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MOsHiacH: tHe iNNerMOst cOre Of HisKasHrus
Yisroel Yehuda

tHe reBBe cares fOr eacH ONe Of us
Menachem Ziegelboim

arMY 22 frOM tO tHeGuard dutY reBBe’s arMY
Nosson Avrohom

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D’var Malchus Moshiach & Geula Stories Memoirs Viewpoint Parsha Thought Crossroads


iNterNet safetY: tO educate Or tO filter?
Avrohom Rabinowitz

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D’vAr MAlchus

Just as one must know his personal shortcomings, in order to correct them, so must he know his virtues, his positive character traits, in order to fully devote them to G-d. A Jew must know that he is shrewd and that he is “a servant of a king is a king” (even during the time of exile). * this awareness will rouse him to dedicate himself to complete the last remaining tasks to refine the world and bring the redemption.
Translated by Boruch Merkur

Since Korach is a personality written about in the Torah [“Torah” meaning teaching], a Jew must learn from Korach. Though, it is not enough to merely refrain from emulating his negative qualities. That is, to shun Korach as he is cast in a disparaging light: “Do not be like Korach and his congregation.” Nor does it suffice to apply the appropriate response for one who has become, G-d forbid, enmeshed in his negative qualities. Rather, one must also be aware of Korach’s virtues and learn a positive lesson from him, for he is described as being “(a) clever (Jew),” a member of “a wise and understanding nation” [the Jewish people]. Awareness of one’s virtues is a concept that is reflected in the saying of my revered fatherin-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz]. The Rebbe taught that just as one must know his personal

shortcomings, in order to correct them, so must he know his virtues, in order to fully devote them to worthy endeavors. A Jew must know that he is shrewd and that he is “a servant of a king is a king” (even during the time of exile). And he must show that notwithstanding the fact that he lives in a world that is strewn with pitfalls, he focuses his discriminating mind on avoiding them. In particular, his mind is devoted to all matters connected with the service of G-d, the study of Torah and the fulfillments of Mitzvos, etc., to the extent of “he dedicates his spirit to Him to minister to Him and to serve Him, etc.” He commits himself to this sacred task to the point that he achieves [the spiritual height that Rambam describes as], “sanctified holy of holies; G-d is his portion and his inheritance,” by means of revealing within himself the aspect of Kohen Gadol (through

true bittul, annulling one’s own interests to the service of G-d). Just as this applies to every person’s individual service of G-d, so too does it apply to the service of the Jewish people of this generation as a whole. That is, it is necessary to be cognizant of the virtues of the generation, the final generation of exile and the first generation of redemption (being a proverbial midget perched upon the shoulders of a giant, the previous generations). (Indeed, all the signs enumerated in the Gemara testify to this fact, as the baal ha’geula, the Rebbe Rayatz, stated earlier (decades ago) – that these predictions have already been realized, and it is only necessary for there to be “all of you, stand ready,” all that is required is to polish the final “buttons.”) This awareness will rouse the person to dedicate his talents and resources to complete the final pachim k’tanim, the last remaining subtle refinements of the world, as well as the “leftover” aspects of the service of G-d, and in so doing, to make the redemption a reality. Naturally, when it comes to serving G-d, a Jew must also devote his mind to utilizing every possible opportunity to add in Torah and Mitzvos, both with

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regard to himself as well as when it comes to inspiring other Jews around him. This is especially urgent as we are at the very end of the exile, after the accumulation of the vast sum of our deeds and service throughout all the generations. Now, we don’t know the precise intent. We don’t know which positive initiative will be the defining action to bring the redemption. (The same is true with regard to every individual Jew’s service of G-d. The famous words of the Baal Shem Tov are that a soul descends into the physical world for seventy our eighty years in order to do a single good deed – but we don’t have an inkling of what it is! Indeed, no one knows what should be his “Mitzva that he particularly shines in.”) Therefore, it is necessary to

take advantage of every possible what Rambam rules on the issue. opportunity to add in Torah and […] Mitzvos. Another practical suggestion, This is actually one of the regarding something relevant motivating factors for every to today, Rosh Chodesh: It Jew to strive to establish new is very fitting that every Rosh designated times for the public Chodesh a farbrengen (a study of Torah, and that each Chassidic gathering) should individual should personally be made, to speak words of become an instructor, both Torah and to say “l’chaim,” among men (with men), women “l’chaim u’livracha.” At these (with women), and children farbrengens, each person should (with other children). bless his friends with all good things. Attendees should together In order to connect take on positive resolutions in these study sessions (at least Express service Express service occasionally) with the conceptsFully matters of Torah and Mitzvos. FullyComputerized should be done Computerized Naturally, this mentioned in the work of with joy and gladness of heart, a Rambam (the daily lesson, in Kingston joyous farbrengen, 331the Rema Ave.Ave. as 331 Kingston particular), with a particular Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 (2nd(2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 rules, “the goodhearted always focus on the Talmudic sources celebrate.” of this material and the like, it is Get your tickets within minutes! Get possible to add explanations and your tickets within minutes!the address of Shabbos (From Parshas Korach, the Fax: (718) 493-4444 first day (718) 493-4444 depth by means of researching Fax: of Rosh

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Issue 838 • �  


MoshIAch & GeulA

In our generation there are those who don’t feel comfortable talking about Moshiach. However, this is precisely the point. It makes no difference what you feel. We have to do what the Rebbe told us to do. We carry out his wishes and this is what hiskashrus is about. * Although this interview was conducted in honor of YudAlef Nissan, it is highly relevant to us in our preparations for Gimmel Tammuz as well.
By Yisroel Yehuda


abbi Chaim Yitzchok Isaac Landau, scion of a well-known family of rabbanim, a scholar known for the clarity of his shiurim, continues the glorious chain. He serves as maggid shiur in Yeshivas Chabad in Tzfas; hundreds of Lubavitcher families and shluchim ask him their halachic questions; he is a mashpia to hundreds of his talmidim who consult with him; and most of his time is devoted to the public. R’ Landau dissects the essence of a Chassid’s soul,


gently peeling the Chassidic layers, digging deeper and deeper until he uncovers the inner heart of a Chassid, providing us with a clear view of what should drive a Chassid in his divine service. *** Is hiskashrus an aspect of avoda, or is it something more all-encompassing than that? Hiskashrus is one of the more spoken-about concepts in the Chassidic lexicon. It is a concept that comes up on many occasions – farbrengens,

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conversations among Chassidim, and also in a Chassid’s personal feelings. When a Chassid is inspired, often what he feels is that he wants to strengthen his hiskashrus. This is then broken down into details; strengthening learning, mivtzaim, Ahavas Yisroel etc., but the general point is hiskashrus. Hiskashrus is not a detail or a certain aspect, as you mentioned. Hiskashrus is all of life. Our entire life is hiskashrus to the Rebbe. This ought to be a given for every Chassid. There are people who think that Chabad consists of deep teachings that give one chayus in avodas Hashem. They learn Chassidus and sometimes they even daven with the maamarim that they learned, but that is where it remains. What does this mean? After all, he is following the philosophy of the Alter Rebbe! He learns Likkutei Torah and Torah Ohr! However, the meaning of “Chassid” is – who are you a Chassid of? Learning Chassidus and davening are big things, but that is not what being a Chassid is. When you say “Chassid,” it means you belong to someone. If you are a Chassid of the Rebbe, that is when the Chassidus you learn has a real effect on you, and the t’filla that you daven with a maamer Chassidus which you learned lifts you up. If the hiskashrus to the Rebbe is lacking, if the “Chassid” isn’t there, then everything is missing. I am not saying that if this inyan of hiskashrus is lacking then you shouldn’t learn Chassidus. When someone from the “outside” comes and learns Chassidus, that’s a big thing, and ultimately “the light in Torah brings them back to good.” He will learn Chassidus, which will illuminate his neshama, and then he will understand that in order for Chassidus to really stick to him and infuse him with life, he needs to be connected to the Rebbe; he needs hiskashrus. In yeshiva, in order to illustrate to the bachurim what hiskashrus is, I tell the following story. In the time of the Mezritcher Maggid, there was a meeting of the great disciples and they decided that each one of them, in their location, would seek out the great people and connect them to the Maggid. Chassidus had to be spread and how would they do that? When the leaders and

Issue 838 • �  


MoshIAch & GeulA
Torah scholars would become Chassidim, this would attract everyone else. Therefore, each one of these great people was committed to the task in his designated area. There was one disciple (I don’t remember his name at the moment), one of the great Chassidim, who had a rav in his town who was a towering scholar. He was a Torah genius and, as was typical of Misnagdim, he also knew how great he was. This talmid of the Maggid decided that he had to connect this man to the Maggid, so he befriended him and spoke to him in learning. Then one day, he asked the scholar an extremely difficult question. The gaon remained open mouthed and asked for time to think it over. He thought and thought and two weeks went by. The Chassid would visit him and bother him with the question. The gaon had no solution and he confessed, “I have no answer for you. Do you have an answer?” The Chassid said, “Yes, I have an answer,” and he told him the answer. The Misnaged couldn’t get over it – after two weeks of hard work and not coming up with an answer, to suddenly hear it like that was astounding. He asked the Chassid, “Where do they teach that?” The Chassid said, “In Mezritch!” The Torah was precious to the gaon and so he said, “I am going to Mezritch!” Traveling for two weeks with the difficulties such a trip entailed was hard for him because his learning during that period was thereby diminished. However, since Torah was most precious to him, he was willing to make the effort to travel to Mezritch. The Chassid said to him, “I am a Chassid and disciple there in Mezritch, and I want to send a letter with you to my Rebbe.” The gaon agreed and the Chassid wrote a letter, put it into an envelope, sealed it, and gave it to him. The gaon left and two weeks later he arrived at the Maggid. The procedure in those days was that everyone would pass by the Rebbe to “give Shalom.” (Afterward, it changed in Chabad. The Besht was “Polish” and so was the Maggid. By the Alter Rebbe it became “Litvish.”) Thus, he got on line to greet and be greeted by the Maggid and gave him the envelope from the Chassid. The Maggid opened the envelope, looked at the paper, looked at the rav, looked at the paper once again, and then at the rav again. Then he said, as though to himself, “I don’t see it; perhaps the difficulties of the journey brought about a change.” The rav not knowing what it said in the letter didn’t know why the rav was looking at him, and he was beginning to wonder what the Chassid had written about him to the Maggid. He remained there and became a Chassid. After a period of time, he returned to his home, and as soon as the opportunity arose he asked the Chassid, “Tell me: what did you write in that note?” The Chassid smiled and said, “Normally, I wouldn’t tell you, but since you have become one of us, I can tell you. I wrote, ‘This person is “entirely wounds and welts and open sores, there is no part of him that is whole’” – meaning, he is a Misnaged who learns Nigleh and he puffs up with pride with every new Torah thought that he innovates.” *** From this story we see that although the gaon had not yet learned Chassidus, and he still had not davened with avoda, and he did not yet go in the ways of Chassidus at all, just traveling to the Rebbe made a change in him. Previously, he was a Misnaged who was wounds and welts etc. and then he became cleansed. He was no longer a Misnaged. He was receptive to learning Chassidus. It was his hiskashrus to the Rebbe that turned him into a metzius of a Chassid. Is there a metzius of a Chassid?! Isn’t there an expression, “Omek Chassid – Rebbe” (the deepest core of a Chassid is the Rebbe himself)? It is true – “Omek Chassid, Rebbe.” Some people think this means deep inside a Chassid is the Rebbe, but what it actually means is that the deepest innermost core of a Chassid is hiskashrus to the Rebbe. That is the Omek Chassid. There is a lot to being a Chassid: a Chassid has Ahavas Yisroel; a Chassid learns Chassidus; a Chassid davens; a Chassid consists of many things, but the depth of a Chassid, that which fuels it all, is the Rebbe, hiskashrus to the Rebbe. Hiskashrus consists of Bittul HaRatzon (nullifying one’s will). The Rebbe said something and therefore, my personal desires play no role. I remember the period before the Israeli elections in the 80’s in which the Rebbe instructed to vote for Gimmel and get others to do so. This went counter to everything we had been accustomed to, until that point. Until then, we had always said we are not political; we love every Jew and have no connection to political parties. It was very hard to carry this out and yet we did it because it was what the Rebbe wanted. It didn’t matter what we

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thought and felt. Bittul HaRatzon to the meshaleiach was the point; I am mekushar and carry out his will. The same is true for Inyanei Moshiach. In our generation, there are those who don’t feel comfortable talking about Moshiach. However, this is precisely the point. It makes no difference what you feel. We have to do what the Rebbe told us to do. We carry out his wishes and this is what hiskashrus is about. Maybe, following the idea of “Omek Chassid – Rebbe,” we can say nowadays, after the Rebbe said that the avoda of shlichus is kabbalas p’nei Moshiach, that omek hiskashrus is Moshiach. If you are really mekushar, then everything revolves around Moshiach as the Rebbe said it should. That’s no small thing. How do we attain such hiskashrus?

