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FEATURED ARTICLES
6
A CHASSID IN ALL
SEASONS AND ALL
PLACES
Dov Chaimson
14
TOUCHED BY THE
SHLUCHIM
Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz
18
MAKING CONNECTIONS
AND SAVING SOULS
Shneur Zalman Levin
24
CHASSIDIC
ENCOUNTERS BEHIND
THE IRON CURTAIN
Avrohom Rainitz
28
A DELAYED BRIS MILA
SAVES THREE…
Chaim Brook
6
10
18
CONTENTS
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
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HEBREW EDITOR:
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ENGLISH EDITOR:
Boruch Merkur
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WEEKLY COLUMNS
4 D’var Malchus
11 Farbrengen
31 Parsha Thought
34 Moshiach & Geula
38 Crossroads
828_BM_Eng.indd 3 19-03-12 2:23 PM
SLAM YOUR FIST ON
THE TABLE AND
DEMAND MOSHIACH!
How can it be that no one opens his mouth
in protest?! If the Jewish people would ask
and plead, bang on the table and demand that
Moshiach Tzidkeinu should come immediately,
“now!” – Moshiach would be here already,
arriving even on Shabbos!
Translated by Boruch Merkur
As we are now in the month
of Nissan, may it be G-d’s
will that we see the imminent
fulfillment of the promise, “in
Nissan they shall be redeemed in
the future [redemption].”
This is especially urgent in the
wake of the slew of tribulations
the Jewish people have suffered
throughout the years they have
spent in exile. That is, not only
have the Jewish people suffered
throughout the four general
periods of exile, beginning with
the Babylonian exile, which is
called “reisha di dahava – the
head of gold” (Daniel 2:38),
but in each of the four exiles the
Jewish people suffered numerous
forms of tribulations, especially
in this final exile.
The tragedy is even greater
considering what the Mitteler
Rebbe writes at length in Shaarei
T’shuva – that after all the harsh
decrees and pogroms, etc., that
have been up until that point,
there shall be no more horrors
suffered by the Jewish people.
And this was said in the time of
the Mitteler Rebbe (1773-1827)!
Notwithstanding all of the
above, all the suffering of exile
experienced up until now, Rosh
Chodesh Nissan (the “rosh –
head” of the entire month) has
already passed, and still “we are
not saved” (Yirmiyahu 8:20)!
In fact, now the second day
of Nissan has also gone by, the
day marking the passing of the
Rebbe Rashab, nishmaso Eden.
On Beis Nissan the entire life’s
service of the Rebbe Rashab
ascended to G-d, and every year
on that day this phenomenon
is repeated. The concept of
the service of the righteous
ascending On High on the day of
their passing is explained in the
teachings of Chassidus regarding
Lag B’Omer, celebrating the
return of Rashbi’s soul to G-d, a
concept that is elaborated upon
each year the Rebbeim delivered
a maamer on Lag B’Omer.
(There is also the well known
story regarding the Mitteler
Rebbe’s manner of conduct
on Lag B’Omer – that others
would experience overt miracles
unfold around the Mitteler
Rebbe on that day, and couples
who suffered from childlessness
would be blessed with viable
offspring.) But irrespective of all
the greatness of Beis Nissan, that
day has passed and still “we are
not saved”!
Now it is Gimmel Nissan,
Shabbos, when everything
relating to [events that transpired
during the week, such as] Rosh
Chodesh Nissan and Beis Nissan
ascends spiritually, but still “we
are not saved”! How can it be
that no one opens his mouth in
protest?! If the Jewish people
would ask and plead, bang on the
table and demand that Moshiach
Tzidkeinu should come
immediately, “now!” – Moshiach
would be here already, arriving
even on Shabbos!
Of course, when Moshiach
Tzidkeinu finally comes, he will
resolve the problem regarding
travelling beyond the t’chum (city
limits) on Shabbos, as well as
the problem related to preparing
the Third Shabbos Meal and
Melaveh Malka!
It is not enough to simply join
in when one sees children singing
“We Want Moshiach Now!”; the
point is that the person should
truly want Moshiach and plead
that he should come “now”!
(The Rebbe’s holy face
became very serious at this
point and after a short pause,
the Rebbe smiled and said) we
shall conclude in the manner
of professional orators, “U’va
l’Tziyon Goel, v’nomar amen,”
“May it be G-d’s will that He
build the Beis HaMikdash
speedily in our days and grant us
our portion in Your Torah.”
(From the address of Shabbos Parshas
VaYikra, 3 Nissan 5742, bilti muga)
D’VAR MALCHUS
828_BM_Eng.indd 4 19-03-12 2:23 PM
c " v / a u a i p u r h o ' v w , a g " c
n g u , j y h o
k f k t j s u t j s n t b " a u v , n h n h o a h j h u '
n u g , e c z v e y g n a h j v e s u a v a n s c r k g m n v ' u t h i n z r z h i t k t k n z u r z h i
" t h i h a r t k b d t k h i t k t c m s e v / / u c p r y c v g b h i a v z n i d r n t - n g u , j h y h o ' f u k k f k m r f h
v j d / / a v v , g x e u , c z v m r h f v k v h u , c t u p i s r m u t u a u c ' a t h b u n n , h i k c u t u a k d c t h
m s e v ' t k t r . c g m n u k h , i n g u , j h y h o ' u k t g u s - t k t a d o k t j r h
a b , i n g u , j h y h o ' n u x h ; u b u , i g u s h u , r / / a v r h b , c r l n u x h ; k p h v c r f v ' u f k
v n u x h ; / / n u x h p h i k u a f r ' u t h i k , u x p , z u a h g u r " ) n a h j , f " e t s n u " r n v " n ' a " p u h e r t , a " b ( /
c c r f , a c , t y c t u j d v p x j f a r u a n j
c a o u g s e u p , r c h b u
v r c a / n / x h n p x u i v r c h / k / d r t b g r
b / c / f n u c i ' f k t j s u t j , h f u k h o k v u x h ; u k a k u j d o g c u r " n d c h , h u " s a c y " " n d c h , p u r h o " ' u g c u r a t r v n d c h u , u f u w ' g p " h
v f , u c , v r a u n v k n g k v /
v f , u c , c t v " e : e r i e u p , t s n u " r , / s / 7 4 2 1 e r h , n k t f h /
Kupas Rabbeinu
Lubavitch
(718) 756-3337 ^ P. O. B. 288 Br ookl yn, New Yor k 11225 ^ (718) 467-2500
e u p , r c h b u
, j , b a h t u , f " e t s n u " r n k l v n a h j
Excerpt of a Sicho Kedoisho, which speaks for itself
“The Jews will be redeemed solely through tzedakah... In particular, this applies with
regard to the matter relevant at present, maos chittim, tzedakah given for Pesach that
includes all of the needs of the holiday.
Our involvement with this must be in a manner of ratzo and shov, i.e., one should
not wait for the tzedakah collector, but instead, rush to
give him maos chittim on his own initiative (ratzo)
Moreover, even after he has already given maos chittim,
he should go and give a second time (shov).... For one who has
been blessed should increase his gifts according to the blessing he has been given,
And whoever increases will be given additional reward, Indeed, there is no limit to this
additional reward”, From the sichos of Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei, 5750
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A CHASSID IN
ALL SEASONS
AND ALL PLACES
Charkov, Samarkand, Paris, New York, S. Paulo,
Rio de Janeiro – in all of these places, Rabbi
Tzvi Hirsch Chitrik a”h made a Chassidishe
environment. * Profile of a Chassid, a
distinguished resident of Crown Heights, who
recently left us.
By Dov Chaimson
T
he Chassid Rabbi Tzvi
Hirsch Chitrik was born
on 12 Av 5687/1927 in
Charkov, a city with a
large Lubavitcher community. His
father was Reb Yehuda and his
mother was Kaila.
At his birth, his father sent a
telegram to Rabbi Refael Kahn,
asking him to inform the Rebbe
Rayatz, who was in Leningrad
at the time, and ask for a bracha.
All the telegram said was: “Kaila
bas Rochel is having difficulty in
labor. Rachamim.” The Rebbe
passed his hand over his forehead
and said, “It seems to me that
is Yehuda Chitrik.” At that very
moment, Tzvi Hirsch was born.
When he was of school age,
a private melamed was hired
to teach him. He would leave
with all the children, dressed for
school and with his briefcase, as
though he was heading to school,
but would actually go to the
house of his grandfather Rabbi
Tumarkin, where he learned with
the melamed. This went on until
the passing of his grandfather
on the first day of Chol HaMoed
Sukkos 5697/1936.
During those terrible days in
Russia, his father Reb Yehuda
was a shochet of chickens.
This was reason enough for
the communist government to
persecute him. He had to sleep in
a different place every night. The
family tried to obtain documents
so they could move to Eretz
Yisroel, but the gates of Russia
were locked.
In 5702, they fled Charkov
and arrived in Samarkand where
many Lubavitchers had fled.
In one of the shuls they started
a yeshiva which Tzvi Hirsch
attended.
The situation in the city
was so bad that the six family
members crowded into one little
room along with other refugees
whom their mother brought into
the house. They had one chicken
that provided one egg a day
which they shared.
Aside from the crowding and
hunger, he also had to contend
with diseases. In the winter of
5703, he was sick with typhus.
Fortunately, there was a Polish
doctor who had some medication
6 8£l5 HO5MlACM • 29 Adar 5772
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that was unobtainable
in Russia at the time.
He treated the boy who
recovered completely.
After the war,
Lubavitchers began
leaving Russia
masquerading as Poles
who were granted the
right to return to their
homes in Poland. The
Chitrik family was
able to obtain forged
documents, and they
went to Rostov and
davened at the gravesite
of the Rebbe Rashab.
From there they returned
to Charkov and took a
train until they arrived
in Lemberg/Lvov on
the Polish border. This
was after seventeen
exhausting days of
travel. They were able
to cross the border right
after Shavuos.
As they escaped from
Russia, a policeman
suspected they were not Polish
and asked them to count in
Polish. Reb Yehuda was taken
unawares and he counted in
Russian. As a result, the family
was immediately taken to the
police station. Tzvi Hirsch, a
young though talented bachur,
managed to convince the
police that it was a mistake and
arranged things satisfactorily.
The family went from Poland
to Prague where they received
instructions from the Rebbe
Rayatz: Chaikin and Chitrik
to Antwerp. Together with the
family of Rabbi Meir Chaikin,
the two families went to Antwerp
with a fairly long detour in Paris.
That year, 5707, the Rebbe
went to Paris to greet his mother
who had left Soviet Russia. The
Rebbe’s mother was hosted in the
home of a relative, Reb Shneur
Zalman Schneersohn, and the
Rebbe often ate dinner with his
mother. During the meal, the
Rebbe would tell stories which
he heard from the Rebbe Rayatz.
Among those in attendance at the
meals was Hirschel Chitrik who
was a ben bayis (member of the
household) of the Schneersons.
One time, he told a story
during the meal. The next day,
the Rebbe repeated the
story. Hirschel pointed
out that he had told the
same story the night
before. The Rebbe said,
“My practice is to listen
to stories only from
my father-in-law, the
Rebbe. Other stories that
are told go in one ear
and out the other” (the
Rebbe pointed at his two
ears as he said this).
Hirschel noticed
that the Rebbe left his
mother’s apartment in
an odd fashion. The
Rebbetzin, noticing
that he had observed
something, told him the
secret – since the Rebbe
turned bar mitzva, he
did not turn his back on
her. “He thinks I don’t
know.”
The families had
plans of settling in
Antwerp, but Hirschel
Chitrik and his friend,
Ezriel Chaikin, had other
dreams. “Throughout our lives
in Russia, we yearned to see the
Rebbe Rayatz.” The Rebbe sent
affidavits to the two bachurim
so they could go to New York.
They were on a ship that set sail
from Europe with thousands
of seamen who were returning
home after the war.
Their great-uncle, Rabbi M.
L. Rodstein, was waiting for them
at the port. From there, they took
the subway to 770 where they
were accepted as talmidim in the
yeshiva. After a few weeks, under
the direction of the mashpia,
Rabbi Shmuel Levitin, Hirschel
had yechidus with the Rebbe
Rayatz. The Rebbe smiled a lot
and inquired about his father.
He had another yechidus that
went as follows. On Erev Sukkos,
he was asked to put s’chach on


