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MASHGIACH 36 THE Dov Levanon
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WHY IS HE TALKING ABOUT IT NOW?!
The fact is that after they approached the Tzemach Tzedek with their concern, “come let us consider, etc.,” he lived a long and fruitful life, expanding his role as Rebbe. * The answer is clear (founded on the words of our holy Torah, the Torah of Truth and the Torah of Life) – that in all matters of this sort, we turn to a beis din tzedek of Chassidishe rabbanim. * Continuing Chapter 6 of Rabbi Majeski’s Likkutei Mekoros, illustrating how our generation is the final generation, destined to usher in the redemption. * From the address of Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Truma, 2 Adar, 5748, in the Rebbe’s home. (Underlined text is the compiler’s emphasis.)
Translated by Boruch Merkur
THE REDEMPTION REACHES ALL THE NATIONS
1. Reflection [in the wake of the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka] draws to mind what the leader of our generation [the Rebbe Rayatz] related – that the Tzemach Tzedek was approached and was told, “Come let us consider the accounting of the world” [i.e., he was being asked to prepare a will to organize his affairs in the event of his passing].
Upon hearing this, I became alarmed: Why is the Rebbe [Rayatz] talking about this now? – especially as it is connected with an indiscretion on the part of those who said this to the Tzemach Tzedek [which suggests that the story’s significance overshadows the concern of mentioning their indiscretion]. The following thought provides the basis for the answer. The fact is that after they approached the Tzemach Tzedek with their concern,
“come let us consider, etc.,” he lived a long and fruitful life, expanding his role as Rebbe, advancing his leadership, and furthering the mission of spreading the wellsprings, in all the high profile concerns he was devoted to, which even got the attention of gentiles. Parenthetically, as discussed earlier regarding Yud-Tes Kislev (which initiated the spreading of the wellsprings outwards), the Alter Rebbe, baal ha’geula, emphasizes in his correspondence how his
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redemption was seen as The response to this concern (“come let us miraculous and great even “in consider, etc.”) is obvious. Nevertheless, I shall the eyes of all the ministers and all the nations,” going so articulate the answer verbally in order to eliminate any far as to mention this point shred of doubt... three times. The very fact that news of the liberation of the Alter Rebbe reached gentiles is because his redemption on intellect, as well as the intellect of remain in doubt, and this Yud-Tes Kislev is connected the Animal Soul. too becomes part of Torah. with the true and complete (However, the “light of Torah” Similarly in our case redemption, when there will be illuminates even these doubts.) [regarding the Rebbe’s concern “and kingship shall be to G-d” The response to “come let us for his own personal affairs], – G-d’s reign will be [complete, consider, etc.” casts away even the very fact that this story was having dominion] upon even these doubts, doubts that are told is a sign that “come let us all the amei ha’aretz, all “the higher than Amalek. consider the accounting of the people of the earth.” Thus, the world” must be “taken to heart.” Indeed, the answer is clear redemption of the Alter Rebbe (founded on the words of our (In fact, since this concern – on Yud-Tes Kislev, which was the holy Torah, the Torah of Truth “come let us consider, etc.” – is preparation for – the forerunner and the Torah of Life) – that in reaching gentiles [attorneys, for of – the true and complete all matters of this sort, we turn to example, advising of the need to redemption, must extend to “all a beis din tzedek of Chassidishe prepare a will, etc.], the response the nations.” It is for this reason rabbanim . must likewise be directed to that the Alter Rebbe emphasizes them.) There was a time when this point repeatedly. special mention had to be Returning now to the story made that together with a rav A CLEAR ANSWER with the Tzemach Tzedek: one should also consult with a Similar episodes took place with 2. The response to this mashpia. The rav would teach the other Rebbes; they too were concern (“come let us consider, the revealed part of the Torah confronted with the concern (of etc.”) is obvious. Nevertheless, with the practical halachic ruling “come let us consider, etc.”). I shall articulate the answer on the matter, and the mashpia But it is interesting to note verbally in order to eliminate any teaches the inner dimension that it actually added to their shred of doubt (even the doubt of the Torah with the practical longevity, in the literal sense. the comes from Amalek (“safek application derived from it. Anyone who has taken the time – doubt” being numerically However, when speaking about to contemplate (or those who at equivalent to “Amalek”). Of Lubavitcher rabbanim, they have least now consider) these events course, there is sometimes the both of these aspects at once, to that took place with our Rebbes, possibility of doubt even in the the point that it becomes a single, our N’siim, will immediately realm of holiness. That is, in unified quality. notice this fact – both from the Torah [even after exhaustive (To be continued be”H) perspective of the G-dly Soul’s Talmudic debate] many issues
TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!
ADD IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS
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The shluchim to the Philippines, Yossi and Tiferet Levy, had no idea where it was located on the globe. It was only after they started getting signs that they asked the Rebbe and opened to a clear answer to go on shlichus. And since then, there they are … * In this faraway country they collect neshamos and are preparing this chain of islands for the Geula. There is a lot of work to be done.
By Nosson Avrohom
IN THE PHILIPPINES
n November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated parts of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, killing an estimated 10,000 people and displacing more than 600,000. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,201 people
in that country alone. The city of Tacloban, built mainly of wooden houses, was almost completely wiped out with hardly any houses remaining. A month later, women and children still carefully picked their way through the debris as they searched for those who were missing.
“The scene was horrific,” says the shliach in the capitol of Manila, R’ Yossi Levy. “Survivors stood on line next to destroyed homes and cars, downed electric cables and uprooted trees. Many people stood and waited for the distribution of rice and water. To understand the enormity of
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the storm, you would need to understand the significance of winds that blow at 400 kilometers an hour.” The facts are frightening. In addition to the dead and over half a million without homes, four and a half million people were injured in thirty-six locations. Aside from the destroyed homes and boats, large swaths of arable land were destroyed. Agencies from around the world that provide aid sent food, water, medicine and rolls of canvas to make tents for those who were left without a roof over their heads. Israel provided an IDF field hospital, and Zaka and Magen David Edom also provided aid. R’ Levy was the contact man for all these organizations. He worked around the clock to provide the members of the delegations with kosher food and
assistance in dealing with the local government bureaucracies. During his five years on shlichus, he has established contacts with various departments in the local government. These contacts have been useful to him when he has needed to help Jews. “In Manila we see how the world is ready for the hisgalus of the Rebbe MH”M,” says R’ Levy. He told us about fascinating work being done with hundreds of gentiles who call themselves B’nei Noach. The shliach operates out of a beautiful building in Manila, which contains a shul, a hall for Shabbos and holiday meals and shiurim, and his family’s private quarters. His shlichus work extends the length and breadth of the large country. “Nearly every day I encounter lost Jewish souls in out of the
way places or, conversely, very nearby, who were unaware of their being Jewish.” His Chabad House services are appreciated by Jewish locals, tourists, and businessmen as well as non-Jews.
THE DIFFICULT BEGINNING
How did the Levys end up in the Philippines? “Before I married, I thought about shlichus in New York or in some other large city. In my K’vutza year and the years that followed, I acquired mekuravim and thought I would continue working with them, but the Rebbe had other ideas. After being married for eight months, my wife Tiferet was asked by her place of employment whether she planned on teaching there the following year. She discussed it with me, and we thought she
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entered our room who had heard from someone that we were looking for a building. He had a suggestion for us. We went with him to check it out, and it was as if the building had been designed for us! We signed a contract that very day and opened the first Chabad House in the history of the Republic of the Philippines. “We searched for Jews everywhere. Whenever we went out to shop or walk, it was for the purpose of finding Jews and telling them of our presence in the city. I remember that one day, we saw a Jew running toward us, breathing heavily. He said he saw us from the window of a taxi as he was on his way to an important business meeting and he prayed that he would meet us when he finished the meeting, which indeed occurred. ‘I have been living here for twelve years and waiting impatiently for a Chabad House to open in Manila,’ he said. Since then, he is one of our staunch mekuravim.” The Chabad House is open every morning at seven o’clock. Shacharis follows a shiur in Chassidus. Israelis and Jews from other countries, who work there in numerous companies, as well as tourists, are among their visitors. “We estimate that every year, about 10,000 Israeli tourists and many other Jews from all over the world pass through the Philippines.” R’ Levy explains that in addition to drop-in guests, a community has formed around the Chabad House.
would continue working while I would help one of the shluchim in Brooklyn. “Before my wife gave her boss an answer, she wrote to the Rebbe and the answer she opened to was interesting. The Rebbe wrote to a Chassid who was leaving his teaching job for a shlichus position far away. From this we concluded that the Rebbe had a shlichus for us. “A week after opening to this answer, we were in Florida. Over a period of a few days the Philippines were mentioned several times in different contexts. One of the times, we met an Israeli who stays in the Philippines a lot and he complained about there not being a Chabad House there. We saw this as divine providence and began thinking in that direction.” At that time, R’ Levy knew nothing at all about the country. “As an Israeli, the only thing I knew was that it is far away and thousands of its citizens work in Israel as aides.” When they returned to Crown Heights, they wrote to the Rebbe
about this idea and the answer was positive. “At that moment, it was clear to us that this was it. All our friends, mekuravim, parents and neighbors reacted in surprise. ‘Go alone,’ one of the mekuravim told me. ‘I will pay all your expenses.’ But we were determined. We raised enough money and left without really doing research about the country. We felt confident in the Rebbe’s bracha.” The initial days and weeks in Manila were hard. They moved from hotel to hotel as their kosher food and supplies began to run out. “We did not find a suitable building to rent. Manila has become a business and manufacturing hub in recent years, and the kind of building we needed wasn’t available. At some point, my wife said, ‘We are here on the Rebbe’s shlichus. Let us ask him for the obstacles to end.’ That’s what we did. I stood in front of the Rebbe’s picture and asked for a bracha. Only minutes went by when a guard
SEARCHING FOR LOST SOULS
The Philippines is a very large country with about a hundred million people. There are quite a few Jews, many of whom do not
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know they are Jewish. “I was standing on line in a place that provides postal service and I heard the clerk announce, ‘Yoel Ashkenazi, it’s your turn.’ I immediately ran to the counter to meet him and saw a very old man. ‘Are you Jewish?’ I asked him, and he said yes in astonishment. “When we left, we got into a conversation. He wanted to know how I had gotten to this country and wondered what I was doing there. He told me he had escaped the Nazis, and in the years following the war he lived in Australia. Later on, he met a Filipina woman and moved to live with her in a village in the Philippines. He said he suffered bitterly from the people in the village and had been foolish to hope that life would be good with her. Of course we spoke about Torah and mitzvos and exchanged information so we could remain in touch.” *** “The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, out of which only 800 are populated. Some of the islands are under American control. Quite a few Jews live there with whom we’ve made contact. They occasionally come to Manila and visit the Chabad House. “There is an incredible phenomenon when it comes to locating these neshamos, in that the ones who are most helpful in finding them are the local gentiles. They often come to the Chabad House with a Jew and leave it to me to ‘deal’ with him. Recently, some of our gentile acquaintances brought an Israeli to the Chabad House who grew up in a traditional family. Unfortunately, he has been living with a local gentile woman for many years.
“There is also a former kibbutznik who lives on a farm outside the city. When we first met him, he did not want to observe anything, even Yom Kippur. Today, he has become a sort of shliach himself and works on being mekarev Jews who come to him.” In addition to these lost souls, the shliach sometimes finds himself in the role of an expert at locating lost individuals. Stories like these happen several times a year. The following took place two years ago: “It was a week before Sukkos when I received a phone call from a religious Jew in Yerushalayim who belongs to one of the big Chassidic groups. He very sadly told me that one of his children was missing for days and they think he left for the Philippines. “The first question I asked him was why they were sure he went to the Philippines, of all places, and not somewhere closer in Europe. He told me they checked his email and saw a confirmation for a ticket he had ordered to the Philippines. What connection did he have with this country? Nobody knew. “I first called the airport in
Manila. I heard that someone with that name had arrived from Israel and had entered the country a few days before. I obtained his picture, which I plastered all over the city with the help of a group of people who assist the Chabad House. His picture was given to the police, hotels, and transportation stations. The family’s fear was that he did not have his medication and could hurt himself or inadvertently get into dangerous situations. We heard from many people who thought they saw him, but they were all mistaken. “We thought he may have gone to even more distant parts of the country, but each time we wrote to the Rebbe, it seemed he was in the area. So we operated based on this. Erev Sukkos, a brother and therapist of this kid came to us from Eretz Yisroel. The two became an integral part of the Chabad House activities. “Sukkos night we had a farbrengen that lasted until midnight, in the course of which a discussion began about who would get the Levi aliya the next morning. Aside from me, there were another five Leviim including the brother of the
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missing boy. It’s not every day that you have five Leviim in the Philippines! “Then, on the spur of the moment, I announced that the missing brother would be the one to get the second aliya and that we had to commit to something good so he would be found. It was an inspiring, elevated atmosphere and everyone made good hachlatos. The next day, a few minutes before Shacharis, a policeman walked in with the news – the boy was found and we should go to the police station to identify him. It was him. It was sad to meet a Jew with a Chassidic appearance in these circumstances. He looked very hungry, his money and clothes had been robbed, and all this time in the Philippines he had asked for handouts. “We released him from the police station and brought him to the Chabad House where he ate and washed up. And he got the second aliya. “Since then, the boy’s father calls every Erev Yom Tov to wish me a Chag Sameiach and he sometimes sends a donation. Last year, his father was visiting in the US where he met some bachurim who were on mivtzaim. He gave one of them a donation and said he owed a debt of gratitude to the shluchim in the Philippines and told his story. The bachur who received the money smiled and said, ‘I am a baal t’shuva of the Chabad House in the Philippines!’” Occasionally, R’ Levy is asked to address an exclusive business club, whose members include many top business leaders. “The story about how I got there is astonishing. During the ‘Cast Lead’ operation I was shopping and next to me I saw a western individual with
R’ Levy offering help to residents of the islands devastated by the typhoon
R’ Levy with members of the IDF delegation that came to help
R’ Levy in a meeting with businessmen
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a Jewish nose. I asked him directly, ‘Are you Jewish?’ He said no, but added that his maternal grandmother is Jewish. Of course, I explained to him that this made him a Jew. Later on, we researched his family history in depth and found that indeed he is a Jew. He was born in Germany and lived in Manila because of business. He ended up becoming one of our steady mekuravim. Among his many positions, he was appointed to the board of this exclusive club, and now and then he asks me to come and address the members.”
