again until he turned eighty. Then he decided he would not push it off any longer and he went to the Rebbe together with his daughter Chana. Thus, he merited to see three Admurim.

“I just had a few pieces of onion, a reminder of the maror, and I said a Borei pri ha’adama on it. That was my entire Seder.”
at me hatefully; from then on, nobody spoke to me again. I was like a leper since I was opposed to the government and observed religion. “One Shabbos, two members of the school’s administration came to our house and yelled at my father about why I wasn’t going to school. He knew that I was clever enough to understand what he was trying to say, and he told them that as far as he was concerned there was no problem with my going to school. Then they turned to me and yelled, ‘So why don’t you go to school?’ I told them coolly, ‘My father has a bad heart and as a religious Jew he feels sick when I go to school on Saturday.’ They saw they could not convince me and they dropped it. “After a while, my classmates realized they needed me because they wanted to copy my notes. So they became friends with me again. “My father sent my brother, Dovid Mordechai Chaim, to learn in Tomchei T’mimim. When we lived in Vitebsk, he learned in the yeshiva there, and then he went with his friends from city to city in order to learn in the secret yeshivos. “I remember that my father was always occupied with mitzvos for the public benefit to the point of mesirus nefesh. Until this day, I do not understand how I, who was twenty, did not know that under the bath that was at the entrance to the house, there was a secret door that led to a mikva that was built in utmost secrecy. For four years, until we left the house, it was used by quite a few

12 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

sensitive matter to the authorities. But he couldn’t say nothing at all, and because of a few words that seemed to reflect on the topic of chinuch, he was called down to the secret police a few days later and was interrogated for hours. He was accused of telling people to educate their children in the spirit of Judaism. He was finally released with a firm warning: Remember not to speak any more propaganda against the Soviet government. On 17 Adar 5699/1939, several Chassidim in Chernigov, including R’ Gavriel, were arrested. One of the others was R’ Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (a relative of the Rebbe, the father of R’ Shneur Zalman Schneersohn). In a careful search conducted in R’ Gavriel’s home, no incriminating material was found except for some s’farim and pictures of the Rebbe Rashab and the Rebbe Rayatz. R’ Gavriel sat alone in his cell at NKVD headquarters in Chernigov for two weeks. Then they put a gentile in his cell. The exhausting interrogations lasted for half a year. During the first three months, the interrogator was a Jew who accused him of counterrevolutionary activity because of his holy work: efforts to circumcise babies, the mikva, learning with children. More than anything else, the interrogator wanted to know whether R’ Gavriel corresponded with “Rabbi Schneersohn,” in the attempt to accuse him of all his activities on behalf of Judaism being done by order of the Rebbe Rayatz. During these interrogations he suddenly realized that he had been under their watchful eyes for years. They reminded him of all the “crimes” he did,

like the fact that in the year 5686, thirteen years earlier, he taught Ein Yaakov in the shul in Chernigov and during one of the shiurim he had spoken against the government. For those three months he did not receive packages from home. The cooked food he was given was treif, of course. He would throw it out and eat only the bread. When the goy was placed in his cell, he would give him the cooked food. “It was before Pesach,” said his daughter, “and I went to the jail and asked to give him food for Pesach, matzos that we baked at home. My father is sick, I told the natchalnik. He threw me out as soon as he realized I was Kagan’s daughter.” As to his great suffering during that Pesach, R’ Gavriel wrote: “It was Erev Pesach and I gave the goy all the bread that I had and I burned the crumbs of chametz, fulfilling the positive mitzva of destroying the leaven, but I was unable to fulfill the mitzva of eating matza. I just had a few pieces of onion, a reminder of the maror, and I said a borei pri ha’adama on it. That was my entire Seder. During Pesach I had sugar and water. I asked the goy to be careful that they not know that I refrained from eating, because I was afraid they would force me to eat, according to the law about one who starved himself for three days in a row. “I suffered greatly from the interrogations during that Pesach. My heart and mind were weakened from lack of food and I was also deprived of sleep. I was also very afraid, because aside from fear of being sentenced, I worried about their finding out that I wasn’t eating. I did not want them to force-feed me.

During those days they tortured me with harsh interrogations, day and night, for many hours.” R’ Gavriel was very upset over not being able to do mitzvos, as he wrote, “I sit bereft, naked without any mitzva and without any bracha aside from the brachos of t’filla, and that too in an extremely silent manner.” After three months, they informed him that the interrogation was over and the material had been sent to the prosecutor. After some time, he was told that the prosecutor said the material was not sufficient to incriminate him. So they put him in the hands of a tougher interrogator who accused him of spying. The man brought some forged evidence in order to prove he was a spy. The interrogator threatened that he would not leave the interrogation room alive if he did not confess. In order to make this clear, R’ Gavriel was placed in a cell for those sentenced to death. R’ Gavriel was tremendously afraid, while being upset with himself for being afraid of them. The picture of the Rebbe Rayatz that he had was also a subject for questioning. “Once, during an interrogation, as he held the picture of the Rebbe [Rayatz], they began quizzing me about how I had obtained it. He looked at the picture and said in frustration, ‘Ach, if we had him in our hands …’ and I thought of the verse, ‘The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away.’” Due to lack of nutrition, R’ Gavriel became sick with tzinga (megaloblastic anemia). His daughter explains: “This disease is a result of a vitamin B deficiency. My father was only eating bread and
Issue 898 • �  



“On the way, R’ Yehuda Leib Mochkin was able to obtain additional passports and he began dividing the families according to what was written in the passport…’You are his son, and you are his daughter,’ etc. It was only as we approached the border that he straightened it all out.”
drinking water, since he did not want to become contaminated with forbidden foods even when his health was in danger. The illness manifested in his mouth, elbows and knees, where the red blood cells are larger than usual and interfere with the flexibility of the limbs and with eating. My father had reached a point where he could not eat anymore and when they finally allowed him to receive food packages, it was too late. He could no longer eat them. More than anything else, he suffered with his feet, which became bent until he couldn’t move them at all, but it was because of this disease that he was saved from a terrible exile.” In this poor condition he was transferred to the prison infirmary. “My feet atrophied and became bent like the letter Dalet and I couldn’t stretch them out. I lay that way, with bent feet in the infirmary, alone and in prayer for 106 days, half of Elul 5699 to 29 Kislev 5700,” he wrote in his memoir. “On 29 Kislev, they carried me to a small room, and I saw that R’ Mendel Schneersohn had been brought there too. They read him his sentence that was received from Moscow that he would be sent to exile in Kazakhstan for five years. Then they came to me and read my sentence which was the same as his. Afterward, I remained alone with him in the room for five days until he was sent away. We were very happy over the good news that we were to remain alive. During those five days, I learned five chapters of Mishnayos from the tractate Shabbos from him, by heart. It was a veritable treasure for me. “Before he left, he told the doctor that due to the great weakness of his heart, his life was in danger if he would be sent together with the other prisoners, but they didn’t listen to him. After he was sent away, we received the bitter news in Chernigov that he had died on the way.” A year had passed since his arrest. On 17 Adar 5700, the prison authorities agreed to transfer R’ Gavriel to the city hospital close to his home. “As soon as my family heard the news, they came to visit me and it was a new world to me. Every day they brought cooked food from home for me and I slowly recovered. They also brought me Mishnayos Moed and Kodshim. Thank G-d, I reviewed them many times and did not stop thinking about the Mishnayos. “But my feet were as crooked as ever and none of the treatments in the warm baths and with electric heat helped. The doctors gave up on me and stopped coming to see me.” The miracle occurred, and after a while, R’ Gavriel managed to stretch his legs and even to stand briefly. He hid all this from the doctors so they wouldn’t put

him back in prison. “Motzaei Tisha B’Av, I saw the Rebbe Rashab in a dream. He was sitting on a chair next to a small desk in a small room and nobody else was there. I was standing on the other side of the desk with my face to the wall and I was saying the morning brachos. The Rebbe answered amen to each bracha until I began the bracha of “HaMaavir Sheina” when he motioned to me that now I could continue silently. When I woke up, I rejoiced over this and waited for some Geula to occur. “A doctor came to see me whom I hadn’t seen before. She examined my feet and then she left. It took a few days before I realized that this was my Geula. They told me that the doctor had written that I could not heal any more, and based on this the doctors wrote a letter to the NKVD.” Another two weeks passed and R’ Gavriel was released in the middle of Elul 5700. He needed a cane for a short time but then he resumed walking like anyone else. Years passed and in 5754, a relative of R’ Mendel Schneersohn submitted a request to clear his name. Her request was accepted and they cleared the names of other Chassidim who were incarcerated with him, including R’ Gavriel. On Rosh Chodesh Elul 5701, two days before the Nazis conquered Chernigov, R’ Gavriel and his family fled the city. They boarded a train whose destination was unknown. The train traveled quickly in order to get as far away from the battlefront as possible. But the German planes followed the train and strafed it again and again. The Kagan family was miraculously saved and nobody

14 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

was hurt. After traveling for two days, they got off in a tiny village where they met an old couple who had pity on them and let them sleep in their house. The Kagans slept on the floor and rejoiced, because many refugees did not have even that. After a few days, they went to a nearby town called Kuznetsk where they lived for four years until after the war. They became friendly with the family of R’ Yitzchok Meir Greenberg, the father of Rosa, later the wife of R’ Shlomo Maidenchek, director of Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Eretz Yisroel. At the war’s end, they moved to nearby Penza where R’ Gavriel became the Shamash in the shul. He also arranged shiurim and secret Jewish activity despite the danger this entailed. Their daughter Chana (who was in Moscow) heard that many Chassidim were crossing the border at Lvov and escaping Russia. She wanted to inform her parents of this via telegram, but was fearful. “I gave a lot of thought about how to write it, for it was very dangerous to write it explicitly or even to hint at it. I finally wrote daringly: I am getting married, come to Moscow. “But this announcement did not work and my mother went to Berezina where she tried to sell the apartment we had. My father was hurt that I hadn’t informed them of any engagement. I sent another telegram saying the same thing and my father thought I had lost my mind. He immediately went to Moscow where I told him about the possibility of escaping the Soviet Union. He did not think twice about it, but went immediately to Lvov while I waited in Moscow for my mother. When she came,

For many years, R’ Gavriel yearned to go to Eretz Yisroel. Like many other Chassidim, he was helped by Chabad Chassidim who lived in Eretz Yisroel and the United States. He somehow managed to send Sifrei Torah to Eretz Yisroel that were not in use. These were sold to communities in Eretz Yisroel and the money was supposed to be sent secretly back to R’ Gavriel so he would have money for visas and tickets which cost a fortune. However, this maneuver did not work out. Two letters from that period remain as testimony to his powerful longing for Eretz Yisroel. In one letter he wrote about his great suffering because the authorities forbade the fulfillment of mitzvos. In this letter, he wrote that if it was not possible to go there with the entire family, he would go with his oldest daughter. In another letter from Adar 5696 he wrote to R’ Yisroel Jacobson and asked that money be sent to R’ Shmuel Karel of Kfar Chassidim in Palestine so he could pay for his visa. He was unable to leave at that time, but two years after he left the Soviet Union, he received the Rebbe Rayatz’s bracha and moved to Eretz Yisroel. we also went to Lvov.” The Kagans waited a few months in Lvov in great fear. They worked on obtaining forged documents so they could leave the country. The Rebbe Rashab appeared once again to R’ Gavriel in a dream: “I saw the Rebbe sitting in my house at the table and writing very quickly. I had never seen such fast writing before. On the other side of the table, facing the Rebbe, was my oldest daughter, leaning on the table and looking on happily at what he wrote. My younger daughter was on her right and at the edge of the row stood my son. They also watched the writing. I stood behind my oldest daughter and I could not see anything from there except for the speed of the writing. After writing a few lines, the Rebbe extended his hand across his other hand and handed the writing to my son and said, ‘Zai gezunt.’” Because of this dream, R’ Gavriel knew they would safely leave the Soviet Union.