The Rebbe said,
“My practice is
to only listen to stories
from my father-in-
law, the Rebbe. Other
stories that are told go
in one ear and out the
other.”
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 7
828_BM_Eng.indd 7 19-03-12 2:23 PM
the Rebbe’s sukka, which was
on the porch off of the yechidus
room. He was instructed to
knock on the door, not to wait
for a response, and to go out
to the sukka and then return.
The Rebbe was sitting there and
writing, dressed in his Shabbos
clothes and his shtraimel. When
he saw Hirschel walk through his
room, he smiled broadly.
On 11 Shevat 5710, Hirschel
was one of the people who dug
the Rebbe Rayatz’s grave after
the Rebbe requested this of him.
Before he married on
Purim Katan 5711, he invited
the Rebbe MH”M to be the
mesader kiddushin (officiating
rabbi at a wedding). The Rebbe
immediately agreed. He asked
the Rebbe whether he should
fast on his wedding day and the
Rebbe said it was worthwhile.
The Rebbe arrived very late at
the wedding hall. During the
reception, some distinguished
rabbis discussed the Rebbe’s
instruction to the chassan to fast
on Purim Katan. The Rebbe told
them that he responds as he is
asked. “The chassan asked me
whether it was worthwhile and I
told him it was worthwhile.”
Even before the wedding, the
Rebbe told him to prepare to go
on shlichus to Brazil right after
the wedding. They actually left
about a year later because it took
time to arrange a visa for Brazil.
In the meantime, he rented an
apartment on Kingston Avenue.
The bris of his oldest son, R’
Yosef Yitzchok, took place on
Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5712 in
his home. The Rebbe attended
the bris and was the sandak. At
the seuda, the Rebbe said a sicha
(Likkutei Sichos, vol. 3, Parshas
VaYechi) and before leaving, the
Rebbe took out five dollars and
gave it to the father as an advance
for the tuition of the baby.
SHLICHUS TO BRAZIL
At that time, shlichus was
nowhere near as big an enterprise
as it is today. Going to Brazil on
shlichus was out of the ordinary
and it was done with simple faith
and firm hiskashrus. The night
before the trip, Rabbi Shmuel
Dovid Raitchik paid a surprise
visit with a group of bachurim
and young men, for a goodbye
farbrengen.
When he arrived in Brazil,
he worked as the shliach in S
Paulo where he was appointed
as principal of Beis Chinuch.
He did so well that enrollment
reached 400 students, but then
problems set in with members of
the community.
The first argument had to do
with tzitzis. Although most of
the children in the school wore
tzitzis, following an instruction
from the Rebbe he announced
that whoever did not come to
school wearing tzitzis would have
to go home. A group of parents
began a war against the new
principal.
One of the administrators
was on his way to Eretz Yisroel
at the time and he spent Shabbos
in Portugal. He met a fellow
who did not know much about
Judaism and decided to hire him
as the principal.
When word got out that
he was fired, the rest of the
parents tried to organize a
petition to demand that Rabbi
Chitrik remain but they were
unsuccessful. He had no choice,
and with the Rebbe’s consent, he
moved to Rio de Janeiro.
In Rio there was a Talmud
Torah and Rabbi Chitrik ensured
that those who learned secular
Five Generations – From left to right: Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik a”h, his
grandson, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Chitrik, his great-grandson, Rabbi MM
Chitrik (with his son in his arms), and his son R’ Tzvi Hirsch Chitrik a”h
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chitrik
learning Torah outdoors
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studies in the morning would
have Jewish studies in the
afternoon and vice versa. There
too, he was very successful.
The Chitriks’ home was open
to all and they were known for
their hospitality. The following is
a portion from a letter that was
written by one of the fundraisers
for Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim
– 770, who was hosted by the
Chitriks:
“Believe me when I say that
I have no words with which to
express my sincere thanks for your
outstanding hospitality towards
me during my ten day stay in
your home while I was in Rio de
Janeiro … How enjoyable it was
to spend time in your home...
especially when in a foreign land
far from home and far from one’s
usual environment. I would not
be exaggerating when I say that
during my wanderings in the
Galus South America, it was only
in your house that I felt at home.
Every time I visited your home, it
was a sort of consolation for my
travels in foreign places which
are not at all easy, especially for
a resident of our Holy Land ... Na
V’Nad (a roamer and a wanderer)
... Only in a home like yours and
with a couple like you – until 120
– can the wanderer forget those
two words and be rejuvenated as
though in his own home.”
The situation in Rio was
very difficult from a religious
perspective. Religious affiliation
was so ambiguous that the same
man served as president of
both the Tzeirei Agudas Israel
movement and B’nei Akiva.
The advantage in this was that
since there were no real party
affiliations, there was no fear of
Chabad. Every Friday night, 50-
60 young men and women would
come to Rabbi Chitrik’s house
for the Shabbos meal.
Rabbi Chitrik was in constant
touch with the Rebbe who
answered his many questions and
advised and directed him. One of
the interesting responses he got
was in connection with his work
at the school. It was when they
tried changing the method of
teaching.
The children in Brazil hardly
knew any Lashon Kodesh or
Yiddish. At first, they were taught
with the traditional method in
which they translated the words
of Chumash into Yiddish and
then into Portuguese. This was
very hard for the children who
had to absorb two languages they
did not know while also trying to
grasp the material.
Rabbi Chitrik decided to
bring in a new teacher who
would translate the Chumash
directly into Portuguese. The new
method made it much easier for
the students. When he wrote to
the Rebbe about this, the Rebbe
told him not to change from
what they used to do. As far as
his seeing much success with the
new method, the Rebbe quoted
the verse, “the approach of the
wicked is successful.”
Another interesting response
he received regarding shlichus
happened like this:
Rabbi Chitrik wrote a weekly
column, a third of a page in
length, for two newspapers, in
which he included explanations
from Likkutei Torah, Tanya, and
other commentaries. Every week,
he would send the newspapers to
the Rebbe. Every so often thieves
would steal the stamps and the
papers would not arrive. The
Rebbe would mention in his letter
that he had not received the latest
newspapers.
In one letter, the Rebbe wrote
several instructions about the
In the Talmud Torah in Brazil. Standing on the right:
Rabbi Moshe Ashkenazi and Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chitrik
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chitrik
being led to the chuppa
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 9
828_BM_Eng.indd 9 19-03-12 2:23 PM
column: 1) to write sources for
everything he wrote and 2) not to
mix what the Rebbeim said with
other commentaries.
AFTER SHLICHUS
After he returned from
shlichus in Brazil and worked in
the jewelry business, in which
he was very successful, Rabbi
Chitrik was involved in helping
mosdos. During his many
business trips to distant places,
he carried out many missions on
behalf of the Rebbe, including
building a mikva in the Far East.
His business trips to the
Soviet Union were also used to
spread Judaism. Every time he
went there, he took many Jewish
items along with him. He met
with local Jews and strengthened
them materially and spiritually.
In Crown Heights he was
a notable askan. He served as
honorary president of FREE and,
with the Rebbe’s instructions,
he worked behind the scenes so
that the Brooklyn Jewish Center
would be sold to Oholei Torah.
Torah study was a priority for
him and he was particular about
his set times for learning. He
would go to the hospital with a
Torah book in hand.
He passed away on Zos
Chanuka of this year and
is survived by children,
grandchildren and great-
grandchildren, many of whom
are shluchim of the Rebbe.
x
x
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The RYAL Institute x718-604-4701
Moshiach.science@gmail.com
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ٻٻٻ~ “Ofen HaMiskabel
on the highest level!”

- Rabbi Sholom Ber Kalmanson,
Cincinnati, OH
~ “The theme of
‘Wisdom from Above-
Wisdom from Below,’ I
find very appealing. The
‘Swords Into Plowshares’
theme is inspirational.”

- Dr. Lawrence Lasher, Pion-
neer Missions Science Chief,
NASA

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EMUNA AT ZERO HOUR
By Rabbi Akiva Wagner
D
uring Napoleon’s
campaign to conquer
the world, the Rebbes
of the time were divided
as to whether or not his success
would bode well for the Jewish
nation. The Alter Rebbe maintained
that the success of Napoleon, while
improving the material lot of the
Jews, would be very detrimental
for them spiritually. Therefore,
the Alter Rebbe was vehemently
opposed to Napoleon, to the extent
that he sent his Chassidim to assist
the Russian army, including spying
on their behalf, etc.
Once, the Alter Rebbe invited
the Mitteler Rebbe to join him
in learning a piece of Zohar.
At that very moment, however,
there was a great tumult outside
on account of the sightings of
French soldiers, who appeared
to be overrunning the country.
The Mitteler Rebbe turned to the
Alter Rebbe in concern, saying,
“Father, what happened to your
promise to me that the enemy
would not succeed?!”
The Alter Rebbe reassured his
son, saying, “I swear to you that
the army of Napoleon will meet
their defeat here.” The Mitteler
Rebbe was calmed, and wanted
to now learn the Zohar. The
Alter Rebbe, however, indicated
that it was too late, saying, “For
that Zohar you needed to display
mesirus nefesh!”
The Mitteler Rebbe recounted
the story, remarking that for years
he suffered great pain on account
of the missed opportunity to
learn that Zohar with his father.
There are various levels of
emuna. There were, presumably,
those Chassidim who would not
feel reassured even upon hearing
the oath of the Alter Rebbe.
They would not feel confident
until they actually witnessed
Napoleon’s downfall with their
own eyes.
However the Alter Rebbe
demanded of the Mitteler Rebbe
mesirus nefesh, which seems
to mean – in the context of the
story – an unconditional and
unquestioning acceptance of
the Alter Rebbe’s words, despite
appearances to the contrary.
• • •
I remember, immediately
following Chof Zayin Adar, how
the concern and davening of the
Chassidim was peppered with a
liberal amount of faith, hope and
optimism. Many were speculating
about whether we would see
the Rebbe by Purim; Yud Aleph
Nissan was not even a question in
anyone’s mind. At that time, one
prominent Chassid went around
saying: “They’re talking about
Purim and Yud Aleph Nissan;
we’ll be lucky if the Rebbe comes
out for Rosh Hashanah!”
I remember the shock
everyone felt at such heresy.
Didn’t we all witness the swift
and miraculous recovery of
the Rebbe in 5738? Surely we
shouldn’t expect any less now!
We had seen clearly enough that
the Rebbe was not confined to
the limitations of natural laws.
Time passed by (those who
had committed not to leave the
ohel until the Rebbe would be
fully recovered reconsidered). We
witnessed various triumphs and
setbacks, and then, after exactly
2 years, the Rebbe suffered an
additional stroke. Yet, the faith
of Chassidim was fully intact, as
we reminded each other that for
the Eibeshter a big miracle and a
small miracle were the same.
More time passed, and the
unthinkable, Gimmel Tamuz,
occurred. And yet, Chassidim
continued to believe, to wait, and
to eagerly anticipate. Whether
we signed up for the blue team
or the red team or the orange
team, whether we practiced one
slogan or the other (and while
we diligently fought about them),
Chassidim continued to live with
the Rebbe, certain beyond doubt
about the imminent appearance
of Moshiach and that this final
nisayon would speedily pass.
Everyone knew that the world
needs a Rebbe and that although
Hashem is testing us, it couldn’t
possibly last very long. The
Midrashim and P’sukim began
to surface, providing all of the
proofs that it was a matter of
days or weeks, a few months at
the maximum.
And I don’t believe anyone
deserved credit for this faith;
everyone naturally thought this
way, it was inconceivable to think
otherwise. This was the outcome
of the guidance that the Rebbe
had shown us over the years.
Eighteen years have passed
since then. Bachurim entering zal
now may not have been born by
Gimmel Tamuz. Kallos standing
under the chuppa were newborn
babies on Chof Zayin Adar.
We still maintain our faith.
But our definition of “imminent”
becomes much vaguer. Initially,
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 11
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everyone shared the conviction
that the Rebbe would recover and
be nisgaleh right away; that any
long term plans were inevitably
about events that will be long after
the Geula. But after thinking that
way year after year after year, it
becomes much more challenging
to maintain that simple mindset.
Of course, Moshiach is coming
imminently. But does that mean
this month, this year, this decade,
during my lifetime?
Seemingly, now it is being
demanded of us to practice
mesirus nefesh. It’s the kind of
mesirus nefesh that is required
when your belief is against all
odds, where it doesn’t appear
natural or rational to just take
the Rebbe’s word for it. It is
when we are inclined to look
for more reassurance, more of a
guarantee, a more tangible basis
for our belief.
But mesirus nefesh entails
putting aside the natural
inclination of our intellect and
to believe today with the same
certainty and conviction as we
did in the first days, despite the
challenges presented by the
ensuing years: to believe today
with simple faith that Moshiach is
coming imminently, NOW!
• • •
This coming Tuesday, 4
Nissan, my family will be marking
the yahrtzait of my father a”h,
Reb Refael Menachem Nochum
b”r Yitzchok Aizik. Following is
a story that he would tell, that
relates to the above:
There was once a young
man, we’ll call him Jake, who
was spending his vacation doing
some hiking and mountain-
climbing. On one particular trek,
he negotiated a mountain-pass
without sufficient caution, and
he suddenly found himself sliding
towards a 5000 ft. drop to the
rocks below. Jake had a brief
vision of himself as the “Sa’ir
La’azozel” as he managed at the
last second to grab onto the edge
of the cliff and hang on for dear
life.
He felt his strength rapidly
waning, and he began screaming
and shouting with all his might:
“Help, help, is there anyone up
there, help!”
He was shouting this way
for a few minutes (that seemed
to him like an eternity), when,
suddenly, he heard a deep,
booming voice from the heaven
right above him, saying: “Yes my
son, I am up here for you!”
“Please, help me, please!”
Jake called up in desperation.
“Do you believe?” inquired
the heavenly voice.
“Yes, I believe,” called Jake.
“Please help me.”
“Listen carefully,” said the
voice. “If you believe, then
remove one of your hands from
the edge of the cliff.”
Jake took a deep breath,
lowered his left hand, and
focused all of his strength into
his right hand (that was very
slowly beginning to slide), all the
while continuing to call: “Please,
please, are you up there, please
help me.”
“Do you believe?” inquired
the heavenly voice, a second time.
“Yes,” responded Jake, “but
please help me.”
“Listen to me,” said the voice,
“in order to prove your belief,
remove your second hand from
the edge of the cliff.”
Jake hesitated, looked down at
the rocks thousands of feet below
him, then slowly returned his first
hand to the top of the cliff, and
called out: “Help, help, is there
anyone else up there!”
Undoubtedly, it is easy to
believe when we have something
to base it on, or the security of
a back-up plan. But, bona fide
mesirus nefesh entails believing
when we’ve exhausted all grounds
for it.
Chof Zayin Adar is, perhaps,
a time to strengthen our mesirus
nefesh-based emuna. We know all
the questions; we understand the
doubts of those who doubt. But
we received a different training,
and this is where it should be
visible. Our avoda is to disregard
the darkness around us, as well
as the one within us, the one in
our own intellect, and to work on
living with true faith.
This has many implications
for our day-to-day life, and the
decisions we are involved in.
For example: A yungerman is in
kollel, contemplating shlichus.
Sometimes, he is overwhelmed
by his concerns over his future
livelihood, and these concerns
make the decision to go on
shlichus a very challenging one.
Yet, if our mindset was that
very imminently we will welcome
Moshiach, that sooner rather
than later we will greet the Rebbe,
then I think the decision would
be approached rather differently.
If we view the coming of
Moshiach, not as an event in the
distant future but as something
that we – that’s right we – are
about to experience, then that
inevitably should start us thinking
on a very different track. How do
I want Moshiach to find me when
he arrives? Taking a vacation?
On a ski trip? Or, channeling
all of my kochos and my abilities
towards fulfilling my mission of
making a Dira Lo Yisborach?
I’m not suggesting that
it’s easy or simple. Yet, it is
surely what we’re all about. We
definitely have the ability to carry
it out. We just have to focus on it
and work on it.
This Shabbos we will read
Parshas HaChodesh, when the
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FARBRENGEN
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Yidden were instructed to bring
the Korban Pesach in a brazen
display of their emuna, and in
this z’chus they were ultimately
redeemed.
Today as well we have to
carry out an emuna revolution,
to have mesirus nefesh for
emuna, putting any necessary
effort to turn our mindset – and
subsequent conduct – into one of
anticipation, hope, and absolute
certainty about the imminent
revelation of Moshiach NOW!
Surely in this z’chus we
will speedily experience the
fulfillment of the promise: “Kimei
tzeischa mei’eretz Mitzrayim
ar’enu niflaos!”
L’chaim! May we strengthen
our unconditional emuna and
bitachon, and may the Alm-ghty
in turn acknowledge that we
have already passed this test with
flying colors long ago, and now
all that remains is for Him to do
His part and actually bring us the
revelation of Moshiach Tzidkeinu
NOW Teikef U’miyad Mamash!!!
From a written farbrengen
directed towards Alumni of
Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto


Jake hesitated, looked down at the rocks
thousands of feet below him, then slowly
returned his first hand to the top of the cliff, and called
out: “Help, help, is there anyone else up there!”
h j h t s u b h b u n u r b u u r c b u n k l v n a h j k g u k o u g s
CHI TAS
INYONEI GEULA
& MOSHIACH
RAMBAM
SHIURIM IN LIKUTEI
SICHOS KODESH
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LIVE SHIURIM 0NLINE
Anywhere, Anytime !
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 13
828_BM_Eng.indd 13 19-03-12 2:23 PM
TOUCHED
BY THE SHLUCHIM
By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz
Shliach, Beit Shaan
WHY DID HE VOLUNTEER
FOR THE POLICE?
Rabbi Binyomin Karniel,
shliach in Gadera, tells of Oren,
a resident of Gadera, a man in his
thirties who works at Ben Gurion
Airport. Oren’s job is to prepare
planes for takeoff by preparing
the seats, changing the disposable
covers for the headrests, and
checking the seat pockets. In
recent years, he has become
more religiously observant. He
began visiting the Chabad house
frequently and committed to
putting on t’fillin daily.
One day, Oren showed up
at the Chabad house wearing a
police uniform. “Did you leave
your job at the airport?” asked
Rabbi Karniel in surprise.
Oren said he hadn’t left
his job. He had started doing
volunteer service for the police
so that he would have a police
badge.
“Why do you need a police
badge?” asked the shliach.
“You know that there’s a
Chabad house at the airport.
Sometimes, when I don’t have
time to put t’fillin on in the
morning, I go to the airport
Chabad house and put t’fillin on
there. There is just one problem.
The Chabad house is located
in the departure lounge where
people go after their passports
have been checked. Those
who aren’t flying don’t have
permission to enter that area.
If I get a police badge, I will be
allowed to enter the departure
lounge and put on t’fillin.”
Rabbi Karniel loved this story.
He was happy to hear about
someone who volunteered for the
police just so that he could put
on t’fillin. He remembered that
his sister, a shlucha in Dimona,
always asked him for stories for
her shiurim and so he called to
tell her this story.
The next day, she called him
back and said, “Now I have a
story for you.” She had told
Rabbi Karniel’s story to her
women’s class and one of the
ladies shared her own t’fillin
story.
YOU CAN BE PROUD OF ME
“Just last night,” the woman
related, “my son called from
the army and said, ‘Ima, you
can be proud of me. A group of
Chabadnikim came to the army
base today and asked who wanted
to put on t’fillin. There were
dozens of soldiers present, but
not one responded to them. Then
I got up and rolled up my sleeve,
and after I did that, dozens of
others did the same. You should
know Ima, that I am willing to
put t’fillin on every day if I only
had a pair of t’fillin.’”
Mrs. Gliss of Dimona asked
her brother in Gadera whether
he had a pair of t’fillin to give to
the soldier. Rabbi Karniel said he
could lend a pair of t’fillin until
the soldier or his parents bought
a pair. His sister replied that
the family was not well off; who
knew when or if they would be
able to save up money to make
the purchase. In any case, Rabbi
Gliss went to Gadera and took
the t’fillin on loan for the soldier.
Just as Rabbi Gliss left the
Chabad house in Gadera, Rabbi
Karniel also left the Chabad house
and headed for home on foot. As
he was walking he noticed Rabbi
Zecharia, an old friend of the
Chabad house. Rabbi Karniel
suddenly remembered that ten
years earlier, Rabbi Zecharia had
told him that if someone wanted
to put on t’fillin and did not have
the means to buy a pair, that he
would buy it for him.
Rabbi Karniel asked Rabbi
14 8£l5 HO5MlACM • 29 Adar 5772
SHLICHUS STORIES
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Zecharia whether his offer
still stood. Rabbi Zecharia
remembered what he had said
and said that yes, the offer still
stood. The shliach told him
about the soldier from Dimona
and on the spot, he took out his
checkbook and wrote a check for
t’fillin for the soldier.
The t’fillin were bought and
given to the soldier who puts
them on every day.
THANKS TO A STORY IN
BEIS MOSHIACH
About two and a half years
ago, I wrote about a family of
shluchim in South America who
had very little to live on. Their
lack of resources was to such
an extent that sometimes the
children came home from school
and the only thing they had for
lunch was rice. When the story
was translated for the English
section of this magazine, it came
to the attention of a wealthy Jew
in Florida. He called the Beis
Moshiach office in New York and
asked for the phone number of
the shluchim in South America.
He sent them a nice donation that
pulled them out of the deep pit of
debt for at least a few weeks.
MAYORS GIVE HONOR TO
THE REBBE
The Rebbe said on a number
of occasions that giving him
the key to a city signifies that
all matters of that city are run
according to the desires of
the one who has the key, i.e.
according to the dictates of
Shulchan Aruch.
Usually, the giving of the key
is a big event. All the members of
the municipality are invited as are
rabbanim of that city, managers of
departments in the municipality,
and other dignitaries. There is a
festive ceremony, refreshments
are served, speeches are made,
and everyone signs a scroll that
contains blessings for the Rebbe
as well as a request for a bracha
for the city.
We at Beit Shaan gave the
Rebbe the key to the city as well
as the key to the district council
of the moshavim and kibbutzim
in the Beit Shaan Valley. The
director of the district council
at that time had no religious
background, but his head
secretary was a friend of Chabad.
She decided that the director
should invite all the dignitaries in
the area and they would all give
the Rebbe a gold key.
At the ceremony, the director
told the following story:
There was once a poor man
who wrote a detailed letter to
G-d in which he described his
situation and said he needed
2000 liras before Pesach. He
sealed the envelope and put it in
the mailbox.
The letter, which did not
have an address for G-d, reached
the manager of the post office
in Yerushalayim. He read the
letter and was touched by the
man’s plight. He conducted a
fundraising drive among the
employees of the post office and
friends, raising 1800 liras which
he sent to the address on the
man’s letter. The poor man was
thrilled to receive the monetary
aid in the return mail and
celebrated Pesach joyously.
Before Pesach the following
year, the man wrote another letter
to G-d and asked for 2000 liras.
He added a postscript in which
he asked that G-d give him the
money directly and not through
the post office in Yerushalayim,
because apparently they took a
10 percent commission.
The director said the moral
of the story is, “We need help
for our moshavim and kibbutzim
and we look in many different
directions for aid. Here, we have
an opportunity to send a gold
key to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
One can never know from where
salvation will come. Who knows?
Maybe, in the merit of our
relationship with the Rebbe our
entire district will be blessed.”
I can tell you that the
situation at the kibbutzim did,
in fact, improve since then. That
director later received high praise
from government offices and
was even promoted and given
more prestigious work in other
government offices.
ONE SMALL SHIUR IN THE
NORTH
Now I’d like to focus on a
weekly shiur that takes place
in a makeshift shul at Kibbutz
Parod up north. Rabbi Aharon
Shiffman, shliach to the yishuvim
of Shefer and Parod, gives the
shiur. He lives in Tzfas, and
every day he travels to one of his
yishuvim where he is welcomed
by the residents.
I’d like to introduce you
to those who attend his shiur.


He added a postscript in which he asked that
G-d give him the money directly and not through
the post office in Yerushalayim, because apparently they
took a 10 percent commission.
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 15
828_BM_Eng.indd 15 19-03-12 2:23 PM
There is Avi who is around 60,
who comes every week with his
wife and another woman from
Moshav Shefer. Avi was born
in Romania and was raised in
an environment estranged from
Judaism. Even after he married (a
Jewish woman, thank G-d), it did
not occur to him to visit a shul
or to have any connection with
Judaism.
One Sunday, as he was
walking with his three year old
daughter on the main street, he
saw many people festively dressed
walking to church. His daughter
asked why they didn’t go there
too, and he said, “We are Jews
and we don’t go to church. We go
to synagogue.”
He stated it as a theoretical
concept, not meaning to say that
this happens in actual fact, but
his daughter took him literally.
“Okay, so let’s go to synagogue.”
He explained that Jews don’t
go on Sunday but on Friday
night. She counted the days and
when it was Friday, she reminded
her father about what he said and
asked to be taken to synagogue.
For the first time in his life,
Avi took his daughter to shul.
The other worshipers looked
askance at the new person with
his daughter. They couldn’t
decide whether he was an
innocent worshiper or perhaps
a government spy. Avi saw the
suspicious looks, but they did
not stop him from going back
the following week. This time,
he went over to the rabbi, Rabbi
Rosen z”l, the chief rabbi of
Romania, and reassured him that
he was a faithful Jew who came in
order to educate his daughter.
Avi and his family made aliya
where he encountered Chabad in
Netanya. Now too, in Shefer and
Parod, Avi is one of the regulars
at the shiur and he always brings
other people with him.
His connection to Judaism
has not ended with the weekly
shiur. Avi and his family are
religious now and their home in
Shefer is considered the “Chabad
house” of the moshav.
HE BECAME A SHLIACH
Next to Avi sits Assi. Assi used
to play in a band. He moved to
Kibbutz Parod and married a
girl from the kibbutz. He did not
start out religious, but thanks to
Rabbi Shiffman’s classes, Assi
and his wife have become baalei
t’shuva. They are raising their
children on the kibbutz to live a
life of Torah and mitzvos. The
reason they stay there is because
of shlichus. He is responsible for
the t’fillos, farbrengens, shiurim
and everything that takes place at
the shul.
THE OFFICER HUNG A
PICTURE OF THE REBBE
Another participant at the
shiur is Lieutenant-Colonel
(Res.) Zev, a veteran of the
kibbutz who fought in several
of Israel’s wars. He has been
connected with the Chabad house
for years. This connection started
when Zev was a young officer
stationed at IDF Headquarters in
Tel Aviv. Every morning he would
go to the Central Bus Station and
put on t’fillin at Rabbi Avrohom
Lisson’s stand. Every day, Rabbi
Lisson would teach him a few
more concepts in Judaism. That’s
how the young man became
connected to the Rebbe and
Chassidus.
When Rabbi Shiffman went
to the kibbutz to do outreach
activities, he found Zev to be a
loyal friend and supporter of his
work. Zev recently came across
a large picture of the Rebbe in a
newspaper which he hung up at
the entrance to the kibbutz shul.
The kibbutz is sometimes
visited by religious guests
on vacation who rent rooms
and daven in the shul. They
sometimes make comments
about the picture, asking why it’s
there in the shul. Zev tells them
that the Rebbe is a tzaddik and it
is only thanks to the Rebbe that
they have a shul and shiurim,
so nobody should say anything
against the picture or the Rebbe.
THANKS TO LONG HAIR
I will tell you about one more
participant at the shiur, Alberto.
He made aliya long ago from
South America. He was raised on
a secular kibbutz, but thanks to
Rabbi Shiffman, his entire family
has deepened their connection to
Judaism.
A few years ago, Rabbi
Shiffman arranged a trip to the
gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar
Yochai in Miron. Alberto joined
and saw a fascinating sight. He
saw a Chassidic family dancing
with a three year old boy whose
hair was being cut. Rabbi
Shiffman explained the custom
and he decided that he wanted
to adopt this custom. Although
Alberto’s oldest son was already
in the army, he had a one year old
son too. He decided he would not
cut his hair until the boy turned
three.
One day, Alberto and his
family were invited to a military
ceremony to mark his son’s
promotion. The ceremony took
place in a large military camp.
There were many vehicles, trucks
and jeeps. Alberto and his family
were walking around when they
suddenly realized that their little
boy was missing. They ran in
search of their son, worrying that
he could easily be run over by
one of the many cars.
Soldiers and civilians joined
the search and then someone
16 8£l5 HO5MlACM • 29 Adar 5772
SHLICHUS STORIES
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noticed a lot of hair bobbing
among the cars. It was their little
boy and thanks to his long hair,
he stood out and was found.
Alberto was sure that it was
thanks to this custom that his
son was found. He is regularly in
touch with Rabbi Shiffman and
attends the shiurim at the Chabad
house. At every opportunity
he shares the story about what
happened thanks to the practice
of waiting until age three to cut a
boy’s hair.
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Rabbi Jacob Schwei
Member of the Rabbinical
Court of Crown Heights
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 17
828_BM_Eng.indd 17 19-03-12 2:23 PM
MAKING
CONNECTIONS
AND SAVING
SOULS
Rabbi Udi Studnitz, who is a shliach in the Kiryat
HaYovel neighborhood of Yerushalayim, shares
outreach stories with us.
By Shneur Zalman Levin
ELIYAHU HANAVI IN
RAMAT AVIV
When I was a bachur in the
Chabad yeshiva in Ramat Aviv,
I would go on mivtzaim on
Fridays to the mall. My partner
was Tom Rettig. We had a stand
that we set up at the entrance
to the mall. Throughout the day
we barely managed to put t’fillin
on eight people, despite being
there for hours. The atmosphere
on the street was very hostile.
Every third person who passed
by would make a cutting remark
such as, “Go to the army,” or
“Go to work.” We would smile
and wish them a good day, trying
not to get involved in debates.
On one of those Fridays,
feeling helpless, we jokingly
said that although it was hard
to find people in such a secular
neighborhood willing to put on
t’fillin, the day would come when
people would be so eager to do
so that they would chase after
us and want to pay us for it. We
laughed about how we would
make all kinds of sales like two
for one, etc.
The following Friday we were
standing at our t’fillin stand as
usual when a luxury car stopped
near us and a bareheaded,
elegantly dressed man emerged.
He put his hand in his pocket and
took out a wad of hundred dollar
bills. He came over to us and
gave each of us a hundred dollar
bill and said, “I want to give this
money to you because you put
t’fillin on with people; continue
what you’re doing.” He told us
that the money was for us and
not for tz’daka. We stood there
open-mouthed. This was not an
everyday occurrence!
After we had recovered
somewhat, we tried finding out
who this anonymous millionaire
was, but he refused to disclose
details and he graciously
departed. He got into his car
and disappeared. We could only
suspect that he was Eliyahu
HaNavi who had come to
encourage us and to validate our
dream that one day Jews would
appreciate this important mitzva.
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SKEPTICS TURNED
BELIEVERS
One of the bachurim in the
yeshiva in Ramat Aviv would go
fishing on Friday afternoon. He
was once sitting there and fishing
on a nearby beach when he met
two religious bachurim from
Yerushalayim about 19 years
of age. As it grew late, he knew
they would not have enough time
to return to Yerushalayim before
Shabbos. He invited them to
spend Shabbos at the yeshiva.
We hosted them in our
house for the Shabbos meal. We
discussed writing to the Rebbe
through the Igros Kodesh. The
two bachurim were skeptical
about it but eventually expressed
their interest, if only out of
curiosity, to try their luck. I
guided them in how to go about
it.
On Motzaei Shabbos there
was a knock at the door and the
two bachurim came in. The first
one said that he really wanted to
get married and that is what he
wanted to write to the Rebbe.
When he opened a volume of
Igros Kodesh, the letter was
a bracha for a wedding in a
good and auspicious time. He
was thrilled and amazed by the
precise answer.


