featured articles WeeKlY cOluMNs


sPreadiNG tHe reBBe’s liGHt aNd JOY
Sholom Ber Crombie

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Nosson Avraham


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D’var Malchus Letter to the Editor Mivtzaim Story Parsha Thought Moshiach & Geula Memoirs Shleimus HaAretz

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Avrohom Rainitz

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Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h

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744 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409 Tel: (718) 778-8000 Fax: (718) 778-0800 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: M.M. Hendel HEBREW EDITOR: Rabbi S.Y. Chazan ENGLISH EDITOR: Boruch Merkur

D’var MalcHus

When a Jew cries out “Daloi galus! (enough with exile!)” and “Moshiach now!” – were he simply to want it sincerely it would be fulfilled at once, without any delay (and there is no need to wait even the short duration described in the verse, “His word runs swiftly”), being that the redemption is already here in the world and a Jew must simply reveal it! * the lesson of the mahn.
Translated by Boruch Merkur

indeed the will of the Creator (in accordance with the ruling of Rambam in Laws of Divorce Ch. 2, end).

[In the merit of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Jews were able to survive in the desert for forty years, living off of mahn, miraculous “bread [that fell] from the heavens.”] The Torah describes how G-d commanded the Jewish people to preserve a “jar of mahn,” “as a safekeeping for generations” (Shlach 16:32). As with all concepts discussed in the Torah, a lesson can be derived from the mahn that is relevant to all generations. The miraculous provision of mahn teaches that, in each generation, every Jew has the capacity to receive his livelihood and all his necessities – an abundance in the areas of family, health, and sustenance – in a manner of “bread from the heavens,” provided for him by the “one leader of the generation” (Sanhedrin 8a, quoted in Rashi’s

commentary on the Torah, VaYeilech 31:7). This is true both with regard to the necessities of life as well as things intended for enjoyment. Moreover, the Jewish people have the power to fulfill their heart’s desires simply by willing it, as learned from the mahn. (“It had in it [the taste] of all the flavors [imaginable], and every Jew would taste in it all that he so desired, etc. He didn’t have to articulate it verbally but just think of it in his heart. He would simply express [in thought] what his soul craves, and G-d would fulfill his wish, and the person would enjoy the desired taste” ––Shmos Rabba 25:3.) There is no need for a Jew to even wait for his wish to be granted; it is already apparent in the world. All that is required to reveal it [to realize one’s heart’s desire] is to genuinely want it. [G-d surely acquiesces and provides the Jew with his heart’s desire, for] the true will of a Jew is

The above concept also has a timely application. Namely, when a Jew wishes for [the end of the exile – crying out] “Daloi galus! (Enough with exile!)” and “Moshiach now!” – were he simply to want it sincerely, it would be fulfilled at once. There wouldn’t even be a delay of time (and there is no need to wait even the short duration described in the verse, “His word runs swiftly” ––T’hillim 147:15), being that the redemption is already here in the world and a Jew must simply reveal it! Even during the time of exile, it is important to know that since the Torah commands us to keep the mahn “as a safekeeping for generations,” therefore the “jar of mahn” still exists in the physical world (just as it was after the mahn stopped falling at the end of the forty years in the desert, when the Jewish people entered the Holy Land to settle it). It is especially vital to know this after the destruction of the

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First Temple, when the “jar of mahn” was hidden away (Yoma 52b, Rambam Laws of Beis HaBechira Ch. 4, beg.) (along with the other holy artifacts). Now a Jew must summon the faith that wherever he may be, there is the existence of the “jar of mahn” albeit concealed. Indeed, faith is presently required, for its existence is not visibly apparent (as it was in the time of Yirmiyahu, for example ––see Yirmiyahu 2:31). Faith in the existence of the mahn empowers every individual to receive all of his livelihood and all of his necessities [miraculously] in a manner of “bread from the heavens.” Making this a

The miraculous provision of mahn teaches that, in each generation, every Jew has the capacity to

receive his livelihood and all his necessities – an abundance in the areas of family, health, and sustenance – in a manner of “bread from the heavens,” provided by the “one leader of the generation.”

reality simply depends upon safekeeping for generations” [harnessing] one’s true will. Express servicefulfilled in a revealed shall be Express service In fact, since today it is Fully way, with the coming of FullyComputerized Computerized Moshiach Tzidkeinu. May he impossible to openly see the come and redeem us and take us “jar of mahn,” which is in 331 Kingston Ave.Ave. 331 Kingston upright to our land. nd nd “safekeeping for generations,” (2 (2 Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 this itself must serve as a catalyst (From the address of Shabbos Parshas B’Chukosai 5746, to further speed up the time Get your tickets within minutes! Get bilti muga) when the Torah’s commandment your tickets within minutes! of preserving the mahn “as a Fax: (718) 493-4444 Fax: (718) 493-4444

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Issue 834 • �  



R’ Ami Pykovski is a familiar figure in the world of Chabad. * He enjoyed rare kiruvim from the Rebbe that stunned even him. * In return, he has dedicated his energies to the Rebbe’s inyanim, especially in spreading the word about the impending Redemption and the Redeemer. * This is a profile of a Chassid who never rests...
By Sholom Ber Crombie Pictures by Koby Kalmanowitz

When you meet R’ Ami Pykovski you quickly realize he is not just another Chassid, nor just another businessman. Ami embodies in his person the joyous Chassid and businessman who sees his work as a means to help further the Rebbe’s inyanim. To date, he has helped dozens of Chabad houses around the world and has brought five sifrei Torah to Chabad centers. Once he started becoming close to the Rebbe, thirty years ago, he

got fully involved in the Rebbe’s work and all his close friends became supporters of Chabad mosdos. Many of them became mekuravim as well. It seems you can’t be a friend of Ami – and Ami has many friends – without becoming an active partner with the Rebbe’s shluchim. He has many responses from the Rebbe about his support of shluchim, but more than anything else, the horaa that is most important to him, which

was repeated again and again, was to be happy. The Rebbe did not leave this Los Angeles businessman alone for a minute. The Rebbe turned him into a happy man, whose life changed completely since he joined the ranks of Chabad personalities.

Shabbos, Parshas Balak 5751: 770 was packed with Chassidim during the Rebbe’s

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farbrengen. Suddenly, in the middle of the singing, the Rebbe smiled broadly at a young businessman sitting in a corner and talking to the Chassid, Rabbi Shmuel Heber. Ami Pykovski noticed the Rebbe looking at him and returned the smile. The Rebbe raised his hand in an encouraging motion and Ami began clapping enthusiastically. This went on for some time. Ami clapped vigorously and the Rebbe continued to watch him

with a smile, all the while raising his hands in joyous motions, indicating to Ami to continue what he was doing. Till today, Ami gets all excited when he remembers those moments. “Suddenly, I found myself among thousands of Chassidim, clapping my hands enthusiastically like a child, and smiling all the while.” Ami got an even bigger surprise at dollars on Sunday.

Ami passed by the Rebbe and received a dollar for tz’daka, and the Rebbe said to him, “The niggunim during the farbrengen should accompany you in all matters. Be happy, especially at work.” Then the Rebbe said a line that left him stunned, “Thank you for helping me yesterday with the dancing. This dollar is for the dancing on Shabbos.” The Rebbe had encouraged him with simcha and then gave him a dollar for helping him!

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This particular interaction is just one example out of a series of outstanding kiruvim which this businessman from Los Angeles, who later became a Lubavitcher Chassid, enjoyed. His connection with Chabad began through occasional meetings with Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon of Los Angeles who knew Ami over thirty years ago. Every so often, he was in touch with Ami as part of his work in reaching out to businessmen in Los Angeles. At some point, Ami traveled to the Far East to meet with the manager of a jeans company. “Until then, I was always particular not to eat pork in and said I wanted to meet with a serious rabbi and talk to him. R’ Lisbon said, ‘In New York there is a person that is the switch for the entire world – the Rebbe.’ We agreed that I would visit 770 during my stopover in New York. “Before I flew to New York, I sat in the airport and wrote a letter to the Rebbe. I told him about myself in brief and asked for a bracha for a number of personal matters. It did not occur to me to mention the incident in the Far East even though it was constantly on my mind. “I arrived in 770 on Friday morning. I knocked at the office door and told R’ Binyomin Klein about the kashrus of food. “I was stunned. I hadn’t written to the Rebbe about what happened and yet the Rebbe responded to precisely what had been on my mind. R’ Klein added: Before continuing to Eretz Yisroel, come here because the Rebbe wants to give you three dollars for you to give to tz’daka.” That is how Ami’s relationship with the Rebbe began.

The next step on Ami’s personal journey had to do with his business. At that time, he was considered a rising star in the Los Angeles fashion business world. “On a typical Saturday, I would make $5000 and this was a major portion of the weekly sales. I wanted very much to close the business on Shabbos, but I calculated that if I did that, I would lose $20,000 a month. Finally, after a lot of thought, I decided I had no choice but to go ahead. The business would be closed on Shabbos. However, although it would be closed on Shabbos, I planned on working until late Friday night. “I wrote to the Rebbe about my decision to close the business on Shabbos without saying anything about Friday. The Rebbe’s answer was: ‘Start from before sunset and great is your merit to spread Judaism with joy.’ The Rebbe enclosed eighteen dollars and wrote that I should give them to tz’daka locally. “Now I had no choice. The business would be closed on Shabbos. In order to do so, I had to break a contract with the landlord of the space I rented for my store. It was a huge area that was spread out over an entire

“The Rebbe pointed at my daughter and asked which school she attended. I was embarrassed to tell the Rebbe that I had taken her out of Chabad. I said she learned in a branch of Chabad, but the Rebbe made as though he didn’t hear me and asked me what I said. The Rebbe finally said to me in English, ‘She was born to be a queen of Chabad,’ and he instructed me to put her back in a Chabad school.”
business meetings and I fully intended to stick to this rule of mine on this trip too. However, after signing the contract, he invited me to a restaurant where I inadvertently ate pork. Although I did not understand the significance of keeping kosher, I felt I had crossed a red line. I went back to my hotel room and suddenly felt nauseated. That night I vomited and felt awful. I returned to Los Angeles and was very upset and regretful about what had happened. “A few weeks later, I decided to fly to Eretz Yisroel on business. I told Rabbi Lisbon that I had come to meet with the Rebbe. He explained that this was not possible, but he asked me to leave my letter for the Rebbe and a telephone number at my host’s home. He said he would call as soon as he had an answer from the Rebbe for me. “When I arrived at the house, I felt exhausted. I felt very weak and collapsed on the couch and fell into a deep sleep. A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was R’ Klein who said, ‘An answer came out already.’ He asked me to take a pen and paper and to write down the Rebbe’s answer which was: be careful

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block and the cost of canceling the contract was enormous. I tried convincing friends to buy the contract off of me, but nobody wanted to. When I saw that I had no option, I decided to inform the landlord that I was canceling the contract. “When I went to his office, I was told that he wasn’t there. I went back to the store and a businessman whom I did not know walked in and said he wanted to buy the property from the landlord. I asked him why he had come to me and he said that he had already been to the landlord who had told him that he couldn’t sell it since I had a ten year contract. He could only sell it if I agreed to cancel the contract. “I was still unsure how much money to ask from him for breaking the contract, when he offered an amount that was much higher than I would have dared to ask for. We signed an agreement and I evacuated the premises. With the money I got, I bought a building and set up a clothing factory that I never would have dreamed I could build. In the normal course of things, I would have had to work for decades in order to achieve such a thing; suddenly, the Rebbe had shortened the way for me. It was all in the merit of deciding to keep Shabbos. “The day I received the letter from the Rebbe with eighteen dollars, the shliach Rabbi Amitai Yemini came to my office. I asked him why he had come and he said that my business card had been sitting in his office for a long time and he had finally decided to come and visit me. I asked him to kasher my kitchen at home. He came that night, accompanied by his wife, and they got to work. A lawyer friend

A joyous meeting with the Rebbe

During the interview with R’ Ami Pykovski, he told me a miracle story that he had a part in: “In Los Angeles, I was in touch with a lawyer and over the years, we were mekarev him to the Rebbe. One day, I got a phone call from a close friend who told me that our mutual friend (the lawyer) was in the hospital in serious condition. We went to visit him and also sent a request for a bracha to the Rebbe. We did not receive a response. “After a few days, the lawyer called me and said that he had been transferred to a hospice; the doctors said he was a terminal case. I told him he had to send someone from his family to the Rebbe for dollars and ask the Rebbe for a bracha. “His daughter flew to New York and on Sunday, she passed by the Rebbe and asked for a bracha. The Rebbe gave her a dollar and said the dollar should be given to tz’daka in a pushka in his room. The daughter sent the dollar by express mail and had someone give it to her father. “The next day, the special delivery person walked in to give him the dollar. Right behind him walked in a doctor who was all aflutter over a set of new medical results. He said that incredibly, all the test results had changed and showed that the patient was fine. “The lawyer lived many more years.”

