"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Shabbat HaGadol, 5763
Nissan 9, 5763
April 11, 2003
"Happy 101st Birthday, Rebbe"
This week's issue is sponsored
in part by:
Mitzvahland - One Stop Judaica Shop
Dedicated to educating the public regarding the
current situation in Israel, based on Torah
sources, with special emphasis on the opinion
and teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
"I BELIEVE WITH COMPLETE FAITH IN THE ARRIVAL OF THE MOSHIACH.
"AND THOUGH HE MAY TARRY, I SHALL WAIT EACH DAY, ANTICIPATING HIS
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
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
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
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
1. See below footnote #5. Ed.
2. This year, Shabbat HaGadol is on the 10th of Nissan.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that
"The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his
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
"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
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
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
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:
The daily portion of Sefer HaMitzvot is also available electronically
via the Internet. To subscribe, go to:
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
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 --
"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
"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:
Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat
For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
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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