When he continued reading the letter until the
end, he turned pale. When he had calmed down,
he confessed that for a while he had not been putting on
t’fillin in the morning before going to work as a teacher.
His hachlata tova had been to be more particular about
putting on t’fillin. What had the Rebbe written at the end
of the letter? About the importance of putting on t’fillin!
Learning one-on-one with a mekurav
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The other bachur did
not say what he was writing
about, but after he opened the
volume of Igros Kodesh he was
disappointed not to see an answer
to his question. I suggested that
he make a hachlata tova (positive
commitment), write that to the
Rebbe, and open again. He did
so and when he opened the Igros
again he was astounded by what
he read. This time, he said, the
Rebbe had responded directly to
his question. When he continued
reading the letter until the end, he
turned pale. When he had calmed
down, he confessed that for a
while he had not been putting
on t’fillin in the morning before
going to work as a teacher. His
hachlata tova had been to be
more particular about putting
on t’fillin. What had the Rebbe
written at the end of the letter?
About the importance of putting
on t’fillin!
A month later, the second
bachur called to invite me to the
wedding of the first bachur who
had asked for a bracha to get
married.
IT BEGAN
WITH A LOST KEY
After finishing a year of Kollel
in the yeshiva in Ramat Aviv, I
worked on Mivtza T’fillin and
Mezuzos in the neighborhood.
Checking t’fillin and mezuzos
is a wonderful way to make
connections and be mekarev
people. Checking mezuzos is an
opening to a relationship that
sometimes continues with writing
to the Rebbe through the Igros
Kodesh, miracles, and increased
religious observance. That is
what happened in these next two
stories:
One day, a physics student
at Tel Aviv University met me at
the entrance to the yeshiva. He
asked me if he could use my cell
phone. He had lost the keys to his
rented apartment and he had to
call the landlord. I gave him my
phone and when he finished his
conversation, I asked him where
he lived. He said he had recently
moved to an apartment one block
away from the yeshiva. I asked
him whether he had checked the
mezuzos in his apartment and he
said he would be happy to have
that done except there weren’t
any mezuzos at all. He would be
happy to have me come and put
some up.
I went to his apartment that
same night and put up new
mezuzos. Then I invited him for a
Shabbos meal at our home where
we spoke about the importance of
the mitzva of t’fillin. He said that
he did not have t’fillin although
his religious mother would be
very pleased if he had a pair of
his own. I offered to order a pair
for him and he agreed.
After I ordered them, he
picked them up. A short while
later he no longer answered my
phone calls and seemed to have
vanished. I wondered whether
I had overburdened him with
mitzvos. I decided not to call him
for the next while and to wait for
him to make the next move.
He called a few months later.
He said he had not been in the
country in recent months which
was why he hadn’t called. He
wanted to thank me from the
depths of his heart for the t’fillin I
had ordered for him. He said that
in the merit of t’fillin, he had been
able to break up with his gentile
girlfriend. He was friends with
her for years and he even planned
on marrying her. Although he felt
uncomfortable with the fact that
she was not Jewish, he did not
have the courage and willpower
to leave her. Once he started
putting on t’fillin, he felt strong
enough to leave her, which is why
he was so grateful.
Parenthetically, when he
graduated from university in
Europe, he conducted a poll
among the gentile professors and
asked them whether they believed
in a Creator of the world. All of
them, without exception, said
they did, which impressed him
very much.
Some time later, he called
me excitedly in order to tell me
“about an astounding Hashgacha
Pratis I had,” as he put it. As
he took the bus home one
day, he met a student, a baalas
t’shuva, who was also attending
university. After getting to
know her, he found out that her
family lived near his parents,
Rabbi Udi Studnitz blowing the shofar in Elul near the Chabad house
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on the same yishuv. They both
continued to progress spiritually,
and they eventually married.
THE POWER OF NAMES
Three years ago, I renewed
a friendship with a childhood
friend whom I hadn’t seen for
many years by the name of Ayal.
In one of our conversations, he
told me that he was married for
seven years and although he had
a son right after he married, he
hadn’t had any other children
since; this weighed on his heart. I
said I would come to his house to
check his mezuzos, the “first aid”
for any problem.
Upon checking his mezuzos, I
found two that were pasul. I took
the opportunity to suggest that
he write to the Rebbe. He was
happy to do so and asked for a
bracha for children. The answer
he opened to in the Igros Kodesh
was unexpected. The Rebbe said
it is necessary for a woman to use
both her names when it comes to
receiving a blessing. I asked him
whether his wife had two names
and he said she did, but she did
not use one of them since she did
not like it.
A few days later, we
mentioned his wife’s full name
in shul for a Mi Sh’Beirach. Nine
months later they had twins, a
boy and a girl.
PROVIDENTIAL E-MAIL
Ayal had several job offers in
the US. He left Eretz Yisroel, but
we kept in touch. Several weeks
ago, he called and excitedly
told me about an instance of
Hashgacha Pratis that had greatly
inspired him.
After they had moved to the
US, Ayal opened a new company
and did very well. A few months
ago, he invited his younger
brother to come and work for
him. He looked for a small car
for his brother so he could get
around. He met an Israeli who
dealt in used cars and the Israeli
promised him a terrific car for
$2300.
They closed the deal, and Ayal
gave him the money and got the
car. He soon discovered it was
a lemon. He angrily called the
Israeli and demanded his money
back. The Israeli refused. Ayal
was furious and insisted the deal
was off but the Israeli disagreed.
Ayal began shouting at him but
nothing helped. The man hung
up the phone.
For the next three nights,
Ayal couldn’t sleep since he was
so upset. He imagined what he
would do to that Israeli if he
caught him.
It was at this time that he
received an unexpected e-mail
from a Chabad house in his
area. He had no idea how he had
gotten on their mailing list since
he had never visited and had no
connection with them. In the
email, the shliach asked people
to come and be part of a minyan
at the Chabad house on a certain
day because one of the members
had yahrtzait. The shliach
included this thought from Rabbi
Tzvi Freeman’s book:
How you treat others is how
G-d treats you. How you forgive
them is how He forgives you. How
you see them is how He sees you.
When you show empathy
for the plight of another human
being, G-d takes empathy in your
plight.
When others slight you and
you ignore the call to vengeance
that burns inside, G-d erases all
memory of your failures toward
Him. When you see the image
of G-d in another human being,
then the image of G-d becomes
revealed within you.
These words touched his
heart. He felt that it related to
what he had been feeling. On the
spot, he decided he would forgive
the Israeli who cheated him. He
would be happy if he could get
his money back, but he resolved
to drop the feelings of anger and
revenge that had so consumed
him. He was willing to forgive
him and to have pity on one who
had fallen so low.
The next day he attended
the minyan where he became
acquainted with new people. This
led to a few new business deals.
Right after the davening, the
Israeli called him and said he had
reconsidered and was willing to
return all his money.
Rabbi Udi Studnitz working for the Chabad house in Kiryat HaYovel,
distributing food before Pesach
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7-7-7-0
The following story occurred
five years ago, shortly after we
came to live in Kiryat HaYovel
and I joined the outreach work
of the Chabad house directed by
Rabbi Yosef Elgazi.
For several weeks, I noticed
that there was a certain fellow,
a chutznik (not an Israeli), who
began visiting the Chabad house.
I will call him Yaakov. Yaakov
would occasionally come on
Shabbos, but it was hard to get
acquainted because he was so
introverted. With time, I was able
to become a little friendly with
him. One day, he approached me,
saying that he wanted to consult
with me about something that
bothered him.
He said that he was in debt,
did not have a job, and had other
problems as well. In addition, he
had shalom bayis problems. He
and his wife argued a lot. No
wonder he looked downcast. I felt
bad for him and wanted to help
him. When I asked him about his
wife’s background, he said they
had had a civil marriage in the
country they came from, since
the rabbi there did not want to
marry them. Why didn’t the rabbi
want to marry them? He wasn’t
embarrassed to say, “Because she
is not Jewish.”
Now I understood where all
his problems were coming from.
However, I felt that if I said this
directly, that all his tzaros were
because he was living with a
Gentile, he wouldn’t be receptive.
I suggested that he write to the
Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh
to receive guidance and a bracha.
Yaakov wrote a letter. After
putting it in a volume of Igros
Kodesh, he opened to a letter
which said that the moment you
behave not in accordance with
Hashem’s wishes, there is no
bracha in life. It was clear as day.
Now that the Rebbe had told him
the source of his problems, I felt
that I could speak about it too.
“Listen Yaakov, you know
she’s not Jewish and you are
Jewish. It just doesn’t go
together. The moment you do
the opposite of G-d’s desire, you
won’t see blessing in anything
you do.”
After he read this and got the
message, he told me how he had
wanted to leave her but had not
been able to do so. He was sick
of the situation and now he was
going to part ways.
Over the next few months he
tried to carry this out but was
unsuccessful for various reasons.
He left her a few times but soon
regretted it and went back to
her. Then he got angry at her
again and fought with her, and
each time he went to the Chabad
house and said he was through.
This happened time after time. It
became a sad joke.
One day, he came to the
Chabad house after a particularly
nasty fight. His emotional state
was terrible and this time, he
was firm in his desire for her to
go back to the country she came
from. It seemed to Rabbi Elgazi
and me that he was more serious
this time.
We asked him, “Yaakov, if we
give her a ticket home, will she
go?” When he said yes, I asked
him how much money he had. He
said he only had one thousand
shekel. I said he should bring the
money and we would provide the
rest. We ordered a ticket before
he would have second thoughts.
The next day, we drove her
to the airport and made sure she
actually boarded the plane. We
thought the story was finally over.
A day or two later, he came to
the Chabad house full of regrets.
I couldn’t believe it. He began to
cry and said, “What did I do? I
have debts and she was the one
who worked and now I have no
money and no job.” As he poured
out his heart, his cell phone rang.
He saw the number of the lawyer
who had dealt with his situation
and was afraid to answer the
phone in fear that she was calling
about his debts. At the last
minute, he answered it anyway.
To his surprise and relief, she
was calling to tell him good news.
After being fired from his last job,
he was entitled to compensation
and he had been approved that
day. He asked the lawyer how
much money was involved. She
said, “7,770 shekels.” So stunned
was he by this news, that he
thought he did not understand
her correctly.
When he asked her to repeat
it, he said, “How much?! Seven
shekels and seven agurot?”
“No Yaakov, listen to me.
7-7-7-0: 7,770 shekels.”
He was in shock. Now he was
100% convinced that he had done
the right thing and that life lived
according to Torah is blessed.
A short while later, his former
girlfriend called and after a
lengthy conversation she said,
“Say thank you to your rabbi.”
“Why?” he wondered.
She knew that we had been
responsible for their breakup.
She did not explain, but just
repeated what she said, “Say
thank you to the rabbi.”
She too understood that they
had done the right thing.