Hiskashrus is not automatic. It entails work and the avoda is to know and feel and internalize that all the avoda of a Chassid – learning, davening, mivtzaim, parnasa, influencing others – is done because the Rebbe wants it and not because of other reasons. Likewise, the kochos that we have, everything in material and spiritual life, comes from the Rebbe, from the “I [Moshe] stand between Hashem and you.” Moshe connects Yisroel and Hashem, and Moshe is the one in whose z’chus we had manna etc. Some people wonder whether this is an exaggeration. Is everything from the Rebbe? The answer is from Yosef (for some reason, when people learn about things that took place long ago in the past, nobody expresses surprise about it). When you learn the inyan of “Yosef is the mashbir (provider)” – meaning

that material and spiritual bounty come through Yosef HaTzaddik – that sits well with us. When we learn in the Zohar, “The face of G-d – this is Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai,” that sits well with us, and so on, with numerous examples. Yet, for some reason, when we say this now, that the Rebbe is the Moshe of the generation, the aspect of Yosef HaTzaddik “Yesod Olam,” he is the aspect of Rashbi of our generation, suddenly people look askance. We need to know that this is the way it is! Fortunate are we that we are connected with a deep, inner bond to the Rebbe, Nasi Doreinu. My grandfather, R’ Yaakov Landau a”h, would repeat what he heard from the Rebbe Rashab that “Chassidus that is relevant is the Chassidus they heard from the Rebbe. All the rest of the teachings of Chassidus are

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MoshIAch & GeulA
nowadays is easy. Years ago, there were great scholars to whom every moment of learning was precious and yet they “killed,” if we can say such a thing, two weeks by traveling to the Rebbe. It was an avoda to travel to the Rebbe, to be with the Rebbe. And yet, what is so urgent about going to the Rebbe? He had the Rebbe’s teachings – even many years ago they copied or printed the teachings, so a Chassid was able to learn the Rebbe’s Chassidus wherever he might be. Why should he “waste” two weeks going and two weeks returning, traveling in the heat or cold, in order to go to the Rebbe just to hear a Maamer Chassidus? The answer is that it’s hiskashrus that matters, for that is what a Chassid is all about! The metzius of a Chassid is that he is connected to the Rebbe. Through his hiskashrus, all the Chassidus, everything that he learns at home, rises up. Everything looks different after being with the Rebbe and being mekushar to the Rebbe. Does this apply to children? Definitely! We have to examine how we instill hiskashrus in our family members, what emphasis we place on chinuch to hiskashrus. Sometimes, in the routine of life, we don’t pay attention. Chazal say, “When a baby starts to talk, his father should teach him, ‘Torah tziva lanu Moshe.’” Do we realize what this signifies? It doesn’t say that his father should teach him that Torah was given to us from heaven; it doesn’t say he should teach Modeh Ani, which you might think would be the first thing he should teach his child. He teaches his child that we received the Torah through

learned in order to understand those maamarim that they heard from the Rebbe.” (As for those who did not hear maamarim from the Rebbe, they have the maamarim of the Rebbe that they learn). That’s what is relevant, because what is relevant to the neshama is hiskashrus to the Rebbe. True, hiskashrus to the Rebbe is through Maamarei Chassidus and fulfilling the Rebbe’s instructions, but the maamarim that impact the neshama in that they can lift the Chassid up from the state he is in, are the maamarim that he heard from the Rebbe; what he himself heard or, for those who never heard a maamer from the Rebbe – those who learn a maamer of the Rebbe out of hiskashrus to him, that is what counts! The rest of Chassidus is learned to understand it, to understand the

maamer. The idea was said by the Rebbe, and this has to be felt by us in our very bones. In Yerushalayim, there was a Baal Musar whose name was Bruk, I think. He had a policy of not going to sleep before he did a favor for a Jew – truly a special person with sensitivity who wants to do chesed with a fellow Jew, who doesn’t go to sleep before doing a chesed. How did people know about this? Because sometimes, at midnight, he would be seen looking for someone with whom he could do a chesed. He wanted to go to sleep and he couldn’t, because he hadn’t done a favor. In the same way, a Chassid should feel that he cannot go to sleep before he has given expression to some point of hiskashrus to the Rebbe. This is our fuel for the entire day; it’s what connects us to life. Traveling to the Rebbe

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Moshe and “Modeh Ani” comes after hiskashrus to Moshe. This is the chinuch a father needs to instill in his children. Educate your children to hiskashrus! This is not something said about “shpitz Chabad,” and not something said by “extremists.” Chazal say that the chinuch of every Jewish child begins this way, by teaching a child “Torah tziva lanu Moshe.” When we speak to children about hiskashrus, we shouldn’t preach. We need to explain to the child and to ourselves what hiskashrus is about, and when a child receives a chinuch for hiskashrus, he grows up altogether differently. How does this apply to shlichus? The same is true for shlichus. At a farbrengen at the beginning of the Rebbe’s nesius, he spoke to a Chassid who hadn’t made his peace yet with the “seventh generation” or the “sixth generation” in America. I don’t know if it was after the nesius or beforehand, during the nesius of the Rebbe Rayatz. In any case, the Rebbe said, “You circulate among Polish Chassidim. Did it ever occur to you to bring them to the Rebbe? That you have to connect them to the Rebbe?” The Chassid didn’t know what to say. The Rebbe saw that he hadn’t really accepted what the Rebbe was saying, so the Rebbe said, “Tell me, if you knew that the Baal Shem Tov was here, would you bother to bring people to him? Of course you would! So you should know that the Baal Shem Tov is here in 770, and you must bring people to him.” That is what the Rebbe demands, that people be brought to the Rebbe! The Rebbe could have told him, “You circulate among Polish Chassidim. Do you

It doesn’t say that his father should teach him that Torah was given to us from heaven; it doesn’t say he should teach Modeh Ani, which you might think would be the first thing he should teach his child. He teaches his child that we received the Torah through Moshe; “Modeh Ani” comes after hiskashrus to Moshe.

teach them Chassidus? Likkutei Torah and Torah Ohr?” But no, the Rebbe did not demand that alone; the Rebbe demanded the bottom line of it all – bringing people to him! That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to learn and teach Chassidus; it’s important. We need to teach Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah, but the point of it all, what is ultimately demanded of us, is to bring people to the Rebbe. All the rest is fine and good but not enough. You need to learn Chassidus with them and then go and tell them where to connect, where they can hear this Chassidus, until they are inspired with hiskashrus to the Rebbe. The first thing required of a Chassid is hiskashrus to the Rebbe and the second thing is to connect others to the Rebbe. I remember a farbrengen of R’ Mendel. It was when mitzva tanks were new. Dovid Nachshon brought tanks to Eretz Yisroel and they went all over. R’ Mendel said: “Isn’t it remarkable – the tank shows up and the Chassidim open up an awning and set up a t’fillin stand outside, they set out Jewish books on a table, and yet people want to go inside the tank. Why do they want to go inside?” Try and tell R’ Mendel that these mobile homes are a novelty in this country and people want to get a peek inside. But of course, R’ Mendel had a different explanation. He sees it like this –

since a tank is the four cubits of the Rebbe, the neshama of a Jew wants to connect to the Rebbe and be in his four cubits. What is something practical we can internalize from this discussion about hiskashrus? Every Chassid needs to think of how he can improve in this area and make hachlatos. If a Chassid wants to strengthen his hiskashrus, what do you recommend? The approach to hiskashrus in general needs to be not as a concept that we talk about at farbrengens, but something we strengthen daily. It is just like recharging our cell phone every day or two; otherwise it won’t work. A Chassid needs to be “charged” with hiskashrus,

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MoshIAch & GeulA
because this is what fuels his entire day. Every day, there needs to be an “act” of hiskashrus, and I mean a physical act, something that pertains to and strengthens hiskashrus. It can be connected with the chinuch of children like the Rebbe Rashab says regarding thinking about the chinuch of children on a daily basis. Examples would be talking about the Rebbe, telling stories about the Rebbe, farbrenging with children and talking about the Rebbe on special days in the calendar. I’ll give you an example that I heard recently. Someone told me that he made a commitment that every day, when he drives carpool, he will speak about a mitzva, about Chassidishe s’farim, and if there is something special about that date he will tell the children about the significance of the day. This is an easy way to use time that otherwise goes to waste, for chinuch, for chinuch to hiskashrus. Of course, nowadays, hiskashrus translates into being involved in Inyanei Moshiach. Consequently, hiskashrus has to be strengthened through something connected to Inyanei Moshiach. May we merit to finally seeing the results of all our work in the area of hiskashrus and preparing the world for Moshiach, and be able to celebrate Gimmel Tammuz as the ultimate Holiday of Redemption when all Jews will connect fully to Melech HaMoshiach in an open and revealed way.

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Kupas Rabbeinu

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Sivan 28 – Gimmel Tammuz Magbis
B.H. Sivan 15, 5772

To all Anash, Men and Women, G-d bless you. We are soon approaching the very auspicious day, Gimmel Tammuz. This day comes in close proximity with Sivan 28, the auspicious day that the Rebbe MH"M and the Rebbetzin arrived in the United States. Obviously, these are very opportune days, when one should again evaluate his or her "Hiskashrus" (connection) with the Rebbe, and more important, to utilize these special days to 'strengthen' the Hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

"KUPAS RABBEINU," was established with the full consent and blessing of the Rebbe, with its purpose and goal to make every effort that all of the Rebbe`s activities, institutions etc. continue unchanged. By supporting Kupas Rabbeinu, one is actually participating in many of the Rebbe's activities, and thus strengthening their Hiskashrus to the Rebbe.
With this in mind, we therefore urge each and everyone of anash, men and women to support Kupas Rabbeinu in every possible way to continue these activities. In this merit may we be "zoiche" that much before Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe will be revealed as Melech Hamoshiach and redeem us from this deep and bitter Golus and lead us all to the true and final Geulo, NOW MAMAOSH. VAAD KUPAS RABBEINU Rabbi S.M. Simpson Rabbi Y.L. Groner

P.S. Please send all correspondence only to the above address. You may also send Maimad, Keren-Hashono, Magbis etc. to Kupas Rabbeinu. Eretz Yisroel address: KEREN KUPAS ADMU"R / P.O.B. 1247 / KIRYAT MALACHI / ISRAEL


In honor of Gimmel Tammuz, we present a collection of stories that demonstrate the Rebbe’s concern and sensitivity towards each man and woman, young and old.
Compiled by Menachem Ziegelboim

The mother of a talmid in a Chabad school in New York sent the Rebbe a letter in which she complained that her son, who had distinct ethnic facial features, was being taunted by the other boys in his class. The Rebbe responded that she should speak to the school administration who would certainly do all they could to stop the unpleasantness. A few weeks went by and the mother sent the Rebbe another letter. She reported that she had complained to the hanhala, and apparently they had not dealt with the situation properly since her son still suffered from the boys in the class. The Rebbe, who took a mother’s complaints seriously and felt the boy’s pain, called in his secretary, R’ Chadakov, and

told him to call the school and ask, in the Rebbe’s name, why the painful matter had not been taken care of. “What are they waiting for, for me to visit the school and take care of the problem?” R’ Chadakov called the school and after conveying the Rebbe’s message, they were able to stop the harassment of the boy. On 9 Kislev 5735, when the Rebbe went up to his room after the davening, he called for R’ Chadakov and said that this boy was having his bar mitzva kiddush that Shabbos. In order that the boy shouldn’t feel bad that his celebration was curtailed because of the Rebbe’s farbrengen, the Rebbe decided not to farbreng! Furthermore, since the boy would be celebrating his bar

mitzva with a seuda on Sunday, 10 Kislev, and many would leave early if the Rebbe would farbreng, the Rebbe said he would not be farbrenging on 10 Kislev either!

In the early years, a shliach had yechidus with his family except for a daughter who did not come because of the freezing cold weather. The Rebbe asked, “Where is my girl?”

R’ Benzion Shemtov was once visiting the Rebbetzin when the Rebbe walked in. R’ Shemtov wanted to get up and leave, but the Rebbe told him to sit and asked him what he wanted to drink. R’ Shemtov

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felt very uncomfortable. Finally, when he saw he had no choice, he said that to him there was no difference between beverages. The Rebbe said in surprise, “What do you mean? There are various types of drinks and a big difference between them!” R’ Shemtov then specified a drink. The Rebbe asked him if he wanted a big cup or a small cup. The Rebbe continued to importune him until he reluctantly accepted a cup from the Rebbe. The Rebbe, seeing his discomfort, graciously said, “Rebbe is one thing and hospitality is another thing.”

she said that all her neighbors went to the mountains while she had to remain in the city. Some time later, the woman was sent a sum of money so that she too could go to the mountains.

R’ Nachum Rabinowitz related: An askan entered the Rebbe’s room and saw that the Rebbe looked particularly serious. He mustered the courage to ask the Rebbe what was bothering him. The Rebbe told him that a couple had been there to see him. They had just married and they wanted to go on shlichus. The Rebbe made it contingent on their parents’ approval. A few days later they returned with permission and the Rebbe had given his bracha.

The Rebbe suddenly looked even graver and he said, “The woman is an only sister to five brothers who are all shluchim – and the Rebbe enumerated the locations of all the brothers – and now the parents are alone, with all their children far from them. “Right now, they are at the airport and are crying. Although they are tears of joy, they are still tears and I am with them at this moment.”

R’ Tzvi Pekkar related: Once, towards the end of my yechidus, the Rebbe said that it is customary, when traveling home, to buy a gift for the wife. The Rebbe took a hundred dollar bill and gave it to me and said, “This money is mine and I can use it as I please. Take the money
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In 5724 a woman wrote to the Rebbe about her financial woes. As an example of her pitiful plight


and buy a gift for your wife. With the remaining money, buy Jewish books for your children.” there silently. When the Rebbe saw him, he smiled and took some nickels and dimes and gave them to him and said: This is a tip. I called the Rebbe and spoke with R’ Binyomin Klein. I told him what happened and about Itzke’s condition. I asked that this be reported to the Rebbe and requested a bracha for a refua shleima. Chemi, our daughter, was living in Crown Heights at the time and Fradi our daughter was also going to Crown Heights for Tishrei and for the upcoming wedding of our nephew, Yossi Pariz. Our son Yossi also learned in a yeshiva in New York. R’ Klein asked whether I wanted my children to know about their father’s condition. I thought quickly – I knew that they couldn’t help from a distance and I did not want to spoil the simcha. I told R’ Klein not to tell. My niece, my sister’s granddaughter, was living with me at the time. I did not want to leave her in the house alone while I would be staying with my husband in the hospital. I asked our friend Motti Tzivin to take her back to my sister in the Kfar and to tell her about my husband’s condition. I went back to the hospital where Itzke was connected to all kinds of machines. I sat there all night and brokenheartedly said T’hillim. In the morning, two familiar people walked in – our friend R’ Shlomo Maidanchek and R’ Efraim Wolf. “What are you doing here?” I wondered. I hadn’t told anybody about Itzke aside from those whose help I needed. Apparently, they had called the Rebbe’s office that day, each one for his own reasons. When the secretaries conveyed their questions to the Rebbe, the Rebbe said each one should be asked how Gansburg is doing. The two of them did not know

A certain bachur would stay in 770 on nights when yechidus was held until the Rebbe finished receiving people and went home. One time, the Rebbe suddenly left his room and saw the bachur. The Rebbe asked him what he was doing there at that late hour when he was supposed to sleep eight hours. “You don’t believe me? It says so in the Rambam. I will show it to you.” The Rebbe went to find a Rambam while the bachur did not wait but fled the scene.