A letter that R’ Gavriel sent to one of his friends

After many tribulations, the Kagans boarded the last train and escaped from the country that had oppressed Judaism with an iron fist. Dr. Chana Kagan: “We experienced a series of miracles on the train to Poland. One evening I visited the family of R’ Zalman Bernstein. The family told me how hard it was to obtain documents and train
Issue 898 • �  


to leave me alone in the Soviet Union and they immediately began removing her bundles from the train. When I arrived, they put the bundles right back on and the train departed. “There we were, all of us on the train, but we were very fearful. My father had a document that was obtained at the last minute and nobody knew whether the border guards would believe it was genuine. My sister Sima Chaya a”h traveled with her little boy. Her husband, R’ Chaim Boruch Alevsky, Hy”d, was killed in the war and she was listed on the document as the wife of my brother Dovid Mordechai who was single. I was constantly nervous that little Zalman, who slept in my arms, would wake up and look for his real mother. “On the way, R’ Yehuda Leib Mochkin was able to obtain additional passports and he began dividing the families according to what was written in the passports. He tried once, but it did not work out. He tried again, saying, ‘You are his son, and you are his daughter,’ etc. It was only as we approached the border that he straightened it all out. We passed the border check as Zalman continued sleeping. “Boruch Hashem, we reached Poland safely and from there we went to Austria and then to Paris where we lived for two years until we moved to Eretz Yisroel.” Upon making aliya, the Kagans lived in the Beit Lid transit camp and then moved to Kfar Chabad. R’ Gavriel worked as a shochet and was a model of a Chassid with mesirus nefesh. R’ Gavriel-Shlomo ZelkinKagan-Kapilkov passed away in 5732 at the age of 83.

A letter that R’ Gavriel received from the Rebbe Rayatz

tickets. As we spoke, R’ Zalman entered the room and excitedly told the family to pack. ‘We are going,’ he said. ‘Eight people can go.’ I helped them pack their few bundles and escorted them to the train station where I found out that a few more people could leave in exchange for money. “I immediately went home and told my family to get ready to leave. From there, I went to R’ Mendel Futerfas to get documents from him that we needed to travel. While there, R’ Nachum Labkowski heard that I was single while my documents said I was divorced and had two children. After briefly thinking

it over, I agreed to his request to ‘adopt’ two of his children so they could also escape. I went to his house in a different suburb of Lvov and took his children, Yisroel (today, a teacher in Lubavitcher Yeshiva) and Zalman (today, rosh yeshiva in 770). “I rushed to the train station and went to the train we were supposed to board. In the distance I could see suitcases and bundles flying from the train. My parents, brother and sister had already boarded and the people in charge had said the train was leaving. I was delayed because of ‘my new children.’ My sister decided that she wasn’t going

16 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774


By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Before dispatching His angels to destroy the decadent city of Sodom, G-d reveals His plan to Abraham. G-d’s rationale for divulging His plan to Abraham is summed up in this week’s parsha: “G-d said: how can I conceal from Abraham what I am doing? Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and all of the nations will be blessed through him. For I have known him because he instructs his sons and his household after him to keep the way of G-d, acting with charity and justice in order that G-d will bring upon Abraham everything he had said about him.” Commenting on this verse, the Jerusalem Talmud (Avoda Zara 2:1) states: “The world cannot have fewer than 30 tzaddikim-righteous people like our father Abraham.” To support this assertion, the Jerusalem Talmud cites the foregoing verse: “Abraham will become…” The Hebrew word for “become” – “yihyeh” – has the numerical value of 30. Hence, the Jerusalem Talmud reinterprets the words as “Abraham will become” as Abraham will be the progenitor of 30 people like him. The Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Sukka 45b) seems to

have a divergent view concerning the number of righteous people that are needed for the world to exist: “There are no less than 36 righteous people in the world who receive the countenance of the Divine Presence each day.” The Talmud finds support for this number in the verse (Isaiah 30:18): “Praiseworthy are all those who wait for Him.” The Hebrew word for “Him” – “lo” – has the numerical value of 36. We must try to understand and reconcile the divergent views of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds concerning the number of righteous people in whose merit the world stands. And how do the numbers 30 and 36 relate to the verses that are cited to support each view?

To understand the significance of the numbers 30 and 36, we must preface our discussion with the statement in the Ethics of the Fathers (Avos 6: 6) that royalty is associated with the number 30. The first Jewish king, Joseph, assumed the mantle of leadership in Egypt at the age of 30. The total value of the letters that spell Yehudah, who was the king of the other tribes, numerically add up to 30. Likewise, King David was 30 when he assumed the leadership of the Jewish nation.

The number 30 in Hebrew is depicted by the letter Lamed. Lamed is also the “tallest” letter in the Hebrew alphabet and is the central letter of the word king in Hebrew: Melech. What is the connection between 30 and royalty? The word Melech is an acronym for the three dominant vital organs of the body: Mo’achbrain, lev-heart and kaved-liver. The brain is obviously the king of the entire body. The brain itself is divided into three parts that parallel the three intellectual faculties of: chochma-conceptual wisdom, bina-analytical wisdom, and daas-attachment to the subject. These form the head of the entire structure of ten faculties that constitute the spiritual genome of the human being. Kabbala also teaches us that each of the intellectual faculties is comprised of ten elements: Chochma consists of ten faculties that are subsumed within it; the same is true of bina and daas. Together, they combine the 30 intellectual faculties which exercise leadership of one’s life. We can thus see, by analogy, that the emphasis on 30 righteous people pertains to the role of the righteous as leaders of their respective generations.

Issue 898 • �  


Parsha Thought

Abraham displayed the power of royalty first in the present. Indeed, the Midrash Rabba by gaining full mastery over every organ of his (B’Reishis 47:2, which Rashi body, particularly after he circumcised himself. asserts was composed in the THE SOURCE OF ROYALTY
Abraham, among his many roles, was also a king. Rashi cites a Midrashic interpretation of the place called Emek HaMelech-the Valley of the King, mentioned in last week’s parsha: “A valley where all the nations agreed to make Abram their king…” Similarly, in next week’s parsha, the Hittites declare to Abraham: “You are a prince of G-d in our midst.” Abraham displayed the power of royalty first by gaining full mastery over every organ of his body, particularly after he circumcised himself. We can now understand why the Jerusalem Talmud speaks of the number 30—the number associated with royalty—in connection with Abraham. Abraham was a king and it was this power of royalty that he bequeathed to his children. This is particularly true of those whose lives are governed by Torah study, as the Talmud states: “Who are the kings? The Sages.” Furthermore, this power of royalty, possessed by every Jew as an inheritance from Abraham to Jews who follow in his footsteps, earns us profound respect and admiration from the nations of the world. This then is what G-d meant when He stated that He must tell Abraham about His plans for the destruction of Sodom. As a king who has mastery over himself and by extension his followers and his environment, Abraham cannot be oblivious to what happens in his own backyard. This is the duty of every Jewish leader. They cannot be oblivious and indifferent to the things that happen within the Jewish community. As we get closer to the ultimate period of royalty, the Messianic Age, the leader must also promote justice and righteousness that they may flourish among the other nations of the world. We have seen this expansion of Jewish leadership in the Rebbe, whose concern for every Jew is legendary. Moreover, the Rebbe launched a major initiative to promote the Seven Noachide Commandments amongst all of humanity. He connected this effort to our proximity to the Messianic Age, when the power of royalty will reach its pinnacle and humanity will recognize the oneness of G-d and serve Him accordingly. The seed for this development was sown by Abraham, who bequeathed this power of royalty to each and every Jew, but especially to the 30 special righteous people of every generation. More specifically, this power is vested in the souls of the greatest Jewish leaders, who embodied the 30 traits associated with royalty, and whose impact has brought and continues to bring the world so much closer to its final recognition of the sovereignty of G-d.

Land of Israel, and is similar in approach to the Jerusalem Talmud), finds royalty in every nook and cranny of the Land, even in Sodom! Commenting on the verse in Psalms “I have found My servant David,” the Midrash asks, “Where was he found?” and answers: “In Sodom.” Commentators explain that Sodom was where Lot resided; Lot, for whom Abraham battled against four mighty kings. Lot was the ancestor of Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David, and thus the progenitor of Jewish royalty until Moshiach. Abraham, according to this Midrash, was obsessed with sowing, nurturing and protecting the seeds of royalty. We can now gain an even deeper insight into the reason G-d wanted Abraham to know what He planned for Sodom and how it is connected with the 30 righteous people the world needs in every generation. As discussed above, these 30 righteous people are the heirs to Abraham’s royal status. It was therefore crucial for Abraham to save Lot, Sodom’s most illustrious citizen to ensure that the royal line of David, leading to Moshiach, would survive. It is the Jerusalem Talmud’s premise that we must search for royalty now.

The Babylonian Talmud, which is associated with the darkness of exile, sees things the way they are now, through the prism of a Jew who is in exile but seeks to get out of it.