He was in shock.
Now he was 100%
convinced that he had done the
right thing and that life lived
according to Torah is blessed.
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!בוט לזמ
On behalf of the staff of the English and Hebrew
departments of Beis Moshiach Magazine
and its readers all over the world, we would like to congratulate
and extend our warmest blessings and wishes
to our beloved writer and translator in the English department
Rabbi Zvi and Mrs. Yehudis Homnick sh’yichyu
on the engagement of their son
Shraga Dovid sh’yichye
to Zeldie tichye,
daughter of our dear friends
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok and Mrs. Miriam Gurary sh’yichyu
May they merit to establish a binyan adei ad
in the spirit of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach shlita,
and may we merit to see the true and complete Redemption now!
Long live the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach forever and ever!
--The Beis Moshiach Family
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CHASSIDIC
ENCOUNTERS
BEHIND THE
IRON CURTAIN
In a number of previous installments, we read about Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman’s
travels in the Soviet Union for the purpose of communal work. Each one of
these trips was an adventure. Aside from the main purpose of the trip, he took
the opportunity to meet Chassidim and ordinary Jews in the cities he passed
through. In this chapter, he tells about surprising encounters, the discovery of
Chassidishe neshamos, and stories that he heard.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz
SURPRISING ENCOUNTER
WITH MULLE MOCHKIN
As I related previously, in
5719 I opened a government
workshop that manufactured
cloth labels. Since they were
tiny and we could print dozens
of them from a piece of material
that wasn’t large, I looked for
sewing factories that would have
large quantities of remnants. To
them, this was garbage; to me, it
was useful.
I heard about a factory like
this in Tashkent, and I went
there. After I located it and
I saw that their merchandise
suited me, I asked to speak with
the manageress, an Uzbeki,
Moslem woman. I prepared a
bribe to move things along but,
to my disappointment, when I
entered her office another man
with a Jewish face walked in too
and sat at the table. Under the
circumstances, I couldn’t talk
about bribes.
I really didn’t want to speak
to her with a stranger sitting in
the room because I was afraid
he would interfere with the deal.
I asked the woman who the man
was and she said he was her
assistant. I saw that I had no
choice; I would have to present
my request despite his presence.
I introduced myself as
Gilya Zaltzman and said I ran
a workshop that manufactured
labels in Samarkand and the
remnants of her factory would
meet our needs. I suggested
that instead of throwing out the
material, she should sell it to me
at a low price so we would all
benefit.
She said she had to consult
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with others. I figured that meant
she would consult with her
assistant; who knew whether he
would ruin the plan or not.
When I left her office,
the assistant left too, and to
my amazement he asked me:
“Are you the son of Avrohom
Zaltzman?”
Completely taken aback, I
said “Yes,” and asked him, “Who
are you?”
“I am Shmuel Mochkin.”
When he observed from my
expression that I still did not
know who he was, he added, “I
am Mulle Peretz’s (Reb Shmuel
the son of Rabbi Peretz).”
I was very excited to see the
son of Reb Peretz Mochkin. I
remembered that I had heard
a lot about Rabbi Peretz’s two
sons, Yosef and Shmuel, who had
not been able to leave Russia with
their father in the big exodus of
1946 and had remained for many
years in prison. I had just recently
heard that they had been released
from jail. We fell upon one
another in joy and had a long,
friendly discussion as though we
had known one another for years.
He told me that when he
saw me walk in, he saw I had a
Jewish face and realized I was
one of Anash. Since he didn’t
know what I wanted, he decided
to listen to my request and make
sure the manageress agreed.
After that, whenever I went
to Tashkent, I visited R’ Mulle.
He always hosted me for lunch
and we enjoyed spending time
together.
THE OUTSTANDING
BACHUR FROM TASHKENT
Over the years, I traveled to
many places and met different
people, but there were a few who
left a strong impression on me.
One of them was a bachur I will
tell you about now.
On my first few trips to
Tashkent for communal matters,
I did not know Anash there and
I did not know where to stay.
When I spoke about this with
my brother Berel, he suggested I
meet with his chavrusa.
Years before, when Berel
became bar mitzva, there were
no boys his age in Samarkand
who were able to learn Gemara.
My father sent him to Tashkent,
where he learned with another
Chassidishe bachur by the name
of Reb Zalman Posner (Buber)
who was a talmid in Yeshivas
Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch.
Reb Zalman was the mara d’asra
for Anash in Tashkent. He was
very hoarse and they said this was
because of his constant Torah
study in a loud voice. My brother
and his friend learned with him
for a year.
Berel remembered that this
bachur worked in an office
supplies store. “Go to that
store and tell him you are Hilke
Zaltzman, Berel’s brother, and
that I trust he will arrange a
place for you to stay,” said my
brother, and he described how
to get to the store. Upon arriving
in Tashkent, I easily found the
store according to his precise
directions.
When I walked in, with my
suitcase in hand, I saw a thin
bachur dealing with customers
in a quick manner. Later, I
learned that by nature he was
very quick. A few moments later,
our eyes met and I could tell
that he understood that I was a
Lubavitcher bachur.
When he finished with one of
the customers and was standing
behind the counter, I went over
to greet him. Before I could
introduce myself, he quickly
said, “Wait a few minutes. I’ll
close the store and we’ll go
together.” It was 11:30, but he
announced to the remaining
customers that he had to close
the store immediately. At first I
felt uncomfortable that he was
leaving work because of me, but
I relaxed when I saw that he was
quite happy for the interruption.
After quickly finishing with
the customers and locking the
store, he grabbed my suitcase
with a friendly smile while saying,
“Hachnasas orchim begins when
you meet the guest.”
The slender bachur walked
in front of me with the suitcase.
I followed as I thought: He
didn’t even ask me my name yet!
I saw that it did not matter to
him who I was and where I had
come from. Perhaps he preferred
not to ask too many questions
because in those days we were
wary about asking unnecessary
questions, even among Anash.
As we walked, I told him that
I am Berel’s brother. He asked
how Berel was doing, but I didn’t
notice any particular surprise in
his voice. My yichus made no
difference to him; the main thing
was that I was a Lubavitcher
bachur; that was enough for him.
He was still single and lived
with his parents. When we
arrived at his house he did not
Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman
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ask me whether I was hungry,
but immediately sat me down
at the table and served me a
fine meal. He realized that if I
had been traveling, I must be
hungry. He conducted himself
in an exceptionally fine way.
He thought I might not eat just
anywhere, and therefore did not
urge me to eat any particular
thing. He simply took out
whatever was in the refrigerator
and put it on the table so I could
choose what I liked.
From then on, every time I
went to Tashkent, even after I had
met many other Lubavitchers and
I had several options of places to
stay, I would always stay at his
home. Over the years, I became
very close with his family.
Superficially, he looked like
a simple bachur. He also acted
in a simple fashion. But when I
watched him, I saw his p’nimius.
He had a good head and knew
how to learn. He once said to
me: “Hilke, it’s a shame that
people don’t put a little effort
into learning Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch. If they would learn just
one s’if a day – and that’s not
difficult to learn by heart – over
a few years it is possible to learn
the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
by heart!” He would say in a
lighthearted tone, “You know you
don’t really need to know how to
learn in order to be a rabbi; you
just need to know where to find
the Halacha.”
Although he conducted
himself simply and modestly,
after staying in his parents’ home
just a few times I got to know
him well and was very impressed
by him. I saw how he came back
home at night, exhausted, after
an entire day of standing in the
store and serving customers.
His devoted mother prepared a
hot supper for him, but he did
not eat it until he had davened
A FIRE EMERGED FROM THE HOUSE OF G-D
Yosef Nimotin lived in Alma Ata and took care of the gravesite of the
mekubal, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok z”l, the Rebbe’s father. I would meet him
occasionally when he would come to our house in Samarkand. Once, after
we had gotten out of the Soviet Union, he said to me, “In Samarkand, the
Zaltzman family was one of the most illustrious families. Over here, you are
not considered anything special.”
I replied: “Boruch Hashem it’s that way and not the reverse.”
Reb Yosef once told me about a miracle he witnessed. A man would
come every year to Reb Levi Yitzchok’s gravesite. He would first go to Reb
Yosef’s house, where he stayed, and then he would go to the gravesite with
Reb Yosef. He would generally spend a long time davening there, about two
hours, and Reb Yosef would wait for him outside.
One year, the man went inside and Reb Yosef waited outside as usual,
but a very short time later he saw the man run out in a fright. He said to
Reb Yosef: “Take me right back; I must go home.”
Reb Yosef asked: “What’s the rush? What happened?”
The man nervously said: “Come, come. I’m going home immediately.”
“What happened?” asked Reb Yosef once again.
The man, who was still frightened, said: “When I started davening, I
saw a fire come out of the grave, right in front of me!”
Reb Yosef went inside to see what was going on and came right back
out and said: “You are imagining things. Have you lost your mind? There
is nothing there!”
But the man insisted: “Take me to the airport. I must fly home.”
Afterward, he found out that the man’s son was friendly with a gentile
girl; just as the father went to the gravesite, the son had proposed to his
girlfriend.
A FIRE EMERGED FROM THE HOUSE OF G-D
Yosef Nimotin lived in Alma Ata and took care of the gravesite of the
mekubal, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok z”l, the Rebbe’s father. I would meet him
occasionally when he would come to our house in Samarkand. Once, after
we had gotten out of the Soviet Union, he said to me, “In Samarkand, the
Zaltzman family was one of the most illustrious families. Over here, you are
not considered anything special.”
I replied: “Boruch Hashem it’s that way and not the reverse.”
Reb Yosef once told me about a miracle he witnessed. A man would
come every year to Reb Levi Yitzchok’s gravesite. He would first go to Reb
Yosef’s house, where he stayed, and then he would go to the gravesite with
Reb Yosef. He would generally spend a long time davening there, about two
hours, and Reb Yosef would wait for him outside.
One year, the man went inside and Reb Yosef waited outside as usual,
but a very short time later he saw the man run out in a fright. He said to
Reb Yosef: “Take me right back; I must go home.”
Reb Yosef asked: “What’s the rush? What happened?”
The man nervously said: “Come, come. I’m going home immediately.”
“What happened?” asked Reb Yosef once again.
The man, who was still frightened, said: “When I started davening, I
saw a fire come out of the grave, right in front of me!”
Reb Yosef went inside to see what was going on and came right back
out and said: “You are imagining things. Have you lost your mind? There
is nothing there!”
But the man insisted: “Take me to the airport. I must fly home.”
Afterward, he found out that the man’s son was friendly with a gentile
girl; just as the father went to the gravesite, the son had proposed to his
girlfriend.
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MEMOIRS
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Maariv slowly. By then the food
was cold, but that did not bother
him. After the meal, he learned
his set shiurim in Nigleh and
Chassidus. Tired from the day’s
work, he would nod off a few
times while learning. But each
time, after a few minutes, he
would wake up and continue
learning. He finished his shiurim
close to midnight and stood up to
read the bedtime Shma slowly, as
befits a Chassidishe bachur. Then
he would sit on the sofa or on the
bed, remove his shoes, and fall
asleep.
When Reb Mendel Futerfas
stayed in Tashkent on his way to
Samarkand in Elul 5722/1962,
he saw this bachur at a farbrengen
and was very impressed by him.
He said he was a bachur who
was “an Oved Hashem and a
person of stature; and the main
thing – he was not ostentatious
about it.” That was the greatest
quality as far as Reb Mendel was
concerned.
JEWISH PRIDE ON A PLANE
I heard a lot about Rabbi
Eliyahu Bisk, the son of Reb
Yitzchok Bisk, a Skverer Chassid
and the son-of-law of the shochet
Rabbi Yisroel Konson. They
said about him that although
he had completed university,
he remained a genuine Yerei
Shamayim (G-d fearing Jew)
and he even served as the baal
koreh (Torah reader) in the secret
Lubavitcher minyan in Udelnaya,
a suburb of Moscow. I heard
that he worked in a big factory
in Moscow and nevertheless he
managed to keep Shabbos. It was
very unusual for someone to work
professionally in a government
factory and keep Shabbos.
In general, to be a religious
Jew in the Soviet Union was
extremely difficult; under
conditions like that, it was nearly
impossible. Not surprisingly, they
said about him that he managed
to enter the communist furnace
(by learning in university and by
working in a government factory)
and emerge unscathed.
It should be noted that
although Anash generally
did not send their children
to government schools, and
certainly not to university, there
were places, especially in the big
cities, where going to university
was the lesser of two evils. The
Soviet Union had an obligatory
draft, and whoever failed to
convince the medical committee
that he deserved an exemption
could avoid army duty only if he
attended university. Students did
not have to serve in the army.
Since it was harder to gain an
exemption in the big cities, going
to university was the only way
out.
In my travels on various
missions to Moscow, I had
several opportunities to stay with
his father-in-law Rabbi Yisroel
Konson, and that is how I saw
him and got to know what he
looked like.
Once, on a flight from
Moscow, I saw Reb Eliyahu
get on the plane and sit down
in the front in the row opposite
mine. He did not notice me and
I thought: It will be interesting
to see how he behaves when he
doesn’t realize other Jews are
present. In those days, people
were exceedingly careful not to
display their Judaism. We had
ever-present paranoid thoughts
about the people around us
belonging to the KGB.
My fears dissipated after
he put away his belongings
and removed his cap, leaving
a Chassidishe yarmulke on his
head. Then he took out a Tikkun
L’Kor’im and throughout the
flight he prepared the Torah
reading. I took great pleasure
in this surrealistic sight of a
yarmulke-bearing Chassid
sitting among dozens of gentiles
in Soviet Russia, immersed in
his Tikkun and oblivious to his
surroundings.
When the stewardess served
him a meal, I thought: I wonder
what he will choose to eat, for
sometimes there are fruits or
seeds that can be eaten. He did
not even look at what was served.
He motioned that he did not
want anything and continued
what he was doing. Later on, he
took homemade food out of his
bag and ate it.
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A DELAYED BRIS MILA
SAVES THREE…
The two became anxious. What would they do if it turned out that the
mother of the newborn infant was in fact a Gentile? With great effort on
their part the father was finally beginning to come closer to Yiddishkait.
By walking out on him now, they would destroy everything they had
worked so hard to build.
By Chaim Brook
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
“I
’d like to tell you
about a special bris
mila ceremony in
which I recently
participated. I went together with
my partner who joins me on a
regular mivtzaim route,” one of the
T’mimim learning on ‘k’vutza’ in
Beis Chayeinu said to me not long
ago.
“Every bris mila is a special
experience,” I thought. “But what
was so special about this bris mila
to make it worthy of an article in
the Beis Moshiach Magazine?”
I naturally kept my thoughts
to myself as I listened attentively
to the bachur’s story. It turned
out that this was not your typical
entry in a Tamim’s “770 diary”
as I had assumed at first. In fact,
this was a most unique event
where those in attendance clearly
saw G-d’s Divine Hand at work.
It provides a fine illustration
of the concept that when one
stands firmly but politely for the
position and principles of Torah,
his efforts will bring him great
success.
Mendy and Shneur (not
their real names), two bachurim
learning in 770, left the large beis
midrash of Beis Chayeinu. Once
they received the permission of
the yeshiva administration, they
headed for an events hall up in
the Bronx. An Israeli, with whom
they had become quite close
through their mivtzaim route
each Friday, was celebrating the
bris mila of his newborn son, and
he had personally invited them
to come and participate in his
simcha.
As the T’mimim were
approaching the hall, they
checked their watches and saw
that they were running late.
Worried that they might miss the
bris, they began to quicken their
pace. As they approached the
main entrance, they saw many
people in the distance standing
outside. It looked like they had in
fact missed the bris.
Upon entering the hall, they
met their friend, the baby’s
father. After exchanging a warm
embrace with them, he explained
to the puzzled bachurim the
reason for all the confusion. “The
bris hasn’t begun yet. The mohel
is still checking things out…” By
the expression on his face, they
could see that his patience was
running thin.
Mendy went up to the mohel,
Rabbi Yisroel Heller from
Crown Heights, and asked, “Has
something happened? Why is the
bris being delayed?”
The mohel quickly began to
explain. “I want to be certain that
the child’s mother is Jewish. The
family claims that she was born to
a Jewish mother, but she doesn’t
have her k’suba on hand (to prove
it). This leaves me with no choice
except to wait for approval from
the city’s rabbinical institute,
which is checking this out right
now.
“I want to make this quite
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clear,” the mohel told them
firmly. “All of our equipment is
packed up and ready to go. If
it turns out that the mother is a
Gentile, we’re out of here. It’s
forbidden to let anyone think for
even a moment that we support
performing a bris mila on a child
born to a Jewish father and a
non-Jewish mother.”
The two became most
anxious. They weren’t expecting
a story like this. What would
they do if it turned out that the
mother of the newborn infant
was really a Gentile? With great
toil and effort, they had managed
to establish a good connection
with the father, and he was even
beginning to come closer to
Yiddishkait. If they were to walk
out now, they would destroy
everything they had worked so
hard to build.
In the meantime, the baby’s
father was pacing the hall
impatiently. He was on the verge
of calling a doctor to circumcise
the child without the need for any
further clarification.
The guests anxiously waited
for about an hour and a half
for the results of the inquiry.
Finally, word came back from
the rabbanim that the mother
apparently was almost certainly
Jewish; however, it could not
be determined with absolute
certainty…
As a result, the bris would
take place, but the brachos would
have to be made without using
G-d’s Name. Furthermore, it was
being performed conditionally:
If the mother was Jewish, the
circumcision would be for the
purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah
of mila. Otherwise, it would be
performed for the purpose of
converting the child to Judaism.
The two T’mimim together with
the mohel would serve as a beis
din, and they appointed the
mohel’s assistant, who was also
qualified to do a bris, to be their
shliach to circumcise the child as
part of the conversion process, in
the event that the mother is not
Jewish.
Everyone was delighted that
the problem had been solved, and
they proceeded to gather around
the child for the ceremony. Yet,
just before the assistant started
making the preparations for
the bris, the mohel went over to
the table upon which the cradle
bearing the child had been
placed, and he lifted the baby and
the cradle.
He never could have imagined
that this simple action would
save the peacefully sleeping child
from grave danger. A split second
later, as everyone watched in
amazement, the table collapsed
with a tremendous crash, as the
bottles of wine and vodka placed
on it smashed to pieces…
The family and all the guests
stood in stunned disbelief when
The mohel, Rabbi Yisroel Heller, at a bris mila. (Illustration)
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they realized the tremendous
miracle that the child had just
experienced. The mohel, whom
everyone assumed was trying
to hold up the simcha, lifted the
child for no apparent reason,
and suddenly turned into the one
who had rescued him from severe
injury due to the broken glass.
But if you think that this is the
end of the story, think again. It’s
just the beginning…
After the hall’s staff cleaned
everything up and brought out a
sturdier table, the bris was finally
performed. The father then called
upon one of the T’mimim to
recite the bracha and to give the
child his Jewish name.
Then, the unusual chain
of events grew even stranger.
This bachur suddenly became
dizzy and passed out. It took
several minutes to revive him.
Meanwhile, everyone waited…
At this point of the story,
you can imagine the powerful
effect all this had left upon the
assembled guests. As a result,
you can better understand what
happened next:
After the bris was completed
in a good and auspicious hour
and the child had been named
“Eitan,” everyone sat down for
the festive meal. The mohel
asked for their patience to hear
him say a few words that would
make matters clear. Determined
not to leave anyone with a bad
impression, he calmly proceeded
to explain in great detail the
reasons leading to the delay,
and how the bris was eventually
conducted.
While this naturally created
an uncomfortable situation for
the family, the mohel explained
that they had the great privilege
of preventing a whole series of
halachic mistakes stemming from
their simcha.
The two T’mimim soon got
ready for the journey back to Beis
Chayeinu to resume their studies.
Before they left, they explained to
the baby’s father that the name
he had given to his son – Eitan
– had a special connection to the
Tanya and they then presented
him with a Chitas and pushka
for the child. They also arranged
with him to start a regular class
in Tanya. When the bachurim
departed, they were certain that
the story was finally over.
Then, a few days later, while
Mendy was sitting and learning
in 770, he was told that someone
important was looking for him.
It was the mohel, Rabbi Heller.
“What happened?” Mendy
asked. With great excitement,
Rabbi Heller proceeded to relate:
“Three days after the bris,
I made my way to the family’s
home to check the baby and
make certain that everything
was all right, as I customarily do
after every bris. During the visit,
the parents told me about the
amazing conclusion of that event,
which took place shortly after we
had left the hall.
“After the assembled guests
had heard my explanation for
the bris’ delay and the serious
consequences of intermarriage,
an argument broke out between
two women. One was a convert,
currently not Torah observant
and married to an Israeli Jew, and
the other was a Gentile who was
also living with an Israeli Jew.
“The two began to quarrel.
Their voices became louder, while
everyone else found themselves
drawn into the fray. The Gentile
woman said: ‘You’re a liar! You
got a conversion certificate from
a rabbi, as if you want to live like
a Jew, and you don’t even act
like one!’ The convert replied: ‘At
least my husband is married to a
Jew. Your husband is living with a
shiksa!’ ‘You lied to the rabbis…’
‘You’re making problems for your
husband with G-d...’
“The hall was soon in
complete turmoil, as tempers
reached a boiling point. Then, at
the height of the argument, the
Gentile woman totally lost control
and flipped a table filled with
food on the female convert…
“This proved too much for the
Israeli Jew who had been living
with this Gentile, particularly
after what he had heard that
evening about the serious
consequences of intermarriage.
He decided right then and there
to cut off all contact with this
woman! As for the convert, she
saw this as a clear sign from
Hashem to strengthen her
connection to Torah and mitzvos.
“This naturally had an effect
upon the child’s parents as well.
The mother decided to become
more observant in her fulfillment
of mitzvos at home. As for the
father, he promised that he would
eventually enroll his son in a
Jewish day school founded on the
teachings of Torah. He is willing
to pay whatever it will cost for
such an education.”
Such is the power of
standing firm, yet polite, for the
requirements of the Torah!