Mrs. Gitta Gansburg relates: In the second year after the founding of the Reshet Oholei Yosef Yitzchok school in Natzrat, on the night of Shabbos Shuva 5734, my husband (known as Itzke) suddenly did not feel well. I called the local doctor and my concern was justified for he saw that my husband had had a heart attack and said he should be hospitalized immediately. We went to the hospital in Afula where the doctor on duty examined him. She said, “Everything is fine. There was no heart attack. You can go home.” I explained to her that it was Shabbos and we could not travel. She said, “I will call the head doctor and he will order you to go home,” but Itzke was as stubborn as she was and was going to prove to her that he needed to remain. Before the head doctor came he had another heart attack right there on the examining table. He was immediately taken to the ICU where he was placed under the watchful care of the nurses and nobody was allowed to see him. Even I was given permission to see him only once an hour for only five minutes. I sat alone next to the room the entire Shabbos and worried. As soon as Shabbos was over, I took a taxi back to Natzrat to the Lipskers. In those days, there were only a few people who had telephones in the entire neighborhood. Our friends the Lipskers had a phone, and when we needed to make a call we went to them.

Once, when R’ Levi Bistritsky, rav of Tzfas, was a child, he did not feel well. His father, who went to a farbrengen without him, was asked by the Rebbe in the middle of the farbrengen, “Where is Levi?” His father said that he did not feel well and that is why he did not bring him to the farbrengen. The Rebbe smiled and said: On the contrary; that is why you should have brought him.

A delivery boy was sent from the fish store to the Rebbe’s house with a delivery of fish. What was usually done was after placing the package at the door, the bell would be rung so the Rebbetzin would know the package had been delivered and the delivery boy would leave. As the delivery boy was about to do this, he saw the Rebbe coming up the stairs. He didn’t know what to do so he stood

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what to answer, because they did not know what had happened. However, they realized that the Rebbe was asking for a reason. They decided to travel to Natzrat and find out what was going on. When they did not find anyone at home, they made inquiries. From the neighbors and members of the community they heard about the heart attack and immediately headed for the hospital. I had five minutes to spend with Itzke, but the two visitors felt they had to see him too in order to be able to report back to the Rebbe. I gave up my turn in order to let them enter the ICU. When they came out, Efraim Wolf said half seriously and half jokingly, “Why are you making a big deal out of this? There is nothing wrong with Itzke. He jokes around as always and looks great!” Another hour went by and I went into his room. A nurse called me and said, “There is a phone call for you. They say it’s from America. I grabbed the phone as my heart rate accelerated. I was sure the call was from the secretariat, but no, it was my son Yossi and son-in-law Zalman. “How is Abba?” they wanted to know. “Hashem will help,” I sighed. “The Rebbe heard about it today. R’ Binyomin Klein told him, and do you know what the Rebbe said? ‘Itzke Gansburg? It doesn’t suit him.’ The Rebbe repeated that three times!” “Really?” I asked excitedly. “The Rebbe said, ‘It doesn’t suit him?’” Oh no! Why did I say that out loud? In the bed next to me, the loyal Chassid began disconnecting himself from the machines one by one. If the

Oh no! Why did I say that out loud? In the bed next to me, the loyal Chassid began disconnecting himself from the machines one by one. If the Rebbe said it didn’t suit him, there was no heart attack and no need for IVs. The nurse went into hysterics, thinking the patient had gone mad and five doctors burst into the room. They had been called to subdue the dangerous patient.
not too long afterward, Dr. Lev came out and said in amazement, “Now I know what a real Chassid is!” But they reconnected Itzke to the machines anyway. I relaxed, having heard what the Rebbe said, and I knew that the children were with me from a distance.

Rebbe said it didn’t suit him, there was no heart attack and no need for IVs. The nurse went into hysterics, thinking the patient had gone mad and five doctors burst into the room. They had been called to subdue the dangerous patient. “Wait!” I tried to explain to them. “He did not lose his mind.” Nobody was listening to me and I was pushed outside. Well, Itzke managed to convince them that he wasn’t crazy, because

Mrs. Gansburg continues:

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A short while later the Yom Kippur War began. The hospital decided to release Itzke in order to make room for wounded soldiers. When he felt better, Itzke felt he wanted to see the Rebbe again. I did not particularly like this idea. I knew what happens in 770 with the pushing and Itzke had just begun to get back to himself. On the other hand, as the doctor had warned me, I was afraid to upset him. The doctor did not like the idea of his traveling and the effort it would entail, but he warned me not to talk about it to Itzke. Back then, they believed that when a person undergoes a heart attack, it was likely that the person would enter a depression. The doctor advised me to push him off until he had more fully recovered. I gently suggested that he consult with the Rebbe before making his final decision about traveling. I did not tell anyone that the doctor privately advised me not to let him travel. Itzke agreed and we asked our mechutan, R’ Zalman Chanin, to ask the Rebbe about it when he had yechidus with his family in Cheshvan for his birthday. In yechidus, our daughter asked the Rebbe about Itzke going to the Rebbe. “What should I tell my father?” she asked. “What does your mother say?” asked the Rebbe. “My mother says we should do as the Rebbe tells us,” Chemi replied. “What does the doctor say?” asked the Rebbe. “The doctor agrees to the trip,” she said. “Tell your mother that she doesn’t need to worry and she can tell your father the truth. The doctor is not familiar with 770 and the danger in the crowding. Over here we don’t eat, we don’t sleep, there is pushing. Tell the doctor what it’s like and if he still agrees, then fine. If not, don’t let him come.” And that is how the plans for a trip were canceled for that time.

R’ Yechezkel Besser related: In 5712 I got a message from the Rebbe that a certain baalas t’shuva wanted to leave her parents’ home in order to be able to live a Torah life, but she needed a job to support herself. I hired her as a secretary in my business. After two or three months, my partner said: I want a favor from you. Tonight I have an appointment with the Lubavitcher Rebbe – he said the secretary had arranged the appointment. I need to know what I should do. Would you come with me? I agreed to join him and we arranged that he would come to my house in Crown Heights after 10 and we would go together for the yechidus at 11. At 10:30 he came to my house and said he was not going to the Rebbe that night. I asked him what happened and he said: I have a relative in Crown Heights who is sick and I haven’t seen her in a long time. She recently underwent an operation to remove a malignant tumor and now it came back and the doctors are divided in their opinion. One doctor says she cannot be operated on and another one says they must. Since I’m here already, I want to take the opportunity to visit her. Obviously, my partner had no idea what yechidus with the Rebbe meant. I told him: This is the best time to see the Rebbe and tell him the problem and consult with him! He agreed and we went to 770 together. Our yechidus began at 2:30 in the morning. The Rebbe welcomed us graciously. He asked my partner to sit down and he sat. Then the Rebbe asked me

The son of a shliach from Texas recalls how when he was in the first grade, he and his friends decided to start a pencil gemach. Little Chaim’ke told his father how they planned on raising money for the gemach. The father could have given his son two dollars for the purchases, but the child said they were going to do as the adults did. “We will put on a play and all the parents will come and buy tickets and we will use the money to buy pencils.” The father nearly retorted that it was easier to give him the two dollars without having to attend the event, but he kept quiet. The event took place on Motzaei Shabbos. That Shabbos morning, the mailman knocked at the door and said he had a registered letter. It was an express letter written to six year old Chaim by Rabbi Schneersohn. They asked Chaim, “Why did the Rebbe send you an express letter?” He replied, “We did everything like you. Just like when you make a dinner, you write to the Rebbe, I also wrote to the Rebbe for a bracha.” The Rebbe wrote him a bracha for hatzlacha in the letter and said it should be more successful than anticipated. Instead of $18 that they had thought they would raise, they raised $19!

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to sit. I said: I don’t sit. I’m a Chassid. My partner gave the Rebbe a note with the relative’s name on it. The Rebbe’s face instantly changed to one that was very serious as he read the note. I noticed the change and that is when I first saw that he is a Rebbe! Then my partner gave his relative’s history and the Rebbe asked a few questions. The Rebbe suddenly asked in Yiddish, “Is she religious?” “No.” The Rebbe asked, “Does she herself know what her situation is?” “I don’t know.”

The carpenter asked the Rebbe to let him carry the ladder on his own but the Rebbe told him, “Where does it say that Menachem Mendel Schneersohn does not have to fulfill the mitzva of ‘you shall surely help him?’”
say that a Jewish woman knows nothing about Judaism?” “But I don’t know to what extent.” The Rebbe: “Try to get her to give some coins to tz’daka before she lights Shabbos candles.” The yechidus lasted more than two hours. The Rebbe asked my partner whether he has children and what chinuch they received and spoke about this at length.
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The Rebbe said, “She should commit to doing something that will be to her benefit.” My partner said, “Of course, if it’s not difficult.” The Rebbe: “Like lighting Shabbos candles.” My partner said, “I am sure she lights candles.” Then the Rebbe asked emotionally, “Then how can you


My partner had a little boy and the Rebbe urged him to send him to yeshiva when he got older. My partner said he wanted to send him to college so he would be educated. The Rebbe said, “Tell me, you don’t want him to marry a gentile, correct?” My partner nodded and the Rebbe said: “He will go to college and find a girl that he likes – why shouldn’t he marry her?” My partner nodded his agreement, and the Rebbe said, “You need to think about that.” And the Rebbe went on to talk about this at length. the next night and it lasted until 11:30 in the morning. The Rebbe did not call out a general statement, “Children, put on your coats.” He asked each child personally.

A carpenter was carrying a ladder when he entered 770, when he suddenly felt it become lighter. He looked behind him and saw that the Rebbe had come and was helping him. The carpenter asked the Rebbe to let him carry the ladder on his own but the Rebbe told him, “Where does it say that Menachem Mendel Schneersohn does not have to fulfill the mitzva of ‘you shall surely help him?’”

One of Anash related: It was in the early 70’s when I met a bachur in the small zal who came from England to see the Rebbe. We got into a conversation in which I learned that his parents did not have children for many years. It was only after they received the Rebbe Rayatz’s bracha that their son, this bachur, was born. Over twenty years had passed since he was born and he was about to marry. His parents asked him to travel to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to ask for his bracha. He had yechidus that night and after a short time he exited the Rebbe’s room looking astounded and overwrought. We did not have to urge him to tell us what had got him so excited. He said, “I went in holding the original letter that my parents received from the Rebbe Rayatz. I showed the letter to the Rebbe and asked for his bracha for my wedding. “The Rebbe glanced at the letter and then blessed me. The Rebbe said that at the very same time that my parents’ letter about not having children had arrived, a letter from my uncle had also arrived in which he related his parnasa problems. ‘I haven’t heard from him since,’ said the Rebbe. “You can well imagine how much the Rebbe had to deal with in the more than twenty years since then and yet he remembered my parents’ letter and how my uncle had sent a letter at the same time about his financial troubles.”

One of the Rebbe’s secretaries related: When the Rebbe was still receiving people privately, it happened one Tishrei that the list consisted of 1500 people that were scheduled for an appointment. Yechidus was on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Tuesday night, yechidus went from 8 at night until 10 in the morning. I said to the Rebbe that maybe the Wednesday appointments should be postponed until Thursday night to preserve the Rebbe’s health. The Rebbe said: If we postpone yechidus, then Jews in Eretz Yisroel and Europe who need yechidus will have to stay over Shabbos, because they won’t be able to leave New York on Friday. They won’t be able to spend Shabbos with their family and will also lose a day of work because in Eretz Yisroel they work on Sunday, and it will all be because of me. So better not to postpone yechidus to Thursday, but leave it as is, on Wednesday. The Rebbe held yechidus

The Segals of Afula went with their two and a half year old daughter to a yechidus with the Rebbe. The child burst into tears. She wanted to touch the telephone on the Rebbe’s desk and her mother motioned to her that she shouldn’t touch it. When the Rebbe saw her crying, he took a silver half dollar out of his drawer and banged on the desk. The girl immediately stopped crying. The Rebbe gave her the coin and she said, “thank you,” and the Rebbe said, “Tzu gezunt” (to your health). The parents took this wish as a segula that the Rebbe associated with the coin and for thirty years used the coin for all illnesses, births and problems.

One autumn, when the Rebbe walked from 770 to his home, he saw a group of children playing. Since it was chilly, the Rebbe went over to each child and asked him to go into the beis midrash to put on a coat.

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MoshIAch & GeulA

By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, This Shabbos marks the 18th year since Gimmel Tammuz 5754. It is obviously a day that requires prior preparation; it is a day of Cheshbon Ha’nefesh. It is a day that we have to ask ourselves how in-tune we are with the mission that the Rebbe personally gave to each Chassid: the mission to make Moshiach a reality in this world. Everyone knows that the number 18 is the numerical value of the word “chai” – life. Thus, the theme that we have seen often recently is “V’ha’chai Yitten El Libbo – Let the living take to heart.” This is an expression that the Rebbe used countless times after the passing of our holy Rebbetzin, encouraging the living Chassidim to learn from the ways of the departed Rebbetzin. While learning lessons from the Rebbe’s Torah and behavior is obviously a wonderful thing to do, it cannot be done in the abovementioned manner. We can never feel that we are learning our values and being inspired by a departed Rebbe, Ch”v. We must make a paradigm shift and take the time to “Yitten El Libbo – Sh’Chai!” We must internalize in our hearts and lives that we have a living Rebbe. There are two ways to show the world – and ourselves – that we have a living Rebbe. The first way is by simply publicizing it outwardly. While you may scream it louder, you may not really be convincing anybody. It remains your word

against theirs. The best and most effective way to get the world to understand that the head (the Rebbe) is living is by seeing that the feet and body are active! In Parshas VaYeishev, we learn that Yaakov Avinu’s sons sell their brother Yosef to Mitzrayim. Instead of telling their father that their brother disappeared, they tell him that Yosef was killed by a wild animal. The Torah (37:35) tells us: “And all his sons and all his daughters arose to console him, but he refused to be consoled, for he said, ‘Because I will descend on account of my son as a mourner to the grave,’ and his father wept for him.” Rashi explains why Yaakov refused to be consoled: “No one accepts consolation for a person who is really alive but believed to be dead, for it is decreed that a dead person should be forgotten from the heart, but not a living person.” (From B’Reishis Rabba 84:21, P’sachim 54b) When the world sees that Lubavitch is still growing 18 years after Gimmel Tammuz and we are holding steadfast in our Emuna in the Rebbe, i.e. we refuse to be consoled, then that is what makes them realize that we have a living Rebbe. I will share a story that happened a few years ago which will illustrate this point. Every Yom Tov has its unique Halachos and Minhagim. One of the big Takanos of the Rebbe is the Tahalucha, visiting other shuls and

neighborhoods to share the joy of Yom Tov by sharing Divrei Torah and Chizuk. One Yom Tov it was pouring rain, but nevertheless the Chassidim marched on with joy to their destinations. One particular Chassid came to the shul that was assigned to him and was immediately confronted by a member of the Shul. That member told him that he would not allow him to speak unless he could prove to him that “De Rebbe lebt – the Rebbe is living.” Without missing a heartbeat, that Chassid responded, “Look, I am here!” The shul-member was confused so the Chassid explained: “On Yom Tov one is supposed to spend time with his family. Why do you think I left my family and walked for hours in the pouring rain to come to your shul? It is only because “De Rebbe Lebt!” Needless to say, the Chassid was allowed to speak in the Shul. By keeping our Emuna in the Rebbe and his holy words strong we will be merit to “Zen zich mit der Rebbe....V’Hu Yigaleinu!” Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his indepth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at