Issue 834 • �  



Ami Pykovski on the soccer field, giving out shmura matza to his friends

Ami is very involved in Mivtza T’fillin. Over the years, he has bought dozens of pairs of t’fillin for people who committed to putting them on every day. “On one of my business trips to the Far East, I spent Shabbos in Thailand with the shliach, Rabbi Nechemia Wilhelm. At the Shabbos meal there were a few dozen young people. I announced that I would give t’fillin as a gift to whoever would commit to putting on t’fillin. “A young Israeli sat next to me who wore the red robes of the local idol worshipers and who looked like a Thai monk. He raised his hand and said he committed to putting on t’fillin. I was shocked, but I kept my word and sent him t’fillin. “Two years later I was visiting in Eretz Yisroel and I spent a day learning in the yeshiva in Ramat Aviv. A young Lubavitcher approached me and asked me whether I recognized him. I said he must be mistaken since we had never met before, but he insisted that we knew one another. He brought me his t’fillin and said that he was the fellow from Thailand who had become a baal t’shuva.” of mine called me frantically, saying there was a couple in my house who were trying to burn down my kitchen.” R’ Berel Weiss, who was known as the Rebbe’s g’vir (mogul, tycoon). A relationship developed that went far beyond business. When they passed by the Rebbe together and told him about the new business they planned on starting together, the Rebbe gave each of them a dollar and said,

Ami became friendly with

“This is for the partnership.” One day, R’ Berel went to Ami and asked him to take on the role of chairman of the dinner for Oholei Torah in Crown Heights. “I did not know what he was talking about. Berel told me that he wanted me to bring some friends to the dinner, and that was all. So I was taken aback when my secretary called and said that a booklet had come in the mail with my picture on it. It was the invitation to the dinner. “We got on the flight to New York and R’ Berel asked me whether I had prepared a few words to say at the dinner. To my surprise, he explained that I was going to offer the opening remarks at the dinner and that I had to prepare a speech. All I had wanted to do was to help the mosad and bring some friends who would make donations – I hadn’t planned on addressing six hundred people! What would I say to them? “On Shabbos, we davened in 770. Next to me stood R’

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Yechiel Malov. We got to talking. When I told him that I grew up in northern Tel Aviv, it turned out that we grew up in the same neighborhood on neighboring streets. The biggest surprise was when I discovered that his father, the neighborhood milkman who was a figure of my childhood, was the Chassid who put t’fillin on me for the first time (other than my bar mitzva). He came to see me when I was in the hospital as a boy and he suggested that I put on t’fillin. “After I put them on, he asked me to put t’fillin on every day and I said I would, although I did not keep my promise. A few weeks later, he knocked at the door and asked my father whether I was keeping my promise. My father said he did not know whether I was putting t’fillin on every day, but if I had made that commitment, then he would take on the mitzva too. From then on, my father put t’fillin on every day. “This experience was engraved in my memory and was one of the most significant encounters with Judaism in my life up to that point. And then, there I was, standing with his son, and we embraced. I decided to tell this story at the dinner and to share with the audience how every positive activity contributes to shaping the personality of a Jewish child. I asked R’ Malov to join me at the dinner and when I finished telling the story, I asked him to stand up. Everyone else stood up too and applauded. It was extremely moving.” R’ Ami said that on Sunday, he and his son passed by the Rebbe for dollars. “After the Rebbe gave me a dollar, he asked my little boy whether he was going to the dinner. I jokingly said that he will be the chairman. The Rebbe gave him a dollar and

The Rebbe giving a dollar and saying, “This is for the chairman of the dinner.”

said, ‘This is for the chairman of the dinner.’ My son actually attended the dinner and went up on stage with me when I spoke and everybody clapped.”

Over the years, Ami brought many of his friends to the Rebbe and some of them joined Machne Israel. Each of them saw personal salvation and thanked Ami for connecting them to the Rebbe. Ami’s friends in Los Angeles got used to asking the Rebbe about every step they made and they received amazing answers. He says that they all experienced the Rebbe’s G-dly vision and realized he is a holy man. When speaking about businessmen who ask the Rebbe about their business matters, he tells the following story: “When I wanted to name my company, I considered a number of possibilities. I finally decided to call it ‘Shmattes,’ a lighthearted name that was easy to remember.

I wrote to the Rebbe about this and a day later, the secretary called me and conveyed the Rebbe’s response: ‘Chazal refer to clothing as m’chabdusa (that which gives us honor and dignity), especially when one is careful about shatnez. I will mention it at the gravesite.’ R’ Groner told me that the Rebbe wanted me to make clothing out of shmattes and not the opposite. I ended up naming the company for the street the factory was on and was very successful. “Another example where I saw Divine Providence was after I received dollars from the Rebbe and decided to keep Shabbos. I had an offer to open a chain of stores called Indian Head in Los Angeles, but I decided not to get involved in retail so I wouldn’t have to work on Shabbos. Instead, I decided to invest in the manufacture of clothing and to offer it to Macy’s. When I went to the buyer at the company, she thought I would show her dozens of styles, as was to be expected
Issue 834 • �  


from companies that do business with Macy’s, but I came with just one style. It turned out she was very impressed that I had come with just one style. She said that because I had the guts to come to them, she was excited about working with me and she placed an order worth $25,000. “That was the first time that I worked with a company on such a large scale and I was very excited. But when the clothing came from the dyeing process, I was devastated. They had mixed up the colors and every pair of pants came out in a different color. When I saw this, I began to cry. I was sure I had lost all my money, which was a large amount in those days, as well as the opportunity to work with Macy’s. “After vacillating for a while, I decided to send them the merchandise anyway and I left the office for two weeks, afraid of the angry phone calls I would get. Upon my return, I found dozens of messages from the company on my answering machine. The phone rang just then and the company rep was on the line. ‘I’ve been looking for you for two weeks,’ she said. ‘Your pants were incredibly successful. They are totally sold out!’” Once again, keeping Shabbos was a blessing for Ami. “The first year that I closed the business on Shabbos, I was concerned about my financial situation. After all, I had closed a successful business. I didn’t know whether I’d be able to pay the high tuition in the Chabad schools of Los Angeles. I told the principal of the school my daughter attended that I was switching her to the Hillel school. I was sorry to switch her but I thought I had to, due to my circumstances. “In Elul, two weeks after the start of the school year, my family flew to the Rebbe and we passed by the Rebbe with our children. The Rebbe pointed at my daughter and asked which school she attended. I was embarrassed to tell the Rebbe that I had taken her out of Chabad. I said she learned in a branch of Chabad, but the Rebbe made as though he didn’t hear me and asked me what I said. The Rebbe finally said to me in English, ‘She was born to be a queen of Chabad,’ and he instructed me to put her back in a Chabad school. “That year, not only was I able to pay her tuition, but I was also able to pay the tuition for two other girls in the school.” Los Angeles, we would take them to Jewish businessmen. Whoever donated to the Rebbe’s cause had incredible bracha. Whoever became a partner in the Rebbe’s inyanim experienced unusual bracha in business.” There were two brothers who did not understand why they should donate and they donated nonetheless. They suddenly saw a turnaround in their business. And once, a wealthy man went out of his way to help the Rebbe’s inyanim and he received a surprise windfall in the exact amount of his donation. There are more stories, one more amazing than the next. Ami has already donated four sifrei Torah in memory of people dear to him; in Av he plans on donating another Torah to the new Chabad center that he helped establish in Kiryat Arba in memory of the young shlucha, eight year old Chaya Mushka Ettia a”h. This Torah will be l’ilui nishmas Ami’s mother a”h. Ami had a Torah written in memory of his soccer trainer, Dovid Shweitzer a”h. Ami used to be a promising soccer player in Israel. Over the years he used his connections with friends in the world of soccer to spread Judaism. “On one of my visits to Eretz Yisroel, I met with Dudi a”h with whom I was very close. He asked me jokingly who would look at him when he went to heaven after 120 years. I told him, ‘When you get up there, tell them you are Pykovski’s friend and they’ll take care of you.’ The next day, I got a phone call from a friend who said that Dovid had died. I was shocked. I thought – now I have to keep my promise to him from the day before he died, and I decided to write a Torah in his z’chus.

R’ Ami Pykovski received many letters from the Rebbe with specific instructions regarding his personal life. At the beginning of 5752, he had yechidus with the Rebbe with friends of Machne Israel. He told the Rebbe that the previous year, the Rebbe had blessed him with a year of success, as was befitting a year of “I will show them wonders,” and he wanted such a bracha for this year too. The Rebbe asked him whether he had listened to the sicha that had just been said, about the acronym of “ba’kol mi’kol kol.” The Rebbe said to him, “I meant it literally, ba’kol, mi’kol, kol.” Ami says that that year he felt the bracha in everything he did. When I asked him what he meant by that, he explained, “That was the year I became a Chassid.” During the course of that year, Ami got fully involved in the Rebbe’s inyanim and was very successful. “Whenever shluchim came to

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“We brought that Torah to the Chabad yeshiva in Ramat Aviv, but we finished writing the letters on the soccer field where Dovid Shweitzer served as a trainer. The Chief Rabbi at the time, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, attended the event. He said that he had attended hundreds of such events in his life, but he had never experienced a moving one such as this, with the soccer players on one side of the field and people writing letters in the Torah on the other side. “Before the Israeli elections of 5749, R’ Groner called me and said the Rebbe wants people to work on getting people to vote for Gimmel and he asked me to get involved. I told him I couldn’t travel to Eretz Yisroel because I was busy and he asked me, ‘What will happen if you close your business for a few days?’ “I was convinced and flew to Eretz Yisroel. There I met Avi Piamenta who had also come to help promote Gimmel. The next day, we rented a big hall in the port of Tel Aviv and held a big event for everyone in the Israeli entertainment world. We called the event, ‘Salute to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’ and didn’t say a word about Gimmel, but by the end of the evening, everyone said they would vote for Gimmel. It turned out that many of them had been influenced by that evening and made significant changes in their lives.” Another community that Ami is in touch with consists of those who fought in the underground. His father fought for Lechi and was a friend of many heads of the Irgun who later became leaders of the country, including former president Yitzchok Shamir. Ami used these connections for many good things, some of which he still cannot speak about today.

“He asked me jokingly who would look at him when he went to heaven after 120 years. I told him,

‘When you get up there, tell them you are Pykovski’s friend and they’ll take care of you.’ The next day, I got a phone call from a friend who said that Dovid had died. I was shocked. I thought – now I have to keep my promise to him…”

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He met with Shamir as prime minister and brought Chabad askanim to meet with him. On more than one occasion, he was asked to convey a message to Shamir from the Rebbe and each time, Shamir listened to him. He spares no effort in being involved in promoting achdus. He recently decided to work on an achdus campaign within Chabad involving Chabad publications and Chabad communities. What is Ami’s message to Chabad Chassidim about achdus? “From the day I got involved with Chabad and the Rebbe, what got me more than anything else was the achdus among Chassidim. I saw how all Chassidim are one family with representatives around the world. What won my heart was the love among shluchim and Chassidim of the Rebbe. I attribute my t’shuva to the love I felt among Chassidim. Chazal say that just as their faces are different, so too people’s views are different, but there cannot be machlokes among the Rebbe’s children. This topic is dear to the Rebbe and we must sit together and farbreng. My dream is for a committee to form in every shul that will be comprised of mashpiim who will work on achdus and make achdus farbrengens.” Ami made aliya a year ago and he now lives in Kfar Chabad. He is involved in a new project which will develop research and course materials on proper nutrition and health for the general public and for Chassidim. “I received many instructions from the Rebbe regarding simcha and as a former athlete involved in the world of sports, I know that in order to serve Hashem with joy, you need to follow the Rambam’s directives about ‘a healthy soul and a healthy body.’ I decided that this is the best way to carry out the Rebbe’s instructions.” *** In conclusion, Ami thanks the Rebbe. “I want to thank the Rebbe from the depths of my heart for everything I received from him. There are just two words that I feel I must say: Rebbe, thanks!”

