Nosson Avraham

Menachem Ziegelboim

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D’var Malchus Parsha Thought Maamer Tzivos Hashem Crossroads


Shai Gefen

Shneur Zalman Berger
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The Zohar’s statement begs the well-known question: How can it be said that women are “exempt from Mitzvos”? Women are actually obligated in the majority of the Mitzvos! * The Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era entails the revelation of the essence of G-d, which is connected with the essence of a Jew, a Jew’s inner core which transcends Torah and Mitzvos.
Translated by Boruch Merkur

1. My revered father, in his notes on the Zohar, devotes much attention to the verse, cited in the classic mystical text’s commentary on this week’s Torah portion, “And it shall be at the end of days that the mountain of the House of G-d shall be firmly established at the top of the mountains, and it shall be raised above the hills, and all the nations shall stream to it” (Yeshaya 2:2). The Zohar asks: “Who is the ‘top of the mountains (rosh ha’harim; literally “head” of the mountains)’? This refers to Avrohom, etc. Since he is the head, it is proper that the Kos Shel Bracha (Cup of Benediction, the cup of wine

upon which Birkas HaMazon, Grace after Meals, is said) shall be ‘at the top of the mountains, etc.’” The Zohar continues (expounding on the continuation of the verse, “And it shall be in the end of days, etc.”): “‘All the nations shall gather towards him’ – to what does this refer?” The Zohar answers, the intent here is to include [in answering “amen” to Birkas HaMazon] “even women and children, as well as the one who serves the meal. That is, even though the servant did not partake of the meal, he needs to listen and answer ‘amen,’ etc.” The Zohar offers an alternate interpretation: “‘All the nations shall gather towards him’ – although women and children are exempt from

Mitzvos, everyone is obligated in Kos Shel Bracha, etc.”

2. The Zohar’s statement, “although women (and children) are exempt from Mitzvos, everyone is obligated in Kos Shel Bracha, etc.,” begs the wellknown question: How can it be said that women are “exempt from Mitzvos”? Women are actually obligated in the majority of the Mitzvos! It is impossible to say that by, “[they] are exempt from Mitzvos,” the Zohar is only referring to children and not women, for then it would not have been necessary to mention women at all here. By the same

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token, men are not mentioned in this context inasmuch as there is nothing novel in saying that men are obligated in Kos Shel Bracha. The resolution to this difficulty is as follows. “Exempt from Mitzvos” is only said here with regard to the requirement of Birkas HaMazon. That is, there are two opinions proposed in the Gemara as to what extent women are obligated in Birkas HaMazon. According to one opinion, the obligation is of Biblical origin, whereas another opinion maintains that it is a Rabbinical decree. Thus, the statement, “although women…are exempt from Mitzvos, everyone is obligated in Kos Shel Bracha,” can be understood in two ways: a) The Zohar follows the ruling that women are not Biblically obligated in Birkas HaMazon [nevertheless, they are still “obligated in Kos Shel Bracha”]; b) the opinion of the Zohar is that women are Biblically obligated in Birkas HaMazon, nevertheless, even according to the second Talmudic opinion – that women are not Biblically obligated in Birkas HaMazon – “everyone is obligated in Kos Shel Bracha,” in precisely the same manner as those who are Biblically obligated in Birkas HaMazon. That is, Kos Shel Bracha is [equally] applicable to all Jewish people – men, women, and children. It remains to be explained, however, why this is so, why “women and children are exempt from Mitzvos” yet they are obligated in Kos Shel Bracha just like men. […]

Since the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion speaks about the state that will be in “the end of days,” in the future redemption, it is logical to say that when the Zohar speaks about the Kos Shel Bracha in this context, the intent is with regard to the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era.

3. This topic will be

elucidated in light of a discussion of the general concept of Kos Shel Bracha, the Cup of Benediction, which can be observed at various spiritual levels. When we speak about a regular cup, the cup in question can, of course, vary significantly in size. It can be a small cup, a medium-sized cup, a large cup, or the greatest cup of all, “kosi revaya (my cup quenches thirst)” (of Moshiach the King), which holds 221 lugin (221 being the numerical equivalent of “revaya”). So too regarding Kos Shel Bracha – it can be observed at a variety of levels, including the greatest level, the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era, which will also be the kosi revaya, holding 221 lugin, numerically equivalent to “arich (long, great),” which alludes to Arich Anpin, a level of Divinity that transcends all other concepts, including the intellect. […] In fact, it is from this level [the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era, the unparalleled height of Arich Anpin] that the future redemption emerges. Since the Zohar on this week’s Torah portion speaks about the state that will be in “the end of days,” in the future redemption, it is logical to say that when the Zohar speaks

about the Kos Shel Bracha in this context, the intent is with regard to the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era.

4. Accordingly we can explain why the Zohar says that although children are exempt from Mitzvos they are obligated in Kos Shel Bracha: Children [as well as women; see footnote in the original text] accelerate the advent of Moshiach, as is written in the Zohar on the verse in Shir HaShirim, “‘The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of singing has arrived, and the voice of the turtledove (the redemption) is heard in our land’: ‘The blossoms have appeared in the land’ refers to Jewish children.” Thus, they are also obligated (they have a portion) in the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era (which the Zohar is speaking about here).

5. However, at first glance it remains to be explained: The general principle that all the revelations of the Future Era are dependent upon our deeds

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and our service throughout the duration of the present era is a well-known concept. But since “women and children are exempt from Mitzvos,” they therefore don’t have “our deeds and our service” per se. (It is true that they are involved in all the Mitzva Campaigns. (Women even participate in the T’fillin Campaign by influencing men to wrap t’fillin.) And through “our deeds” – especially general, central activities, such as the Mitzva Campaigns – they bring our righteous Moshiach. This merit, however, extends to women and children only insofar as they influence others; it is not fulfilled in them personally.) On this basis [i.e., since their “deeds and service” are not equal to those of men], how is it possible to say that women and children have an equal portion in (the revelations of) the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future? by way of Zeir Anpin, which transcends Malchus.) However, regarding children, who are likewise exempt from Mitzvos, the question still stands: how are they privy to the revelation of the Future Era? But also regarding women: From the very fact that the Zohar emphasizes this concept – that women (and children) are exempt from Mitzvos – it is understood that their obligation in Kos Shel Bracha is not because Mitzvos pertain to them as well (through their husbands) but that their exemption from Mitzvos does not interfere with this revelation. when you grasp part of it, you grasp it all.” Therefore when you “grasp” a Jew here in this material world, you “grasp,” as it were, the very essence of G-d! Thus, the revelation of this connection, which comprises the concept of the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era, is present in every Jew equally – including woman and children, who are exempt from Mitzvos – for this is a connection that entirely transcends Torah and Mitzvos. As discussed above in the maamer (beginning with the words “V’Ata Im Matzatzi Chein B’Einecha, etc.,” which is founded on the maamer of the same opening words of 5678, as well as the maamer of the Tzemach Tzedek on the same verse, which speaks about these concepts (and they have other drushim connected with this, as well)) regarding chein (grace), which is even higher than an initiative from below (and the service of Torah and Mitzvos). Thus, the concept of chein extends even to children and babies. In fact, since there is no concept of Mitzvos regarding children (as well as women), the concept of chein is more revealed in them, stemming from the very essence.

7. The resolution of the matter: This concept (of the Kos Shel Bracha) of the Future Era entails the revelation of the essence of G-d (as explained in several places in Pri Eitz Chayim, in the Future Era the inner aspect of Atika Kadisha will be revealed), which is connected with the essence of a Jew, a Jew’s inner core which transcends Torah and Mitzvos, for the connection and unity of a Jew with the very essence and being of G-d entirely transcends revelations. It is impossible for G-d’s essence to be grasped through the intellectual faculties of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge, through the Emotional Attributes, nor through the three garments of the soul, thought, speech, and action. Rather, this is a connection and unity of essence to essence [the essence of a Jew with the very essence of G-d]. Jews are “a veritable part of G-d above,” and “the essence,

6. With regard to women, it is possible to answer according to what is discussed in the works of the Arizal – that the reason why women are exempt from positive, timely Mitzvos is because their husbands fulfill them on their behalf. For a woman embodies Malchus [Kingship, the lowest of the ten Divine Attributes, which serves as a recipient from the higher Attributes] and a woman’s husband embodies Zeir Anpin [the six emotional Attributes, which channel G-dliness into Malchus]. Since the husband fulfills Mitzvos at the level of Zeir Anpin, this automatically affects Malchus. (In fact, it is thus done in a more profound manner –

8. The following lesson in serving G-d can be derived from the Zohar discussed above: Since the redemption is dependent upon “our deeds and our Divine service” in the present era, one may be led to believe that this detracts from the importance of working with children, for children are “exempt from Mitzvos.”

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Similarly regarding women: They say that Mivtza T’fillin, for example, brings the redemption, but women have no obligation to put on t’fillin. A woman’s connection with the redemption, therefore, appears to be limited. To dispel these misconceptions, the Zohar teaches that even though women and children are exempt from Mitzvos, “everyone is obligated” in the Kos Shel Bracha of the Messianic Era, for everything related to the redemption is in fact equally relevant to all Jews. The redemption is connected with a Jew’s essence, which transcends even Torah and Mitzvos, and when we speak about a Jew’s essence, all Jews are equal. Moreover, since children (as well as women) have the power to dramatically speed up the redemption, it is actually incredibly important to devote one’s efforts towards them. The same lesson applies to adults. When a Jew is approached and encouraged to participate in singing “we want Moshiach now,” for he will thereby speed up the redemption – he argues that it is first necessary to accumulate Torah and Mitzvos to prepare to welcome Moshiach Tzidkeinu. We must tell this Jew that in essence, Moshiach is beyond all considerations of Torah and Mitzvos. In this respect, when Moshiach comes, it is irrelevant whether he had put on t’fillin on the eve of Shabbos, whether he made Kiddush by day (on Shabbos), whether he sat and struggled for three hours at the farbrengen to stay awake… The fact is that even if he sleeps during the farbrengen, he will still get a portion of Kos Shel Bracha.

With regard to what Rambam writes at the conclusion of the Laws of Kings and their Wars – that in the Future Era there will be “delicacies commonly available, like dust.” As a result of this great, universal abundance, every single person will have a share in the Kos Shel Bracha of the redemption.

And what a Kos Shel Bracha – Kosi Revaya! (Similarly with regard to what Rambam writes at the conclusion of the Laws of Kings and their Wars – that in the Future Era there will be “delicacies commonly available, like dust.” As a result of this great, universal abundance, every single person will have a share in the Kos Shel Bracha of the redemption.)

9. An additional lesson is derived from this teaching in the Zohar: Prior to saying, “although women and children are exempt from Mitzvos, everyone is obligated in Kos Shel Bracha,” the Zohar relates: “Even…a servant who serves food – even though he doesn’t partake of the meal – he too needs to give voice and say amen, etc.” Every Jew has a connection to the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era, even the person who serves the meal, the waiter. The reason for this is, as above, on account of the fact that he too – the waiter – has the etzem, the essential Jewish spark. From here we learn a simple lesson: Even if there is a person whose role it is to simply serve the meal–– He doesn’t

[participate in the meal, meaning he doesn’t] serve G-d at all; he only endeavors to provide others with food and drink, so that they should be able to imbibe Torah and Mitzvos, etc., in a manner that Rashi says, “like a table that is set and prepared, from upon which people may eat.” Even this person has a connection with the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era. For at first glance, he has done nothing to improve his spiritual condition. He did not repent and return to G-d, he did not fulfill Torah and mitzvos, and he is, at first glance, lacking in the concept of “our deeds and our Divine service” of the present times! However, from here we see how the revelation of the Future Era will entirely transcend the concept of Torah and Mitzvos, and how at that time, the very essence of a Jew’s soul will be revealed, the Jewish spark that is connected with the essence and being of G-d Himself, and it will be revealed how the essence entirely transcends Torah and Mitzvos. Thus, he too will participate in the Kos Shel Bracha of the Future Era. (From the address of Shabbos Parshas Ki Sisa 5741)

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chain of high and snowy mountains encircle the tourist city of Bariloche, Argentina. As the sun sets, a yellow halo of light mixes with the deep blue skies. The clear water of Nahuel Huapi Lake breaks along the pier, as the clouds and the lake turn bright red. Bariloche is Argentina’s

ultimate tourist city. Tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world come here each year. This city offers visitors a magical combination of stunningly breathtaking views, reasonable prices, and a long list of attractions that make it a very popular vacation spot. Bariloche is also considered the

official capital of the Argentinian lake region. The city and its surrounding area are filled with dazzling lakes, snowy mountain peaks, and magnificent green forests. “This is the most prominent tourist city in Argentina,” says Rabbi Boaz Klein, the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Bariloche

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Rabbi Boaz Klein and his wife Fraidy, the Rebbe MH”M’s shluchim in Bariloche, Argentina, work with tens of thousands of Jewish tourists from around the world who come to this magical South American paradise. Rabbi Klein tells Beis Moshiach about his activities there.
By Nosson Avrohom Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

for the past five years. “Tourists call it ‘the Switzerland of South America,’ due to its lofty snowcapped mountains.” Bariloche was founded more than a hundred years ago by several German and Austrian families who emigrated there from their native countries, seeking to make a new life in a

distant land. As a result, after the Second World War, the city also absorbed a large number of Nazi war criminals who fled to Argentina to escape international justice. “The Chabad House’s first building had previously served as a German kindergarten with a Nazi flag flying from its balcony.”

