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Parshat Eikev, 5763

Menachem-Av 17, 5763
August 15, 2003

Chassidus In Braille:
Lighting Up the Path to the Redemption

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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 351st issue of our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


It is with tremendous pain and sorrow that we once again 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 prolific writer, editor, publicist, and copywriter for over thirty six years. His articles have appeared in many publications including, The Jewish Press, Wellsprings, The Algemeiner Journal, N'Shei Chabad, Beis Moshiach, Chabad, Country Yossi Family Magazine, and L'Chaim. He also published 5 books.

He will be dearly missed by all very much.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.

* * *

A web-site has been established in the loving memory and also featuring the works of Reb Mordechai Staiman. You can find it at: http://www.torah4blind.org/staiman


In this week's issue we focus on:

1) One of the most famous and colorful Chabad Chasidim, Reb Hillel Paritcher, whose yahrtzeit was on 11th of Menachem-Av, last Shabbat, Parshat Va'etchanan, Saturday, August 9.

2) Tu B'Av, the 15th day of Menachem-Av, Wednesday, August 13.


12 years ago, on Shabbat Parshat Eikev, 5751, (Aug. 3, 1991), the Rebbe spoke about the printing of Chassidus for the blind, in Braille.

The full text of the Rebbe's sichah (talk) is reprinted in this issue, with the kind permission of "Sichos In English."


We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


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

12 Menachem-Av, 5763
Brooklyn, New York

Reb Mordechai ben Reb Shaul

Passed away on 22 Tamuz, 5763

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Eikev

About the mitzvah of mezuzah, which is found in this week's Torah portion, Eikev, the Talmud relates that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi once sent a mezuzah as a gift to Artaban, king of Persia, explaining that the small scroll would protect him from harm.

At first glance, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi's gesture seems odd. The commandment to affix a mezuzah upon one's doorposts was given only to the Jewish nation. A non-Jewish king, therefore, would not be fulfilling a religious precept by possessing a mezuzah. As such, he would also be ineligible for any reward resulting from the performance of a mitzvah. Why then did Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi promise the gentile king that the mezuzah would guard and protect him?

A similar question may also be asked about the common practice, dating back to the time of the Mishnah, of inserting a mezuzah scroll into one's walking stick, also done for the sake of the protection it afforded. A walking stick is certainly not included in the commandment of mezuzah. If there is no commandment, there is certainly no reward. How, then, did the mezuzah afford protection?

A distinction must be made between the reward a person receives for performing a mitzvah and the intrinsic attribute of the mitzvah itself. When a person obeys G-d's command by fulfilling a mitzvah, the reward he earns is a separate and distinct entity, additional to the essential nature of the mitzvah. For example, the Torah states that the reward for the mitzvah of mezuzah is long life: "That your days be increased and the days of your children."

Yet besides the reward promised by the Torah, each mitzvah has its own special attributes and characteristics that have nothing to do with reward, but are integral parts of the mitzvah itself. The mezuzah's attribute is protection. Our Sages explained that when a kosher mezuzah is affixed to the door post, G-d Himself watches over the occupants of the house, even when they are not at home. A mezuzah is written solely for the purpose of protection, and, by its nature, it protects.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that even when no fulfillment of a religious precept is involved, a mezuzah still possesses this attribute of protection, at least to some degree. It was for this reason that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi sent the mezuzah as a gift to the Persian king and that Jews took mezuzot with them wherever they went inside their walking sticks.

In a similar vein, speaking about and studying the laws of mezuzah afford similar protection. The Talmud relates that in the house of one Jewish king a special sign was made on those door posts that were exempt from having a mezuzah.

From this we learn the crucial importance of having kosher mezuzot. The Jewish people, likened to "one sheep among seventy wolves," are always in need of special defense. Every additional mezuzah affixed to a Jewish home extends G-d's Divine protection to the entire Jewish nation, for all Jews are ultimately responsible for one another.


For more information about the mitzvah of mezuzah, contact your local rabbi, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center.


