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Parshat Metzora,
Shabbat HaGadol, 5763

Nissan 9, 5763
April 11, 2003

"Happy 101st Birthday, Rebbe"

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


In honor of his 101st birthday,
11 Nissan, 5763

Click here, to see pictures of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio) - Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.


We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, the 337th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue, we focus on the Rebbe's 101st birthday.


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.


It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

27 Adar II, 5763
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

On the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Nissan the Jews in Egypt were commanded to take a lamb into their homes and to guard it until the fourteenth of the month, when it was to be slaughtered as the Passover offering. When their Egyptian neighbors became curious, the Jews explained that the sacrifice was preparatory to the tenth and final plague G-d would visit on the Egyptians -- the slaying of the firstborn.

Hearing this, the firstborn sons panicked. They stormed Pharaoh's palace, demanding that he free the Jews. When he refused, civil war broke out in Egypt. Sons fought against fathers and many died, as it states in Psalms, "To Him Who struck Egypt through its first-born" -- the Egyptian firstborn sons themselves were the instrument of Egypt's destruction.

This miracle is commemorated each year on Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat immediately preceding Passover, as the miracle itself took place on Shabbat that year. Yet ever since then, Shabbat HaGadol does not necessarily fall on the 10th of Nissan; the deciding factor in commemorating the miracle is that it be on Shabbat.(2)

This commemoration differs from all other celebrations on the Jewish calendar, which are generally determined according to the day of the month. What is so special about Shabbat HaGadol that it follows a different pattern?

An essential difference exists between the days of the week and of the month. The seven days of the week are determined by the sun, according to the natural order G-d put into motion during the seven days of Creation. The days of the (Jewish) month, however, are determined by the phases of the moon, whose movements are not subject to nature in the same way.

These two ways of determining the passage of time, solar and lunar, reflect the two ways G-d oversees the world -- within and outside of nature -- the seemingly natural occurrence and the miracle. In fact, the Hebrew word for "month" -- chodesh -- expresses this concept, for it is related to the word chadash ("new"), signifying that the lunar phases are subject to change. For this reason, Jewish holidays are celebrated according to the day of the month, as they commemorate G-d's supernatural intervention with the laws of nature.

The miracle of Shabbat HaGadol, however, was not supernatural, but of an entirely different sort, one in which evil itself fought to eradicate its own existence. Fearing for their own lives, Egyptian fought against Egyptian, waging war in order to free the Jewish slaves.

A miracle such as this, occurring within nature, is therefore connected to the day of the week and not the day of the month. This concept will be better understood when Moshiach comes, speedily in our days, for the G-dliness that exists within nature will then be openly revealed and not seen as a separate entity.


1. See below footnote #5. Ed.

2. This year, Shabbat HaGadol is on the 10th of Nissan. Ed.


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.

Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.


Friday, Beis (the second day of) Nissan (April 4), is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber (1860-1920), the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, known as the Rebbe Rashab.

The Rebbe Rashab lived in the town of Lubavitch in White Russia, which had been the center of the Chabad movement. However, in 1915 the Rebbe and his chasidim were forced to leave the town of Lubavitch as the battles of World War I were approaching. They settled in the town of Rostov, which seemed to be a safe distance from the fighting. But in 1920, the Communists tightened their control over Rostov. This, however, did not discourage the Rebbe Rashab from continuing with his work of inspiring and encouraging his fellow Jews in all areas of Torah and mitzvot.


Only hours before his passing, the Rebbe Rashab told his chasidim, "I am going to heaven, but my writings I am leaving with you." Although he wouldn't be physically present, the chasidim could connect to him through his teachings.

A scant perusal of the Rebbe Rashab's writings brings to light the following gems:

"A single act is better than a thousand groans. Our G-d lives, and Torah and mitzvot are eternal; quit the groaning and work hard in actual spiritual work, and G-d will be gracious to you."

"Cherish criticism, for it will place you on the true heights."

"When Moshiach will come, then we will really long for the days of exile. Then we will truly feel distress at our having neglected our avoda (spiritual work); then will we indeed feel the deep pain caused by our lack of avoda. These days of exile are the days of avoda, to prepare ourselves for the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our time, amen."

"And this is the main thing in these last moments before Moshiach, that we don't go according to our intellect and our reasoning. Rather, we should fulfill Torah and mitzvot above and beyond what reason dictates."

"The avoda of serving G-d according to Chasidus comprises all kinds of levels... the level of 'corpse' does not need much elaboration; but, thank G-d, there is also 'revival of the dead' in spiritual work. A corpse is cold; there is nothing as frigid as natural intellect, human intellect. When one's natural intelligence comprehends a G-dly concept, and the emotions latent in intellect are enthused and moved by the pleasure-within-intellect -- that is true revival of the dead."