Rabbi Klein tells us that while the German presence is definitely felt throughout the city, it doesn’t seem to trouble him. The Bariloche Chabad House is one of the busiest Chabad centers on the continent of South America. About ten thousand Israelis visit here each year, and the Chabad house provides kosher food,

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outreach activities, a mikveh, a synagogue with regular prayer services, and plenty of one-onone discussions. “This is the most remote city on the continent – Israeli tourists either start or conclude their journey here.” activities, the shluchim had their fair share of bumps along the way. “After our first year of shlichus, it turned out that the facility we were using was subject to a demolition order. A multi-story building was being constructed nearby, and this apparently resulted in a weakening of the foundations on our structure. The municipal authorities turned off the electricity and gas. We couldn’t stay there, so we took up residence in a local hotel. Our activities came to a standstill over the next two weeks. We went out in search of an alternative location. We made numerous offers, but we still hadn’t found a suitable building. We were getting desperate. “We then traveled to Bahia Blanca to spend Shabbos with the local shluchim, Rabbi and Mrs. Moshe Freedman. Rabbi Freedman told us how they had arrived on their shlichus thirty years earlier. They spent six months living in a hotel from where they organized their outreach activities. A few days after writing a heartfelt letter to the Rebbe explaining the situation, they received a most encouraging reply. That very same day, they found an appropriate facility for the Chabad House. “On Motzaei Shabbos we wrote a letter to the Rebbe in request of a bracha, and placed it in a volume of Igros Kodesh. “What happened afterward was nothing less than amazing. A few hours later, we received a phone call from a real estate agent in Bariloche, who told us that she had two buildings for us. When we returned home we couldn’t believe our eyes: each building was in excellent condition and appropriate for our needs. All we had to do was choose one of them.” According to Rabbi Klein, the Chabad house encountered numerous difficulties during its initial stages of operations. Working with hundreds of people each week demanded a sizable budget. “During our first year in Bariloche, we had a Shabbos when we had ordered a large quantity of flour for making challos, but we had no way of paying for it. We had no credit card at the time, and we tried several methods of raising the necessary funds. After all our efforts proved unsuccessful, we were hoping for a miracle. “On Friday, at five o’clock in the morning, we woke up with a start to the sound of someone pounding at the front door. We had no idea who could possibly be coming at such an early hour. When I opened the door I saw an Israeli in his thirties, asking for some bread. He had come to me because he didn’t want to eat anything that wasn’t Pas Yisroel. “It took me a few minutes to absorb this peculiar request first thing in the morning. Nevertheless, my wife quickly arose and told him to come back at eight o’clock for some fresh rolls… With great dedication, she passed up on some much needed rest, washed negel vasser, said Brachos, gathered up the little flour we had, and baked some rolls. When the man came back at eight in the morning he had some fresh hot rolls waiting for him. “When he asked how much he should pay, I replied that he should give a donation for as much as he wants. While we were still talking, the delivery truck arrived with the flour. The driver unloaded the sacks we had ordered, and then handed us the bill for payment. The Israeli took

Rabbi Boaz Klein and his wife, Fraidy, arrived in Bariloche in late Menachem Av 5769. “After months of preparation, we packed our suitcases and bought two airline tickets to Argentina, with a stop in New York to visit 770. Along the way, we experienced several amazing cases of Divine Providence, making it quite clear that we were not setting out on this shlichus with our own strengths, but with those of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, accompanying us at every step.” Even during their week-long stay in Beis Chayeinu, the Hand of Alm-ghty G-d continued to guide the young shluchim. “After drawing much spiritual strength from the Tree of Life, we flew to Buenos Aires, where we met with the head shliach, Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt. From there we took a direct flight to Bariloche.” Rabbi Klein describes those first days as constant activity, as he and his wife had no time to digest what was happening. “On that very first Shabbos we hosted about fifty tourists. This was immediately followed by the High Holidays and the joyous season of Sukkos and Simchas Torah. At the central Chanukah menorah lighting during that first year, about five hundred tourists participated. With that number of people taking part, who has time to stop and balance the books?” Despite the intensive

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the bill and paid the full amount himself… When the truck driver and the Israeli left, I remained frozen in my place, stunned by the Divine Providence that had just occurred before my very eyes. This was literally a Baal Shem’ske Maaseh…”

During the first months after the arrival of the shluchim in Bariloche, the Chabad House still didn’t have a regular telephone line, a mobile phone, or even Internet. On the day that his mobile phone become operational, he quickly put up an announcement on the Chabad House’s front door with his new phone number. He also updated the various Chabad websites with the same information. “The next day, at four o’clock in the morning, the telephone rang. I woke up, washed negel vasser, and asked who it was. I heard someone speaking in Spanish, the local language. Since I had yet to become proficient in Spanish, I wasn’t certain what he wanted from me, and I had to break my teeth in order to understand him. After much trial and effort, I realized that he was standing outside by the door, and I went out to greet him. There were several people waiting at the doorstep; they told me about their aunt who had married a Gentile, a South American Indian, and lived in a remote village over a hundred and twenty miles from Bariloche. She had suddenly passed away the night before, and their grandmother from Buenos Aires had sent them to me to make certain that the deceased’s husband didn’t cremate her body in a funeral pyre, as was customary in that region.

In the Chabad House with Israeli tourists

“I wasted no valuable time. I grabbed a pair of t’fillin, told my wife where I was going, and set out on my journey. After traveling for several hours along long and winding roads, we arrived in the city of El Bolson. It turns out that this city was once a gathering place for hippies and beatniks of all types. Among those it attracted was this Jewish woman, then in search of her identity. She met a local Gentile there and r”l married him. Since she was a trained doctor, she became the village’s medical caregiver. “Along with two of the woman’s nephews, residents of Bariloche, I stood at the door of their house. We tried to speak to the Gentile’s heart, begging him not to burn his wife’s body. However, this Indian was extremely stubborn about adhering to the traditions of his own ancestors. ‘If you bury her in any city in Argentina, I’ll come there, remove her body from the grave and burn it,’ he promised us at the outset. Yet, we would not relent. The grandmother from Buenos

Aires was on the phone with us throughout all these negotiations, and she was determined that her daughter receive a Jewish burial. However, the husband was no less determined, and regrettably, Argentine law gave him the authority in this matter. Thus, all the pressure and threats in the world would not change his mind. “During the long hours we waited in the courtyard, I was shocked to see the Indian husband laughing cheerfully, as if he had suffered no tragic loss. The story of this woman and her mother from Buenos Aires chilled me to the bone. The latter was the last surviving member of a Satmar Chassidic family wiped out in the Holocaust. She was a woman of very strong character, and as soon as she had arrived in Argentina, she severed all connection to Torah and mitzvos. She established several factories, making her family extremely wealthy. “While she was no longer Torah observant, nevertheless, the lack of a proper Jewish burial

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was a red line she was unwilling to cross. Her daughter’s Hebrew name was Chana Leah, and I was stunned to see her grandchildren, born with a typical Indian appearance, who knew nothing about their grandmother’s Jewish heritage or their own. The only Yiddishe thing they knew was to call their grandmother ‘Bubby’. The negotiations with this vile idolater went on for hours, well into the evening. Finally, it appeared that he had decided to make a concession. “After much pleading on my part, adding a few blessings for him along the way, he agreed chose not to give the matter too much thought, especially after the Gentile had agreed to bury his wife as a Jew. I quickly drove over to the farm, and asked the people there to join me. Eight Jewish men got into my vehicle without saying a word; they were all high on drugs. Together, we quickly made our way back to the Indian village. “As soon as we got there, the drugs started wearing off, and the Israelis slowly came back to their senses. They made our minyan, and the woman was laid to rest. The burial took place in the same cemetery with non-Jews, so we very close to his grandmother and had been a part of the story since it began back in Buenos Aires, did t’shuva and become a Lubavitcher Chassid. I later heard that the whole family had started coming to his home for the Jewish holidays. Even the wall of spiritual alienation erected by the grandmother, the deceased woman’s mother, had been breached as a result of this story. It led the entire family to go through a process of kiruv.”

The doors of the Chabad House are open seven days a week. Many tourists come in for something to eat, to put on t’fillin, or just to get a little information about the city and feel the Jewish experience. Many Jewish souls have been reawakened in this remote outpost, of all places. Rabbi Klein has numerous stories to illustrate this point. “Two years ago, on Erev Yom Kippur, two young men came in asking for information on how to get to a certain place in the cheapest way possible. After spending about ten minutes explaining to them what they wanted to know, I asked them where they were from in Eretz Yisroel. I ask this question carefully in order to determine if they came from a kibbutz. In such a case, it would be a reasonable assumption that they had never put on t’fillin before, creating an excellent opportunity to make a bar-mitzvah celebration for them. “They said that they were born and raised on the Negev settlement of S’dei Boker. However, before I had a chance to offer them something connected to Yiddishkait, they told me that their kibbutz had

He said that his mother had been raised in an observant home, abandoned all religious practice, and married his father. Before leaving for his trip to South America, he promised her that he wouldn’t put on t’fillin while he was away.

not to burn his Jewish wife’s body. However, there was one condition: the burial would take place in the village, not in Buenos Aires. In constant contact with Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt, who guided me every step of the way, I learned for the first time the laws of Jewish tahara and burial. The local ritual was for the villagers to part from the deceased after the body had been cremated. However, due to our efforts and urgent appeals, they parted from her while she was whole, and after the tahara we had done. “Now, the question was: Where could I find a minyan? I thought to myself for a moment, and then I suddenly remembered that I had heard about an Israeli farm located nearby. The problem was that I knew that the people there spent most of their time smoking hallucinogens. I

marked her grave off from the others and placed a fence around it. The funeral ceremony was very moving. We cried out ‘Shma Yisroel,’ and I recited the Twelve P’sukim together with the Jewish children and grandchildren. They even said Kaddish. In the merit of these Israelis, this Jewish woman was privileged to have a Jewish burial. Afterwards, I realized that the Israelis’ presence on the nearby farm was another amazing case of Divine Providence, as they comprised the minyan to pray for her soul. “I returned home that night, totally exhausted but very satisfied. As a result of this story, the connection with the woman’s nephews living in Bariloche grew stronger. They would periodically come to the Chabad House to say Kaddish in their aunt’s memory. One nephew, who was

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recently decided to build a synagogue, but it burned to the ground shortly after its construction. This was their way of hinting to me that they were very far from the path of Judaism. When I asked them if they would like to put on t’fillin, one of them declared categorically, ‘I’ll never put on t’fillin in my life.’ He said that his mother had been raised in an observant home, abandoned all religious practice, and married his father. Before leaving for his trip to South America, he promised her that he wouldn’t put on t’fillin while he was away. The second young man was less adamant and said to me, ‘If you can convince him, I’ll put on also.’ “I tried to explain to them about the importance of putting on t’fillin, both logically and spiritually, but they remained steadfast in their refusal. After talking with them for about ten minutes, the more stubborn one said to me: ‘Look, we’re going backpacking and we’ll be back in a few days. While we’re on our journey, we’ll think about it, and if we change our minds, we’ll come back to the Chabad House.’ When they left, I felt very sad. As Chabad Chassidim, we have been taught that if someone refuses us, the problem is with us – not with the person we are trying to reach. “Two days later, I was preparing to leave the Chabad House to go shopping, when I suddenly notice these two young men standing at the door. ‘We came to put on t’fillin,’ they declared. I was overwhelmed. They put on t’fillin, and we made a bar-mitzvah celebration. Suddenly, I noticed that the stubborn kibbutznik who had spearheaded the refusal was openly crying. ‘What happened?’ I asked him, but he wouldn’t answer. ‘Listen,’ his companion

Final preparations for a giant Seder night with more than a thousand tourists

told me, ‘we don’t understand anything about the importance of putting on t’fillin, but your concern over the matter moved us very much. Therefore, we decided to come back and put on t’fillin.’ After they left again, I thought to myself how this proves that it’s forbidden to lose hope.” One story follows another, and Rabbi Klein recalls another two young Israelis, officers in the IDF intelligence corps, who came into the Chabad House one morning and asked if they could put on t’fillin. “I put on t’fillin on one of them, and as he was rolling up his sleeve, I noticed that he had open blisters on his arm. When I asked him about them, he said that he had recently been touring in the jungles of Bolivia, when he had apparently contracted these sores on his arms and his back. He went to various hospitals, had pictures taken, but none of the doctors could identify the source of the problem. “I wished him a complete and speedy recovery, and he headed back to the hostel where