“The hall was soon in complete turmoil, as
tempers reached a boiling point. Then, at the
height of the argument, the Gentile woman totally lost
control and flipped a table filled with food onto the
female convert…”
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WHEN IS “NOW”?
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
NO SACRIFICES
The Book of VaYikra
(Leviticus) devotes much of its
content to the laws of Korbanos,
usually translated as “sacrifices,”
but a more accurate translation
could be either “offerings” or
“agents of closeness.”
There is a fundamental
difference between these two
translations:
A sacrifice connotes that
we are allowing one thing to
be destroyed and “sacrificed”
for another. This implies that
certain things are dispensable. A
soldier who dies in battle makes
a sacrifice for his country. We
are willing to give one life to save
many lives. We do things that
consume our time, energy, and
resources for a desired end. We
view that as a necessary sacrifice
for a better outcome.
A korban suggests an entirely
opposite message. We are not
declaring that an animal’s life is
dispensable, but rather that the
animal is fulfilling the ultimate
purpose for which it was created,
and thereby it, along with the
person who brings the offering—
and by extension the entire
physical universe—gets closer to
G-d. It is thus the very antithesis
of a sacrifice where the object or
person sacrificed is denied the
benefits that will be enjoyed by
the one for whom the sacrifice is
made.
PROPER SYNTAX
With this brief exercise in
translation we can understand
the deeper meaning of a
statement made in the Talmud
with respect to the way in which
one designates a korban. One
could theoretically do it in two
ways: one can say that a certain
animal shall be dedicated “to
G-d as a korban,” or “a korban
to G-d.” While it is only a minor
difference in syntax, the Talmud
(Nedarim 10b) makes a big deal
of it. One should not use the first
formula “to G-d as a korban” but
rather one should say “a korban
to G-d.” The reason for this
is that if one would say G-d’s
name first and neglect to finish
his sentence he would have said
G-d’s name in vain. Therefore,
one must first declare that it is
a korban and only then mention
that it is dedicated to G-d. Some
commentators explain that
the fear is that they (i.e. those
offering a korban) may change
their mind and decide against
the offering or that they may die
before completing the sentence.
At first glance this concern
appears to be a trivial one and
farfetched. What are the odds
that a person in robust health
who is designating an animal
as his sacrifice will die before
finishing his declaration?
Three explanations can be
given for what might seem to be
an exaggerated concern:
A STABLE WORLD…
The simple answer is that
saying G-d’s name in vain is
so serious a transgression—
it is the third of the Ten
Commandments—that one
must go to extremes to avoid
any, even, remote possibility
of transgressing it. Our Sages
(Shavuos 39a) tell us that
when G-d uttered the third
commandment “Do not bear My
name in vain” the entire world
trembled. G-d’s name is the
vivifying force within creation.
When that name is compromised
the entire foundation of the
world’s existence is shaken.
This ties in directly to the idea
of a korban. A korban is said to be
the agent which brings us closer
to G-d, but it simultaneously also
brings G-d closer to us. Just like
the food we eat helps to keep the
soul from leaving our bodies, so
too, a korban, “G-d’s bread,”
as it were, is the spiritual food
which keeps G-d’s vitalizing
force within creation.
A korban and respect for
G-d’s name have the same
objective: keeping G-d within this
world and thereby maintaining a
stable world.
…OR A WORLD
THAT IS A STABLE?
On a somewhat deeper level
we can explain the reason for the
extreme caution in not saying
G-d’s name before the word
“korban” in the following way:
A korban is usually
brought for an unintentional
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transgression. It suggests that the
person lacks a certain measure of
sensitivity to spiritual matters. An
intentional breach of the law can
be a onetime and uncharacteristic
eruption of one’s evil impulse. An
unintentional violation implies
that one just gravitates towards
transgression, not even realizing
that he or she has done something
wrong. It points to a coarse and
rather unrefined animal soul
that covers the natural sensitivity
of the G-dly soul. The person
realizes that his animal soul has
taken over.
To rectify this situation one
is required to bring an animal
offering to indicate that the cause
of one’s transgression is the
uncouth nature of the animal soul
that has been allowed to grow and
dominate at the expense of the
G-dly soul’s spiritual nature. And
even when one did not transgress
and brings a voluntary korban
to G-d, the fact that it generally
involves the offering of an animal
indicates that this korban, too, is
about refining our animal nature
so that we can get closer to G-d.
It follows then that when
this individual is in need of a
korban to become re-sensitized,
it is crucial that this person goes
out of his or her way to show
sensitivity to G-d by avoiding
any, even the slightest, most
remote and unwitting possibility
of showing disrespect to Him by
uttering His name in vain. This
reversal of the syntax is in and
of itself part of the atonement
process that helps bring the
person closer to G-d. Thus, by
showing such acute sensitivity it
helps to make the korban process
much more effective in bringing
us closer to G-d.
G-D IS NOT AN
ABSTRACTION…
One can offer a third, an
allegorical, explanation for
this extreme approach to not
mentioning G-d’s name first lest
the person will have a change of
heart or die before uttering the
word “korban.”
When a person says, “To G-d
a korban,” he is referring to G-d
as something in the distance,
an abstraction. When G-d is
viewed as an abstraction there is
a significant possibility that the
person will have a change of heart
or “die,” in the figurative sense
of the word. “Dying,” the Zohar
states, is a metaphor for one who
falls to a lower level. And once
one degenerates he might never
be able to conclude with the
word “korban/closeness.” This
means that he will find it difficult
to recognize his potential to get
close to G-d. How can one get
close to an abstract and remote
Being? His distancing of G-d
becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy
and undermines the efficacy of
the korban.
The proper approach is to
say the word “korban” first.
This means that at the outset
one recognizes that he or she
has the ability to get close. This
means that G-d is accessible
and His Torah and Mitzvos are
accessible, as the Torah declares,
“This thing is very near to you,
in your mouth and in your heart
to observe it.” Once that premise
has been established there is no
obstacle that can prevent us from
getting close to G-d.
…NEITHER IS MOSHIACH
AND REDEMPTION
One of the salient distinctions
between the period of galus/
exile and geula/Redemption is
sensitivity.
From the time the Beis
HaMikdash, the Holy Temple in
Jerusalem, was destroyed and the
period of galus/exile commenced
we have been collectively and
individually desensitized. We have
lost touch with our inner soul and
find ourselves at a distance from
G-d. Our challenge now is to find
our way back.
Tragically, until Moshiach
comes and rebuilds the Beis
HaMikdash, we can no
longer rectify this situation by
way of the literal korban. But
we do have substitutes such as
Torah study and prayer. Every
time we study the laws of the
Beis HaMikdash and the korban
offerings therein, it is as if we are
bringing that offering.
However the virtual offering
of our studying does not suffice.
We must also avoid the danger of
mentioning G-d’s name before
we mention the word “korban.”
How does that translate into