In the past twenty years, Ami has been an enthusiastic promoter of the Besuras Ha’Geula among his friends and acquaintances and has used his money to spread the Rebbe’s prophecy of “hinei, hinei Moshiach ba.” “Today, all my buddies from the business community accept what the Rebbe says and when you tell them that we are in the time of Geula, they understand and accept this. The Rebbe’s prophecy has penetrated the world and we really feel that the world is waiting for Moshiach.” The subject that is closest to Ami’s heart is unity in Chabad.


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14 � • 26 Iyar 5772

letter to tHe eDitor

In issue #826 I presented a compilation of letters and yechidusin of the Rebbe regarding which language should be used in Yeshivos. It appears clear that the Rebbe’s position is that the language should be the one that is most natural and familiar to the students (and not necessarily Yiddish). I have received several questions and comments in response to that article. I therefore desire to add some clarification ‫.בע”ה‬ Question: For hundreds of years, Yiddish has been the language used for learning Torah. Also, the Rebbe says that the Yiddishe Galus-Shprach is so important! So how can we be so confident that this change will be beneficial? Can you imagine how the cheider and yeshiva students will turn out? What sort of atmosphere will the Yeshiva have? Besides, the students will not be able to understand the Rebbe’s Sichos (etc.) in Yiddish! And although we may still teach them Yiddish as a subject, it’s just not the same! Answer: I, too, am torn on this matter. On the one hand, I personally picked up Yiddish from being taught Chumash etc. in Yeshiva in Yiddish! I have also witnessed throughout my 30-plus years of teaching English-speaking children in Yiddish that they too eventually picked up the Yiddish. However, on the other hand, I must confess that I barely understood the Chumash while in cheider, and naturally, therefore lacked the Geshmak in learning it. I certainly believe that had I learned Chumash in my native language, I would have understood much more and with more appreciation of Hashem’s Torah. Thus, let me ask you: what is the goal of a Yeshiva? Is it to teach in Yiddish, thereby ensuring that the students will pick up the Yiddish language, albeit at the expense of understanding and appreciating Hashem’s Torah? Or is it to teach them Torah in their native language so that they will actually learn Torah and appreciate it? As the saying goes, don’t try to act more royal than the King! If this is what the Rebbe guides us to do, how dare we object! Question: Isn’t it the yeshiva’s responsibility to provide the child with such a vital tool as Yiddish? How can we drop it? Answer: Let me answer with a parable. A teacher once planned a class trip to the park. Since it was expected to be a cold day, he sent a note home to the parents, urging them to make sure that the kids arrive the following day dressed warmly. The next day, two kids came to school without proper dress. So the Rebbi was forced to reluctantly leave them behind. The Rebbi made sure that they would have some kind of other activity instead. That evening, the teacher received a call from one of the two parents, complaining why her son was left behind. The teacher explained to her, “I had no other choice than to leave him behind, because he came to school without a coat. Your son’s health is obviously in our mutual interest.” The lesson is as follows: The Rebbi would gladly teach in Yiddish had the children in his class been “properly dressed” – that is, properly trained from their home to fluently speak and understand Yiddish! But now that the children do not know Yiddish from their home, what is the Rebbi to do – take them to the park and have them freeze? In other words, is he to teach them in a foreign language and turn them off, Chas V’Shalom? Had the children been trained to speak Yiddish fluently at home, or at least in pre-school by means of a “Yiddish-immersion program,” then this whole question would be moot, for these children would be properly prepared to learn in Yiddish. And as the Rebbe writes: “It bears looking into whether acquiring these advantages (of speaking Yiddish) is the task and responsibility of the school or the obligation of the parents and the atmosphere in the home.” Bottom line: The Yeshiva has to focus on the best way to teach the child Torah, not a language! Question: Yet, if it is as you say, that there is absolutely no room for teaching Englishspeaking children in Yiddish, then we are consequently faced with the following dilemma. At some early stage of their Toraheducation development, the children will need to attain the ability to express themselves in writing, as well as answer questions on tests, homework etc. If they learn in English, wouldn’t they need to acquire

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some basic English reading/ writing skills? In other words, since they speak, learn and taitch in English, wouldn’t we be forced to teach these children basic English language skills? Indeed, the Rebbe says that we should not teach our children LimudeiChol, yet there may be room for speculation whether or not this applies in our situation, where nearly all of our children speak exclusively English. In other words, does the Rebbe’s prohibition against young children learning Limudei Chol extend to reading and writing as well? Also, consider the chinuch circumstances in 1954, when the Rebbe spoke about not teaching secular subjects to children at least until the age of 9-12 years old. There were hardly any kosher English books to read. So, even if the prohibition extended as far as teaching basic ABC, reading etc., there was a definite danger of exposure to goyishe literature etc. On the other hand, today, there are ‫ ב»ה‬many thousands of Torah-based books in English, which have brought ‫ נגלה‬and ‫חסידות‬ down to an unprecedented level of understanding to children of all ages. So, perhaps it is OK to teach the children the very basics in reading and writing English. Answer: I cannot answer such a question. In fact, I have consulted dozens of Chassidishe Rabbanim and mechanchim, who have all said the same thing: “What you’re saying makes sense, but to make such a drastic move, we need a unanimous decision from Rabbanim and Mechanchim.” Question: Klotz-Kasha! The entire argument about whether a teacher of Englishspeaking children should Taitch Chumash (Gemara, etc.) into Yiddish or not (apparently) makes no sense! First of all, why have Yidden used the Aramaic translation of the Torah named Targum Unkelus? The reason is because there were many Yidden whose native language was Aramaic, and they did not understand the Holy Language of the Torah – Lashon HaKodesh – so instead of waiting for them to learn Lashon HaKodesh and only then teach them the Torah, the TargumUnkelus was made available to them. Many years have passed, and people once again needed a new translation of the Torah, in their native language, namely Yiddish. That’s when the Yiddish-taitch was introduced. Did anyone get up and say, “Chas V’Shalom to change our tradition of translating Chumash into Aramaic. We must keep on using our traditional Aramaic translation of Unkelus! Instead of saying ‘VaYomer = Un Er Hut Gezugt,’ we must say it in the Aramaic vernacular ‘VaYomer = Va’amar!’” The same thing is with the Gemara; the reason why yeshivos began translating Gemara to Yiddish was only because Yiddish was their native tongue. We never heard of a yeshiva saying, “How dare we change our Mesora! We must continue to teach the Gemara in Aramaic!” Absolutely not! No one made this argument. Why not? Because, as the Rebbe says, a Yeshiva has one and only one focus and duty, that is, to teach the children Torah! So, when the native language was Lashon HaKodesh, there was no need to Taitch. But when the need to translate emerged, then we translated the Torah into Aramaic, and eventually, into Yiddish! In fact, the precise Taitch of the word “Taitch” is “Meaning,” not “Yiddish language!” Thus, to insist on Taitching the words of Chumash to English-speaking students into Yiddish is the exact opposite of what “Taitch” is meant for! It is as ludicrous and risible as insisting on translating the Chumash into Targum Unkelus! Yes, Yiddish is special. But, as the Rebbe says, it must be taught as a separate subject, not at the expense of learning Torah! Let me end with a parable: Yossi is a yeshiva boy who lived on 780 Grape Street. At the beginning of the school year, Dudy, the Yeshiva bus driver, was instructed to make a trip every day to 780 Grape Street to pick Yossi up and bring him to the Yeshiva, which he faithfully did for the following six months. Then, one day, Dudy was told that the boy moved to 163 Main Street and needed to be picked up from there instead from now on. But Dudy the bus driver refused to do so and simply continued going to Yossi’s old address on Grape Street! When asked about this, Dudy answered, “I am following the instructions given to me at the beginning of the year, to pick him up from Grape Street. It’s not my fault that now Yossi is not there!” The lesson is obvious: A thousand years ago, when Yiddish-Taitch was introduced, it was only because that was the spoken language and the only way that the masses of Yidden were able to learn and understand

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the Torah was through Yiddish. But, in 2012, when the Yidden moved to another language, don’t we have to pick them up from where they are now? It is true, that over the years Yiddish has become a holy language because the Yidden used it for learning Torah. But, isn’t Aramaic of the Gemara also a holy language, and yet, when the Yidden moved to Yiddish, their teachers followed them and began teaching them Gemara in Yiddish! So now, that the Talmidim “moved” over to English, should we not follow them? Despite all the above arguments, the best solution is

simply for parents to put in the effort and bring up their children with Yiddish. The fact is, that countless English speaking parents, myself included, have stubbornly insisted on speaking in Yiddish at home with their children, and the children grew up not only understanding Yiddish, but also speaking a fluent Yiddish. So all those advocating a change in the yeshiva system to teach in English, would be better off launching a campaign addressed to the parents to raise their children speaking only Yiddish! Then, we will be able to continue teaching and learning Torah in Yiddish, as in the past!

Bottom line: We certainly want to teach our children according to the Rebbe’s Horaos. Thus, we have ONLY two options: 1. English speaking parents learn the Yiddish language and use that as the “home-language,” so that the child acquires it as his mothertongue, and then he can learn Torah in yeshiva in Yiddish. Alternatively, the more practical, tested and proven way is to make pre-school “total immersion” in Yiddish; or 2. see the above article! To access Rabbi Levi Goldstein’s previous articles, please visit: www.ChinuchTime. com.

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MivtZaiM storY

a deeply moving story of two t’mimim on shlichus in a remote village in central america, who were able, with the help of open Divine Providence, to save a Jew from the spiritual abyss.
By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

ver a period of two years, my friends and I went on shlichus to various countries across the globe. One of the places we visited was Costa Rica, a stunning tropical country in Central America with spectacular breathtaking views. The following story took place after Tishrei 5767. Many Israeli backpackers and Jewish families from the United States spend their vacations in this colorfully forested country. During our shlichus, we crossed the border into Panama and visited several Caribbean islands, where we met many Jews. We put t’fillin on many people and had conversations with them about matters of faith and the announcement of the Redemption. On our last Shabbos before returning to New York, we stayed in S. Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, at the home of the local shliach, Rabbi Hershel Spalter. The accommodations were excellent, and we used the


opportunity to meet the very pleasant and friendly local Jewish community. We led the Shabbos davening in the Chabad shul, and afterwards we ate the Shabbos meals with the shliach and his family. The shliach recalled his own personal experiences from 770, and we were witness to the tremendous self-sacrifice of a shliach who devotes his life to the Rebbe and achieves great things on his shlichus. We woke up very early that Sunday morning. Our plans were to make a journey of several hours to the city of S. Teresa. We had already heard that there were many Israelis in that area, and we decided to go there as well. Tourists come to this city from all over the world for its beautiful beaches and excellent surfing. We didn’t have much time, as our flight back to New York was already scheduled for Monday night. We rented a car and immediately set out for our

destination, determined to get there before sundown. Yet, “the steps of man are directed by G-d,” and we had our fair share of delays. We lost our way several times along the long and winding roads of Costa Rica. It was getting late and the sun was beginning to set, when traffic suddenly slowed down to a snail’s pace. Officers from the Costa Rican narcotics division had put up roadblocks to entrap local dealers trying to smuggle their drugs past the border into Panama. At this point, we realized that it would be better if we found a place to stay for the night in a nearby village and continue on our journey to S. Teresa the following morning. We got off the main highway at the first opportunity and headed for the first village we came across, a place called Montezuma. We soon discovered that this was also a tourist village, but the visitors were all

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Europeans. Israelis hardly ever came there. We drove towards the center of the village, where we inquired about a suitable motel that could meet our basic requirements, i.e., a gas burner for cooking with the pots we had brought. Suddenly, a young man with dreadlocks, earrings, and strange tattoos all over his face came to our assistance. He was standing together with a local girl near a booth, where they sold products from the East to tourists and other visitors. We were certain that he was an Israeli. However, when he opened his mouth, he spoke Spanish like a native, and we realized that we had been mistaken. He helped us in whatever way he could, and eventually was able to find for us an appropriate place of lodging. After we thanked him and before parting from one another, my traveling partner, Avi Dagan, asked him if he happened to be a Jew. He looked at us and smiled: “Many people ask me that, but I’m really not Jewish.” “But now that you mention it,” he suddenly remembered, “I do have some small connection to the Jewish People. My mother isn’t Jewish, as she was raised in a monastery and we were raised there afterwards as well. However, her mother, my maternal grandmother, was born to Jewish parents, although she was later baptized (r”l). Maybe that’s why I have a slightly Jewish look…” “If that’s the case, then you really are Jewish!” we cried out as one. The young man was momentarily stunned. “What do you mean, I’m Jewish?” he said with a skeptical smile. He thought that we were kidding him. “You’re Jewish; you have a