The Jerusalem Talmud is known as the Talmud of Light for its unique ability to see the future

18 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

The Babylonian Talmud’s style is dialectic. The Talmud gropes through the darkness to ultimately discover the answer to difficult questions. In contrast to the Jerusalem Talmud, which finds the answers directly, the Babylonian Talmud struggles with myriads of questions and arguments. The struggle to find answers is seen by the Kabbalists as a spiritual force that helps to refine the person who studies it and by extension, the world around him. This force helps us dispel the darkness of exile. We can now understand why the Babylonian Talmud speaks of 36 righteous people. The number 36 is descriptive of the six primary emotional traits, each consisting of six elements. The three intellectual traits and the seventh emotional one— Malchus-royalty—are absent in this count. The focus of these 36 righteous people is the emotional upheaval of exile. They are not charged with leadership per se but rather with expressing compassion, empathy, warmth and support and instilling hope for all Jews suffering in exile. This is much like the role fulfilled by the Baal Shem Tov, who led a clandestine organization of hidden tzaddikim—many who were reputed to be members of this elite club of 36—to help the downtrodden Jews of that period.

Thus the Babylonian Talmud finds support for the 36 righteous people in the verse, “Praiseworthy are all those who wait for Him,” which speaks of the need to wait and hope. This is also the role of all those who wish to emulate them: to express hope and faith in the ultimate Redemption. These 36 righteous individuals and their disciples recognize exile for what it is, a period of darkness, and plead with G-d to end this nightmare.

We are now living in a time when it is imperative that we follow both approaches. From the Baal Shem Tov onward, we see how the great Jewish leaders have integrated the approaches of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. On the one hand, we must see the darkness for what it is. We must empathize with those who are less fortunate, comfort them and declare ad masai-how much

longer! We must be conscious of our situation and constantly look for ways to get out of this quagmire known as Galus. On the other hand, we must also see the light that penetrates the darkness. We must open our eyes to the light of Redemption and the miracles associated with it. We must see the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus as the light of Geula that illuminates our lives in the present. We must recognize the light that emanates from all of the great Chassidic masters, from the Baal Shem Tov through our Rebbe, who are all Messianic figures whose holiness pierces through the darkness and gives us a taste of the future.

Issue 898 • �  



A group of tourists from Argentina

20 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

In Sderot, the city identified with Kassam rockets and sirens, an entire tourism industry has been quietly developing. The shliach, R’ Moshe Zev Pizem, welcomes the thousands of young people who visit the city every year from all over the world. Many of them are exposed, for the first time in their lives, to a Jewish perspective, to the Rebbe and Chabad, and to emuna.
By Mordechai Segal

A pile of Kassam missiles that landed in Sderot in the yard of the police station. Tourists come to see the miracles experienced by the residents of Sderot.


group of smiling, bareheaded young people made their way up a steep hill on the outskirts of Sderot. They wore the latest model cameras strapped around the necks and they spoke in Portuguese about the t’fillin the men in the group had put on just minutes earlier. They had already visited Masada, the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv and even the holy city of Yerushalayim, but this was the first encounter in their lives with the front lines, with the city that has been attacked by tens of thousands of rockets in the past decade. Two minutes after climbing the steep path, they reached the top of the hill. Around them were bright green fields; behind them were the red roofs of villas, and in front of them was the Gaza Strip. Leading the group was a rabbi dressed in the usual black and white, with a beard and a hat. He explained to them in broken English what they saw. He is the spirit of the group despite the great difference in ages and even

though, at first glance, there is no external connection between these modern looking youth and him. “This is the Gaza Strip,” he told them, and they whistled in amazement followed by a long drawn out wow. “They shoot us from there,” he said with a smile. If we didn’t have a sworn enemy, you might have thought that what happened next was timed in honor of the excited guests; for as he spoke, a Red Alert began to wail. The keeneyed among them could see a plume of smoke emerging from the houses of Bet Chanun in the north of the Strip, a kilometer and a half away. They all waited for instructions from their guide, the shliach R’ Moshe Zev Pizem. “Lie down on the ground,” he told them. Fifteen seconds passed and then they could hear the explosion. The rocket landed 500 meters south of them, next to Kibbutz Nir Am. R’ Pizem himself remained standing. “I always see that those who stand here, run there, and

those who stand there, run here; the general idea is simply to feel that you are doing something during those critical seconds,” he said smilingly as he gestured right and left. “I stand in place and don’t look for anything anywhere else.” After experiencing what the residents of Sderot regularly go through, the group of tourists continued to the Chabad house, the fortified fortress which is both welcoming and air conditioned. It is located in the center of town.

They sit down in the large lobby and watch a documentary film produced by the Chabad house. They see the sacrifice and physical mesirus nefesh of their religious guide and learn that he came to this city to live with his extended family, only because a tzaddik, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, told him to. They also become aware of the fact that there are shluchim like him scattered around 4000 points of the globe, and this moves them.
Issue 898 • �  


The steady stream of tourists to Sderot began mainly after Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, nearly five years ago. Until then, only dedicated Israelis went to this southern city in order to do their shopping once a week to enable the city to survive. After the military operation, when the name of the city was seen in news columns around the world, tour group operators for Jewish youth living abroad decided to bring Jewish kids to Sderot. The calmer security situation made this possible. “Sderot became a must-see place on the itinerary of Heritage Tours,” explained R’ Pizem. “Just as no tourist would miss visiting the holy sites, these young people don’t skip Sderot. They want to know about it and see it for themselves.” When this idea was in its infancy, the organizers looked for someone in the city to welcome the youth and tell them about day-to-day life. “Since we have a spacious Chabad house that can contain two hundred people at a time, all kinds of groups asked us for help. Of course, we said yes. It’s a golden opportunity to expose thousands of young Jews to Jewish belief, to the Rebbe, and to Chabad. We can never know who will harvest the seeds that we planted, and when this will happen.” He was referring to the fact that many of the young people who come to Sderot are assimilated. They come from universities and high schools in Brazil and Uruguay, Russia and the Ukraine, Canada and the US, France and England. “As soon as they enter the area, they see the huge graphite drawing of the Rebbe on the front of the Chabad house. Someone with a traditional Jewish appearance welcomes them and hosts them in the shul, which in itself is a big thing. For many of them, this is the first time they are meeting a religious Jew in a shul.” At the Chabad house they hear about Sderot and watch some video shorts on a large screen, which portray for them the struggles involved in living in a city like Sderot. They see a video of the moments of terror when a Kassam rocket lands and watch victims of shock. Frequently, they meet with people who lost loved ones or are wounded. “Our advantage, as a Chabad house, is that we don’t just show them the tragedy, but also the great Hashgacha Pratis of the relatively few injured considering the number of rockets. We tell them about the miracles. Then they get it; they realize that their peaceful lives are so distant from the self-sacrifice required of the residents of Sderot. They look at us like soldiers in the field of battle who are constantly dealing with this. We seem to lead normal lives, davening, learning, shopping, sitting with our families, sleeping, etc. but we are not living in a normal city.” R’ Pizem said, “People always leave here in an emotionally charged state, especially after they watch the Chabad house promotional video. Some people cry and they all identify with our lot and admire our sacrifice as shluchim, for the place and the people.” Most of the visitors do not keep in touch with the shliach, but he is sure that the visit will lead to change. “For many of them, this is their first encounter with the Rebbe and with Lubavitch, and this gets them excited. They hear that there is a Rebbe in the world who cares about every Jew and who sent us here. I tell them that wherever they go, there is a shliach they can speak to about Judaism and whom they can ask for help. I suggest that they look on the Internet for addresses and phone numbers of Chabad houses, and every time I go to the Kinus HaShluchim, I get feedback from shluchim in places all over the world. They tell me about the young people who live in their city, who came to them and told them that they visited Sderot. “They see how the Jewish nation is still in danger, that the goyim want to destroy us, and that it’s not a cliché or stories from the past. Some suddenly get it; they understand why it’s important to preserve their Jewish identity and not assimilate. All of them, without exception, feel that they belong to the Jewish people in this dangerous place and they admire our Jewish courage and our struggle to survive. The awareness of what is a Jew and how much sacrifice it requires burrows its way inside them.” R’ Pizem says that there are small nuances which to us seem trivial, but they have an effect on these lost souls: “When I go with them, on the way to a hilltop from where they can see Gaza or to where a Kassam landed, I tell the bus driver, for example, to make a right on Rechov Moshe Rabbeinu. They are shocked. They realize that this is the Holy Land where even the streets bear holy names. This very deep emotional experience, due to the security situation, only intensifies every detail and it’s amazing to see how many tears are shed here and how many former opinions are left behind. Whoever comes here leaves a different person.

22 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

This happens every day.” The topic of miracles and Hashgacha Pratis is not only in inseparable part of the program, but is the crowning feature of the entire experience. When the tourists see the pile of sooty Kassam missiles arranged in neat piles, and when they are told how dangerous they are and how few fatalities and injuries they have caused, they realize that Eretz Yisroel is not like Russia, the Ukraine, the US, or Holland. It is the land promised to the Jewish people and “the eyes of Hashem are upon it from the beginning of the year until the end.” The tourists see houses that were destroyed by direct hits and hear stories about people who had just left their house or had just entered a side room when the missile landed. They see that these are not coincidences but the Hand of G-d that protects the Jewish people.

Most of the Jewish young people do not just visit but also help out in some way. After they watch the intensive work of the shluchim, see the music school that was founded by the Chabad house, see the daycare centers and the food distribution to the needy, they roll up their sleeves and want to be a part of this. Some plant flowers in front of the Chabad house. Others paint the outside or inside walls, pack food or even clean. And it’s all done with a smile and a feeling of satisfaction. “There was a girl who came over to me, all excited, who wanted to shake my hand after the lecture as all the boys did. I told her with a smile, ‘My mother taught me not to touch that which doesn’t belong to me,’

and I declined to shake her hand. She was taken aback. She came over later and wanted to know why Judaism is such a benighted religion. When I explained things to her from a JewishChassidic perspective, she was so impressed. She said this was the first time that she appreciated the religion and she never knew that Judaism has depth. She promised to further look into the significance of Torah and mitzvos and it was apparent that this visit had brought about a change in her.” The boys put on t’fillin and many of them thus leave the category of “karkafta d’lo monach t’fillin.” It doesn’t always go easily though. “Many times, they warn us not to suggest that the youth put on t’fillin because it’s religious propaganda. Some of them know we are a Chabad house and realize the significance of this and they are really opposed. I could say, ‘If you don’t want, don’t come,’ but then, of course, I would lose out on their visit, which for many is their entranceway to Judaism. I cannot refuse because I know that it is possible that for many of them, they will never get to meet a Jewish-Chassidic person. And yet, how can they come without my offering t’fillin? “In that case, we do a simple thing. We tell one of them who seems to be the right candidate, usually the Israeli security guard, ‘If you’d like, there is a room inside where you can put on t’fillin.’ He says okay and we put t’fillin on with him in a nearby room with the door open. “Within seconds, they are crowded around him and they

all ask what he’s doing. He innocently tells them it’s a mitzva and a long line forms to do this mitzva. So we set it up so that they ask for it themselves, and it wasn’t we who initiated it.” He had a similar situation with a shofar. “It was the month of Elul and I wanted to blow the shofar for a group. The organizers vociferously opposed this so I simply put the shofar on the Kassam missile that I have near my office and which always draws attention. The students soon asked me what it was for. I told them it’s something

Tourists in the Chabad house

interesting and that Jews blow it. I asked them if they know how to use it. Many of them tried and failed and then they asked me to show them how to ‘play’ it. Of course, I was happy to oblige and that is how they heard the shofar without my preaching to them.” As for the Geula: “I speak to them about how soon we will not need to fight, but will live peacefully and all Jews will live in Eretz Yisroel with the coming of Moshiach. They respond by saying that when this happens, I should make sure to arrange a ranch style house for them in Sderot since in Yemos HaMoshiach, this city will revert to the peaceful city it used to be.”