Putting on t’fillin with a tourist

he was staying. Two hours later, he came back to the Chabad House in a state of elation. ‘What happened?’ I asked him. He said that when he returned to the hostel, he went into his room to take a shower. Suddenly, he noticed a worm, about four inches long, slithering out of his arm. He quickly called his friend and told him to film it. He later showed me the film, so I could
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“It was Friday afternoon. The Chabad House was all ready to greet the tourists coming for the Shabbos meal, and I was helping my wife with the final preparations. “Suddenly, without warning, the front door opened with a bang. Standing before me was a middle-aged Israeli couple. The husband, a tall and aggressive man, declared, ‘I didn’t come to register for Shabbos; that doesn’t interest me. I only came to ask if my credit card sent from Eretz Yisroel arrived here.’ We checked and saw that it hadn’t come yet. We told this to the husband, and the couple prepared to leave. I politely asked the man if he would like to put on t’fillin, but he didn’t want to hear about it. “After consulting briefly with my wife, and I approached the man again before he left the house. I told him that about two hundred Israelis are about to come to the Chabad House for the Shabbos meals, and my wife had prepared a big soup. Since she wanted to know if it came out good, I asked if he and his wife could do us a favor and taste some of the hot soup out of the vat. He had never heard of such a favor, but he immediately agreed. After serving each of them a bowl, we left them alone as they ate. “Several minutes later, the woman called to my wife and said, ‘You should know that I’ve been suffering from bad cold symptoms and headaches for the past year. Just look at the pile of tissues I carry in my pocket. We’ve gone to prominent doctors, but no one could cure the problem. Our only daughter is about to get married, and I didn’t know how I would be able to function this way. Now, after eating your soup, I

As was mentioned in the main body of our interview, Bariloche also has a large concentration of children and grandchildren of the cursed Nazis, may their name be erased. “Recently, there was a storm created when the Argentinian authorities extradited Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke to Italy. This repulsive villain died of old age before he could be brought to trial. I am certain that there are others like him in Bariloche.” Symbols of the Nazi Party appear in the windows of local homes and business centers, something that is illegal in virtually every other nation in the world – even Germany. “The city has a large shopping center with numerous stores. Up until a few months ago there was a giant artistic board in the main vestibule, displaying a Nazi flag and swastikas. “Nevertheless, we rarely encounter anti-Semitism. There are some people here who still support the Nazi ideology, but they largely keep it to themselves. There are also those who are consumed with guilt over what they had previously done to the Jewish People. I have met several who asked forgiveness for their terrible sins. “There was one Nazi who explained to us that he opposes today’s ‘neoNazis.’ Why? ‘Because they are anarchists who operate in a disorderly manner, unlike their forefathers,’ he explained. We were once walking in the street, when an elderly German with a cane noticed us, stopped walking, gave us a Nazi salute, and shouted a few slogans of the Nazi Party.” see for myself. It turns out that this is what caused the blistering. Afterwards, he went to a local doctor, who stitched up the remaining abscess. The young man said that he is absolutely certain that it was the t’fillin that caused the worm to leave his body...” Rabbi Klein said that he regrettably meets many Israelis who have never put on t’fillin before. “A group of young men from Ashdod, with a very warm feeling towards Yiddishkait, recently visited us. After they had put on t’fillin, they wanted to hear more about the meaning behind this mitzvah. When they heard that there were many Israelis who had never put on t’fillin in their lives, they refused to believe it. We made an agreement that if they would ever find such people, they should bring them to the Chabad House. Just a few hours later, they came into the Chabad House with two young men from Kibbutz Givat HaShlosha who had never had a bar-mitzvah, one of whom was a descendant of Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg (the Maharam). “We made a joyous and moving bar-mitzvah celebration for them right there.”

Every shliach, especially a shliach in a remote location such as Bariloche, knows that in his routine daily activities, he will often encounter some strange experiences. When they occur, the shliach needs a dose of Halachic knowledge and a lot of help from G-d. “And a shliach has to know how to use his common sense,” says Rabbi Klein, as he brings us a few examples he only recently encountered.

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suddenly feel some relief for the first time.’ My wife told her that the Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel once said that the soup from Shabbos has unique healing qualities. The woman accepted the explanation plainly and with much enthusiasm. She decided that in the merit of what had just happened, she would observe that Shabbos… “Her husband looked at her and then said to us, ‘Whatever my wife does, I’ll do as well.’ They were our guests that Shabbos; this marked the first Shabbos in their lives that they had kept according to Halacha. Whatever I did, he did after me, and the same went for our wives. He washed his hands before HaMotzi, did mayim acharonim, and said Chitas and Rambam. Who would have believed it? I never would have dreamed of such a thing when they entered the Chabad House.” Rabbi Klein then remembered another story: “About two years ago, a young Israeli came into the Chabad House. He said that he had been traveling through Central and South America for the past six months, and he had stringently avoided entering the many Chabad Houses spread throughout the region. He was coming to us now because his friend has sent him to deliver a letter of appreciation to us. He gave me the letter, and quickly walked out. When he left the house, I thought to myself: Is it possible that someone would come into the Chabad House and leave empty-handed? I went outside, called him back, and I said with a smile, ‘How are you doing?’ as I gave him a hug. “He couldn’t understand the reason for the hug and the smile, yet he was very moved. That Shabbos, I saw him again – in

the Chabad House – and we’ve been friends ever since. This young man came to Bariloche as an atheist and left as a Shabbos observant Jew… “After traveling for another few months, he returned to Eretz Yisroel and become close to Chabad. It has changed his entire life.” The tremendous activities with thousands of tourists each year obviously creates a lot of expenses. Where does the money come from? “At first, there were considerable financial difficulties. Even today, we often find ourselves stuck without any funds. However, there is ‘the reward of your labors’, and according to another interpretation: When you labor, the money comes… There are many tourists who visit us and become regular contributors to the Chabad House.” When we asked Rabbi Klein to give us an illustration of the Divine Providence he has experienced in financial matters, he told the following story that

occurred not too long ago: “There’s a Jew from the United States, a very wealthy man who gives to many shluchim and finances their activities. One day, I received a phone call from one of his assistants, informing me that this wealthy man would be staying in Bariloche for about a week. He added that while he will be at a local hotel preceded by his personal chef, he wants to spend Shabbos with us in order to keep kosher as stringently as possible. The assistant emphasized that his employer is extremely particular regarding his food, and he asked that we prepare the Shabbos meals with a very professional cuisine. ‘Make certain that the food doesn’t disappoint him,’ the aide said in closing. “I went into a panic. The Chabad House food is usually very simple: rice, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. The meals are served on plastic plates and with plastic utensils. Meat is a very rare commodity in Bariloche. What would we do now? “On Thursday, we were informed that the millionaire
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decided to arrive in the city shortly before Shabbos. As a result, the food prepared at the hotel would be donated to the Chabad House. Within a few hours, a truck stopped at the Chabad House entrance and unloaded a large quantity of five-star quality food. The problem was that we didn’t have enough refrigerator space to store all the food until Shabbos. Without much choice, we gave the gourmet food to the Israelis who came that day to the Chabad House and enjoyed it down to the last morsel. “To be quite honest, when I saw the high quality of food that had arrived, this just put me under more pressure. Whatever we cook cannot possibly reach such expertise and proficiency. “That Shabbos, only about thirty people registered for meals, as most of the Israeli tourists opted to travel to a carnival in Brazil. I was comforted by the fact that even if the philanthropist would not be completely satisfied with the quality of the food we would serve, at least he’ll enjoy the pleasant, relaxed Shabbos atmosphere. However, when it was time for the evening meal, it was clear that the atmosphere would not be as relaxed as I had anticipated. There was a torrential rainstorm outside, and about one hundred and fifty tourists crowded into the Chabad House, soaked to the skin and with not enough places ready for everyone to sit. “When the appointed hour came, and the wealthy man arrived with his entourage, it was immediately clear that he was stunned by the sight before his eyes. I seated him at the head the table, although the Israelis unfamiliar with him or his status simply took the used empty plates from the side tables and piled them up high – right in front of him. He didn’t have an easy time eating his meal… Afterwards, the traditional weekly farbrengen began. Most of the Israelis had left, and we started our regular discussions, lasting well into the night. Our honored guest was very tired by this time. He got up from his place and excused himself to return to his hotel. Before leaving, he asked when he should come back tomorrow. I replied that he could come whenever he wished. Considering his bewildered expression, I wasn’t sure if he would be coming back. “Imagine how surprised I was when he arrived at eight o’clock the following morning, smiling and happy. He said that on his way back to the hotel, he met two young Israeli tourists on vacation who had been our guests that night, and he enjoyed immensely speaking with them. ‘You’re doing great work,’ he said to me with undisguised fervor. This time, he stayed at the Chabad House until two in the morning, something most uncharacteristic for a busy man like him. During the intervening time, the Israelis made their own farbrengen to his great delight, as he told them how he had acquired his wealth and why he had decided to get closer to G-d, despite his atheistic upbringing. “For me, this was a very instructive lesson: Do what is right and proper, and not in order to impress anyone. What’s supposed to happen – will happen. “By the way, one of those young Israeli tourists became very enthusiastic from the experience, and he is in contact with me to this day. The conversation with the wealthy philanthropist had a profound effect upon him. Today, he is a full-fledged baal t’shuva who left everything to devote himself to Torah study. One last minor detail: Before leaving, the philanthropist gave us a very generous donation, which was most helpful in funding our Chabad House activities…”

The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach requests that all matters of shlichus emphasize the subject of Moshiach and the Redemption. How is this brought into expression in Bariloche? “Tourists understand that whatever they receive in the Chabad House is in the Rebbe’s merit. When someone says ‘Thank you’ to me, I respond in the manner of Avraham Avinu: ‘Don’t thank me – thank the Rebbe!’ “In recent years, we have noticed that many tourists arrive with certain pre-conceived notions about the ultra-Orthodox and Yiddishkait in general. As a result, it’s difficult to come to them with proclamations and speeches without bringing some explanations – making them proper ‘vessels’ to receive the message. We work more in raising certain questions with the views they have formulated, including on the issue of Moshiach. We speak a great deal about Moshiach, providing some deep interpretation on the subject. Every word of Torah or serious discussion with a tourist always touches upon this issue.” An important component towards instilling the subject of Moshiach and the Redemption is writing a letter to the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. This

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exposes tourists to the fact that there is a Jewish leader from whom they can seek advice and receive a blessing. “Over a period of several months, we had a volunteer working with us who saw numerous tourists writing to the Rebbe. She too decided that she wanted to write a letter, but she wasn’t sure what to ask. She constantly spoke about this desire, yet for some reason, she was afraid to write. Then one day, she came to me with an open volume of Igros and asked me to read what it said. At the opening of the letter, the Rebbe wrote that he confirms receipt of her letter from December 27th – the same date when she had written her letter. I was in shock. How many times has the Rebbe noted the secular date in his correspondences? The Rebbe then proceeded to discuss the very subject she had raised in her own letter.” In conclusion, I would like to ask the following question: Your shlichus in this city places you very far away from any supportive Chassidic or Jewish community. How do you feel about that? Isn’t it extremely

difficult for you? “The truth is that it is quite difficult. I believe that a shlichus in Europe or the United States is easier due to its proximity to other Jewish communities. To travel from Bariloche to Buenos Aires or some other Chabad community takes about two days. While this is not a very pleasant feeling, we try our utmost to make things easier. Our intensive activities with tourists and the satisfaction derived from this work definitely help. We can’t rely upon the local community, because there are only five or six families – most of whom are assimilated. “At first, this proved even more difficult due to the prohibition against importing meat from other locations. Now, we periodically bring a shochet, and this satisfies our needs for kosher meat.”

Although we conducted our interview with Rabbi Klein late in the evening, there were constant interruptions from tourists calling to ask for advice. “From here, I’m traveling with my wife

to escort an Israeli couple who have decided to keep the laws of Family Purity. We’ll go together to show them the mikveh,” explained Rabbi Klein. It turns that Bariloche has a proper kosher mikveh located in a local hotel under Jewish ownership. The shliach holds a set of keys to the premises. As we concluded the interview, we asked Rabbi Klein about his future plans. He replied with complete sincerity that his most concrete plans are for the hisgalus of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, and the imminent Redemption. Until then, he and his wife will continue to prepare Bariloche to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu. He added that there are even plans to build a replica of 770 in the city. “You want a hot piece of information before you go?” Rabbi Klein said in jest. “Check out Google on Bariloche, and you’ll find that the city is situated exactly 770 meters above sea level…” For further information or to make a contribution, readers are invited to visit the Chabad House’s website: http://www.

