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Parshat Matos-Masei, 5763

Tamuz 25, 5763
July 25, 2003

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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.



Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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 350th issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


It is with tremendous pain and sorrow that we dedicate this issue of Living With Moshiach to the loving memory of our dear friend and copy editor, Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul Staiman, who passed away, on Tuesday, 22 Tamuz, 5763 (July 22, 2003).

Reb Mordechai Staiman was a very kind person, who gave tirelessly from his time and effort for the success of our organization "Torah Publications For The Blind," and this publication "Living With Moshiach" in particular.

Reb Mordechai Staiman has been a writer and editor for over thirty years. His articles have appeared in publications including, The Jewish Press, Wellsprings, The Algemeiner Journal, N'Shei Chabad, Beis Moshiach, and L'Chaim. He published many books, among them: "NIGGUN: Stories behind the Chasidic Songs that Inspire Jews," and "Diamonds Of The Rebbe." -- More details, in our next issue.

He will be dearly missed by all very much.

May his memory be for a blessing.


Next Wednesday, July 30, is Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av, therefore, in this week's issue we focus on the upcoming Hebrew month of Menachem-Av.


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 of blessed memory, 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

24 Tamuz, 5763
Brooklyn, New York

Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul

Passed away on 22 Tamuz, 5763

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Matos-Masei

This week we read two Torah portions, Parshat Matos and Parshat Masei. The first Torah portion, Parshat Matos, contains a seemingly unusual request by the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Citing their "great multitude of cattle," the sons of Reuben and Gad asked Moses to grant their portion of the land of Israel on the other side of the Jordan. "The country...is a land for cattle; and your servants have cattle," they said. "If we have found grace in your eyes, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not compel us to go over the Jordan."

Even more surprising is the fact that Moses acceded to their request. How many verses in the Torah speak of G-d's promise to Moses to bring the Children of Israel into the promised land? Yet these verses mention only "the land of Canaan," an area west of the Jordan river. If so, why would the tribes of Reuben and Gad have even considered settling in the cities of "Atarot, Divon, Ya'zer and Nimrah" on the eastern shore of the Jordan, part of the land of Sichon and Og? Did these tribes intentionally seek to distance themselves from their brethren?

Furthermore, how valid was their claim that the territory east of the Jordan would provide superior grazing land for their cattle? Why would the tribes of Reuben and Gad have willingly forgone entering the promised land with their wives and children just to benefit their livestock?

In order to understand what really occurred we need to refer back to G-d's very first promise to Abraham concerning the land of Israel. At that time, G-d said to Abraham, "To your seed will I give this land...the [land of] the Keni, the Kenizi and the Kadmoni..." In all, G-d enumerated ten nations that the Jewish people would one day inhabit. Seven of these ten nations were defeated and conquered by the Children of Israel 40 years after they left Egypt; the other three will only be conquered by the Jewish people in the Messianic Era.

The true intent behind the request of Reuben and Gad to dwell east of the Jordan was in order to hasten this process. The portion of land they settled, formerly belonging to the kings Sichon and Og, was part of the territory of the three nations that still remained to be conquered. This is the reason Moses agreed to their request and granted them their inheritance east of the Jordan, for he saw their settlement of that territory as a "preparation" for the full and complete settlement of the land of Israel that would occur in the Messianic Era.

In truth, the actions of the tribes of Reuben and Gad lent an added dimension to the Jews' first conquest of the land, one that brought our ultimate conquest of the entire land of Israel in the Era of the Redemption much closer.


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.


A Chasid once asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the third Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, whether he should settle in the land of Israel. There he would devote his life to Torah study and mitzvah observance.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied, "Make the place where you are into the Holy Land."

What does that response mean?

To answer, we must first understand what is Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land. The Holy Land is a place where G-dliness, holiness and Judaism are openly revealed. In an ultimate sense, this will be realized in the Messianic era when the third Holy Temple will be rebuilt and the observance of all the commandments associated with holiness of the land will be restored.

This is the essence of the Messianic Era. The relationship between man and G-d will no longer be based on faith alone, but will also be nourished by a first-hand awareness of G-d's Presence here on earth. The physical setting of the world will not change in the era of Redemption. What will be different is our knowledge and awareness of G-d.

The directive "Make this place the Holy Land" means that every individual should and can draw G-dliness into his life and into his environment.

Each of us should know that one's "place," that is, each dimension of our environment and each moment of time we experience can be transformed into the Holy Land, into a place where G-dliness is openly revealed.


Printed in last week's issue of "Living With Moshiach."


Printed in last week's issue of "Living With Moshiach."


See our publication: "Laws of the Holy Temple"

The text of the book: "Seek Out The Welfare Of Jerusalem" [Analytical Studies by the Rebbe, of Rambam's rulings concerning the construction and design of the Holy Temple], published by Sichos in English -- is available on-line at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/seek-out, and is divided into a special study program.