Issue 898 • �  




By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz, Shliach, Beit Shaan

Rabbi Yaakov Turnheim has been the shliach in the religious city of Beitar Ilit for many years. He also runs the cultural department of the city, a department with wideranging responsibility, which helps tremendously in Chabad activities, shuls, rallies, Siyumei Rambam, Lag B’Omer parades, and more. In Beitar, there is a large community of Lubavitchers, schools, and shuls and they are helped by R’ Turnheim. R’ Asher Lemel Cohen has been the rav of the Chabad community since

Beitar Ilit was founded. In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to build a greater cohesion within the Chabad community thanks to the initiative of two or three young men. Thanks to the unity, many more people participate in Chabad events than ever before. In order to get more information about this radical change in Beitar, I spoke with one of the achdus initiators, R’ Aharon Shlomo Lison. “When I spoke with some friends in the community about the idea of unifying all the mosdos, they told me it would never work. They said it was

a shame for me to waste my time and energy. Nevertheless, I did not give up. I, and a few other optimists who helped me, spoke with all the rabbanim and directors of the various mosdos, and Boruch Hashem, the achdus idea was contagious. “The results astounded everyone. If at a Siyum HaRambam a few years prior there had been a few dozens participants, now, thanks to the achdus and joint activities, there were 800 people. “After everyone saw the advantage of achdus, we decided to continue with this approach for the Lag B’Omer parade. Once again, there were those who were cynical and said, ‘There’s no way, it won’t work,’ but thank G-d, it worked out better than we expected. Not only did the Lubavitchers in town attend the parade, but all the students of all the boys’ elementary schools showed up – Chassidic, Litvish, Sephardic, Ashkenazic – they all came.” It was a tremendous Kiddush Hashem when 3000 children shouted, “V’Ahavta” and “Shma” together. At the dais sat people who had previously barely spoken to one another. Now they were all united for the success of the Rebbe’s parade. At the end of the parade, R’ Turnheim warmly thanked all those who had worked to make the parade the enormous success that it was. R’ Lison singled out one of the main people who worked on creating achdus, R’ Shneur Goldmitz, who brought his experience from the parade in Yerushalayim and transplanted it in Beitar. There is still much to be done to strengthen this achdus. The reason for writing stories like these is to get out the message

24 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

that if you want to do it, it can be done. With Ahavas Yisroel we will bring the Goel.

R’ Amram Shaatal is the shliach in Tel Mond and the yishuvim of Lev HaSharon for over thirty years. I met one of his talmidim under circumstances that got me so excited when I realized what an enormous influence a shliach has. This is what happened: I had gone with my wife to a wedding in Yerushalayim. On the way back to Beit Shaan, late at night, I saw two young men waiting for a hitch towards Yam HaMelach. I picked them up and continued driving. They did not look religious; they had long hair, one in a ponytail and one in a braid. They had backpacks and sleeping bags. As we got to talking, I learned that one of them, a Yemenite, was from Tel Mond and the other guy was an American gentile. They had met while touring in India half a year earlier. I asked the Israeli whether there was a shliach in Tel Mond. He said, “Of course, R’ Amram Shaatal.” In the same breath, he told me about all the shluchim in India who welcomed him warmly on his last trip, who served as a continuation to the Tanya classes he had started in Tel Mond. I told him to give regards from the shliach in Beit Shaan, myself. The minute he realized I am a Lubavitcher, he was so excited. The first thing he did was to loudly proclaim Yechi. Then he told me about “his” Chabad house in Tel Mond, about the t’fillos on Shabbos and the learning of Tanya. Then he asked me if I could tell him what we would be learning tomorrow in Tanya. I

asked him whether he had already learned that day’s portion and he said yes. “Today we learned about Yaakov Avinu, that Hashem did many kindnesses for him and he did not become boastful (Igeres Katonti).” I asked him how he managed to learn Tanya every day while touring and he told me he uses his iPhone. He goes to the Chabad website and reads the Chumash, T’hillim, and Tanya just as R’ Amram Shaatal taught him. I asked him when the last time was that he put on t’fillin and he said, “What’s the question? This morning, at the central bus station in Teveria!” “Nice,” I said, “and where will you put them on tomorrow?” “Tonight, we are going up a mountain facing Yam HaMelach and tomorrow I will put on t’fillin as I watch the sunrise.” Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather …

their families and friends.” R’ Shaatal told me about one of his mekuravim who had recently married in a Chassidic wedding and had joined the Chabad community in Rechovot. He had belonged to the Breslov community but was still searching for his path in life. At a certain point, he had attended one of R’ Shaatal’s deep shiurim, loved it, and began regularly attending the class. His Breslover friends intervened, protesting his defection. When R’ Shaatal heard about this, he simply started a Chassidus class in the home of the head of the Breslov group. They did not turn into Lubavitchers, but the protests ceased. They said to their friend, “At least now we understand what you are excited about.”

R’ Shaatal told me about his son, Asaf, who joined him in his outreach work in Tel Mond after he married. Like his father, he started many shiurim for all ages and levels: for Tzivos Hashem clubs and day camps, a shiur for young people that takes place in a restaurant, a shiur for those coming back from India, and a shiur for seniors in an exclusive senior center near Tel Mond. Yad L ’Achim called R’ Shaatal and told him that thanks to his Tzivos Hashem club, they were able to rescue a Jewish child and her mother from an Arab village. “We received information about a mother and daughter who were living within an Arab clan and unable to get out. We got in there somehow, and explained to the elders of the clan that these two people were Jewish and needed to live among Jews. After a long, weird and scary
Issue 898 • �  

After an incredible encounter like that, I had to call R’ Amram. “How do you do it?” I asked him He said, “At first, I thought I’d speak to the mekuravim indirectly about Chassidus, as opposed to learning Chassidus directly. I figured that their minds are just not into this. But afterward I realized that what would actually transform them from the inside is learning sichos and maamarei Chassidus. Externally, they look far from it, but when you start drawing them into the depths of Chassidus, they feel the uniqueness of being G-d’s chosen people and they become devoted to Hashem, to Torah and to all Chassidic practices. They even influence


Parsha Thought
debate, they agreed to release the mother, but ‘the girl is Moslem’ they insisted. “Suddenly, the girl began to proclaim the various p’sukim and lines about mitzvos. It was just the thing we needed. The elders’ claims were undermined and we took advantage of the momentum and left hurriedly with the mother and child.” Afterward, the mother said that her daughter had learned this thanks to the classes at R’ Asaf’s club. It was all of two weeks long that the girl had been in the Chabad camp, and yet it stayed with her.

The following story shows how the Rebbe influences the world, even with the help of a Litvishe rav. This story was told by a young Lubavitcher man from the Chabad community in Rechovot at a farbrengen. Someone from Yavne, in his fifties, saved money for years in order to be able to buy a piece of real estate where he would build something that would provide him with an income in his old age. He finally withdrew the money from his bank account, put it into a large briefcase, and hailed a cab in order to travel to the lawyer to buy the property with cash. He had $180,000 in that briefcase. His future and the future of his entire family depended on it. He paid the driver, got out of the taxi and suddenly realized that he had left the briefcase in the cab. He had no name or phone number for the driver, nor did he know whether the taxi belonged to a company or a particular taxi stand. He knew nothing. Instead of going to the lawyer, he went back to Yavne and on the way, he stopped every taxi that he saw. All the drivers used their radios to contact their friends to ask about a briefcase, but nobody had any information. The man was devastated. He spoke to a Litvishe rav in Yavne, with whom he was in touch, and told him what had happened. The rav commiserated and then advised him, “Start a shiur in your home and with Hashem’s help, all will be well.” He listened to the rav’s advice and invited some friends over for Monday night and they had a shiur. Tuesday morning, he went

R’ Asaf told me about a special shiur he gives at an exclusive seniors’ residence near Tel Mond. It’s a village for wealthy seniors who can purchase a small home for their golden years. In order to open up a dialogue with the residents, before Rosh HaShana, R’ Asaf would put a bottle of honey and wishes for a good year in their mailboxes. Reactions followed. One of the people, a veteran military man, called immediately after Rosh HaShana and wanted to buy the Dalet minim for Sukkos. Then he wanted to learn b’chavrusa, a shiur that soon turned into a general shiur for all residents of the village who go to the man’s home every Friday, where it is held. Then the host of the shiur heard about the Tanya and he immediately wanted to buy it so he could learn it. At the next shiur, he heard about Likkutei Sichos and he wanted to buy that too. And this is how the “House Full of S’farim” campaign got underway at the seniors’ village.

to shul for Shacharis and felt someone tapping his shoulder. He turned around and saw the driver of the taxi who said, “Are you the one who traveled with me this week?” and he handed over the briefcase with all the money, piles and piles of bills; none were missing. The ecstatic man thanked the driver and then dared to ask, “Where were you until now? I looked for you all over ...” The driver smiled and asked that they step outside the shul where he would tell him what happened. “A few days ago, when I took you from Yavne to Rechovot, after you got out I saw that you had forgotten a large briefcase. I opened it and was shocked to see so much money. I decided the money was a gift for me. I needed it, and how did I know (said the yetzer ha’ra) whether its owner had obtained the money honestly. Perhaps he had fooled someone or stole the money. “I went home and told my wife we are rich. For the next few days, my wife and I rationalized with one another about our using this money. Last night, I was working and a Lubavitcher got into my cab. He was a nice guy and he began talking to me as though we were old friends. He asked me whether there was a pushka in the taxi. I asked him why there should be a pushka in a taxi! He told me that the Lubavitcher Rebbe recommended that every vehicle have a pushka as a protective measure. As we spoke, he took out a small pushka and gave it to me. “He continued talking and asked me if I had already learned that day’s Chitas. I had no idea what that was and he took out a booklet and said he would learn out loud and would explain what