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In 5728/1968, a historic visit took place when Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin z”l, went to the United States. Every step he took and every word he said was monitored by Russian authorities. * During the visit, he had private audiences with the Rebbe which were also monitored by his handlers. * Menachem Ziegelboim tells of this extraordinary visit for the first time with a transcript of the yechidus and an emotional sicha of the Rebbe against those who stood in the way of his guest during his visit.


ews in the United States were excited when they heard that R’ Yehuda Leib Levin, the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, would be visiting Jewish

communities and institutions in the United States. Russia in those days, under the iron fist of Leonid Brezhnev, seemed like another planet, distant and

incomprehensible. A Jew coming from there, all the more so someone as illustrious as the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, was quite an attraction.

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Many tumultuous incidents took place during his visit, some of them in public and some behind the scenes.

R’ Yehuda Leib Levin was born in 5654/1904 in Nikopol in the Yekaterinoslav district. His father was R’ Shmuel Eliyahu Levin, who served as the rav of Nikopol. He was a descendent of a line of rabbanim including R’ Refael HaKohen, the Av Beis Din of Hamburg, author of Toras Yekusiel. As a boy, he learned Torah with his father and then in Yeshiva in Niezhin and later Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel – Slobodka, headed by R’ Boruch Ber Leibowitz. He learned there

until 5674. In 5676 he received smicha and he served as rav in the village named Grishino and then in other cities. In 5683 he was appointed the rav of the large city of Grishino (Krasnoarmeysk) near Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk). With the invasion of the Nazis in 1941, all the Jews of the city left for the east, including R’ Levin. He settled in a small town in Uzbekistan. With the end of the war he returned to Grishino. In 1946, he was appointed as rav of Dnepropetrovsk, but in 1953 he was forced to leave the city upon being persecuted by the authorities. He was levied heavy taxes because he was the rav. Once again he went to distant Uzbekistan. For a number of years he wandered among cities

and communities; in each place he would write ST’aM and check Sifrei Torah and fix them. In 1956, he was invited to Sukhumi in Georgia where he met R’ Shlomo Shleifer, who served as rav of Moscow at that time. This meeting led to R’ Shleifer inviting him to Moscow and his getting involved in preparing for the opening of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov, which was being opened with permission from the government. R’ Levin accepted the offer and went to Moscow where he gave shiurim in Gemara to talmidim in the yeshiva. That was the only yeshiva in Russia which was legal. Of course, it operated under the watchful eyes of the government. R’ Shleifer died suddenly in
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1957 of a heart attack. His family attributed this to the tremendous pressure he was under. went up, albeit in limited fashion. The big shul in Moscow was kept open under communist rule, operating under the watchful eyes of KGB agents. A few Jews were permitted to daven there, mainly old people, and this was merely to show the world that Jews could pray. The Yeshivas Kol Yaakov also played this role. R’ Levin tried to preserve Judaism in Moscow, as the following incident with R’ Wolf Bogomolny shows. R’ Wolf was a young man, G-d fearing, and one of two shochtim and mohalim who faithfully served all the Jews of Moscow. One day, he was caught as he brought a wagon laden with packages of matzos to those who had ordered them. He was taken to the police station and the matzos were confiscated. He was brought to court where R’ Levin was also asked to be present. Needless to say, R’ Levin was in a tight spot. As the official rav, he could not justify an illegal activity, but … In the end, R’ Wolf was sentenced lightly to “only” one year in jail. When the year of his sentence was over, he bravely returned to sh’chita and mila. He also began trying to obtain a visa for Eretz Yisroel. When R’ Levin heard about this, he expressed his strong opposition to the move, because in Moscow there were only two shochtim and mohalim who served not only the huge Moscow community but also the neighboring cities. R’ Bogomolny was upset about this. R’ Levin, as a responsible leader, did not suffice with that but took action to convince him to remain in Moscow. In the meantime, R’ Wolf was surprised to receive a visa to leave Russia for Eretz Yisroel. It seems that the very reasons that R’ Levin used to dissuade him from leaving were the very same reasons the government wanted him to go. The government wanted the “klei kodesh” (those involved in holy works) to leave so that religious observance would wane. That left Moscow with only one shochet and mohel, just enough to be able to show tourists that the Jewish community had sh’chita and mila, everything religious people need. R’ Levin worked to enlarge the yeshiva, which was no simple matter. The number of students shrank. The students were adults, since boys till the age of 18 were not allowed to learn in yeshiva; it went against Soviet law. When new people applied, the government made life very difficult for them and screened them extensively. R’ Levin worked carefully but forcefully in order to get whatever concessions he could, as the following story demonstrates. The Chachomim in the Georgian community decided to send a group of fifteen students to the yeshiva in Moscow along

Now that the position was vacant, the members of the community considered R’ Levin as a possible candidate. He was a rav with ordination, knowledgeable in Halacha, relatively young, with a good command of Russian. The shul administration, known as the “council of twenty,” decided to choose him as a candidate as rav of Moscow. This first had to receive the stamp of approval from the government’s religious department, which did approve his candidacy. In his new position, R’ Levin worked on republishing the Siddur HaSholom. He printed about 10,000 copies of this Siddur which was popular among Russian Jews. He was also able to obtain various easements on the part of the government to open a matza bakery before Pesach. The level of the kashrus of meat also

R’ Levin, third from left, at a shiur in Yeshivas Kol Yaakov in Moscow. On the extreme left is R’ Shlomo Shleifer

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with a sum of money as tuition. However, the Soviet religious ministry refused to approve their acceptance into the yeshiva. R’ Levin stood up to the government and insisted on the permits. He showed that the yeshiva’s coffers were empty and the number of students was minimal. If they did not accept the group, he would have no choice but to close the yeshiva. The government did not want the yeshiva to close, for they wanted to show the world that there was freedom of religion. R’ Levin guaranteed that after they finished learning in the yeshiva and left with smicha, they would only serve in Georgia. His pressure did the job and the government backed down. The young men from Georgia were accepted into the yeshiva. After a number of years of study, they left with smicha for sh’chita and mila and knowledge in other areas of Halacha as well. They returned to their communities as Chachomim and did a great deal to strengthen Judaism in their communities.

The few rabbanim left in Moscow at the end of R’ Shleifer’s tenure. R’ Levin is second from the left.

The conversation with the Rebbe had gone well with neutral topics, topics that would not be dangerous to R’ Levin. The important and burning issues that were vital in his ongoing leadership under communist rule could not be raised because there were many listening ears.
positivity towards Judaism. In 1968, R’ Levin made a trip to the United States, a trip which made waves within Jewry worldwide. He had just undergone a serious operation and was still weak when he received the invitation to visit the US. The ones inviting him were an odd coalition of two opposing organizations. What they had in common was a bitter war against Zionism. They were an anti-Zionist organization called “The American Council for Judaism” and the Neturei Karta. They found favor with the Soviets, who told R’ Levin to go and attend their meetings. This served their interests against Zionism especially following the unexpected and outstanding victory of the Six Day War, the year before. R’ Levin was placed in an awkward position. On the one hand, he wanted to meet with American Jewry; this was a golden opportunity for him. On the other hand, he knew that this trip would solely serve the interests of the Soviet Union. Throughout the years, R’ Levin was forced to defend Soviet policy regarding the Jewish question. His hosts also knew that the visit served the needs of communist propaganda so they could say, “See, we’re kosher.” As part of his trip, he was scheduled to address a large

As part of his job, R’ Levin was invited to participate in official celebrations that took place in the Kremlin. He also received guests and official delegations from abroad. He traveled twice to Romania and Yugoslavia as part of an official delegation of representatives of the religious community in Moscow and they were the guests of the Jewish communities in those countries. The purpose of these trips was less to establish ties with our fellow Jews in those countries than it was a political move by the Soviets to show Russia’s putative

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crowd in New York. Thousands waited eagerly to hear the speech of the Chief Rabbi of Moscow. In the first part of his speech, R’ Levin spoke words of Torah and Agada which did not generate any unusual reaction. In the second part, he was asked to respond to questions about the state of Jews and Judaism in the Soviet Union. He had no choice, and his responses were in line with official Soviet propaganda as was expected of him. He extolled Jewish life in the Soviet Union and the audience knew that what he was saying was a cover-up. A commotion in the hall ensued and people protested until he had to stop speaking and leave. Rabbi Pinchas Teitz, a distinguished rav in New Jersey, took care of the rest of R’ Levin’s tour. R’ Teitz himself made numerous trips to Russia starting in 1964. He, along with other Orthodox figures, met R’ Levin and he became their guest. He visited yeshivos and various Jewish institutions and became acquainted with American Jewry, which greatly excited and moved him. and supervised by “Big Brother” in Moscow. Perhaps this is the reason that the conversation was as formal as it was. The communists made the visit conditional that it wouldn’t be photographed, but one picture was secretly taken seconds before he entered the Rebbe’s room. The Rebbe had their conversation recorded with a tape recorder hidden under the bench that was brought into his room. What follows are some excerpts from the yechidus from the recording that was publicized by the Vaad Hanachos B’Lashon HaKodesh. The Rebbe began by asking, “No doubt you’ve rested a bit,” and mentioned the Chazal, “l’fum tzaara agra” (according to the pain is the reward). Then the Rebbe referred to R’ Levin’s tour of the US, “As I’ve heard, you have been shown in the course of your visit in the United States the development of the yeshivos here.” (He also asked whether R’ Levin had met former friends from yeshiva or their children). R’ Levin: “The truth is that when I traveled here, I did not imagine that it had become such a place of Torah. Thirty-forty years ago, America was ‘an empty pit that has no water’ – ‘there is no water but Torah.’ While today, Boruch Hashem! And also Beis Yaakov schools through which Jewish homes are built!” To the Rebbe’s request for regards from “over there,” R’ Levin began by telling him about Lubavitcher Chassidim who had left Moscow leaving a void. The Rebbe commented, “When they go, probably others come to take their place, from the Moscow area or other parts of Russia, for Jews generally try to live in a big city that has a large number of Jews.” R’ Levin told the Rebbe that there wasn’t anybody to take the place of those who left, for there were difficulties with registering to live in Moscow and its environs. The Rebbe, knowing the laws of the Soviet Union, suggested that people could get residential permits by marrying residents of the city. R’ Levin agreed and said that recently a new shochet had been appointed who married a girl from Moscow. R’ Levin: “If there are no kid goats, there are no adult goats.” The Rebbe (with a smile): “When wanting to hear regards, one also wants to hear something good … As is known regarding the detriment of negative speech – that the talk itself awakens the matter. And since ‘greater is the measure of goodness than the measure of retribution,’ when talking about something positive, this arouses the side of good.” R’ Levin: “Something good? I will tell you about Samarkand. There is a nucleus of young men and they conduct themselves well.” The Rebbe (smiling): “Why do you send me to Samarkand? I want to hear what is going on in Moscow! As the Mara D’Asra of Moscow, why should you think about other places?” R’ Levin: “There are young Chabad Chassidim and young Litvishe men and they attend shiurim, twenty men sitting and learning, but a few of them left.” Here he mentioned the names of the few who left Russia or died. The Rebbe asked whether the shiurim took place in the shul and R’ Levin elaborated. “In the morning, we generally learn a daf Gemara with Tosafos in the style of pilpul for about two hours. In the evening we also learn a daf Gemara, Shulchan Aruch and Mishnayos. On Shabbos

R’ Levin had a private audience with the Rebbe and was graciously welcomed. The very fact that the meeting took place was an enormous chiddush, since every step R’ Levin made had to be approved by the Soviets. Here, they gave permission for him to meet with the greatest enemy of communism, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It was a Thursday, the second day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5728/1968, when R’ Levin walked into Gan Eden HaElyon. Every word was documented

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The Great Synagogue in Moscow where R’ Levin served as rav

– Chumash, and Shabbos afternoon – in the summer, Pirkei Avos and in the winter, Midrash, in addition to saying Divrei Torah at the table at the Seuda Shlishis.” The Rebbe: “It used to be that Ein Yaakov was learned between Mincha and Maariv, the Agada part of Torah ‘that draws a man’s heart,’ and which also has topics about good character.” R’ Levin spoke about two maggidei shiur who became sick and could no longer do their jobs, and he mentioned the names of those who replaced them. The Rebbe reacted in surprise, “They say that on Shabbos several hundred come to daven. Surely among them you can find other people who can give shiurim.”