May we immediately merit the Final Redemption, when all righteous Jews (and all Jews are considered righteous!) will be resurrected with the Revival of the Dead.


There is a beautiful story concerning the Rebbe Rashab, illustrating the high esteem in which he held every Jew.

One of the Rebbe Rashab's followers, Reb Monye Monissohn, was a wealthy gem dealer. Once, when they were sitting together, the Rebbe spoke very highly about some simple, unlearned Jews.

"Why do you make such a fuss about them?" Reb Monye asked the Rebbe.

"Each one of them has many special and noble qualities," explained the Rebbe.

"I can't see any of these qualities," said Reb Monye.

The Rebbe remained silent. A while later, he asked Reb Monye if he had brought his package of diamonds with him. Indeed, Reb Monye had brought the diamonds, but asked the Rebbe if he could display them later, when they could be seen to their best advantage.

Later, Reb Monye took the Rebbe into a different room and arranged the diamonds for him to see. Reb Monye pointed to one gem in particular, extolling its beautiful color and quality.

"I can't see anything special in it," the Rebbe said.

"That is because you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at diamonds!" explained Reb Monye.

"Every Jew, too, is something beautiful and extra-ordinary," the Rebbe said. "But you have to be a "maven" to know how to look at him."


"The spirit of G-d will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of G-d. He shall be inspired with fear of G-d, and he shall not judge with the sight of his eyes nor decide according to the hearing of his ears. He shall judge the poor with righteousness and decide with equity for the humble of the earth... Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his reins" (Isaiah 11:2-5).


On Sunday, 11 Nissan (April 13 this year), we will celebrate the Rebbe's 101st birthday. It is customary to recite daily the chapter in Psalms corresponding to one's years. Chasidic tradition encourages the daily recitation of the Rebbe's Psalm as well. Thus, Jews world-wide will begin reciting Psalm 102 in honor of the Rebbe.

Psalm 102 begins, "A prayer of the poor, when he is enwrapped [with affliction] and before the L-rd he pours out his words." King David composed this chapter to express the feelings of the poor person enveloped in misery. Any person in his time of misfortune should offer up this prayer to G-d. In a deeper sense, these verses discuss the anguishes of the Jewish people suffering in exile. This Psalm ends, however, with a Prophecy of hope and Redemption.

Verses 8 reads, "I rushed -- shakadity -- to escape to be like a bird that lives alone on the roof." The word "shakadity" can also mean "I persevered." The commentator Radak explains that the long exile resembles a dark night when a vigilant watchman must stand guard. Similarly, the only reason that Israel has survived the exile is because we persevered and preserved our faith and our identity.

In a later verse (13) which reads, "But You L-rd, will be enthroned forever, and Your memorial is for all generations," Radak explains that we will never forget G-d. In every generation we remember to pray to G-d to bring about the Redemption.

The Metzudat David comments on verse 14, "You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for it is time to be gracious to her; the appointed hour has come." This is our request that He finally take pity on Israel, for the time of our Redemption has come.

In the Kuzari, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi quotes this verse and asks, "When is this time of Redemption? It is the time hinted at in the next verse, "For Your servants take pleasure in her stones and bestow their favor on her dust," "When the desire for Redemption has grown strong, then the Jewish people will return en masse to the Holy Land."

The Psalm concludes with a Prophecy of Redemption, says the Metzudat David, "Your servants' children will be securely settled, and their seed will be established before You." The Jewish people will return to the Land of Israel to be established there and to never be exiled again.

May it happen, NOW!


What kind of birthday presents do you like to give? Do you break your head trying to find exactly the right gift for the person, something he'll oooh or she'll aaah about, something that will elicit a response like, "That's exactly what I wanted!" Or do you think in terms of what you would like to receive, what kind of present would make you happy?

On Passover in 1984, the Rebbe proposed that every Jew study daily the great Torah code, Mishneh Torah, of the Rambam (an acronym for Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon -- also known as Maimonides), according to a three-pronged plan of study: three chapters or one chapter a day in the Mishneh Torah, or at least the parallel portions of the briefer Sefer HaMitzvot. The Rebbe made the proposal during Passover because Maimonides was born the day before Passover. Studying the Mishneh Torah would be a kind of "birthday present" to the Rambam.

In the intervening years, hundreds of thousands of Jews have adopted this study schedule or the study of Rambam's more condensed Sefer HaMitzvot. Much has been translated into English and other languages. There are classes, cassettes, CDs, you can even study the daily lesson online.(3)

It's interesting to note that Passover, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt, is the birthday of the Jewish people. It's when the nation of Israel was born.

So, in a sense, studying the Mishneh Torah isn't just a "birthday present" for the Rambam, it's a birthday present for the Jewish people, an ultimate birthday gift.