26 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

it said so it would be like we were learning Chitas together. I agreed. “He began reading and explaining the verses from the Torah (it was Parshas Behar) and he read ‘Do not cause your brother pain.’ He explained that it was forbidden to fool anyone. You have to earn your money honestly. What’s yours is yours, and what is not yours is not yours. He explained and explained and my insides began churning. I felt as though this young man had been sent to me by Heaven in order to warn me not take the money unjustly. He spoke from the heart and as he spoke, I resolved that the next morning I would go to Yavne and return all the money to the address I had found on the briefcase. “This morning, I went to your house and your wife opened the door and said you had gone to shul. So I came here and here is your briefcase. I am sorry for the delay.” *** As I said earlier, this story was told by someone at a farbrengen in Rechovot. Afterward, a discussion ensued about how all this pertains to us and how we see the Rebbe’s influence in the world. “First of all,” said one person, “the fact that the driver decided to return the money is only thanks to Chitas and thanks to the bachur, who doesn’t even know what he accomplished. Thanks to the shiur he gave in the taxi, thanks to the hafatza that he did, he saved a Jew from a terrible plight.” “That’s not the main thing,” said another man at the farbrengen. “The fact that a Litvishe rav told him to make a shiur in his home and all would be well is something that comes

R’ Asaf Shaatal

directly from the Rebbe. Twenty or thirty years ago, no Litvishe rav would say something like that. If not for the Rebbe and Chassidus, who would connect hosting a shiur to finding a lost briefcase filled with money when one is ruchnius and one is gashmius? Why should a spiritual activity affect the physical reality of the world? It is the Rebbe, over decades of leadership, who instilled this awareness that a spiritual activity has a material effect, whether by checking mezuzos, being careful with family purity or kashrus. All these mitzvos prevent tzaros and solve material problems. If a Litvishe rav internalized this message and even conveyed it, that is a result of the Rebbe’s impact on the world and the preparing of the world for the coming of Moshiach!”

R’ Yerachmiel Gorelik is on shlichus in Tyumen somewhere near Siberia. When he arrived in his place of shlichus, a Jewish community was already established there, but unfortunately, it was Reform. There was a Reform rabbi, who led t’fillos with mixed seating accompanied by an organ on Shabbos, etc. When he first started out, he tried to make contact with all the Jews in the city including members of the Reform congregation, and even with its

leaders. He invited them to events and even had flyers advertising Chabad’s events hanging on their bulletin board. But as time went on, the members of the Reform congregation noticed that the Chabad rabbi was “stealing” their people away. Their congregation was dwindling as more and more members transferred their loyalty to Chabad. At a certain point, the Reform community decided to no longer cooperate with Chabad. “They are competing with us and there is no point in helping them,” they concluded. R’ Gorelik felt bad about this ostracism and tried to do away with it. Before Pesach, he took handmade matzos and brought them to the Reform rabbi. He walked in with a friendly smile but the rabbi responded with barbs. “You are too religious and you are undermining and derailing everything that we created here over the years. You are not wanted in our community.” R’ Gorelik left feeling bad and he looked for consolation within the pages of the Igros Kodesh. He wrote to the Rebbe and asked for a bracha for success in his shlichus. The Rebbe wrote, “It is not our way to collaborate with a community which compromises and distorts the Torah.” R’ Gorelik understood from this that he had no reason to feel bad by the split; on the contrary, this was as it should be and this was the only way he could continue his shlichus. He also felt that the Rebbe was encouraging him and leading him to the right path, forward to success without interference from the other congregation. Indeed, he persevered and sees more and more people joining activities that are according to Torah and Halacha as illuminated by Chassidus.

Issue 898 • �  



From the life of R’ Yehoshua Shneur Zalman Serebryanski a”h.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz

Like all countries south of the equator, the summer months in Australia are Kislev through Shvat. Summer vacation is for six weeks, from the middle of December until the beginning of February. During this time, there are two two-week summer camp sessions. The younger children attend during the first two weeks, followed by the older children for two weeks. Since the camp sessions for the younger and older children were split, it was possible to continue Jewish studies during the afternoon, even in the summer, albeit on a more limited basis. The class where Jewish studies were learned all day continued during the summer months and even had additional students. They were two local residents, Meshulam Kloberg and Pinchas Medding, smart bachurim who were planning

on being counselors in camp, but R’ Zalman’s son, R’ Aharon, convinced them to learn all day instead. Meshulam was a Yerei Shamayim who wanted to learn in Eretz Yisroel, but his parents refused to allow him to go since they wanted him to attend university. R’ Zalman spoke with the boy’s father and tried to arrange a compromise in which the bachur would stay in Melbourne but would learn in yeshiva. He wrote to the Rebbe about this in a letter dated 2 Teves, and asked that Hashem see to it that the bachur decide to learn in yeshiva full-time. In the end, the parents agreed to the compromise and he stayed in yeshiva. When the school year began, another bachur came by the name of Uri Nosson Sheink. He had completed three years in university and had decided to devote his time to learning Torah.

In a report that R’ Zalman wrote to the Rebbe on 27 Teves, he mentioned that he was a bachur who was smart and diligent in his learning, and thanks to him the level of the learning had risen among the rest of the talmidim. R’ Zalman also mentioned the bachur, Zecharia Klein, who came to learn in the afternoon, and noted that more bachurim came in the evening. So the yeshiva grew, bit by bit. “As I heard,” wrote R’ Zalman, “the yeshiva has a good reputation in the city, thank G-d, and may Hashem help with His great mercy to grant us success with additional new talmidim and in improving the learning and direction.”

In earlier chapters, the difficulties in hiring teachers for the yeshiva were described. Of all times, it was during summer vacation that R’ Zalman was able to hire two additional teachers. One of them was R’ Uri Kaploun, the grandson of R’ Moshe Feiglin, who lived in Shepparton and learned in the yeshiva in its first incarnation in Shepparton. Now, he had come to Melbourne

28 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

in order to attend university and he decided to use his vacation to learn Torah. Even after he began studying at the university, he devoted his free time to teaching Torah in the afternoons. The other teacher was R’ Yona Oberman, who had spent two years in university and had now switched to attending a professional school. He also decided to devote his free time to independent learning in yeshiva and to teaching the young boys in the afternoon. In R’ Zalman’s letters of 2 and 27 Teves, he reported to the Rebbe about this and concluded with the hope that “the fact that they became teachers in the yeshiva will lead to a double benefit, for us and for them, and may Hashem help and give us success in both matters.”

An unexpected addition in the summer months was four little children, seven and nine years old, who came from distant Sydney, a twelve hour train ride away. R’ Zalman agreed to accept them, despite their young age which necessitated special efforts in caring for them, in the hopes that when their parents would be satisfied, it would serve as good publicity in Sydney for the yeshiva and attract more students. Dealing with these young children took a lot out of R’ Zalman, and several times over the summer he thought he had made a mistake in accepting them. However, in the end, the investment paid off; the parents of one of the older ones wanted to leave him in yeshiva for the following school year.

The parents lived in a suburb of Sydney, far from a Jewish environment, and since they were unable to hire a private teacher for him, they wanted to leave him in yeshiva in Melbourne. R’ Zalman highly doubted whether he would have the wherewithal to deal with a boy so young for an entire school year. In a letter that he wrote to the Rebbe at the end of the summer, he explained his hesitation and that his final decision had been to accept the boy: “The boy is good and very gentle by nature, but he is young and needs his mother. And yet, we agreed to accept him here, seeing the mesirus nefesh of his parents who want to leave him with strangers so that he can learn more. This is why we accepted him, even though it entails quite a bit of responsibility and is very burdensome. May Hashem help us in this too, that the child be well and succeed in his learning and guidance, thus sanctifying the holy name of the yeshiva and the name of Heaven.”

During summer break, an interesting development occurred in connection with R’ Zalman’s plan to start a day school. The Hungarian community, which had a small day school, wanted to expand. Since they heard that R’ Zalman planned on starting a day school, they approached him with the offer of joining forces and making a school together. However, their condition was that their boys learn Jewish subjects separately, with their own teachers. R’ Zalman consulted with

the hanhala of the yeshiva and they decided to reject the offer. Consequently, the Hungarians decided to buy a new building and open a separate day school near the Chabad School. As was mentioned in earlier chapters, R’ Zalman had toyed with the idea of opening a school for months already, and he had even written to the Rebbe several times about it. However, the Rebbe’s responses did not directly address R’ Zalman’s idea. The Rebbe had written about the need to expand the mosdos and about learning in a way of l’chat’chilla aribber, but there was no clear instruction on this specific matter. R’ Zalman, who was afraid to take such great responsibility, continued to toy with the idea. His son Chaim was the main one to actualize it. He put in many hours registering students for the day school. Once the Hungarians announced the opening of their own school, R’ Zalman realized that he had to act quickly and open a day school and put tremendous effort into it so that with the start of the new school year, in less than a month, a Chabad day school would open. In his letter to the Rebbe of 2 Teves, he wrote that at first he had to deal with difficulties on all fronts, starting with registering the children and ending with hiring good teachers. At a certain point, he thought that perhaps the whole idea was not to the Rebbe’s liking, which was why there were so many difficulties. But then things changed and his son was able to register the children, some talented teachers were found who were interested in teaching in the new school, and even the members of the Vaad HaGashmi of the yeshiva, who until then only knew about

Issue 898 • �  


the plan to start a school in general terms, agreed with R’ Zalman that it was time to open a school. R’ Zalman described this turnabout to the Rebbe in his letter: “We began looking for a teacher and children and with difficulty found a small number of students to start with. We will also have to give big breaks to the parents in the tuition, because if we demand full payment they won’t give us their children, and we couldn’t find a teacher. “When a long time went by during which we searched of the school and the preschool that we agreed to open. Although I wrote a number of times, it wasn’t in the way of a question, because taking action was remote at the time, and therefore, I did not obtain a clear instruction. Now as the matter becomes relevant, it seems sudden and urgent and cannot wait. As we meet with some of the helpers, the doubts begin to perturb me – are we doing the right thing or not? “Even though the matter in and of itself is good, since we did not have a clear instruction, perhaps the time is not right for doubts and similar things that can arise so I will be able to compose, with Hashem’s help, an organized letter with questions in advance about the entire matter. “After all that I’ve mentioned, I plead that we constantly be remembered by the Rebbe to arouse great mercy upon us that Hashem grant us success in all the matters we began, with great success and that we be able to open a mosad with all the details.”