SAVED AT THE LAST MOMENT
If one of us were to happen to drop into the Chabad House on a Sunday, we would think we were hallucinating. Dozens of gentiles – intellectuals and distinguished individuals in various professions – sit and listen to R’ Levy’s weekly class. It is a growing group which calls itself B’nei Noach. They are like soldiers who obey anything the Chabad House tells them. “It came from them. They saw a Jew with a hat and jacket, and they asked me, ‘Who are you? What are you doing in this country?’ When they heard what I had to say, they wanted to learn. We have helped them understand their rightful place in G-d’s world.” Among these gentiles are men from the military and the police force who work in prisons and government offices. R’ Levy is invited by them to official events where he speaks about the Rebbe and about the obligation of every human being to observe the Seven Noachide Laws. “Before holidays, when there is a lot of work to be done at the Chabad House, some of them
Mivtza Lulav in a mobile sukka
take time off from their regular jobs and devote themselves to helping us out. It’s a wondrous thing that has no real explanation aside from the fact that the world is marching toward the Geula.” R’ Levy sometimes makes use of his connections to help Jews. “Three years ago, I received a report from the embassy about an Israeli in some far-off jail with no one visiting him. This man was very rich, but fell into gambling
and lost all his money. Back then, I was in financially bad shape. As soon as I hung up with the ambassador, I wrote a letter to the Rebbe in which I said that if the Rebbe wanted me to visit him, where was the money to do so? That was on a Thursday. “On Motzaei Shabbos, I was contacted by a large kashrus agency in Eretz Yisroel that wanted me to be a mashgiach for a certain product in some factory.
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When I heard where the factory was located, I nearly fainted. It was the same city where the man was imprisoned. Naturally, the trips to this city were paid for by the kashrus agency. “The driver, who took me to the factory, was part of the B’nei Noach group. On the way, he told me that his cousin was the deputy manager of the prison, which made my getting into the prison easy. I saw the open manifestation of G-d’s providence in this story. “When I was brought into the cell, the man was shocked to see me. I put t’fillin on with him and gave him a kosher meal. We sat down to talk in Ivrit. ‘You saved my life,’ he said and explained, ‘Every Sunday a priest comes there was a gentile warden who was a mekurav of the Chabad House. He looked after him and made sure he had everything he needed. “Sadly, the warden told me one day that the man had died in his cell. We undertook the burial and he was buried in the Jewish section of a cemetery in Manila. The warden keeps me informed whenever a Jew is jailed and I go and visit him. “Since these gentiles know their true role they have helped us save Jews from assimilation. A couple from England told me that their son met a Filipina and planned to marry her. They asked me to convert her. I asked to meet the couple. I suggested to the young man that he start learning the world to traffic in body parts. Some sold their kidneys and some bought them. This generated a lot of money. An Israeli, who was heavily in debt, came here to sell a kidney of his, without his family knowing about it. “When I visited Jewish patients in the hospital, I met him and my heart went out to him. One day, I got a phone call from him that I should come quickly because he was close to death. I rushed over and saw him connected to many machines. The operation had gone awry and his health was rapidly deteriorating. His body was rejecting the medication and the doctors were at a loss. “I quickly wrote to the Rebbe and the answer was, ‘Check t’fillin and mezuzos.’ I didn’t waste a moment but called the family in Eretz Yisroel. After telling them who I am, I asked them to immediately check the mezuzos and his t’fillin. When I went to see him the following day, I was shocked to find him sitting in the lobby sipping a cup of coffee. Two days later he was on a flight back to Eretz Yisroel.” R’ Levy has more fascinating stories: “There is a businessman in Manila, an Israeli who is a religious Zionist, whose two single daughters were getting older. When he heard about the possibility of writing to the Rebbe, he wrote about his daughters. Only two weeks later, while he was still in Manila, the older daughter told him she was engaged. Another two weeks went by and the second daughter was engaged and both are married by now.” The Rebbe’s constant involvement in their shlichus is not limited only to answers in
“She said she had just arrived by plane from the village where she lived in order to learn about Judaism. In exchange, she wanted to provide household help. I looked at my friend and he stood there openmouthed. It was like something out of a Baal Shem Tov story.”
to visit the Christian prisoners. He makes sure they have food and drink and cheers them up. Meanwhile, nobody visited me. Last week I broke down and told G-d that if He did not send me a sign that He was interested in me, I would kill myself.’ “He told me that he had already taken action toward that end and he was going to carry out his plan the next day. Then I showed up … I encouraged him and told him to take care of himself. Later, through my connections, I was able to get him transferred to a prison closer to Manila and I visited him every week. In this prison about Judaism at the Chabad House and she should attend classes on Sunday. I hoped that something good would happen in the interim. After a while, they decided to break up, each one realizing that a Jew and a gentile are not suited to one another.”
MIRACLES IN MANILA
The Chabad House in the Philippines does not make a move without asking for the Rebbe’s bracha. R’ Levy teaches this to his mekuravim. R’ Levy says miracles take place every day at the Chabad House. “In the past, people came to the Philippines from all over
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the Igros Kodesh when there is a need for blessing or special intercession, but it can be seen in every detail, as R’ Levy tells: “The Chabad House is able to operate on such a broad scale, in no small part thanks to the locals who cook and clean for us. There was a week when we were unable to arrange workers and did not know how to manage without them. Every Erev Shabbos, an older man would come to the Chabad House, a graduate of the vocational school in Kfar Chabad. He helped us cook. When he saw, that Friday, that there were no assistants, he asked how I thought I would manage. I told him that the Chabad House is the Rebbe’s house, and so I did not worry. It would all work out. “He wanted me to be more practical about it, but I remained staunch in my belief, even though it did not seem realistic. As we spoke, a local gentile woman walked in and asked if this was the Chabad House. When I said that it was, she said she had just arrived by plane from the village where she lived in order to learn about Judaism. In exchange, she wanted to provide household help. I looked at my friend and he stood there open-mouthed. It was like something out of a Baal Shem Tov story. This gentile woman remained with us for half a year. She was unwilling to eat a crumb and she refused to accept money for her work. She slept with relatives in the city and every morning she came to work until evening.”
At the meal following the circumcision of his son with the participation of shluchim in the area
A CHABAD PRESCHOOL
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, a few months ago R’ Levy was extremely busy following the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines. He slept very little as he worked hard
to provide logistical assistance for the delegations from Eretz Yisroel that brought rescue relief and also worked with the local government authorities. “I am glad that thanks to that, we publicized the name of the Rebbe MH”M,” says R’ Levy. He refers to an interview on the well-known TV program of Nissim Mishal. Mishal asked the shliach whether he should leave a dedicated line open so he could report about the hisgalus of the Rebbe and was told he should. “The physical aid we provided the gentiles was a Kiddush Hashem. They saw that the ones who mobilized the most to come to their aid were Jews, and this generated a lot of positive feeling across the country. As they worked, the rescue teams as well as the Zaka volunteers received kosher food, and we gave them full access to all of the resources of the Chabad House. Through the connections we made and our people everywhere, we were able to provide help that even the embassy could not provide due to its limitations. I personally
traveled to destroyed cities and villages and provided aid.” As for chinuch for his children when a Chabad school is not available for hundreds of kilometers: “My wife runs a preschool which is attended by children of the many Israelis who live in Manila. Since there are maids who do all the housework, my wife is free to work in chinuch. It’s not easy, but we see heavenly assistance and our children are an inseparable part of our shlichus.” R’ Levy has many stories on this topic, but he wanted to share one particularly moving story that recently happened: “There is an older bachelor who used to live in Gush Katif. The expulsion caused him such great psychological distress to the point that he decided to leave the country and settle in a village near Manila, as far away as possible. Whenever I go to milk cows in the area, I visit him. His anger and bitterness were so great that he never agreed to put on t’fillin.
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“When my son turned three, I took him with me to visit this man. My son told him that the present he wanted for his birthday was for him to put on t’fillin. He couldn’t refuse my son. Sometimes, the sweetness and innocence of children breaks barriers.” In Manila, Jews live with Moshiach. Are there any Jews who are bothered by the publicity of the identity of Moshiach? “It bothers them that the Rebbe is still not visible,” says R’ Levy. He said that he has met people who are bothered by Yechi, but that gives him the opportunity to explain. “When I first started on shlichus here, the nisayon was great. Every Shabbos, I would say Yechi on my own. When I would talk about the Rebbe and Moshiach, they did not all understand. But the reality is that if we do not live Moshiach, then how are we different than other organizations that work to be mekarev Jews? “I remember a tourist who used to be religious, who lived for a while with a gentile woman. When I proclaimed Yechi, he jumped up and began asking questions. After answering him, I gently explained why, in his case, his opposition was sourced in klipa. Our Chabad House lives Yechi. We even have people at the Chabad House who are well versed in the concept of ‘chai v’kayam’ and about ‘the foundation stone’ and can explain the Rebbe’s sicha on Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel. “A few months ago, we had a Jew here who used to live in Canada and was very close with Chabad in his city. The shliach there hides his involvement with Moshiach. When this man heard Yechi from us, it bothered him and he complained about it. One of the people who frequent the Chabad House, an expert on the sichos of 5751-5752, explained to him why the Nasi Ha’dor must be someone alive in a physical body. At first he argued, but then he realized the absurdity in what he was doing. ‘He already sees the light while we insist on seeing darkness,’ he said with an embarrassed smile.” In the past two years, R’ Levy has brought another two shluchim to the Philippines who opened Chabad Houses in other cities in the country: R’ Yisroel Kaplan who works in Cebu, and R’ Shmuel Lozon who works in Clark. Every few months containers come from Eretz Yisroel with food and supplies that are divided among the three Chabad Houses. R’ Sholom Dickstein comes occasionally from nearby Australia to shecht chickens. And if that wasn’t enough, R’ Levy has started construction on a building that is a model of 770.
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14 � • 28 Adar I 5774
THE SECOND MISHKAN
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
Parshas P’kudei presents an accounting of all the materials that went into the construction of the Mishkan, the portable Sanctuary in the desert. It also details all of the components of the Mishkan and mentions how the two chief architects, Betzalel and Ahaliav, executed everything “as G-d commanded Moses.” The phrase “as G-d commanded Moses” is mentioned repeatedly in this week’s parsha. In fact, nowhere else do we have that expression repeated so many times. This phenomenon is noted by the Jerusalem Talmud (Brachos 4:3 and Taanis 2:2) which counts 18 references to the architects’ compliance with G-d’s command to Moses in this parsha and then explains that it is a hidden reference to Judaism’s most important prayer: the Amida-Standing Prayer or Shmoneh Esrei-18. (It is called Amida because one must recite this prayer standing. It is called Shmoneh Esrei, which means 18, on account of its original 18 benedictions. Although a 19th blessing was added later, 18 remained its official title.) The Talmud (both the Babylonian in Brachos 28b as well as in the Jerusalem Talmud, cited above) discusses several
reasons why the benedictions for this central prayer numbered 18: One reason is that G-d’s name is mentioned 18 times in Psalm 29 (a Psalm expressing King David’s praises to G-d). Another opinion bases it on the fact that King David recited 18 Psalms before he used the expression “May the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You” (a verse that captures the essence of prayer). A third opinion is that it corresponds to the 18 time the Patriarchs are mentioned in the Torah. (According to one opinion, the Patriarchs were the first ones to institute the daily prayers. Hence it is fitting that the daily prayer should be connected to the Patriarchs.) A fourth view is that it corresponds to the 18 times G-d’s name is mentioned in the Shma. Another view is that it corresponds to the 18 vertebrae in the human body. (When one prays the entire person has to be involved. When we bend our bodies in prayer the vertebrae show.)
A SIXTH VIEW
The Jerusalem Talmud cites yet a sixth view that it corresponds to the 18 times the
expression “as G-d commanded” is mentioned in this week’s parsha. However the Jerusalem Talmud adds the caveat that it refers only to those expressions which appear after the mention of the deputy architect of the Mishkan, Ahaliav. In other words, the first mention of “as G-d commanded Moses” written in connection with Betzalel, the chief architect, is not to be counted. The obvious question here is: what is the connection between the Shmoneh Esrei and the 18 times G-d’s command to Moses is mentioned with respect to the construction of the Mishkan? The classic commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud, Korban HaEida, alludes to this question and explains that the institution of prayer, specifically the Shmoneh Esrei, took the place of the daily sacrifices after destruction of the Temple. It is thus fitting that the allusion to prayer should be found in the Torah’s description of the Sanctuary, the location where sacrifices were offered. This explanation however leaves us with several questions: First, why would the prayer be hinted at in the context of the Mishkan and not in the context of the sacrifices themselves? Second, why would we start counting “as G-d commanded
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Our prayer is needed to create the second WHY PRAY EVERY DAY? There is a well-known version of blessing, the one that manifests itself question about prayer in general in the physical world and that we can see with our eyes and the Shmoneh Esrei in particular. Why would we ask of flesh.
Moses” only after Ahaliav is mentioned? Third, the Jerusalem Talmud refers to the account of the construction of the Mishkan in this week’s parsha as a “Mishkan sheini-the second Mishkan.” Obviously, it means the Torah’s second account of the Mishkan. The first account was recorded in the parsha Truma, which we read four weeks ago, and the second version of the Mishkan is in this week’s parsha. Why does the Jerusalem Talmud characterize this as the “Second Mishkan?” It should have said that it was a repetition of the Mishkan saga, but not the “Second Mishkan,” which makes it sound like there were two. We can understand why the Tablets Moses received after he had shattered the first Tablets are described as “the second Tablets.” They were, in fact, a second set of Tablets. By contrast, the account of the Mishkan in P’kudei is the same Mishkan discussed in the earlier parsha. To answer these questions it is important to understand the difference between this week’s version of the construction of the Mishkan and the first version, which recorded G-d’s original instruction concerning the Mishkan. (See Likkutei Sichos, volume 1. p. 195 ff. for the Rebbe’s answer to these questions. What follows is partially based on the discussion there.) It would seem that the difference is that the Mishkan discussed in Truma signifies the theoretical aspects of construction of a Sanctuary for G-d. Parshas P’kudei, however, deals with the physical implementation of the plan for the Mishkan. From that perspective we are dealing with the same Mishkan; first in theory, then in reality. But still, this hardly justifies calling the structure in this week’s parsha as “the Second Mishkan.” Moreover, in the opening verse of this parsha the Torah actually uses the word Mishkan twice. This would appear to support the Jerusalem Talmud’s assertion that there were two Mishkans. This leads us to the conclusion that, in fact, the two versions reflect two different dimensions of the Mishkan. The first version is the Heavenly Mishkan; the Mishkan the way it exists in the spiritual realms. The second version, in P’kudei, is the Mishkan that we have here on Earth. This parallels our Sages’ description of a heavenly Beis HaMikdash-Holy Temple that corresponds to the earthly one. Thus, when the Jerusalem Talmud refers to the version of the construction of the Mishkan in this week’s parsha as the “Second Mishkan” it is indeed saying that there are two Mishkans: one in heaven and the other one down here on Earth. We can now understand why the Jerusalem Talmud connects the Shmoneh Esrei with the second Mishkan.