What makes the Mishneh Torah such a great "birthday present"? After all, there are a lot of great works in Judaism.

There's something unique about the Mishneh Torah: it includes all the laws of the Torah -- even those not currently practiced. It's a clear, concise compendium. By studying the Mishneh Torah -- or the Sefer HaMitzvot, which lists all six hundred thirteen commandments with brief explanations -- we can fulfill the obligation to study all the laws of the Torah.

And studying all the laws means that they are, should be, will be, we believe they are soon to be -- relevant. Why should we learn about the sacrifices in the Temple? Because, G-d Willing, shortly the Temple will be rebuilt and we'll need to know how to do it. Of the nearly one thousand (!) chapters in the Mishneh Torah, how many of them still apply today? All of them! Even if we can't put them into practice, our study says we're preparing for when the time comes to observe them; we're ready, willing and able for Redemption.

And that's another birthday that we're celebrating at this time of year: The birthday of the first Redemption of the Jewish people. Maimonides wrote about Redemption and longed for Moshiach; he arranged the Mishneh Torah in such a way that the conclusion -- the finale of the whole work -- concerns the laws of Moshiach.

The Rebbe, whose birthday (not so coincidentally, for nothing happens by chance) occurs also at this time -- 11 Nissan / Sunday April 13 this year -- says that our generation is the last generation of exile and the first of Redemption. The Rebbe urges all of us to "prepare the world" to greet Moshiach by increasing our "acts of goodness and kindness," and to "open our eyes" to the reality that the world is ready.

In 1990 - 1991, the Rebbe continually quoted a remarkable prophecy in the Midrash called Yalkut Shimoni, explaining how it foretold the Gulf War. Immediately after the war ended, he publicly stated that it had not yet reached its full conclusion and would eventually be continued -- which we are now seeing.

As the Rebbe then emphasized, the passage in the Yalkut Shimoni concludes: "G-d says: 'My children, do not fear! The time of your Redemption has arrived.' " In other words, the events we are now witnessing are leading up to the revelation of the Moshiach and the ultimate Redemption.

As we approach the birthdays of the Rebbe and the Rambam, we can offer them a beautiful "birthday present" by studying daily the Rambam's Mishneh Torah or his Sefer HaMitzvot -- a study that embraces the whole Torah and unites the entire Jewish nation, therefore helping to hasten the coming of the Moshiach.

Since Passover is also the birthday of the Jewish people, when we became a nation, it's also a gift to every one of us.

So, Happy Birthday, Rebbe! Happy Birthday, Rambam! Happy Birthday, Jewish People! Happy Birthday, Moshiach!


3. One can study the daily 3 or 1 chapters in the Mishneh Torah and/or the daily lesson in Sefer HaMitzvot, via the Internet, except on Shabbat or yom tov, at: http://www.lchaimweekly.org

The daily portion of Sefer HaMitzvot is also available electronically via the Internet. To subscribe, go to: http://www.lchaimweekly.org/general/subscribe.html


Like every young couple, Ronni and Esther Navon looked forward to having children. As the years went by they began to worry. They went from doctor to doctor, each one telling the couple that medical science had nothing to offer them.

In the summer of 1991, Ronny and Esther moved from Israel to Queens, New York, where Esther's parents live.

On the first Sunday after they moved, Ronny went to the Rebbe to ask for a blessing for children. "When I stood in his presence." relates Ronni, "I was seized by an uncontrollable inner trembling. 'We have been married seven years and we still don't have children. We ask that the Rebbe bless us with children.' The Rebbe gave me two dollars with his assurance: 'b'karov mamash -- really soon."'

Ronni returned twice in the next month. This second time the Rebbe handed him two dollars, again saying, "b'karov mamash." The next time the Rebbe gave him two dollars with the assurance of "besurot tovot -- good news."

"I went back to the Rebbe a fourth time. This time the Rebbe gazed at me with especially penetrating eyes. When I finished my request, he took out three dollars and gave me the first one and said, 'This is for you.' Then he gave me a second dollar and said, 'This is for your wife.' When the Rebbe gave me the third dollar, he said, 'And this is for the children who will be born.'

"After this explicit promise I didn't have a shadow of a doubt that we would have children. My joy knew no bounds. My wife and I fully believed in what the Rebbe had said, and we decided to buy a stroller as a concrete expression of our faith and to make a 'vessel' for the Rebbe's blessing. I thought that if the Rebbe had promised children, in the plural, it seemed we were going to have twins. So we bought a double stroller."

Ronni opened a business in the Rebbe's neighborhood, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, called Union Limousine Service. Months went by. Years went by.

"They were very difficult years, years that tested our faith, but thank G-d, we can say we withstood the test. We were 100% convinced that the blessing of the tzaddik of our generation would be fulfilled.