Also, for a Audio/Visual Virtual Interactive Tour of the second Bais Hamikdosh (Holy Temple), go to: http://www.moshiach.com/temple


Printed in last week's issue of "Living With Moshiach."


During the Nine Days between the beginning of the Jewish month of Menachem-Av and the 9th of Menachem-Av (July 30-August 7), mourning intensifies. We abstain from eating meat and drinking wine except on Shabbat and for a Seudas Mitzvah (meal associated with a mitzvah such as a bris, or upon completing the study of a tractate of the Talmud). Lawsuits should be postponed, pleasure trips should be avoided.


Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem it says, "Everyone who mourns for the destruction of Jerusalem will be privileged to see its rebuilding." We are not discussing here the obligation of the community at large, but rather the obligation of each and every individual. Each one of us has to mourn Jerusalem. And, although we have been promised that the Bais HaMikdosh will be rebuilt, we are obligated to help rebuild it.

The completion of this task requires not only the participation of the community in general, but also the participation of each individual in particular.

The Rebbe has said that, in order to aid in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and bring Moshiach closer, every individual must increase in Torah study, prayer and charity. An increase in charity is especially appropriate at this time, as we are told that charity brings the final Redemption closer, and "Zion -- Jerusalem -- will be redeemed through . . . tzedakah -- charity."

May each and every one of us draw on that inner strength bestowed upon every Jew that will enable us to increase in all of the above-mentioned matters, bringing about the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the complete and final Redemption through Moshiach, NOW!


Wednesday, July 30, is the first day of the Hebrew month of Menachem-Av. With the beginning of Menachem-Av, the three-week mourning period over the destruction of the Temple intensifies.

The First of Menachem-Av was also the day on which Aaron, the High Priest, passed away.

Concerning his passing, the Torah tells us that "All of the House of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days." But for Moses, only the men wept, not the women. Why was this? Because Aaron made peace between husband and wife, and between friends.

It is a phenomenal example of Divine Providence that Aaron, who was known as a "pursuer of peace," passed away just on the day when, hundreds of years later, we would be intensifying our mourning over the destruction of the Temple. His life's work, evident even at his passing, shows us how to rectify the reason for which the Temple was destroyed.

The Second Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred among Jews. Hatred and divisiveness are equal to the sins of idolatry, adultery and murder, for which the First Temple was destroyed.

Especially at this time, we have much to learn from Aaron. We must try to emulate his wonderful example, by doing everything in our power to bring peace and harmony amongst our people. When this happens, we will no longer mourn the passing of Aaron, nor the destruction of the Holy Temples, for we will all be united, together as one, in the Third and everlasting Holy Temple, may it be rebuilt NOW.


Our Sages have taught that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam -- unwarranted hatred. The rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the correction of our past failings will be brought about through ahavat chinam -- unconditional love of our fellow Jew. What is unconditional love? When we love the other person just because he is a Jew.

There are two sorts of love, actually, love of two different "types" of Jews. One love is for the Jew I don't even know, and the other is for the Jew I know. A cynical Jew once said, "If you ask me to love the Jew that's in Russia, or the Jew that's fighting in the front lines in Israel, whom I've never met, I have no problem. But if you're asking me to love Yankel my neighbor, whose faults I know, now that is very, very hard."

In order to rebuild the Holy Temple, we have to have ahavat chinam for the people we know. Though we recognize through firsthand experience their good and bad qualities, their frailties and foibles, we must rise higher than the differences between us. And, if we look higher or overlook altogether what we don't like in another Jew, then the ahavat chinam will come much more easily. For, when we look deeper, we will certainly see the other Jew's source and essence, which, being a part of G-d Himself, are good and pure.

May each and every one of us be permeated with true ahavat chinam for those Jews whom we know as well as those Jews we don't know, thus helping to rebuild the Third and eternal Holy Temple, NOW.


by Rabbi Noach Vogel(1)

Where I live, computers are the talk of the town. You see, I live in Silicon Valley and I hear a lot about computers, whether it's hardware or software.

The Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chasidic movement) taught that everything that one sees or hears is placed before us in order to teach us a lesson.

It is with this teaching in mind that I began to think about Windows XP (or Windows 2000). It struck me that there are many similarities between the "new" (or newest as of today) version of Windows and the commandment to love one's fellow Jew.

For many computer aficionados, and even for your average two computers in the den and a dog in the yard users, one of the major differences of note between the previous editions of Windows and the latest upgrade is as follows: In the older versions, if a program had a problem and it shut down, it took Windows down with it. Typically, you would find yourself staring vacantly and with more than a little annoyance, into a blank screen.

However, in Windows XP, only the program that is in trouble will shut down and the rest of Windows is left intact.