G-d for our needs if on Rosh Hashanah G-d already decreed what we are going to have for the entire year? We are taught that while it is true that on Rosh Hashanah the blessings that were allocated for us for the coming year have indeed already materialized, they have done so only in a higher form in a higher world. Our daily prayers are required to draw these blessings down into our realm. In other worlds, the blessings we possess on Rosh Hashanah are of the first variety. Our prayer is needed to create the second version of blessing, the one that manifests itself in the physical world and that we can see with our eyes of flesh. The hint to prayer that occurs in the account of the Mishkan’s construction is not just because the Mishkan was necessary for the sacrifices that prayer came to replace, but because it validates the prayer exercise. It’s what translates the heavenly into the earthly. This also explains why the Jerusalem Talmud includes only those phrases “as G-d commanded Moses” that follow the mention of Ahaliav, the second in command. What is so special about Ahaliav? One way of looking at his role is that he was second to Betzalel. One could ask: why was it necessary for Betzalel to have a deputy? Moreover, as there were many deputies that assisted Betzalel, why then did the Torah single out only one for honorable mention? One possible answer is that
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Betzalel and Ahaliav were dealing with two different structures. Betzalel, whose very name means “in G-d’s shadow,” saw the Mishkan the way it was built in the heavenly spheres. Ahaliav was the one who saw from an earthly perspective the way the Mishkan should be constructed in the here and now. The two architects go on to synthesize their visions: the earthly design of Ahaliav would merge with Betzalel’s celestial design. Thus, the Mishkan the Torah speaks of here is, indeed, the second one. Likewise Ahaliav is the second architect and the Shmoneh Esrei represents the second concretized version of G-d’s blessings.
The focus on the “second” aspect of the Mishkan, Ahaliav and the Shmoneh Esrei relates to the final Redemption as well.
In the special k’dusha prayer we recite on Shabbos and the Jewish Holidays, we ask G-d to redeem us “a second time.” This is based on the verse (Yeshayahu 11:11): “It shall be on that day that the L-rd will once again [literally: “a second time”] show His hand to acquire the remnant of His people…” The simple meaning of the word “second” here is to compare the final Redemption to the Exodus from Egypt. On a deeper level, however, the reference to a “second” Redemption alludes to the notion that the Redemption dynamic exists on two planes: It is generated in the spiritual realms and then it descends to the earthly realm. It further emphasizes that we want and need to experience the Redemption in its earthly and concrete form. We are living in unique times so close to the Final Redemption.
The Rebbe stated that the Redemption is situated right outside on our doorstep. All we have to do is reach out and bring it in to our lives. The Redemption dynamic is palpable. Our task is, as the Rebbe also added, “to open our eyes” to this reality so that it enters into our consciousness as well. There is another application of the “second Mishkan” concept to our time. There are two scenarios for the way the Third Temple will be built. According to Rambam it will be built by the Jewish people under the direction of Moshiach. According to Rashi it will descend from Heaven fully fabricated. The Rebbe reconciled these two versions by stating that the Heavenly Beis HaMikdash will descend and become integrated with our earthly Temple. The two dimensions will merge for a most perfect Sanctuary that will last forever.
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MEDICINE WITH A MISSION
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R’ Yaakov Katz wears “two hats” – Chief Pharmacist of the Israeli Ministry of Health of the Central Region and unofficial shliach of the Rebbe at the Ministry of Health, two quite challenging jobs. * In a fascinating discussion with Beis Moshiach, R’ Katz told of his life in a small town in England and how he became involved with Chabad, about his job as Chief Pharmacist and a Chassid who travels in the rarified world of highly educated health professionals who are for the most part very distant from anything Jewish.
Interview by Nosson Avrohom Photos by Meir Alfasi
he sight that met my eyes was no less than astounding. Alongside the 770 building in Kfar Chabad were parked, one after another, a long row of expensive cars. Out of the cars emerged older, distinguished looking Jews who quickened their pace and disappeared inside. They headed for the last room on the first floor for the weekly shiur in Chassidus that would start in a few minutes. The shiur is given by the shliach to Ohr Yehuda, R’ Shlomo Katz. The one who has hosted and organized the shiur for the past ten years is his father, R’ Yaakov Katz. His official job is Chief Pharmacist of the Central Region in the Ministry of Health. In his less official position he is a shliach at the Ministry of Health. Those who attend the shiur are all senior pharmacists who come from cities in the center of the country. They were not given a Jewish chinuch and some of them were even taught to hate religion. Yet they will do anything to make sure they don’t miss a single shiur. “These pharmacists recently opened a virtual forum in which they call themselves ‘Pharmacists Chassidei Chabad,’ says R’ Katz with obvious delight. “It’s hard to imagine that most of them were born in Bulgaria and Romania and were not given a Jewish education. There are also kibbutznikim who didn’t even celebrate a bar mitzva, but today would postpone flights and forgo important meetings so as not to miss the weekly shiur.” *** R’ Katz told me about a series of kiruvim (signs of closeness) that he received from the Rebbe along with clear answers that guided him in life until his present position. We met R’ Katz, known as Yankele to his friends, in his office in the Health Ministry office in Ramle. Just a few minutes prior, the hustle and bustle of people coming in and going out was quite audible; colleagues, officials, pharmacists and doctors, come to the
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office of the man who has the final word in his department. We met a dynamic Chassid who makes a Kiddush Sheim Lubavitch every day. In those days, there wasn’t much religious Judaism in England. Very few were punctiliously observant. Many Jews mingled with gentiles. R’ Katz describes his school days as a farce. “Today they call it ADHD, but then I was called the class troublemaker.” His interest in Torah and mitzvos began to blossom once he became bar mitzva: “Apparently my t’fillin aroused something within me. My father told me about mitzvos. I began reading Jewish books and my interest in Judaism continued to grow. I began keeping Shabbos to the extent of my knowledge and tried to keep what I could and what I knew. “My serious journey began when I finished high school. I went far from home to Sunderland, near Scotland, in order to study pharmacology; it was a field that I had heard could earn me good money. “In Sunderland, I found a young Chabad couple who were sent there by the Rebbe, R’ Yehuda and Mrs. Refson. I was invited to them for Shabbos and Yomim Tovim and loved it. For the first time in my life I was having a full, authentic Jewish experience. “My brother was also very interested in Judaism and he introduced me to his rabbi, R’ Shmuel Lew, who was sent on shlichus to London. From the two of them I heard about the Rebbe and Chabad Chassidus for the first time.” encounters with him also had a great influence on him: “We met one day. It was after I had completed my first degree in pharmacology, and he said to me, ‘Yankele, you must attend yeshiva.’ This shocked me. ‘Yeshiva? I know enough to be a good Jew,’ I replied. But he insisted and I attended his yeshiva for a while. “In the yeshiva library I found s’farim in English. One of them had many Chassidic tales. I read the book from cover to cover and felt drawn to it. “When I left Sunderland, I returned to London and settled in Golders Green. The first thing I did was look for a shul or yeshiva, and there too I met Lubavitchers, shluchim of the Rebbe, including R’ Herschel Goldman who translated the Tanya into English. “After several conversations, he suggested that I fly to see the Rebbe. I already knew a thing or two about the Rebbe, and I told him that I not willing to be seen in the Rebbe’s presence without first spending at least a year in yeshiva. I was a fresh baal t’shuva who operated from emotion. R’ Goldman liked my approach and had a practical suggestion for me, to go to Eretz Yisroel and attend R’ Shneur Zalman Gafni’s yeshiva in Kfar Chabad for baalei t’shuva, Ohr T’mimim.” When I asked R’ Katz what appealed to him about Lubavitch he said: “There was a pivotal moment. It was a few months before the Yom Kippur War and R’ Refson gave out coins for tz’daka to the Jewish children. He told us that the Lubavitcher Rebbe said there was a heavenly accusation against Eretz Yisroel and we should give tz’daka and pray. Nobody understood what this
ENCOUNTERING JUDAISM IN LITTLE SUNDERLAND
Yankele was born in the early 50’s in a small town near London, where his grandparents fled to from the German blitz of London. His family kept the current traditional version of Judaism – synagogue and fasting on Yom Kippur. The children were sent to public school and they did not cover their heads. “In those days, there were hardly any Jewish schools,” he says in his parents’ defense. His maternal grandfather, even though he conducted himself not at all religiously, founded a synagogue saying that he could not live in a city without one. After founding the synagogue, he looked for someone to run the place and serve as chazan and Torah reader. “The person he found suitable received a nice monthly salary from my grandfather and a place to live in my grandparents’ home.” That rabbi made a shidduch for the grandfather’s daughter, who was R’ Katz’s mother: “‘Why isn’t your daughter married?’ the rabbi asked. My grandfather told him that after the war it was hard to find suitable young Jewish men. The rabbi told my grandfather about a single cousin of his. My grandfather agreed to check him out. My parents met and decided to marry. My father wasn’t what you’d call religious, but since he came from a very religious family, he put on t’fillin and was particular about kashrus to the best of his ability.”
FROM PHARMACY SCHOOL TO YESHIVA
There was also a Litvishe rav in Sunderland, from the Ehrentreu family. He headed a yeshiva there. R’ Katz’s
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was about. Some dismissed it. But then the Yom Kippur War began and I remembered what the Rebbe had said. That is when I realized that the Rebbe is not just another rabbi but a leader from whose mouth emerges the word of G-d.” R’ Katz went to Eretz Yisroel at the beginning of 5736 and learned in Ohr T’mimim: “It was hard at first, but I was determined. I did not know either Hebrew or Yiddish and acclimating was complicated, but R’ Gafni did all he could to sweeten the bitter pill for me. R’ Gafni is a real gaon, a p’nimius’dike Chassid, who turned me from a searching baal t’shuva into a Lubavitcher Chassid.” In Tishrei 5738, R’ Katz went to the Rebbe for the first time: “It was both a lofty experience as well as a difficult one with all the crowding and irregular meals. As someone raised on British orderliness, it wasn’t easy for me, but with Hashem’s help, I managed.” R’ Katz returned to England after Shabbos Parshas Noach in order to check out a shidduch prospect. He became engaged on the last night of Chanuka.
R’ Katz with some of his children, with 770 in the background. From right to left: R’ Shlomo – shliach in Ohr Yehuda; R’ Dovid – shliach in London; R’ Yankele, R’ Menachem Mendel – shliach in Florida
THE REBBE AND LANIADO HOSPITAL
After marrying, the Katz couple moved to Kfar Chabad where Yankele learned in Ohr T’mimim’s kollel. In order to obtain an Israeli degree in pharmacology, he had to be in the army. After receiving the Rebbe’s bracha, he served in the army. His service included the Lebanon War. He served in a field hospital that opened in Lebanon, near Beirut. When he finished his service as an officer,
he wrote to the Rebbe that he had gotten a job offer at Laniado Hospital in Netanya. The Rebbe approved the offer. “When the director of the hospital realized that I am a Lubavitcher Chassid, he told me an amazing story which I heard from other staff members who had been present when it happened. A group of directors and senior doctors from Laniado went to see the Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l, the founder of Laniado Hospital, who was living in the US at the time. They were six men in the delegation. When they arrived in New York, they decided to meet with the Lubavitcher Rebbe too. They were given an appointment at
two in the morning. “Their plan was to ask for a bracha and leave. As soon as they walked into the Rebbe’s room, one of the men introduced himself. The Rebbe said he had heard of the hospital. One of the men said, ‘We came to ask for a bracha.’ The Rebbe gave a bracha and then asked a question. The question had to do with a room on the ground floor on the right side. The Rebbe commented that they had bought a machine from Holland that checks blood for a very high price, and the number of tests it could do was 340 an hour. ‘Why didn’t you buy the same machine in Belgium? It would cost half as much and its output is much better.’
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“‘If Chaim puts on t’fillin,’ said the brother, ‘then G-d above. I always tell my colleagues, fly wherever you want I believe Moshiach is about to come.’” in the world but order kosher
everything that was going on with his institution.” When R’ Katz worked at Laniado, he wasn’t yet an expert in shlichus the way he is today, but he tells one story that shaped his approach to spreading the wellsprings: “There was a nurse who worked at the hospital who was quite anti-religious. One time, when we got to talking, I told her, ‘I know you think we are antiquated and primitive, but at least light Shabbos candles.’ “She looked at me angrily and said in Yiddish, ‘You think I’m a goy? What Jewish woman doesn’t light Shabbos candles?!’ “This incident underscored for me the idea that every Jew has a G-dly spark, a part of food, and they listen. People are becoming inspired; their inner spark is becoming more and more exposed. It is not hard to ignite it.”
“The delegation was stunned. The Rebbe did not stop with this question. He went on to make a virtual tour of all the rooms in the hospital. He reviewed all the deficiencies and what needed fixing. The director told me that the Rebbe even knew where they had bought the hospital sheets for the beds. They left the Rebbe’s office at five in the morning, in shock. How did the Rebbe have all this information? “From Crown Heights they traveled directly to the Klausenberger Rebbe who was living in Williamsburg. They told him about their meeting with the Rebbe. When he heard their report, his face glowed and they could see he was moved that the Rebbe was so involved and knew
DOING WHAT THE REBBE WANTS
When he stopped working at Laniado, the Katzs decided to move to Yerushalayim: “Of course I wrote to the Rebbe about this. The answer was to check t’fillin and mezuzos. For some reason, I checked the mezuzos but not the t’fillin. This was in 5748 when the Rebbe announced the ‘Year of Building’ and we decided to buy our own home. We saw a new apartment that was under construction. We liked the location, and despite the cost we decided to sign a contract.