The plan to open a preschool was delayed by some months because of the difficulty in finding a suitable teacher. Then, at the very start of the school year, two suggestions for talented teachers came up. R’ Zalman convened the vaad and they also agreed that it was urgent that they open a preschool, especially since the children of the preschool could then feed into the day school. In his letter to the Rebbe, R’ Zalman wrote that at the meeting, he told R’ Moshe Zalman Feiglin that the Rebbe had greatly enjoyed hearing that he and his family were interested in helping the yeshiva. And therefore, it was worth continuing to help the yeshiva in order to give the Rebbe more nachas. R’ Moshe Zalman was happy to hear this and said he would speak about it to his children so they would be more involved in the yeshiva. This is the Rebbe’s response, written on 19 Teves: B”H 19 Teves 5715 Brooklyn ... R’ Yehoshua Shneur Zalman, Greetings! After a long silence, I received

“As to your writing that there are obstacles, it is surprising that every obstacle makes such a great impression when even human eyes can see that the difficulties are behind us.”
without results, I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing in taking on us this burden at a time when I did not have a clear instruction from the Rebbe to do this. “Then, Hashem helped us and three female teachers came to us and we were able to pick the most suitable one. I did not speak seriously with our balabatim, members of the vaad, about this until we were able to see that this could get off the ground and then I called a meeting and told them our plan and the need to open a school, and they agreed.” R’ Zalman concluded the letter with a request of the Rebbe for him to respond to his questions with a clear answer: “We hope that Hashem will help us and we will succeed, and the burden of difficulty and the many troubles will be eased. Still, I would like to clarify the matter

it yet. We do not have enough resources to allocate to several matters and it would be better if we concentrated our efforts to one endeavor and then began with a second one. On the other hand, the response to this claim is – are we acting in accordance with our strengths? If we considered our strength, maybe we wouldn’t start anything, and yet we see that we began and Hashem helped us, and may Hashem help us with these matters and provide everything we need. “This is especially as the Rebbe mentioned several times about expanding the mosad with many talmidim and to go with a breitkait, and perhaps this can be considered an instruction for all these matters. “So perhaps the Rebbe will grant me a clarification of these

30 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

your letter of 2 Teves and was pleased that you write that you also see that it is possible to expand the yeshiva and its matters more and more. I was especially pleased that you wrote about the preschool. The importance of this matter is inestimable as we know from Chazal regarding the breath of the schoolchildren. Especially when nowadays the learning of the letters and Nekudos and behaving with Yiras Shamayim is something a school needs to do, because you cannot always rely on the parents who were the ones to do this in the time of the Shas and even in the time of the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries. As to your writing that there are obstacles, it is surprising that every obstacle makes such a great impression when even human eyes can see that the difficulties are behind us. About what you wrote regarding a high school, since I do not know the situation on the scene it is hard to give detailed instructions. You need to decide in accordance with the main point, which is that Yeshivas Oholei Yosef Yitzchok of Melbourne needs to be a center of Judaism and Torah and Yiras

Shamayim. All things which will aid in this, without conceding on principles of the Chabad movement, should be done energetically. Surely R’ Groner told you about the school here that is attached to the yeshiva. It seems that the school you write about is like this. I was pleased that you wrote that you spoke with R’ Moshe Zalman Feiglin about his and his family’s involvement in yeshiva matters. Although I also wrote to him about this, there is no comparison between speaking face to face to reading it in a letter. So surely, from time to time, you will arouse him time and again, and through him his children as well. It is surprising that you do not write about the results of the discussion with Mr. Gutwirth and also with Mr. Rich (from whom I received a letter some time ago and I also responded to it, and of course, about added interest in the yeshiva). Surely you will write in full about all this at the next opportunity. And also in regards to the s’farim, which according to R’ Groner’s letter he wrote him about this. According to this, it is

understood that this answer applies also to the end of your letter. If there are any doubts in anything, the way to resolve them is: you cannot forgo principles of Chabad, you cannot become a political party of any sort, but aside from that, you need to expand the mosad, in quantity and quality. May Hashem give you the merit and grant you success that with good health you and all Anash will see how Yeshivas Oholei Yosef Yitzchok of Melbourne is the channel to draw down and receive Hashem’s blessings, materially and spiritually, for all Anash and their households in Australia and through them, to all the Jewish people there, since from this central channel and pathway there extend channels and pathways to each one in particular. This is as it is brought in several places in Chassidus on the subject of the drawing down from Above to the entire Order of Hishtalshlus. With blessings for success in all the above. I await good news and send regards to all those interested in our welfare. M. Schneersohn

Anywhere, Anytime !

,ww,j jhanu vkutd hbhbg owwcnr hyuekc ohrugha asue ,ujha

vww c


sgu okugk jhanv lkn ubcru ubrun ubhbust hjh

Issue 898 • �  



Another installment about the special shlichus performed by R’ Zalman Chanin and R’ Laibel Zajac, to print the Tanya in the Peter and Paul Fortress. * Part 4
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz

hile printing the Tanya in various locations in the Moscow area, we received the good news that we had gotten permission to print the Tanya in the Peter and Paul fortress, Petropavlovskaya Krepost, in Leningrad. As I wrote in the previous installment, this was the only place that the Rebbe mentioned explicitly. The Rebbe had instructed that the Tanya


should be printed there, but only with permission. We were very happy to be able to fulfill the Rebbe’s wishes. We were told that the permit was in Leningrad (Petersburg today), and that when we arrived there, it would be ready. According to our plan, we were going to spend an entire day in Leningrad and print in other places too such as the Rebbe’s apartment, the yard of the central

shul, and the Tiyenem Soviet detention center, all according to the amount of time we had at our disposal. The trip to Leningrad by train takes 10-12 hours. At first we thought of flying to Leningrad, but everybody told us that it was very dangerous. We couldn’t imagine what could be so dangerous, so they explained that due to the fuel shortage, employees at the airport stole

32 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

fuel from the planes and replaced it with water. Pilots thought they had enough fuel, and often planes exploded mid-air. So we decided to go by train, but how could we take along the printing equipment and all the paraphernalia by train? Everything had to undergo the approval of some natchalnik or another. Of course, each one had to be given a gift; otherwise, nothing would happen. The miracle was that every dollar was worth 5-6000 rubles so that our expenses weren’t that high and everyone was satisfied. Everyone warned us to beware of thieves, because usually, when people traveled by train, in the middle of the night when everyone slept, professional thieves robbed people. They advised us to take along an iron bar to be placed across the width of the door on the inside, so it would be impossible to open the door except from the inside. We did so, but despite the iron bar, we felt insecure all night and barely slept. We were very nervous about our belongings and we took turns, while one slept the other stayed awake. In Russia of those days, our belongings were worth a fortune. Most importantly, without them, we could not print the Tanya. We arrived at the train station in Petersburg in the morning and from there we went to the shul (where the Shamir School already existed). There were 2530 men, most of them elderly. When I arrived at the shul, I saw an urn with tea and wanted a cup before the davening. I opened my bag and took out some cookies and went to take a cup of tea. Some older men were sitting there and when they saw my cookies, their eyes popped. I stood transfixed by the sight and

R’ Leibel and R’ Zalman on the train on the way to Leningrad

R’ Leibel and R’ Zalman with R’ Wagner in the cell in the fortress

couldn’t eat a thing. They were either very hungry or had simply never seen cookies like these in their lives. Either way, it was a shocking moment. I took out all my cookies and put them on the table. I said whoever wanted any could take some, because I had more and it wasn’t just for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they grabbed the cookies and not a crumb remained. That goes to show you what life was like in Russia in those days.

After the davening, we had something to eat and then began getting ready for our work. In Leningrad we met a young man who joined us by the name of Avigdor Parnas. He was newly married and R’ Wagner enlisted him to help us in Leningrad. First, we went to the PeterPaul fortress. At the entrance to the fortress we found out that our permit to print the Tanya did not include permission to enter the fortress grounds with a vehicle and the guard refused
Issue 898 • �  


to allow us in. But thanks to a bottle of vodka that we had with us which we gave to him, all the issues were straightened out and we were welcomed in, including the vehicle and the printing press. We got the royal treatment. Before we printed the Tanya, we had a guided tour of the fortress, which over the years was turned into a tourist spot. R’ Avigdor, who was still young and not completely familiar with the story of the Alter Rebbe’s imprisonment, told me that he heard from older Chassidim that one of the rooms in the fortress is the room where the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned and people would go there to say T’hillim. I wanted to see that room and R’ Avigdor passed this on to the tour guide. She had heard of the Alter Rebbe as a holy man to the Jews, and was used to people asking her about the room so they could pray there. She took us to one of the rooms and said this is where the Alter Rebbe had been. When I saw it, I realized it couldn’t be the room since it was quite spacious with a bed, small table and big window. Although it was a wintry day, the sun shone into the room and a light wasn’t necessary. This did not fit with the story as we know it, about the dark cell where you could not tell the difference between day and night, and they asked the Alter Rebbe how he knew day and night. It also didn’t fit with the Rebbe Rashab’s question about whether there was room for three people, because the room was large and there was room for at least ten people and the Alter Rebbe could have said Chassidus there with a minyan. I asked R’ Avigdor to ask the tour guide whether this is the identical prison to that of two hundred years ago, when the Alter Rebbe was arrested. The guide said the old building had been destroyed and this was a new building. Only the name remained the same as before and the new building also served as a prison for many years. Since the Rebbe told us to print the Tanya there, I felt that it should be printed only in a building that remained from the time of the Alter Rebbe. I asked whether such a building existed, and to my delight, she said that outside there was a building from that period, but it was closed and was in a military zone that was forbidden to foreigners. Even military personnel needed special permission to enter there. I decided to try and go there, and as soon as we left the prison building, we walked in the direction of the old building. It was large, a multiple story building, and at the end there was a part of the building that extended nearly till the end of the grounds all the way to the river that flowed between the prison and the Tiyenem Soviet. We went to the front door and knocked. Nobody answered. R’ Wagner said we were knocking too gently, as people do in the US; if we wanted them to open up, we needed to knock “Russian style.” He banged on the door with his fist as the NKVD did under Stalin. Within a few seconds, a guard emerged and asked what we wanted. We told him we had a special mission to take care of inside the building and here was our permit and we wanted to enter. The guard said he had no idea what we were talking about, and since he had received no orders to let us in, we had to leave. We noticed that the guard was drunk like Lot, and maybe more so, and there was no use reasoning with him. R’ Wagner began speaking harshly: We have a written order to print the Tanya and you tell us you don’t know what we’re talking about? We asked him what was in the building and he said it was a closed military area since the military printing press was there! Naturally, after hearing this, we felt we must enter and print the Tanya. What an is’hafcha (spiritual turnabout) that would be, to print the holy Tanya in a military printing house! R’ Wagner said to him: If we want to drink something, can we enter? As soon as he heard that we had something to drink, his eyes began racing back and forth. The very thought that he could get mashke dissipated his drunkenness and he began to understand what we were talking about. “Do you have something to drink?” he asked eagerly. “How did you get it?” and he emitted a juicy Russian curse. Then he said, “Now you’re talking my language. Come in and I will show you what we have here.” He was afraid to let us enter the actual building, but he agreed to show us the back part of the building, where the military press was. This was just what we wanted. We toyed with the idea of printing the Tanya on the Russian press. It took time until he brought the keys and opened the doors. They were iron doors from the days of Methuselah, not just the time of the Alter Rebbe. After the first doors there were another series of doors made of wood. I saw similar doors in France in palaces. The place looked like a prison. The air was dense and it felt as though you could take a