As I was pondering what one could learn from this as a way to serve G-d better, I began to zero in on one aspect of interpersonal relationships. Let's imagine a scenario where two friends (or relatives) are speaking with each other. One of the two says something insensitive or callous, knowingly or unknowingly. The other person takes offence and begins remonstrating. Before you know it, a full-blown argument ensues. The final result? The two don't speak with each other for a few days, a few weeks, or, as unfortunately happens all too often, they never speak to each other again.

In other words, the whole system crashes. But life is too short! They've been friends or relatives for a long time. How can one irrational word cause the relationship to disintegrate?

Windows XP reminds us that we are made up of many diverse programs, that our relationships are encoded with varied data. It is a sign for us that just because one program has crashed, just because there is a glitch somewhere, the whole relationship doesn't have to break down.

In truth, however, human relations should be even better than a mere computer operating system. For, we are told that we should model all of our actions on that of our Creator. "Just as He is merciful, so too should you be merciful. Just as He is compassionate, so too should you be compassionate...." G-d sees all of our failings and He still puts up with us and loves us. Shouldn't we try to be G-dly in our person-to-person dealings?

Surely if we all do something to upgrade and repair our interpersonal relations, G-d will inaugurate the Messianic Era at which time there will be no more "crashes," large or small.


1. Rabbi Vogel directs the Almaden Valley Torah Center in S. Jose, California.


Reb Zalman Estulin, an elderly chasid, told this story many years ago at a chasidic gathering -- a farbrengen.

Once, there were two brothers, Avraham and Shlomo, who exhibited unbelievable brotherly love. As children they never fought. They studied Torah together and eventually, after they married fine, Jewish women, they settled down in the same city.

Sad to say, the brothers got into a foolish argument as is bound to happen. Things went from bad to worse until it got to the point where as friendly and loving as the brothers had once been they now hated and abhorred each other.

Years passed in this way until the time came when Reb Avraham was going to marry off his eldest daughter. Despite the fact that they had not spoken for over a decade, Reb Avraham wanted his brother to share in his happiness.

And so, he sent Shlomo a letter of apology for all past wrongs and an invitation to the wedding. When no reply came, Avraham sent a messenger. But the messenger came back with the message that Shlomo would not even consider coming to the wedding.

The evening of the wedding arrived, and though Reb Avraham was happy, his joy was tinged with sadness in knowing that his brother would not attend the wedding.

For his part, Reb Shlomo had scheduled his evening in such a way that feelings of remorse would not get in his way of staying home. He had a huge, seven-course meal, took a long, relaxing bath, got into his pajamas and went to bed early.

The wedding on the other side of town was in full swing when the violinist, an extremely talented musician who could change people's moods through his music, noticed that Avraham's joy was not complete.

The violinist approached Avraham and asked if there was anything he could do: "My reputation will suffer if I can't make the father of the bride happy."

Avraham told the violinist that he was saddened by his brother's absence. "I will go and bring him here," the violinist offered.

And so, the violinist went to Reb Shlomo's house. He stood outside of Shlomo's bedroom window. Half asleep, Shlomo came to the window to see who was playing. He was so intrigued and entranced by the violinist's recital that he opened his door and went outside.

In this manner the violinist and Shlomo walked through the town until they reached the wedding hall.

Slowly, slowly, they approached the wedding until Reb Shlomo found himself in the middle of the dance floor at the wedding hall. He looked around and saw everybody so beautifully dressed. Then, he looked at himself and realized, with quite a bit of embarrassment, that he was hardly dressed as befits the uncle of the bride. Indeed, he was a sorry state in his pajamas!

"Brothers," Rabbi Estulin concluded, "we're all going to be there in the middle of the dance floor when Moshiach comes. Because, as our Sages teach us, the Redemption is like the consummation of the wedding ceremony between G-d and the Jewish people, which took place at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

"The Torah and mitzvot that we do are like the clothing of our souls. It is up to us to come to the wedding dressed as befits the uncle of the bride, and not in our pajamas!"


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


The Rebbe's slogan is: "The main thing is the deed." We therefore present from the Rebbe's talks, suggestions what we can do to complete his work of bringing the Redemption.

Make Torah Celebrations:

As a further preparation for the messianic era, to reveal the positive qualities and joy that are latent in these Three Weeks, conclusions of Torah works (siyyumim) should be held on each of the Nine Days (July 30-August 7), including Shabbat.

"These activities will hasten the transformation of these days into days of celebration, when with true and complete joy we shall proceed together with Moshiach, to the Holy Land, in the true and ultimate Redemption."

The Rebbe, 18 Tamuz, 5751/1991


For a siyyum in your area, contact your local rabbi or Chabad-Lubavitch Center.


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, July 25, Erev Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 8:01 p.m.

Saturday, July 26, Shabbat Parshat Matos-Masei:

  • Blessing of the New Hebrew Month, Menachem-Av.(3)
  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:07 p.m.


2. 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.

3. Rosh Chodesh Menachem-Av is on Wednesday, July 30.

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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