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“A Chassid doesn’t make a move without asking the Rebbe so we wrote to the Rebbe time after time but did not receive a response. One night, I called R’ Groner and asked him why I did not get a response. He asked what the answer had been when I asked about moving to Yerushalayim. I said, ‘Check t’fillin and mezuzos.’ He asked whether I had done so. I said just the mezuzos had been checked. ‘So what are you complaining about?’ he asked. ‘Do what the Rebbe told you.’ “I thought this might be the reason and the next day I went to the sofer, R’ Avrohom Lifschitz, so he could check my t’fillin. It turned out that my Rashi t’fillin were pasul. I asked him to write me another parsha and he agreed. I entered his home with pasul t’fillin and left with kosher ones. “On the way, I decided to pass by the building which was under construction where we wanted to buy an apartment. The contractor was there and he told me that he wouldn’t keep waiting endlessly for us to decide. “After talking to him I went to a neighbor and called my wife to tell her about the t’fillin and the pressure from the contractor. As soon as she picked up the phone and heard that it was me, she said excitedly, ‘Yankele, R’ Groner called two minutes ago and said he has a positive answer for us from the Rebbe about the apartment!’ I was flabbergasted. The Rebbe’s answer was delayed until I checked my t’fillin. Of course we signed the contract right away.”
REBUKE OUT OF LOVE IN FRONT OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
R’ Yaakov Katz relates: When I arrived at 770 for the first time, Tishrei 5738, I did not know what was permitted and what was forbidden. I was a new baal t’shuva. I had a camera and I innocently walked into 770 one day of Chol HaMoed, got a good spot in the second row near Rabbi Mentlick and Rabbi Chadakov, and got ready to photograph the Rebbe when he walked in. I had no idea that (at least in those days) this was not acceptable. A few minutes went by, the Rebbe walked in, he motioned to the crowd and I took pictures. I got seven beautiful pictures but then the Rebbe suddenly turned his gaze in my direction. In a fright, I jumped down. The Rebbe loudly asked whether I had said Chitas and I said I had. My answer was conveyed by Chassidim who stood between me and the Rebbe. The Rebbe asked, “Today?” I said yes, but I had a little more to finish since the way I did it was that I first learned the shiurim in Lashon HaKodesh and then I translated them into English. The Chassidim heard me and told the Rebbe I hadn’t finished it. Then the Rebbe asked, “Which is better, to sit and learn Torah or to take pictures in a holy place?” After Maariv I had this terrible feeling that the Rebbe was annoyed with me. I decided to go upstairs and wait for the Rebbe and apologize. I did not understand why, along the way, I saw so many Chassidim sitting and learning Chitas. One Chassid said to me, “See what a z’chus you have. Look at how many people are learning the shiurim in depth, thanks to you.” But that did not serve to make me feel better. I headed for the secretaries’ office. R’ Groner listened to what I had to say and agreed that I should write a letter and submit it to the Rebbe. That same night I received a response, “I will mention it at the gravesite.” After that, I did not show those pictures to anyone for many years. My son once prepared an article for Beis Moshiach and wanted to include one photo. He wrote to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh and the answer was negative. The Rebbe still did not want them to be publicized. My father a”h kept one of the photos in his briefcase until his passing. Something I recalled much later is that the answer to the first letter that I wrote to the Rebbe after I became involved with Chabad was, “Surely he knows about the three shiurim.” “In a meeting that I had with R’ Gafni, he told me there are two types of Chabad houses. There is a Chabad house that has signs and a Chabad house that has no signs but everyone knows about it. I couldn’t hang up signs because the hospital was not my building, but I adopted the second approach. “A few days after I decided to do the Rebbe’s shlichus, a senior doctor met me in the hall and told me that he was going to Dublin. He wanted me, as a Lubavitcher Chassid, to find out where there
In Yerushalayim, R’ Katz went to work at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.
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said, ‘No thanks. I already have a two and a half month old son.’ I did not understand her answer. I figured that my English accent made me incomprehensible and I tried again. “To my surprise, she gave the same answer and said that she had married ten years earlier and two and a half years went by without her becoming pregnant. Her husband suggested they write to the Rebbe and they did so, and received his bracha. A year went by and their son was born. After another two and a half years they wrote again and they had another child. After another two and a half years they wrote again and they had a baby two and a half months earlier. ‘Now do you understand why I don’t need a bracha?’ she asked.” Rebbe, don’t do anything now.’ “A few months went by and I saw how far-reaching the Rebbe’s vision is. The chief pharmacologist at the Health Ministry made me an offer I could not refuse, to be the chief pharmacologist of the central region. I agreed on the spot. There were many who hoped for this position; they found it hard to accept that someone else had gotten the job and a frum person no less. This even ended up before the court which dismissed the case out of hand.” When I asked what the job of a regional pharmacologist entails, R’ Katz said: “Eretz Yisroel is divided into six regions. Each region has a regional doctor, a regional psychiatrist, and a regional pharmacologist. We are responsible for all medications in our region. The port in Tel Aviv and the airport at Ben Gurion are under our jurisdiction. We have to make certain that only approved medications enter the country. We supervise all the pharmacies, give permits to pharmacists, and approve the opening of new pharmacies.” I asked R’ Katz what advantage a Lubavitcher pharmacist has over others. He said: “First, it makes a great Kiddush Hashem when people see a Chassidic Jew with the proper credentials in a position like this who does not concede on any point of Halacha. Second, there is the shlichus element. We care about the Jewish people. We believe that wherever we are, our job is to do a material and spiritual favor for another Jew. In my work I try to combine the two – the material, providing the correct medication, along with spiritual strengthening.”
was a shul and where he could eat kosher food. ‘Although I don’t look religious,’ he said with a wink, ‘outside of Eretz Yisroel I proudly display my Judaism.’ “With time, people from the administrative staff and the doctors learned that I was someone they could turn to. People began bringing me their t’fillin and mezuzos for checking. My job included giving the chemotherapy medication. When I packed it up along with the medical information, I would tell the patients about the importance of saying T’hillim and strengthening their observance of Torah and mitzvos.” R’ Katz recalled a moving story from his job at Hadassah: “Before Shavuos 5749, I went to 770 with my son Shloimy for the first time. Before we went, I went around to all the departments to suggest that the employees write to the Rebbe. I went to a department run by a religious nurse. I asked her if she wanted to write to the Rebbe. She
A SURPRISING OFFER
By 5753, R’ Katz felt burned out. He wanted to progress in his field and he had several options. He could go back to London and complete his doctorate or do his doctorate at a university in Yerushalayim. “On Lag B’Omer of that year, I was in 770. I discussed my indecision with the Rebbe’s secretary, R’ Klein, and asked him to ask the Rebbe what I should do. This was after 27 Adar and the answers were not detailed. “A few days went by without my receiving an answer. I went with my son to the Ohel to pray at the Rebbe Rayatz’s grave that I should merit a response. When we returned to 770, R’ Klein came over to me and said that the Rebbe’s answer was not to pick either option. What I expressed my bewilderment, R’ Klein said, ‘If you want to listen to the
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THE REBBE’S THANKS AND BLESSING
A significant part of R’ Katz’s work is one on one. Many of his colleagues have a personal relationship with him and consult with him: Mr. Eli Horowitz, director of the big pharmaceutical company Teva, died two years ago. A decade ago, he signed a big purchasing contract with the pharmaceutical company Promedico. He did this in the presence of someone I knew well, Mr. Alex Eisenbach, in Switzerland, and it seems there were some clauses that were not clear. That was enough for the Israeli tax authorities to ask for a larger slice of the pie, with an additional charge of tax evasion in the amount of many millions. The government charged both Horowitz and Eisenbach. A day before the court case, a case that all the financial columns were following, Alex came to me extremely worried. “Listen, I am not a youngster. I just turned 75. If I am sentenced to jail, that’s the end of me. I won’t be able to survive there.” He was very pessimistic about his chances, and I wanted to encourage him. During the conversation, I was reminded of an extraordinary story that he had told me, a story that he had had with the Rebbe. This chevraman, in his youth, studied pharmacology at a university in Damascus. As he studied, he spied for the Haganah. Under the guise of a student, he traveled to all the Middle Eastern capitols and reported back to his superiors. After the establishment of the State, he fled from Damascus and settled in Tel Aviv. The government wanted to reward him for the help he provided. There was no pharmacology school yet in the nascent country and he had a year left to complete his degree. So someone in the government decided to sponsor his boat trip to an exclusive university so he could finish his studies in Boston. This was at the end of the War of Independence. Friends, neighbors and family members went to say goodbye, including Mrs. Schneersohn, the wife of R’ Aryeh Leib, the Rebbe’s brother. She gave him a pile
of papers and asked him, when he got to New York, to stop off at 770 and give them to her brother-in-law, Ramash (later to be the Rebbe). He took the exact address and the papers and promised to do her this favor. The next day he was on the ship on his way to New York. As soon as he arrived, he went to Crown Heights, to 770. He asked where Ramash lived and people showed him. He knocked at the door and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka opened the door. She took the papers from him and apologized, saying that the Rebbe was busy and couldn’t speak to him, but if he came back in four hours the Rebbe would have something to say to him, she thought. When he returned, the Rebbetzin opened the door and apologized once again. “My husband is with my father now and cannot come to the door, but he asked me to convey his deep thanks and a blessing in all things.” At this point, I said to Alex, “You helped the Rebbe. We, as Chassidim, know that the Rebbe does not remain in debt. The Rebbe will help you.” The next day, the court case began and the reporters were astonished to hear the judges exonerate the accused of everything. That same day, Alex came to my office, excited and emotional. If I hadn’t known him as a serious person, I would have thought he was hallucinating. He said that as soon as he walked into the court room, he saw the Rebbe himself sitting on the judge’s chair for several minutes. When he saw this, he knew that the Rebbe was there to help him as was subsequently proven to be true. *** I just came back with a group of pharmacists from the gravesites of the Chabad leaders. There was one pharmacist from a kibbutz who did not stop crying from emotion. He has recently been taking his first steps in the world of t’shuva, and he is one of many. Quite a few of them have already visited 770 and one of them takes pride in having been to 770 five times.
R’ Katz added: “As I mentioned, at first there were many people who were annoyed when I got the position and tried to prevent it. After all, I had not come from the right kibbutz and I hadn’t served in the right army unit and I wore a kippa. What more indicated that
I wasn’t suited to this job? There were people who did not stop at anything in order to torpedo this appointment. However, I felt that I was in this position on the Rebbe’s shlichus. “One day, I wrote to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh and asked for a bracha. The
answer was astounding. The Rebbe’s letter wished someone success in his new position and said the person should utilize his position in order to inspire Jews about their Jewish identity and to spread the wellsprings. This answer encouraged me tremendously. I felt that the
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Rebbe had brought me to this position and had designated for me a shlichus which I am trying to carry out. “One of the first decisions I made was to check that there were mezuzos, not just medications, at all pharmacies. I check to see whether the mezuza is kosher and in nearly all cases we change them to better ones.” We started the article with the weekly shiur that R’ Katz organized. I asked him to tell us about it. “The initiative for this shiur came from one of the pharmacists whom I asked to put on t’fillin but he refused. I asked him why, and he said that he had never had a bar mitzva. A week later we invited many of his friends, about 150 people, to the 770 building in Kfar Chabad and we made him a bar mitzva with davening and his first aliya to the Torah. That is when we launched the shiur.” For many pharmacists, the shiur is just the beginning, the introduction to a magical world of Chassidus and making commitments in Torah and mitzva observance. “There was a pharmacist who joined me on a trip to the Rebbe for Shabbos Mevarchim Kislev. He was very impressed and I decided to strike while the iron was hot. I asked him where will he go from here, and he asked me what I meant. I said, make a good hachlata. We sat and thought and finally, this fellow who looked distant from Torah and mitzvos went with me to a Judaica store and bought t’fillin. He promised to use them every day. “A few months later, I was invited to his son’s wedding. The wedding took place in a modest home in Tel Aviv in the middle of the day. I was in the shlichus spirit and I asked all the guests to put on t’fillin and we would start with the groom. The uncle of the groom said I should start with his brother. I told him that his brother puts on t’fillin every day on his own with t’fillin that he bought. He did not believe me. “We brought the brother over and he confessed and told about visiting the Rebbe. ‘If Chaim puts on t’fillin,’ said the brother, ‘then I believe Moshiach is about to come.’ The brother himself went around to the tables and repeated this line and got many other people to put on t’fillin. ‘If Chaim puts on t’fillin, how could you not put them on?’ he asked those who were a little harder to convince.” R’ Katz tells amazing stories that happened to participants of the shiur who write to the Rebbe about every problem or business decision. “People don’t make a move without asking the Rebbe. If a pharmacist wants to expand or close, buy a place or rent, he will do so only after receiving the Rebbe’s bracha. The answers people open to are astounding. These are intelligent people, seasoned businessmen, not the type whose faith precedes their intellect, and they get clear answers from the Rebbe. “There was a pharmacist who wanted to open another pharmacy. His wife was adamantly against it. At the end of the shiur he wrote to the Rebbe about his plan. He did not mention his wife’s opposition. In the answer he opened to, the Rebbe wrote that he should listen to his wife. He was shocked and he told us that the Rebbe had answered his question since the Rebbe was siding with his wife. “Another pharmacist had rented a building for years for his pharmacy and had gotten notice from the landlord that he had to leave. This notice came after the landlord had been bothering him for a long time. Until then, he had been in Rishon L ’Tziyon and had done very well, but his plan was to open a branch in Modiin. I told him that this plan seemed sound, but he should write to the Rebbe. The Rebbe’s answer was that he did not understand why he needed to leave a successful place to go to something uncertain. “I told him that from the Rebbe’s answer it seemed he should stay in Rishon L ’Tziyon. Even I did not imagine what would develop. “The next day, the pharmacist called me all excited. His landlord had called and dropped all his complaints and agreed to extend the lease for a long period of time.” *** To conclude, I asked R’ Katz how he was able to see that the Geula is coming in his particular field. He answered: “You see a gathering of people who are not the type to attend a shiur, yet they don’t miss a shiur. People are interested, they ask questions, and they relate to what they learn. One of them recently told me, ‘It’s a pity I didn’t know you ten years ago. All my life, whenever I saw a religious Jew on the street coming toward me, I crossed to the other side so I wouldn’t spit in his face.’ “We see today that there is no real opposition to Torah and mitzvos. We need to go with Jewish pride and show that even the last vestiges of opposition have no real lasting power. People are interested and we don’t need to be shy about talking about Moshiach. People are receptive to everything today.”