We cannot lull ourselves into thinking that the
Redemption is far off and that it is an elusive goal.
That is tantamount to one who places G-d on a “pedestal”
and maintains that He is beyond our reach. We must
approach our requests for Moshiach and Redemption as
requests for things that are within range, nay, that they
are right outside our doorway standing on the threshold.
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our own lives?
First, we must study the
parts of Torah that discuss G-d’s
name, i.e., His attributes and
what connects Him to our world.
This includes the teachings of
Chassidus which focus on a
better understanding of G-d’s
name that leads to a more
sophisticated understanding of
G-d, an understanding that will
prevent us from trivializing Him.
Second, we must instill in our
virtual korban a healthy dose of
sensitivity. For that, Torah study
is also the answer, for Torah helps
to fashion our way of thinking.
Study of the parts of Torah that
deal with the Beis HaMikdash,
and Redemption specifically,
help to open our minds to a
Higher reality and also condition
us to feel comfortable with
that Higher reality. Becoming
sensitive is already the first step
in experiencing the energies of
Moshiach and Redemption, the
period that is characterized as
the ultimate time of our spiritual
awareness.
Third, we must also augment
our Torah study with ardent and
urgent prayers for Redemption.
We cannot lull ourselves into
thinking that the Redemption is
far off and that it is an elusive
goal. That is tantamount to
one who places G-d on a
“pedestal” and maintains that
He is beyond our reach. We
must approach our requests
for Moshiach and Redemption
as requests for things that are
within range, nay, that they
are right outside our doorway
standing on the threshold.
Moshiach and Redemption are
within our grasp. Our prayers
to G-d for Redemption must
therefore reflect the following
sentiment, “We are so close;
reveal Moshiach now!”
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Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 33
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WHO’S WHO IN THE
TIMES OF MOSHIACH
PART I • THE MOSHIACH BEFORE
MOSHIACH: MOSHIACH BEN YOSEF
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
In the blessings of Yaakov
Avinu to the tribe of Yehuda,
he stated (B’Reishis 49:10):
“The scepter will not leave the
tribe of Yehuda.” With this
blessing, Yaakov conveyed
Hashem’s promise that the
kingship and royalty will eternally
stay with the tribe of Yehuda. The
fulfillment of this blessing began
with the anointment of Dovid
HaMelech. It continued in the
lifetime of Shlomo HaMelech.
But during the kingship of
Shlomo HaMelech’s son,
Rechavam, there was a rebellion,
and ten of the Shevatim created
their own kingdom. The first
king of that breakaway leadership
was Yerovam Ben Nevat from
Shevet Yosef. Thus, the royalty of
the Ten Tribes is named after the
tribe of Yosef. These ten tribes
were later exiled and taken away
to distant lands and have not
been identified since.
In the times of Moshiach,
the Ten Tribes will be returned
to the Jewish nation, and all
the Jewish people will once again
be under the dominion of Melech
HaMoshiach, who is from
the tribe of Yehuda. Yet, even
regarding the era of Moshiach,
our Sages speak of a Moshiach
from the tribe of Yosef.
The Gemara says (Sukka
52b): “‘And the L-rd showed
me four craftsmen’ (Zecharia
2:3). Who are these four
craftsmen? R’ Chunuh ben
Bizna, citing R’ Shimon Chasida,
replied: Moshiach the son of
David, Moshiach the son of
Yosef, Eliyahu, and the Righteous
Priest.”
The principal and final
function ascribed to Moshiach
ben Yosef is of political and
military nature. He shall wage
war against the forces of evil
that oppress B’nei Yisroel. More
specifically, he will do battle
against Edom, the descendants
of Eisav. Edom is the
comprehensive designation of the
enemies of the Jews, and it will
be crushed through the progeny
of Yosef. Thus it was prophesied:
“The House of Yaakov will be a
fire and the House of Yosef a
flame, and the House of Eisav
for stubble (Obadiah 1:18).” The
Midrash explains this to mean
that “the progeny of Eisav shall
be delivered only into the hands
of the progeny of Yosef.”
A TIMELY MESSAGE
Yosef had two sons,
Menasheh and Ephraim.
Moshiach Ben Yosef will be from
the family of Ephraim. In the
spirit of the holiday of Purim that
we just celebrated, the holiday
that commemorates the defeat
of Amalek, I will share with you
a nice explanation of the Ramban
connected to this subject.
Regarding the original fight
with Amalek, the Torah tells us
(B’Shalach 17:8-11): “Amalek
came and fought with Yisroel
in Refidim. So Moshe said to
Yehoshua, ‘Pick men for us, and
go out and fight against Amalek.
Tomorrow I will stand on top of
the hill with the staff of G-d in my
hand.’ Yehoshua did as Moshe
had told him, to fight against
Amalek; and Moshe, Aaron, and
Chur ascended to the top of the
hill.”
The obvious question is: Why
did Moshe send Yehoshua and
not lead the fight himself?
The Ramban answers:
Yehoshua was from Shevet
Ephraim. This war was the
prelude to the war of Moshiach
Ben Yosef from the tribe of
Ephraim.
Yet, according to our Sages,
Moshiach Ben Yosef will die in
battle. The Navi Zecharia says
(12:10), “And I will pour out
upon the house of David and
upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and supplication.
And they shall look to Me
because of those who have been
thrust through [with swords],
and they shall mourn over it as
one mourns over an only son and
shall be in bitterness, therefore, as
one is embittered over a firstborn
son.”
On this Pasuk, the Gemara
(Sukka 52a) asks: “What is
the cause of the mourning
[mentioned in the last cited
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verse]? R’ Dosa and the
Rabbis differ on this point. One
explained that the cause is the
slaying of Messiah the son of
Yosef, and the other explained
that the cause is the slaying of the
Evil Inclination.
“Our Rabbis taught: The
Holy One, blessed be He, will
say to Moshiach the son of David
(may he reveal himself speedily in
our days!), ‘Ask of me anything,
and I will give it to you,’ as it is
said, ‘I will tell of the decree etc.
this day have I given birth to
you, ask of Me and I will give the
nations for your inheritance.’ But
when he will see that Moshiach
the son of Yosef is slain, he will
say to Him, ‘L-rd of the Universe,
I ask of You only the gift of life.
“‘As to life,’ He would
answer him, ‘Your father David
has already prophesied this
concerning you’, as it is said, ‘He
asked You for life, You gave it
him, [even length of days for ever
and ever].’”
MOSHIACH BEN YOSEF
IN HALACHA
The obvious question is:
Is Moshiach ben Yosef an
essential Halachic part of the
Moshiach process?
R’ Saadia Gaon (one of the
few to elaborate on the role of
Moshiach ben Yosef) notes that
this sequence is not definite
but contingent! Moshiach ben
Yosef will not have to appear
before Moshiach ben David
does nor will the activities
prophetically attributed to him
or his death have to occur.
Everything depends on the
spiritual condition of the Jewish
people at the time the redemption
is to take place.
The Rambam (the Halachic
authority on Moshiach) does
not bring down the concept
of Moshiach Ben Yosef in his
Mishneh Torah. This would
strongly suggest that the
prophecies regarding Moshiach
ben Yosef will not necessarily
unfold in a practical manner.
Thirdly, there is a tradition
from the disciples of the Baal
Shem Tov (quoted in the Shem
Mishmuel) that the extraordinary
length of the present
severe galus has already made up
for the troubles of that possible
future battle and the trauma of
the death of Moshiach ben Yosef.
Therefore, these will certainly not
take place.
“THE HOUSE OF YOSEF
IN OUR GENERATION”
I will conclude this article
with the words of the Rebbe
(VaYishlach 5752): “The
uniqueness of our generation
is alluded to in the Haftarah of
Parshas VaYishlach: ‘And the
house of Yaakov will be a fire and
the house of Yosef a flame and
the house of Eisav straw... and
the inhabitants of the South will
inherit the mountain of Eisav...
and the exiled... until Tzarfas ...
will inherit the cities of the South.
And the saviors will ascend Har
Tziyon [Mount Zion] to judge
Har Eisav [the mountain of
Eisav].’
“The ‘House of Yosef’ of
our generation (my sainted
father-in-law, the leader of
our generation whose first
name was Yosef) distinguishes
itself in comparison to former
generations, even that of the
Alter Rebbe (‘The House of
Yaakov’). The innovation of our
Yosef is that through him the
wellsprings spread to the farthest
ends of the world, beyond which
there is nothing further, such as
the country of Tzarfas (France).
“In the times of the Alter
Rebbe (and also in the times
of our Rebbeim and leaders
that followed) the revelation
of the wellsprings of Toras
HaChassidus was not so well
established in France due to its
lowly state (to such an extent
that the Alter Rebbe feared it
might be victorious). Precisely
in our generation, through ‘the
House of Yosef,’ the wellsprings
were revealed and spread
even in France, through the
establishment there of the Yeshiva
Tomchei T’mimim, just as in the
city of Lubavitch. Therefore, we
have actually reached the time
of ‘they will inherit the cities of
the South’ and ‘the saviors will
ascend to Har Tziyon to judge
Har Eisav.’”
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh
Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch
Cincinnati and a well sought after
speaker and lecturer. Recordings
of his in-depth shiurim on
Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can
be accessed at http://ylcrecording.
weebly.com/moshiach-what-we-
believe.html. Weekly shiurim on
Moshiach topics given by Rabbi
Avtzon can be viewed at chabad.
info.


There is a tradition from the disciples of the
Baal Shem Tov that the extraordinary length of
the present severe galus has already made up for the
troubles of that possible future battle and the trauma of
the death of Moshiach ben Yosef. Therefore, these will
certainly not take place.
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MY BAR MITZVAH
Heishke celebrated his bar mitzvah in
the small village of Dorokhova. This was
the first and last simcha with his parents
and sisters. * One can practically sense
the fluttering of his heart as he says the
maamer…
By Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h
THE GUESTS AND THE
HALL
I reached the age of bar
mitzvah during the time that
my family lived in a suburb of
Moscow called Dorokhova. The
day of my bar mitzvah was one
of the coldest days of the year,
in the month of Shvat, and
Moscow winters are very cold. If
that wasn’t enough, we suffered
from cold in our apartment – if
I can even call it that. The entire
“apartment” for the six members
of my family was one room, not
a large one, which was heated by
an oven in the corridor. It heated
one wall of our room.
No preparations were made
for my bar mitzvah, and in
general there was no concept of
celebrating a bar mitzvah. This
was because I had never seen any
bar mitzvah celebrations in my
hometown. I had merely heard
that amongst Chabad families
in the vicinity of Moscow some
Chassidic bar mitzvahs were
secretly celebrated. In other
words, a few Lubavitchers got
together in the home of the bar
mitzvah boy and after he said the
maamer, they had a farbrengen.
I did not have a celebration
like that. Other than our family,
only two Lubavitchers lived in
Dorokhova. They were the sum
total of the guests at my bar
mitzvah (I remember the name
of one of them, Leizer Pinsker,
a dear Chassid). Even together
with my father and grandfather
we did not have most of a
minyan. Obviously, the “hall” for
my bar mitzvah was none other
than our little room. People sat
on the few chairs and the bar
mitzvah boy sat on the bed (I
don’t remember whether this
was meant as a seat of honor or
was simply because we did not
have enough chairs).
I knew nothing about halls
for weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Throughout my years in my
hometown, I remember only one
religious wedding of a niece, and
that took place in her house.
What I did know was that I
would have to say a maamer
Chassidus. My grandfather
taught me the maamer and then
I had to review it by heart.
SHARED T’FILLIN
Although my father knew
that it was impossible to buy a
new pair of t’fillin anywhere in
the huge Soviet Union (even old
ones weren’t readily available),
he didn’t stop talking about it
since a few months before the
bar mitzvah. He would sigh and
say, “Oy, my son won’t have
t’fillin for his bar mitzvah! A bar
mitzvah must start his Jewish life
with a new pair of t’fillin, and
my son will have to share my old
t’fillin. May they all be afflicted
with the plagues of Pharaoh plus
more …” (Of course, he was
referring to the government of
Soviet Russia).
I understood why my father
was so disappointed that I did
not have new t’fillin. At the same
time, I imagined that he was
annoyed that I would have to use
his t’fillin, and this was because
a golem (dunce) like me would
spoil the holiness of his t’fillin
with which he was so careful.
I did not dare to ask him
about this. Instead, I asked my
mother. A few days later, my
mother said to me: “You foolish
boy. It’s the opposite of what
you think. Your father has not
given a thought to the possibility
of your ruining his t’fillin. He
would like you to begin davening
with t’fillin that no one used
before, which are clean of
improper thoughts. If he had
more nerve, he would ask Zeide
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(his father) to let you put on his
‘Zhuravitzer’ t’fillin.”
SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL
PREPARATIONS
As I said, Zeide taught me
the maamer. I remember how
the bichel (old hand-written
booklet) looked. It had an old,
handmade binding with old
Chassidic script in long, semi-
circular lines. I think it was a
maamer of the Rebbe Rashab. All
I remember is the beginning, the
pasuk “V’Shinantom L’Vonecha
etc.” That’s the maamer he
chose.
My mother prepared the
bar mitzvah meal, but it was
neither too much bother nor too
little bother since fish and meat
were non-existent at that time
and place. As for other cooked
dishes, they were lacking for
two reasons: there was nothing
with which to make the purchase
and there was no one to serve.
However, there were cookies
that my mother had made out of
dark flour (since white flour was
unobtainable). On the table, as
you could probably figure out on
your own, there was a bottle of
vodka. As large or small as the
Chassidishe gathering would be,
you could not picture it without
a l’chaim on a glass of vodka,
especially in Russia.
When the oilam (crowd)
was seated, Zeide said the first
l’chaim, then my father. The
few guests also said l’chaim and
offered me a generous slug, and
I fell into a proper coughing
fit (thanks to which it was
easier for me when I trembled
afterward while saying the
maamer). I don’t remember the
wishes expressed when l’chaim
was said, but I remember what
my father told me to wish: “On
the first day that you become a
bar mitzvah, you hear? Say that
Hashem should give the Rebbe
good health and we should meet
together with the Rebbe soon.”
WHAT THE HEART
PROPHESIED
So that I would tremble less,
I began saying the maamer with
my eyes closed. Despite that, I
shook plenty as I said it, but I
did not get stuck in the middle;
it’s just that at first, my voice
cracked a bit. When I finished
saying the maamer and opened
my eyes, I saw the smiling faces
of the few guests, the nachas on
my grandfather’s face, and the
sparkle in the wise and moist
eyes of my father.
When I looked at my mother
who was sitting with my sisters
on a corner of the bed, I had
mixed feelings. She held a white
handkerchief close to her eyes.
Were they tears of joy or of
sadness and disappointment?
Was it for me or because of me?
I thought and thought about
this. A year or two later, I came
up with answers. Maybe, it’s
possible, that my parents’ tears
were because of a gut feeling that
they had. Barely a year after my
bar mitzvah, my father no longer
shared the t’fillin that I put on.
My mother brought back from
the hospital the t’fillin which he
had put on for the last time, and
with a heartrending sob she gave
them to me.
Who knows? Maybe, at my
bar mitzvah, my mother cried
into her white handkerchief,
with her two daughters on either
side of her, as she felt, with
a mother’s heart, that in less
than two years hence she would
lose her two precious, beloved,
sweet daughters and the white
handkerchief would never be dry
again.
It was my grandfather who
certainly remembered how bar
mitzvahs were celebrated in
better times, who was in an
uplifted mood. He farbrenged
warmly and with great flavor,
although I do not remember
what he said.