“I do have some small connection to the Jewish People. My mother isn’t Jewish, as she was raised in a monastery. However, her mother, my maternal grandmother, was born to Jewish parents, although she was later baptized (r”l). Maybe that’s why I have a slightly Jewish look…”
car along the side of the road, and when we got out, we asked him to do us one more favor for the benefit of his soul: put on t’fillin. He said that he had never seen or even heard of t’fillin. We briefly explained what t’fillin are and what the parchments

Jewish soul. Furthermore, your mother is also Jewish because Judaism is determined according to the mother.” The young man was positively thunderstruck. Yet, we didn’t have much time to waste. It was almost sunset. We parked the

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contain. After this brief yet detailed explanation, he happily consented. The street seemed frozen in time. Numerous local residents and backpackers who knew him stopped to watch in amazement. Yet, something incredible was happening. As he began to say “Shma Yisroel” with the t’fillin on his head, he burst into sobs. Tears were streaming down his face. This was the first time in my life that I had witnessed what is explained in chassidus: A Jew cannot and will not cut himself off from G-dliness; the soul of a Jew is truly a part of G-d Above. Why should he cry because of the t’fillin? Why should it make him so emotional? What has it awakened within him? He had never seen t’fillin before! In all honesty, we were just as thrilled as he was. My friend Avi Dagan, who spoke Spanish well, took the opportunity to explain numerous concepts in Judaism to him, including the great merit he had just acquired when he put on t’fillin. After shedding tears of joy, he said that his restless soul had been troubling him for years. He had been all over Latin America, and had met his girlfriend in neighboring Guatemala. They had been traveling together ever since, city to city, country to country. He continued to wander aimlessly without any peace of mind. He went to cults, did yoga and meditation, but nothing seemed to help. We explained to him that Judaism and chassidus are the only ways to bring him the tranquility he desires. His soul is essentially searching for a connection with G-d, the Torah, and mitzvos. “In a few weeks, I’m planning to visit my mother in Argentina, and I intend to inquire more about my Judaism,” he surprisingly told us. We quickly checked the Internet to find the closest Chabad Houses to his home in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, and we gave him their addresses and phone numbers. Throughout this entire exchange, his Gentile female companion stood on the side, watching with curiosity. She seemed to have no idea what we were talking about. Before parting, we agreed to meet again the following morning. The young man suggested that we change our plans and go surfing with him along the shore near the village. We decided to accept his offer and thereby not waste an opportunity to see him again. Thus, we woke up early the next morning, and after davening Shacharis, we went over to his booth. However, when we got there, we were disappointed to find that he was nowhere in sight. His girlfriend was standing there by herself, and she greeted us with an angry look. “Where is he?” she asked us. We immediately understood to whom she was referring. She was furious. “What did you do to him? What were you talking about? He didn’t eat dinner with me last night, and instead of being here with me this morning, he went out for a walk on the beach. He’s totally immersed in his own thoughts and he isn’t sharing anything with me.” It turned out that he had also requested the earliest possible flight to Argentina. It seemed that the t’fillin had a powerful effect upon him. As a result, we decided to head for the beach, hoping that we might also meet up with a few Israelis or other Jews there. When we reached the area, we were surprised to find that it was totally deserted. The surfing pier was closed. The sign on the gate said that since the waves were not high enough, surfers are advised to go to the nearby village of S. Teresa, our original destination. We packed up our equipment and resumed our journey to S. Teresa. We arrived there in about ten minutes. It was clear to us that if we would have known the day before how close we really were, we would have continued on our way without stopping at the previous village. We thought about what had happened, and we realized that Heaven had directed our steps towards that remote village for the sole purpose of bringing the light of Torah to the soul of that lost Jew. “This is truly an amazing case of Divine Providence,” my mivtzaim partner declared. After our short drive to S. Teresa, we met numerous Israelis, hearing and seeing them wherever we went. We put on t’fillin with many of them. Those who were familiar with Chabad in various cities throughout Latin America would ask: “Why don’t you set up operations here permanently?” We gave them the address of the Chabad House in the Costa Rican capital of S. Jose, and then headed to the airport for our flight back to New York. It stands to reason that the whole trip to Costa Rica was in order to illuminate the neshama of that one young Argentinean. It would be interesting to know what’s happening with him today. But one thing is certain: the Rebbe had already saved him from ‘din karkafta’ (the punishment for never placing t’fillin upon one’s head)... The power of the leader of the generation!

20 � • 26 Iyar 5772


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22 � • 26 Iyar 5772

We were shocked to hear of the passing of R’ Zushe Rivkin a”h, one of the more outstanding personalities amongst Lubavitcher Chassidim, who merited many kiruvim from the Rebbe and was a walking torch of fiery emuna in the coming of Moshiach and the hisgalus of the Rebbe MH”M. His entire life was dedicated to tz’daka and g’milus chassadim along with instilling and spreading faith in the Geula. As far as he was concerned, the high point of all his life’s work was his efforts to build a palace for the Rebbe.
By Avrohom Rainitz

he residents of Kfar Chabad were shocked to hear of the passing of R’ Zushe Rivkin, one of the founders of Kfar Chabad, a Chassid who made a deep impression even if in a chance encounter. R’ Zushe Rivkin, despite his 85 years, constantly radiated an energy and chayus that every young person would wish for himself. Sunday night, 17 Adar, despite the late hour, hundreds of residents of Kfar Chabad escorted R’ Zushe to his eternal rest. He is not survived by any children. His bier was placed near the Aron Kodesh in the Beis Menachem shul of which he was one of the founders. The crowd responded with “amen” to the Kaddish recited by the rav of Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi. They all proclaimed “Yechi” with which R’


Zushe lived every moment of his life. Nobody could believe that R’ Zushe, who had immersed that morning in the mikva that he built in Beis Menachem, davened Shacharis and joined the regular shiur, had passed away. The phrase “Zushe Rivkin of blessed memory” was just unimaginable. R’ Zushe was a symbol of fiery, constant emuna. It is no exaggeration to say that this shone from his eyes, and he breathed perpetual anticipation of the hisgalus of the Rebbe. Whoever met him was asked when Moshiach would be revealed, and he asked this sincerely. He was a model of emuna and hiskashrus to the Rebbe. R’ Zushe was born on Yud-Tes Kislev in Homil in White Russia. His parents were R’ Yechiel Yosef and Mrs. Sheina Rivkin. She was

the daughter of the Chassid, R’ Moshe Nissan and Mrs. Chaya Sarah Azimov from Klimovitz. Despite the law, his father refused to send his children to a Russian school. R’ Zushe learned Torah secretly. “I learned by R’ Yisroel the Shochet; we learned in a cellar. Each time, one of the children stood outside in order to warn us if suspicious people were approaching. The fear was enormous.”

The Germans invaded Russia in the summer of 1941. The Rivkin family, along with tens of thousands of people, including many Chassidim, fled the scene of battle and traveled deep into Russia. After much wearying travel, they arrived in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
Issue 834 • �  


the Escape Committee, told them about an opportunity of leaving Russia via Zlotchov. They spent several weeks in Poland and then traveled to Czechoslovakia. From there they were smuggled to Austria in closed trucks where they lived in a refugee camp. This was a way station until they arrived in Paris where they lived for two years. During their stay in Paris, R’ Zushe learned in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Brunoy. After two years in France, the family made aliya. At first they lived in the Beer Yaakov refugee camp and then they moved to Kfar Chabad which was just being founded at the time. R’ Zushe was only 17 when he and his family moved to Eretz Yisroel and settled in Kfar Chabad. They were among the founders of the Kfar. R’ Zushe lived through the early travails of the establishment of the village, but the fire of emuna and the Rebbe’s constant encouragement helped him and the other residents overcome all the hardships. R’ Zushe married Naomi Ziegelboim on 15 Sivan 5714/1954. The kalla’s family lived in Chadera at the time. This was the first time that its residents witnessed an authentic Chassidic simcha from up close. As was the custom in those days, the wedding took place in the yard. The kalla’s parents began preparing for the wedding long before that, and the neighbors pitched in with the cooking. “We opened the restaurant after my father passed away and my mother ran it. At that time, the area was entirely religious and we made a nice living from the restaurant. However, eight years later, in 5730, the situation changed and we decided to sell it. My brother, who was traveling to the Rebbe in honor of Yud Shevat, had yechidus and told the Rebbe that we planned on selling the restaurant. “The Rebbe asked who we were selling it to and my brother said to Poilish Chassidim. The Rebbe was dissatisfied with this response and asked whether the level of kashrus would be the same as it was with us. “When my brother said it would probably be the same, the Rebbe asked him whether he was willing to take responsibility for that. My brother said he could not take responsibility for others’ actions. The Rebbe concluded the discussion by saying, ‘It’s out of the question! It is Lubavitch of Tel Aviv!’ “At the farbrengen, the Rebbe gave out mashke to all directors of mosdos. The Rebbe turned to my brother and said: Rivkin, You have a restaurant in Tel Aviv! The Rebbe gave him a bottle of mashke too and said, ‘This is, no doubt, a segula for parnasa.’” R’ Zushe himself visited the Rebbe a few months later. After yechidus, in which he received special brachos regarding the restaurant, the Rebbe sent out a bottle of mashke for him with a note which said: In addition to being in yechidus, there is also mashke for the restaurant. I will mention you at the gravesite [of the Rebbe Rayatz]. The Rebbe’s encouragement to continue maintaining the restaurant did not stop. A few years later, at Kos Shel Bracha on

The financial situation of the refugees was bleak. R’ Zushe told about the days soon after their arrival in Tashkent: “The situation was miserable. We were twenty members of an extended family living in one room! It was an Uzbeki home which did not have a floor, and people slept on straw that was scattered on the floor. The men slept on one side of the room and women on the other side.” It was only after a long period of time that each family found its own living quarters and life began to return to normal. At the end of the war, Lubavitcher Chassidim began escaping from the Soviet Union via Lvov by using false Polish passports. R’ Zushe and his parents along with other relatives traveled to Lvov in order to try their luck. At a certain point, R’ Leibel Mochkin, a member of

R’ Zushe and his wife opened the Yeshurun restaurant in Tel Aviv about fifty years ago.

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Acharon shel Pesach, R’ Zushe received a bottle of wine for the Beis Menachem shul. As he left, the Rebbe called him back and said: And from this bottle that I brought for Beis Menachem, take for the restaurant too. He poured the wine into plastic bottles and gave it out on special occasions in his restaurant. One day, someone walked into the restaurant, and after eating he said to R’ Zushe, “Do you know how I came here? I was at the Lubavitcher Rebbe for yechidus and before I left, the Rebbe said to me that since I was going to Eretz Yisroel and would be in Tel Aviv, I would surely go to Rivkin’s restaurant and eat there!” At one time, R’ Zushe thought of changing the name of the restaurant from Yeshurun to something more Lubavitch like U’faratzta. He asked the Rebbe and the answer was: Since you have been successful until now under this name, you should continue to have success under this name! Another fifteen years went by and R’ Zushe was getting older and the work at the restaurant was becoming difficult for him. He decided to leave the restaurant. A routine medical exam, after which the doctor recommended that he stop working in the restaurant for the sake of his health, contributed to this decision. He took the doctor’s written recommendation and sent it to the Rebbe. He included a letter from his wife in which she asked what to do with the restaurant. The Rebbe’s response was: Based on this, you should take (hire) an assistant and continue with it. This is like the work of Avrohom – Avrohom was one. I will mention it at the gravesite.