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It was a long process that unfolded before R’ Refael Shuval changed his life and became a Chassid. Hashgacha Pratis prevented him from reaching the front line outpost on Har Dov and kept him on a base near his home where he began reaching out to soldiers. The results: three became Lubavitchers, some soldiers became part of other religious groups, and others were strengthened in their Judaism in general. * In honor of Shavuos, the holiday that marks Kabbalas ha’Torah, we had a long conversation with R’ Refael and his three Lubavitcher Mekuravim and discussed their life stories and thoughts, and the ups and downs that they experienced in their personal Kabbalas ha’Torah. * Part 2
By Nosson Avrohom

Can you remember the point when you realized that a real change was taking place? Yair: The turning point was an accident I was in on Shabbos near one of the beaches of the Kinneret. The car was totaled, and my friend and I who were in the car got out with barely a scratch. My mother urged me to go and say the HaGomel blessing in the shul on the nearby yishuv, B’nei Yehuda. That was when I made an unconscious commitment to go to shul every Shabbos. I still wasn’t Shomer Shabbos, but all that work that R’ Shuval did with me, when I served in the army, came to the

fore. Throughout this time, we would talk on the phone every few weeks. One day, I felt a strange feeling that pushed me to make a decision, to stop straddling two worlds. I called R’ Shuval and he invited me to his house for Shabbos. That Shabbos was very special and it gave me another stronger push to make a decision. I walked into his house and felt as though I was in another, magical world, like in a story. It was before Shabbos and the house was at peace. On Shabbos I attended the farbrengens and davening. Motzaei Shabbos, R’ Shuval gave me the address of a Chabad house. Before I left, he gave me, in addition to the Chitas (which

he gave to all of us on base), a Machzor for Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur that were only days away. In Raanana I attended the shiur given by R’ Dunin that took place in the Chabad house. I found R’ Dunin very impressive, and at the end of the shiur I heard him ask R’ Shadmi, “Where are we sending him? Is Ramat Aviv for him?” R’ Shadmi said yes. Then R’ Dunin declared that I belonged in Ramat Aviv; that was without consulting with me. For Yom Tov I went to families of Anash in Raanana and then I went to learn in Ramat Aviv. The rest is history. Nadav: The nicest thing about Rafi was that even after he finished with the Reserves, he kept in touch and kept visiting

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the base. Our relationship grew stronger. We felt that he loved us. What greatly appealed to me and motivated me to change my approach was the maamer that we learned about how everything in the world, even if there is truth to it, has an element of self-interest. The only exception is one who chooses the King, since He is the One who runs everything. I remember that this shook me up. R’ Shuval gave me many books to read including Lessons in Tanya. One day, I opened the first volume and read, “He is made to take an oath that is administered to him in heaven, charging him: Be righteous and be not wicked.” I read it again and again and knew that this was Truth. I put the book aside and was unwilling to touch it. I felt that someone was pulling the rug out from under my feet while I still wanted to enjoy this world. On Purim, I visited R’ Shuval and he took me to R’ Rosenfeld’s farbrengen. There, for the first time, I saw what pure joy is and with that the final barriers between me and Yiddishkait fell away.

Shai: I felt an inner awareness as soon as I got to know R’ Shuval, but it took more time until this developed into serious changes in my life. I just remember that as soon as I was released, I went to study alternative medicine at the Reidman Center in Tel Aviv where there were many students who were involved in meditation. I can’t forget how inside I laughed at them. After you know authentic Judaism, you look at these things disdainfully. I scorned it both to myself and to others, and that was when I was still not openly religious. When I read a certain Eastern philosophy before I was drafted, I saw that one of its principles is to repeat every day, “Don’t get angry today,” and “Don’t worry today.” I would work on myself to act on these lines. It took me five years to achieve some measure of success. Then, when I learned Tanya about the true paths to simcha, I was able to make great strides in this within one year! I felt that true inner work on middos is only in Judaism. I made the real change when I flew to the Rebbe. However, prior

to making that move, I had a big obstacle to overcome. I made my living from massages, and most of my jobs were on Shabbos. I always felt guilty about working on Shabbos and my friends urged me to stop working on Shabbos. I was afraid of losing most of my earnings, until one Shabbos when I decided to rest and trusted in Hashem, who provides parnasa, to take care of me. I wanted to see, what would happen if I tried? The amazing thing was that the following week, I got double the number of clients. I saw Hashem’s bracha. In Tishrei of that year, I went to the Rebbe. I was still not wearing a kippa or tzitzis. I kept talking to R’ Shuval. Inside, I was on fire, but I was afraid of making a big change in my life. He urged me to go to 770, to the Rebbe. I did not understand why he was pushing me so much, but I was finally convinced to go. I went to 770 and did not leave. After Tishrei, I returned to yeshiva in Tzfas as a Lubavitcher.

R’ Shuval, how did you feel

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as they turned into Chassidim before your eyes? Rafi: Three of them became Lubavitchers, but others turned to other groups, and still other soldiers became stronger in general. There are some more soldiers with whom I am in touch who will definitely still make further changes B’ezras Hashem. As to your question, when you do mivtzaim you don’t think and plan for other Yidden to become baalei t’shuva. You do the work as a soldier of the Rebbe and the Rebbe helps. On the base I had a relationship with everyone except for two soldiers. One of them I nagged for eight months to put on t’fillin, but he refused every time. That officer serves in Intelligence and was a hard karkafta to crack. After eight months, even my persistence flagged and I threw up my hands in despair. Then the unbelievable happened. He came to me! Before I put t’fillin on him, I asked him, “What happened?” He said, “I see how t’fillin were so good for Nadav who serves with me. They made him happy. I want that too.” It made me happy to see them change before my eyes; it was very satisfying. I know that it gives the Rebbe nachas. Were you aware of the difficulties they would have to face? Rafi: I think that what helped me understand them, in the early stages of their becoming baalei t’shuva, was the fact that I myself had gone through the same process four years earlier. It is very important to keep in close contact with those that one is mentoring, especially in the early stages. During that period, one needs almost daily guidance in everything. Until today, there are two guys with whom I am in close contact. One already goes to shiurim at the Chabad house in his city and the other one, a security guard at Tel Aviv University, has already attended farbrengens at the yeshiva in Ramat Aviv. A baal t’shuva has many challenges and I go through it with them. It’s a stage in which you lose a world without knowing what world you are going into. There is a lot of uncertainty. You need to drop habits, hobbies, and even friends. Some people lose parnasa and even family. It’s not a simple process. My parents took it very hard. In the early years, I had a hard time with them, and that was despite the fact that my father grew up in a religious family. It’s a long way from those initial hurdles to coming home with a hat and jacket. What about you guys – did the initial stage of the process feel as challenging as the way he described it or was it easier for you? Yair: I am listening to R’ Shuval and remembering difficulties I had with my parents. They did not understand what had happened to me. I remember talking to my father and he cried, “You are leaving us! You are going towards the unknown. Did we not give you enough?” They sent my sister to see what was going on with me – maybe I was lacking something; maybe I was using illegal substances that were causing me to make irrational decisions. My father asked me questions and I didn’t really know what to tell him. I was very calm and did not get angry. I simply said this was good for me. I had to keep on reassuring them that their darling was fine, had not gone crazy, and had just chosen the path of Truth. When I learned in yeshiva in Ramat Aviv, I visited my parents every month. I remember that in the beginning, my father and I went to a grove near the yishuv and that is when I told him that I had chosen a new path. All in all, they respected me a lot, but it was still very hard for them. When I learned in yeshiva they wondered how I would support myself in the future. It’s interesting that when I told my father that I wanted to fly to the Rebbe, he paid for the ticket. It was only afterward that I realized that he thought I would see the world and drop my weird interests, but when I returned and told them that I was starting shidduchim, they were in shock. “How can you get married when you don’t have any money?” But it happened. After meeting my future wife a few times, I told them that the shidduch had concluded and related all about the answer we received from the Rebbe. I thought my father would faint. After the wedding, I was in kollel for a year, as the Rebbe says to do, and my father asked, “How will you have money to live?” I told him there is a G-d, and I was composed when I said it. It was only when I took a job in Ohr Menachem that my father calmed down a little. His son had gone to work. When our first child was born, my mother was afraid that we might cut off ties with them, because how would we explain to our child that Grandma is not religious? Yet that passed too. Today they understand and respect the path we’ve chosen. They understand that it’s good for us and they know that we don’t force them to do anything. When we go to them for

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Shabbos, they shut the television and sit with us for Kiddush. Is it hard? Yes. But Hashem gives us the ability to handle it. Nadav: For me, it wasn’t hard in the beginning; the difficulties only cropped up later on. In the early months I was on fire. R’ Shuval gave me a book called Ata Yodati (Now I Know) by R’ Chaim Sasson and I read it entirely. It was clear to me from the beginning that the Rebbe is Moshiach and Chabad is the Truth, but it was hard to turn my enthusiasm into something practical. After I went to the Rebbe, with the constant urging of R’ Rafi, I decided to go to yeshiva. Shai: I did not experience any difficulties during the first year either. The advancement in my learning was at a fast rate. I avidly read piles of books from morning till night. The problems began a year later when I left yeshiva twice a week in order to finish my naturopathy studies. When I came back a year later, I experienced a crash. I had learned how to behave and I expected that everyone around me would behave that way too. Seeing things happening that I had not expected caused me to crash hard. It took me time to find an inner balance.

The idea of reward and punishment never moved me; that is not what got me involved. As kids, we would take a recording of Rav Amnon Yitzchok and play it in the car on Shabbos on the way to the beach. We considered it a great joke. Even the books of Breslov that exude love and emotion did not speak to me. But when you talk about Moshiach, about a global concept, not just another game in the local ball field, then that is something that appeals to me and speaks to me – here, you have a mission to carry out.
it. On the contrary, it’s a subject that sets a high standard from the outset, as far as making a strong and deep commitment is concerned. People understand that in this matter we go all the way. Yair: I remember that in the beginning I had questions like “How do you know that the Rebbe is the one who is Moshiach?” It was not so much Rafi’s explanations of the Rambam’s criteria for Moshiach that I understood; but I felt that Rafi was explaining it sincerely.

R’ Rafi Shuval

How significant was the topic of Moshiach in the course of your becoming religious? Rafi: The topic of Moshiach did 90% of the work with the soldiers. As far as the remaining 10%, I tried not to get in the way. I did not avoid the topic of Moshiach at any point, and I never heard from anyone that he did not connect because of

Rafi with Shai and Nadav in New York on a visit to the Rebbe

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Nadav: It was a topic that was central to my becoming religious. When I learned Tanya, I understood and felt that Judaism is the Truth, but what got me to take action and to start doing mitzvos was Moshiach. If he hadn’t talked to me about Moshiach and I had only learned Tanya, I don’t think I would be a Chabad Chassid today. Maybe I’d be someone who loves Judaism or a traditional Jew who doesn’t speak negatively about religious Jews. I definitely would not have grown a beard, put on a kippa, gone to yeshiva, and made a Chassidic home. When you talk about Moshiach, it’s something else entirely; much more powerful. The idea of reward and punishment never moved me; that is not what got me involved. As kids, we would take a recording of Rav Amnon Yitzchok and play it in the car on Shabbos on the way to the beach. We considered it a great joke. Even the books of Breslov that exude love and emotion did not speak to me. But when you talk about Moshiach, about a global concept, not just another game in the local ball field, then that is something that appeals to me and speaks to me. It had an impact not just on me, but on all Jews – here, you have a mission to carry out. Shai: Although I consider myself an intellectual type of person, when it came to Moshiach I did not mix in my seichel. When I was first becoming frum, when they spoke about the Rebbe, it was so tangible that I was sure they were physically seeing the Rebbe. When I realized that the Rebbe cannot be seen now, that surprised me, but I accepted it. I remember that the first week I got to know Rafi, I was standing waiting to hitch a ride and it was freezing. When cars did not stop, I said, “Rebbe, you are Moshiach. Please send me a ride,” and within a minute a car stopped that took me to my house. One of Moshiach’s activities is to “compel all Israel.” Do you feel part of that process? Rafi: If you don’t mention it constantly, the routine of life will make you forget it. In the beginning of the t’shuva stage, you feel it all the time. It is just like on Motzaei Yom Kippur when you feel spiritually elevated, but then it wanes over time. The exigencies of life make you forget, so from time to time I remind myself of those days, of the experiences I had. Sometimes, I sit before the bedtime Krias Shma and without being a big tzaddik I shudder, because despite everything that has been done until now, Moshiach still hasn’t come and we are in galus. Nadav: Even if I want to forget, people remind me, whether it’s an encounter with friends from the past or family members who ask me what happened to me and why I’ve made this move. I have a ready answer for everyone: I wasn’t in an accident and nothing fell on my head and I did not encounter G-d. People are sure that only someone who went through a tragedy or psychological trauma would do t’shuva, but that’s not me. Nothing bad happened to me, everything was fine, and life was good. I was a popular musician, my life was full of meaning and I had many friends. So why did I do t’shuva? Because the Rebbe decided to pick up my neshama from the abyss; there is no other explanation. A hidden hand raised me up to the path of Torah. That is what I explain to them. I remember that on the base we once learned the D’var Malchus on Parshas Mishpatim, how in the past the gentiles slaughtered one another and thought that was just fine, and now, there has been a turnabout in that regard. What happened? Did they all turn into peaceniks? The Rebbe explains that it’s because the atmosphere of the world has become more refined in these moments before the Geula. I was very taken by this approach. Shai: In that initial period, I felt it every day, every hour. I had an enormous amount of strength and I felt very close to the Rebbe. I saw many miracles and clear hashgacha pratis. I had an interesting story with Nadav when we went to the Rebbe for Tishrei. One night, we learned a maamer of the Rebbe Rayatz about the seventy oxen (brought as sacrifices on Sukkos) and Am Yisroel, and the Rebbe Rayatz explains that if a Jew stands strong, then the goy will submit. Not only that but he will answer amen. Right after learning the maamer, we went shopping in Manhattan and there, on one of the bridges, we met a black man who asked for a cigarette. After he got one, he began screaming at us and cursing about what we are doing to the Palestinians. He compared it to what the Americans did to the blacks. At first we tried to be nice, but he continued forcefully until I suddenly remembered what it said in the maamer that we had just learned. I told Nadav, “Let’s answer him the way he should be answered.” We started talking to him firmly about how he must observe the Seven Noachide Laws and how Israel belongs to the Jewish people as it says in the Bible. Amazingly, he immediately calmed down and agreed with us. It was incredible to see

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the actualization of what we had just learned. It “worked.” We had many examples like this. Instances like these are empowering. You feel that the Rebbe is with you. Today, working with children is harder; you experience less because you contemplate less, but I can recall the feelings that I once felt.