"Two years ago," continued Ronni, "when we moved, Esther momentarily hesitated about whether to take the stroller with us. I told her that the stroller was a sign of our strong faith in the Rebbe's blessing and that we would take it to our new home."

In order to make additional "vessels" for the Rebbe's blessing, Ronni made good resolutions in a number of areas, "especially in the Rebbe's suggestion to study each day Chitas (a portion of the Torah, Psalms and Tanya) and Maimonides' Mishne Torah. I learned the Rebbe's and Rebbetzin's chapters of Psalms by heart, and often while traveling I would say them and feel a special closeness to the Rebbe," he says.

"In my work at the car service I make sure that every car is equipped with a charity box and a Chitas as per the Rebbe's instructions years ago. In general, I tried to use my work at the car service as a means of disseminating the Rebbe's messages. When I drive I often hear people's stories. People tell me their problems and I tell them about the Rebbe's various campaigns, for whoever fulfills them merits much blessings and success. I am sure that over the years I have gotten hundreds of people to check their tefillin and mezuzot and to take on new mitzvot.

"More than anything else, I tried to talk to my passengers about the importance of loving a fellow Jew, the mitzvah that is considered a great principle of the Torah. In recent years I've written to the Rebbe regarding a blessing for children and have put these requests in the Igrot Kodesh (volumes of the Rebbe's letters). Often I received explicit answers in which the Rebbe acknowledged receipt of my letter and wished me good news regarding children.

"A little over a year ago, I received an answer in the Igrot Kodesh that I should donate money to yeshivas world-wide, and that this merit would help us to have children. The Rebbe continued in that letter to say that certainly after the birth of the children we would make sure to give them a Chasidic education.

"Eleven months ago, in the middle of a routine trip in Crown Heights, my cell phone rang. My wife told me with tears of joy that the results of her blood test were positive. I was stunned. I stopped the car and began crying like a child. I informed the Rebbe that very day that his bracha (blessing) was being fulfilled. Then I told Rabbi Leibel Groner, one of the Rebbe's secretaries, with whom I had been in close contact over the years. Rabbi Groner told us about various directives concerning pregnancy that he had received from the Rebbe.

"Two months later, the doctor told us it was twins. We saw how the Rebbe's blessing was being fulfilled precisely. On Wednesday, 7 Cheshvan 5762 (Oct., 24, 2001) at 10:20, our twin sons were born."

On Wednesday, 14 Cheshvan 5762 (Oct., 31, 2001) the twins' brissim took place at the Georgian shul in Queens.

In light of the Rebbe's directive to publicize the wonders and miracles that G-d does for us to hasten the Redemption, the entire congregation, family and friends, heard about the twins who had been born after 17 years of waiting, in the merit of the Rebbe's blessing.

"We named our oldest son Adam Daniel, and his brother, Ariel Avner," concludes Ronni. "The meal following the brissim became a powerful demonstration of faith and trust in the Rebbe's words. There is no doubt in the minds of all who shared in our simchah that the Rebbe's prophecy that our generation will experience the revelation of Moshiach and the Final Redemption will immediately be fulfilled."


The most important principle in the Torah is the protection of Jewish life.

It's more important than Shabbat, more important than holidays, even fasting on Yom Kippur.

Right now, in Israel, and everywhere, Jews must stand together in unity and do whatever possible to protect Jewish life.

The Rebbe taught that there are ten important Mitzvot we can do to protect life. See what you can do:

1) Ahavat Yisroel: Behave with love towards another Jew.

2) Learn Torah: Join a Torah class.

3) Make sure that Jewish children get a Torah true education.

4) Affix kosher Mezuzot on all doorways of the house.

5) For men and boys over 13: Put on Tefillin every weekday.

6) Give Charity.

7) Buy Jewish holy books and learn them.

8) Light Shabbat & Yom Tov candles. A Mitzvah for women and girls.

9) Eat and drink only Kosher Food.

10) Observe the laws of Jewish Family Purity.

In addition, the Rebbe also urged every man, woman and child to Purchase a Letter in a Sefer Torah. There are several Torah scrolls being written to unite Jewish people and protect Jewish life.

Letters for children can be purchased for only $1. Send your Hebrew name and your mother's Hebrew name plus $1 to:

"Children's Sefer Torah,"
P. O. Box 8,
Kfar Chabad, 72915, Israel

or via the Internet, at: http://www.kidstorah.org


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, April 11, Erev Shabbat Parshat Metzora:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(4) by 7:11 p.m.

Saturday, April 12, Shabbat Parshat Metzora:


4. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.

5. A portion of the Haggadah, beginning from Avodim Hoyinu ("We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt") until l'chaper al kol avonoseinu ("to atone for all our sins") is recited on this Shabbat after Mincha, the Shabbat afternoon service.

Laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing

"Let There Be Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.

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