Beis Menachem

“I told the Rebbe that I valued the Rebbe’s dollar at $30,000, and so, if he would give me the dollar, all the candies I would buy would be in exchange for the Rebbe’s dollar and would surely have the segulos of the Rebbe’s dollar!”
more and more thirsty children began to show up. Within a few weeks, the place was humming with children. R’ Zushe was happy about this opportunity that came his way, to implant emuna in young children, and he started buying candies for them. One time, when he was at yechidus, R’ Zushe told the Rebbe about his private educational endeavor and asked the Rebbe for a dollar for the children. “I told the Rebbe that I valued the Rebbe’s dollar at $30,000 and so, if he would give me the dollar, all the candies I would buy would be in exchange for the Rebbe’s dollar and would surely have the segulos of the Rebbe’s dollar! The Rebbe smiled and gave me two dollars, saying, ‘Kiflaim l’tushiya’ (double success).” From then on, R’ Zushe gave every child who came in “a candy from the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach” with bitachon that

Obviously, after an answer like this, R’ Zushe did not give up the restaurant but continued in the role that the Rebbe described as “like the work of Avrohom.” Indeed, R’ Zushe’s restaurant – and this is an open secret – was not merely a restaurant, but a Chabad mosad in every respect. It started with one little boy who learned in a nearby school. He passed by R’ Zushe’s restaurant and felt thirsty. He decided to go inside and ask for a drink of water. That is when R’ Zushe had the idea, just like Avrohom. He took out a drink, poured a cup for the boy and asked him to say a bracha. The boy said the bracha and drank, and R’ Zushe was happy – a Jewish boy had said a bracha before drinking. The boy apparently told his friends about the nice Lubavitcher who gave him a drink and merely asked him to say a bracha first, because

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instill faith in me. As a result of everything I absorbed from you, I looked into Judaism in general and Chassidus in particular and I eventually became a Chabad Chassid! I came here and brought my wife and children in order for them to see where I got inspired.’” He wasn’t the only one to be inspired. Dozens, if not hundreds, of children were treated kindly by R’ Zushe, and they were inspired as well. It is hard to know precisely the extent of his influence but it is definitely extensive. Time will tell. Who can begin to assess the effect of the p’sukim and the brachos said with the children, including the effect on the customers in the restaurant who watched how a person devoted his time, energy and money to children in this way. It happened more than once that a customer went over to R’ Zushe and told him that they started putting on t’fillin or doing other mitzvos thanks to the p’sukim of the children! The encouragement that R’ Zushe and his restaurant received did not stop, and in the winter of 5752, when he passed by the Rebbe for “dollars,” the Rebbe said: You have a restaurant in Tel Aviv, and with a big smile he gave him an extra dollar. A few months later, in Adar Rishon, R’ Zushe went for dollars again. The Rebbe asked him whether the restaurant was open on Pesach. Although R’ Zushe knew that opening the restaurant on Pesach would entail tremendous work and a lot of money, he said, “In general it is closed, but if the Rebbe wants, in order to fulfill the Rebbe’s wishes, money doesn’t matter and it will be open.” The Rebbe asked, “What happened last year?” R’

when a Jewish child eats a candy that was bought with money from the Rebbe, it has both a short term and long term effect. R’ Zushe’s brother once told the Rebbe that R’ Zushe was giving the children candy, and the Rebbe suggested that occasionally he give them other things so they could recite other brachos, too. This is why R’ Zushe sometimes distributed cookies, so the children could say “mezonos.” In later years he gave out bags of Bamba – “So that I relate to children of today,” he said with a smile.

One day, a religious looking

Jew came to the restaurant with his wife and children. It was the afternoon, and while they sat and ate, children started coming in groups to say p’sukim. The man watched. “I noticed a look of longing in his eyes,” said R’ Zushe, “but little did I imagine the story he had to tell me. He waited until the children stopped coming and going and then he got up and said to me, ‘R’ Zushe, I must thank you for my being a Chabad Chassid today.’ “I didn’t know him and did not remember when I had been mekarev him to Chabad. He didn’t give me time to consider this further, but explained, ‘Twenty years ago, I would come to you every day and you would

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Zushe said the restaurant had been closed. The Rebbe smiled and said, “Nu, in that case, we won’t make changes.”

After the Rebbe announced as a prophecy that “Hinei Zeh (Moshiach) Ba,” R’ Zushe hung a sign on the front of his restaurant which said, “Hichonu! Hichonu! Hichonu! L ’Bi’as HaMoshiach” (Prepare for the Coming of Moshiach). Ten minutes before Shabbos, R’ Zushe sent a fax to the Rebbe in which he reported about the sign. He asked, “How long will we need this sign? When will we already merit to proclaim that behold, Moshiach came?” A few hours later, before Shabbos in New York, the Rebbe responded with: Add “hinei, hinei Moshiach ba.” In a conversation held later, R’ Groner told him that the Rebbe said this as a horaa (instruction)! R’ Zushe immediately carried out the horaa. Right after Shabbos, he ordered a sign with the words, “Hinei! Hinei! Hinei! Moshiach Ba.” That very same week, the second sign was hung in front of the restaurant. The signs were lit up and could be seen at night too.

R’ Zushe’s restaurant

At a certain point, the trip from Kfar Chabad to Tel Aviv became difficult for R’ Zushe and he started taking the train. A Chassid like R’ Zushe would not waste the opportunity these trips presented to him, and on the way to Tel Aviv and back he enabled people to do the mitzva of tz’daka. R’ Zushe related: “A few years ago, I met a very tough woman who regularly took

the train at the same time as I did. Out of the corner of my eye I could see how she watched what I was doing. Before I reached her, she hissed, ‘I do not give money.’ So I said, ‘I will give for you, and you will see what a good day you will have.’ She kept quiet, but I could see she was trying not to smile. “A few days later she was willing to put money in the pushka herself. At a later point, she added a second coin for her husband. Some time after that she put in another two coins for her two children. One day, she told me that she had a new grandchild. From then on, she put five coins in the pushka.”

In the 70’s, when Kfar Chabad was growing and the shuls were crowded, the decision was made to build a new, spacious shul. R’ Chaim and R’ Zushe Rivkin were on the building committee. When the plans were ready,

R’ Chaim traveled to the Rebbe and showed them to the Rebbe in yechidus. The Rebbe spread the blueprints on the desk and reviewed them. The Rebbe asked when the construction would be completed and R’ Chaim said it depended on how much money they had to work with. The Rebbe once again asked how long the construction would take and R’ Chaim said that they had only 5000 liros and the speed of construction depended on their finances. When the Rebbe asked a third time, R’ Chaim did not know what to say. He realized that the Rebbe wanted the shul to be built quickly without considering finances. “When R’ Chaim came back,” recounted R’ Zushe, “with the changes the Rebbe had made on the blueprints, we convened the building committee. During the meeting, it occurred to me that we should ask the Rebbe if he would agree to have the shul named Beis Menachem for his name. At that time, there was not a single mosad in Eretz Yisroel or anywhere else in the world that

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evening, R’ Avrohom Lieder and I called the Rebbe’s office to inform him of this. After waiting twenty minutes the Rebbe came on the line. R’ Lieder, who did not know that the Rebbe was listening, said to R’ Chadakov that since R’ Zushe Rivkin had been to the Rebbe in yechidus and had asked that the Rebbe’s name be used for the shul and the Rebbe happily agreed, we wanted to use this special day of Chaf Av to name the shul for the Rebbe. “He suddenly heard the Rebbe’s voice saying, ‘You have permission for this.’ R’ Avrohom, all shaken up, exclaimed, ‘Oy, the Rebbe is speaking!’ He did not hear the Rebbe say that R’ Chadakov would continue the conversation. The Rebbe went off the line.” “When he had yechidus and gave the note to the Rebbe, the Rebbe opened it and said with a smile: Very soon he will have good news to tell me. “Listen to what happened next. We had hidden all our money in an excellent hiding place. In the scrap iron warehouse was a cast iron table with legs made of iron pipes, whose weight was over half a ton. At a certain point, we brought a forklift to lift the table and then we lowered the bundle of money into the pipe that served as a table leg. “On the day that the contractor finished his work and had to be paid, we went to the warehouse, brought the lift and after lifting the heavy table we took out the bundle of money. As far as we knew, nobody had touched the money since we had hidden it. However, when we finished counting the money, we were amazed to see that the amount had doubled! “Till today, I have no rational explanation for how the money doubled. That is how we had the full amount we needed to give the contractor. “A year later, when R’ Ashkenazi went to the Rebbe again, I gave him another note. This time, it contained good news. As soon as he entered the Rebbe’s room, the Rebbe asked him, with a light smile on his lips: ‘Did you bring me the good news?’”

was named for the Rebbe. “When I was in yechidus, I asked the Rebbe whether he would agree to let us use his name for the shul in Kfar Chabad. I said we were willing to donate a large amount of money towards the building. The Rebbe lifted his hand and said decisively, ‘I agree, but my name is worth more than gold.’ I told the Rebbe that I was not limiting the amount of money; the main thing was for the Rebbe to allow us to put his name on the shul. “At that yechidus, I told the Rebbe that I had bought a Torah. I asked when to make the Hachnasas Seifer Torah. The Rebbe told me, ‘You should be doing it on the yahrtzait of your father on Rosh Chodesh Av, but since time is short [this was in Tammuz, and although I pointed out that everything was ready and even the mantle was ready, the Rebbe said:], do it on Chaf Av, my father’s yahrtzait.’ “I returned to Eretz Yisroel and arranged a Hachnasas Seifer Torah for Chaf Av. In the

The Rivkin brothers experienced miracles in the building of the shul. R’ Zushe told about one of the miracles: “It was after we had finished the entire building and all that remained to be done was to put up a marble facade. At this point, the money we had left was enough to cover half the shul. At first, we thought of signing a contract with the contractor to resurface only half the building, but then we decided that Hashem would help and we signed a contract to cover the entire building with marble. “At this time, the mara d’asra, R’ Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, went to the Rebbe. I gave him a note in which I informed the Rebbe that we had signed a contract to resurface the entire building and asked for a bracha for parnasa.

When Beis Menachem was completed as a magnificent structure, worthy of the Rebbe’s name, R’ Zushe and R’ Avrohom Lieder called the Rebbe’s office.

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This time, they had a daring request – they wished for the Rebbe to come to the dedication of the new shul and be revealed as Moshiach. R’ Zushe told about this telephone call: “The Rebbe’s answer surprised us. It said: It needs to be in writing. We told R’ Chadakov that time was short and did not enable us to write a letter to the Rebbe before the Chanukas Ha’bayis, but he did not back down. The Rebbe said that an invitation like this needs to be in writing. “The entire conversation was recorded and we played it for the senior Chassidim in the Kfar. They immediately opened the mikva and they all went to immerse themselves so they could sign a letter asking the Rebbe to participate in the dedication of the shul and be revealed as Moshiach. After they all signed, R’ Moshe Slonim said to me, “Zushe, go!” I was willing. I thought that since I had paid for the Rebbe’s name to be on the building, it was fitting for me to invite the baal ha’simcha. “I went to 770 and right after Shabbos, when the Rebbe left the zal for his room, I gave the Rebbe the signatures. The Rebbe smiled and accepted them. Later on, when the Rebbe left his room for home, I stood next to the office door. The Rebbe saw me and wished me a good week. A few hours later, when I returned to 770, I noticed that the light was on in the Rebbe’s room. It was very unusual for the Rebbe to return to his room in those days. When the Rebbe came out, he wished me a good week once again. “The next day, the Rebbe took out $600 that was designated ‘for the signatories only.’ When I

Receiving kos shel bracha

asked R’ Chadakov to give me the signatures to look at so I would know to whom to give a dollar, he said he could not give it to me since the Rebbe had put them in his personal archives and he had no permission to take them. “The next day, I went to the El-Al offices to arrange my return ticket and suddenly heard that the Rebbe was looking for me. The Rebbe had asked that I be present when the matzos were sent to Eretz Yisroel. I went to 770 right away and saw R’ Yisroel Leibov and R’ Menachem Mendel Garelik. When I arrived, the Rebbe said we should go to the library where we would receive the matzos. After the Rebbe separated the packages that were designated for Eretz Yisroel, he said to me, ‘Since you are the gabbai, you will receive a gift from me for the Chanukas Ha’bayis.’ The Rebbe opened one of the boxes and took out a Torah Crown. “Then the Rebbe asked me to accompany him to his room. The Rebbe stood next to his desk, took out another $1200 and said:

Give this only to those who signed. Those who sign later will receive from His full and open hand. If any remain, do good things with it. “Years later, in 5752, I had the idea of selling the remaining dollars and using the money to build a palace for the Rebbe. I asked the Rebbe in a letter whether I could sell those dollars in order to build him a palace and whether I could guarantee brachos in the Rebbe’s name to whoever bought the dollars from me. The Rebbe’s answer was: ‘You can promise, but it should be a large sum of money.’”