In conclusion, can you describe to us how Chabad appeared to you when you were outsiders? Rafi: There is a Chassidishe explanation about Hashem “forcing the mountain over them like a barrel,” that Hashem bestowed tremendous spiritual bounty until the Jewish people were compelled to say “naaseh v’nishma,” having felt a great love for Hashem. It wasn’t intimidation but love, and that is what stands out in Chabad. I felt this very strongly at the Chabad house in Sydney. There we were, many people who in everyday life wouldn’t give each other a second glance. At the Chabad house, we were all one. It’s not just that we came there to eat; it went way beyond that. It must be a place that is higher than everything if it is able to include everyone. Uniting extremes is something only the Rebbe can do; it was definitely not the ko’ach of those three bachurim. I remember that when I returned to Eretz Yisroel to my parents, I went to the nearest shul to daven on Shabbos. I sat down somewhere and was ejected by the person who usually sat there. I sat somewhere else and I was moved from there too. It happened a few times until all the seats were taken and I stood throughout the davening.

R’ Yair Berstein

The next day, I asked where the Chabad house in Netanya is. I went there and immediately felt the typical warmth of Chabad. R’ Dreyfus merely saw me, and he got up, shook my hand, brought me a Siddur, and invited me to the Shabbos meal. Yair: It says that truth goes “from the greatest heights to the lowest depths.” I mainly felt the Chassidishe warmth in the home of R’ Shuval, then at the farbrengen with R’ Ofer Meidovnik where there was so much love. He hugged me and I guess he realized that I am a musician who loves blues. He told me again and again that “blues” in English means sadness. I wondered how he knew I like that kind of music; he was able to zero in on something that was important to me. What he said made a great impression on me, in addition to the atmosphere. I am an emotional person after all, and what moved me was the Lubavitcher davening, with gravity and p’nimius, without shouting and waving arms all

Yair on his release from the army (on the right)

about. On my journey there were many good people who helped me like R’ Yitzchok Siman Tov, R’ Reuven Dunin, recordings of shiurim on Tanya from R’ Moshe Orenstein, R’ Liras Benita the shliach in Kfar Batya and of course, the yeshiva in Ramat Aviv. It’s good that we are sitting here and talking, because it happens on my shlichus that I despair of certain people when I see nothing moving. I will leave inspired from our discussion here tonight!

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During the shiva for r’ shimon Friedman a”h, the family heard numerous stories about the chesed he did. Beis Moshiach is pleased to present more inspiring stories about a man who devoted himself to doing chesed, a chassid whose Ahavas Yisroel and Ahavas Hashem knew no bounds.
Yisroel Cohen

The world stands on three things – on [the study of] Torah, the service [of G-d], and deeds of kindness.” R’ Shimon Friedman was known for his tremendous knowledge of Torah, Nigleh and Chassidus. Dozens of scholars along with simple people would go to hear his shiurim and farbrengens. His service of G-d, i.e. t’filla, was accompanied by copious tears and deep contemplation, and his entire life was devoted to acts of kindness, with every moment utilized to help others. Indeed, he was a true remnant of the great ones.

Rebbe one year for Tishrei. In the yechidus he had prior to returning to Eretz Yisroel, R’ Slonim presented a number of questions to the Rebbe. One of them had to do with the new shul in Shikun Chabad. Some of the Chassidim wanted a later time for davening and some wanted to leave it at the usual time. The Rebbe asked him, “What does R’ Shimon HaTzaddik think about it?” R’ Sholom Dovber Labkovsky related another occasion when the Rebbe referred to him in this way. Before Rosh HaShana, the Rebbe gave the secretariat a list of names of people to whom New Year’s greetings should be sent. Among the names of people from Eretz Yisroel the Rebbe wrote “Shimon HaTzaddik” and in parentheses he wrote “Friedman.”

Relatives of his, who grew up with him in Yerushalayim, said that his greatness and righteousness were apparent in his youth: “Until the age of eight, he acted like all other children, playing with children his age. At the age of eight, he underwent an enormous change and he transformed his behavior completely. “At recess, when his classmates went outside to play, he continued learning in the classroom. In the evening, when he went home, he used every minute to help orphans and widows and needy families.

R’ Shimon Friedman a”h, nicknamed “Shimon HaTzaddik,” passed away on Erev Shvii shel Pesach. That Shabbos (in Eretz Yisroel) we recited the first chapter of Pirkei Avos. The second Mishna says, “Shimon HaTzaddik was one of the remnants of the Men of the Great Assembly. He used to say: As was related in the previous article about him, the sobriquet “Shimon HaTzaddik” is one he acquired in his youth. We heard additional details about this during the Shiva from R’ Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, rav of Kfar Chabad, as follows. R’ Ezriel Zelig Slonim, one of the directors of Kollel Chabad and a founder of Shikun Chabad in Yerushalayim, visited the

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As a young student in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim, R’ Shimon would spend time with the unfortunates of Yerushalayim, those people that others didn’t deign to look at. He helped them and cheered them up. One day, as he was walking down the street, surrounded by several nebechs, his mother caught sight of him. At first, she was embarrassed and she told him, “I’m ashamed of you. Look at these nebechs you walk around with!” R’ Shimon replied, “Dear mother, I hereby give you all the reward that I deserve for helping these people, as long as you allow me to help them. This is my pleasure and what gives me energy.” R’ Shimon did not only minister to the outcasts of society. His big heart was also open to widows and orphans and he provided for their needs. When he was in yeshiva, his practice was that after every meal, when the students finished eating, he would go to the kitchen and ask the cook to pack up the leftovers. He said to her matterof-factly, “What you give me, I give out to widows and orphans and needy families,” as though there was nothing special about what he did.

The zealot, who couldn’t stand to hear any critique of his actions, turned his ire upon R’ Shimon and slapped him in the face. R’ Shimon immediately began to run after the man, saying, “I forgive you wholeheartedly! I forgive you wholeheartedly!”
felt bad and asked the child’s forgiveness. The child, who did not see what there was to apologize about, forgave him and also apologized for disturbing the lesson. Despite the student’s forgiveness, R’ Shimon asked for his forgiveness several times over the next few days. When R’ Shimon saw that if he would continue teaching a situation could arise in which he might hurt another talmid, he left, though not before ascertaining that there was someone to replace him. The main thing was that the children should not stop learning.

After he married, he lived in Shikun Chabad in Yerushalayim. This was when the neighborhood was first established and R’ Shimon did a lot to help. It was at this time that the first Chabad elementary school in Yerushalayim, called Toras Emes, was started. The improvised classrooms opened in the Chabad shul. Every morning, when the

school day began, those who davened moved to a side room, leaving the main room for the pupils. When the school experienced enormous financial difficulties, which made it fall behind in paying the salaries of the teachers, some of the classes remained without teachers. One morning, R’ Shimon showed up at one of these classes. He had heard about the problem and was not willing to have Jewish children remain without a teacher. The children were happy to finally have someone come and teach them, except for one child who had gotten used to the perpetual recess. This child disturbed the class and the new teacher, R’ Friedman, yelled at him. After the class, R’ Friedman

R’ Shimon’s practice was to go from shul to shul every day
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and complete minyanim, bless people with the Priestly Blessing, and help the elderly and others with putting on t’fillin. In Kfar Chabad they would relate that for years, R’ Shimon would lead a blind man to shul, putting t’fillin on him, and reading the words slowly so that the man could also daven. Sh’arim. The screaming man attracted other people to the scene who joined in the shouting, “This isn’t your place, scram! Scum!” The woman had had no intentions of offending the sensibilities of the residents. She began to quickly leave, making her way through the many bystanders. One of the men, who wanted to teach her a lesson, continued to follow her and shout. R’ Shimon, who witnessed the scene, stopped him and said, “Your screaming is not effective. You are merely shaming her and displaying a great lack of Ahavas Yisroel.” The zealot, who couldn’t stand to hear any critique of his actions, turned his ire upon R’ Shimon and slapped him in the face. R’ Shimon immediately began to run after the man who had run away in fear that R’ Shimon would hit him back, but all R’ Shimon did was say, “I forgive you wholeheartedly! I forgive you wholeheartedly!” through and had caused the man further losses. R’ Shimon’s attitude was that when Hashem would help the man recover, he would get his loan back. Years went by and when R’ Shimon was invited to a certain wedding, his family was taken aback when he refused to attend saying, “Since the person who owes me money is likely to be there, when he sees me he will remember the loan he did not repay and will feel terrible. I prefer not to go.”

In one of the shuls, R’ Shimon heard someone speak derisively about a rav in the neighborhood. R’ Shimon couldn’t stand to hear any lashon ha’ra or rechilus and he asked the man to stop his derogatory talking. He recommended that the man ask forgiveness of the rav, but the man wasn’t interested and kept up his harangue. When R’ Shimon saw that he wasn’t being effective he left the shul so as not to transgress the prohibition of lashon ha’ra. In the evening, he met the man again and told him, “I visited the rav you were speaking about. I did not reveal your identity to him, but I asked him to forgive you nonetheless. Don’t worry,” said R’ Shimon with a smile, “he forgives you wholeheartedly.”

An older woman visited during the Shiva. She walked in quietly and sat down. The family, who was used to the nonstop stream of visitors, did not pay attention to her at first and continued talking to the other visitors. At some point the woman sobbed, “I don’t know what to do now. Who will learn with my son?” The women tried to calm her and heard the following story from her: “My oldest son is handicapped, which makes it very difficult for him to leave the house. In addition to physical limitations, he suffers from loneliness. He is in the house all day, has no friends, and nobody with whom to spend all that free time. This caused him to fall into a depression. “One day, an angel appeared at my home in the guise of R’ Shimon HaTzaddik, your father. He came to learn with my son. For many years now, almost daily he would climb three flights of stairs and would learn Chumash and Rashi with my son for an hour.

A man who had fallen into terrible financial trouble shared his woes with R’ Shimon. “Could you lend me a large sum of money?” asked the man. “I will use it to invest in a deal that, with Hashem’s help, will earn me a profit and then I will repay you.” R’ Shimon felt his pain and lent him the money and gave him a bracha that he be successful. Some time passed and the loan wasn’t repaid. R’ Shimon didn’t want to aggravate the man and he didn’t ask him for the money. Whenever he saw him, he acted as though he expected nothing. As time went on, R’ Shimon heard that the deal had fallen

R’ Shimon did not take offense and forgave anyone who harmed him. One regularly heard him say, “I forgive anyone who ever harmed me, whether knowingly or unknowingly.” One evening, he happened upon a commotion in which he heard people yelling at a woman, “Get of here! Don’t come into our neighborhood dressed immodestly!” The woman was not religious and she had mistakenly entered Meah

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“The new friend and the consistency of their learning breathed new life into my son and changed him completely. He finally found a reason to wake up in the morning because, ‘Soon, R’ Shimon will be coming to learn with me!’ “Who will learn with him now?” concluded the woman in tears.

R’ Shimon’s prayers and blessings were particularly effective. R’ Avrohom Shtatland, who was R’ Shimon’s personal mashpia for years, had this to say: “One night, I dreamed of the Rebbe. As I approached him, I said that I had a relationship with R’ Shimon. The Rebbe looked at me and said, ‘You know that his prayers have power.’ “When I later met with R’ Shimon, I told him about my dream. He humbly said that the Gerrer Rebbe, the ‘P’nei Menachem,’ told him the same thing. “In addition to his brachos and warm way of relating to everyone, his family says that every night, after a busy day helping others, he would sit in the kitchen of his house and have many phone conversations with people all over the country. It may have been one of his many talmidim or a couple with shalom bayis problems. In each case, R’ Shimon tried to find the way to their hearts.”

the Rebbe said about Shleimus Ha’Am and Shleimus Ha’Aretz. It might have been a grocery store where he spoke to the shopkeeper or a bus trip when he asked the driver for permission to use the loudspeaker. Many of the regular passengers on the 433 bus line from Yerushalayim to Kfar Chabad can tell of R’ Shimon’s conversations with them. One morning, a Chassid met R’ Shimon at the entrance to Kfar Chabad as he waited for a bus to take him home. The man had a car and he asked R’ Shimon where he was headed. “I am on my way to Yerushalayim,” said R’ Shimon. “Then come with me. That’s where I am going and I can take you to your house.” R’ Shimon demurred, saying, “There are many soldiers who travel at this time on public transportation. I want to put t’fillin on with them and talk to them about Jewish topics.”