The Rebbe asked about the Nusach HaT’filla that was used in the big shul in Moscow when Jews of all types davened there. R’ Levin said that on Shabbos they davened Nusach Ashkenaz, but they were usually not particular and whoever was the chazan davened his own Nusach. In the “second room” they davened Nusach HaAri. The Rebbe addressed one of R’ Levin’s escorts, the chief chazan from the Leningrad community and asked him about the Nusach HaT’filla in his city. The chazan said that in the big shul in Leningrad they also davened Nusach Ashkenaz, while in the Chassidic shul and the

small shul they davened Nusach HaAri. The conversation went on with the Rebbe carefully inquiring only about those things which could be spoken about freely like the Nusach HaT’filla, which Siddurim the people used, the addition of a calendar for Rosh Chodesh and Yomim Tovim in the Siddurim, translating the Nusach HaT’filla into Russian, etc. R’ Levin said that before he reprinted the Siddur, Siddur HaSholom, he had to translate it page by page for the government so they would understand what the t’fillos said. The Rebbe asked what they did in recent years when difficult Halachic questions

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handwritten manuscripts full of chiddushim, but most of them had gotten lost over the years except for one on the topic of the debate between the Maharalbach and the Mahari Beirav over the words of the Rambam about the possibility of renewing the smicha of the Sanhedrin nowadays. At a certain point, one of the guests from Russia took part in the conversation and responded to the Rebbe’s earlier request for good news from Russia. The man said, “I often go to Moscow, and every time the shul is busy with minyanim for t’filla. In the morning there are minyanim almost all the time, from morning till noon. In the evening, the rav always sits and learns. Whenever I come, he is with a daf Gemara. I once went to the shul and did not find the rav, and I went to his house and found him writing a get. He is always busy with mitzvos!” The Rebbe smiled broadly and turned to R’ Levin and said, “Good news like this – why should I hear it from the guest and not from the Mara D’Asra?” The guest said that R’ Levin was humble and did not want to talk about his k’hilla. “But I, as an outsider, can testify to this.” R’ Levin affirmed that on Shabbos there were many minyanim for davening and said that on Shabbos they davened in four places in the shul: the first minyan was in two places and the second minyan that followed it was also in two places, in the second room and the big shul. As a response to the Rebbe’s question, R’ Levin said that he did not have occasion to visit other cities outside of Moscow. Toward the end of the visit, the Rebbe asked how long their visit to the US would be. R’ Levin said he was returning the

R’ Levin (left) on a visit to the home of a member of the community in Moscow

arose. R’ Levin said that he was in touch with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, and he told about some chalitza questions that had arisen. The Rebbe said that he heard from a woman who had, in the meantime, moved to Eretz Yisroel, that R’ Levin had arranged her chalitza in Moscow and had helped her get a visa despite the difficulties. R’ Levin affirmed this. The Rebbe asked about arranging gittin (divorces) and about Sifrei Torah and holy books that remained in shuls in cities and towns around Moscow and were brought to Moscow. R’ Levin said the Sifrei Torah were bought secretly and eventually sent to Eretz Yisroel. Likewise, whoever went out of Russia took many s’farim with him, but many s’farim were still left (including libraries of Jews who died) in the shul’s library. The Rebbe pointed out that in any case, the shul needed sifrei Halacha, saying how vital this was for chinuch and for observing Halacha. “I remember that in my time it was rare to find a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch

in Russia. Most of the time they used a Mishna Brura or they learned Shulchan Aruch with the Beer Heiteiv. When I came here, I saw that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch could be found all over and was also translated into several languages.” In the next part of the conversation, the Rebbe asked about the shuls in Moscow and Leningrad. R’ Levin told him about the renovations taking place. The Rebbe commented that many tourists visited these shuls and said, “Even those who don’t go up to the Torah here, when they go there, they get an aliya, with a bracha before and after, and with a hat and yarmulke. So, since all the visitors go to shul, you have many opportunities of Hachnasas Orchim and ‘hospitality is greater than welcoming the Sh’china.’” Since both the Rebbe and R’ Levin were in Yekaterinoslav in their younger years, the Rebbe mentioned this and even noted that he knew R’ Levin’s brother. He said they met in Rostov in 5684 or thereabouts. R’ Levin said that his brother left

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following Monday, that he could extend the visit but he did not have the strength; throughout the visit, from morning till midnight, they took him from place to place and he had to speak everywhere. The Rebbe said, “In general, ‘living in cities is difficult,’ and all the more so for someone unaccustomed to all the commotion.” R’ Levin said that Moscow wasn’t smaller than New York (thus defending the grandeur of Moscow which he had to represent honorably). The Rebbe: “But there you don’t need to travel from place to place. Also, avodas perech is not hard work but work that one is not accustomed to, as we see in the Gemara that ‘women’s work done by men’ is called avodas perech. The same is true when going to ‘another area that one is not accustomed to.’” *** The Rebbe and R’ Levin parted late at night. The Rebbe said, “A big yashar ko’ach for the visit, go in peace, with joy and gladness of heart, and may we hear good news.” R’ Levin and his entourage returned to the hotel in Manhattan that they were staying in. The conversation with the Rebbe had gone well with neutral topics, topics that would not be dangerous to R’ Levin. The important and burning issues that were vital in his ongoing leadership under communist rule could not be raised because there were many listening ears. R’ Levin’s granddaughter had yechidus years later and the Rebbe said to her, “Your grandfather was here and he asked for a bracha for his children and grandchildren and now you are here.”

R’ Levin (to the right of the coffin) at the funeral of R’ Shlomo Shleifer, rav of Moscow

The guest said that R’ Levin was humble and did not want to talk about his k’hilla. “But I, as an outsider, can testify to this.” LESSONS FROM THE HISTORIC VISIT
The Rebbe said that the fact that a rav came from a distant country, dressed as a rav, should have greatly inspired the Jews in America. However, instead of people seeing him and the Judaism that he represented as an example of how a Jew ought to lead his life, a life of Torah and mitzvos in free countries, they were preoccupied with bothering him with questions about the state of Judaism in the Soviet Union. “The first obligation incumbent upon those gathered was to look at the crowd and see whether it would be possible to inspire them to increase in Torah study, the fulfillment of mitzvos, in fear of Heaven, etc. What actually happened was that there was one gathering, a second gathering, a third and a fourth, and it did not occur to anyone to do this!”

R’ Levin was the rabbi of Moscow under the auspices of a wicked government. This is why he had to keep his mouth closed about the true state of Judaism behind the Iron Curtain. There were many who attacked him for this and judged him negatively, but the Rebbe viewed him favorably and even praised him publicly. Ten days later, at a farbrengen in honor of 12 Tammuz, the Rebbe spoke about R’ Levin’s visit to the US, about his impact on American Jewry, and he spoke sadly about American Jewish leaders missing an opportunity at the gathering that had been interrupted, when they demanded that R’ Levin speak forthrightly about the state of Judaism in Russia.

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he is ‘under orders’; the listeners also know that this Jew is not living in error and he does not want to mislead them, but they only wanted to put on a show... If the questioner thinks that he came up with a brilliant idea to ask this question about the situation that prevails overseas, he should not delude himself.” Here the Rebbe added that the questions were not asked by happenstance but were put into the mouths of the questioners by Heaven to inspire them themselves: “One goes by the title of scholar and another by the title of rabbi along with all the other titles and they get their pictures published in the newspaper and on television by a gentile journalist who will show them off to his fellow gentiles... if so, why don’t you use this in order to worry about ‘the poor of your own city?’” The Rebbe said they should follow R’ Levin’s example and that the leaders of American Jewry should learn from him: “When a Jew comes from this place, where for fifty years there has been religious persecution and the sentence of death, and nevertheless they see how he looks, their first thought should have been a lesson: If after fifty years of decrees, a Jew can be alive and travel, then all the more so when living in a place without decrees, surely they ought to want to appear as this Jew appeared! … It is possible that they brought a Jew here with a full beard and a long sirtuk so they will look at him and say: here is a living ‘Musar lecture.’ “Although quite some time has elapsed since this Jew [R’ Levin] returned to his place, this idea did not occur to anyone.” Here the Rebbe alluded to

During R’ Levin’s meeting with the Rebbe, R’ Levin spoke about the fact that in Moscow there had lived the “Poltava rav” [passed away in 1965], who authored a comprehensive explanatory commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud and had worked long and hard to edit and correct the text of the Jerusalem Talmud of all the errors. Being a great scholar, he supported his corrections with comparisons to the Talmud Bavli. [This work was smuggled out of Russia after his passing. The first volume was published in 1980, and a number of other volumes have been published since]. The Rebbe then said something about his childhood, which he seldom did: “I met the rav of Poltava whom you mentioned, who wrote Tevuna on the Rambam. He visited our house in Yekaterinoslav (which is near Poltava) with his book, which was small and thin. He was still a young man whose beard hadn’t yet completely filled in (smiling: I was even younger, I think, before having a beard at all). He remains in my memory because of a discussion between us about the Chanuka lights, regarding the question in his book about how they could fulfill their obligation to light the Menorah with miraculous oil when the verse says it must be olive oil. But when I saw him, his main interest was in pilpul, in give-and-take, while editing is a talent in itself which requires precision etc.”

The Rebbe spoke about the “good intentions” of the leaders of Jewish organizations in America to help the Jews of the Soviet Union who were in distress and captivity: “The help for those three million Jews through all these meetings is doubtful, but one thing is certain: If, at the gatherings, they spoke about Family Purity, about kashrus, chinuch and Shabbos observance, one Jew, two Jews, one family, two families, would have been inspired ...” Then the Rebbe said there were people who tried to pressure R’ Levin and to get him to say things that were not in line with the official protocol: “The man in whose honor they made the gathering showed a picture of what is happening there, the door of a yeshiva and the door of a mikva. He was asked: but what is going on behind the door?

“This question was only meant to aggravate, because he knows what is happening on the other side of the door and the one asking the question knows, but he cannot respond because in addition to the fact there is no point, it could entail danger. According to the din, it is forbidden to ask a question like this where the questioner knows the answer and knows that the person being asked cannot respond, since this causes pain to a Jew.” The Rebbe added: “Here we see how great is the concealment in the world, where attention is not paid to that which is most clear and obvious. A Jew traveled thousands of kilometers from overseas and showed a picture of a mikva and a yeshiva, when everyone knows that there is no purpose in showing these pictures. That Jew is no fool and he knows that he is not fooling anyone, but he has no choice as

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the reasons that led to R’ Levin’s unusual visit to the US as well as the identity of those who extended the invitation: “How is it possible to suggest that Hashem would allow a decree of fifty years and after that arrange things so that (with or without demonstrations, through this or that organization, Zionists or no Zionists) this Jew is brought here, so that through this there would be an arousal regarding matters of Torah and mitzvos at a time when everyone screams that this was not their intention?”

This sicha of the Rebbe made

waves among the leaders of western countries in order to American Jewry, even among the convince them of the Soviet Reform and Conservative, as well Union’s openness to religious as on many of influence within matters. At this event too, R’ the ultra-Orthodox world (“As Levin was forced to navigate a result of this talk, I acquired with great wisdom the delicate some ‘good friends,’” said the balance between what is proper Rebbe at the end of that sicha). and the ever present government R’ Levin served as Chief pressures. *** Rabbi of Moscow for another three years and then passed R’ Levin’s funeral took away in 5731. A year after the place with many people in visit, in the winter of 5729, the attendance. The leadership of the Express Expressservice service administrative council of the community rented many cars to Fully Fully Computerized Computerized shul, with the encouragement take the people to the cemetery. of the Soviet religious ministry, Thousands of Russian Jews 331 331 Kingston Kingston Ave.Ave. held a festive event to mark participated in the final honor nd nd th (2 (2 Flr)Flr) Brooklyn Brooklyn NY 11213 NY 11213 R’ Levin’s 75 birthday. This given to the man who represented event was exploited by the Soviet them with great dignity to the authorities, as they invited many Soviet authorities as well as to Get Getyour your tickets tickets within within minutes! minutes! rabbis from Eretz Yisroel and world Jewry.

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By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

The central narrative of this week’s parsha is the sin of the golden calf. However, the parsha begins with the commandment for each Jew to contribute the half-shekel as atonement for this transgression. The Torah does not always follow a chronological order. It can therefore discuss the antidote to their downfall before it discusses their transgression. The Jerusalem Talmud discusses the reason why atonement was procured through giving a half-shekel. What was so special about this coinage that it could atone for Jewish History’s most serious and enigmatic betrayal of G-d? Just 40 days after hearing G-d declare “Do not have any other gods in My presence,” they constructed and worshipped this golden calf! How could they have fallen so low? A partial answer to this question can be found in the symbolism of the Half-Shekel. A dispute between three of the greatest Talmudic Sages concerning this matter will introduce us to three opinions on the causes of their sin and the road to their atonement: Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Nechemia: One said, their sin

occurred at the half point of the day (noon), they should therefore give a half-shekel. The other Sage said: Their sin occurred six hours into the day; they should therefore give a halfshekel because it consists of six garmisan. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai: They violated the Ten Commandments; each and every one of them should therefore give 10 geira [the Biblical equivalent of a half-shekel]. What significance can be found in the three different explanations for using a halfshekel? And aren’t a half-day and six hours of the day identical?