The special Torah that was written by Anash in Eretz Yisroel in honor of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin, was finished in Kislev 5741. For the siyum, thousands of Chassidim signed that they invited the Rebbe and Rebbetzin to Eretz Yisroel to attend the siyum and Hachnasas Seifer

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Torah that was written in their z’chus, and the Geula should take place already. R’ Zushe was picked to represent all of Anash in Eretz Yisroel. He quickly informed his son-in-law R’ Aharon Dov Halperin who was in the United States at the time and asked him to tell the Rebbe. An answer was not forthcoming and it was only later that night, right before the Rebbe went home that he responded with the following: His intention is a desirable one, but the Torah has mercy on Jewish money and therefore you should remain in Eretz Yisroel and use the travel money for tz’daka. R’ Halperin called an operator and said he wanted to call Israel, but when he was finally connected he learned that his father-in-law was already on his way to New York. He decided not to tell his father-in-law about the Rebbe’s response so as not to aggravate him. They came to 770 a few minutes after 6:30 in the evening. Word spread that R’ Zushe had brought signatures with him. R’ Zushe stood near the entrance to the office and a few minutes later there was a hush in the hallway between the “lower Gan Eden” and the beis midrash. The Rebbe had returned from his house. The Rebbe entered 770, looked to the right, and when he saw R’ Zushe, he smiled broadly. In a very unusual move, the Rebbe nodded his head and whispered something that sounded like “Shalom Aleichem.” The Rebbe was expected to daven Maariv in half an hour and R’ Zushe’s plan was to attend Maariv (then in the small zal upstairs), and before the t’filla was over to stand next to the “lower Gan Eden.” He left the bundle of signatures and the silver Yad in his pocket so that R’ Groner would not suspect that he was planning on approaching the Rebbe. Right after Shmoneh Esrei, R’ Zushe squeezed his way between the benches and tables, slipped out to the corridor from the other door (exiting from the small room off of the zal) and stood next to the elevator near the door to the “lower Gan Eden.” The crowd sensed that something was afoot and the suspense could be felt in the air. In the corridor, they answered “amen” to the final Kaddish after Maariv. The Rebbe left the zal and then the door to the “lower Gan Eden” opened. When the Rebbe walked in, R’ Zushe managed to slip in behind the Rebbe as he took the envelope out of his pocket. R’ Zushe: The plane leaves at


The following conversation (in Yiddish) then ensued: Rebbe: Sholom Aleichem R’ Zushe, when are you going back? R’ Zushe: G-d willing, tomorrow at four in the afternoon. Rebbe: When does the plane take off? R’ Zushe: At six. (R’ Zushe gave the Rebbe the signatures). Rebbe: Are these new signatures? R’ Zushe: New signatures. Rebbe: Do the signatures have anything to do with the Seifer Torah? R’ Zushe: Yes, it is an invitation to the Rebbe and Rebbetzin. Rebbe: When do you need to leave here?

Rebbe: In honor of the Torah, we will have a short farbrengen tomorrow before you leave. Tonight there is a wedding and so a farbrengen cannot be made. But you came special from Eretz Yisroel and so we will make a goodbye party tomorrow between 2 and 2:30 in the afternoon. I will say a few words and the farbrengen will continue until Mincha. After Mincha, you will be on your way. Leave the silver Yad with me and I will bring it tomorrow to the farbrengen table and then return it to you. Did you rest up from the trip yet or do you feel as though you did not travel? In any case, you will be the cause for another farbrengen. Mincha is at 3:15 so the farbrengen will be at 2:15. Now go and rest and a big yashar ko’ach to you. All should be well, and by tomorrow Moshiach can come. R’ Zushe: Together with the Rebbe. Rebbe: Then too, we will go with you. Rebbe: A big yashar ko’ach in the name of all those who sent you and we will meet tomorrow at the farbrengen which will take place at 2:15. A big yashar ko’ach.

While this conversation took place in the “lower Gan Eden,” there was tremendous tension outside. The pushing in the corridor was reminiscent of the pushing during the bracha of the bachurim on Erev Yom Kippur. Everybody eagerly waited for the moment when the door would open again. The moment finally came.

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The door of the “lower Gan Eden” opened and R’ Zushe walked backward, facing the Rebbe who entered his room. When he turned around to the crowd, he seemed jubilant. It seemed as if words failed him and a huge smile took their place. He finally managed to get out the words that instantly electrified the crowd. “Tomorrow at 2:15 there will be a special farbrengen!” A spontaneous dance accompanied by singing began, including all those who were present in 770. It is hard to describe the tremendous excitement and simcha. Within minutes, news about the surprise farbrengen had spread like wildfire among all Lubavitchers in Crown Heights and all Chabad centers. In the course of the evening, they brought in, as per his request, two Torah Crowns so he could choose one of them, and the Rebbe chose both. The Rebbe said that the upper part of one of them was beautiful while the lower part of the other one was beautiful. He wanted the silversmith to make a crown out of those two sections. This crown was the Rebbe’s gift even though in Eretz Yisroel they had already prepared a crown for the Torah. The Rebbe also ordered from the silversmith a silver Yad for the “Seifer Torah of Moshiach.” The next day, Tuesday the 17th of Kislev, when the Rebbe arrived in 770, he announced that the farbrengen would take place at 2:30 and last one hour. At the appointed time, the Rebbe walked in accompanied by mighty singing of “We Want Moshiach Now,” while holding his Siddur, a paper bag with the signatures, and a silver Yad. He also held a box containing a

silver Yad for the Seifer Torah of Moshiach. He was followed by R’ Leibel Groner who held a sparkling silver crown, which he gave to the Rebbe. The Rebbe began the sicha by mentioning a letter of the Rebbe Rayatz in which he wrote that a few days before the completion of a Torah it is announced in the city. The Rebbe said that today, when we have many methods of communication, the news should be widely publicized, especially as this is a Torah that unites all the Jewish people. The Rebbe spoke about the greatness of writing a Torah, especially one that will be completed in Eretz Yisroel and is connected to Yud-Tes Kislev. He also spoke about the fact that the inspiration to have the Torah written came from the women and only afterward did the men take action, which is like what took place at the Giving of the Torah about which it says, “Thus shall you say to the House of Yaakov” – they are the women, and only afterward, “And tell the B’nei Yisroel” – the men. The Rebbe went on to say: We wish to give merit to everyone in the completion of the Torah and therefore a crown is being given, the price for which everyone in the congregation has a share. [The Rebbe explained how this is accomplished by way of the Torah law that allows one to acquire a benefit for someone else even without that person’s knowledge, and concluded:] This is material participation which is in addition to spiritual participation in the completion of the Torah. At the end of the sicha, the Rebbe said: Since the gabbai of the shul is here, as he came on this mission for the shul and in general was involved with it, we will make him a “shliach

l’holacha” (emissary for delivery) to take the crown together with money for tz’daka on behalf of all those at the farbrengen and on behalf of everyone here, so he will distribute the money to tz’daka in Eretz Yisroel on behalf of everyone here. After the sicha, the Rebbe gave R’ Zushe a cup of mashke to say l’chaim and gave him a bottle of mashke and told him to distribute it to the participants at the siyum and Hachnasas Seifer Torah. The Rebbe got up and gave him the crown and said, “On behalf of the entire congregation.” He gave R’ Zushe the Yad and money for tz’daka to be given in Eretz Yisroel. R’ Zushe said the Rebbe should merit to place the crown on the Torah in Eretz Yisroel and the Rebbe answered, “amen.” Then the Rebbe called upon the silversmith who made the
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(first) crown in Eretz Yisroel and poured him l’chaim and blessed him that he should make many crowns for many Sifrei Torah and he should learn and fulfill what it says in the Torah. At the end of the farbrengen, after the Rebbe said they should sing some niggunim, he said: Let us daven Mincha now and as the Gemara says, “A person should always be careful with the Mincha prayer, for Eliyahu HaNavi was not answered except at Mincha.” Let us all proclaim (obviously, without enunciating Hashem’s name) “Hashem Hu HaElokim, Hashem Hu HaElokim ...” He then concluded with a bracha about the Geula. At this farbrengen, the Rebbe said a maamer, “Pada B’shalom Nafshi.” The maamer was edited by the Rebbe and printed in the kuntres “Siyum Seifer Torah.” V’Hachnasas about his bitter lot. Above all else, there was his fiery faith in the Rebbe as Melech HaMoshiach and his imminent hisgalus. He truly felt the hardship of galus and at the same time lived a full life of emuna and anticipation for the Rebbe’s hisgalus. He dared to say this out loud to the Rebbe even before anyone else had worked up the courage, and the Rebbe accepted it from him. There is no question that R’ Zushe is even now insisting upon the immediate hisgalus of the Rebbe as Moshiach in his signature style – not demandingly, but with utter simplicity, the way he approached people on the street and said, “Nu, did he come?” and when they asked him in wonderment what he meant, he would shrug and say, “Moshiach!”

R’ Zushe was a man slight in stature, but his tremendous work can fill volumes. We have yet to examine his work in founding the Kollel Tiferes Z’keinim “Tiferes Menachem” which is in Beis Menachem, nor the many unusual kiruvim he received from the Rebbe like at the Hachnasas Seifer Torah in 5748 and other events. One always saw joy on his face but there was sadness in his heart after the passing of his only daughter Bracha Halperin as a young woman, after a lengthy illness and without leaving any children. He experienced many other sorrows in his life. He joked around and never complained

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E s t h e r ’s P a r t y G r i l l

ParsHa tHougHt

By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

There are two sections of the Torah where G-d admonishes the Jewish people in the harshest of terms. Actually, the word “harsh” is an understatement. Some of the most unthinkable curses are mentioned as possible punishments should the Jewish people stray from the ways of the Torah. The first such account of an admonition occurs in the second of the two sections of the Torah, B’Chukosai, we read this week. The question has been raised: How can a compassionate father subject His children to such horrific suffering? The punishments do not seem to fit the crime, no matter how far the Jewish people may have strayed. This question most likely prompted our Sages, particularly the Chassidic Masters, to conclude that these curses are actually hidden blessings. They are hidden ways of stating the incredible rewards G-d has in store for us. And these hidden blessings will fully materialize at the time of the final Redemption. Chassidic literature abounds with examples of how G-d cloaks some of the most powerful spiritual forces in unsuspecting places. Some things are just too powerful to be expressed in

conventional terms. And while we may not ultimately fully comprehend why G-d chooses to do this, it remains a fact of life that we cannot judge the appearances of negativity in the Torah by their external cover. It is imperative that we search beneath the surface of these anomalous Biblical texts to find their deeper, more positive and optimistic meaning.

With this introduction we can appreciate why many Chassidic Masters have attempted to interpret the “curses” as blessings. These ingenious and “creative” interpretations were not just exercises in mental gymnastics, but, rather, a sincere attempt to reveal the existence of powerful positive energy that we know lies beneath the surface. And when we discover that hidden dimension and reveal it, it helps to actualize the positive energy itself. With this introduction we will attempt to discover, in this week’s parsha, the hidden positive meaning behind what is, arguably, the most horrific curse.

sons, and you will eat the flesh of your daughters.” This verse poses a real challenge. How can we interpret eating our children in a positive fashion? When we delve into Chassidic literature we discover that when the Torah speaks of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, it also carries an allegorical meaning. Indeed, the most essential meaning of these terms is intended to be descriptions of their spiritual sources. Only secondarily are the spiritual fathers and mothers, sons, and daughters employed as descriptions of concrete human parents and children. Indeed, the physical parents and children, as everything else that is physical, derive from their spiritual counterparts.

In Kabbala we are taught that our personalities are divided into two general categories: intellect and emotions. This is so because our soul—which is a part of G-d—descends from G-d’s intellectual and emotional attributes and “inherits” these G-dly features. When G-d created the universe, He did so with wisdom, as it says, “The L-rd by wisdom founded the earth;

“You will eat the flesh of your

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ParsHa tHougHt

It is not that one’s emotions cease to exist. On the contrary, one does not cease to have love, for example. What changes is that the love is unadulterated, solely focused and directed at the right things. There is synchronicity in our lives that renders our emotions pure.
by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew.” (Mishlei 3:19-20) Likewise, we find that G-d employed His emotional attributes to create and sustain the universe: “For I said, the world was created with kindness.” (T’hillim 83:3) We find other emotional attributes of G-d, such as judgment and compassion, referenced in many Biblical verses as expressions of the Divine in our world. The Zohar takes the Biblical statement that G-d created the world in six days as a reference to the six emotional attributes of G-d which were most instrumental in creation. Thus, the Torah does not say, “In six days G-d created the heaven and earth,” but rather “Six days created heaven and earth.” The word “days” here refers to the emotional attributes of G-d which are the source of creation. And because our soul, a part of G-d, was placed in our body and connects to our natural human faculties, it too incorporates intellectual and emotional faculties that parallel the Divine attributes. And although we are a composite of intellectual and emotional faculties, the objective is for the intellectual faculties to exercise control over the emotional ones. A child will explode in anger for the most insignificant infringement of his territory and just as quickly put it behind him. The child does not have the intellectual capacity to control and temper his or her emotions. When we reflect on the different personality types we meet, there are basically three different interactions between the intellectual and emotional soul powers.

The lowest form is where the emotions are in total control of the intellect. When a person’s desire for something is so strong, notwithstanding its harmful nature, he or she does not have the capacity to think straight. The emotions will not allow him or her to make the right decision and to desist from harmful behaviors. This is an example of where the emotions “eat” and “consume” the intellect. Now in Kabbala we are taught that the intellectual faculties are referred to metaphorically as fathers and mothers, while the emotional faculties are referred to as children, sons and daughters. The reason for this imagery is that ideally the intellect can generate emotion. When a person meditates on G-d’s greatness, for example, it gives birth to a sense of awe, reverence and love for G-d. Thus, when a person’s emotions totally control the individual and his or her mind, it can be said that his or her children have “eaten” and

“consumed” his or her parents. This state of affairs describes the level of degradation to which our ancestors degenerated when they were slaves in the land of Egypt. Thus the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe explains the opening statement of the Passover Hagada, “This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt” in the following original way, which alludes to the loss of their intellects’ control over their emotions: The matza, the bread of affliction or poverty, manifested itself in the impoverished manner that our slave-ancestors “ate” their fathers (read: their intellectual faculties) in the Land of Egypt. Their impoverishment was one of loss of the ability to control their emotions. Slavery in Egypt denied them the ability to think clearly and objectively about G-d and their spiritual role. The objective of Passover, and the subsequent period of S’fira, when we count the days (read: attempt to bring illumination to our emotional traits that are symbolically referred to as days) is to activate our awareness and knowledge of G-d. In this way we regain the control of our emotional faculties and are on the road to receiving the Torah at Sinai.

The next level of spiritual achievement, insofar as our intellect and emotions are concerned, is where our intellect and emotions stand separate. When we compartmentalize our faculties, the intellect does not shape and mold our emotions and our emotions do not totally control our thought processes.

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In this scenario, the emotions have a life of their own and will occasionally assert themselves, dulling the authority of the mind. But the good news is that by the same token, these emotions will not completely dominate and destroy our ability to think clearly and objectively about a certain course of action. Our minds are still capable of controlling our behavior, even if they cannot control our feelings and inclinations. This approach is obviously superior to the person who, like an animal, is totally controlled by emotion and for whom intellect is only a means to rationalize his or her errant behavior. However, as good as it may be to have achieved this level, it is still not the ultimate goal.

The ultimate goal is the third level, where the emotions are

totally consumed by the intellect. This means that the emotions are in complete harmony with what is objectively proper. In theological terms this implies that the emotions of a person are in sync with his or her understanding of G-d and with G-d’s interests. There remains not even the slightest expression of selfish and egotistical energy that is associated with unbridled emotion. It is not that one’s emotions, such as love and reverence, cease to exist. On the contrary, in this scenario, one does not cease to have love, for example. What changes is that the love is unadulterated, solely focused and directed at the right things. We love G-d, Torah, our fellow, and all that is objectively good. There is synchronicity in our lives that renders our emotions pure. This will be the ideal state of affairs we will experience in the Messianic Age. In that era, the world will be inundated with

the knowledge of G-d, as the prophet Isaiah declares (cited by Maimonides at the very end of his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah): “And the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea.” But this heightened level of knowledge will also change the way we behave and even the way we feel. Thus, Maimonides states, in conjunction with that prophecy of heightened knowledge, that there will be no more jealousy and division amongst people. With our knowledge (read: our spiritual fathers and mothers, the soul’s intellectual faculties) in tune with the reality of G-d’s existence as will occasion the Messianic Age, our emotional faculties (read: our spiritual children) will be said to have been “eaten” and “consumed” by our “fathers.” It will be a perfect and harmonious world—where all the curses associated with exile will be transformed into ultimate blessings.

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MosHiacH & geula

WHo’s WHo in tHe tiMes of MOSHIACH • PART V
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, In our previous article we discussed and explained the roles of previous Jewish leaders and kings in the times of Yemos HaMoshiach. In this week’s article we will be addressing a follow-up question:

At first glance it would seem obvious the Aharon HaKohen will serve as Kohen Gadol. He was the first Kohen Gadol and the most privileged one as well. While throughout the generations, the Kohen Gadol was only allowed into the Kodesh HaKadashim once a year on Yom Kippur, Aharon was allowed to enter whenever he wanted (Midrash VaYikra 21:7). This seemingly obvious conclusion – that Aharon will resume his position – is also apparent from the Gemara. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 90b) writes: “How is resurrection derived from the Torah? As it is written, ‘And you shall give thereof G-d’s heave offering to Aaron the priest.’ But would Aaron live for ever – he did not even enter Eretz Yisroel – that Truma should be

given him? But it teaches that he will be resurrected, and the B’nei Yisroel will give him Truma. Thus, resurrection is derived from the Torah.” [See also Sifri BaMidbar 11:16 Piska 92.] Yet, we find other opinions. In the book of the prophet Yechezkel (43:18-27) we find the following prophecy: “And you shall give it to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Tzaddok, who are near to Me, says the L-rd G-d, to serve Me, a young bull for a sin-offering. And you shall take of its blood and place it on its four horns and on the four corners of the upper edge and to the border around and you shall purify it and make it fit for atonement. And you shall take the bull of the sin-offering, and he shall burn it at the end of the House, outside the Sanctuary. And on the second day you shall offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin offering, and they shall purify the altar as they purified it with the bull. When you have completed the purification, you shall bring near a young bull without a blemish and a ram without blemish from the flock. And you shall offer them before the L-rd, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and offer them

up to G-d as a burnt offering. For seven days shall you make a hegoat for a sin-offering every day, and a young bull and a ram from the flock without blemish shall they make. For seven days shall they effect atonement for the altar, and purify it and dedicate it. And when they have completed the days, then it shall be that on the eighth day and thenceforth, the priests shall make your burnt offerings and your peaceofferings on the altar, and I will accept you with satisfaction, says the L-rd G-d.” Many commentaries question: Why would Hashem teach all these rituals to Yechezkel? The Radak explains: This is because Yechezkel will be the active Kohen Gadol when Moshiach comes! So, which one will it be? The Lev Chaim (Chapter 32) explains that in the times of Moshiach, both Yechezkel and Aharon will be the Kohanim G’dolim. But this leads us to a stronger question: The Rambam rules (Klei HaMikdash 4:15): “Two High Priests should not be initiated together.” The reason for this ruling is found in the Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin 10:2) which states that the jealousy that comes from having two people appointed

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to the position of Kohen Gadol militates against appointing multiple Kohanim G’dolim. If so, how can that change in Yemos HaMoshiach?

I saw a fascinating explanation in the seifer Yemos HaMoshiach B’halacha (Volume 2, Chapter 24:2) written by Rabbi Avraham Gerlitzky. He answers the question based on an explanation of the Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos (Vol. 31 Parshas Tetzaveh). The Rebbe asks a question on the following statement of the Rambam (Ibid 10:13): “The statements found in the words of the prophets that the 85 priests would wear an ephod of linen do not imply that these were High Priests. For the High Priest’s ephod was not of linen [alone]. For the Levites would also wear such a garment, for the prophet Shmuel was a Levite, and [Shmuel I 2:18] describes him as ‘a youth, girded with a linen ephod.’ Instead, this ephod was worn by the students of the prophets and those who were fit to have the Holy Spirit rest upon them to make it known that such a person reached a rung equivalent to that of the High Priest who speaks with the Holy Spirit via the medium of the ephod and the breastplate.” The Rebbe asks: How could 85 Kohanim reach this high level of spiritual Kohen Gadol and not be jealous of each other? The answer is simple: A prophet who reaches the level of Kohen Gadol through preparation will not be jealous of his friend. The same should apply to the

times of Moshiach. The Rambam (Malachim 12:5) describes the era of Moshiach: “In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition, for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator

according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: ‘The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.’” Accordingly, it only makes sense that this rule prohibiting two Kohanim G’dolim (which was created by our sages so that there should not be any jealousy) would not apply in Yemos HaMoshiach. It is interesting to note that

the Tzemach Tzedek writes (Ohr HaTorah, Shmos Volume 5 pg. 586): It seems from the Arizal that in the times of Moshiach Moshe Rabbeinu will be the Kohen Gadol. I would like to finish with the words of the Rebbe (B’Haalos’cha 5751): “All this receives greater emphasis in recent generations, described as ‘in the heels of’ and as ‘the heels of the heels of Moshiach,’ particularly in this generation, the last generation of exile... Only the heel of the foot, i.e. the absolute last generation, has the ability to ‘rise on its own’ and elevate all previous generations, because the last generation of exile will be the first generation of Redemption – the Redemption for all Jews throughout all generations! “In particular, the shepherd Aharon HaKohen of our generation, my sainted father-in-law the Rebbe, the leader of our generation... has emphasized this through his ‘invocation’ of ‘Immediate T’shuva, immediate Redemption,’ and the announcement that we only have to ‘polish the buttons,’ and then afterwards the declaration that this too has already ended, and it only requires us to ‘stand prepared all of you’ to greet our righteous Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption.” Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www. Weekly shiurim on Moshiach topics given by Rabbi Avtzon can be viewed at

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the founding of Yeshivas tomchei t’mimim in samarkand * Why a famished r’ Michoel teitelbaum forwent the shabbos meal * r’ Yona Cohen influences R’ Zalman Shimon Dworkin to accept the appointment as rosh yeshiva * about r’ Yona cohen * How r’ nissan nemanov, upon his return from imprisonment, was appointed as mashpia of tomchei t’mimim.
By Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h

and institutions because of its ties with the free countries of the Allies, which included massive financial support by the United States.

The three main, distinguished, Chassidic founders and askanim of Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim Lubavitch in Samarkand were: the famous Chassid, R’ Mendel Futerfas, the profound and self-concealing Chassid, R’ Abba Pliskin (the two of them were bound with a deep, soul connection), and the Chassid known for his pleasant demeanor, R’ Michoel Teitelbaum, all of them of blessed memory. My family still lived in the dark clay hut, and we still did not have weaving equipment. For the most part, I still lay swollen in bed, which was made of wooden slats that lay on bricks. When one of those askanim (R’ Michoel?) came to us in order to register me for yeshiva, my mother pointed at me, lying weakly on the makeshift bed and said: Can he learn in yeshiva now? He replied: We will register your son for the yeshiva we are starting and, with Hashem’s help it will surely hasten his full recovery. My mother happily registered

Now I will go back to Samarkand and describe the founding of the Chabad yeshiva there and its brief, though rich, history. This took place when the situation of Anash in Samarkand had begun to improve. They helped one another build tekatzke stanok (a primitive weaving apparatus like in the times of the Mishna) in their homes. They began earning a little money and it was possible to still one’s hunger with a piece of bread and even to buy something to eat along with the bread. During the war, the population of Samarkand (and of course, not only of Samarkand) experienced a severe shortage and was “starving” for material and textiles. The stores had none for years. The idea of supporting themselves by weaving and providing fabric was very successful.