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.

Reb Elchonon Isaac ben Reb Sholom

Passed away on 7 Adar, 5756


Mrs. Leiba bas Reb Leib

Passed away on 15 Menachem-Av, 5747


Reb Menachem Mendel ben Reb Dovid Noach

Passed away on 2 Iyar, 5757


Mrs. Esther Elka bas Reb Yosef
Passed away on 2 Iyar, 5763

* * *

Dedicated by their Children & Grandchildren
Dr. & Mrs. Leib Meyer and Sarah
and family Lovitch


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

Lighting Up the Path to the Redemption

An(1) Adaptation of an Address of the Rebbe,
on Shabbat Parshat Eikev, 5751/1991

"Publisher's Foreword:"

One of the unique aspects of Chassidus is that it generates the potential to see any incident in a larger scope. An idea is thus appreciated not only for its individual message, but also as a part of a more inclusive whole.

The Rebbe gave expression to this quality in his sichos (talks) on Shabbat Parshat Eikev. He focused on a unique development: the publication of the Tanya in [Hebrew] braille, emphasizing the important breakthrough it represented -- bringing the teachings of Chassidus to people who had never previously had the opportunity to taste this spiritual knowledge independently.

Nevertheless, beyond this important dimension, this development can be seen as part of a process of yet greater scope -- as both a foretaste of, and a catalyst for, the coming of the Era of the Redemption. Accordingly, the Rebbe encourages us here to continue this pattern, to "live with the Redemption," to conduct ourselves in its spirit, and in this manner, to precipitate its coming even sooner.

* * *

Spreading the Wellsprings Outward

Recently, a new printing of the Tanya was brought to this building, the Previous Rebbe's shul and House of Study, an event that is noteworthy in its own right, and of even greater significance when viewed as part of a cosmic canvas.

The Tanya, which has been described as "the Written Torah of Chassidus,"(2) has been reprinted many thousands of times all over the world. Indeed, the Baal Shem Tov taught that the coming of Moshiach is dependent on "the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward."(3) Ultimately, in the Era of the Redemption, "the knowledge of G-d will fill the earth as the waters cover the ocean bed."(4) And to prepare for this revelation, it is necessary to spread G-dly knowledge, the teachings of Chassidus, throughout the world at large. When seen in this context, the printing of the Tanya in so many different cities is significant, for it has transformed them into "wellsprings," centers and sources for the spreading of Chassidus.(5)

Windows for the Soul

The new printing of the Tanya mentioned above is unique, however, for it represents the spreading of the teachings of Chassidus to a group of people who had previously had no potential to study these teachings unaided. For this the Tanya was printed in braille.

In recent generations, Chassidus has been explained in ever-increasing depth and breadth, and these explanations have been communicated to people from different backgrounds and walks of life in many languages. Unfortunately, however, the physical handicap of the blind prevented them -- until now -- from reading these texts independently.

The significance of this printing is magnified by the fact that, as mentioned above, the Tanya is known as "the Written Torah of Chassidus." Just as the Written Torah includes the entire Oral Law, for "there is no teaching which is not alluded to in the Torah,"(6) so, too, the Tanya includes in seminal form all the teachings of Chassidus revealed in later generations.(7) In this sense, this Tanya makes the totality of the teachings of Chassidus accessible.

The Ultimate Purpose of Sight

There is an intrinsic connection between the blind and the study of Chassidus. Chassidus -- the medium in which pnimiyus HaTorah (the inner dimensions of Torah) is revealed in the present age -- is known as(8) "the Light of the Torah." Similarly, in Lashon HaKodesh, "The Holy Tongue," it is common to describe the blind by the euphemism sagi nahor, which means "of great light." And indeed, historically, there is a connection between the two. One of the great sages of the kabbalistic tradition, Rabbi Yitzchok Sagi Nahor,(9) was blind.