Half of a day, or noon, is when the sun reaches its peak and is directly above us. The strength of the sun is a metaphor for the Divine emanations that sustain us, warm us and in which light we bask. But it could also burn us. Indeed, the Talmud states that in the future, G-d will remove the sun from its “sheath” (perhaps it is a reference to the protective layers of the earth’s atmosphere). The righteous will bask in its light and the wicked will be scorched by it.

At Mt. Sinai, with the giving of the Torah, the Jewish nation has just experienced the greatest revelation of G-dliness that would ever take place in history. Powerful spiritual energy can either lead one to a deeper relationship with G-d or, ironically, induce a sense of superiority, which can lead to the person’s downfall. For the spiritual sophisticate, free choice is not about making a decision to do a Mitzvah or commit a crime; it is about choosing how to relate to the most potent spiritual energies. The more powerful G-d’s presence is in the world at a given time, the greater the possibility that people will use that power for the very opposite. Indeed, some of the greatest and most spiritual people fell from grace precisely because of their unalloyed spirituality. Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s two sons, died because they were consumed by their own fiery passion. In the First Temple era, idol worship was far more rampant than in the Second Temple era. This was true despite the fact that the Second Temple era did not possess nearly the same degree of G-dly revelation as the first. However, it is precisely for that reason that the challenge

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was greater. The more intense the light of the sun the more damaging it can become. One can reach the spiritual zenith and then fall into the abyss. This, then, is the first view as to why a Half-Shekel was to be given. The Half-Shekel was our way of taking the “bull (or perhaps the calf) by its horns” and reversing the negative influence of the powerful noontime sun, diverting it into the construction and operation of the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash. One must be on guard to channel spiritual excitement toward positive efforts; otherwise, by default, it might lead the person astray.

who appears to be “perfect” is as vulnerable, if not more so, as anyone else. This state of perfection is threatened by the emotions that relate to the Animal Soul. A person might not even be aware that strong positive character traits have been “hijacked” by the Animal Soul, to do its bidding. Accordingly, the proper atonement for the stumbles and failures of great achievers as they pursue self-development is the Half-Shekel. It represents channeling the six emotional traits in the right direction. Love should be directed outward; not smothered by narcissistic self-love. The trait of judgment,

The second rationale for atonement with the Half-Shekel, which consists of six garmasin, is to remind us that the People chose to sin at the sixth hour. According to the Talmudic text Avos d’Rav Nosson, G-d finished creating Adam on the sixth day of Creation, and at the sixth hour of the day He placed Adam’s soul in him. A different version in the Talmud has Adam naming the animals in the sixth hour. These two versions complement each other. When Adam’s Divine soul entered into him, he simultaneously connected with the animal kingdom. This suggests that his G-dly Soul immediately encountered resistance from his Animal Soul. In this interpretation, the number six represents the fullness of the human condition. Chassidic thought holds that our basic character traits are six in number. It is precisely when a person is at the peak of his or her development that he or she is most vulnerable. A person

really wanted to accomplish when He declared the Ten Commandments. Chassidic thought explains that when G-d said, “I am the L-rd your G-d…,” G-d actually invested His essence into us. His power became our power. By declaring these Ten Statements, G-d was, in effect, telling us that we were given a new nature beyond that which was given to Adam at his peak. This raises an obvious question. If at Sinai we were transformed into G-dly beings how then can we sin and do it so very soon afterwards? The answer is that precisely because we are now endowed

When Adam’s Divine soul entered into him, he simultaneously connected with the animal kingdom. This suggests that his G-dly soul immediately encountered resistance from his Animal Soul.
with a revolutionarily new G-dly power, we “share” G-d’s ability to truly choose freely. After Sinai, we were dealing with a new dynamic.

on the other hand, should be directed inward. Rather than judging others we should examine our own motives and behaviors. Compassion should be reserved primarily for others rather than be diverted into selfpity. The same can be said for each of the other emotional traits.

Before Sinai, our nature was dictated by the degree to which we were receptive to the Divine emanations—the radiance of the sun at midday—or how much we worked at our own self-development (reaching the pinnacle of our development at the sixth hour when all of our emotions were at their peak performance). Prior to Sinai we had to struggle with the counterweights to the conventional measures of good— from Above or from within. Free choice meant that we had the

The third view, advanced by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai, is that the focus of this sin and its atonement was the Ten Commandments. Just as heightened spirituality and emotional perfection can be channeled in the wrong way, so too even the Ten Commandments can be a dangerously sharp, double-edged sword. To understand this point, we need to consider what G-d

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intellectual fortitude to know right from wrong and could analyze a situation to determine what the proper course of action should be. In other words, intellect was the arbiter between the twin forces that vied for dominion over us. At Sinai, G-d allowed His Essence to become our default nature and when that happened we were given a far more powerful mode of free choice. We acquired G-d’s ability to truly choose freely. This Divine ability can prove to be a doubleedged sword. G-d is the ultimate Master of free choice; nothing can constrain Him. With access to G-d’s Essence we were empowered to transcend our nature, albeit in both directions. On the one hand, we now have the ability to elicit this G-dly Essence to go against and even transform our base character, no matter how degenerate we may have become. The other alternative, of course, is that we can harness this G-dly Essence to stubbornly go against our G-dly nature and do what might be objectionable just because Continued from page 31 [in silence before G-d], but [other angels called] Ofanim and Chayos HaKodesh [worship G-d] “with a great uproar, etc.” The latter [dramatic, impassioned manner of Divine service] is a reference to P’sukei D’Zimra until Krias Shma. This portion of the Shacharis is at the level of “Acacia wood [planks] standing,” the plant kingdom, as above. The Chayos HaKodesh are in a great uproar on account of the fact that they are cognizant of the world’s discreet existence [appearing separate from G-d’s oneness]. Since they feel the nullification [of existence, of Creation] to Hashem Tz’vaos – [expressing this rapture by saying] kadosh (holy), etc. – they are in a great uproar. The S’rafim, on the other hand, who do not perceive the separate existence of the world, as do the Ofanim, “stand above Him” – above the Sh’china [the aspect of G-d that invests Itself within Creation]. we can. Moreover, this newly acquired Ten Commandment power can keep us from returning to a higher plane, even when our Animal Soul says “enough.” The challenge of the postSinai era and the aftermath of the golden calf was thus to give our Half-Shekel, with the emphasis on its 10 geira value. In so doing, we can affirm and channel our G-dly power in the direction of serving G-d even when our nature militates against it. when we are beginning to see the sun shining brightly above. A discerning eye can see all the miracles that have transpired in the last two decades, many of which were predicted in classical Midrashic and Talmudic writings. But to counter heightened spirituality we are also witness to spiritual individuals straying into foreign territory. We are also experiencing the struggle between the best and worst of traits and random acts of kindness versus random acts of violence. Finally, we have never before seen so clearly the way people stubbornly cling to their errant ways even as they are witness to the newly acquired Divine goodness. It is crucial that we know our strengths and understand that they can pose unprecedented challenges. We who live on the very threshold of the Messianic Age should equally appreciate the treasures we possess and the concomitant challenges they pose.

To summarize, the three lessons of the Half-Shekel relate to three challenges posed, ironically, by: a) heightened spiritual experiences (“half-day; peak of sunshine”), b) advanced level of emotional perfection (“the sixth hour”), and c) the G-dly energy that transformed us into G-dly beings (10 geira, corresponding to the Ten Commandments). These three dynamics are the hallmark of the Messianic Age. We are at a point in time

The foregoing describes the davening up until Krias Shma. The 248 words of Krias Shma itself, however, are called 248 stones, signifying the mineral kingdom, as above. Thus, it says [regarding Yaakov Avinu], “And he took of the stones of the place” – [Yaakov took] the 248 words of Krias Shma, the aspect of Malchus, which is the lowest level – “and he placed them m’raashosav (lit., from his head).” It does not say “under his head,” but “m’raashosav – from his head,” for Malchus originates from the highest aspect, higher than Mochin (lit., brain; Supernal Mind): “m’raashosav.” “He set it [the stone] as a matzeiva, a pillar, and he poured oil upon it”: At first the stone [symbolizing Malchus] was just a point beneath the Yesod, but Yaakov raised it up and made it into a matzeiva. “And he poured oil upon it” – he drew down the aspect of Supernal Mind, “shemen mishchas kodesh,” the aspect of Supernal Wisdom.

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It is customary for those who move into a new house to recite the maamer “Mizmor shir chanukas ha’bayis l’Dovid” found at the end of Bracha in the Alter Rebbe’s Likkutei Torah (98d-100b). * Beis Moshiach presents the fourth instalment of this illuminating work. * May we soon merit to inaugurate the Third Beis HaMikdash, with the imminent arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.
Translated by Boruch Merkur

3. The above discussion sheds light on the teaching of our Sages on the verse, “‘For until now, you have not come to the rest and to the inheritance’ – ‘Rest’ refers to the building at Shilo, etc.” Our Sages distinguish the Mishkan from the building at Shilo, but at first glance, they were [virtually identical, being] of equal dimensions; in every respect the building at Shilo was constructed in accordance with the specifications of the Mishkan. The difference is that the Mishkan was constructed with wooden planks made of cedar trees, and plated with gold, whereas the walls and ceiling of the building at Shilo were made specifically of stone. What is the significance of this difference? Certainly the wooden planks used in the Mishkan were far more valuable than the walls of Shilo, which were made of stone. Why then is specifically the building at Shilo called “rest,” not the Mishkan? [What advantage is there in the stone walls of Shilo over the wooden walls of the Mishkan?] The answer emerges from the discussion above: Stone is from the mineral kingdom. Although this is the lowest of the four kingdoms, it originates from the highest level, makif d’makif, a totally transcendent aspect of G-dliness. Cedar wood, on the other hand, is from the plant kingdom, whose source is only from the level of makif [which, although transcendent, bears some connection with the inner, lower levels of G-dliness, Memalei Kol Almin]. Therefore, “‘Rest’ refers to the building at Shilo,” where there was a manifestation of makif

d’makif, for it was built of stone, the mineral kingdom, and had no exposed wood, the plant kingdom. (See what is discussed on this subject on the verse, “Va’yigash alav Yehuda.”) Thus, Rambam zal, as well as Seifer HaChinuch, siman 492, enumerate among the Biblical prohibitions, “Do not plant for you an asheira, etc.,” deriving from this verse that it is forbidden for there to be any protruding wooden beams in the Beis HaMikdash. Failure to do so results in the transgressing of “Do not plant, etc.” Only internal, structural wooden beams are permitted, such as those in the ceilings. The Beis HaMikdash must be made specifically of stone, the mineral kingdom, whose spiritual source is extremely lofty, etc. (The difference between protruding and structural wooden beams is discussed in the verse, “Simeini k’chosam.”) On this basis, our Sages said that [the Persian king] Koresh [son of Queen Ester] became tainted, commanding to build the Second Beis HaMikdash three rows of hewn stone and one row of cedar beams, etc., which is forbidden, for there is to be no exposed wood in the Beis HaMikdash. It may only have skeletal wooden beams, which signify the internal aspect, not extruding beams, for the outer material embodies the makif, which is to be made strictly of stone, as above. This is the meaning of the verse, “Acacia wood [planks] standing” – the wooden planks stand [upright, likewise the angels called] S’rafim stand Continued on page 30
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A wonderful collection of stories and sayings, recorded by the Chassid, Rabbi Shlomo Galperin a”h, which he heard from the elder Chassidim We thank the Galperin family for giving Beis Moshiach the privilege of being the first to publicize this collection of stories.
Prepared for publication by Shai Gefen

The Tzemach Tzedek once said to a Chassid: Why fast with your stomach? Fast with your tongue. That is, instead of fasting and being hungry, it is preferable to fast with words. Do not say that which is unnecessary.
(R’ Eliezer Horowitz)

this, he shuddered. The shochet said that the Rebbe’s horror was something he would never forget.
(R’ Eliezer Horowitz)

have the opportunity to have this struggle.