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MARCHING FORWARD, JOYFULLY!
By R’ Gershon Avtzon Menahel Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim – Cincinnati, Ohio
hen the wagon stopped for the third time that day, even the gentiles realized that everything that happened with the Nasi Ha’dor was with his consent. The axles broke, the horse died, and nature changed all because the Alter Rebbe wanted to spend Shabbos on the roadside. This event, that was told by the Rebbeim, comes to teach us a basic lesson in how to look at a Rebbe. The Rebbe is above the world! He is not limited by the limitations of nature. Everything that occurs to him is with his full consent and part of a detailed, G-dly plan, whose ultimate purpose is the hisgalus of the malchus of Melech HaMoshiach. This is not a hergesh of Chassidim on one side or another, but something stated explicitly in the Sichos Kodesh of the Rebbe. When the Rebbe Rayatz told this story, he said that everything that happens to a tzaddik is solely with his consent. There is no other possibility! Let us consider the following.
The Rebbe MH”M, since accepting the nesius, gradually steps up inyanei Moshiach and Geula from year to year, moving it to the forefront, and turning it into a progressively more dominant issue. The Seifer Torah to Greet Moshiach, the Tzivos Hashem anthem, Tihei Shnas Divrei Moshiach, Hisgalus Moshiach, Moshiach Vadai, and moving from “yehi ratzon” to “the Yemos HaMoshiach in which we are presently,” and an explicit demand to publicize to all that our generation is the generation of Geula, that we need to learn inyanei Moshiach and Geula and to make this learning top priority, and there is a Navi who announced that the Geula is on the threshold. Then, at the height of all the excitement, something happened that looked, to coarse, physical eyes, like “an unexpected glitch.” This “something” created the possibility that certain people might become confused and argue that something happened here that “ruined” all the Geula
plans the Rebbe set into motion, making it necessary to stop the work that the Rebbe had explicitly asked for. G-d forbid! Everything that happens with the Rebbe is with his full consent. It does not occur because of some external necessity, but with G-dly intent as part of a wellplanned program whose final stage is the complete hisgalus. When the Rebbe says that the action of a tzaddik, and all the more so, seeing or hearing his voice, needs to leave an unforgettable impression, he means even a one-time motion pertaining to an individual Chassid. All the more so does it pertain to the Rebbe’s demands of every one of us regarding the Geula and Moshiach. To say that something happened on ChafZayin Adar that is a deviation from the original plan borders on heresy! It must be stated clearly: The Rebbe knew ahead of time what would happen on Chaf-Zayin Adar I 5752 at the Ohel of the Rebbe Rayatz, and he knew this
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before he began demanding of the Chassidim that they ramp up the publicity and involvement with Geula and Moshiach. He knew there would be a situation in which it would be hard for us to explain to “outsiders” (and also to some people on the “inside”) that our generation is the generation of Geula and that the “Nasi of the generation is the Moshiach of the generation,” and that the Rebbe is the one who will redeem us. And yet, he demanded this of us. Along comes a new type of kluginker (smart aleck) within understand how it all works and what the divine plan is, we need to rejoice that the Rebbe moved us another step closer toward Geula. This day of Chaf-Zayin Adar is a day of simcha, a day much like the day that the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned, who during his stay in prison, some of the Chassidim, if not all of them thought –because the Rebbe Rayatz had not explained to them that everything that happens with a tzaddik is with his consent – that this day is a day of terrible concealment in which the Rebbe was taken to a terrible state of who put us in this place and at this time, we ought to be joyful because of the situation we are in. Obviously, we absolutely do not agree to the concealment and darkness we have been in for so many years. We want to see our king. We cannot, G-d forbid, tolerate another moment in this dreadful situation. But, as long as this does not happen for another moment and the hisgalus is delayed, rather than being sad and discouraged, we need to be totally invested in what the Rebbe wants of us now. We need to do so joyously because this is what the Rebbe wants, while simultaneously not making peace with the circumstances. The combination of these two things is possible only by closely adhering to what the Rebbe said in the sichos about our times and acting accordingly. We can compare the situation we are in to the situation the Chassidim were in after the passing of the Rebbe Rashab. Many Chassidim found it difficult to transition to the next Rebbe and to subjugate themselves to the Rebbe Rayatz. The reason they were unsuccessful in moving on was not because of their egos, G-d forbid, but because they were totally invested in and utterly subordinate to the Rebbe Rashab and his leadership to the point that they aligned themselves with him completely. The truth is though, that a Chassid needs to be devoted to what is demanded of him now, even if this goes counter to what was demanded of him previously. A Chassid does not have an independent “inner essence;” his entire essence is Rebbe, as the early Chassidim would say, “The innermost depth of Chassid is Rebbe.” When a Chassid
To say that something happened on Chaf-Zayin Adar that is a deviation from the original plan borders on heresy!
our hearts who says, “Okay, the Rebbe wants us to be involved in inyanei Moshiach and Geula and to make this top priority, but what can I do when I am not excited about this? What can I do when I don’t ‘relate’ to it? I am not saying it’s incorrect. Nor am I saying that it shouldn’t be done, but I personally am not going to do it.” The Rebbe says that when a certain thing is demanded of a person from Above, this itself is a clear sign that he has the ability to do it, because “according to the camel is the load,” and the job given to each of us to take action suits our strengths and abilities. If we just do what is demanded of us, we are guaranteed divine success from Above. As Chazal say, “Open for me an opening like the eye of a needle and I will open for you an opening like the opening of the (Temple) Hall.” Despite all the pain that this day evokes, we need to do this with joy. Even if we don’t quite
incarceration against his will. Afterward, it turned out that it occurred with his consent and it was another step in the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus to the extent that there is no comparison between “before Petersburg” and “after Petersburg.” As it was then, the same is true today, with all the pain and sorrow. We need to know that the Rebbe is moving us forward toward the Geula. As great as the descent is, that is how great the ascent that follows it. After such an enormous and painful descent as this, we are absolutely certain that the greatest ascent, with the complete hisgalus, will follow. The simcha needs to be not only “despite” the situation in which we cannot see the Rebbe, rejoicing only because we are told to “serve Hashem with joy.” Rather, because we are in a situation that the Rebbe put us in, and if the Rebbe is the one
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becomes an independent entity, even if he fully complies with the Rebbe’s demands right now, it is possible that the demands will change and the Chassid will find it hard to change his inner character. It is only through complete nullification to what the Rebbe said that we can be sure that we will always behave in a manner that gives him nachas. It is only by setting ourselves aside and utterly devoting ourselves to the Rebbe’s instructions that we can be truly happy and adjust ourselves to every horaa. To be on mivtzaim and be mekarev Jews with all the “koch” and chayus and delve into learning right after that; to be immersed in the avoda of t’filla with full emotion and chayus and publicize the Besuras Ha’Geula right after that, because it is only when we are truly nullified to the Rebbe that we can be “real” Chassidim. It is when we are truly battul to the Rebbe that we can be Chassidim who can be described as the Rebbe Rayatz put it, “as a ball of fire and simcha.” We see that this works. Nullification to the Rebbe, chayus and simcha, and the Besuras Ha’Geula, go hand in hand. One leads to the other. In Parshas VaYeitzei it tells of Yaakov Avinu who was sent to his uncle Lavan due to “technical considerations” within the family. He sets out on a long trip without knowing when or whether he will see his parents again. He knows what will be demanded of him in Lavan’s house and what he will have to contend with there. It’s a very difficult galus, a galus that will end with Yaakov’s going down to Egypt to begin the Egyptian galus. At the same time though, despite the great sorrow in this, Rashi tells us that when
he heard the good news— when Yaakov heard the Besuras Ha’Geula and understood that the entire terrible galus will end with the Jewish people leaving Egypt, receiving the Torah and becoming the Chosen People connected to Hashem with an eternal covenant—immediately “Yaakov raised his feet,” i.e. it became physically easier for him to walk. Living with the news of Geula and not with galus vision, caused him to be filled with joy. So too in our times, we can see that those bachurim who live with the Besuras Ha’Geula, learning it and publicizing it, are the ones who are genuinely happy. They are the ones who you regularly see with a smile on their faces and they are the ones who do mivtzaim happily and are successful in all areas, spiritual and material. We need to take upon ourselves to promote this day as a day of strengthening every aspect of inyanei Moshiach and Geula, as a day of simcha and chayus, and internalize the idea that by the Rebbe there is no such thing as against his will! If a movement of the Rebbe or hearing his voice
ought to be unforgettable, all the more so his clear prophecy will not go unfulfilled. We need to publicize wherever possible and joyously: Humble ones, the time for your redemption has arrived! Another point, even a superficial study of the maamarim that the Rebbe published for 15 Sivan reveals to us that now, in retrospect – after the Rebbe Rayatz left prison and subsequently went to America and established Chabad headquarters in 770 – we can see that the day the Rebbe Rayatz was taken to jail was, as the Rebbe put it, “sowing before the growth.” Specifically because of the imprisonment, there was a huge increase in the spreading of the wellsprings outward and only good resulted. Therefore, says the Rebbe, Chassidim also celebrate 15 Sivan and have farbrengens, since it has since been revealed that this was the start of the Geula. In our case, since the Rebbe told us as a prophecy, something which has the status of a certainty according to Torah, that this generation is the last generation of galus and the first generation of Geula, and “hinei zeh Moshiach ba,” in a certain way we can say that Chassidim “celebrate” Chaf-Zayin Adar as it were, since we know ahead of time, 100%, what the end will be. What will result from this is the true and complete Geula. Immediately, the Rebbe will appear on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and will redeem us, willingly or not, and will destroy our galus plans and take us on eagle’s wings to the third and threefold Beis HaMikdash, speedily in our days, mamash! Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu, Melech HaMoshiach L ’olam Va’ed!
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THE BELZER AND THE CONSUL
In a Heavenly-inspired yechidus, the Rebbe foresaw the future for the Jewish community along the Iraqi border. A Belzer Chassid traveled to Cordoba, Spain, the city of the Rambam, to supervise the production for Kosher L’Pesach oil, and he found himself being watched by a suspiciouslooking Arab. When he placed his hands on the man’s notepad, he was amazed to discover that his fears were way off the mark... And what did all this have to do with the Rebbe MH”M’s shlichus to repair a mikveh located in a place where not a single Jew lived? An amazing Baal Shem’ske Maaseh about the Rebbe’s concern for every Jew.
By Chaim Brook Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
It’s already become an unofficial custom: When a Chassid meets a Jew who was privileged to visit the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, he inquires about what the Rebbe told him, what he saw, and what he felt. Deep within his heart, he hopes that the person will reveal a special story that he had never heard before, a personal story about his connection with the leader of the generation. I can personally testify to the fact that I have frequently met Jews on my mivtzaim activities who at first glance one would never suspect of having a special relationship with the leader of the Jewish People. Suddenly, I realized how every Jew has a connection with the “general
yechida,” the Rebbe, the nasi.
AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY
This brings us to our story, which I heard from R’ Yinon HaKohen Roth of Yerushalayim, who heard it from the person who actually experienced it. “Some time ago,” R’ Yinon recalled, “I was waiting at a bus station to travel back to Yerushalayim. An ultra-Orthodox Jew with a European accent, a Belzer Chassid, sat near me. We somehow got into a conversation, and when the bus eventually arrived, we sat next to one another. ‘I see that you are a Chassid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,’ the Belzer said. ‘Let me
tell you a story that I personally experienced...’” This story bore virtually all the characteristics of an original Baal Shem’ske Maaseh. All that was missing was the wagon driver and his horse to complete the picture... After much effort, I managed to locate the main character, Rabbi B.G. from Belgium and speak with him. (He happily agreed to tell the story, provided that the magazine maintains his anonymity.) He noted that he has told his story on numerous occasions. Yet, while it took place over three decades ago, he always feels as if it happened only yesterday. This is the story that he told me, his voice cracking with emotion.
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AN UNSETTLING YET AWEINSPIRING TRIP TO SPAIN
This was more than thirty years ago, when I was around twenty-nine years old. As part of my work as a kashrus supervisor, I traveled to the city of Cordoba, Spain, for the purpose of overseeing the production of Kosher L ’Pesach oil for a major overseas certifier of kosher products. I stayed at the Hotel Cordoba, located near the city’s Jewish ghetto, supplied with kosher food I had brought from home. On my first night in the city, as I returned to the hotel from the production factory, I noticed a swarthy Arab-looking man staring at me. At first, I didn’t
attach any importance to this. However, he kept looking at me, and at a certain stage, he came closer and started following me with intense scrutiny. I didn’t know what he wanted, and I began to get worried. During those years, there were numerous anti-Semitic attacks throughout the world, and the man’s conduct was naturally very troubling. I quickly went up to my room to avoid being around this individual. The next morning, as I prepared to leave for work, I was waiting outside the hotel lobby for a ride to take me to the factory. Suddenly, I noticed this same man standing before me, and it seemed that he was trying to get closer to me. My fears
grew that he was plotting to harm me, and I quickly ducked into an antique store located near the hotel in order to keep my distance from him. To justify my presence there, I started inquiring about the various art pieces on display. By Divine Providence, I found a burned and torn Torah scroll parchment for sale. I noticed that someone had spread material on the parchment to make it appear more ancient, and I assumed that this was the same person who had burned it more... Since I wanted to stay in the store for as long as I could, I spoke with the storeowner, who told me that a certain person had brought him the parchments. I took the opportunity to explain to him about how Jewish law
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“It’s no wonder that the Rebbe’s shluchim today come to the most remote locations – because the Rebbe himself has already been there…”
objects to such desecration of these holy items. Afterwards, I no longer had a legitimate excuse for remaining in the store, and I had to leave. Thankfully, as soon as I walked outside, my ride had arrived to take me to the factory. tremendous curiosity as I began to flip through the notepad. At first, I only found a few telephone numbers in Iraq, Turkey, and Kurdistan. However, when I came to the back binding, I saw something totally unexpected. Taped to the inside was a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe! “What is a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe doing in the heart of Cordoba, in an environment virtually devoid of any Jews?” I pondered. “Who is this man with a notepad containing the Rebbe’s picture and why is he trying to follow me?” However, the main thing I wanted to know was: “Is it possible that this man is actually Jewish?” I now realized that there was apparently no reason to fear… Even if he wasn’t Jewish, it didn’t seem that someone carrying a picture of the Rebbe in his pocket would want to harm me or anyone else. I smiled to myself about the totally baseless concerns that had taken hold of me. This was probably a simple person who wanted to speak with me, but he couldn’t because I was keeping my distance. While my fears had subsided, I still didn’t contact him that night.
THE STRANGE NOTEPAD
When I returned that evening to the hotel, I again noticed the man sitting on a couch in the hotel lobby, as if he was waiting for something. When I came into the lobby, he began to look at me in a strange manner. By this time, I was already very suspicious, yet there wasn’t much I could do about it. I didn’t speak Spanish, and the hotel’s limited staff only had one person who spoke French, a language I did know. In any case, it would be rather difficult to have a private conversation with this Frenchspeaking employee, since I didn’t know how to explain my fears. The only thing I could do was to close myself up in my hotel room, hoping that he wouldn’t dare to come up there. However, before I had a chance to go up to my room, the man was suddenly called to the hotel’s front desk to receive a phone call. As he quickly went over to take the call, he failed to notice that he had forgotten his notepad where he had been sitting. Since I desperately wanted to know who this man was and what he wanted from me, I immediately took the opportunity to put the notepad into my pocket without anyone noticing and quickly went up to my room. I was consumed by
LOOKING FOR THE LOST ITEM IN THE MASHGIACH’S POCKET
The following morning, as I was about to leave for the factory, I noticed him again. This time, he was feverishly looking for something. I knew exactly what he was looking for. However,
I was in a rush to get to my job at the factory, and I simply had no time to go over to him. When I returned that evening to the hotel, I saw him still occupied with his search, as he periodically glanced in my direction. Since I was most curious to know what connection this man had to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I went up to him and asked him directly in French, “Are you looking for something?” The man, whom I later discovered was of Iraqi descent, understood French, and he said that he could manage. “Tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll help you,” I offered. However, he politely declined. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I went up to him again a few minutes later and said, “Maybe I can help you. If you answer the question I’m about to ask you, I think we can get on the right track...” “What do you want to know?” the man asked. “Who are you and where do you come from? Are you an Arab or a Jew?” All the builtup tension of the past few days could be summarized in these simple questions... For some reason, he wasn’t particularly eager to satisfy my burning curiosity. He merely mumbled a few words about traveling a lot to various places throughout the world. Left with no alternative, I decided to get straight to the point: “I know that in the notepad you lost, there’s a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe...” “You saw the notepad?” the man asked excitedly. “First, answer my questions,” I replied. “I’m interested in knowing who you are and what you are doing here...”
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“I’ll answer you,” the man agreed, “but on one condition: I won’t ask you what your name is, and you don’t ask me for mine.” After I accepted his condition, he began with a question of his own. “Do you know the Lubavitcher Rebbe?” “Yes,” I said, “I received two dollars from him, and I have great appreciation for him and his work.”
THE UNUSUAL SHLICHUS REACHED ITS CLIMAX
He was satisfied with my answer and continued: “First of all, I am a Jew, and I serve as the American vice consul in Iraq. Two years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe called me in for a private audience and asked that I use my diplomatic connections to enter Arab countries in the Middle East to fulfill a variety of missions. We have been in contact ever since... “To illustrate this point, I’ll tell you about an unusual mission I received from the Rebbe: On one occasion, the Rebbe gave me a slip of paper with a drawing of a certain location beyond the Iraqi border with Turkey and Kurdistan. He told me that there is a mikveh there with a certain Halachic problem, as detailed in the note the Rebbe gave me. He asked me to travel there and make certain to arrange the necessary repairs. “When I heard the Rebbe’s request, I was quite amazed, since I knew with absolute certainty that not a single Jew lived there. I then dared to ask the Rebbe: ‘Why should I repair the mikveh when no Jew lives anywhere in the region?’ However, the Rebbe was determined, and he replied: ‘Do as I’ve told you. If it’s not exactly as I’ve said, get in touch with me...”
The entry courtyard of Cordoba’s Jewish ghetto
“I traveled to this location, found the mikveh, and repaired the problem according to the guidelines I had received. Afterwards, I reported to the Rebbe on the mission’s accomplishment, and I received his thanks. It would seem that this was end of the story, but in truth, I was left with a nagging question: What was the whole purpose of this shlichus? “Then one day, as part of a certain project, I was informed that the government of one of the neighboring countries had sent a group of Jewish families to the very location where the Rebbe had sent me. They settled there and discovered that they had a kosher mikveh...” The vice-consul stopped for a moment to let his words sink in, and then he concluded his story: “The Lubavitcher Rebbe also sends Judaica items to Jews living in these countries – through me as part of my diplomatic privileges. Of course, in a country such as Iraq, this has its fair share of danger. As a result, I carry a notepad with the Rebbe’s picture, and I’m always at ease
that he is protecting me wherever I go. Now, I would be very happy to know if you have some idea where my notepad is…” I was overcome with emotion upon hearing the vice-consul’s story about the Rebbe, and tears welled in my eyes. It brought back memories that had forever been engraved upon my heart… It was when I came to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for his famous Sunday dollars distribution. (I had a little protektzia from my relatives, and they had arranged that I would only have to wait in line for a relatively short period of time.) When my turn came and I was standing before the Rebbe, I was engulfed by a feeling of awe and fear that I will never forget. To my good fortune, there was a group of Jews in front of me in line, and the Rebbe spoke to them in a language I did not know. This gave me a little time to catch my breath and somehow stop trembling. That sense of awe and fear had suddenly come back to me now. To hear such a story in such an unusual setting was like a dream for me… Naturally, I
Issue 917 • �
The front portico of the Hotel Cordoba, where this story took place
immediately took the notepad out of my pocket and gave it to the “Arab” who had turned out to be a Jew. “If you need anything,” I said, “I’ll be happy to help you as compensation for this incredible story you’ve just told me...” I was also very moved by the fact that a Jew who did not observe Torah and mitzvos, someone I feared because I thought he was an Arab, works as a heavenly emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on behalf of other Jews. Yet, he claimed that he didn’t have the slightest idea why Jews needed a mikveh, telling me this quite truthfully in response to my questions, as a way of explaining why he carried a picture of the Rebbe in his notepad… What can I tell you? When I returned home to Belgium, I
told the story in several different places. Each time, my body literally shook with excitement!
HE LOOKS FOR A NOTEPAD AND FINDS A BAAL SHEM’SKE MAASEH
“After hearing this story,” the Belzer Chassid told me emotionally in the transatlantic phone call, “about how the Rebbe knew what’s happening and what’s going to happen thousands of miles away from his headquarters in New York, it’s no wonder that the Rebbe’s shluchim today come to the most remote locations – because the Rebbe himself has already been there… “Later, I regretted the fact that I was unable to contact the American vice-consul and gather
additional information on other missions he undertook on the Rebbe’s behalf. However, I had been so overcome by this unique chain of events, when I took a simple notepad as a way of discovering who this frightening person was. As it turned out, I discovered a valuable pearl in the form of this awe-inspiring story, a regular Baal Shem’ske maaseh…’” Even as we were about to conclude our conversation, this deeply devoted Belzer Chassid couldn’t manage to calm himself: “Nishta aza zach! It just isn’t so! I’m not a Lubavitcher. Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to be left speechless by this story that I was privileged to hear firsthand and even had my own part in its unfolding…”
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34 � • 28 Adar I 5774
Radio Moshiach & Redemption
"The quickest way to reveal Moshiach is by learning the Torah sources about Moshiach & redemption" t"ab,wv grumnu ghrz, p"a 1620-1640 AM around Crown Heights & Boro Park
MOSHIACH & GEULA
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, This week we will be marking the day of 27 Adar Rishon. It is 22 years since the Rebbe had a stroke by the Ohel. Yet, there is another Moshiach aspect of this day. Regarding the era of Moshiach, the navi (Daniel 12:10) says: “ּדנִּי ֵאל ּכ ִי סְתֻ מִים וַחֲתֻ מִים ָ וַּיֹאמֶר ל ְֵך י ִתְ ּבְָררּו וְי ִתְ לַּבְנּו וְיִּצְָרפּו:ּדבִָרים עַד עֵת קֵ ץ ְה ַ ַרּבִים וְהְִרׁשִיעּו ְרׁשָעִים וְֹלא יָבִינּו ּכ ָל ְרׁשָעִים ּמׂשְּכ ִיל ִים יָבִינּו ַ ה ַ ְו:” “And he said, ‘Go, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. They will be clarified and whitened, and many will be purified, and the wicked will pervert [them], and all the wicked will not understand, but the wise will understand.’” The Rebbe (Seifer HaSichos 5750 pg. 377 footnote 110) connects this Pasuk to 27 Adar ( )זךthat this is a day when we can reveal the purpose of all concealed happenings ()צמצומים. When we think about the above Sicha, it becomes quite clear that the Rebbe was preparing us for 27 Adar 5752. For there can be two approaches that a person can take: 1) We know that from the beginning of the Nesius, the Rebbe stated that our job is to bring Moshiach. We were almost there and then 27 Adar happened..... 2) 27 Adar is part of the plan
and process of bringing Moshiach. Even though it is painful and we do not understand how this can be good and helpful (and therefore we scream for Moshiach), we know that the Rebbe is our faithful shepherd and he would not leave his flock alone like this. We know that the Rebbe spoke of the coming of Moshiach as a prophecy (not a prayer!) and therefore it will be a reality. (I hope to write a more extensive article about this approach next week B’ezras Hashem.) The first approach seems more sensible and logical, while the second approach demands more faith and inspiration. It is truly an era when the words of Daniel “They will be clarified and whitened” are taking place. It is a time when it is becoming crystal clear who has kept alive the flames of Emuna and Bitachon in the words of the Rebbe. Dear Chassidim! We must hold on! Please do not let Galus shake your Emuna at the very last moment. We all know that right before daybreak the darkness is strongest. We must learn from history. What happens when Jews “give up” on the arrival of Moshe Rabbeinu? They build a Golden Calf! We must act like the tribe of Levi idealistic in that remains pure and our faith. The only way to keep that going is through learning Inyanei Moshiach. In the words of the Rebbe
(Balak 5751): “Despite the uproar associated with this matter in recent times within this year, the year of ‘I shall show him wonders,’ and after witnessing the wonders which testify that this is ‘The year that the King Moshiach will be revealed,’ we see how difficult it is to inculcate the awareness and the feeling that we are literally standing on the threshold of the Messianic Era, to the point that one begins to thrive on matters of Moshiach and Redemption... “The solution to this dilemma is Torah study concerning Moshiach and Redemption. For Torah – which is G-d’s wisdom, and thus transcends the natural order of the universe – has the capacity to alter the nature of man. Even when one’s emotions are still outside the parameters of Redemption – G-d forbid – (because he has not yet emerged from his internal exile), he can nevertheless learn the Torah’s teachings concerning Redemption, and thereby be one elevated to the state of Redemption. One then begins to thrive on matters of Redemption, borne of the knowledge, awareness and feeling that ‘Behold he is coming.’” Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.
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About R’ Shneur Zalman Eliezer Horowitz, son of R’ Itche der Masmid, who was the mashgiach in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lud. * Presented to mark the day of his passing on 5 Adar I 5744.
By Dov Levanon
R’ Shneur Zalman Eliezer Horowitz a”h was born on 24 Teves 5669/1919. His father was the famous Chassid, R’ Yitzchok, may Hashem avenge his blood, who was known as R’ Itche der Masmid. He was named for the Alter Rebbe whose Yom Hilula is 24 Teves and for his maternal grandfather. In his childhood he was very close to his lofty father who was one of the great mashpiim of his generation and a role model of a Chassid and Tamim. After his bar mitzva, he went to the yeshiva in Nevel where he became known for his tremendous diligence in learning. His exertion together with his giftedness and excellent memory turned him into an extraordinary baki (person with encyclopedic knowledge). He even corresponded with the Rogatchover Gaon at this point and received some Torah letters in response. With time, he became known as a walking encyclopedia, since his knowledge was not limited to the usual s’farim but also included not-commonly known s’farim and authors within Torah literature. He also had prodigious knowledge of the biographical details of Torah greats and Jewish communities, history and bibliography, minhagei Yisroel and more. He loved visiting g’dolei ha’Torah of all groups and
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acquiring information from them. In the years 5690-5691 he was in Yekaterinoslav. There he became very close with the gaon, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn z”l, the Rebbe’s father, who gave him smicha for rabbanus. He spent hours with him and received from him many Divrei Torah in Nigleh and Chassidus. Although his two younger brothers left Russia with his father in 1933 (as per the Rebbe Rayatz’s instruction that he try to take them out with him), Eliezer remained behind in Russia with his brother Tzemach. He spent the terrible years of persecution and war behind the Iron Curtain. In 1946 he married the daughter of a wealthy man from Kiev, and the wedding was held there. As a young man, he was appointed as a maggid shiur and mashgiach in Yeshivos Tomchei T’mimim in Vitebsk and Yekaterinoslav. In the years to come, he spread Torah in the Soviet Union with great mesirus nefesh and suffered greatly because of it. R’ Eliezer finally arrived in Eretz Yisroel in 5709 with the Chabad clandestine emigration. He was a mashgiach in Yeshivas Achei T’mimim in Tel Aviv and was later involved in transferring the yeshiva to Lud. He worked as a mashgiach there together with R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman, who was the mashpia. Later on, he was appointed as the menahel ruchni of the yeshiva k’tana (what we call mesivta or high school). In this role he established the character of the yeshiva and raised it to a high level. He was particularly devoted to absorbing students from the Eidot HaMizrach (Sephardim) and mainstreaming them into the yeshiva. Among his many roles in spreading Torah, he served for
First on the left with shluchim in 5716, giving out Tanyas in the elementary school in Lud
a number of years as a maggid shiur of Chassidus in the yeshiva g’dola in Kfar Chabad. Likewise, he gave shiurim every day in the Chabad neighborhood in Lud, where he lived. He founded the kollel in Kfar Chabad in 5724 according to an order he received from the Rebbe when he was in yechidus in 5723. When the hanhala of the kollel raised the idea of naming the kollel after the Rebbe, the Rebbe refused. He passed away on 5 Adar I 5744/1984.
WHY ARE YOU LEARNING CHASSIDUS?
R’ Mendel Futerfas related: When I was in Charkov, the local slaughterhouse was shut down by the communists and became a beis midrash. The shochtim’s room (which was where they checked the knives, etc.) became the private room of R’ Itche der Masmid, who sat there all day and davened. Now and then he would come out to the beis midrash.
At that time, I learned Hemshech 5666 with R’ Eliezer his son. Our learning was very successful, in-depth and thorough. We both enjoyed the learning very much. One day, as we were learning, R’ Itche came out of his room wearing tallis and t’fillin and called me to come into his room. The impact of the fervent davening that he had just finished was still apparent on his face. When we entered the room, his eyes burned like two coals and he asked me, “Mendel, why do you learn Chassidus – for haskala or for avoda?” I was frightened by the question. It was known that a k’peida (annoyance) of R’ Itche could cause harm (especially at this time when his face was still on fire from his davening). If I told him that I learned for haskala, which was unlike what he demanded that everything be solely for avoda, he would censure me for wanting to turn the study of Chassidus into merely something of haskala; who knows what would happen to me? And if I answered that I learned for avoda, he would
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of Batumi, who were as familiar with the roads of Turkey and Batumi. The members of the fleeing group would meet with a smuggler in Kutais, where he was paid handsomely for his troubles. From there they went to the train station in Batumi, a four hour trip. From Batumi to Turkey they would walk through a forest for a few hours on winding paths and roads which were unknown to outsiders, until they came to the river. There, a small boat waited for them with other smugglers who brought them across the river straight into Turkey. Other smugglers brought the group to the center of town. Upon arriving, free in Turkey, some of them went to Eretz Yisroel and some continued to other countries. Jewish organizations helped them reach their destinations. According to their agreement, upon arriving in Turkey the group signed a note saying they crossed the border and had arrived in Turkey. This note was shown by the smugglers to candidates of the next operation. When they saw that all had gone well, they prepared to leave. It happened that the government succeeded in catching one of the smugglers. They were very strict about crimes like this and the sentence was no less than twenty-five years in Siberia. As usual, the NKVD offered a cruel choice, to be freed and become their agent or to spend the next twenty-five years doing hard labor in Siberia. Any smuggler who picked the first option was released and became one of them. So the next time Jews tried leaving the country, instead of bringing them to Turkey, he
A guest from Australia – R’ Horowitz with R’ Moshe Feiglin and his son on their visit to the yeshiva
censure me for thinking of myself as an oved. I finally said, “For haskala I surely do not learn.” My equivocal response was to his liking. He smiled and dismissed me and then he asked me to call in his son, Lazer. Apparently, he asked him the same question. I stood outside the room and heard the loud sounds of weeping. Both of them cried, father and son.
proper match as he wishes. May he be healthy and whole and may Hashem lengthen his days and years with goodness and pleasantness. May he merit to see the consolation of Tziyon and Yerushalayim amen, kein yehi ratzon.”
IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE INFORMER
As mentioned, after his father left Russia, R’ Eliezer had no visa and was trapped in the Soviet Union. The fate of Russian Jewry was bitter as they languished under siege and in poverty, persecuted by the Yevsektzia. The gates of the country were locked and freedom was a distant dream. However, the Jewish mind constantly sought a crack by which to exit the borders of that country. Among these cracks and fissures was the city Batumi in Georgia, which was only eight kilometers away from free Turkey. Attempts were made to illegally cross this border. The crossing was done primarily by professional smugglers, residents
THE PRAYER OF A FATHER
We can see more about the chinuch he got from his great father from an excerpt from a pidyon nefesh that his father wrote to the Rebbe Rayatz, probably in the summer of 5650. In it, he also makes a request for his son: “ … to arouse much mercy on my son Shneur Zalman Eliezer ben Fruma that he be truly G-d fearing according to the way of Chassidus and with much chayus and that he not set his eyes upon being involved in the nonsense of the world. Only Toras Hashem should be his desire. May Hashem soon prepare for him a
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would lead them directly into the arms of the NKVD and each one was arrested. After they were caught, in order for news of their arrest not to become known to other groups, the police officer would force one of the members of the group to sign that they had arrived safely in Turkey. The officer then gave this note to the smuggler so that the next group would not suspect anything and would go with this informer who brought them directly to the police. This is how the smuggler saved his own life in exchange for betraying many Jews who were confident that they would soon be free men. Among those who fell into this trap were talmidim of the Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Kutais and a number of other Chassidim. Nobody knew they were arrested and the groups of those attempting to escape continued to set out. This could have gone on for a long time if not for the mesirus nefesh of a Jew by the name of Avrohom Ber Stiglitz and R’ Meilich Kaplan (then talmidim in the yeshiva in Sachkhere, Georgia and later rav in Shikun Chabad in Lud). The final group that left in Nissan 5693/1933 was comprised of only two people, R’ Avrohom Ber and R’ Meilich. Before leaving, R’ Avrohom Ber went to R’ Avrohom Levik Slavin in Kutais to say goodbye. As they spoke, R’ Avrohom Ber told R’ Slavin that something seemed amiss about the whole thing, that after only a day or two from when they left, they were already in Turkey and all of them, without exception, managed to cross the border without incident. “My heart tells me,” he said sadly, “that something is amiss. If I had the courage, I would
In Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim Lud in Pardes. On the right, R’ Eliezer Horowitz and R’ Meilich Kaplan
say that not only are they not in Turkey, but they are behind bars and nobody knows!” R’ Slavin tried to reassure him, but R’ Avrohom, who was unusually brave, said, “I’m going to go anyway. If I am right, I will do all that I can to stop them from harming other Jews. I understand that it is highly probable that this is the last time I will be speaking with a Jew, but we must stop this satanic trap!” Avrohom Ber and Meilich Kaplan left under a shroud of tension, while R’ Avrohom’s mind did not stop working as he planned his next moves if his fears proved justified. Before they left, R’ Avrohom Ber demanded a guarantee from R’ Meilich that he would not sign anything, no matter what. Then, as they were on their way, they found themselves surrounded by NKVD agents. They were separated and a Jewish officer asked each of them to sign the affirmation that they had crossed safely. Since they refused to sign, they were pressured and threatened. The
two still did not sign; the trap had been uncovered. For over nine months the members of the groups languished in jail until they stood military trial. At first Anash did not even know where they were, as we see in a letter that the Rebbe Rayatz wrote to R’ Meilich’s father. It was only after a while that they heard where they were, but there did not seem to be a way to help them. Among these prisoners was R’ Eliezer Horowitz. Somehow, he managed to smuggle out a letter to his father via some diplomat. His father was in New York at the time, on a mission for the Rebbe. In the letter, he related what had happened to them and that they were expecting to be sentenced to twenty-five years in Siberia. The Russian Foreign Minister was in the US at this time. This was about fifteen years after the end of World War I and the Russian economy was in terrible shape. They desperately needed aid from Washington. R’ Itche immediately put together a delegation of elder
Issue 917 • �
I stood outside the room and heard the loud sounds of weeping. Both of them cried, father and son.
baki in Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah, why aren’t you utilizing him? Then he was appointed mashgiach in the place of R’ Chaim Shaul Brook who became the mashpia. In a letter to the Rebbe Rayatz from Erev Shavuos 1949, the hanhala of the yeshiva in Lud wrote, “We just accepted R’ Eliezer Horowitz, son of R’ Itche Masmid, as mashgiach for the study of Nigleh. It seems that, Boruch Hashem, we had the good fortune to hit the mark and he will fill the role well, to the glory of the yeshiva.” Three months later, the Vaad Aguch wrote to the Rebbe, “The character of the yeshiva in ruchnius, in Nigleh and Chassidus was greatly improved since the talmidim came from Paris and since the appointment of R’ Eliezer Horowitz as mashgiach.” R’ Eliezer served in this role for decades and had numerous talmidim.
Chassidim who presented a request to the Foreign Minister to meet with him about an urgent matter. Their request was granted. In their meeting, they told him the purpose of their coming and even told him, in the Rebbe’s name, that if the Russian government did not release the Chassidim rotting in jail he would do all he could to thwart the goal of his visit. The Foreign Minister, afraid that the Rebbe would publicize why Jews were in Russian prison and why they tried to escape the country, immediately sent a telegram to Stalin and asked him to free the Chassidim in Batumi; otherwise, the success of his mission was in danger. Stalin told the NKVD to release the prisoners in Batumi.
was when he asked R’ Horowitz, “Why aren’t you eating? On Rosh HaShana, according to all opinions, there is an obligation to eat!”
At the beginning of 5723, the Rebbe told him to fundraise for the vocational school. He did so, and then gave the money to R’ Chadakov. In Teves 5723, the Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Kfar Chabad was in the middle of construction. Debts mounted and there was no money. R’ Eliezer Horowitz and R’ Shlomo Maidanchek came to the rescue. Together, they announced a campaign targeting smaller donors. The yeshiva would continue to grow and the budget would come from the broader public. The two of them traveled and inspired Anash at regional gatherings that took place in Kfar Chabad, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, and B’nei Brak. It was a daring idea to raise hundreds of thousands of liras from ordinary Jews who worked hard for their money, and to everyone’s surprise, it worked. About a hundred people immediately responded and pledged to give 1000 liras, some in one payment and some in monthly installments. This campaign not only saved the yeshiva from its creditors, but enabled it to expand.
WHY DON’T YOU MAKE USE OF HIM?
R’ Eliezer Horowitz was known as a tremendous baki in Tanach, Tanya, and Toras HaChassidus, especially Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah which he cherished. He knew entire segments by heart. When he went to the yeshiva in Lud, he was not given a job at first until the Rebbe wrote to the hanhala: You have a Jew who is
WHY AREN’T YOU EATING?
The night of Rosh HaShana 5723, R’ Horowitz had the privilege of being one of the Chassidim who was invited to go upstairs and eat the Yom Tov meal with the Rebbe in the Rebbe Rayatz’s apartment. The Rebbe hardly spoke at that meal. One of the few comments he made
Check it out!! Educational and Fun!!
40 � • 28 Adar I 5774
THE MIRACULOUS RETURN OF THE T’FILLIN
ָּ כ ‡ו ≈ל ¿ ‰ס ¿ ‰ ∆מ ָ ָנ ¿ׁ ‡ ∆ מים ƒ ָלם נ ּ ֻ .‰ל ָ ל ¿י ַ ּ ‰ , ָר ≈„ם‰ ּ∆ ַמנ … ם ¿ו ַ‚ם ‰ ָי‰ ָ ‡… בר ל ָכ ּ ¿ רון ƒ ,‡מוּר ָכ ּ ָ כי ּ ƒ ,ס‡ …ו ּƒ ‰ ַ „ח ַ‡ ַב ּ ¿ ‰נ ָּ פ ƒּ ב ּ ַ לו ּ≈ ט ַˆ ¿מ ƒ ּ¿ כ … מ ¿ז … נף ˜ן ≈ ָ ז ׁ ‡י ƒ ‰‡ ∆ רו ֲב ּ ַ .‡ל ָפ ¿מ ֻ לום ֲ לם ≈ חו ּ≈ ‰ ƒ ¿ו.לו ּ ‰ מו ּ ‰ ,‰נ … ‡ו … לו … ח … ח … ‡ו … ּ ƒ ‰‡ „˜ ≈פ ָּ ָב ָּ ‰ ַ ‰ ָנ ָׁ ּ ב ּ ַ , ָ י ׂƒ ﬠ ָ ∆ׁ „ס ∆ח ∆‰ ַ ‰ ׂ≈ ﬠ ֲמ ַ ו ּ ƒ " :לו ≈ ‡ …ו ∆ׁ ּ ב ¿זכ … מר ."סף ָ נו ≈ב ּ¿ … בן
By Nechama Bar
כור ּ¿ ‰ ַ בנָ ם ּ ¿ „ל ַ נו ָ ¿ׁ ב ּ ƒ בכ"ב ּ ¿ ,כן ּ≈ מ ƒ חר ַ‡ ַל ¿ ‰ ָנ ָׁ ּכ … ב … ,‡"ע בט . ַרב‰ ָ ָרם ¿ׁ ¿ ¿ ּ≈ ס ַּ ‡… כך ל ּס ‰ב ָ טו ָ ָׁ ב ּ¿ ‰ ּ ¿ ‡ ∆ ‰„ָ ל ¿ ָר י ¿‡ ∆ .פוּר ַ ם ָב ּ ¿ ‡ך ּƒ ‰ ּ ָבנ … ‰ﬠ
ּ ƒ ¿ר‰ ּ ָ נ ¿רƒ עו ≈רר ָּ ‡ ‡ל ∆ ,לום ֲ ם ָס ¿ ‰ ∆‡ין ז ≈ ∆ׁ ׁ ‚י ƒ ‡ו ׁ‚ ¿‰ ƒ ‰ ∆מ ּ ‰ . … ח … … ַ ָׁ ּ מ ƒ ‡ …ו ׁמ ָּ מ ַ ‡ו ּ ‰ .יםƒ מ Esther and …ו Moshe ¿ (not ּ ¿ׁ ‡ ƒל ¿ ך כ ּ ָ ﬠל ַ their פר ≈ּ ס ƒ לאה:איור real names) live in Yerushalayim. ּ≈ ס ו ƒ ם‰ ∆ נ≈ י ¿ׁ ו ¿‡ ∆ ּ ּחכ ּ ,ר They had good jobs and a nice רו ׂ ב ¿ב ּƒ ר ׂ ≈ּ ב ַּ ¿‰ ƒל ¿ … …ו home but one thing marred their . בו טו … … happiness. They were married for many years and had noﬠ children. פר ַּ ס ¿מ ƒ בר ּ ַ ,כן ≈‡ ָ ¿ו … ֲכ They went to the best doctors but ו ׂ ¿ּ ב ַּ ¿‰ ƒ ם‰ ≈ ים ƒׁ „ָ ח √ ּ ר none of them were of any help. ּ≈ ס .וּב ׁ ‰ ָ ¿ר‰ ָ ר ¿‡ ∆ ∆ׁ Then one day, Esther heard ּ ‰ ָ י ¿ ‰ ָ ו ׁ ‚ ¿ ר ַ ¿ ‰ ƒ ‰ ּ about the possibility of receivingַ ּ¿ ם‰ ∆ל ָRebbe ‰ ָי‰ ָ רוּר ּב ָ ו‰ל ָ ‚„ …ו a bracha from ,the through the Igros Kodesh. is a ‰פ ∆ּ ˆ ַמ ¿ּ ∆ׁ Esther ,לום ח ֲ ‰ ַ ר ו ‡ ל … … ¿ woman of faith, by nature, and ˜וּר ƒב ּ ¿ .סף ָ נו ּ ≈ ם‰ ∆ל ָ ּב … בן she decided to it. She sat ,‡פ ≈ try רו ‰ ָ ל ˆ ∆ ‡ ≈ י ƒ ר ָ ¿‚ ƒ ׁ … down and composed a long letter ּ¿ פי ƒל ∆ ׁ ‡פ ≈ רו ָ מר ַ‡ ָ … ‰ to the Rebbe. She detailed all the ּ , ו ˜ י „ ƒ ב ּ ¿ ‰ ַ ו ‡ ˆ ¿ ו … … efforts they had … made to merit ּƒ ם‰ ∆ל ָ many „ל ≈ ָּו ∆ׁ prayers ‰‡ ∆ נ ¿ר ּƒ כ ַּ children and the they had poured and she ּ≈ ס ר ¿‡ ∆ out, ¿ו‰ ∆מ . ב ּ ַ … ¿‡ך tearfully pleaded with the Rebbe ּ¿ פ ַ ,ﬠט ַמ ¿ ו ַּ ¿‰ ƒ ּ ‡ל to bless them ‡… with very "‡ם ל ƒ children :מם ָˆ ¿ﬠ ַל ¿ ו ¿‡ ָ ּ מר soon. וּב ׁח ָ ‡… ל.ב ּ ַ ‡ז ָ ,בן ּ≈ When she opened the Igros ‡ריƒ ב ּ ָ „ל ∆ ∆˜ר י ָּ ע ƒ‰ ָ Kodesh, she was amazed to see ."לם ≈ ָׁ ¿ו a letter that the Rebbe addressed
‰‡ ָר ֲ ¿ׁ נƒ ‡י‰ ƒ .יםƒ ל ַ ָׁ ו ּƒ ∆ׁ '˜„∆ ˆ ∆ ﬠ ≈רי ֲ ַׁ ' ‰‡ ָו ָ בי ≈ב ּ ¿ ח ַל ַˆ ּ ביר ּ ¿רפ‰ ּ ַ ‰‡ ב ָּ ַׁ ב ּ ¿ יו ¿ל ƒ „מ‡ …ו ¿ ‰ˆ ָ ָר ∆ׁ ,‰ ָע ¿ב ּ ַ .ב ָּ ַׁ ב ּ ¿ ‚ם ָו ָ י ּ ¿רפ‰ ּל … ‰ ּƒ ‰ ּ ּ ַ ‰מ „מ‡ …ו ¿ ˜חו ָ …ובי ּ ≈ . …ו ׂ ﬠ ֲל ַ ל …‡ יָ ַ„ע,˜ינו ַ …ו ¿ו ¿ׁ ‡ ƒ „ … ָר‰ ָי‰ … ‡… ¿ול‰‡ ָו ָ י ּ ¿רפ‰ בּ …ו ¿ׁ ל ƒ יכן ָ ‰ ≈ לו … ‰ בי ≈ל ¿ ו ƒ ּ מיכ .‰‡ ָו ּפ
to a womanו with the same ¿ׁ ח ָ בר ָכ ּ ¿ ,יםƒ ַ ינ ¿ ב ּ≈ ּ ב name as her own: Esther! It was ּ˜ ׁו ַ ﬠל ַ ו ּ ¿ „ƒ ¿ו ּ„ ּ בר ּƒ ‰ personally addressed to her! In ַּ ﬠ ¿ז ַר ∆ב ּ ¿ ב ַּ ל ַ ו ׂ ﬠ ֲי ∆ׁ ּ the letter, the Rebbe blessed her ַי ר ¿ ˜' ƒ ס ∆ ∆נ כ ּ ¿ ‰ ַ י ב ≈ ב ּ ¿ '‰ with good news and asked her ‰ ∆מ ָי‰ ָ check ם ָׁ ,'‰ ∆מ … ‰ … to tell her husband to his t’fillin. ּ≈מ ּ≈ פ .ﬠם ַפ ַ ּ „י ƒ לל ַּ ¿מ ƒ Esther was very excited. It ּƒ ‰ ּ≈ ‰ ,יﬠ ַ ‚ ƒ ‰„ָ ל ַ יום … was clear to her that with such ם‰ ∆ל ָ ‰ ָפ ¿ּ ˆ ƒ ,‰נ ּ≈ ‰ ƒ ¿ו an explicit bracha, their prayers ּ ∆ ַרaccepted ָּ פ „ל ַ נו ∆ׁ ‚ מ ¿ ‰ﬠ ָ ¿‰ ַ … . would be answered. She ׁמ ָּ מ ַ !סף ָ נו ּ ≈ ם‰ ∆ל ָ … בן the Rebbe’s answer matter of be checked. It is a request of the factly, and rushed to tell her ‰ ∆מ טח ַב ¿‰ ֻ ∆ׁ מו ּ ¿ Lubavitcher Rebbe. We have a … … כ ¿ ב ≈ר husband about,ך it. ּ ָ נ ¿רƒ ו ּ≈ ס ָּ ¿ יƒ '‰ל ַ ו ¿ bracha!” ים ƒׁ ‚ ‰ ָ ,ר ¿‡ ∆ ¿ו‰ ∆מ .מו ֲב ַּ ּ „ …ו‰מ‡ …ו„ ¿ו ּ יshe … him. … לו … ח relayed to ¿ ¿ “Moshe, you must hurry and ּ ,‰ ָכונ ּ¿ ‰ ַ ב ∆„ ∆רך ַּ ו ָ ‡ …וחו ַל ¿ ,יח ַ ƒׁ מ ָּ ‰ ַI לך ∆מ ∆ ,יcheck ב ּ ƒ ַר‰ ָ ‡ ∆ the ו ָ ח ל ַ ָׁ ּ ∆ׁ ּ נ ּ לנ … נ … ¿נ‰ “Fine, will t’fillin,” bring your t’fillin to the sofer to ¿ ט ≈ר ¿ ב ≈ר .ו ָ ך ָˆ ¿מ ƒּ not ‰ ַ כל ָ that ב ּ¿ ו ָ excitedly. ך ‡ …ו ָ ּל ¿ו ּ לנ ּ נ he responded,
He really planned on doing so, but for some reason kept כל ָּ ו ¿ּ ¿ נƒ ו ƒמ ¿ב ּ ƒ .ים ƒׁ ָ‡נ ֲ ‰ב ּ ≈ ¿ר‰ ַל ¿ ח ַמ ַּ ַׂ מ ¿ ‰ …ו ָר ׂ ב ּ ¿ זו ָ ¿י‰ ּ פס ּ יר‰ … ‰ postponing it. ּ ,מו ¿ﬠ ַב ּ ¿ לּ …ו ∆ׁ רון ƒּ ‰ ַ ﬠל ַ לב ≈ פ ∆ח ≈ב ּ ¿ ר ≈ וƒ ‰ ∆מ ּ ƒ „ﬠ ַ ,ניםƒ רו ¿ … ˆ … מ ¿ז … ...כי … מז Some time later it happened .חר ≈‡ ַ ו ∆ ׁ מי ƒ ב ַ …ו ּ ‰ that Moshe needed to get
ָּ ,טי ƒ פ ָר ¿ ּ ‰ח ָ‚ ¿ׁ ‰ ַ ּב ‰מ ָ ˜ …ו ַּ ∆ׁ לו ע ּב … בי ≈ב ּ¿ יעי ƒ ב ƒ נָ ם ¿ׁ ∆י ‰‡ ָו ּפ וים ַמ ¿ּ ‰ ַ ¿ו,ניםƒ רו ּ ƒל … זיםƒ פ ָּ ¿ׁ ‡ ֻמ ¿ּ ‰ ַ .ם ָׁ ן ƒ לים ƒ … ׁ לי ,„מ‡ …ו ¿ מח ַ ׂ ָ ‰ ‰מ ָ ˜ …ו ל ַ ‰ ל ָﬠ ָ ‡ ּ ו ָ ,כן ≈‡ ָ ¿ויעי ƒ ב ƒ ּ י‰ ּ ניםƒ רו ז ¿ מ ƒ ר פ ַ ס ¿ מ ƒ ם … …וח ָמ ¿ ׂƒ .ויים ƒ ¿‡ ּ ¿ ‰ ך ַ ,‰ל ָ ‚„ …ו ליט ƒח ¿‰ ∆ ,לבּ …ו ƒ וּב ‡ ∆ ‡יר ƒ ¿ׁ ‰ ַל ¿ מו ¿ﬠ ַל ¿ ˜ ַר‰ח ָמ ¿ ׂ … ˆ פר ≈ּ ס ַ ּל ¿ וכ ∆ל ∆ל ָ ‡ ּ ַ " ַו.ים „‡י ƒׁ ָ‡נ ֲ „…ו ‰ח ָפ ָּ ¿ׁ מ ƒ בי ≈ רו ˜ … ¿ נָ ם ניƒ מו ָּ ספים ƒ … כ ‡ר ≈ ָׁ ּ ‰ ƒל ¿ ˆים ƒ רו … ‡ין ≈ ¿וב ָּ ַׁ ב ּ¿ ן ."ן בּ …ו ƒ מ˜ …ום ָ ם … ׁ לי ּס בב ≈ …ו ¿‰ ƒ ‡ו ּ ‰ ,כן פר ≈ּ ס ƒ ¿ו ‰˜ ָל ָח ¿ ﬠל ַ ‰‡ ָ ָר ∆ׁ מי ƒ ל ‰ח ָ ּו נ ‰ ַ ו ר ¿ ּ ָׁ פ … ניםƒ רו ƒ ﬠל ַ ן … … מ ¿ז .יעי ƒ ב ƒ ¿ר‰ ָ ‰מ ָ …ו
Issue 917 • �
828 'גליון מס
somewhere and he stopped a taxi on the street. At the end of the trip, he paid and got out. As he continued on his way he suddenly realized, oh no! He did not have his t’fillin! He looked all around but the taxi was nowhere to be seen. It had already driven off. And the t’fillin … were in the taxi. He had no idea who the driver was and how to locate him. Moshe lost no time. He quickly obtained the phone numbers of all the cab companies in Yerushalayim. He called each one but nobody was able to help him. Moshe was very upset. “If I had listened to the Rebbe and checked the t’fillin, I’m sure this would not have happened,” he thought. “Moshe,” said his wife after many failed attempts to locate the t’fillin, “let’s go to the Kosel and daven there.” Moshe was willing and they set out for the Kosel. Many tears were shed and prayers said. Moshe, whose heart was with the missing t’fillin, said to Hashem, “Hashem, if You help me and the t’fillin are returned to me, bli neder, I will immediately do as the Rebbe asked and give them in to be checked.” Moshe and Esther left the Kosel, feeling somewhat encouraged. Their prayers had diminished the tension and had infused them with new strength. They had just left the Kosel area when they heard someone calling in a heavy Arabic accent, “Hey, Yehudi, you traveled in my taxi and forgot a package!” The Arab was holding the t’fillin bag. Moshe nearly fainted on the spot. He could not believe his eyes. The Arab handed him his t’fillin and went on his way. Perhaps he was Eliyahu HaNavi. Who knows…? Even before returning home, Moshe took the t’fillin to be checked by a sofer. Well, the miracle he experienced with the return of the t’fillin was only the first of a series of miracles. Amazingly, the t’fillin were pasul in the words “and you shall teach your children.” The problem was fixed and the t’fillin were returned to Moshe. That day was 10 Shvat 5770. A year later, on 22 Shvat 5771, Esther gave birth to their first son, to their supreme delight. But the story does not end here. Esther gave birth in Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Yerushalayim. She remained in the hospital for Shabbos. Her husband greatly desired being with her and the baby for Shabbos but he lived far from the hospital and he had no place to stay for Shabbos near the hospital. Then he found out that on the fourth floor of the hospital there were mattresses and those who were staying with patients in the hospital were allowed to sleep there. Moshe was very happy about this information. He went up to the fourth floor and saw some available mattresses. He was in such a good mood and feeling magnanimous, he decided to inform other people about the sleeping arrangements. “Surely there are other relatives, like me, who want to stay here for Shabbos but do not have a place to sleep.” He went around the department and told whoever he saw about the mattresses on the fourth floor. This was good news for many people. The mattresses were quickly taken and Moshe good-naturedly gave up his own mattress so someone else would have a place to sleep. That night, everyone slept while Moshe tried to sleep. He set himself up in a corner on a chair, since he had no mattress. As he dozed, he had a wondrous dream. In his dream, he saw an old man who said to him, “Because of the chesed you did, next year you will have another son.” Moshe woke up. He felt this wasn’t just any dream but a message from heaven. He told his wife Esther and they both waited for good news. Indeed, several months later, they found out that Esther was expecting another baby. They were thrilled and they anticipated having another son as Moshe was told in the dream. In a routine visit to the doctor, he said that according to the tests, they would be having a girl. Moshe and Esther were somewhat taken aback but they figured, “If it’s not a boy, that doesn’t matter. The main thing is a healthy child.” In the meantime, they discussed the Kiddush they would make for a girl in the shul that Moshe davened in. The day came and … Esther gave birth to a boy! It was just as Moshe had been promised in the dream. Moshe and Esther thanked Hashem for sending us the Rebbe to guide us and to bless us in whatever we need.
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