There is also a connection between the blind and the Future Redemption, because in that era the dimension they possess, which is associated with "great light," will be revealed. At that time, G-d will heal the entire world and the blind will be healed first.(10)

(The significance of the blind becoming sighted is also connected to the revelation of the "knowledge of G-d" in the Era of Redemption. Moshiach will teach the people, using the power of sight(11) and thus, this faculty will be necessary to appreciate the new dimensions of Torah knowledge that will be revealed at that time.)

Moreover, the study of the Tanya by the blind will hasten the advent of this era, for this represents the opening of an entirely new sphere in the spreading of the teachings of Chassidus. And in this context, we can appreciate the greater significance of this printing.

Making Accounts:
Moshiach's Coming is Past Due

Moshiach's coming is long overdue; "All the appointed times for the Redemption have passed."(12) Furthermore, from the perspective of the Jewish people, we have already completed the spiritual service demanded of us. To borrow a phrase from the Previous Rebbe, "We have even polished the buttons,"(13) for the teachings of Chassidus have been presented in a manner in which they are accessible to every Jew.

The printing of the Tanya in braille thus reflects the nature of the spiritual service required in the present age -- making the teachings of Chassidus accessible to others who for various reasons have not yet been exposed to them. And in doing so, there must be a consciousness that these teachings are a foretaste of the revelation of "the knowledge of G-d" in the Era of the Redemption. Moreover, a study of these teachings will lead to that revelation. In this manner, studying Chassidus reflects our efforts to "live with the Redemption," and make the Redemption an active force in our daily conduct.

The above concepts are particularly relevant in the present month, the month of Elul, when it is customary to review and take stock of our spiritual service in the previous year, and in this manner, prepare for the new year to come. This stocktaking should also focus on the imminence of the Redemption and on our efforts to make the Redemption an actual reality.

Catalysts for the Redemption

A Jew has the potential to arouse himself, to arouse others, and to arouse G-d Himself, as it were. According to all the signs given by our Sages,(14) and definitely in the light of the miracles which we have witnessed recently, the ultimate Redemption should have come already, and in this present year. For the miracles described in the Yalkut Shimoni(15) are to take place in "the year in which the King Moshiach will be revealed."

We must cry out "Ad Masai!" - "Until when must we remain in exile?" And furthermore, this outcry must be coupled with actions that grant us a foretaste of -- and thus precipitate -- the Era of the Redemption.

And these efforts will doubtless bear fruit, particularly in the present time. The month of Elul is a time when G-d accepts the requests and grants the wishes of the Jewish people. And surely this is an appropriate time for Him to grant our truest and most essential wish -- that the Redemption come about immediately.


1. Adapted from the book, Sound the Great Shofar (Brooklyn, NY: Kehot Publication Society, 1992).

2. Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Previous Rebbe, vol. IV, p. 261ff.

3. For the relevant sources see footnotes 12, 13 and 14 to the above Overview.

4. Yeshayahu 11:9, quoted by the Rambam at the conclusion of his discussion of the Era of the Redemption in the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.

5. See sichah of Parshas Bo, 5744, and the essay, "The Printing of Tanya," in Sichos In English, vol. XIX, pp. 113-119.

6. Zohar III, 221a.

7. Furthermore, the final portion of the Tanya, Kuntres Acharon, is an explanation of certain passages found in the previous four portions of the Tanya. In this it resembles the Oral Law, which is an explanation of the Written Law. Indeed, there is a close similarity between this fifth portion of the Tanya and the Book of Devarim, which is called Mishneh Torah, a restatement of the Torah, and thus shares a connection with the Oral Law.

8. See Yerushalmi, Chagigah 1:7, and commentary of Korban HaEdah.

9. See Shmos HaGedolim and also Recanati, Parshas Vayeishev.

10. Midrash Tehillim 146; see also Yeshayahu 35:5 and Bereishis Rabbah 95:1.

11. See Likkutei Torah, Tzav 17 a, b.

12. Sanhedrin 97b.

13. Sichah of Simchat Torah, 5689/1928.

14. See the conclusion of Tractate Kesubbos.

15. Vol. II, sec. 499, commenting on Yeshayahu 60:1, with reference to events having worldwide repercussions in the Persian Gulf.