R’ Shimon HaTzaddik doing mivtza t’fillin at the Kosel shortly after the Six Day War

In the middle of a turbulent farbrengen behind the Iron Curtain of Soviet Russia, at a time when the main avoda that the Rebbe demanded was chinuch of the next generation to Torah and mitzvos, the Rebbe Rayatz said to the great Chassid, R’ Itche der Masmid, “Listen Itche. If you are involved with the chinuch of Jewish children, then you are mine. Otherwise, you will be Itche, but not mine.” R’ Shimon merited to “belong to the Rebbe.” He was fervently involved in the only remaining shlichus – preparing the world to greet Moshiach. He did not hide his belief in who he thought Moshiach is. He considered the

Wherever R’ Shimon went, he took the opportunity to talk about Jewish topics or relay what

sichos of the D’var Malchus most holy and whenever he learned them he was re-inspired. “The Rebbe gave us the job to bring the Geula,” he would announce excitedly, and continue learning. After this past Tishrei, when his son Menachem Mendel returned from 770, R’ Shimon told him that he envied his belief in Moshiach and the special chayus with which people return from 770 and the simple faith that the Rebbe is chai v’kayam. *** May we immediately see the complete hisgalus of the Rebbe, at which time we will meet with R’ Shimon once again. Together, we will march towards Moshiach. When he finally sees the Rebbe for the first time, he will certainly recite the SheHechiyanu bracha with all of us, and together with all Jews we will joyously proclaim, “Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L ’olam Va’ed!
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After discussing problematic Internet usage, Rabbi Sternberg referred us to two mechanchim who deal with this matter, each of whom has a different approach to handling the Internet. One recommends focusing on chinuch and the other says we must block and filter. * See how an approach that utilizes both approaches in tandem is the best formula for averting problems.
Avrohom Rabinowitz

n last week’s interview, the first in a series of articles on the Internet, Rabbi Shlomo Sternberg explained how dangerous the Internet is. Many people felt that although he stated the problem, he didn’t provide any solution. So we asked R’ Sternberg what he recommends for safe Internet usage. R’ Sternberg: There are two general approaches that seem contradictory, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. There is the approach of chinuch in which we educate ourselves and our children to Chassidishkait and we speak openly with them about the


challenges of the Internet. We understand that there are red lines that we don’t cross. Then there is the approach of using various means to filter and block access to problematic sites and objectionable material. The technical approach: There is a website called “Guard Your Eyes” (see box), which offers all the possibilities for effective blocking including technical support for those who need help in installing filters or outsider password protection. The options are generally: 1) Filtered Internet – Internet service that comes through a kosher Internet company so there

is no access to objectionable material. 2) Filtering content – installing a program on the computer that filters sites and only allows access to decent content. 3) Content reporting – a system in which every site visited is reported to an outside person. 4) Monitoring – using a program that captures photos and records all actions taken on the computer that enables parents and teachers to check which sites were visited. It is important to note that effective filtering is needed even (or primarily) for mobile devices. Likewise, it is very important that a home computer be centrally

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located where everyone can see it which greatly limits using it for problem sites. The educational approach: This involves constant and serious chinuch, which includes specific education for Internet usage, as well as general chinuch with strong demands towards p’nimius and no compromises. On the one hand, children have to hear things spelled out clearly so they know the difference between good and bad. They need to be fortified from within to be able to withstand outside influences, just as we do for the kashrus of food and drink and everything else. On the other hand, this is not

Consider a man who wants to kill himself. No protective wall will stop him, because he’ll just go to another roof. The most successful filter won’t save someone who wants to visit unsavory sites and so the emphasis must be on chinuch.
in which the values are Torah and mitzvos, hiskashrus, Geula, Moshiach, shlichus, he can more easily overcome tests and enticements. *** R’ Sternberg referred us to two mechanchim, each of whom believes in a different approach.

enough since the enticements are great. This is why we have to invest in their chinuch which includes firmly placing the important things in life on top of the list of our priorities as parents, and consequently, the message gets across to the children. When a child is raised in a Chassidishe environment

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Internet usage and that is why he is confident that chinuch will save him. E: That approach sounds strange and not in line with the Chabad approach. Since when, in Chabad, do we put an emphasis on scare tactics? In Chabad we always emphasized the study of Chassidus, which has the desired effect on a person’s soul and refines the middos. We emphasize the importance of avoda p’nimis (inner work). We are not afraid of the world and don’t hide out in our little ghetto. We go out to the world and engage it while teaching that we are not to be influenced by the world but are meant to impact on it. The Internet is not the first challenge to rise up against Chabad Chassidus and threaten it, and Boruch Hashem, we have survived communism and the chinuch of heresy that they tried to instill in our children. We survived the maskilim who tried to pull our kids off the derech, and it wasn’t done through fear but with chinuch p’nimi with the power of Chassidus. F: That is precisely what I’m afraid of. I am afraid that we will survive the Internet just like we survived the communists. Some success story that was … (sarcastic). We lost at least half of the boys and girls in previous generations to the maskilim and communists. All the books and articles are about the heroes; they don’t say that there were casualties in every home and how, in every family, there were those who caved in to the winds of heresy. True, whoever prevailed did so with the power of Chassidus, avoda p’nimis and hiskashrus to the Rebbe, but what did the Rebbe himself tell the Chassidim to do in order to save

There is a website called that addresses the challenges of the Internet and has the approbation of rabbanim. There is a section devoted to filters which includes recommendations for filters and other protective measures. The site contains links for installing filters or review and reporting programs, along with help from volunteers who will aid anyone with technical questions. Installing a filter is easy and doesn’t take more than a few minutes. K9 is a free filter that is recommended for Americans who use English language sites, and the site also lists filtered Internet providers and remote filtering services. Guard Your Eyes has what they call a “filter gabbai,” which can hold your password for you and will allow you to make changes remotely. For those who need full access to the Internet because of work, you can use reporting software which sends a weekly report of sites that were visited. Check out or We asked them to explain their views so that the readers can see what the advantages and disadvantages are of each approach, and can adopt the one that most suits them and their children. We began with a general question: What should a parent do if he is afraid that his children will be exposed to objectionable material on the Internet? EDUCATOR: In my experience, children today understand technology far better than their parents and they will always find a way to circumvent the filters and get to the sites they want to visit. Even if there is no Internet in the house, they can always go to a friend or other places, so the filtering approach is not effective. The only approach, in my opinion, is to work on instilling children with a deep, authentic chinuch in which we explain the dangers of the Internet. We tell them just where it can lead and engage in open discussion so that they won’t want to fall in. It is no different than teaching about being careful when crossing the street, because every parent knows that you can’t have fences on every street, and you must tell children about the dangers and how to cross the street safely. FILTERER: We don’t accept that at all. We believe you may not use the Internet without a filter and that it would be wise to incorporate additional protections such as reporting and monitoring. Chinuch, when it comes to this issue, has a limited impact, and if we don’t block the Internet for ourselves and for our children, explanations won’t stop them from visiting objectionable sites. A parent must know that the Internet is so dangerous that he can’t take a chance and suffice with chinuch. He must do all he can to prevent his children from using the Internet without a filter. True, any system can be circumvented, but with blocking and filtering the Internet problem is almost entirely solved since without free access to the Internet, the problem is remote. A parent who thinks that chinuch alone will save his child is unaware of the great danger in

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their children from a heretical education? The Rebbe did not tell them to let their children roam in foreign pastures and merely educate them as to the dangers therein; he screamed that it was forbidden to send children to the government schools. He said it would be better if a Chassid jumped into a fire and not send his children to a place where they would be taught to deny G-d. The Rebbe said this was in the category of “be killed and do not transgress,” and declared that a Chassid who did not send his children to a proper yeshiva “would not live out the year.” The Rebbe established a similar red line for the talmidim who learned in Tomchei T’mimim. In Lubavitch, they conducted searches of the talmidim’s belongings to see whether they had books of the maskilim. If a bachur was found to possess one of these books, he was expelled. Why were they so afraid of those books? Undoubtedly, they learned enough Chassidus and invested in avoda p’nimis? E: Listen to what you yourself are saying. According to you, those who successfully prevailed did not do so because they did not go to public school, but because in their homes they received an authentic Chabad chinuch. It was that, and only that, that enabled them to withstand alien influences. The special success enjoyed by Tomchei T’mimim was not because they threw out the heretical books, for that was done in other yeshivos in Russia as well, and the other yeshivos eventually closed; only the T’mimim stood strong. This was thanks to the fact that they were steeped in the knowledge of what is good and what is bad. We don’t have to go back to

The laws of Yichud apply to Chabad Chassidim too and no one claims that since he is a Chassidishe person the laws of Yichud do not apply to him. Every morning we daven, “do not bring me … to be tested,” and we are very careful not to go to unsuitable places.
F: But at that same Asifa, a filter is what they insisted on since everyone realizes we must be extremely wary of the dangers lurking on the Internet. Every approach in chinuch has advantages and disadvantages; none are so perfect that we can say that following it will guarantee 100% success. Although we would like to say this about Chabad chinuch, it’s not the case. Generally speaking, for young children we should use the approach of insulation and isolation because children follow what their parents show them. This approach doesn’t work with older children and those who leave school.
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communist Russia. There are groups that tried to establish ghettos without computers and Internet where they are protected from the dangers these pose. Today, even these groups realize that this approach is wrong because at a certain point, people go out to the world and out in the world you cannot ignore the Internet, and you cannot always install a filter; then the fence is breached. There was a massive Asifa (gathering) recently in which 42,000 religious Jews gathered to hear about the dangers of the Internet. Even there, they did not forbid the Internet. Why? Because they know that bans and running from the world just don’t work.


The more open approach in which you don’t escape the world is dangerous at a young age since children quickly lose their innocence, but it is far more successful for those who are older. This is because someone who gets a good education is more immunized against the tests presented by the world and his connection to Hashem is more real and deep. We need to learn from both approaches and I definitely do not negate the value of a proper chinuch, but it has to go hand in hand with clear boundaries. This is true for every area of chinuch and it is all the more true for the Internet, since most of the danger is present for the young. If we manage to maintain their purity until they grow up, the likelihood is far greater that they will stand strong afterward when they are older and wiser. E: I partially agree with you, but we have to differentiate between that which is secondary and that which is primary. I still think that your approach won’t help when a bachur grows up and is exposed to the Internet sooner or later, since we cannot seal off the world. The real reason for spiritual decline is not the Internet. The Internet is only the medium through which the problem manifests. The real reason is the lack of a proper Chassidishe chinuch. We all know that if the chinuch in our schools was the way the Rebbe wants it to be, and the house was run the way the Rebbe wants a Chassidishe home to be run, we would not have any problems. Filters are merely stopgap measures. We would be better off investing in improving the chinuch in our schools by putting in more Chassidus, more Yiras Shamayim and a much deeper connection between parents and children and teachers and children. F: Assuming you are right, the situation today is still one in which our chinuch is not 100% the way it ought to be, so what should we do with today’s youth? We cannot wait until we improve the system while allowing the present generation to be hurt. E: In Chabad the emphasis has always been on the aspect of “do good,” while other groups have emphasized the aspect of “stay away from evil.” Now you say that we need to focus on “stay away from evil?” F: I am not saying to focus on staying away from evil, but I am saying that there is a Torah concept called Sur MeiRa (stay away from evil) and it was not the invention of any particular group. The laws of Yichud apply to Chabad Chassidim too and no one claims that since he is a Chassidishe person the laws of Yichud do not apply to him. Every morning we daven, “do not bring me … to be tested,” and we are very careful not to go to unsuitable places. E: A bachur who is taught about the right values in life will have the inner fortitude to not even want to go to unsuitable places, and if he mistakenly ends up there he will run away just as a sane person runs away from fire. That is precisely why we constantly teach that “behold, Hashem stands above him.” F: I agree that we need chinuch, but consider that chinuch takes time and nobody becomes a tzaddik in a day. At the same time that we are involved in chinuch, we must set up fences to protect ourselves and our youth. In the Internet Age it is not a matter of what are the chances of being exposed to inappropriate material, but a question of how soon it will happen. As long as we cannot say with certainty that our chinuch is perfect, nobody has a guarantee that he will withstand temptation. E: A filter is no guarantee either, but there are ways that are much more successful and that is the point of being a role model. Our children need to know and see how we handle tests in life and how we discipline ourselves. I think a parent needs to explain to his children the dangers of the Internet and tell them how he avoids problem websites, and even how “Tatty has a filter on the Internet,” because the Torah says “not to believe in yourself until the day you die.” If a parent does the opposite of what he says, then even if there is a filter on the computer, it won’t help. If the father puts a filter on for the child but the child sees that the father visits news sites that are not in the spirit of the home, he receives a destructive message. F: You are right, but at the same time there are bachurim from Chassidishe homes whose parents are role models of Chassidishkait and Yerei Shamayim, and yet they do not withstand these and other tests. They are Chassidishe bachurim who daven with avoda and learn diligently etc., but they fall just as other bachurim do who did not get the chinuch they got. It’s true that there is a big difference between the types because a Chassidishe bachur doesn’t look to fall but does so inadvertently, unlike the other bachur, but chinuch does not kill the animal soul. The example of a righteous father doesn’t turn his son’s heart into plastic. It diminishes the danger but does not do away with it entirely.

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E: The way I see it, even if you use a filter, it is very important to explain the process to the children in a proper educational way. They cannot be allowed to feel bad for not being able to visit certain sites. On the contrary, we need to instill them with pride that our Internet connection is blocked or we don’t have the Internet at all. Just like a child feels proud not to eat candies that other kids eat because he knows that this means he is better than they are, so too, a child needs to be taught that our attitude towards the Internet comes from a place of strength and not out of fear and running away. F: I agree that using a filter has to be done right but even if it’s not done just right, that is not a reason not to use one. The problem is that exposure to indecent material can happen at a young age, long before we even think that it’s time to talk about the subject, especially when chinuch cannot eliminate curiosity and achieve a situation in which children won’t have an interest to want to see what is being hidden from them. E: After this long conversation with you, I accept your bottom line that we must install a filter, but I still maintain that it is not the filter that saves us. Consider a man who wants to kill himself. No protective wall will stop him, because he’ll just go to another roof. The most successful filter won’t save someone who wants to visit unsavory sites and so the emphasis must be on chinuch. F: You are right, but nevertheless, the Torah tells us to make a parapet for a roof so that a person won’t accidentally fall, and it’s a Biblically ordained mitzva. A parapet won’t stop someone who wants to jump, but it will prevent someone who

is careless from falling. The filter won’t stop someone who really wants to sin, but it will stop most people who are not looking to fall from being exposed unwillingly to forbidden things. Once you have a protective wall, you can teach children to be careful when they walk on a rooftop. E: So you also agree that once you install a filter the main thing is chinuch? F: Of course, I agree. I am just saying that a filter is Alefbeis, before you begin to talk about the subject altogether. In conclusion we ask both of you to sum things up as you see them now. We both agree that the optimal solution is proper chinuch that will immunize us and our children to the spiritual dangers that lie in wait in the world in general and the Internet in particular. Only a proper

chinuch will provide them with the spiritual fortitude to continue on the path of Torah and mitzvos without being fazed by the world and enable them to impact the world and not be influenced by it. However, in order to be able to reach that state, and in order to be able to begin with a proper chinuch, we must seal the breaches. We must be exceedingly careful in the face of the spiritual threats posed by technology, and those who use the Internet need to ensure that it is protected by a filter, a monitoring and outside reporting system, as well as any other means. All this is in order that we can turn our attention towards really working on developing a proper chinuch approach. It is only by combining the two approaches, chinuch and protection, that we can raise our children properly.