34 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

knife and slice through it. There was no electricity and we wanted to light a candle, but who has a candle in Russia? Having no choice, we took a newspaper and made a torch out of it, but as we continued going further in, the fire began to sputter since there wasn’t enough oxygen to sustain it. I told him that we have a generator and maybe we could use it for light. The problem was we couldn’t bring the generator into the building, since we were afraid that the dank air would become completely polluted and it wouldn’t be possible to breathe in the building. We couldn’t leave the generator outside, since that would necessitate a thirty foot extension cord which we didn’t have and couldn’t get. After some more curses, the gentile said it seemed the electric fuse had burned out and he would go to the office to see if there was another fuse; then he could turn on the light. In the meantime, we waited in the bitter cold and nearly froze. Hashem had pity on us and had the Russians play a crazy sport of rowing on the frozen river. In this game, they break the ice and try to row among the pieces. Due to the intense cold, those who stand on the riverbanks and watch, light a huge bonfire and are warmed by it. Fortunately for us, the spectators were near the fortress and we could approach their fire and warm our frozen bones a bit. The gentile showed up a few minutes later and got the electricity working in the building. We went inside and saw a structure, hundreds of years old, without windows, just walls of stone and iron with wooden doors outside. When you are in there, you cannot tell

Printing the Tanya in the military fortress

the difference between day and night. You can practically feel the darkness. The cold in the building was so intense that it wasn’t possible to use the printing press because the ink had frozen. He told us that he had some kind of small heater that he could bring to warm up the place, but the heater barely heated the room and we had to ask the gentiles on the riverbank to take some burning logs and bring them closer to the building. After letting them know it would be worth their while in mashke, they did as we asked and we were able to begin working. As I mentioned earlier, I had the idea of using their printing press, but after going inside and seeing that it was a printing press from the Middle Ages where you had to arrange each letter manually, and after completing a line you have to put it into the machine, I gave up on that thought. Due to all the delays, instead of the printing taking one hour, it took about four hours. When we finally printed the Tanya, we were thrilled. We rejoiced at having carried out the Rebbe’s wishes and having

Outside the printing house

printed the Tanya in the place where the Alter Rebbe had stayed for 53 days, corresponding to the 53 chapters of Tanya. We poured cups of l’chaim and since it was already the eve of Yud-Tes Kislev after midnight, we wished one another a good, sweet year. The gentiles too, l’havdil, took pleasure in the printing of the Tanya because they also said l’chaim. They began with what we gave them and then went lifnim mishuras ha’din (beyond the letter of the law) and drank more and more and ended up dancing a drunken dance. About the printing of the Tanya in the Rebbe Rayatz’s home, see the next installment, G-d willing.

Issue 898 • �  



We have a prime minister who is an excellent public speaker in perfect English. He knows how to explain better than anyone else why his government will attack Iran if America sits with its hands folded. However, America is sitting with its hands folded, but the government doesn’t move. We have a charismatic industry and trade minister who makes excellent speeches before ardent right-wing audiences. Instead of people of action who will change national policy, we’ve got a collection of charismatic speakers who know how to talk the talk. But when it comes to walking the walk, they forget to practice what they preach.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

A week after the Sukkos holiday, two thousand right-wing activists came to the International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) in Yerushalayim to call upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to put a halt to his policy of “two states for two peoples.” The Nachala settler movement, headed by Mrs. Daniella Weiss, presented the

vision of one nation. For the past several years, the movement has been dealing with the erection of new outposts throughout Yehuda and Shomron, and the purpose of this conference was to demand that the prime minister authorize the establishment of new settlements. This was also the conference’s central message: the time has come to throw the “two states for two peoples” proposal onto the ash heap of history and

begin a new wave of building and construction in Yehuda and Shomron. The problem is that some of those who delivered fiery speeches befitting opposition Knesset Members apparently forgot that they are actually part of the governing coalition. Trade and Industry Minister Naftali Bennett, a high-ranking Cabinet member, gave a powerful speech about how the Jewish People cannot be considered an occupier over itself. However, this same Bennett sits with the government’s security Cabinet that sends Ms. Tzippi Livni, minister in charge of the diplomatic channel, each week to discuss the possible partition of Eretz Yisroel. Even Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel cried out from the rostrum that Eretz Yisroel belongs only to the Jewish People, and therefore we have the right to build anywhere in the country. However, this same Ariel has been the enabler for a total construction freeze in Yerushalayim and a near-total construction freeze in Yehuda and Shomron. This brings us to the problem facing us today. We have a prime minister who is an excellent public speaker in perfect English. He knows how to explain better than anyone else why

36 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

his government will attack Iran if America sits with its hands folded. However, America is sitting with its hands folded, but the government doesn’t move. We have a charismatic industry and trade minister whose party won twelve seats in the last Knesset election. He thereby helped to establish one of the worst left-wing governments this country has ever known, while continuing to make excellent speeches before enthusiastic right-wing audiences. Instead of people of action who will change national policy, we’ve got a collection of charismatic speakers who know how to talk the talk. But when it comes to walking the walk, they forget to practice what they preach. Such speeches would be terrific if Naftali Bennett was still secretary general of the Yesha Council and Binyamin Netanyahu was opposition leader. However, the time for talking is over. It’s now time for action. Based on its current policies, this government is a leftist regime in every sense of the word. It is advancing the diplomatic negotiations on uprooting Jewish settlements, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, placing another freeze on the construction of Jewish homes in the settlements, and dismantling outposts. There’s no need to elaborate. This is a leftist government – period.

speeches against government policy were made by leading members of the governing coalition. A list of senior Cabinet members came to the event to receive thunderous ovations while continuing to implement a left-wing agenda. The names of invited guests appearing on the notices publicizing the conference included several supporters of the Gaza disengagement, such as Transportation Minister Yisroel Katz. It wouldn’t have taken long before they invited Netanyahu himself to speak. The truth is that such a scenario is not as far-fetched as it sounds. According to the current situation, the prime minister can stand on the dais at

Minister’s Office declared that “Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered the immediate settling of Beit HaMachpella in Chevron.” Netanyahu was quoted as stating that “anyone who tries to uproot us from the city of our forefathers will achieve the exact opposite. We will continue to fight terrorism and strike at the terrorists with one hand, and we will continue with the other hand to strengthen the settlements.” However, in the government’s answer to the High Court of Justice (yes, the government of this same prime minister), it states that the prime minister did not authorize entry into the house and the IDF has been positioned to preserve the “status

The right-wing conference at Binyanei HaUma … was a carbon copy of the demonstrations organized by the Yesha Council on the eve of the Gush Katif expulsion.
quo” on the premises and prevent the building’s occupancy.

The right-wing conference at Binyanei HaUma also served as additional proof that today’s nationalist leadership still hasn’t come to its senses. It was a carbon copy of the demonstrations organized by the Yesha Council on the eve of the Gush Katif expulsion. The main

Binyanei HaUma and make an impassioned speech on behalf of Jewish settlement of Yehuda and Shomron. It doesn’t appear that he has any problem whatsoever with doing that – and this is exactly what he does on a routine day. Yet, the Binyamin Settlers’ Committee just produced a film documenting the prime minister’s recent vacillation on the matter of Beit HaMachpeila in Chevron. After the murder in Chevron of IDF Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi (may G-d avenge his blood) during Chol HaMoed Pesach, the prime minister promised to restore Jewish occupancy in the house, which had been abandoned since the government decision to evict its previous Jewish residents. A special written announcement from the Prime

Even Netanyahu’s statement in the Beit HaMachpeila announcement that “we will continue to fight terrorism and strike at the terrorists with one hand” brought ridicule from anyone who understood what it meant. The prime minister claims that he will continue to strike at the terrorists, while he has actually freed more terrorists than any of his predecessors. Only recently, another terrorist release was approved, merely for the purpose of a making a “goodwill gesture” to the terror organizations. During the deal to free Gilad Shalit, the prime minister acquiesced to the

Issue 898 • �  


release of an incomprehensible number of terrorists, including the dangerously destabilizing precedent of freeing murderers with Jewish blood on their hands. Exactly what kind of “strike at the terrorists” is the prime minister talking about? When was the last time someone set a just price on the heads of those who murder innocent Jews? Just this past Sukkos, two Jewish soldiers hy”d were killed – one during his military service, another while on leave. Two Jews murdered in cold blood, yet we’re already used to this routine. The scrawling of graffiti in East Jerusalem made far more noise in the media than did these killings. The prime minister of Israel never even considered exacting a price for this despicable act of bloodshed. Chevron residents who supported the terrorist continued to celebrate, and the murderer himself roamed around free as a bird. Even the murder of a restaurant employee from Bat Yam went totally unnoticed. An Arab working at a Jewish restaurant in Bat Yam killed a soldier in cold blood in an attempt to secure the release of his terrorist brother. Yet, it failed to set off warning bells in the minds of anyone: Maybe the time has come to put an end to this lunacy of employing known murderers? Twenty years ago, back in the early days of the “Oslo process,” every murderous terror attack created a public outrage throughout Eretz Yisroel. Led by the Zo Artzeinu civil disobedience movement, hundreds of activists would go out to all the major intersections and protest the cheapening of Jewish blood. Then, it was quite clear that we had to bring the country to a standstill. We could not sit by quietly and allow our fellow Jews to be senselessly murdered. Regrettably, we have long since become accustomed to such carnage, eliciting not a whimper of protest. “Something they haven’t dealt with until now in Eretz Yisroel, despite the incredible fact that they haven’t dealt with making the residents of Eretz Yisroel into people of Eretz Yisroel. Not only physically dwelling there, but a spiritual dwelling, to the point that everyone who sees them will recognize that they were born and educated in a land called ‘Eretz Yisroel’, because it is an ‘everlasting inheritance for an everlasting people’, in the manner of an ‘everlasting inheritance. ‘” The response to this situation is contained within these simple words. “Making the residents of Eretz Yisroel into people of Eretz Yisroel” – that’s the whole story. If the Jewish People will be connected to their Torah, they won’t call someone living in his historical inheritance “an occupier,” they won’t need to ask why we have to live in Yerushalayim, and they won’t think that the murder of Jews is a rational occurrence. The Rebbe has placed this mission upon us, each and every one of his Chassidim. We are all soldiers in this army, established by the Rebbe to help the Jewish People connect with itself. Each of us has the ability to “Ker a velt – haint.” What remains is for us to have a genuine desire to change the world, literally in the blink of an eye.