A Chassid complained to the Tzemach Tzedek that he has no desire to learn. The Tzemach Tzedek said, “And what should I do when I do want to learn?” The simple explanation is, when a person has no desire to pray and he prays anyway and he prevails over his yetzer, up Above they take pleasure, for when the sitra achra is squelched the glory of Hashem is elevated in all the worlds. But a tzaddik, who is completely devoted to Hashem on the highest of levels, doesn’t

From the aphorisms of R’ Chaim Shaul Brook z”l: “I just light the candles; burning is something they have to do on their own.” The explanation is: A rich man traveled to a fair and returned with many presents for his family. For the maid he brought a bellows with which to blow air on to the coal and ignite the fire so she would not have to exert herself. The maid took the gift and after a while the rich man

A shochet in the city of Nikolayev, before receiving his commission, spoke with the Rebbe Rashab about his spiritual state. One thing he mentioned was that since he began working in sh’chita, he ate with an appetite. When the Rebbe heard

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Hashem. He needs to keep making progress. Whoever is not involved in this is like a picture hung on the wall which always looks the same. The way it was yesterday is the way it is today, no change.
(R’ Avrohom Maiyor from his fatherin-law R’ Zalman Moshe HaYitzchaki)

A Chassid went to the famous tzaddik, R’ Shlomo Chaim Koidenover zt”l and in the course of their conversation mentioned that he had been to the Alter Rebbe. The tzaddik said: Tell me something you heard from him but I want to hear something that you personally heard from him, not something secondhand. The Chassid said: I can tell you something I heard from him myself. He sat and spoke about the Baal Shem Tov and there were some Chassidim there. He said, when the Besht was revealed to the world, a fire broke out in the world of truth which burned up Gehinom and they had to rebuild Gehinom. They brought engineers and big experts in construction materials and they checked out where to build the new Gehinom as well as Gan Eden. The latter was necessary in order to know how to build Gehinom. After they examined all that, they concluded that since Gan Eden was also old and hard to use, they would leave Gan Eden as it was and use it as the new Gehinom and they would build a new Gan Eden. When the tzaddik heard this story, he stood up and with great excitement he grasped his head with both hands and exclaimed, “Deep, deep, who can find it.”
(R’ Shaul Zislin)

asked her how she liked it. She plaintively said she did not enjoy it at all. “Why?” asked the rich man. She said: I blow and blow with the bellows and no fire is ignited, so who needs it? The rich man said: Oy fool, is it the bellows that creates the fire? When there are coals and they are lit, then the bellows makes the fire bigger, but without fire there is no use for a bellows. With this we can explain what R’ Chaim Shaul said. The candle burns if you ignite it with fire, i.e. avodas Hashem. Then it is up to you to make it bigger. You need to serve Hashem with Torah and mitzvos and with the avoda of t’filla. The mashpia only ignites

the talmid by directing him in avodas Hashem.

From R’ Chaim Shaul Brook: From the time they started being particular about the crease in their pants that it be straight and ironed, they stopped doing tikkun chatzos. For in order to preserve the kneitch (crease) so it doesn’t, G-d forbid, get rumpled, they don’t sit on the floor.

A person needs to be a mehalech (one who moves) and not an omeid (one who is stationary) in his avodas

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From the time they started being particular about the crease in their pants that it be straight and ironed, they stopped doing tikkun chatzos. EGO AND PSYCHOSIS
A healthy person senses that he is alive and can accomplish etc. That is the path of truth. As soon as a person begins to feel that he has a heart (his heart hurts him a little), and starts to feel that he has a head (his head hurts a little), and so with every limb, his hand, foot, etc. that indicates an illness. A person needs to feel that he is alive in a general way. The same is true of spiritually. A “yesh,” someone with an ego, feels that he has a good mind, a good heart, etc. When you start feeling yeshus that’s not good. You need to serve Hashem without feeling your self-worth and your own being.
(R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman)

to his students, and this is his ambition, his desire, and his chayus, then Hashem sends parnasa for him and his family as bread from heaven. As we see in our generation that Hashem sends parnasa to a Jew who devotes himself to avodas ha’kodesh, as though bread came down from heaven because his thought, speech, and action, are completely devoted to the service of Hashem.
(R’ Meilich Kaplan)

person feels arrogance from saying something good etc., it goes over to klipa, G-d forbid. This is why we need to be careful about becoming a “yesh” and a metzius. The more a person knows the more battul he should be. Because he perceives higher levels he sees that he needs to go higher and higher, and “one who increases daas increases aggravation.” When he reaches a certain level he realizes that his previous level was nothing compared to where he is now.
(R’ Peretz Mochkin)

A person can ruin everything by considering himself a yesh and a metzius, as the Zohar says, “He who is small is great and he who is great is small.”
(R’ Eliyahu Chaim Roitblatt)

When a Jew does a mitzva he rejoices and makes a seudas mitzva with great publicity in order to publicize the greatness of the Creator, as the Gemara says, “it is a mitzva to publicize those who do a mitzva.” When someone who is not Jewish does a sin, he publicizes it and makes a party; that is a wicked person. A Jew, on the other hand, if he G-d forbid transgresses the will of Hashem and follows his yetzer, he does t’shuva and is ashamed before his Creator.
(R’ Moshe Robinson)

“Every neshama has a specific purpose to accomplish for which it was sent to this world.” Generally, if there is something that is very hard for a person to do, because the yetzer comes up with all kinds of reasons and presents obstacles, this is something that pertains to him in particular and he should make sure to do it.
(R’ Moshe Robinson)

When a person serves Hashem and reaches high levels which are called “heaven,” and he still does not give himself credit, but knows that he has yet to reach ultimate perfection, he will achieve much higher heights. This is what the verse says, “T’filla l’Moshe ish HaElokim” – when he went up Above, he was cognizant of his own limitations as an “ish.” That is why when he came down he was able to function on the level of “Elokim.” (R’ Nissan Nemanov)

It says, “I and he cannot dwell together,” which is said about an arrogant person who pushes away the Sh’china. Since Hashem fills the world with His glory and we need to be battul before Him, arrogance can lead a person to the abyss, G-d forbid. A person needs to ponder who is the “I” and who is the “King.” It is known that when a

One action is better than a thousand sighs. When a person goes to accomplish some good thing, this is very precious, as it says, “action is the main thing.” Sometimes a person is lethargic, G-d forbid; he has no strength, no energy to do good things, i.e. the yetzer ha’ra does not let him act energetically. He feels

When a Jew serves Hashem by learning Torah and doing mitzvos and is completely devoted to his avoda, disseminating Torah

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powerless and worried. To this, the wise man says: better one action, just do one thing. That is worth a lot more than a thousand sighs and moans of sorrow which do not accomplish anything. As they say, that out of every farbrengen when Jews sit and talk words of Torah, Nigleh, Nistar, p’nimius ha’Torah, there needs to be the bottom line, action, not just good resolutions.
(R’ Isaac Schwei with explanation by the compiler)

When a person rebukes another so he improves his ways, as it says, “rebuke shall you rebuke your fellow,” if the admonisher is a great man, i.e. great in Torah and yira and good deeds, then he does not need to shout. The very talk of someone like that is significant; there is no need for a loud voice. This is alluded to in the Unesaneh Tokef prayer, “and He will blow with a great shofar, and a small still voice will be heard.” If the admonisher is a distinguished person and talmid chacham, and walks the talk, then “a small still voice,” he will be heard even without shouting and without threats and punishment. And that is how the verse ends, “will be heard,” from the root meaning understanding and acceptance,

and have a good effect.
(R’ Shlomo Simonowitz)

feel, through the comprehension of their mind, that there is nothing but Him.

R’ Meir of Premishlan would say that when Chassidim and men of good deeds sit together and drink l’chaim to one another, it is good and helps for parnasa.

They once asked the Rebbe Maharash: When the Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, how did he know how much time to take so he would not spend more time than necessary? The Rebbe replied: The Kohen Gadol felt the power of the finite within the Infinite and understood.
(R’ Eliezer Horowitz)

The Rebbe Maharash once said: Is a Jew who is a balabus, who has a big house in town, exempt from avoda? The Alter Rebbe wants that balabatim also

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By Shneur Zalman Berger

“We have five daughters, boruch Hashem, but we have been praying for a son for many years,” said Mrs. Cohen from Migdal HaEmek to her neighbor Mrs. Penina Levy. “We’ve been to everyone. My husband and I went to great rabbis and kabbalists and asked for a bracha. They all prayed and even made promises, but we still do not have a son.” That evening, Penina told her husband Avi about what her neighbor had said. Avi is a Lubavitcher Chassid and, feeling bad for his neighbors, he wrote to the Rebbe asking for a bracha for them. He put the letter into a volume of Igros Kodesh. When he opened the seifer he saw a letter that the Rebbe had written to someone who asked whether learning kabbala is permissible. The words that stood out to him were, “when he reaches the age of forty.” He did not know what to think. He did not know his neighbor’s age, though he knew it would be a while before he reached forty. “After a few days, I happened to meet my neighbor and got to

talking to him,” said Avi. The neighbor is a veteran baal t’shuva and is close to Litvishe groups in Rechasim. “He asked me about the belief that the Rebbe is Moshiach. At some point he expressed surprise about Chassidim writing to the Rebbe and putting letters into the Igros Kodesh. Since he mentioned Igros Kodesh, I told him about the answer I had opened to after I wrote for a bracha on his behalf. “‘From the answer it seems that you will have a son when you reach forty,’ I said a little nervously. “‘Another seven years?!’ he responded angrily. ‘That’s what you wish for me?’ “I realized I had made a mistake in telling him the answer because he wasn’t ready to hear it.’” *** The years passed and Avi and Penina went to 770 for Shavuos 5762. They returned home a few days later, on 15 Sivan. They met their neighbors and Mr. Cohen told Avi that he had tried calling

him in New York. “I wanted you to pray for us,” he said. Avi said that in Migdal HaEmek they could write to the Rebbe and receive his bracha too. “Come over tonight and let’s write to the Rebbe.” Mr. Cohen said “it wasn’t for him.” Avi responded, “Come over tonight and let’s talk over a cup of tea.” The Cohens came over to visit the Levys. Mr. Cohen reiterated that he wanted to ask for a bracha and Avi suggested writing using the Igros Kodesh. Mr. Cohen politely refused. Avi tried to convince him and was ultimately successful. Mr. Cohen composed a letter: “The girls are approaching shidduchim age and I ask for a bracha for them to find wonderful shidduchim. I also request a bracha for health and parnasa.” Then he stopped and there was silence in the room for a while. “I am also asking for a son. All the rabbis and kabbalists gave their blessings but we still do not have a son.” He put the letter into volume

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14 and Avi began reading page 256 where the book had opened. At first he read about a wedding. The letter ended with blessings: May it be Hashem’s will that there be the tenaim and the wedding after that in a good and successful time and the building of a Chassidic home, happy materially and spiritually. The Cohens were happy to hear the blessing and Avi continued reading the second letter on the same page: “I just received the letter from the first day of Rosh Chodesh and read, in the closing of the letter, about your decision, which is surely the opinion of both of you, you and your wife, that when Hashem blesses you with a son you will call him Yosef Yitzchok, for length of days and good years. May the desires of your heart be soon fulfilled in this for the good and may you raise him to Torah, chuppa and good deeds to be a Chassid, yerei Shamayim and a lamdan.” Mr. Cohen was surprised by this clear answer and wanted to see it for himself. Avi said that it looked as though the Rebbe wanted him to decide to name his son Yosef Yitzchok and then he would have a blessing for a son. Mr. Cohen was willing but his wife was not. She wanted to name a son for a relative. “Think about passing by the Rebbe and his saying to you that if you call your son Yosef Yitzchok you will have a son, wouldn’t you agree to that?” Avi asked. But she

was not convinced. “I have other plans for a name,” she insisted. They concluded that Mrs. Cohen would ask a rabbi in Rechasim to whom they presented their questions in Halacha and emuna. The following day, the Cohens returned with a list of questions. “Our rabbi wants to know what are the Igros Kodesh? Were they printed before or after 3 Tammuz? He also wants to know

how this practice began and who follows this practice.” Avi patiently answered each question. The answers were conveyed to their rabbi and the next day he gave his consent. Nine months went by and on 7 Adar, in Mr. year, they had Cohen’s fortieth  a son. They were ecstatic. In consultation with another rabbi, the baby was named Avrohom Yosef Yitzchok.