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It’s not just nowadays that you have to take the opinions of talmidim into consideration; back then too, talmidim had what to say. They “sniffed out” who was fit to be mashpia in the yeshiva, they taught a lesson to one who disparaged him, and they made sure to “sand down” one another so that, G-d forbid, no baalei yeshus (arrogant individuals) would sprout amongst the rows of tomchei t’mimim.
By Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawski a”h

We are going back to the early days of the yeshiva, before R’ Nissan became the celebrated menahel and the yeshiva expanded and grew. Our class learned under the direction of R’ Eliyahu Chaim Roitblatt. There was a need for a mashgiach as well as a mashpia for Chassidus. The hanhala decided to take an older bachur as a mashgiach (I don’t want to mention his name because of what I’m about to relate), but the talmidim did not respect him and did not want him as the mashgiach. During a farbrengen on a Chassidishe Yom Tov, the talmidim pulled a terrible prank and the hanhala saw that he could not be the mashgiach. In Kishlak (an Uzbeki village) there was a young man who had escaped from the war. He was a Tamim who had lost his family

to the cursed Nazis. The hanhala decided that this bachur, R’ Zalman Levitin – who was called R’ Zalman Haditcher by the Chassidim for the town he came from – was the right person to be the mashpia and the mashgiach. They brought him to Samarkand and he became our mashgiach and mashpia. In the early says of the yeshiva, when we were fifteen, he was eminently suitable and a very successful choice as mashgiach and mashpia. He enjoyed the approval of the bachurim in a remarkable way. In our childish innocence, we crowned him as dem Rebbe’ns a mentch (the Rebbe’s man). That is how the talmidim referred to those who served in any official capacity in Tomchei T’mimim. R’ Zalman was not outstanding in his knowledge or understanding of Chassidus, but he succeeded in getting us to treat him with

derech eretz, respect, and even some fear. I remember one of R’ Zalman’s farbrengens with us which showed how he succeeded in influencing us. It was a Chassidishe Yom Tov and R’ Zalman spoke and touched the hearts of the young talmidim. What he said, I don’t recall, but in my mind’s eye I can still see clearly: R’ Zalman with a bottle of mashke and cup standing near the wall and nearly all the talmidim surrounding him, literally clinging to him and pouring out their hearts; some with tears in their eyes and others actually crying, and nearly all of them speaking, demanding (of whom?): why don’t they actualize the Rebbe’s intentions … (I was one of the few who shed tears wordlessly). It is astonishing to me that hardly any of those talmidim remembers this.

It is worthwhile mentioning another “piece of work” of us talmidim, which shows how much we admired R’ Zalman in the first period of his reign. During a large general farbrengen, one of R’ Zalman’s old friends from Tomchei T’mimim sat there and “honored” R’ Zalman with a certain “adjective” known amongst Chassidim. This created

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R’ Moshe Robinson with talmidim in France

R’ Zalman Haditcher

a tumult among the talmidim. They absolutely could not be calmed. How was this possible, that a Chassidishe Yid should so disparage and shame “the Rebbe’s man?!” It is interesting that the talmidim, who knew nothing about demonstrations and protests, arranged meetings after seder and brainstormed ideas of how to teach that man (we will call him Yaakov) a lesson for insulting R’ Zalman. They wrote signs with sharp words of rebuke to R’ Yaakov, and attached them on central trees. They did not suffice with that, but sent the notes to R’ Yaakov too. Furthermore, R’ Yaakov’s son, one of the talmidim, was drafted to place some of these notes in his father’s pocket. According to what we heard, R’ Yaakov read the notes with teary eyes, surprised and filled with shame. What did the talmidim want of him? He did not know. Who had he offended? What did he do? The notes did not mention R’ Zalman’s name. The big protest on the part of the talmidim lasted for a while. I don’t remember how it ended. Apparently, the two friends finally learned what had happened and

they smiled good-naturedly and with pleasure at the talmidim’s devotion to “the Rebbe’s man.” R’ Zalman Haditcher’s tremendous influence and authority suffered drastically when R’ Nissan became the head mashpia and menahel of Tomchei T’mimim. It was probably, mainly, because many new talmidim joined, among them some smart alecks who did not properly appreciate R’ Zalman’s “greatness.” Ach, how nice, how tasteful was the pure innocence of the young talmidim!

At that time, we moved from R’ Eliyahu Chaim’s shiur to a higher shiur, that of R’ Moshe Robinson (who was also called by the name of his town, R’ Moshe Krolevetser). He was a warm Jew and a Tamim through and through. A few years earlier, when he was in Soviet Russia, he had learned with a group of talmidim of Tomchei T’mimim in Berditchev. Obviously, this was underground, but the NKVD’s agents sniffed it out like dogs and immediately burst in and arrested

R’ Moshe and the talmidim. This entire chapter ought to be written up in its own right; I merely want to mention that in order not to involve the parents of the talmidim and the askanim of the yeshiva, R’ Moshe took all the blame upon himself. In short, they arrested everyone, tortured them in interrogations, and sentenced them. R’ Moshe was sent to jail and the talmidim were sent to a Soviet orphanage where the government supervised them. Amazingly, an older bachur, one of the glorious figures of Tomchei T’mimim, R’ Michoel Teitelbaum, helped them escape the orphanage. R’ Moshe’s spirits were strong but his physical health was terrible. He was a sick and broken man. Apparently, the tzaros perpetrated upon him by the Red destroyers facilitated this. But he learned with the talmidim with a chayus and a geshmak. I remember how he taught us, in the first lesson, the first Mishna in Bava Metzia, and brilliantly wove the ideas of the later commentaries into Rashi’s commentary. He was a Tamim with a soft and warm heart, in his
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relationships with the talmidim too. He did not get angry with them and definitely did not use a kanchik (strap), but specifically because of this, it is interesting to note how he responded to an incident of less than considerate behavior on the part of the talmidim in his shiur. If I am not mistaken, it reflects the uncompromising zealousness that prevailed within the walls of the yeshiva against negative middos and yeshus of the talmidim, both on the part of the mashpiim and on the part of talmidim amongst themselves. This is what happened. not for naught. He had a good head, a knack for delving deeply into his studies, and he was a bit of a masmid. Nu, that was all he needed. This talmid, a Chassidishe boy who was a Yerei Shamayim, was a relative of R’ Robinson. During one of the classes, a few of the talmidim didn’t take into consideration the fact that R Moshe was the maggid shiur, and they did not stop lacing into him quite overtly with comments about his being a baal gaava and a chitzon until he burst into tears in the middle of the shiur. The surprising thing was that there was no doubt that R’ Moshe saw and heard his relative being persecuted by the other talmidim, but he made as though he didn’t see and didn’t hear. And he had such a good and warm heart, so one is forced to conclude that even he thought it was permissible to abrade the yeshus and arrogance of this future Tamim. chitzon? Get out of here! I hope Chaim Serebryansky forgives me for writing this about him. Chaim has a good heart and Chassidishe middos, and is filled with flavor. It is worth mentioning that when he was fifteen, he learned only half a day and during the second half he dealt in business in the market of Tashkent to help support his family. This was because his father, the warmhearted Chassid R’ Zalman, was unable to work due to poor health. Certain talmidim said then that Chaim was more successful in his half a day in yeshiva than those who learned there all day. I wrote a little about Yosef Reitzes and Chaim Serebryansky, but not in order to diminish the other talmidim. There were many other precious talmidim. I am not writing descriptions here about friends from yeshiva; it’s just that writing about these two just came forth from me spontaneously.

Whether at farbrengens with talmidim or in the conversations that mashpiim had amongst themselves about the talmidim, they utterly denigrated the trait of yeshus, arrogance, putting on airs and the like. This was the Alef-Beis of Chassidishe avoda. No doubt, as an extension or as a result of this, it became customary among the young Chassidim, not necessarily in the positive sense, to abrade one another; most often, it was several talmidim against one. It operated like a blind lottery. Suddenly, talmidim would target one bachur and almost mercilessly they would bombard him with adjectives such as bigshot, chitzon etc.; then came the turn of the second and third talmid, and so on. Nearly all the talmidim went through the Chassidishe “iron smelting pot,” some more, some less (I got my share too). However, for one talmid, the “mashpiim committee” went all out in going after him, and they often blackened him with words like “yesh” and “baal gaava,” and

Previously, I mentioned that nearly all the boys in our class endured being attacked as a yesh and chitzon. Nearly – but not all. I cannot refrain from mentioning one boy who did not suffer from this at all. This was our dear friend, Chaim Serebryansky. He was one, a rarity, about whom it could be said that he was a Chassidishe beindel (an expression meaning one whose Chassidishe middos are part of his very being) from birth. By nature, such a person has middos of gold, healthy bittul, and emes. Regarding someone like this – and indeed, this is what R’ Chaim was and is – it would be ludicrous to call him a yesh and a baal gaava since he was as far from that as east is from west. A

With the arrival of R’ Nissan in Samarkand and his appointment as head mashpia and menahel, big changes were made in the lives of the talmidim, and a larger degree of influence on Anash developed in general. Some older bachurim joined, about twenty years of age, who were more or less businessmen that had decided to sit and learn, adhering to the schedule of Tomchei T’mimim. I will mention some names that I remember: Reuven Kaminetzky, Mordechai Levin, Dovber Levin (Berel Feitel’s – my last and longest-standing friend), Zalman Shur, Yehoshua Raskin (Katzenelenbogen who sat in jail before he became a talmid in yeshiva).

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By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz

ne of the greatest paradoxes in education, whether it comes to educating others or educating oneself on the path to of personal growth and enlightenment, is the struggle between quantity and quality. Indeed the paradox extends to almost every area of life, from relationships to career development: Should I amass volume by striving to accomplish more, or should I concentrate on fewer things and focus on doing them right? Educational models fall short when they fail to strike the right balance in answering this question. One hundred years ago, no one went to school beyond age 12, except for gifted students who were destined to join the scholarly, academic elite. Everyone else went to work on the family farm or business as shoemakers, carpenters, and the like. Then the economy started shifting to a knowledge-based economy. One hundred years ago, 70% of people were farmers. Today, 4% are farmers. To survive in a knowledge-based economy, one needs more knowledge. As the knowledge economy grew, more people had to go to school in order to enter the workforce. The problem is that the system of learning used in schools today is the same system that was used to educate the geniuses when only the geniuses went to school. The system was


designed for a student population in which everyone is at the same level. Back then, when only geniuses went to school, it worked. But when you have a group of kids at various levels of social and intellectual and tactical development all mixed together in a system designed for homogeneity, the system forces the kids into more manageable boxes, creating a mold of the average student, and attempting to sculpt every student in that same mold. What we ended up with is an education system that by definition breeds mediocrity. A student who finds himself at either end of the spectrum – either exceptionally gifted or “special needs” – is at a disadvantage in such a system. The unique and the gifted are stifled and repressed. The mediocre, or those who learn to contort their uniqueness into the mold of mediocrity, are the only ones who thrive. In the mad dash toward quantity – churning out a certain percentage of students with a specific body of knowledge who bear a set standard and method of mental acuity so that they can attain an acceptable benchmark of functional intelligence that guarantees them a desirable place in the marketplace so they can meet the minimum requirements of financial stability – any semblance of individuality or creativity is tossed aside.

In our incessant pursuit of quantity, we lose the quality. But the opposite extreme would also be destructive: An unhealthy obsession with quality can lead us to get stuck and accomplish nothing. Einstein taught that you need both and that quantity and quality have a transformative effect one another. But you don’t have to be an Einstein to understand how they complement each other. E=MC2. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. In order to attain balance in a relative universe, you need to strike a balance between quality and quantity. Energy, quality, can emanate into the world only by channeling it into the parameters of space and time. Mass, quantity, can create energy, or enhance quality, when it is multiplied and infused with light. On their own, each can be powerful. Mass movements have the ability to affect instant and decisive change, even when built upon lies and leading to destructive ends. Moments of clarity and epiphany can enable us to overcome then greatest darkness, even if they are never developed or expounded. But only when we fuse the two together, do we touch the purpose of existence – to make goodness and light fill the entire world. We can get there by taking qualitative experiences and funneling them into the finite world, using the tools at out fingertips to let them shine forth. Or we can get there by taking quantitative experiences of mass consciousness and insisting that they be infused with true goodness and light. Either way, we arrive at the same destination. Reproduced with permission from Exodus Magazine

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By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

This week’s parsha begins with the tragic story of Korach’s rebellion. Korach openly challenged Moses’ authority. The argument Korach used to dismiss Moses’ role as leader of the Jewish people was: “The entire congregation is holy and G-d is within them; why do you lift yourselves above the congregation of G-d?” There is an enigmatic and cryptic Midrashic comment that connects Korach’s argument with King David: “When King David saw that Korach said, ‘the entire congregation is holy,’ he took a harp in hand and played to the words ‘I will extol you, O G-d, for You have raised me up from the depths, and not let my enemies to rejoice over me.’” What possible connection is there between King David’s praise of G-d saving him from the depths and from his enemies’ rejoicing and Korach’s rebellion? And more specifically, what is the connection between King David’s song and Korach’s claim that “the entire congregation is holy?”

were equal to Moses. Didn’t he realize that Moses was head and shoulders above the rest of the congregation? Didn’t he realize that Moses was uniquely qualified to be their leader after he had been G-d’s instrument in liberating the Jews from Egyptian bondage? Didn’t Moses split the sea and bring them to Mount Sinai and give them the Torah? Wasn’t Moses the one to bring the Divine presence into the world by spearheading the construction of the Mishkan, the portable Sanctuary?

By saying “the entire congregation is holy,” Korach’s argument was that Moses was not qualitatively different from all other Jews. The fact that G-d spoke face to face with him, Korach claimed, was not unique. G-d also communicated directly to every Jew at Sinai when He declared “I am the L-rd your G-d…” Indeed, the word “your” in this verse is phrased in the singular form, which denotes G-d’s revelation to each and every Jew individually. If there is any difference between Moses and the entire Jewish nation it is a quantitative difference, Korach maintained. While G-d spoke to the average Jew face to face for only a few

To decipher the words of this Midrash, we must first try to comprehend how Korach could possibly think that the people

moments, G-d communicated with Moses in this manner for many years. If the difference is merely one of quantity, Korach reasoned, how could Moses arrogate to himself the august position of leader, as if he is on an entirely different level? Moreover, in Korach’s mind, everything that Moses did before Sinai was performed by him acting merely as G-d’s instrument. Moses was only a conduit for G-d’s miracles; he did not perform them himself. But whatever distinction Moses possessed before Sinai, Korach argued, was no longer valid after Sinai when G-d created an intimate relationship with each individual Jew. This, Korach, concluded was even truer when the Mishkan was built with the participation of every Jew. G-d declared; “Make for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in them.” The plural “in them” implies that the Mishkan was a collective effort of each individual Jew. It concretized the intimate relationship that was inaugurated at Sinai. While Korach understood that Moses was the consummate teacher who would make G-d’s teachings accessible to all the Jews, that still did not entitle him to assume the role of leader.