The question of Jewish construction in Yerushalayim, Yehuda and Shomron and the war on terrorism have the same answer. The problem is not in acquiring building permits; it’s in how substantial portions of the Jewish People have been cut off from their Jewish roots. The struggle today is over the Jewish character of Eretz HaKodesh and restoring the Jewish vision of the people dwelling in Tziyon. This is exactly what the Rebbe said twenty-four years ago to Knesset Member Rechavam Zeevi hy”d, when the latter asked what we must do to protect Eretz Yisroel that we hadn’t done thus far. The Rebbe’s reply: “To spread Judaism.” He then explained:

Express service Fully Computerized
331 Kingston Ave. (2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213
Get your tickets within minutes!

(718) 493-1111
Fax: (718) 493-4444

38 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

Radio Moshiach & Redemption

"The quickest way to reveal Moshiach is by learning the Torah sources about Moshiach & redemption" t"ab,wv grumnu ghrz, p"a

D.J. Granovetter
“Before Rabba would start to teach his students, he would tell them a funny story.” – Shabbos 30b Mrs. Cohen hadn’t seen her elderly upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Rubinstein for a while. “I hope Mrs. Rubinstein is feeling okay,” she thought to herself. “Yankel,” she said to her young son, “I’d like you to please go upstairs, and see how old Mrs. Rubinstein is.” Yankel went upstairs, and came back down and said, “Mommy, Mrs. Rubinstein was annoyed; she told me it’s no one’s business how old she is.”


Ingredients: until you’ve completely unraveled it. This may take an hour or two. Or A shepherd’s crook (is that what three. Or four. It depends how big it’s called, or is it called something the sweater is. else? You know, that wooden stick that shepherds use to... uh, to... oh, Combine the vinegar, wood whatever, you get the idea! By the shavings, minced garlic and cloves in way, if you can’t find a bowl. a shepherd’s crook, a Turn off the food broomstick will do, even processor, add contents though it’s not as good!) of bowl, put on blindfold, 2 cups ground beef choose random setting, and turn the food A blindfold processor back on, to a A wool sweater with a random setting. loose thread I forgot what you were 1/4 cup vinegar supposed to do with the 1/2 cup minced garlic unraveled sweater; but I 1/3 cup ground cloves always knit sweaters for my eineklach, A pie crust and they don’t wear them, so what good are sweaters? Knit the yarn into Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Grate the shepherd’s staff into socks or something. Turn off food processor, scoop fine shavings of wood. Don’t sneeze! Place ground beef in food mixture into pie crust, put into oven processor, and put on blindfold, and and bake for twelve hours. Place on push any setting, and press “on.” the roof of your house to cool, and While the food processor is working, meanwhile try your best to forget you pull at the loose thread on sweater ever baked the pie in the first place!


Shalom U’v’racha! At times, there are those folks in the streets of Kugel Acres who are surprised to see a seifer who can walk and talk. However, more often than not, you won’t see me walking or talking – you’ll see me running down the street, and I don’t have time to talk, ‘cause I’m on my way to do mitzvos! I take an example from Avraham Avinu, you see. There is an important lesson to be learned from the story of the Akeida.

A question is asked: Why was that he should first wait until it considered such a big test for Yitzchak got married and have Avraham Avinu to sacrifice his son children first – then take him to be Yitzchak when Hashem told him sacrificed on Har HaMoria! to do it? If you were commanded But Avraham Avinu didn’t make to sacrifice your only child by calculations – he immediately Hashem Himself, wouldn’t you do carried out the will of Hashem! it without question? (If you answer This teaches us an important no to this question, we get into lesson in our avoda – we should complications here, so answer yes!) run to carry out Hashem’s The Rebbe answers: Hashem commandments, and not make any told Avraham Avinu to do this, but calculations! Hashem didn’t tell him when to do That’s why I like to run to do this! Avraham Avinu could have mitzvos! made a calculation – for Hashem Speaking of which, I gotta run! had promised him that from Catch ya later! Yitzchak would come a great nation B’suros Tovos, – the Jewish people! Avraham Avinu Your Friend, Solly the Seifer could have reasoned to himself,

Issue 898 • �  



By Yisroelik Fried

ow are you, dear soldiers of Tzivos Hashem? You are, no doubt, busy preparing the world for the imminent hisgalus. I am excited to begin this new column in the magazine for the Rebbe MH”M’s soldiers. You don’t know me, and, to be truthful, I don’t know you that well either. However, I feel as though I know you for months already and that is probably because I sleep in Shneur’ke’s room. You don’t know Shneur’ke’s room so I will tell you about it. Shneur’ke’s room is actually my room too. It’s small, painted light blue, and has big pictures of the Rebbeim hanging on the walls and beautifying the room. There is a large and heavy bookcase which is full of Chassidishe s’farim that leans against the wall opposite the bed. It’s a typical room. But somewhere between the bed and the ceiling, on a red plastic shelf, he has a very special thing, a small globe. This special globe is me!


On Shneur’ke’s last birthday, he received a gift from his uncle Shmulik. In the box that Shmulik gave Shneur’ke with a smile, inside the colorful wrapping paper, was me. I waited eagerly for the moment that Shneur’ke would open the package and discover me. “Now you will be able to decide where you will go on shlichus,” I heard Shmulik say as Shneur’ke finished opening the box that I was in and took me out. So the time has come to join Shneur’ke’s journey and to tell you about the tremendous impact that the Rebbe MH”M has on the world. Now, as we are sitting comfortably in the room, with the f a m o u s n i g g u n “HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna” playing in the background, we can begin. Let us focus on the first point on the globe that we will talk about, a

country that has the privilege of being the first to start off this column: France! The avoda of birurim and the preparing of France for the Geula began long ago, in the time of the Alter Rebbe. On 14 Tammuz 5572, General Napoleon’s vast army began to invade Russia. Napoleon’s army, which had already enjoyed great victories and had conquered many lands, tried to conquer Russia too and to annex it to the growing empire. The Alter Rebbe, who lived in Liadi in Russia, told his students that if Napoleon and his army would be victorious, although the material lot of the Jews would improve, their spiritual lot would deteriorate. The Alter


Rebbe did a lot, both materially and spiritually, to prevent this from happening. Thanks to his

40 � • 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5774

actions, Czar Nicholas’ army was victorious over the French. The Alter Rebbe started the birur process of France. He took the song that Napoleon’s soldiers sang and turned it into a Chabad niggun; that is the famous Napoleon’s March that we all know. The Rebbe Maharash continued the birur. He traveled to France a number of times and was mekarev many Jews to Torah and Avodas Hashem. He also said deep Maamarei Chassidus in France. In the Rebbe’s first maamer upon accepting the Chabad leadership, “Basi L ’Gani,” he said that the Rebbe Maharash once went to France in order to meet a Jew who had cast off the yoke of Torah and mitzvos. This man played cards in a hotel and drank gentile wine. The Rebbe Maharash said to him, “Young man, gentile wine dulls the mind and heart of a Jew.” This line pierced the heart of that Jew and he became a baal t’shuva and established a fine, Chassidishe family. The Rebbe Rashab continued the work of birurim to prepare France for the Geula. He visited France even more often than did his son, the Rebbe Rayatz, who went to France and stayed there for weeks at a time. The Rebbe Rayatz also sent some shluchim to strengthen the large, growing Jewish community there.

During World War II, many Jews found refuge in France before it was conquered by the Germans. France also served as a way-station between Europe and Eretz Yisroel and the US. At that time, there was a large community of Chabad Chassidim who did a lot for the unfortunate Jews who remained without possessions or family after the war. Our Rebbe lived in France between 1937 and 1941 and was involved in the Rebbe Rayatz’s inyanim. He edited HaTamim and the Rebbe Rayatz’s sichos which were printed. Many indexes for Chassidic books like the Tanya, Torah Ohr, and Likkutei Torah were edited by the Rebbe while he was in France. After accepting the Chabad leadership, the Rebbe sent many shluchim to France in order to strengthen Judaism there. In 5752, on Shabbos Parshas VaYeishev, the Rebbe explained that the refinement of the entire world is reflected in the country of France. In the time of the Alter Rebbe, France symbolized the strength of klipa, which is why the Alter Rebbe prayed and worked for a Russian victory. But in our generation, there are numerous Chabad houses in France, and

Torah is spread with great pride. This is hinted to in the letters of the name of France in Hebrew, ‫צרפת‬, which are the letters of ‫פרצת‬, to break through and transform the entire world. Furthermore, explains the Rebbe, the letters of Tzorfas add up to 770, the very same number which is the address of the Rebbe’s headquarters, from which light goes forth to the entire world. So dear soldiers, before I spin on my axis to our next location in conquering the world, let us dance to the niggun “HaAderes V’Ha’Emuna,” because that was also, once upon a time, the anthem of France. The Rebbe transformed it into a Chassidishe niggun and with this niggun we will go out of galus with great joy. Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu, Melech HaMoshiach L ’olam Va’ed!

In the time of the Alter Rebbe, France symbolized the strength of klipa, which is why the Alter Rebbe prayed and worked for a Russian victory. But in our generation, there are numerous Chabad houses in France, and Torah is spread with great pride.
Issue 898 • �  


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful