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Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe MHM
delivered on Yud Shvat 5715, in accordance with the
custom established by the Rebbe to review each year
a section of the Rebbe Rayatzs maamer Basi LGani
of 5710. This year we focus on the fifth section of
the profound and foundational chassidic discourse. Part 5 of 6
Translated by Boruch Merkur


The Rebbe continues to discuss in the maamer
the concept of removing garments at the time
of prophecy, saying that the need for garments
is a result of the sin of eating from the Tree of
Knowledge. Originally, Adam and Chava had no
shame in being unclothed, as it is written, They
were both nakedbut they were not ashamed. The
relevance or need for clothing came about in the
wake of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.
The main result of the sin was the feeling that
good and evil are intermingled. Thus, it is written,
They knew that they were naked. Introduced
to their consciousness was moral ambiguity
[recognizing, in this case, the potential for shame in
being unclothed].
The Rebbe Rashab elaborates further about
how clothes are emblematic of moral obscurity.
Ironically, the sin of the Tree of Knowledge added
wisdom to Adam HaRishon, as it is written, your
eyes will be opened, and you will be like angels,
knowing good and evil, and it is written, The eyes
of both of them were opened, and they knew, etc.
(i.e., they acquired wisdom). Here the one who
sinned benefited!
However, the intent of these verses is not that
Adam was initially bereft of wisdom prior to the sin
and then he gained it. For had he had no wisdom
prior to then, how could G-d have commanded
him to not eat from the tree? Surely one who
does not possess any wisdom is not fit to observe
prohibitions! Rather, Adam was rich with wisdom
from the moment he was created. In fact, he was

endowed with a profoundly developed knowledge

of G-dliness, wisdom of the Divine. What he
was lacking, however, was the infamous form of
knowledge he acquired through the sin. Namely,
[the moral ambiguity of what is called] knowledge
of good and evil, and everything related to the
physical faculties and senses, as well as earthly
Prior to the sin, Adam was free from the slightest
trace of temptation in any of these areas. (Thus,
it is written, they were not ashamed, for these
matters were of absolutely no consequence to them;
they were completely indifferent to such earthly
preoccupations. Adam HaRishons wisdom and
knowledge was only of G-dliness, true wisdom.)
However, after the sin, Adam fell from his spiritual
height, and he acquired knowledge of good and
evil, etc.
His new mindset functioned as a garment
that covers over and conceals knowledge of G-dly
wisdom [providing a distraction from the singular
G-dly focus he had had; Adam was now forced to
struggle against temptation]. In order to ward off
temptation, clothing became necessary (And G-d
madeleather tunics and clothed them), covering
up the potential for evil. Without clothing there
would be shame, which would cause them to veer
from the straight path [of G-dly purpose].
Thus, the revelation of G-dliness associated with
prophecy is accompanied by and he removed his
clothing, for prophecy entails the attainment of
something akin to the original condition of [holiness
that prevailed in] the world prior to the sin, when
there was no need for the concept of clothing.
Issue 958

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Dvar Malchus

this spiritual height, not only is

evil diminished having a lesser
presence, being a minority in the
face of a majority of good but
the evil itself is transformed and
becomes good.
To elaborate on these two
levels of ishafcha in terms of
avoda: It is apparent that when
there is one who is in a negative
state and spiritual standing, his passion burns with
a foreign fire for unholy desires. Should this
person attain the avoda of iskafia, the desire and
passion of foreign fire may still be kindled to
burn within him at full strength. It is just that his
temptations do not gain dominion over his thought,
speech, or action; he succeeds in immediately
pushing them away and nullifying it, as explained
in Tanya. But when he applies himself in his avoda,
exerting his soul and body, then, on account of the
strength of the good within him, he brings about a
change (ishafcha); he eliminates all the passions of
the foreign fire and stands up Stoically in the face
of all temptations.
This avoda, however, still falls short of the level
of ischafcha that transforms ones very nature, that
his nature itself becomes good. At the first level,
ones nature is only weakened and nullified (in
sixty parts, or a thousand, or a myriad, as explained
in Tanya) to the goodness within him, which is
stronger. The higher approach to the avoda of
ishafcha is where one applies himself to such a
degree that his previous passion becomes holy fire.
This concept finds expression in the Future
Era that in place of the worldly passion of a man
and a woman there will then be the holy fire of
man (eish Yud, the fire of Yud) and the holy fire of
woman (eish Hei, the fire of Hei). The fire itself, the
passion, will be transformed into holy fire, as it is
written, Night shall shine like day, meaning that
the darkness itself shall become light.

There is, however, a higher level of ishafcha. At

this spiritual height, not only is evil diminished
having a lesser presence, being a minority in the face of
a majority of good but the evil itself is transformed and
becomes good.

6. Continuing in the maamer, the Rebbe writes
that the ultimate avoda is to transform darkness
into light, so that the darkness itself shines. This
transformation is achieved by substituting evil
folly with shtus dkdusha. (Supplanting evil folly
with the folly of holiness is not done merely by
compelling oneself, but through bittul, and bittul to
the point that the darkness itself shines.)
To elaborate: In general, there are various
approaches to the war against evil. The war begins
with iskafia, engaging and overcoming the evil
inclination, compelling it to follow G-ds will.
Here goodness prevails over evil, bringing about its
submission and compelling it to act in accordance
with the forces of good within the person. Despite
being overpowered, however, the evil maintains its
presence and strength within the person; it is just
that it has no dominion over the three garments
of the soul thought, speech, and action. This
description, for the most part, portrays the avoda of
the beinoni, as explained at length in Tanya.
But there is a superior avoda in the war against
evil: ishafcha. At this level, not only does evil not
have any authority over the three garments of
thought, speech, and action, but the force of good
is so prevalent in him that he battles against the evil
and manages to weaken it, diminishing its presence
even where it typically rules. Here evil is subdued
at its core, but only on account of the prevalence of
There is, however, a higher level of ishafcha. At

In Crown Heights area: 1640/1700AM

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4 3 Shvat 5775
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By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader shyichyeh,

In our previous article, we
discussed the Torahs view of a
Jewish King. We explained that the
main role of the Jewish king is to
bring the nation closer to Hashem.
In the words of Rambam (Melachim
4:10): His purpose and intent shall
be to elevate the true faith and fill
the world with justice, destroying the
power of the wicked and waging the
wars of G-d.
In this article, we are going to
discuss the uniqueness of the kings
which are descendants of Dovid
HaMelech, culminating with King
We all know that King Shaul was
the king before Dovid HaMelech
and that throughout history most
the Jewish people 10 of the 12
Shvatim were ruled by Malchus
Yisroel, kings from the tribe of
Yosef. Notwithstanding that, there
is a unique and inherent quality to
Malchus Beis Dovid.
The Rambam writes (Hilchos
Melachim 1:8-9): If a prophet
appoints a king from any other
tribe of Israel and that king follows

the path of Torah and mitzvos

and fights the wars of G-d, he is
considered as a king, and all the
commandmentsassociatedwith the
monarchy apply to him.Although
given to David and one of
hisdescendantswillbe serving as
king, there is halachic legitimacy to
the rule of other kings...
The Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Vol.
28 pg. 109) explains that there are
two types of Jewish kings. The first
is a king who actively fulfills the
duties that the Torah and the nation
expect of him. He issues decrees,
controls the land and army, and is
recognized to be the one with the
greatest power. The second type
of king does not wield power with
his actions, but by his character.
His whole being radiates regal
kingliness, and although he does not
shoulder responsibilities of state, the
Jewish nation sees in such a person
the kingly qualities of righteousness,
malchus, and humility.
The following two examples
illustrate this idea of a person having
an innate quality which defines him,

even if certain behaviors normally

associated with that quality are
absent. A Kohen is born with his
priestly status. It does not matter
if and how many times he actually
fulfills the service of the Kohen; his
identity is that of a priest. Or, for
example, a Jew does not attain his
Jewishness by practicing Judaism.
It is something that he receives the
moments is his born. It is part of his
essence regardless of his actions.
That is the essential difference
between the Malchus Yisroel and
Malchus Beis Dovid. For a king who
belongs to the Malchus Yisroel, his
status as king is not his essence and
therefore will eventually fade away.
For the kings of Malchus Beis Dovid,
in contrast, this status is part of their
very being and therefore it is eternal.
This is regarding all kings from
Beis Dovid. In our next article, we
will explain the unique qualities of
the ultimate king, King Moshiach.
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of
Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought
after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his indepth shiurim on Inyanei Geula uMoshiach can
be accessed at

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2015-01-20 10:23:23 AM




rev Shabbos, Parshas

House in Sarcelles which
is near Paris slowly filled
with worshipers. The atmosphere
was despondent and tense.
Outside, French police patrolled
the street. Their instructions were
to stay in constant movement so as
not to provide an easy target in a
potential attack.
In the shul in the Chabad
House basement, the name of
Yohan Cohen, may Hashem
avenge his blood, was whispered.
They all knew him; he was part
of the group of young men who
regularly visited the Chabad
House. His family was also very
connected with the Chabad
House. They all knew he worked
at the besieged Hyper Cacher
assumed he was there, but at that
time nobody knew his fate.
followed the unfolding of events
in Paris during those five nervewracking hours before Shabbos.
Shabbos began in France and

the situation had not reached a

conclusion. A few minutes after
Mincha, someone walked into
the Chabad House and shouted,
They broke into the store and
some people were killed! He was
repeating what he heard from the
policemen upstairs.
We knew that there were
dead hostages, but we did not
know their names, said Shimon
Meir Chaviv, a bachur who
was spending the Shabbos on
shlichus at the Chabad House.
The shliach, R Yaakov Bitton,
immediately gathered the crowd
and delivered a special talk in
light of the situation.
At 9:00 there were knocks
at the door of R Bittons home.
At the door were the mayor and
police officers. They had come
to tell him that a member of his
community, Yohan Cohen, was
among the murdered. They asked
him to be with the family when
they heard the tragic news.
I went with them, said
R Bitton. I spent several

hours with the family. I tried to

encourage and support them. At
times like these, there isnt much
to say. You mainly need to be
there and be supportive.
He was a fine, quiet boy. He
would daven and attend shiurim
and activities at the Chabad
House, said R Bitton. We have
a very close relationship with his
entire family. R Bitton said that
the family even asked that the
funeral leave from the Chabad
House, but the organizers of
the mass funeral in Eretz Yisroel
pressured them to make one joint
There is a large group of
young people who are deeply
connected to the Chabad
House, said R Dovid Chaviv,
one of the shluchim in Sarcelles.
Yohan was a member of the
group. Shabbos morning, we
sat with some of the guys and
thought about what we can do.
On their own, they decided to
start a new shiur in Chassidus in
memory of their friend.

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Police outside the kosher supermarket

The wave of terror in Paris

left the Jewish community in
France reeling and mourning,
as they struggle to digest
the new reality. * Leaders
and rabbanim, led by the
Rebbes shluchim, were the
first to stand by the side of
the bereaved families and all
of French Jewry, providing
spiritual and material support.
* Exclusive: Stories of those
who experienced astonishing
By Zalman Tzorfati


The Chabad House in S.
Mande is only a few hundred
meters away from the store where
the attack took place. One of the
projects of the Chabad House is
a kosher lunch room for Jewish
children who attend public
schools in the area. When the
terrorist entered the store, there
were nearly thirty Jewish children
in the Chabad House who were
getting ready for lunch. The
police were taking no chances
and they asked them all to go up
to the top floor of the Chabad
House, where they remained
without anyone being allowed
to enter or leave until Shabbos
We were on the top floor for
nearly five hours without being
able to leave, said R Chaim
Elezam, shliach in S. Mande.
Everyone was uptight and we
tried to calm people down. We
prayed for the welfare of the

hostages. Until ten minutes

before Shabbos, they did not let
us leave the building. The entire
area was closed off. My son, who
was on his way home from school
in the 19th arrondissement, had
his bus turn back. He spent
Shabbos with my brother-in-law
in the 19th arrondissement; it
wasnt possible to enter the area.
began, when the situation was
not yet over, the police allowed
parents to come and quickly take
their children. The police told
R Elezam that all shuls in the
area would be closed and that
Shabbos tfillos would take place
only in the big shul which would
be under heavy guard.
The last of the children
left and Shabbos began. Since
they did not allow me to open
the Chabad House, I davened
Mincha at home. After Mincha I
felt I could not stay at home when
an attack like this had happened
right nearby. Yet, I was afraid
to go to a place where a terror

attack occurred, because there

was no way of knowing what
might develop. I opened a volume
of Igros Kodesh; in the letter I
opened to, the Rebbe wrote to a
person who had a building with
a mosad for children. The Rebbe
blessed him with many brachos
and ended with thanks for the
good news. I understood from
this that I should go out.
On my way out, I heard
people talking and gathered that
security forces had stormed the
store and the terrorist was dead.
I ran over and on the way I met
a neighbor and good friend who
is also a mekurav of the Chabad
House. He was emotionally
overwrought and he told me
that his brother-in-law was in
the store with his three year old
son. The brother-in-law, also a
mekurav of the Chabad House,
had texted his brother-in-law
outside and informed the police
about what was going on inside
the store.
Slowly, additional details

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Yohan Cohen

Yoav Hattab

Philippe Braham

In Chassidus it explains that the entire world

is the effect and we are the cause. The problem
starts when we think we are impacted by something else
or someone else. The circumstances of our existence are
not the outcome of any outside cause. We are the cause
and it is all in our hands. We must strengthen our emuna
in Hashem and our Ahavas Yisroel, which is the best
shield from all those who want to annihilate us.
began to emerge. Since it all
happened in the neighborhood,
we had the information right
away. Yohan Cohen worked
in the store almost since the
store opened and we all knew
him. Yoav Hattab, may Hashem
avenge his blood, was also in
touch with the Chabad House
and for a long time he learned
Taieb, the son of the shliach in
Vincennes, R Yosef Taieb.


When Shabbos was over,
reports began to spread to other

Jewish communities. The names

of those who had been killed were
publicized and the unbelievable
story of those who were saved in
the store began to become known
along with dozens of stories of
people who almost ended up in
the store. The anguish over the
deaths of the four men was mixed
with joy and thanks to Hashem
for the miracles that occurred
during the attack. One of those
stories was told to Beis Moshiach
by R Menachem Mendel Koskas,
rav of the Noisy-le-Grand
community in France, an eastern
suburb of Paris.
One of the members of the
community is a police officer
whose job is to deal with families

Franois-Michel Saada

of victims in the event of a

tragedy. That Friday night, his
absence from shul was noted.
The next day he came to shul
and after the davening he told his
The previous days had been
very tense for the police, said the
officer. After the massacre at the
Charlie Hebdo magazine office
and the killing of a policewoman,
they were told not to stay in one
place so as not to be easy targets.
All this made the police force
quite nervous.
Friday morning, he woke up
with a very bad feeling. He was
not on duty that day and yet he
felt as though it was to be the
last day of his life. He hugged
his little daughter and suggested
that they recite Thillim together.
They sat down and read Thillim.
When they finished, he felt a
lot better. He went out to visit a
friend who lived not far away. He
spent a long time with his friend
and before he left, he mentioned
that he was going to shop at the
Hyper Cacher kosher store.
Then something strange
happened. The friend began
persuading him not to go to

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2015-01-20 10:23:26 AM

that store. Are you nuts? Why

are you going all the way there?
There is a kosher store that is
closer, said the friend. I know,
said the officer, but its not that
far and Im used to shopping at
Hyper Cacher supermarket every
Friday. But the friend insisted
that he not go there; it was so
odd. They argued, and in the end
the officer relented and went to
the store his friend suggested.
On his way back from
shopping, he passed near the
Hyper Cacher store and saw a
commotion. He parked his car
and joined the crowd. He met his
fellow officers and joined them.
He waited until they broke into
the store. He was the only Jew
in a senior position and it was
important to him to remain with
the police until the situation had
Immediately after the assault
and the release of the hostages,
the officer joined those who
brought out the bodies in order
to ascertain that the evacuation
and identification were done
according to Jewish law with
respect for the dead. During
the identification process, he

discovered that his uncle was

among those killed and he was
heartbroken, but he quickly got
hold of himself and continued
assisting the families of the
victims while not forgetting for a
moment that he had almost been
among the hostages.


It was first on Motzaei
Shabbos that the stories began
to pour in and people began to
realize the miracle, considering
what a bloodbath there could
have been with a terrorist armed
with two automatic rifles, a gun
and a knife, who was locked in
with the hostages for five hours.
The story of Rudi Haddad
and his friend who worked in
the store many years earlier
and brought a large group of
customers down to the freezer
the minute the terrorist entered
the store, quickly spread. The
two men held a farbrengen to
thank Hashem that very Motzaei
Shabbos in the offices of the
friends company. They told their
incredible story along with the

story of the cashier. The terrorist

held a gun to her head, pressed
the trigger a few times, but no
bullet emerged. And the story of
the man who tried parking his
car outside the store but someone
else got the space, and as he
looked for another parking space,
the terrorist entered the store.
And about the baby who spent
five hours in the (turned off)
freezer and remained quiet, and
dozens of other extraordinary
Despite the anti-Semitism
in France in recent years, this
attack caught French Jews by
anything like this to occur, said
R Chaim Elezam. As a result,
the shluchim and rabbanim of
khillos are facing many questions
and confusion expressed by many

R Yosef Taieb, shliach in
Vincennes and one of the Chabad
rabbanim in Paris, is one of those
facing thousands of questioning

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faces. He has been in touch with
shluchim and rabbanim as well as
with many Jews of his khilla and
throughout Paris who want to
know how to react.
First of all, the Rebbe taught
us that everything a Jew sees
and hears is a lesson in Avodas
Hashem. After this attack, we
need to see what we ought to
learn from it; how does it inform
our actions and avoda? Thats the
first thing to think about before
starting to blame one another,
to see how this strengthens our
Avodas Hashem.
important thing today is to
strengthen Ahavas Yisroel, as
the Gemara says, This is the
entire Torah and the rest is
The Rebbe says that what
remains to be done is to greet

Jews of France are being left

unprotected in the hands of
Islamic murderers?

And what is the answer?
The answer is very simple.
Chazal said it thousands of years
ago on the words of Mishlei, The
kindness of the nations is a sin.
Nothing has changed since then.
Although we live in the modern
world, we need to know that the
world cares only about itself and
the country cares only about its
own interests.
Thats the way it was during
World War II. The Americans
fought the Germans and the
entire free world joined the war
against the Germans, but they
didnt do it out of love for Jews.

The terrorist held a gun to her head, pressed

the trigger a few times, but no bullet emerged.

Moshiach and one of the ways

is through Ahavas Yisroel. This
refers not only to those who
think like us, because that is no
great accomplishment, but the
chiddush is to also love those
who think differently than we do.
At the same time, Chazal
say that Yaakov Avinu prepared
himself in three ways, through
gifts, prayer and war. We too,
along with our spiritual reaction
and strengthening our Ahavas
Yisroel and Avodas Hashem,
need to prepare ourselves in
other ways.
We need to see to proper
protection and security, as the
Rebbe always says, to stand
strongly and firmly. So the
most disturbing question today,
as far as the Jews of France
are concerned, is whether the

They werent fighting to save

Jews but to protect themselves.
One of the proofs is that the
same Englishmen who fought
the Germans sent back ships of
Jewish refugees so they could not
enter Eretz Yisroel. You have to
be blind and a fool not to see and
understand this.
Fortunately, the world today
is starting to wake up. It realizes
that it is not only Jews who are
in danger but the entire world.
Islamic extremists threaten world
peace and the French are only
now beginning to realize this. The
problem is that France is a slow
moving country. In the US and
Britain, for example, the police
are much stronger and operate
much quicker. In France, it takes
a very long time to launch any
initiatives and to make changes in

ways of thinking and acting.

There are entire districts in
France, for example, where the
police, government officials, and
even firemen havent entered in
years. Even elevator companies
are afraid to send technicians
there to fix elevators. These areas
have turned into no-go zones
where gangs rule and crime and
drugs are rampant. They are
spawning grounds for radicalized
It is only now that the
government is starting to slowly
realize that it has no choice and
must enter these areas and take
control. The government also
undertook to protect Jewish
establishments and shuls. I
have spoken to the chief rabbi
of France about this before and
he told me that he was given
a government promise in this
matter. All these things were
asked for in the past but were not
Until now, there was no
comprehensive security. Here
provided for individuals, but
even then it depended on all
kinds of criteria and pressure
exerted. Now they realize that
the highest level of security must
be delivered. We must do all we
can to ensure that they keep their
promises without delay.


As to what was said to the
community on Shabbos:
People came and waited to
hear the speech. The main point
I stressed, which I repeat at every
opportunity, is that we cannot
give in to fear. We have to take
precautions but cannot panic.
We are not denying the
danger. Anti-Semitism has reared
its head and there is danger,
but we cannot allow our fear

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2015-01-20 10:23:27 AM

R Chaim Elezam

to change our routines. This

relates to the spiritual message I
conveyed that every event must
strengthen us spiritually and
materially. If we hide or change
our routines in the slightest,
that demonstrates weakness and
shows that terrorism has won.
That is their goal, to sow panic
and confusion, so that Jews will
be afraid to walk the streets and
they will stop shopping in kosher
supermarkets. We cannot allow
them to win.
I told the community that
the store will reopen soon and we
must try to shop there to show
support and to demonstrate that
nothing changed.
I absolutely understand
the fear; an attack like this is a
major upheaval for a community
unused to acts of terror as
happens too frequently in Eretz
Yisroel. It is natural for people to
be fearful, for parents to be afraid
to send their children out, but I
believe that after a few days, life
will return to normal, especially
if people feel that the government
has woken up and a change in the
approach to security has begun.

R Yaakov Bitton

In Chassidus it explains that

the entire world is the effect and
we are the cause. The problem
starts when we think we are
impacted by something else or
someone else. The circumstances
of our existence are not the
outcome of any outside cause.
We are the cause and it is all in
our hands. We must strengthen
our emuna in Hashem and our
Ahavas Yisroel, which is the best
shield from all those who want to
annihilate us.


regularly uses these anti-Semitic
attacks to call upon French
Jewry to make aliya. Is this the
Aliya is not the solution.
If the Torah would say that all
Jews must make aliya, then of
course that is what we would
have to do, but it says the
opposite that it was a tzdaka
that Hashem did for the Jewish
people when He scattered them
among the nations. There is an

R Yosef Taieb, shliach in Vincennes

advantage to the Jewish people

being spread out all over the
world. When Moshiach comes,
he will gather us all; in the
meantime, I dont think thats the
Obviously, someone who
feels he wants to make aliya, may
he be blessed. We should not
stop anyone from making aliya.
But as shluchim of the Rebbe our
role is to remain here and make
sure that every Jew is safe. The
answer to terrorism is not to run
away but to fight it.
What we need to do is
raise awareness about the state
of world Jewry and demand
that governments ensure the
security of all of their citizens by
doggedly and uncompromisingly
fighting terrorism. On our part,
we need to do all we can to live
life normally.

Opening a school is the
immediate plan in the works
for the Chabad House of
Vincennes-S. Mande. Until then,
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The world has started to change
direction, and once again it begins
in France. * R Naftali Estulin,
shliach in Los Angeles, illuminates
the events in France with the light
of preparing for the Geula.
When the worldwide media carried the massive
protest in Paris against terrorism, which was attended
by dozens of world leaders, and I heard veteran
reporters who are used to reporting about big events
describing this one as historic, I thought: an event like
this must surely be connected to the Geula process
that we are in the middle of. We ought to review the
Rebbes sicha from Parshas VaYeishev 5752 that was
devoted entirely to the French Revolution and its
central role in the Geula process.
In that unique sicha, the Rebbe explains that
during exile we have the avoda of refining the nations
of the world. When the job is finished, the Geula will
come. After the Rebbe notes that in recent years all
the nations of the world have been refined, he focuses
on the birur of France which reflects on the avodas
habirurim of the entire world. In unprecedented
lengthiness, the Rebbe devoted the entire farbrengen
to discussing France and demonstrated the stage by
they strive to ensure that children
have the opportunity to spend
as much time as possible at the
Chabad House.
We have a Sunday school
and a program on Wednesday
afternoons for children who
attend public school, says R
Elezam. We also take Jewish
children every day for a kosher
lunch at the Chabad House. At
the end of their school day they
come back to us and stay until
6:30 to do their homework, eat a

stage process of the birur of that country.

When we look at France as a country which
represents the avodas habirurim in the world, all of
the recent events look entirely different.

What would you have said if you had been told two
weeks ago that following a terrorist attack, a massive,
worldwide protest against terror would take place,
attended by forty heads of state and millions of nonJews? You probably would have sent the person who
told this to you to be examined by a psychiatrist.
It did not happen after four Jews were massacred
in a shul in Har Nof; it did not occur after the
kidnapping and murder of three teenagers, and not
after any terror attack in Eretz Yisroel or other places
in the world. Then, the world was indifferent. It is
painful to say so, but even the Israeli prime minister
did not attend the funerals of the four murdered in
Har Nof, nor the funerals of many others murdered in
terror attacks in Eretz Yisroel.
(Not to mention that in Eretz Yisroel, they try to
minimize every security breach; the automatic reaction
of the security forces to these tragedies is that it was

snack, and play.

Sunday morning after the
attack, I was afraid that parents
would not want to send us their
children. The police had closed
all Jewish centers on Shabbos
and there was this strong feeling
of fear amongst all the parents. I
took the list of parents and called
them one by one and asked them
a simple question: did they want
to stop and lose, or continue and
win? They all said, We want to
win. I went out and picked up

all the children for the Sunday

school. That first day was critical
and set the tone. We are moving


R Elezam also encourages his
community as R Taieb does.
We had a shiur for women. It
usually takes place in the Chabad
House, but this time we did it in
a private home. Many women

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an accident, a criminal case or a false alarm, the

main thing being not to have it said that it was a terror
attack because then they would have to speak against
Arab terrorists.)
But the unbelievable did occur and in France of
all places. True, the decision to hold an anti-terrorism
march was made after the murder of the journalists,
before the attack in the supermarket, but they had not
spoken about world leaders attending it. The optimists
hoped that a million people would show up, and
Thursday night, the march was described as a local
event to demonstrate the national unity of France. In
the media they reported that no official word had been
given as to the participation of the French president,
Francois Hollande.
It was only from Friday afternoon and on, following
the terror attack in the Jewish store in which four Jews
were killed, that local outrage over terrorism spilled
over and the local march took on new life and turned
into a global protest which was attended by presidents
and heads of state from around the world. The attack
on the Jewish store was definitely the maka bpatish
(final blow) that turned the march from a local event
to a worldwide protest of historic proportions.
As the case may be, there is no doubt that the
worldwide protest referred to all the recent acts of
terror in Paris, including the killing of four Jews just
because they were Jews. It was in this manner that
it was branded into the consciousness of billions
of people around the world who watched the live
broadcasts from Paris.


In the sicha of Parshas Mishpatim 5752, the Rebbe
revealed that Moshiach had begun doing his work in
the world, transforming human culture from one that

came. They wanted to hear what

we had to say about the situation.
I told them that there are
things that G-d does which
we dont understand. If we
wouldnt be G-d. But what is
definite is that everything G-d
does is good. The Creator wants
us to be strong, not weak. Acting
with fear is acting from a point
of weakness, and it demonstrates
a lack of emuna. The most
important thing is to not run

sees wars and killing as something legitimate to one

that sees war as a problem and peace as a solution.
For example, the Rebbe refers to the meeting of the
superpowers for the purpose of limiting nuclear
weapons in the world, and said that this meeting,
which took place in New York, was the work of
Moshiach who is located in New York.
However, despite the progress since 5752 as
research has shown that since the beginning of the
90s, the number of wars taking place in the world has
gone down and the number of those killed in wars has
gone down there is one area where we have not seen
progress. That is global terrorism and the terrorism in
Eretz Yisroel in particular.
Now the time has come that Moshiach has started
to work on the nations, changing their attitudes about
terrorism. From an approach of appeasement and even
supportiveness they have turned to an approach that
abhors terror and rejects it. Obviously, a complete
change will take place only with the full hisgalus of
the Rebbe MHM with the fulfillment of the promise,
a nation will not raise a sword against a nation.
However, when we know that behind the scenes there
is a major change taking place which the Rebbe is
leading, we can certainly point at the millions who
marched in France.
Along with the deep sorrow and pain over the
shocking murder of four Jews in a Parisian kosher
store, we need to open our eyes and see the change
in worldwide opinion and realize that the change in
attitude is connected with Moshiachs impact on the
May we know no more sorrow and may this be
the last sign of Geula. May we immediately merit
the hisgalus of the Rebbe MHM who will come and
redeem us and lead us upright to our land on heavenly

There are all sorts of ways of
escaping. Some people want to
leave France, some want to leave
the neighborhood, and some
are afraid to go outside with
a kippa or to shop in a kosher
supermarket. I told them that any
sort of running away is weakness
and a victory for terrorism;
not only that but running away
can also hurt a person. This is
because when someone runs
away, he is not careful. Its like a

child who is scared by a dog and

runs into the street. True, a dog
can be dangerous, but being hit
by a car in the street is even more
The pasuk I repeated a lot
in recent days is As they [the
Egyptians] afflicted them, so did
they [the Jewish people] increase
and multiply. Nobody will break
us. They say, Lest they multiply,
and Hashem says, They will

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His appointed role as the Rebbes eyes and ears in Yerushalayim and the
regular reports he sent covering every detail of what was going on among
Chabad Chassidim in the holy city was a closely guarded secret for many
decades. * His recollections in an exclusive interview with Beis Moshiach
along with information culled from a number of archives following his
passing, offer us a brief fascinating glimpse into the life of the mashpia, R
Pinchos Leibush Hertzl ah.
By Shneur Zalman Berger
Photos: family archives, Beis Moshiach archives, Meir Alfasi

zom Gedalya of this year,

5775. Battei Ungarin
in Yerushalayim. The
Leibush Hertzl put on Rabbeinu
Tam tfillin. He would soon be
going out to Mincha. Then he
suddenly had a heart attack and
collapsed. Thus ended the noble
life of a modest Chassid and an
outstanding talmid chacham, one
who pursued tzdaka and chesed.


R Pinchas Leibush was born
on 19 Tishrei 5683/1922. His
parents were R Naftali Tzvi and
Yocheved Chana. His mother
was from an old-time Yerushalmi

family and she had deep Chabad

Hungarian, Pinchas Leibush was
not raised with Chassidus. The
young boy, who was discovered
to be gifted, was sent to learn in
Yeshivas Dushinsky, led by the
gaon R Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky,
Av Beis Din of the Eidah
HaChareidis. In yeshiva he soon
became known as a genius.
His uncle was the mashpia R
Moshe Weber, and the young boy
was very much in touch with his
uncle whose Chassidic influence
was profound. At the age of 16,
he transferred to learn in the
Lubavitcher Yeshivas Toras Emes
which was in Battei Milner at the
time, near where he lived. There

too he assiduously studied Nigleh

and Chassidus and quickly took
his place among the outstanding
bachurim in the yeshiva. His
yiras Shamayim and feeling of
hiskashrus to our Rebbeim he
absorbed from the mashpiim
and the heads of the yeshiva,
R Moshe Leib Shapiro and
the mashpia R Moshe Yehuda
About 150 bachurim learned
there in those days, before
World War II, along with about
fifty young married men. They
learned mainly with study
partners, and a few times a
week shiurim were given by the
roshei yeshiva and the mashpiim.
The talmidim learned diligently
despite the difficult physical

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circumstances. The learning went

on even through the Depression
years and the war years when
there was a serious shortage of
basic foodstuffs.
His close friends in yeshiva
were R Moshe Ashkenazi (later
rav of the Chabad community in
Tel Aviv), R Yisroel Tzvi Heber
(later mashpia in Tel Aviv and
Kfar Chabad), and R Efraim
Wolf (later menahel of yeshivos
Tomchei Tmimim).
Even back then, he spent
time in the presence of great
Avrohom Chaim Noeh, the
mashpia R Alter Simchovitz, R
Shmaryahu Sasonkin, and his
uncle R Moshe Weber.

Young Leibushs shidduch

took place with a blessing from
the Rebbe Rayatz as he described
it to me:
Nachum Chanun, was looking
for a shidduch and he had a
number of suggestions including
myself. He asked the Rebbe
Rayatz and received a bracha:
May Hashem send you a proper
shidduch. A few days went by
and the shidduch worked out. I
informed the Rebbe Rayatz and
received a telegram in English
with his consent and blessing for
the shidduch.

R Hertzl was, in essence, a

man of Torah, and he learned and
taught Torah to various groups
on various topics. In the shul in
the Musrara (Heb. Morasha)
neighborhood of Yerushalayim,
he gave a shiur for about fifty
years that was well attended. The
Rebbe had what to say about this
shiur. R Hertzl recounted:
In Tishrei 5727/1966, I
passed by the Rebbe during the
distribution of kos shel bracha.
After the Rebbe poured some
wine for me from his cup, he also
held out a bottle of mashke and
said loudly, This bottle should be
distributed to the members of the
shiur in Musrara.
Next to me stood R Zushe
Wilmyaowsky, known as the
Partisan. He did not understand
what the Rebbe said. He turned
to me in surprise and asked,
What did the Rebbe say? What
does Musrara mean?
I explained to him that the
Rebbe meant the shiur I give in
the neighborhood. R Zushe was
very excited, for out of all the
thousands of people who passed
by, the Rebbe remembered
who gave a shiur in one of the
neighborhoods of Yerushalayim
and had even given a bottle of
mashke while announcing the
name of the neighborhood. R
Zushe said, I will come and visit
Indeed, not long afterward
and with no prior warning, as
was R Zushes way, he appeared
in the middle of a shiur. He
walked around here and there,
all enthused and he muttered
to himself, Musrara, Musrara.
After joining the shiur he said to
me, I enjoyed it very much and
will write about it to the Rebbe.

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In his youth - from right to left: R Leibush, his brother Elimelech, his father

At one of the private

audiences, the Rebbe asked me
what shiurim I give and what
I teach. I enumerated all the
shiurim. The Rebbe said: Also
try and teach halachos every day
because whoever learns halachos
every day is assured a place
in Olam Haba. Furthermore,
the participants in the shiur in
Musrara work during the day and
dont have time to open a Jewish
book, so it is very important to
teach them halachos that pertain
to daily life.
One year, R Pinchas Leibush
traveled to New York where he
raised money for an important
From morning to night I was
busy traveling among offices and
businesses. When I arrived at my
host at night, I had no strength
to open a seifer. I found it hard
to make peace with the fact that
one day after another passed and

I did not have time to learn. I

had a private audience with the
Rebbe and told him what was
on my mind. The Rebbe told me
to learn lgirsa (i.e. on a simple
level). I told the Rebbe that due
to my running around all day, I
arrived home with a headache
and it was hard for me learn
lgirsa too. If so, said the Rebbe,
learn biyun (in depth), as it says,
If your head hurts, learn Torah.
The Rebbe quoted the known
question on this: it says we cancel
Torah study for the reading of the
Megilla, but reading the Megilla
is also Torah study, isnt it? The
answer is that since the reading
the Megilla is not in depth, it is
not considered as proper Torah
study. Therefore, concluded the
Rebbe, if your head hurts, you
need to learn Torah in depth.
R Hertzl considered the
Rebbes instruction to him about
learning Chitas as actual ruach

hakodesh. Over the years,

he was very particular about
learning Chitas, but at a certain
period, due to time pressure, he
sometimes did not learn it. At that
time he received a letter from the
Rebbe which said: I hope that
even though you dont mention
it, in addition to all your learning
you also observe the three known
shiurim in Chumash, Thillim,
and Tanya. Dont consider this
matter lightly, especially when it
was instituted as a practice by the
Rebbe, my father-in-law.
I, who knew the reason for
this response, could not get over
this open ruach hakodesh of the
R Hertzl received many
letters from the Rebbe, and in
his eyes every word and every
letter was a holy command for
him. Surely you participated in
(and will participate in greater
measure in) Mivtza Tfillin. May
Hashem grant you success.
This brief line is what got him
to participate in Mivtza Tfillin at
the Kosel. Every Wednesday, for
decades, he would stand at the
tfillin stand at the entrance to
the Kosel plaza and help people
put on tfillin and also urge them
to strengthen their observance of
Torah and mitzvos.
In recent decades, since
the passing of the mashpia R
Yehoshua Lipkin, R Pinchas
Leibush was appointed mashpia
of the Chabad shul in Mea
Sharim. He intensified the giving
of shiurim and drashos as well as
reviewing the Rebbes sichos.


R Hertzls lifestyle was
simple and modest. In his tiny
home in Battei Ungarin are all
the printed sfarim of the Rebbe
which he studied day and night

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as his family attests. One time, in

a conversation I had with him in
his home, he said, The Rebbes
sichos are my life.
On every occasion that he
was asked to speak, he always
reviewed a sicha of the Rebbe,
even to audiences far from the
ways of Chabad such as members
of Toldos Aharon and those
from North Africa. The regular
Shabbos farbrengen that took
place in the Chabad shul in Mea
Sharim also began with a sicha
of the Rebbe. Every Friday night,
he gave a shiur in the Dvar
Malchus to the people of the
shul and after the Shabbos meal
he gave another shiur that began
at nine and ended at midnight.
This latter shiur was attended
by Chassidic young men who
avidly listened to every word this
Chassidic mashpia uttered.
He attributed the strength and
ability to disseminate Chassidus
everywhere to the Rebbes horaa
to him, to increase more and
more in spreading Chassidus.
Inyanei Moshiach and Geula
were a top priority for him.
Many still remember how, at
a gathering that took place in
Nissan 5754, he read a psak din
in the name of Chabad rabbanim
that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

R Hertzl often sat at the
typewriter in his small apartment
and wrote in detail everything
that was going on among Chabad
When he completed his report,
which he considered holy work,
he sent it off to the Rebbe. He
sometimes received answers.
Because of this work that he did,
his uncle, R Moshe Weber would
call him, misofrei hamelech
(one of the kings scribes).

A farbrengen in Yerushalayim two decades ago. From right to left: The mashpia, R Meir
Blizinsky, the mashpia, R Moshe Weber, the mashpia, R Leibush Hertzl, R Dov Eliezerov

With distinguished Chabad rabbanim at a Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen in the Mea

Sharim shul. From right to left: R Shimon Elituv, R Leibush Hertzl, R Zev Dov
Slonim, R Moshe Landau

This activity was shrouded

in mystery for many years. R
Leibush did not volunteer any
details about this holy work.
He did not even tell his family
and friends how he came to be
assigned this sensitive task. Only
thirteen years ago was he willing
to reveal the secret. At the request
of one of his grandsons, I went
to the mashpias house where I
was taken behind the scenes. R
Hertzl agreed on a one time basis
to tell me what he had kept to

himself for decades. It was before

Yud Shvat when I arrived at his
home on the second floor of one
of the long buildings of Battei
Ungarin near the Mea Sharim
welcomed me warmly and spoke
to me as to a friend, even though
I was a young man, the age of
his grandchildren. Here is a
summary of what he said:
For nearly forty years I would
write long letters to the Rebbe in
which I described in detail what

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R Leibush (marked with red arrow) at the Rebbe


From the day he married until his final day, R Leibush Hertzl lived in the
Battei Ungarin neighborhood in a one and a half room apartment, furnished
with old, basic furniture and a kerosene stove for heat, but he was happy
with his lot. Together with my wife Shterna, here is where we raised eight
children! At first we did not even have a refrigerator and the bathing and
lavatory facilities were at the end of the hall.
For those who never visited this crowded, interesting neighborhood, Battei
Ungarin was built in long, three-story buildings. Each floor has a long and
very narrow hall from where you enter the apartments that are marked by the
Alef-beis. The apartments have a small entrance-way and a bedroom which
also serves, when needed, as a living room, dining room, childrens room,
and playroom. In these apartments, Yerushalmi families raise on average ten
children who grow up in incredibly crowded conditions.
R Leibush said, Hashem helped us and we managed. For a while, one of
the children slept at an aunts house and two girls slept with their grandmother
and the rest slept in every corner of the house. The main thing is they grew
up in the way of Torah and Chassidus, all married and established Chassidic
was going on among Chabad
Chassidim in Yerushalayim. I
did this because of the Rebbes
repeated requests that I do so.
It all began in the early
years of the Rebbes nesius
when I received a response from
the Rebbe asking me to write

about the activities of Chabad

Chassidim in Yerushalayim. From
then on, I would write every
month about Yeshivas Toras
Emes, about farbrengens, and
about mivtzaim that were taking
place at that time.
Writing to the Rebbe

about other peoples activities

is a big responsibility and each
time I would be agitated anew.
Especially since I was in kollel in
Yeshivas Toras Emes at the time,
and the Rebbe asked me to write
to him about the talmidim, the
learning and the tests. I had to
write about the rosh yeshiva and
my fellow talmidim and obviously
this was no simple matter. To me,
a day of writing like this was like
Yom Kippur.
I dont know why the Rebbe
chose me to write him these
reports. I did not publicize this
zchus since I knew that the
Rebbe was not interested in
everyone knowing about it. My
uncle, R Weber, who know about
these letters, once said to me,
I envy you for being misofrei
It is hard for me to describe
how I felt during the hours that
I wrote. Each word was written
with great thought, how to
describe to the Rebbe precisely
what this or that Chassid said
during a farbrengen, how many
participants there were, etc. For
about forty years I wrote reports
to the Rebbe, until Chaf-Zayin
Adar 5752 when I thought that
I could not bother the Rebbe
with letters. In recent times [this
was said in 5762] I met with
the Rebbes secretary, R Leibel
Groner. He, who knew how
many times the Rebbe told me
to write, said that he thought I
should continue writing as I did
all the years.
Also, when he had yechidus,
he was asked to tell about what
was happening in Yerushalayim.
As he related:
I had yechidus and before me
walked out a certain Admur from
Yerushalayim. The Rebbe began
questioning me about the size of
the Chassidus of this Admur, how
many talmidim he had in yeshiva,

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and more. In another yechidus,

the Rebbe asked me about a
certain book that was published
in Yerushalayim and after I stated
my opinion, the Rebbe said he
was not pleased with the book.

The following are some
answers that R Hertzl received
in which the Rebbe strongly
encouraged him to send detailed
descriptions of farbrengens,
mivtzaim, shiurim and more. In
a letter from 20 Shvat 5713, the
Rebbe writes:
Surely in accordance with
my request of all students of
Toras Emes, you and your friends
of like mind were among those
tested and I would like to know
which questions were asked both
in Nigleh and Chassidus. Thank
you for this information, and may
Hashem grant you success.
After each Tishrei, he had to
write to the Rebbe without delay.
This is what the Rebbe wrote
him on 3 Cheshvan 5717, It
is surprising that, as of now, I
have had no reports from Anash
in the holy city of Yerushalayim
regarding utilizing the days of
Tishrei in general and the times
of our rejoicing in particular for
strengthening Judaism and its
dissemination. Especially the
inner point of spreading the
wellsprings outward, and I hope
that I will receive news of these
days in detail and may they also
be joyous news, ascending in
holiness in all respects.
In another letter the Rebbe
wrote, After a long break,
I received your letter of 21
Tammuz in which you write
highlights of the activities of
Anash and Tzeirei Agudas
Chabad during the weeks that
passed since the previous letter.

The Rebbe responds to reports that R Hertzl sent him.

He received many letters from

the Rebbe with responses to his
reports along with brachos about
personal matters. There were
instances in which he merited
to be the one through whom
the Rebbe conveyed various
instructions, such as in the letter
of 24 Cheshvan 5718:
Surely they are preparing
a fitting and detailed program
as necessary to utilize the days
of Kislev that are approaching
us for the good, and in this too
the spreading of the wellsprings
outward is the inner point,
for Yud-Tes Kislev is the Rosh
HaShana for learning Chassidus
and the ways of Chassidim.
Obviously, it is your obligation
and privilege to convey this to
all those who are suited for this
inner work of spreading the

As mentioned earlier, R
Leibush Hertzl passed on
suddenly at the age of 92 the
day after Rosh HaShana/
Shabbos. On Rosh HaShana he
still davened for the amud and
even reviewed Chassidus at the
Chabad shul in Mea Sharim,
where he served as mashpia for
many years.
His funeral took place
His is survived by hundreds
and thousands of spiritual
descendants of all backgrounds.
He merited seeing sons and
daughters, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, and great-greatgrandchildren all going in the
ways of Torah and Chassidus.

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This week we read Parshas Bo, which
describes the birth of the Jewish People
as a nation on the eve of the Exodus from
Egypt in the merit of the blood from the
two mitzvos they were given, Korban
Pesach and bris mila. To this day, bris mila
is a mitzva that is still observed by many
Jews, even those who are not yet fully
observant in other areas. Beis Moshiach
spoke to three Lubavitcher mohalim about
their work and how it impacts the parents
and extended families.
By Zalman Tzorfati

filled the small hall
somewhere in central
Israel to celebrate the
bris mila of the baby born to the
young couple. The Lubavitcher
mohel, R Avrohom Chaviv of
Yerushalayim, wearing his white
mohel coat, began to sing, as he
usually did, and asked for the baby
to be brought in.

The baby was passed from

one to the next and reached
the experienced mohel, when
suddenly one of the uncles of the
parents of the baby, a man about
65 years of age, walked quickly
over to R Chaviv, glared at him,
and stood between him and the
chair of Eliyahu. His hands were
folded over his chest, his fists
were balled up, and as he blocked
the mohels way he screamed,

What they did to me 65 years

ago I wont allow to be done to
this baby.
There was silence in the hall.
R Chaviv waited for a family
member to intervene, remove
the interfering uncle and let the
ceremony continue. But nobody
moved. Whispering could be
heard here and there. Apparently,
this was not altogether a surprise.

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The truth is that at an earlier

meeting they warned me about
the attitude of the extended
family toward Judaism, but I
had not expected a scene like
this, said R Chaviv.
All eyes were on the mohel.
They seemed more curious
about his reaction than about
the bris of the baby.
I was in shock, says R
Chaviv, but I knew that I had
to do something immediately.
I gave the baby to one of the
parents and announced that
we were having a break in the
ceremony and everyone was
asked to be seated.
They all sat down
around the tables and I began
lecturing. I repeated sichos of
the Rebbe about bris mila and
spoke about the world being
created in a complete fashion,
except for the oral, which
Hashem left on mans body so
that parents can be partners
with Hashem in mans
creation. When a bris mila is
done, I said, the parents bring
their son to his completion
and thus become partners
with Hashem in creation.
Then I went on to
describe the process of
circumcision, and I said that
it is medically helpful and
prevents a number of diseases
that the uncircumcised can
suffer from. I said that today
in Africa children are routinely
circumcised, and that a very
high percentage of babies
in the free world undergo
a procedure similar to bris
mila for hygienic reasons.
Then I began talking about
the eighth day and about the
of the baby on the eighth day
which helps it heal.
I continued speaking,
on and on, and out of the

corner of my eye I noticed the

uncle moving away from the
chair of Eliyahu and slowly
moving toward the edge of
the hall. I finished my lecture
and announced that now
we would be doing the bris
mila ceremony. The crowd
rose, the uncle stayed off in
a distant corner, and we got
started as though nothing
untoward had occurred just
half an hour before.
since Hashem commanded
all males. Since then, the
Jewish people have faithfully
kept this mitzva. Even in
eras or families where other
mitzvos were not observed
as punctiliously or at all, bris
mila has a place of honor.
of circumcision has been
preserved and transmitted
from one generation to the
next. Wherever Jews have
lived, there has always been a
mohel nearby who performed
transmitted the craft to the
next generation so it would
not be forgotten.
Lubavitcher mohalim and
asked them about their work,
about the sense of mission,
and the additional quality
they bring with them as

One of the most famous,
veteran mohalim in Eretz
Yisroel is R Menachem
Fleischman of Rechovos.
To many, Fleischman is
synonymous with bris mila.
He has nearly forty years

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R Menachem Mendel Cohen

experience of doing brissin

among all kinds of people.
R Fleischman has a friendly
face, is well-spoken, and has
personal charisma that makes
one connect to him immediately.
He is gifted with a sweet and
powerful voice that brought him
indirectly to work in this field.
About forty years ago, he
relates, I was a chazan in the
big shul in Rechovos where R
Elimelech Stein was the shochet
and mohel. He approached me
when I was recently married and
had started working as a teacher.
R Stein was used to the
chazan of a khilla also serving
as the mohel and shochet, as it
was done in Europe. Since in
modern day Eretz Yisroel it is not
necessary for every khilla to have
a shochet, he began talking to me
about learning mila from him.
He was not a Chabad
Chassid, but I told him that
I dont make a move without
asking the Rebbe. I wrote to the
Rebbe and asked about my future
and presented learning mila as an

The Rebbes answer was,

Your consideration to learn the
skilled craft of mila is correct and
may Hashem grant you success.
Young R Fleischman threw
himself into the study of mila
with R Stein and later with R
Shlomo Miller and began serving
as a mohel. He later merited
from the Rebbe about his work as
a mohel when he went for dollars,
and he even received a letter from
the Rebbe in which the Rebbe
added in his own handwriting,
Hatzlacha in your holy work
and in general.
Aside from his work as a
mohel, R Fleischman is also a
district supervisor of mohalim for
the Israeli chief rabbinate, and
he also teaches mila to the next
generation of mohalim.
As a Chabad Chassid, R
Fleischman considers his work
a shlichus in every respect. His
excellent reputation enables him
to regularly meet with a variety
of people in Israeli society and
in the Jewish world in general.
He is even invited to do brissin

in various countries. He says

that a mohel who considers his
work a shlichus and approaches
it correctly can have a decisive
influence on the family even
down the road.
Lately, sad to say, there is a
trend to have circumcisions done
by doctors. Some of them are not
even religiously observant and it
is not certain that they are doing
the circumcision according to
tradition. So when a religious
G-d fearing mohel shows up,
and explains and includes and
reassures and acts professionally
and pleasantly at the same time,
he makes an enormous Kiddush
Hashem. Word gets around,
people talk. A mohel like that can,
with one bris, change the opinion
of another ten couples who will
circumcise their son with a G-d
fearing mohel and not a doctor.

R Avrohom Chaviv of
Yerushalayim is known among
the French speaking Jews of Eretz
Yisroel. He serves as a shliach
and rav at a Chabad House for
French Jews in Yerushalayim,
and is also an expert mohel with
twenty-five years of experience.
Despite his graying red beard,
he is quite youthful. His speech
is quiet and captivating and
seems to fit perfectly with his
piercing blue eyes. Whether he
is performing a bris or leading
a farbrengen or giving a lecture,
he radiates a level of energy that
is hard to withstand and his
charisma sweeps up the crowd
and touches them on the deepest
R Chaviv has a medical
background, since in his youth
he started medical school in
Marseilles in southern France.
But his studies ended when
he decided to make aliya. His

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involvement in the field of

circumcision actually began at
I was always interested in
it. I knew that there are details
in the mila process which the
Halacha demands and which
abbreviate. When I attended
brissin, I always stayed close to
the mohel to see how he did the
bris and I noticed that many of
them are not particular about all
the details.
When our first son was born,
I decided I would circumcise him
myself so that everything would
be done properly. I contacted R
Yehuda Gayat who was one of the
famous mohalim in Yerushalayim
and considered an expert with an
international reputation. I told
him what I wanted to do. He
came, explained exactly what I
had to do, stood at my side, and
scrutinized every move I made
while I myself did the actual
bris. The first bris was a success
and I continued with my other
children. After circumcising my
first three sons, I decided to
seriously study the profession.
I learned by R Yehuda Gayat
and R Shlomo Mahpoud, both
known as experts. I later also
received my legal certification at
the Asaf HaRofeh hospital.

Unlike the first two mohalim,
R Menachem Mendel Cohen, or
as he is nicknamed in his place
of shlichus in Tel Aviv, HaRav
Mendy, represents the young
generation of mohalim. He is
37 and has nearly ten years of
In addition to his work as a
mohel, R Mendy is a shliach in
the Neve Eliezer and Neve Chein
neighborhoods in eastern Tel Aviv
on the border of Ramat Gan.

R Menachem Fleischman

A decade ago, I was at

the Kinus HaShluchim when I
suddenly felt a strong desire to be
a mohel. I simply felt the desire to
bring baby boys into the covenant
of Avrohom Avinu.
I wrote to the Rebbe
and asked for a bracha for
outstanding success in this. That
same day, I met a shliach who is
a relative and who asked about
my shlichus. I was a young, new
shliach at the time and he asked
me why I didnt study mila and
perform circumcisions among
my mekuravim in Tel Aviv.
I told him about the thought
I had during the Kinus. I told him
I was starting shlichus and did
not have the means to study this
profession which was very costly.
A few days later he told me that
he shared our conversation with
a number of relatives and they
decided to join together and
cover the costs of my learning
With his familys support, R
Cohen tackled the study of mila
with R Assouline of Hadera and
when he completed the intensive

course, he was ordained as an

expert mohel.
I am extremely grateful to the
legendary mohel, R Menachem
Fleischman. I attached myself to
him and he patiently explained
everything to me and was always
gracious. I learned the practical
side of things from him, which is
worth a fortune, and that is why I
owe him so much.
I am also indebted to R Tzvi
Hirsch Junik of Nachalat Har
Chabad with whom I consult
about any question I have. He
is a mohel for twenty years and
always answers my questions
R Cohen is sought after
their mekuravim. A bris mila
celebration that a shliach makes
is not a private affair. It is a
community Chabad House event,
and R Mendy is the right person
for this sort of event.

The common denominator
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Every family that invites me to do a bris and is

not religious is automatically entered into a list
of mekuravim, says R Chaviv. That means they will get
matza for Pesach, mishloach manos on Purim, and honey
before the Yomim Noraim.
among the three Lubavitcher
mohalim is the feeling of
shlichus. They each consider
their profession as a way to enter
the hearts of families and have an
impact on them.
I consider mila a central
tool in my work of shlichus,
says R Cohen. Through mila
I am mekarev so many people
to Torah and mitzvos. The bris
mila ceremony, beyond the
bris itself, is an opportunity to
explain things and get to know
the family. The relationship with
the parents often lasts for years
because they consider me their
personal rabbi. As a shliach I try
to develop the relationship in the
best possible way.
With us, every family that
invites me to do a bris and is
not religious is automatically
entered into a list of mekuravim,
says R Chaviv. That means
they will get matza for Pesach,
mishloach manos on Purim,
and honey before the Yomim
Noraim. It becomes a long-term
We asked the three mohalim
to tell us special stories and
moving experiences that theyve
had in their years in the field.
I once went into a house
to perform a bris, says R
Fleischman. I went over to an
older man with a white beard who
was standing with the family, held
out my hand and said, Mazal
tov, Zeide. He smiled and said,
Im not the grandfather. Im the
father. He was 60 and this was
his one and only son.
R Fleischman told of another

bris that was particularly moving

and sad. A young woman called
me and asked me to come and
circumcise her son. We arranged
a time and place. Two days before
the bris, the father called and said
his wife had died of a virulent
infection. He asked whether the
bris should be done as planned or
postponed. Of course I told him
that the bris needs to be done
on the eighth day. The bris took
place on time and was one of the
brissin I will never forget.


One Shabbos, our family sat
down to the Shabbos day meal
when we heard loud knocking at
the door, recounted R Mendy
Cohen. At the door were the two
sons-in-law of R Motty Gal ah,
the shliach of Ramat Gan.
R Gal was sick already and
we were afraid to hear the worst,
but they had something else to
say. They said that one of the
mekuravim, who lived in Kfar
HaMaccabia, had reserved a
famous mohel from Bnei Brak
to perform the bris of his son on
Shabbos morning. The mohel
arrived along with his grandson
at the appointed time and was
very impatient. When he heard
that the mother was nursing the
baby and the baby was not ready
for the bris, he left his young
grandson to perform the bris and
he left.
The mother refused to allow
the young grandson to perform
the bris. She holed herself up in

her room, crying. The family did

not know what to do. They told
the Gal family that they were
stuck without a mohel. R Gals
sons-in-law, who were there,
quickly set out walking to me, a
distance that took about an hour,
without even knowing my exact
In the end, they came to me.
I said goodbye to my family, took
my instruments and the three of
us walked to Ramat Gan to do
the bris. When we arrived, it was
already after three oclock, there
was nothing left of the seudas
mitzva and most of the people
had left.
We performed the bris and
the three of us tried to make it
a happy occasion. The parents
finally got into the swing of things
and it was an unforgettable bris.
The family is still in touch with
Another story from Ramat
One day, I got a phone call
from R Benny Kali, a neighboring
shliach in Ramat Gan. He told
me that the welfare office in
Ramat Gan contacted him about
a woman whose husband left her
and ran away to Russia. She was
left in a very difficult financial
situation and her two month
old son was not yet circumcised
since she did not have money to
pay a mohel. She tried to contact
mohalim, but when they heard
her situation they refused to offer
their services.
I told him that each passing
day was an issur kareis and I said
they should come to the Chabad
House immediately. Within a
few hours the mother and baby
came, accompanied by R Kali
who was the sandak. We brought
refreshments and that day, in the
Chabad House, another Jewish
child entered the covenant of
Avrohom Avinu.

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Name: Asher Meshulam
Age: 31
Married with two children
Location: Rosh HaAyin
Occupation: Owner of
Cleandows a high-rise window
cleaning service company
By Zalman Tzorfati

orget for a moment everything

you know about Rosh
HaAyin. For some time now,
Rosh HaAyin is no longer
Rechov Rabbi Sholom Shabazi, with
two-story houses, the yards, and home
extensions and shuls in every third
house. In the past two decades, Rosh
HaAyin has spread forth east and
west, north and south and upward.
New neighborhoods have sprouted
and attracted demographics to the city
that are solid, established and highly
R Asher Meshulam operates in
a number of these neighborhoods;
more precisely, in Givat Tal and
nearby neighborhoods. By day, you
can find him suspended between
heaven and earth on scaffolding
as he descends the side of a high
rise building in Tel Aviv in his job
cleaning windows of high rise
buildings. At night he gives a shiur to
a dozen academics who listen avidly
to his shiur like first year students.
Tell us about Givat Tal and your
work there.
Givat Tal is a neighborhood
where most of the population is wellestablished and left-leaning. Our
role is to be a lighthouse. We simply
try to light up our environment.
Those who seek light gather round.

We run a shul in the center of

the neighborhood. There was a
shul here when we arrived and the
congregation warmly welcomed us.
We gave it a serious push. Every
Shabbos there are tfillos, shiurim
and farbrengens. On Thursdays,
we arrange farbrengens in a lighter
style for young people. The inviting
atmosphere of the shul is wellknown in the neighborhood and
the number of attendees keeps on
growing. In addition, we arrange
massive outreach on the holidays,
mivtzaim on Fridays and more, in
collaboration with the local Chabad
House which is run by R Binyamin
Rosh HaAyin is not exactly a
hothouse of Chassidus. How did
you get there?
My wife is from here. We got
married, and after a year in kollel
in Tzfas, we wanted to move to the
center of the country. Rosh HaAyin
was one of the options and we ended
up here.
How were you received?
Very nicely. One of the first
shiurim I started took place
in the home of a person in the
neighborhood. It turned out he was
active in the Meretz movement (a
left-wing, secular party that believes,

among other unacceptable things,

in dismantling most of the Israeli
settlements on the West Bank). He
invited his friends, and there I was,
giving an ongoing shiur in Chassidus
to members of the branch of Meretz
in Rosh HaAyin.
Last Rosh HaShana, the local
Meretz leader who holds a seat
under the auspices of the party on
the city council invited the entire
group to her house. We went for the
blowing of the shofar. There were
over twenty people there and it was
very moving.

Our company cleans windows
of high rise buildings. We work our
way down the side of the building
with special equipment. Among
our customers are luxury tower
buildings and skyscrapers in Gush
Dan. Our line of work is not typical
among religious Jews and certainly
not among chareidim. When we get
astonished looks from people who
see us from the other side of the
window we take the opportunity to
talk about Judaism or to convey a
message of Geula.
We once did Ehud Baraks
Continued on page 32

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Why was a psychology student moved to tears after a class at the
Chabad House about honoring ones parents? What was behind
the gift that was delayed for a month in the office of the Rebbe
MHMs shliach at Arizona State University? And what did an on-line
registration form with the Machon Alte Institute in Tzfas have to do
with all this? An emotional story from the annual college students
Shabbaton at Beis Chayeinu - 770.
By Chaim Brook
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

alka P., a young Jewish

woman in her early
twenties, sat in front
of her computer deeply
immersed in thought. On the screen
was an on-line registration form
for the Machon Alte Institute in
Tzfas. She had filled out most of
the details, and the only thing left
was to fill in the last box, stating the
reason why she wanted to come and
learn in Machon Alte.
She became deeply pensive.
Eventually, she entered a few
words, scrolled down to the
bottom of the page, and placed the
cursor on the box marked Send.
Before clicking, she closed her
eyes and asked from the depth of
her heart: Please, Hashem, send
me a sign so Ill know that this is
my destiny to learn in a Chabad
religious institution and become a
follower of the Rebbe!
She then took the computer
mouse and clicked Send.

The screen flashed the

standard reply that her form had
been received successfully and her
request for acceptance to Machon
Alte would be processed.
Who is Malka, what caused
her to register with the institute,
and why was she so uncertain
before making this decision?
To give you a more complete
picture, we have to provide a little

Shabbaton takes place during
Cheshvan in Beis Chayeinu-770
for college students. On that
Shabbos, kvutza students, older
students, and Anash members
find notices from the shuls
gabbaim hanging on their seats,
requesting that they vacate
their places immediately after
Kabbalas Shabbos and Maariv to

make room for the hundreds of

students coming to daven shortly
The older students and
balabatim are already used to
this. As soon as they clear the
area, the front section of 770
is set up for a unique style of
tfilla, combining fervent singing
and dancing. The hundreds
of students in attendance take
part with a special brand of
brought to light a fascinating
miracle story that occurred last
year not long after the previous
Shabbaton. On Shabbos Parshas
Lech Lecha, the week before the
event, I was talking with Rabbi
Shmuel Spitzer, who serves on
the Rebbe MHMs shlichus on
behalf of Jewish prison inmates
throughout the United States.
He shared a story with me that
he had just heard from the young

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Rabbi Shmuel Teichtel and friend

woman who had personally

experienced it, when she had
been a guest in his home in
Crown Heights for Shabbos
The following Shabbos, in
an incredible case of Divine
Shmuel Teichtel, the Rebbe
MHMs shliach at Arizona
State University in Tempe, who
had been an active participant
in this story and had just
arrived in Crown Heights for
the Shabbaton with a group of
students from his campus. I was
privileged to experience up-close
the unique activities organized
for the students as part of this
Shabbaton in the homes of local
Anash families. Later, Rabbi
Teichtel translated the whole
story for me directly from the
baalas HaMaaseh (as requested,
her full name does not appear in
Here now is her story:


Malka P. was born in Florida,
and she spent her childhood
living with her parents in a
typical Jewish-American home
in Las Vegas, Nevada. While
the education she had received
as a young girl was based on
proper ethics and morals, it
was devoid of any Torah values
or mitzvah observance. One
day years later, when she was a
psychology student at Arizona
State University, she meandered
into the campus Chabad House,
run by the Rebbes shliach, Rabbi
Another year passed, and
she didnt visit the Chabad
House again during this time.
However, that one-time visit had
left an indelible and powerful
impression upon her. When she
passed by the Chabad House a
second time, she came in again

and her interest in Judaism and

Chassidus began to grow. As a
result, she broke off all contact
with the Gentile.
Slowly but surely, as Malkas
connection with the Chabad
House became stronger, she
participated regularly in Torah
classes and farbrengens. Thus,
when she heard last year shortly
before Shabbos Parshas VaYeira
5774 about a special Shabbaton
for students in 770, the Rebbes
beis midrash, with Shabbos
hospitality at Anash homes in
Crown Heights, she naturally
signed up immediately.
In the days leading up to the
Shabbaton and her stay with the
Rebbe, the feeling sharpened
within her that her frequent visits
to the Chabad House and her
regular participation in Torah
classes and various programs
were leading her to a serious
change in her Jewish life. After
hearing once in the Chabad
House about the importance
of connecting each Jew to the
Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach,
who is the Rosh Bnei Yisroel, she
sat down and wrote a letter to
the Rebbe, detailing the change
taking place in her Jewish life
over time. Help me to know
exactly what your role is in my
Judaism..., she asked the Rebbe.


That same day, around the
time Malka was sitting and
writing her letter to the Rebbe,
one of the Chabad women of
Crown Heights approached the
Rebbes shliach, Rabbi Shmuel
Teichtel, and handed him an
dollars she had received from the
Rebbe back in the seventies. You
are a shliach of the Rebbe, she
said to him. Give these special
dollars to anyone you consider
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2015-01-20 10:23:36 AM

appropriate. Rabbi Teichtel
thanked her profusely and then
placed the dollars in his case.
At the end of the Shabbaton,
all of the students returned
home, and Malka continued her
participation in the Torah classes
at the ASU Chabad House.
Rabbi Teichtel had become quite
impressed by Malkas seriousness
and intensity when she was
learning Torah and Chassidus,
and he decided to give her a
dollar from the Rebbe as a gift.
He telephoned her to say that
he had something for her without
revealing what it was, and he
would give it to her in a few days
when she came to the Chabad
For some reason, presenting
Malka with the gift was delayed
for about a month. Although
Malka arrived several times at the
Chabad House, something always
came up and the dollar remained
in Rabbi Teichtels office.
In the meantime, Malkas
family was not very encouraging,
to say the least, of the steps she
was taking towards Yiddishkait.
Her mother pressured her to
forget about the Chabad House
and invest all her energies in
her psychology studies. While
this did little to strengthen the
relations between them, Malka
remained steadfast in the path
she had chosen. However, she
still would not dare to leave her
psychology studies and register
to learn in a Chabad institute for

One day, Malka got a
telephone call from a friend who
had also gone through a kiruv
process and had studied in Tzfas
Machon Alte Institute. During

the conversation, the friend asked

her: Malka, arent you interested
in coming to Machon Alte to
learn Judaism and Chassidus on
a more intense level?
Malka replied: Of course,
I do, but this is a serious step,
and it will require making a very
difficult decision. Its not easy for
me to decide to take this step
The friend tried to encourage her
to make this decision and make
further progress in her personal
journey along the path of Torah
and mitzvos.
After she hung up the
phone, Malka began to think
about everything that had led
her recently to get closer to her
Jewish roots. She eventually
came to the conclusion that
she must make a decision, one
way or another: continuing her
psychology studies or going to
learn in a Torah institute.
She turned on the computer,
and after a few clicks, the screen
displayed the on-line registration
form for the Machon Alte
Institute in Tzfas. She filled out
her personal data, and the only
thing left was to fill in the last
box, stating the reason why she
wanted to come and learn in
Machon Alte.
She again immersed herself in
thought. Eventually, she wrote a
few words, scrolled down to the
bottom of the page, and placed
the cursor on the box marked
Send. Before clicking, she
closed her eyes and asked from
the depth of her heart: Please,
Hashem, send me a sign so Ill
know that this is my destiny
to learn in a Chabad religious
institution and become a follower
of the Rebbe!
She then took the computer
mouse and clicked Send
The screen flashed the
standard reply that her form had
been received successfully and

her request for acceptance to

Machon Alte would be processed.
Just then, Malka remembered
that one of her regular Torah
classes was about to take place
in the Chabad House, and she
immediately started in that
direction. On her way there,
she called her mother and told
her that she had registered to
learn with Machon Alte in Eretz
Her mother was not pleased
at all. She declared her strong
opposition to this decision of
hers, adding that she would not
pay a single cent towards her
tuition there. She particularly
rejected the idea of her daughter
traveling to Israel despite the
tenuous security situation in the
Middle East. The conversation
didnt finish on a very pleasant


Malka was beside herself.
She was plagued by tremendous
uncertainty, and her mothers
harsh reaction to her decision
seriously affected her mood.
She went in for the class at the
Chabad House feeling deeply
troubled. However, once the
class began, she tried to join
the other participants and
concentrate on the learning
material undisturbed.
The shliach, Rabbi Teichtel,
who was giving over the shiur,
was of course unaware of Malkas
unsettling phone call with her
mother. He called specifically
on her among the fifteen people
participating in the class and
asked that she read a portion of
a story about the Rebbe. Malka
then began to read the following
(excerpted from the book
Towards a Meaningful Life):
The Rebbe was separated

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from his parents in the late

1920s, when he was twenty-six
years old, and did not reunite
with his mother until 1947. His
father had passed away three
years earlier. The Rebbe often
expressed his anguish at not
having had the opportunity to
fulfill his obligation of honoring
his parents for so many years.
When the Rebbe first met
his mother after all their years
of separation, they embraced for
twenty minutes without uttering
a sound. Once he was reunited
with his mother, he visited
her every day, walking to her
house in the late afternoons to
serve her tea and to spend time
Soon after his mother died
in 1964, the Rebbe was visited
by a teenage girl who wanted
to discuss a conflict she was
having with her mother. The
girl was angry that her mother
would not give her as much
money as she felt she needed.
The Rebbe replied with
sadness: I just lost my mother
this year. Do you know how
much money I would give to see
her just once more? You have
your mother with you, and yet
you allow money to tear you
stunned Malka. The story was
speaking directly to her and the
current situation.
After the class, she wanted to
go over to Rabbi Teichtel to tell
him what had just transpired and
ask how he knew to let her, of all
people, read the right story at the
right time. However, as soon as
she approached him, the shliach
said, Oh, Malka, its good that
you came over! Wait here just a
minute and Ill give you the gift
thats been waiting for you in my
office for a month...

"A blessing for success in your current decision

for new growth and progress in your Judaism!



Rabbi Teichtel went into his

office and came back holding an
envelope. She excitedly opened
the envelope and was amazed
to see a dollar from the Rebbe.
She was simply thunderstruck.
The sentence she had whispered
a short while earlier, just before
sending the on-line registration
form to Machon Alte, still
resonated in her mind with
the utmost clarity: Please,
Hashem, send me a sign so Ill
know that this is my destiny
to learn in a Chabad religious
institution and become a
follower of the Rebbe!
As Malka held the dollar with
trembling hands, she noticed that
the Rebbe had given the dollar on
the 15th of Shvat 5738. I dont
believe it, she muttered as tears
welled in her eyes. Then, she
immediately corrected herself:
That is to say now I do
Rabbi Teichtel was certain
that she was overcome with
emotion to receive such a special
gift, and he felt her elation as he
realized that she understood that
this was an actual dollar given
by the Rebbe himself. However,
when Malka explained the recent
excitement grew even stronger.
Malka read the date on the
dollar again and again, and
then said, This means that the
Rebbe was thinking about me
even before I was born. Its clear
that on the 15th of Shvat 5738,
when the Rebbe gave this dollar,
he knew that it would reach its
correct destination today and

I would receive it now as a sign

to strengthen my decision to
become a follower of the Rebbe!
I feel that the Rebbe is telling me
through this sign: A blessing for
success in your current decision
for new growth and progress in
your Judaism!
After she had calmed down
a bit from her excitement, she
told Rabbi Teichtel about her
conversation with her mother
and its connection to the reading
material in the class immediately
afterwards. As a result, it gave
her the encouragement and
motivation to make every effort
to maintain a good connection
with her mother, such that her
process of coming closer to her
Jewish roots would not cast a
shadow upon it.
Later, after the security
situation in Eretz Yisroel became
even more hazardous with the
start of Operation Protective
Edge, she decided at the advice
of Rabbi Teichtel to register
instead with the Machon Chana
Womens Institute in Crown
Heights, thereby removing any
concern her mother might have
for her safety.
Malka began learning in
Machon Chana, named after the
mother of the king, the righteous
Rebbetzin Chana Schneersohn,
of blessed memory. The students
there are called the Rebbes
daughters, and she is happy and
pleased that she has discovered
through the inner teachings of
the Torah. With G-ds help, when
the right time comes, she plans
to establish a proper Chassidic
home, instilled with hiskashrus
to Rosh Bnei Yisroel, the Rebbe
Melech HaMoshiach.

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By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Each of the details that
surround the Exodus from Egypt
is instructive for all times. They
are particularly significant for
our own day and age as we look
for ways to bring an end to our
exile by recreating the dynamic
forces of liberation unleashed at
the time of the Exodus. When an
event associated with the Exodus
occurs in close proximity to the
physical departure from Egypt, it
is even more relevant to our own
In the process of Redemption
there are two components: that
which G-d does for us and that
which we do ourselves. The
relevance of any event in our
Exodus is magnified when it
involves action by the Jewish
people. And any aspect of the
Exodus that involved the actions
of the Jewish people in close
proximity to the Exodus warrants
even closer examination.


Let us try to fathom the deeper
significance of the sprinkling of
blood on the doorposts of the
Jewish homes on the night of the
Tenth Plague, when the Death of
the Firstborn Egyptians occurred.
The Torah teaches us that

when a Jewish indentured servant

completes his six year term of
service but insists on staying a
servant, the Torah requires that
the master bore a hole through
his ear and into the door.
(Kiddushin 1:2) asks, Why the
door? Because it was through the
door that they [the Jewish people]
went from slavery to freedom.
The Jerusalem Talmud obviously
refers to the doors marked by
the ritual of sprinkling blood on
the doorposts on the night of the
Exodus. The door thus acquired
the symbolism of freedom.
The servant who insists
on remaining in servitude to
another human being evidently
fails to appreciate the value of
and imperative for freedom. To
underscore this lesson of the
importance of freedom, he gets
his ear bored to the door.
Freedom is not a right; it is
an obligation. Although there are
times when we must surrender
our freedom for an overriding
purpose (e.g., a thief who cannot
make restitution), we must
never allow ourselves to become
career servants. The concept of
servitude is only desirable when it
is service to G-d.


We must try to understand
why the door, of all physical

objects, symbolizes freedom.

It is interesting that the very
same consonants which spell
door in Hebrew deles can also
be read as dalus, denoting
poverty. What connection can
we find between poverty and a
door? And how can we reconcile
the ideas of poverty and freedom,
as they appear to be antithetical
states of existence? A poor
person is always indebted to
others. Proverbs (22:7) says as
much in the verse the borrower
is a servant to the lender. It is
poverty that forces a person into
servitude. Yet, the very same
word root that expresses the idea
of freedom from poverty can
actually mean poverty itself!
The truth is that deles has
two opposite meanings. On the
one hand it means poverty and
on the other hand it means to be
uplifted. It is both poor and rich.


Chassidic literature applies
this duality to the Divine attribute
of Malchus, the Divine power of
speech responsible for Creation.
Our own human gift of speech
derives from this Divine power of
Speech is simultaneously the
poorest and richest of all of our
faculties. On one hand, Malchus
or speech is represented by the

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metaphor of the moon, which

has no light of its own. It is
utterly poor. Words on their own
are just scratches on a piece of
paper or mere sounds created by
a mechanical movement of our
vocal chords.
But speech also is a medium
that can carry the richest ideas
and sentiments and transmit
them to others. Speech, like the
moon which reflects radiant
sunlight, can reflect profound
wisdom and powerful emotions.
This is very much like a door.
The door blocks an opening in
the wall and serves as a barrier
for anyone who wishes to enter
or exit. But simultaneously the
door can swing open and allow
traffic to flow through the wall in
both directions. It both obstructs
and facilitates movement.
We can now understand
how the door, and the power of
speech it represents, has become
the symbol of freedom.

The great Kabbalist, the
Arizal, explains that Pesach
marks the freedom of speech.
The word Pesach is a composite
of two words peh sach, which
means the mouth speaks.
When we lose the art of
communication, when we cannot
speech, we are truly in a type
of exile. There can be two ways
of understanding the state of
exile associated with ones
inability to communicate due
to psychological and spiritual
physical causes.
First, it is obvious that a
person struck dumb cannot relate
well to the outside world. Without
proper communication skills
one cannot have a meaningful

relationship with others. The

speechless individual dwells in
his or her own cocoon. The lack
of communication creates an
invisible but powerful electronic
fence that keeps others out of
your life and you out of theirs.
That is prison or exile at
its worst. A human being is
distinguished from all other
creatures by his ability to
speak. Whenever our Sages
describe the four levels of
existence (inanimate, vegetative,
term used to describe the
human being is midaber, the
to communicate is a direct
challenge to ones very humanity.

But if our hearts are dulled and

our feelings are muted then there
is nothing to express.
To communicate with and
care about others, we must be
able to communicate and connect
with ourselves. Communication
is not only saying words to
another; it is also a form of selfexpression. If we have lost touch
with ourselves and we no longer
know who we are, how can we
truly communicate with one
another? What can we express
other than superficial banter and
One of the deplorable
characteristics of Galus is that
many people do not know who
they are and what theyre really
all about. Their personality is

Ones compromised ability to communicate is a

direct challenge to ones very humanity. In other
words, the inability to communicate adequately places
ones humanity in a particularly disagreeable state of
imprisonment. Even a physical prisoner is freer than one
who cannot verbalize ideas and feelings. The formers
body is behind bars, whereas the latters humanity is
behind bars.

In other words, the inability

places ones humanity in a
particularly disagreeable state of
imprisonment. Even a physical
prisoner is freer than one who
cannot verbalize ideas and
feelings. The formers body is
behind bars, whereas the latters
humanity is behind bars.
persons inability to communicate
with others can be a sign that he
or she is not in touch with his or
her own feelings. In other words,
they cannot even communicate
with themselves. Our Sages say,
Speech is the pen of the heart.

a mystery even to themselves

and therefore their whole being
is in an internal exile. This is so
whether they suffer from low
self-esteem or from an inflated
sense of self. Either way, they
dont really know who they are.
This wretched state is what the
prohibition of eating, benefiting
from and owning chametz dough
during Passover, discussed in this
weeks parsha, is all about. If we
want to be free, the fundamental
message of Pesach, we must not
suffer from self-delusion.
The key to true freedom is
thus the ability to communicate

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Parsha Thought
with others, which in its turn
hinges on the ability to be in
touch with oneself.


We can now better appreciate
the Mitzvah of placing a
Mezuzah on the doorpost of our
homes. This act is modeled on
the sprinkling of blood on the
doorposts of our Egyptian homes
before the Tenth Plague.
According to Maimonides, the
Biblical requirement of affixing
a Mezuzah applies only when
there is an actual door in the
entrance as opposed to an open
passageway. What is the spiritual
rationale for this requirement?
Continued from page 25
building. When we arrived at
the lobby, Ehud Barak suddenly
walked out from the buildings
pool. He was taken aback at
seeing us and praised us for
being working chareidim as he
put it. We took the opportunity
and began talking to him about
the imminent Geula.
Whoever notices us as we
work gets exposed to some
Jewish message, especially our
regular customers. Hundreds

(Commentary on the Torah,
end of this weeks parsha)
that the Mezuzah and Tfillin
are both signs of the Exodus.
Tfillin contain the section of the
Torah that discusses the need to
remember the Exodus. But how
is the Mezuzah a remembrance of
the Exodus? There is absolutely
no mention of the Exodus in the
Mezuzah parchment!
By now it should be clear
that the Mezuzah on our
doorposts is indeed a dramatic
expression of true freedom; it
symbolizes the unfettered power
of speech represented by the
door metaphor. Moreover, it
represents a power of speech

consistent with the ideals

contained within the Mezuzah;
particularly, the idea of G-ds
Every time we pass the
Mezuzah it reminds us that
we need to have our own
door (read: power of speech)
influenced by the unity of G-d
as contained in the Mezuzah.
When an awareness of G-ds
unity defines our home, our lives
and our speech, we are no longer
in an internal prison. We know
who we are and our rightful place
in the cosmos. That awareness
is the catalyst to our complete
Redemption, whereby external
and internal freedoms merge.

of offices in the towers already

know the Chabadnikim from the
windows. They already know to
expect us when we pop up from
the other side of the window. We
often pop inside too. They ask
questions and we try to supply
each of them with whatever they
Every week I send all my
customers and the tenants of the
buildings where I work a short
text message on the parsha with
a brief message about the Geula.

Recently there was a glitch

and the text wasnt sent. When
I arrived at the office of one
of my customers, he was on
the phone with his wife and he
told her I had arrived. I then
heard the womans voice on the
speakerphone shouting, Tell
them were canceling all our
business with them. They arent
serious How come they didnt
send the parsha text? Ive been
waiting for it all week! Have
some consideration

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By D Chaim

Dovid, are you ready?
Abbas voice could be heard.
We raced out of our rooms with
our backpacks on our backs,
packed with goodies.
We need to be well supplied
for our outing, I (Mendy) said,
sounding responsible.
What fun! Were finally
going on the outing we were
promised! rejoiced Levi, nearly
jumping to the ceiling.
Yup, mumbled Avromi, if
Abba promised an unforgettable
outing, we can be sure that is
exactly what it will be!
We hadnt noticed Dovid in
the living room but then we
suddenly heard his voice. How
come youre not afraid? Abba
said we will be doing a really
tough survival course.
strings of
that when
looked at
wed better calm him down
before he regretted agreeing to
go on this trip.
Ah, nonsense, there is
nothing to be nervous about,

I said reassuringly. If Abba

planned the outing, we can
relax. Abba wont give us tasks
that are beyond our abilities.
Hes right, my brothers
chorused, and Dovid looked
It was around Rosh Chodesh
Kislev when we asked Abba if
we could go on an outing. Abba
thought for a while and then
promised that if in the coming
months we were excellent in
class then we would go on a
memorable trip. We certainly
did not want to miss out on
this opportunity, so after two
months of listening in class,
behaving as a Chassid should,
and getting high marks on
tests, the long awaited day
A high, intimidating cliff
with metal rungs inserted,
thick ropes to help climbing
and obstacles in the form
of winding stone walls. This
faces a stunning view as the
sun shines brightly, beating
down on peoples heads. Abba
stopped his description and
concentrated on driving our
family car among the many
cars that drove alongside us on

the busy highway.

I hope you did not forget
to bring sunhats, hmm? Abba
asked suddenly with feigned
concern. Why feigned? Because
appeared in the living room,
one hand behind his back, and
innocently asked, Did you
bring everything you need?
Yes, we all answered and
then, like a magician, Abbas
hand appeared holding our four
Abba continued his exciting
description of our itinerary.
Afterward, we will hike a
difficult path at the end of
which we will reach a cool
The silence in the car made
Abba glance into the mirror. He
saw that our eyes had closed
and the four of us were sound
Boom! The sudden noise
woke us up. What happened?
asked Dovid in a fright as his
fingers combed through his left
peiah, something he does when
hes nervous.
Abba in a confident voice,

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Tzivos Hashem
but we could see a hint of understand Mendy, said
nervousness in his
seems an accident
. If
few dozen meters ahead of us. experience than the outing
Say some Thillim
hope that the damag
to the vehicle.
We got out of the car and
But Abba, we can be stuck
to walk
here for a long time. How can got ourselves ready
a bus
we go on the trip? And what to the junctio
about our visit to Saba and was waitin
Savta where our outing was Levi, is there
going to end? They certainly upset about?
would not
wont expect such a delay!
wouldnt have had to walk
We said some Thillim
with our backpacks on our
waited for cars to start moving
again. After a long wait, a
traffic policeman appear
us. From the look on his
concluded that nothing tragic patiently. This way,
had taken place.
being alert to adventures and
Hooray! shouted Levi for
aware of every detail. If you
the second time that day. The
had continued sleeping in the
trip will continue.
car, you would have ended up
climbing the cliff half awake.
near the window next to Abba
By the way, continued
and said, Thank G-d nobody
is hurt, but due to a certain
that if the
concern, we must block traffic
for an unspecified amount of
time. We are sorry. You
continuing on
have to leave your car here and
Wait a minute
walk to the next junction where
as I think about it some more,
a bus will be waiting to
what happened to us is just like
you to the nearest city.
the events of the Geula.
I knew this would be
How? asked Dovid.
a .

Children, dont worry,

said Abba. If we were still
people left
at home, the trip could have
E g y p t ,
been canceled, but as you said
they were
Avromi, weve already set out
and have experienced at least
half of the first stage of the
E r e t z
What?! wondered Avromi,
with Moshe
Levi, and Dovid. Only I smiled
in understanding.
I can see that you

complete Geula would have

taken place. But because of
various reasons, that did not
happen and we are still waiting
for it. So the Geula already
began, we left Egypt for the
Geula, but on the way there
was an accident, and the trip
wasnt finished in its entirety
and in the meantime, we have
had to wait in galus in order to
prepare the world by instilling
it with holiness.
Aha, exclaimed Dovid. I
get it. There is no way we will
remain in galus because we are
already on our way out and we
are on the trip from Egypt to
Geula. And because of the delay
in galus, and our avoda in the
world, the G-dly revelation we
will have with the Geula will
have a much greater effect on
us and the world.
When I thought this over,
reviewing what the four of
us said on our way out of
the house, I came to the
conclusion that it also fit well
with Geula. How? Check it out
for yourselves. As for what
happened to our outing, you are
wondering. Let us wait and see
what will be. In the meantime,
we all prefer moving forward
on a different road, the road
leading to Yerushalayim.

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