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In Korach’s perspective, the Torah and the Mishkan were projects of the people. In other words, what G-d gave us at Sinai and what He revealed in the Mishkan were products of the collective and individual efforts of the people, not of one individual leader. Korach, of course, was wrong. Moses’ role was not just as facilitator and interpreter. Moses was the ultimate receptacle of G-d’s light. Moses was able to fully absorb that G-dly energy and then channel it to the Jewish people. Without Moses there would be no revelation at Sinai because the Divine message of Sinai could not possibly be transmitted to human minds without Moses’ first receiving the Torah, internalizing it and then transmitting it to the entire Jewish people. The same can be said of the Mishkan. It is true that the Mishkan was a joint project of the entire Jewish nation. However, without Moses’ visualizing it on Mount Sinai and in its construction, it could have not been built by the Jewish people themselves. Moses’ contribution to the Mishkan was more than that of an advisor or coordinator. Moses was the one who endowed the Mishkan with the G-dly power it possessed and the ability it had to channel G-d’s light to the whole world.

suffered from rebellion. In the end, however, he was vindicated. How was King David vindicated? According to the Talmud (Shabbos 30a), when the Holy Temple, which King David had conceived, prepared for and laid the foundation, was inaugurated by his son King Solomon, the ceremony was interrupted. The gates would not open, signaling that G-d was not “ready” to reveal His presence there. Only after Solomon appealed to the gates to open in the honor of King David did the gates open. This, Rashi, in his commentary on Psalm 30 states, was what prompted David to sing “for you have raised me up from the depths.” Until this event, his enemies held him in

men and women, is obligated to participate in its construction. This applied in the past and will apply to the construction of the Third Temple in the future. Yet, all of their efforts notwithstanding, the Temple’s gates did not open and it could not be inaugurated until King David’s name was invoked. This is a direct parallel with Moses. Korach argued that Moses had only a marginal role in the building of the Mishkan and in bringing the presence of G-d to it and to each and every Jew. This was the gist of his assertion that “the entire congregation is holy.” His point was not to praise the congregation but to diminish Moses’ role, just as David’s

The lesson for our time is that Moshiach, just like Moses and David, is not just a facilitator or a coordinator. Moshiach, through his dedication to G-d and His Torah, will empower all of us to build the third Temple and experience the Redemption.

We can now understand the connection of the Korach saga with that of King David. King David, as was the case with Moses, was maligned by his many detractors. David too

contempt and his reputation was in the depths. Only after the gates opened up in David’s honor was he vindicated and “raised up from the depths.” According to the Alter Rebbe, the Hebrew word for “raised me up – dilisani,” is related to the word deles, which means door or gate. This is an allusion to the opening of the gates of the Temple in David’s honor that caused him to be raised up. It is certainly true that the Holy Temple was a collective venture. It involved the entire Jewish nation. Indeed, Maimonides rules (Hilchos Beis HaBechira) that every Jew,

enemies sought to minimize his role in the building of the Beis HaMikdash. In the end, both were vindicated. The revelation at Sinai and the building of the Mishkan with the Divine presence dwelling therein, was through, and in honor, of Moses. The building of the Beis HaMikdash was likewise through, and in honor, of King David. And while it is true that these were communal projects, the only way the Jewish community could have succeeded was through the power of Moses and King David.

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The same is said of the future Beis HaMikdash. While Maimonides writes, as stated, that it is the obligation of every Jew to participate in its construction, he also rules (Hilchos Melachim 12:4) that Moshiach (the heir to Moses and descendent of King David) will build the Temple. How do we reconcile these two apparently contradictory sources? Who will build the Temple – Moshiach or the entire Jewish people? The answer, in light of the

above, is that both are true. While we as a people execute the actions necessary for its construction, it is Moshiach that will make it possible for our actions to succeed. And while we also contribute the spiritual material to make the future Temple a reality, it is Moshiach’s leadership role that will infuse our spiritual efforts with the requisite power to make the Temple a spiritual reality. The Rebbe also maintains that Moshiach will actually reestablish the gates of the Beis HaMikdash. Those very gates that King David was responsible for opening, Moshiach will put into place. This will mark and

exemplify his role as the one who will make the Beis HaMikdash possible and crown all of our individual efforts with success. The lesson for our time is that Moshiach, just like Moses and David, is not just a facilitator or a coordinator. Moshiach, through his dedication to G-d and His Torah, will empower all of us to build the third Temple and experience the Redemption. Thus Maimonides rules that it is insufficient to believe in Redemption alone. One must also believe that Redemption will occur through a human Moshiach who will lead us out of exile and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash in its place.

Continued from page 48 potent tool indeed – but it’s also important to remind the rightwing that we also possess the weapons of political power. There was a time when politicians could vote with great vociferousness for expelling Jews from their homes, as they did seven years ago at Gush Katif. Now, however, things are not so clear. It wasn’t for naught that seven out of every eight Likud Knesset Members voted for the proposed legislation to save Givat HaUlpana, while several Cabinet ministers went overseas because they were afraid to incur the prime minister’s wrath by supporting the bill. In fact, they were also afraid of the ultranationalists, who would never forgive them if they voted ‘Nay.’ The second angle that the Rebbe addresses is the prime minister’s use of clearly dictatorial methods in his refusal to allow his government ministers to vote their conscience. When

things of this nature would happen in the past, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, cried out that even in Russia, they made it appear that everyone could exercise their political freedom of choice. Yet, in Eretz Yisroel, the Rebbe said, they don’t even try to display any semblance of democracy, as they openly impose “coalition discipline” and demand that politicians vote against their conscience. It appears that the settler community has finally learned how to fight using the tools of the left-wingers. They have finally removed the mask of deception from the face of the government, who speaks about the glory of democracy while implementing the tactics of dictatorship.

At the conclusion of the struggle to pass the Regulation Bill, we could also take some solace from a small compromise on construction in Yehuda and

Shomron. The bottom line is that even if the public protests didn’t help to pass the legislation, it did help to soften the blow. It also pushed the prime minister into a corner, compelling him to come out publicly and demonstrate his support for the settler movement. If he had not done so, he would have been unable to convince his government ministers that the protesters outside were wrong. There were those who noted that during the joyous declaration of the housing units’ construction, the prime minister admitted that in practical terms, there is still a freeze on construction in Yehuda and Shomron with no permits for new building projects there. Nevertheless, we must accentuate the positive in the hope that the public pressure did help in persuading the prime minister that he has to prove his loyalty to the principles of the Likud Party by building Eretz Yisroel instead of destroying it.

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even Ariel sharon claimed that he was helping the settlements. he explained that he was uprooting the towns of Gush Katif in order to save Yehuda and shomron. however, the day after the Disengagement, we got hit by a tsunami in the form of “withdrawal” pains, and today, the ruling troika heading the government of Israel is speaking clearly about returning to the pre-1967 borders r”l.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

Do you remember Ramat Gilad? That’s where it all began. The prime minister and his Cabinet member Benny Begin merely requested the relocation of three caravans elsewhere on the yishuv. They explained that this should not pose any problem, claiming that “the outpost will remain.” The agreement seemed to be an acceptable one. Instead of demolishing the outpost, they would simply move three structures situated on disputed land. However, after Ramat Gilad, we again encountered the relocation formula at Migron. Here too, they spoke about “relocating,” not “uprooting,” promising us that “the settlement will remain.” Yet, after the implementation of the Migron agreement, the relocation formula showed its face once more at Givat HaUlpana. It now appears that this trend is not

expected to stop any time soon, and all the settlements of Yehuda and Shomron are due to be relocated. The prime minister actually claims that he’s taking care of the settlements, stating that the proposed Regulation Bill was the real threat to their continued existence. In his judgment, the best response is to relocate all those neighborhoods throughout Yehuda and Shomron that the political left-wing claims have been built on Arab land. It still isn’t quite clear regarding which land ‘Peace Now’ can lodge a complaint. After all, no one had any documentation to prove ownership in Givat HaUlpana or Migron. Yet, the State of Israel, as supported by the High Court of Justice, deemed these settlements to be on “private land.” However, the prime minister tries to explain that since there is no legal precedent, there is nothing to worry about

this time. The only problem is his poor memory: This is exactly what they said just a few months ago on the issue of Ramat Gilad and Migron. At the time, there were those who warned of many more relocations to come after the compromise agreements. In the meantime, it appears that the pessimists were right again. Even Ariel Sharon claimed that he was helping the settlements. He explained that he’s uprooting the towns of Gush Katif in order to save Yehuda and Shomron. However, the day after the “disengagement,” we got hit by a tsunami in the form of “withdrawal” pains, and today, the ruling troika heading the government of Israel is speaking clearly about returning to the pre-1967 borders r”l. Sharon’s promises couldn’t even last for one term in office, and as soon as the “disengagement” was carried out, he founded the Kadima Party as the means to bring about the next withdrawal.

During the recent demonstrations at the Knesset, former IDF chief rabbi Rabbi Avichai Ronsky compared our current situation to what happened when Yaakov Avinu was brought to be buried at the Cave of the Patriarchs: All the great figures of the generation, the sons and grandchildren of Yaakov Avinu, came to the holy resting place purchased at full price by his grandfather, Avraham Avinu. Suddenly, Eisav arrived on the scene and

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tried to halt the proceedings, claiming that the remaining place in M’aras HaMachpeila was reserved for him. Under the circumstances, the logical thing to do was to produce the legal deed of purchase. As a result, they sent Naftali – speedy as a “swift gazelle” – back to Egypt to bring the documents. However, Chushim ben Dan, oblivious to all the deep thinkers, didn’t hesitate. When he saw Eisav unjustly holding up his grandfather’s funeral, he rose up, decapitated him, and put an end to the story. It would seem that Chushim ben Dan shouldn’t be “remembered favorably”: What couldn’t he simply have waited patiently for the legal documents to arrive instead of resorting to drastic measures? Nevertheless, he realized that when you start making pilpulim, the road to losing everything is close at hand.

Therefore, since he didn’t bother trying to argue with anyone about the existence of these documents, he is “remembered favorably.” This represents the reality of the situation today, says Rabbi Ronsky. All the government ministers are engaging in a tedious debate on the question of legal documents, i.e. whether they exist or not. However, anyone who conducts business deals in such a fashion will quickly find himself in a state of bankruptcy. The price of compromise and deceit has now been engraved upon the public conscience. Anyone who agreed to the compromise regarding Ramat Gilad was powerless to stem the tide when it came to Givat HaUlpana – the very heart of the national consensus on settlements.

One great consolation following the unsuccessful efforts to pass the Regulation Bill on saving Givat HaUlpana was the wave of spontaneous protests after the government buried the legislation. The quiet assembly that took place near the Knesset dispersed at the conclusion of the vote defeating the motion. However, the younger demonstrators quite naturally began to stream towards the entrance of the parliament building, and hundreds of them proceeded to block the road for a lengthy period of time. Riots simultaneously broke out at the entrance to Yerushalayim, as dozens of tires were burned, obstructing traffic going in and out of the city. This time, these determined youngsters would not allow the

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old guard to lead them astray. The lesson from Gush Katif has been learned. The Yesha Council leaders won’t be able to get people to encircle Kfar Maimon again, while failing once more to break through the barriers and march into Gush Katif. This time, they will stubbornly fight on until the end in an uncompromising struggle. The big question today is only whether or not the battle lines will be drawn now and if the public will answer the call to establish a tent city in Givat HaUlpana. A positive response will likely give the prime minister reason to think twice next time before he issues demolition orders in any more settlements. was also the only ultra-Orthodox Knesset Member to vote in favor of the proposed Regulation Bill (Agudah deputy ministers Yaakov Litzman and Menachem Moses left the plenum and abstained from voting, while Degel HaTorah MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev voted against the legislation). Apparently, Eichler now understands what his fellow Yahadut HaTorah MKs have failed to realize. The facts have proven that the same High Court of Justice that is fighting the settlers is the High Court of Justice that fights against the ultra-Orthodox. It takes one round at the expense of those faithful to the Land of Israel, and holy Torah, the Degel HaTorah MKs should expect no help from their Mizrachi colleagues. They won’t forget so quickly how they voted against a bill proposed to save settlements from possible expulsion. They didn’t even bother to leave the chamber and abstain. Despite this attack upon all that is holy to the Jewish People, we have to hope that MK Eichler’s vote in favor of the Regulation Bill, representing the growing nationalist opposition to the prime minister’s policies, will mark the beginning of a new era. This could lead to real dialogue between all the religious and ultra-Orthodox parliamentary factions and a general movement towards greater cooperation. It would seem that if MK Eichler will be wise enough to strengthen his connection to the settler community and with some mutual effort on the part of his new allies in the National Union Party, the way can be opened for greater unity that can protect the sanctity of the Land of Israel.

It appears that the settler community has finally learned how to fight using the tools of the leftwingers. They have finally removed the mask of deception from the face of the government, who speaks about the glory of democracy while implementing the tactics of dictatorship. 4.
Another pleasant surprise from the Givat HaUlpana was the conduct of Yahadut HaTorah Knesset Member Yisroel Eichler. In the past, Eichler represented the Ashkenazic ultra-Orthodox party’s more liberal wing. However, in recent years, he has drawn closer and closer to the settlers’ community, and just a few months ago, he even made an official visit to Givat HaUlpana. A couple of weeks ago, he screamed during a Knesset committee debate that the actions against the settlers in Givat HaUlpana are an unprecedented crime, declaring that it’s inconceivable to allow Israel’s high court justices to run the country. In the end, Eichler

the next round at the expense of those faithful to the Torah of Israel. Just last week, after it finished its dismantling job in Givat HaUlpana, the High Court was already running to etch its mark on history with the establishment of equal military service for all – specifically planned to harm the ultraOrthodox. The problem is that each sector in society is generally prepared to battle stubbornly for its own interests alone. Yet, when another sector is in a state of distress, they tend to forget that we’re talking about the same battle. The next time that the High Court of Justice tries to cause harm to the world of the

There were a number of interesting angles to this recent battle that reminded us of the sichos from the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, at the time of the withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. The first aspect emphasized in the sichos was the nature of the struggle. While in the past, all efforts were invested in enlisting people for mass demonstrations, today they concentrate on pressuring politicians with the threat of democratic reprisals at the ballot box. It’s not that we have to neglect the struggle on the ground – it is a very Continued on page 44

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