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T’chiyas HaMeisim – Resurrection of the Dead
“Ima! It’s an earthquake!” Shneur heard the frightened voice of little Chaim shouting. “Where are you?” asked Shneur, trying in vain to inject calmness into his tone of voice. (What do you think, Shneur was not afraid of an earthquake? But he couldn’t let Chaim know that his big brother was afraid.) “I am under the table.” He could barely hear Chaim’s voice. “What are you doing there?” wondered Shneur. “That is what they taught us in school to do when there is an earthquake,” yelled Chaim, trying to be heard over a strange and sudden deafening sound. The door slammed open and there was Moishy, out of breath. “Why are you playing there under the table? Come quickly, the dead are coming to life! There is no time. It would be a pity to miss seeing this.” “Where are my Shabbos shoes? I also want to go,” said little Devoiry. “Forget about the shoes for now, we have to run,” Moishy urged them. “Savta Shula, of blessed memory, will get up with the dead now and she will be upset if she sees me without the shoes she bought for me. That’s why I was looking for them,” explained Devoiry as they ran. “Don’t worry, she won’t notice. There will be more important things now,” Moishy reassured her. They approached Har HaZeisim (Mt of Olives) and even from the distance they could see that a lot was going on there. “Wow, this giant mountain has split in two,” exclaimed Shneur. “How scary it must be to be standing on it now.” From up close, the split in the mountain looked even bigger. The mountain shook in its place and the many gravestones on it shook back and forth. “With this shaking, even the dead will finally wake up,” noted Shneur. Indeed, before their astonished eyes the gravestones began moving from their places and the dead could be seen beneath them. “First, all the dead of Eretz Yisroel will get up,” Moishy whispered to his younger brothers. A mighty voice read the names of the dead in alphabetical order. When a name was said, his grave opened and he got up. “First the tzaddikim rise from the dead, and then the scholars, followed by those who fulfilled mitzvos,” explained Shmulik who had shown up too, to see the wondrous sight. “The humble ones also rise first,” added Moishy. The mountain turned white, since all the dead rose wearing the white shrouds they had been buried in. Some of the dead had been buried in shrouds made of shatnez. Their shrouds were exchanged immediately in a miraculous manner to “kosher” clothing, since in the Geula it is not possible to transgress the prohibition of wearing shatnez. The mountain shook violently once again. “It looks like the entire mountain is actually one big grave,” whispered Moishy, not knowing how right he was. Har HaZeisim suddenly split open, revealing a huge cave underneath. More and more dead people came forth who had just been resurrected. “Where did they come from?” marveled Devoiry. “These are dead people from outside Eretz Yisroel who rolled here,” answered an old Chassid who stopped near the children. “How did they get here?” wondered Moishy. “After the dead of Eretz Yisroel arose, Hashem rolled the bones of the Jews from Eretz Yisroel to Yerushalayim and then He brought their bodies to life through the Luz bones after softening them in the special Dew of Resurrection,” replied the man who said he was Hillel from Paritch, the famous

M. Ben Tz vi presents:


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Chassid of the Alter Rebbe. “It doesn’t hurt?” asked Shneur. “They did not all have this rolling of their bones. For tzaddikim, long passageways were made and Malach Gavriel took them to Eretz Yisroel. This prevented them from the suffering of the painful rolling of bones,” said R’ Hillel. “What fun!” exclaimed Chaim. Suddenly, the grave that was near them shook, and the dead person underneath got up. “Ima! This dead person got up!” screamed Devoiry hysterically, backing away in fright. But Chaim, who always laughed at her fears, confidently addressed the man. “I see that you are among the first who got up. Is that because you were humble?” To his surprise, the man ignored him and began walking away. “What an odd dead man,” thought Chaim out loud. “I knew you are not allowed to start up with the dead,” Devoiry reproved him. “But he is already alive,” whispered Chaim. He was also beginning to become a bit nervous. “I think this man did not fully awaken,” said Shmulik, half-jokingly, half seriously. As they stood there, wondering about the dead-live man’s lack of response, Moishy shouted, “Shneur, watch out!” But it was too late. One of the people who had just gotten up from the dead collided with Shneur, knocking him to the ground. “Hey, don’t you see where you’re going?” asked Shneur. “I apologize, but I actually do not see. When I was alive previously I was blind and that is how I was resurrected now,” said the man. “Poor man …,” said Devoiry sympathetically. “But how can you be blind when it’s the Geula?” asked Chaim. Before he

could say another word, the man opened his eyes and shouted, “Wow! I can see! What a miracle!” as the children watched in astonishment. “Then perhaps you would know why the man who is walking and murmuring Torah ignored me before,” said Chaim, still not making peace with the fact that someone had treated him that way. “You mean that person walking over there?” asked the man, pointing. When he was answered yes, he could not help but burst into laughter. “I recognize him by his voice. That’s R’ Zundel the Deaf Man. That is how he was known in our town, two hundred years ago. Zundel didn’t answer you because he did not hear you.” It seemed their conversation was overheard by Zundel for he turned around and said in amazement, “Shmerel, is that you? It’s been years since we met!” and the two of them hugged. The children had tears in their eyes from the moving scene. “You must have noticed that I have begun to see,” said Shmerel. “I don’t know what is happening ...” replied his friend emotionally. “I see that first the blind man was healed and only then the deaf man,” whispered Shmulik to Moishy. His whisper was heard by Zundel who interjected, “Right, first all the blind are healed at the resurrection of the dead, because they are the most unfortunate.” A shout was suddenly heard from Devoiry. “There she is!” “Who?” chorused her siblings, but Devoiry did not answer. She began to run. Within seconds she was embraced in the arms of Savta Shula. “Savta, Savta ...” murmured Devoiry. It looked as though this was the happiest moment in her life, being able to see her beloved grandmother again. “Devoiry, tell me,” asked her grandmother with a wink. “Where are the Shabbos shoes I bought for you?”

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The number-two man in the re-born National Religious Party joined the coalition, claiming that he would be its nationalist gauge. In the meantime, while Uri Ariel is the Minister of Housing and Construction, nothing is being built in Yerushalayim. He was recently forced to admit and confirm that even in Yehuda and Shomron, things are not so rosy.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

to resign from the coalition over the prime minister’s declared intentions to uproot settlements. Naftali has an important job. He has to hold Netanyahu’s coalition together until the tractors start moving toward the yishuvim of Yehuda and Shomron. This is exactly what his predecessor, Z’vulun Orlev, did leading up to the expulsion from Gush Katif. Who said then that it’s possible to remain in the Cabinet if it’s only a matter of driving out ten thousand Jewish settlers? Now, we’re talking about the expulsion of one hundred thousand Jews r”l. Yet, Naftali has his senior government post. Naftali is one thing – after all, he never declared his opposition to negotiations with the terrorists. However, the number-two man in the re-born National Religious Party joined the coalition, claiming that he would be its nationalist gauge. In the meantime, while Uri Ariel is the Minister of Housing and Construction, nothing is being built in Yerushalayim. He was recently forced to admit and confirm that even in Yehuda and Shomron, things are not so rosy.

“It’s déjà vu all over again.” That’s what every right-wing activist is claiming these days, as he stands helpless in the face of the new “disengagement” plan. Instead of Ariel Sharon, we have Bibi Netanyahu, and instead of Avigdor Lieberman and Z’vulun Orlev, there’s Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel. However, apart from the personnel changes, everything appears the same. Netanyahu has proclaimed that he has a disengagement plan, exactly as Sharon did at the outset. He speaks about the establishment of a Palestinian state, withdrawing from 98% of

Yehuda and Shomron, and the division of Yerushalayim. Yet, he isn’t just talking; he’s also taking concrete action. Every week, we receive new reports from the continuing negotiations, but Naftali and Uri are still unconvinced. They adhere to the age-old longstanding ideology of the National Religious Party: stay in the government at all costs. The recent political saga surrounding the apology by the minister of Trade and Industry, NRP/Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett, teaches us a great deal about what we can soon expect. He never really intended

In the past, the Rebbe called this party’s representatives “Canaanite slaves.” The Rebbe cried out from the depths of his heart against the NRP ministers, who for generations had displayed their determination to remain in the governing coalition at all cost, selling the People and the Land of Israel wholesale. Bennett’s recent performance of taking an outwardly strong stance, only to have Minister Ariel run frantically to his party chairman and plead with him to apologize before Netanyahu

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submitted Bennett’s letter of dismissal, is a classic return to National Religious Party history. In a fascinating sicha from the farbrengen of Chaf MarCheshvan 5735, the Rebbe gives a precise explanation why the NRP ministers stay in the government, regardless of the cost, while abandoning the vitally important principles of the Jewish People: “They complain to me: ‘Why didn’t you give them (NRP party) a Yasher Ko’ach when they resigned (since they had previously complained why they (NRP party) remain glued to their chairs at the cost of destroying the Jewish People r”l ch”v, starting with the destruction of the status of their party, their children, and their grandchildren)? I didn’t want to reply, in order not to transgress the command that ‘one should not open a gateway to the Satan.’ I could only say the true reason: It is close to certain that the resignation is temporary due to compulsion. Afterwards, at the first opportunity (with the greatest possible humiliation), they’ll return through the back door in a shameful and disgusting manner – the main thing is to sit once again on the chair. “And this was the reason I didn’t want to give praise and thanks, etc., due to the presumption that when they give praise here, by the time it reaches Eretz HaKodesh, they have already unethically returned to their previous positions in order to destroy all that is holy in Israel r”l. The main thing is to receive the title, so he can say that he is a ‘minister in Israel!’ “…Until now, they have carried out their evil plans, and they again sit on the chair, promising that their signatures will be displayed on everything,

Every week, we receive new reports from the continuing negotiations, but Naftali and Uri are still unconvinced. They adhere to the age-old longstanding ideology of the National Religious Party: stay in the government at all costs.
Minister of Welfare. Afterwards, they said something else: they had already brought them (NRP) money, part of which was used (as mentioned) in order to buy off the journalists and those who print the announcements in the papers, praising those who fight against ‘the word of Hashem – this is Halacha’ with the Jewish People, as a whole or in part, and most importantly, with the concept of the Holy Land, the Holy People, and our Holy Torah.” At this point, the Rebbe explained exactly which party he means, as the Rebbe referred at the beginning of the sicha to those two government ministers glued to their chairs while destroying their party by themselves: “They complain to me: There are two people who want to destroy the NRP – and it’s clear that they’ll destroy their party – but what is my fervor about saving the NRP? What relevance does this have to me? The answer: What’s relevant to me is only ‘the word of Hashem – this is halacha,’ what’s relevant to me is only the Holy People – every Jew, even those leading those who are listening to what they say r”l, for there are none like them. There are only those who (for whatever reason) received money from [the government] and became complete non-entities due to the money, and thereby do whatever they want. They figure that if the party gets destroyed, they’ll still be able to retain at least half of

whether regarding the transfer of portions from Eretz HaKodesh to the Gentiles or the abandonment of portions from our holy Torah (revealing a side to Torah not in accordance with Halacha), etc., etc.”

The Rebbe then turned to those askanim and rabbanim who support parties that remain glued to their chairs around the government table: “And it has reached such a point that [the government] now makes use of the money they received, in order to bribe the religious institutions in Eretz HaKodesh to announce their support [for the government], since they’re crawling [back] onto their chairs – against the position of their rabbanim and against the position of their [community] elders!”

“They stated explicitly and publicly that there are three reasons why they participate in the government. The first reason – (they want) the chair of the Minister for Religious Affairs. The second reason – the chair of the Minister of the Interior. The third reason – the chair of the

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their votes. Instead of a hundred thousand votes, they’ll have fifty thousand – enough to guarantee seats for these two. “Ay, what do we do with the Torah? – They don’t care about the Torah, they don’t care about ‘the Sh’china in exile,’ they don’t care about the truth… The main thing is to stay glued to the chair. What will they care if fifty or forty (or even less) from this number remain? And especially that each additional person printing [something] in the paper shows them that perhaps they deceived another Jew.” time to name them all) … The only exceptions are those three or four people, who even when they resigned – it was clear (as mentioned above) that they’re looking for an opportunity when they can grab the chair back by saying, ‘You see that we too can resign. This is a sign that we are the ones who are fit to lead the Jewish People.’ The interesting fact is that in the conclusion of the sicha, we can see a reference to the times in which we now live, when the government wants to withdraw from all of Yehuda and Shomron, and only Abu Mazen’s refusal to accept the offer has saved the Jewish People from the next expulsion: “May it be G-d’s Will that they will no longer have to speak about this matter, since this is the declaration that will eventually come: Every promise that they made – is non-existent, since they have already promised that they want to give away all of Yehuda, they want to give away all of the Shomron, and they’ll stop only if the Gentiles don’t allow it. However, on their part, they’ve already given their approval. “And it’s not as they say that they’ll stand firm – they have no firmness whatsoever, no one gives them any consideration. It’s just known that these are two or three people they can use to slice up the Torah r”l, entice someone who can put t’fillin on every day and still say that for twenty-five dollars, a Gentile can be registered as a Jew. He can hand over territory to a Gentile – not for security reasons, rather because he wants to keep sitting on the chair he needs for his own honor, etc. “May it be G-d’s Will that the Gentiles will not agree to this, and they will see that it serves them no purpose, not only in this matter but in all matters, and then people will see what they are. And may it be G-d’s Will that they will do t’shuva in the ways of pleasantness and the ways of peace, and as soon as possible.”

At the conclusion of the sicha, the Rebbe mentioned the resignation of Mrs. Shulamit Aloni from the government – something that the NRP ministers did not do: “Everyone had strength and fortitude to resign from their post: Communists, leftists, Mapam, Mapai, Shulamis [Aloni], etc. (now is not the

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42 � • 14 Adar I 5774


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