The truth is that they had to overcome a slew of problems, since in the Soviet Union this realm belonged to the cursed government. You had to shmear (bribe) left and right, give gifts to the knockers, the nachalnikes (senior officials), to the supervisors and the lowly policemen in the market. All of them needed “treats” in order to live. If the bribe was effective and all went more or less smoothly, the “manufacturer” of the clothes still retained a nice sum. When the material circumstances of Anash in Samarkand improved, they turned their attention to improving their spiritual state. First on the agenda was education of the children to Torah and Chassidus with chadarim for the younger children and a yeshiva for the older ones. It’s worth mentioning that during the war the barbaric government diminished its persecution of religious Jews

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R’ Michoel Teitelbaum

R’ Mendel Futerfas

R’ Abba Pliskin

me for the future yeshiva and our hut was actually the start of the yeshiva. A short while later, the twelve year old orphan, Zelig Katzman (his parents and sister had died during the terrible starvation years) came to our dwelling to learn with me. I remember how Zelig’l, shabby and tattered, sad and embittered, sat with me on what they called my bed and learned Gemara with me, as two of the talmidim registered in the yeshiva. I don’t remember which Gemara we learned, but I remember the external appearance of the Gemara. It looked just like those learning in it, tattered and bleak. The first pages were entirely missing and those that remained were torn on the sides. But we learned when Zelig came (Zelig, my dear friend, later became my mechutan).

Samarkand. The main askanim of the yeshiva reveled in this yeshiva bachur. Was this a small thing – a real Tamim from Tomchei T’mimim?! Some of the distinguished founders of the yeshiva repeatedly urged me to learn with Sholom Levertov. They told me what a great z’chus it would be, to be the chavrusa of a real talmid of Tomchei T’mimim. Of course, I willingly agreed. Our learning began on Shabbos, when we learned in the home of R’ Michoel. I say this by way of introduction to a small incident that I was witness to, which is connected to the spiritual image of R’ Michoel.

It happened on a Shabbos after the meal. In other words, after we had eaten our Shabbos meal and Sholom and I went to learn in R’ Michoel’s house. It was many hours after noon, about three o’clock. We yeshiva students had eaten well, because the askanim made sure we were well fed, but in R’ Michoel’s house they were still holding by the end of the starvation

In the later years of the war, a young talmid came to Samarkand from Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Kutais (Georgia), by the name of Sholom Levertov. This was in the first days of the yeshiva in

period. Aside from that, he was still standing near the wall and davening at length. It was so geshmak and with a captivating Chassidishe niggun that I sat and did not learn, but just listened to him daven. R’ Michoel eventually finished davening and on the small table was the Shabbos “meal” that his wife Esther had prepared which consisted of one course. Instead of fish, meat, chulent and side dishes, there was a bowl with grated raw beet with pieces of onion. R’ Michoel washed his hands and made Kiddush on two pieces of Uzbeki bread. He was ready to eat his meal of beets when his wife removed a piece of onion peel from the bowl of beets. R’ Michoel noticed this since he immediately began rubbing his forehead and did not eat the beets. Apparently, he was concerned that she had done the forbidden act of borer (selecting), even though the peel was lying on the beets and wasn’t in it. I did not remove my eyes from R’ Michoel’s face which had a lopsided smile. When his wife saw he wasn’t eating the beets, she grumbled something and I

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only heard his response, “Nu, today you will eat by yourself.” It is very hard for someone who is full to understand the terrible pain of someone who is starving. Starvation was a great test even for elevated Jews. R’ Michoel had the spiritual strength to withstand this test because of a particular concern that he had, and I can never forget this. A few years earlier, the menahel of Tomchei T’mimim was the great Chassid and oveid, R’ Nissan Nemanov. When he was arrested in the 1930’s, R’ Yona was appointed to the highest position in the yeshiva. R’ Yona was the menahel of Tomchei T’mimim when the yeshiva in Samarkand was ready to be called Tomchei T’mimim. He lived in Tashkent at the time. Askanim of the yeshiva brought him (I think it was for Sukkos, a Yom Tov that was one big farbrengen), and he farbrenged with Anash of Samarkand without interruption.

The yeshiva grew and some time later, R’ Nissan began asking that they restore him to his position as menahel and mashpia of the yeshiva as he was before his arrest. I don’t think this chapter was known among Anash and many years later, R’ Abba Pliskin told me about it: Yes, the founders of the yeshiva had to decide who was in charge, choosing between two dear Chassidim. As much as R’ Nissan wanted the position, that is how much R’ Yona did not want to relinquish this holy shlichus of the Rebbe. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. They consulted with senior Chassidim in Samarkand and Tashkent, asking them to decide who should be the menahel, but their response was, that it was up to the vaad of the hanhala to decide. We were in a quandary. Each of them, in his way, was incomparably precious to us, so how could we choose one over the other? At the same time, we knew that for the good of the yeshiva, we could not let the matter remain undecided. We decided to take a vote. The result was that R’ Nissan became the menahel-mashpia since most of the vaad was in favor of him. R’ Yona was brokenhearted about this for the rest of his life. *** When I started asking R’ Abba who [had been in the majority], he realized what I wanted to ask him and he said: We were five people on the vaad and most were in favor of R’ Nissan. No doubt you want to know who was in favor of him and who was in favor of R’ Yona … I won’t tell you this. I can tell you, just to you, that I was in favor of … and I won’t publicize what he told me.

The yeshiva grew from day to day. There were already more than a hundred talmidim. I don’t remember the chronology, but I do remember that the time came when the hanhala decided the yeshiva should be recognized by the holy name of Tomchei T’mimim. This required the stamp of approval of the menahel of Tomchei T’mimim at the time, R’ Yona Cohen. R’ Yona was one of the glorious figures among the Lubavitcher pioneering elite in Soviet Russia. He was a fervent Chassid, who fought valiantly for the smallest detail of Toras Chabad and its ways. He was an oveid and a fiery farbrenger. He was also a Yerei Shamayim and a big machmir. For example, he did not eat a crumb of bread that was not Pas Yisroel. Under the conditions prevalent in Soviet Russia in general, and the starvation years in particular, this was almost unbelievable. R’ Yona never cut his peios even though the most ardent Lubavitchers were not particular about this. He did not curl his peios and did not make them stand out in any way, but tucked them under his hat. He did not do this in order to hide them from the prying eyes of the NKVD, as his big beard proclaimed his Chassidic identity, but as an expression of modesty.

I remember something interesting R’ Yona did for the yeshiva. My uncle, R’ Zalman Shimon Dworkin, was working as a guard at a government factory in Samarkand. R’ Yona decided that R’ Dworkin’s place was not as a guard, but in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim. At the beginning of the evening he started working on convincing my uncle who absolutely refused. We lived in adjoining rooms to my uncle and when I went to sleep after midnight, R’ Yona was still far from his goal. He spoke excitedly, he demanded, but my uncle, in a quiet though determined voice, refused. When I woke up in the morning, I heard otherwise. R’ Yona said one l’chaim after another and wished my uncle success, that the rosh yeshiva succeed in carrying out the Rebbe’s intention. Yes, R’ Yona spent an entire night on this and was successful. My uncle became the rosh yeshiva of Tomchei T’mimim in Samarkand and a member of the hanhala of the yeshiva.

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sHleiMus Ha’aretZ

Translated by Rabbi Binyomin Schlanger

ather than initiating a policy of uniting the Shomron—now that Jewish people have merited living in areas of Yehuda and Shomron—and surrounding them with protective walls and authorizing many new cities to draw down blessing; instead, the government of Israel is running after [not just gentiles, but] murderers and terrorists in order to find favor in their eyes, they should just agree to take from us areas of land in Yehuda and Shomron! And that is not all. They have no shame in doing this openly and in public! Such a demeaning situation of bowing before the gentile in such a disgraceful fashion has never taken place even outside of Israel in the Diaspora! And most shocking – they still argue that this is the beginning of the Redemption! They announce: Arise and join us – we are ready for anything; a joint government – we will train together, autonomy, the main point being that we should be able to sit together around a table with those murderers and terrorists! They themselves know that they are murderers and terrorists, and that after they will promise and sign they are not to be relied


upon. That even after they will have the signed document in their hands, it will have no more value than a bit of paper! This is analogous to a man sitting around a table with a murderer, with the objective of coming to an agreement, and at that very moment the murderer holds in his hand a dagger and stabs him! The staggering thing is that they will not learn from past mistakes. This is not the first time that they want to return territories in return for a peace agreement. There is a precedent with the signing of the fateful Camp David contract [ironically, the location is named after David, King of Israel!] where they returned to Egypt everything in return for a signature for peace. Today, everyone recognizes the severity of their mistake. Nevertheless, the government of Israel continues in the same path now in connection with Yehuda and the Shomron. It is worthwhile that we mention some of the results of that contract with Egypt in order to open their eyes. Jewish people who toiled, labored and sweated to build new towns in the land of Israel – were expelled from their homes and lands, men, women,

and children! And that is not all: the government forced soldiers, who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to protect the land of Israel and those that dwell there, to expel Jews from their homes! Young soldiers, who go with innocent and pure hearts to protect the land and those that dwell there, putting their lives at risk, are forced [using the fact that they are obliged to obey orders to men of flesh and blood] to do this! For what? To give these lands to gentiles, amongst them Egypt, the root of all Exiles. Every Exile which Jews have suffered, Babylon, Modai, Greece, the West; the source of all of this tragic history was Egypt!

[In view of the danger coming from the advancement of thousands of Egyptian troops to the Israeli border, we bring the following talk delivered by the Lubavitcher Rebbe after the secret ‘London Agreement’ to hand over further territories to the enemy.]

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This is analogous to a man sitting at a table with a murderer with the objective of reaching an agreement, and at that very moment the murderer holds in his hand a dagger and stabs him!
opening the oil wells and huge financial investments were made, including monies donated by Jewish people during the Kol Nidrei Appeal [on Yom Kippur]. For this they sullied the relationship with one of the Jewish magnates who invested huge sums of money. Even until today it is not known if they healed the relationship, given that oil is the most basic commodity necessary for Israel’s existence, including the four holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfas and Tiberius and all other towns where Jewish people dwell. We are speaking now from a purely financial standpoint of dependence on oil even in times of peace and certainly from a security point of view when the need arises to activate weapons! Even more severe, they gave instructions that the return of the territories and oil wells will be no more than a loan to be proclaimed at a joyous ceremony and gatherings of happiness. What did they receive in return for this? A signature on a contract, with the two signatures of each side and an intermediary. They knew very well how little faith could be put on this signature. Today we see the results. At the very time as they were proceeding with signing this agreement, I received clear information of the proposed plan [not from those actually in the negotiations, but from both Jews and non-Jews who have free access in government

The government of Israel is handing over to gentiles [Egypt] territories which belong to the Land of Israel, land which was given by G-d as an everlasting inheritance to the entire Jewish people, from the generation who were present at the Revelation at Mount Sinai right up until the generation who will receive Moshiach. This transaction is very grave. Additionally, even according to the view of those who argue ‘we should be like all the nations’ [a nation defined by landownership], such a step creates a dire security risk for Israel and her inhabitants. Returning strategic territories to Egypt endangers the security of three million Jews [May they increase] dwelling in the Holy Land. Moreover, the Israeli government returned to Egypt all of the oil wells after great efforts were expended by Jewish people in

circles in Washington who did not hesitate to endanger their political positions by handing over to me this information]. I issued a most powerful protest against these proposed plans and explained my words fully, namely, that this proposition creates a serious threat to the security of Jewish people in the cities of Israel. Essentially, there was nothing new here. Those that brought about the signing of the agreement knew very well the great security danger to the land of Israel tied up with returning the territories and the oil wells to Egypt. Yet, regardless, the representative of the Israeli government decided to endanger the security of Jews living in Israel putting their lives at risk. May G-d protect us; it was all just in order to get a signature for a peace agreement. It is well known who leads these talks, who were the ones who decided to accept these agreements and the reasons that motivated them to do this. (From the Purim Farbrengen of 1985) Dear Reader, Please take a few moments each week to copy, paste, and email this sicha to 10 friends, asking your friends in turn to email the same to 10 further friends, ad infinitum. Thereby you will be taking a strong and active part in the Rebbe’s battle to protect the lives of millions of Jewish people whose lives are so endangered. This is, as the Rambam writes, Milchemes Hashem, and we will see it through to the final Nitzachon! Please go to http:// where you will find the current sicha.

42 � • 26 Iyar 5772

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