"The teachings of Chasidus," someone might argue, "are indeed likened to gems and pearls, but I'm not one to chase after pearls; I'm satisfied if my clothes aren't torn."

There is an answer to this argument: "We are on the threshold of the Redemption, so we have to get ready for the coming of Moshiach, when we will be privileged to enter the marriage canopy together with the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He. So we will need pearls, too."

(The Rebbe)


Last Shabbat, Parshat Va'etchanan, the 11th of Menachem-Av, Saturday, August 9, was the yahrtzeit of one of the most famous and colorful Chabad Chasidim, Reb Hillel Paritcher.

Reb Hillel was born in 5555/1795 and was married before his bar mitzvah (!). As he was still too young to don tefillin and could only wear a tallit, he was called "Chol Hamoed" ("the Intermediate Days of a Festival," when tefillin are not worn). By age 13 he had already mastered the entire Talmud, and was fluent in Poskim [halachic adjudicators] and Kabbalah. By age 15, he was expert in the writings of the holy Arizal.

Originally a Chasid of Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl, he became a Chabad Chasid the first time he opened the Tanya. His lifelong dream was to meet the Alter Rebbe, the Tanya's author and the founder of Chabad Chasidism, but this was not to be. For years Reb Hillel trailed the Alter Rebbe across the Pale, but never caught up to him.

One time he arrived in the city where the Alter Rebbe was expected and hid under his bed. While waiting, he formulated in his mind the question on Tractate Erachin that he would ask the Alter Rebbe. When the Alter Rebbe entered the room, before Reb Hillel could even emerge from his hiding place, the Alter Rebbe said in his characteristic sing-song: "When a person has a question about Erachin [literally 'assessments'], he must assess himself first..." Reb Hillel fainted, and by the time he woke up the Alter Rebbe was gone.

It wasn't until after the Alter Rebbe passed away that Reb Hillel came to Lubavitch, where the Mitteler Rebbe enjoined him to "collect materiality [funds for charity] and sow spirituality."

His most famous work, published posthumously, was Pelach HaRimon. He is buried in Kharson.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Wednesday, August 13, is Tu B'Av, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Menachem-Av.

"There were no greater festivals in Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur," the Mishnah tells us. What is so special about the 15th of Av that it is singled out together with Yom Kippur from all the other festivals?

A number of special events throughout Jewish history took place on the 15th of Av. They were:

1) The tribe of Benjamin was permitted once again to marry the remainder of the Jewish people;

2) The Generation of the Desert ceased to die; they had previously been condemned to perish in the desert because of the sin of the spies;

3) Hoshea Ben Elah removed the blockades that the rebel Jeroboam had set up to prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the festivals;

4) The cutting of the wood for the Holy Altar was completed;

5) Permission was granted by the Romans to bury the slain of Betar.

These five events in themselves do not seem adequate enough reason to make the 15th of Av a festival greater than any other. There is another, all-encompassing reason.

There is another occasion of note in the month of Av, the ninth. Tisha B'Av is the day when the two Holy Temples were destroyed, signaling the start of the long and terrible exile we are still enduring -- tragedies which were the result of the Jews' transgressions. Tisha B'Av is the nadir of Jewish physical and spiritual life.

But these tragedies are not without purpose. "Descent is for the purpose of ascent," and the deeper the descent, correspondingly greater will be the ascent that follows. It is specifically after the awesome decline of Tisha B'Av that we can reach the loftiest heights, heights that would otherwise be inaccessible.

The five festive events on the 15th of Av, then, are the counterpart to the five tragic events of Tisha B'Av. The 15th of Av transforms the evil of Tisha B'Av to the greatest good -- "there were no greater festivals in Israel than the 15th of Av." The ultimate goal of the tragedies of the month of Av is that they should be transformed into a greater good -- the supreme festival of the 15th of Av.