“Oy, my son won’t have t’fillin for his bar mitzvah!
A bar mitzvah must start his Jewish life with
a new pair of t’fillin. May they all be afflicted with the
plagues of Pharaoh plus more …”
R’ Heishke in his youth
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THERE’S ONLY
ONE WAY
TO WIN A WAR
The recent missile barrage from the Gaza
Strip could have been prevented. At the
conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, it
was clear that the cessation of military
operations would lead to another wave
of terror. It was obvious that it would be
much more intense and unyielding, and it
happened much sooner than anyone could
have imagined.
By Sholom Ber Crombie
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
H
ere’s something
that most citizens
of Eretz Yisroel
haven’t considered:
Gaza is not some remote desert
island. Gaza is a veritable part
of the Land of Israel, just twenty
minutes away from Ashkelon. It’s
not some place way out there; it’s
literally right here. Gaza is not a
hornet’s nest firing rockets at a
considerable distance from the
sovereign territory of Eretz Yisroel;
it’s a Hamas enclave situated near
the outskirts of a ring of Israeli
settlements, known as “Otef Aza.”
We’ve heard this long ago.
Headlines are already blaring
with the message of “We told you
so,” and the accusing fingers are
being pointed towards all those
who supported the uprooting of
the Jewish settlements in Gush
Katif. But in the final analysis,
there’s a totally different issue
at hand here. The unfortunate
residents of southern Eretz
Yisroel today bear the brunt of a
most dangerous threat – and it no
longer makes a difference who’s
responsible. Even the Gerer
Chassidim in Ashdod, whose
representatives in the Knesset
provided a parliamentary safety
net for the Gaza disengagement,
are today in a very sorry state –
and there’s no point in calling
them to account. Anyone who
treasures the Rebbe’s holy
words understands that the
issue of giving away territory is
a matter of security; it involves
endangering the lives of millions
of Jews living in Eretz HaKodesh.
When the ultra-Orthodox
parties were urged to show their
active opposition to the Gaza
expulsion, they claimed, “Give
us Yavne and its Sages and take
Yerushalayim,” i.e., take Gush
Katif and save the world of Torah.
They placed their own claims
against those of the settlers, who
charged that it was a matter of
expelling Jews or uprooting the
sanctuary of Torah. The claims
made by those who opposed the
expulsion virtually ignored the
security aspects.
The Rebbe had a clear reason
for constantly quoting Sec. 329
of Shulchan Aruch, which deals
with Gentiles who besiege cities
in Eretz Yisroel, emphasizing
the concept of the sanctity of
life as an explanation for the
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halachic prohibition against
giving away territory. When the
Rebbe spoke against territorial
compromise, he did so out of a
sense of genuine concern for the
security of the residents of Eretz
HaKodesh. Through the vision
of Torah, the Rebbe saw that
peace could never be achieved
by retreat and capitulation, and
we must reject such an approach
because it endangers the people
of Eretz Yisroel. So it was at the
Sinai withdrawal, and so it is with
every agreement reached with the
Arabs.
We can understand the
Rebbe’s tremendous feeling of
apprehension when we see the
results of last week’s violence in
the south. People often wondered
why the Rebbe made such a great
clamor on the issue of shleimus
ha’aretz. There were times when
he devoted large portions of a
farbrengen to this very subject,
repeating them over and over
again, even when it seemed that
everyone was already familiar
with the matter. However, when
we see hundreds of thousands of
people in southern Eretz Yisroel
running hysterically into bomb
shelters from the fear of rocket
fire, and when these murderous
missiles even place the residents
of Kiryat Malachi within the
range of imminent danger, it’s
quite easy to understand the
genuine concern expressed by the
leader of the generation.
THE IDF MUST
SET THE RULES
In essence, the recent terrorist
barrage from the Gaza Strip
could have been prevented, if we
had a defense minister driven by
more practical considerations
and not someone who conducts a
faltering election campaign at the
expense of the southern residents
of Eretz Yisroel. At the conclusion
of Operation Cast Lead, it was
clear that the cessation of military
operations would lead to another
wave of terror. It was obvious
that it would be much more
intense and unyielding, and it
happened much sooner than
anyone could have imagined.
One of the leading military
correspondents has already
You can’t win a war with an “iron dome” alone.
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stated that Hamas missiles don’t
stay in the weapons depot to get
rusty; they’re all set and ready
for launch. This is exactly what
happened after the elimination
of a senior Hamas terrorist.
They decided that this provided
them with an excuse to fire their
rockets and send the Jews a clear
message: The terrorists run the
show, and they will determine
when the tranquility must come
to an end.
The current government of
Israel is still afraid to conduct
a more comprehensive military
operation. Its leaders don’t
consider the firing of a hundred
missiles on one Shabbos a
sufficient reason to send the
Israel Defense Forces out on a
security mission. It’s not exactly
clear what they’re waiting for. No
one actually expects the terrorists
to put aside their weapons and
stop what they’ve been doing
for the past ten years: raining
missiles upon the residents
of southern Eretz Yisroel at
whatever moment they choose.
This would have been
considered totally absurd and
unimaginable just a few short
years ago. During the struggle
against the Gush Katif expulsion,
when people warned that the
entire southern region would
soon turn into another Sderot,
this merely sounded like some
nightmarish scenario concocted
by the right-wingers. The citizens
of Eretz Yisroel have already
become accustomed to missile
attacks on Sderot, and they
thought that the terrorists would
settle for the bombardment of
this remote city. But within six
years, everything has changed.
Today, all cities in southern Eretz
Yisroel are under this threat.
Prime Minister Netanyahu
must now ask himself: What
would the President of the United
States do if one hundred missiles
would suddenly land in Chicago
on a peaceful Sunday morning?
Would Mr. Obama sit quietly and
settle for a few empty declarations
that the American armed forces
know how to defend themselves –
or would he issue orders for the
total destruction of all the terror
cells and missile bases?
Under prevailing
circumstances, we simply cannot
settle for another low-scale
military operation. It’s clear that
the terrorists understand only one
language. If the prime minister
wants to take a serious step
towards restoring a normal life
for half the country’s citizens, he
must ensure their protection and
a minimal sense of security. It is
simply inconceivable that the IDF
has to conduct a limited military
operation every few years,
which the Israeli policymakers
eventually cut short due to
international pressure or political
considerations. As a result, this
leaves millions of Jews living in
Eretz Yisroel at the mercy of the
terrorists – until they decide on
an appropriate time to unleash
yet another dangerous onslaught
of missiles and bring the lives of
local residents to a standstill.
RETAKE GAZA NOW!
The situation in southern
Eretz Yisroel is nothing less than
a war. You can give it a variety of
names of a less absolute nature
– escalation, deterioration,
cycle of violence, wave of terror.
However, no matter what you
call it, when such belligerence
goes on unrestrained for so many
years, this is a state of war in
every respect.
The main point that emerges
here is that there is only one
way to win a war. This is
accomplished when the stronger
side vanquishes the weaker side,
threatening it with even greater
punishment if it dares to use
violence again. To this day, the
government of Israel has yet
to take such action with the
terrorists. Therefore, every time
the terrorists proudly lift their
heads after a heroic armed battle,
the end result is always another
meaningless ceasefire.
To pursue this point further,
a war ends when the stronger
side conquers territory and raises
its flag. This is the way that all
major battles throughout the
annals of world history have been
brought to a close. No military
confrontation has ever concluded
without one side declaring a clear
victory. If the IDF truly wishes to
defeat the terrorist cells in Gaza
and put an end to the missile
threat hanging over the residents
of southern Israel, they must
reoccupy the Gaza Strip. There
is no alternative. While such talk
is not very popular these days,
we must speak openly about the
possibility of retaking the land
we evacuated six and a half years
ago.
We simply cannot tolerate
Hamas turning this once peaceful
and thriving territory into a
nest of terror bases and weapon
depositories for thousands of
rockets endangering the security
of Eretz Yisroel. Yet, the IDF has


If the IDF truly wishes to defeat the terrorist
cells in Gaza and put an end to the missile threat
hanging over the residents of southern Israel, they must
reoccupy the Gaza Strip. There is no alternative.
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no plans or the desire to conquer
the Gaza Strip.
One of the deceptive
falsehoods spread by those who
sold the Gush Katif expulsion
to the Israeli public was that the
government was “disengaging”
from Gaza. For a period of two
years, they convinced the citizens
of Eretz Yisroel that we were
leaving Gaza; we were cutting
ourselves off from Gaza; we were
putting Gaza behind us. Many
Israelis naively believed that we
had to carry out the withdrawal
to make Gaza a faraway place,
totally detached from the rest of
the country. As a result, terrorism
would soon be forgotten, once
and for all.
In fact, this was nothing
less than a shabby lie. The
government of Israel had already
departed from Gaza with the
signing of the Oslo Accords, and
during the period prior to the
expulsion, there was not a single
Israeli soldier anywhere in the
Gaza Strip. This was the reality
that brought terrorist attacks and
missile bombardments upon the
settlers of Gush Katif. The pro-
disengagement campaign used
these very acts of terrorism to
convince the Israeli public of the
importance of leaving Gush Katif
without delay…
The answer to all this
subservient talk must come
through sensible demands made
by those who understand that
one cannot run away from terror.
The world has to face the reality
of the destination to which
the method of surrender and
submission has led us. It must
realize why all the talk about
economic tranquility on the eve
of the Gush Katif expulsion has
gone up in the flames of rocket
fire directed at the settlements
we once occupied. Now, the
people must demand that the
prime minister have the courage
to proclaim that there is no other
way to deal with terrorism except
through war – the only language
that terrorists understand.
If the public demands a wide-
scale operation in the Gaza
Strip and a return to Gush Katif
and the Gaza region, they can
pressure the prime minister to
take those measures that he
knows better than anyone else
must be taken. As an initial step,
there is no more appropriate time
to reoccupy the Gaza Strip than
right now, when hundreds of
thousands of southern residents
are running to their shelters in
fear. Afterwards, we must hope
that the second stage will lead
to a restoration of the Jewish
settlements in Gush Katif and
Jewish sovereignty throughout
the Gaza region.
But the demand to protect
the residents of southern Eretz
Yisroel should not be limited
to the nationalist camp. This
is not a matter of left or right;
rather this is an issue with a wide
consensus within the heart of
Israeli public opinion. Is there
anyone who thinks that the
people living in the south don’t
deserve security? Is there reason
to believe that after so many
years of exhausting struggle with
the Arabs in Gaza, we can avoid
a full-scale war that will establish
a new set of rules and crush
their terrorist organizations?
All defense experts agree that
the demand for military action
should not be an exclusively
right-wing initiative. This time,
we’re talking about a struggle for
residents living within the Green
Line in the cities, kibbutzim,
and development towns of the
south. We can realistically expect
them to call for a general strike
throughout the region, travel
en masse to Yerushalayim, and
demonstrate before the Knesset
to demand personal security. We
can only hope that when such
statements are heard from the
southern population, they will
reach receptive ears within the
government of Israel, and its
leaders will finally realize what
must be done to establish peace
and security for these people.
we insist on constantly speeding
through it.
The mystics relate that the
concept of Sabbath as a refuge
from the deluge and pressure of
material life extends into each
day. At any time we can evoke a
Sabbatical moment that takes us
outside the anxiety, both real and
imagine, of the moment. Each
day can begin with the sublime
sanctuary of meditative prayer.
The Sabbath itself serves this
function for the week as a whole.
Rosh Chodesh is the Sabbath for
the month, and Yom Kippur is the
Sabbath for the entire year. Each
of these gives us the opportunity
to slow things to a pace more
suitable to discovering truth.
So, perhaps to be free today
requires us to slow down,
unplugging from the distractions
and hyperactivity, and asserting
our desire and need for a
balanced and meaningful life.
After all, the opposite of freedom
is not slavery. Slavery is merely
the lack freedom. The opposite
of freedom is delusion – living in
denial of one’s inner self and true
purpose.
Reprinted with permission
from Exodus Magazine
Continued from page 42
Issue 828 • 8£l5 HO5MlACM 41
828_BM_Eng.indd 41 19-03-12 2:23 PM
A SPEEDING TICKET
IN PARADISE
By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz
It is a typical scenario, one
that probably plays itself out
thousands of times a day. I miss
the exit on the highway, and
drive along for twenty minutes
oblivious to the fact that I am
now heading away from my
intended destination. A kernel
of frustration brews within me
as I realize my predicament.
I struggle to subdue it with
logic and humor, but despite
my best efforts to shake it off,
it keeps pestering me. After
turning around, it seems that the
accelerator is much lighter than
I remember – probably because
I feel the need to alleviate my
stress by making up for lost time.
Inevitably, two minutes into the
return trip, I pass a police cruiser
with a radar gun hiding behind
a truck at a rest stop. I brake,
but it’s too late. Now I’m really
annoyed.
As I pull to the side of the
road, I remind myself that
though my erratic reaction was
foolish, getting upset about it
will only further exacerbate my
already bitter state of mind.
None of this is real, I tell myself.
I remind myself that everything
that materializes in our corporeal
reality is really a reflection of a
higher reality. Red lights flashing.
Sirens. Uniformed officer,
armed. Dirty look. License and
registration. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting.
I close my eyes, and begin a
meditative exercise in controlled
breathing. No big deal. This is
all meaningless. I hear a loud
tap at the window, and receive
the gratuitous speeding lecture.
I try my best to keep a straight
face. As I prepare to continue
on my way, I glance down at the
information on the infraction
notice. My name, address,
etc.… The offence: Traveling 86
miles per hour in a 65 mile per
hour zone. Place of infraction:
Eden, NY. Eden, NY? Speeding
through Eden! Now things were
really getting interesting.
So what is the message
from all of this? As I begin my
Passover preparations, permeated
with thoughts about freedom,
and how it can be attained in the
crazy world we live in, I can’t
help but think that the most
effective rebellion against the
forces of corporate domination
and gross materialism we are
confronted with is to slow down.
Just stop speeding through life
because of the illusion that this
is what life today demands. Is
taking a moment to sit back and
gain perspective not the greatest
act of subversion against the ill-
conceived hyperactivity of 21st
century life on earth?
Life is full of opportunities –
and, despite Madison Avenue’s
insistence to the contrary, the
real opportunities have nothing to
do with earning another dollar in
order to acquire the latest techno-
gadget so that we can more
efficiently access and schedule
the nonsense and distraction that
inundates our lives. Life is full of
opportunities to slow down and
discover something – to acquire
real wisdom, to learn about
yourself, about others, about life,
about truth. Every moment is a
potential Eden. But we miss out if


After all, the opposite of freedom is not slavery.
Slavery is merely the lack freedom. The opposite
of freedom is delusion – living in denial of one’s inner self
and true purpose.
Continued on page 41
42 8£l5 HO5MlACM • 29 Adar 5772
VIEWPOINT
828_BM_Eng.indd 42 19-03-12 2:23 PM

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