Emphasizing Love

The Second Holy Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred between Jews. The events of the 15th of Av, which are the counterpart to Tisha B'Av, all express the concept of ahavat Yisrael -- love of a Jew.

"The tribe of Benjamin were permitted once again to marry the remainder of the Jewish people" is obviously an expression of ahavat Yisrael. Indeed, the very announcement that all Jewry was now united and allowed to come together is reason enough for a festival.

"Permission was granted by the Romans to bury the slain of Betar" and "The Generation of the Desert ceased to die" likewise emphasize the love of Jews -- G-d's love, which was expressed in these acts of kindness to His people.

"Hoshea Ben Elah removed the blockades that the rebel Jeroboam had set up to prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem for the festivals" allowed the Ten Tribes of the kingdom of Israel to unite with the other Two Tribes when they went to Jerusalem; again, the idea of unity and ahavat Yisrael.

The wood they finished cutting on the 15th was necessary for the offering of the sacrifices on the altar. And the altar, say our Sages, "removes and feeds, makes beloved, atones"; "removes" means "removes evil decrees from Israel," and "makes beloved" means "makes beloved to their Father" -- again, the idea of fostering love.

Charm And Beauty

In addition to the above reasons enumerated by the Talmud for the importance of the 15th of Av -- all of which we have seen are associated with ahavat Yisrael -- the Mishnah itself gives a reason: "For on these days, the daughters of Jerusalem . . . came out and danced in the vineyards, saying, 'Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you are choosing for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty, but set your eyes on good family. Charm is deceptive and beauty is naught; a G-d-fearing woman is the one to be praised....'"

The Talmud elaborates on this theme, and explains that "the daughters of Jerusalem went out [dressed] in borrowed white garments, so as not to embarrass those who had none." This is clearly the idea of ahavat Yisrael.

The common theme behind all the reasons for the 15th of Av, then, is ahavat Yisrael, the practice of which eradicates the cause of the exile, and therefore automatically the exile itself.


- I -

On Wednesday, August 13, we celebrate the festive day of the Tu B'Av. On the 15th of Av the days begin to get shorter.

In times gone by, the onset of evening meant that the workday was over. Our Sages, therefore, encourage us to use the longer evenings for increased study of Jewish subjects.

The exile is often referred to as "night" and the Redemption, as "dawn." Though we are certainly in the last few moments of the long night of exile, it sometimes seems like the "night" is getting longer rather than shorter. Thus, the above teaching of our Sages is certainly appropriate.

Maimonides explains that in the era of the Redemption, the sole occupation of the whole world will be to know G-d. The Rebbe suggested, therefore, that as a preparation for that time, we increase in our studies wherever possible. In addition, just 12 years ago, the Rebbe expressed the following thoughts on studying matters specifically concerning Moshiach and the Redemption:

"Since Moshiach is about to come, a final effort is required that will bring him. Every man, woman and child should increase his/her Torah study in subjects that concern the Redemption.... One should likewise upgrade one's meticulous observance of mitzvot, particularly charity, 'which brings the Redemption near.'

"It would be proper for one to connect his additional charity with his additional study of subjects connected with the Redemption, by giving charity with the intent that it hasten the Redemption. This intention in itself becomes part of learning subjects connected with the Redemption -- for this is a real and tangible study of the teaching of our Sages: 'Great is charity for it brings the Redemption near.'

"The above-described study is not only a spiritual means of securing the speedy advent of Moshiach; it is a way of beginning to live one's life in the mood of Moshiach and the Redemption by having one's mind permeated with an understanding of the concepts of Moshiach and Redemption. From the mind, these concepts will then find their way into the emotions. Ultimately, they will find expression in one's actual conduct -- in thought, word and deed -- in a way befitting this unique era when we stand on the threshold of the Redemption."

- II -

It states in the Talmud that starting from the Fifteenth of Av, a Jew should increase the time he devotes to nighttime Torah study. As a reward for our additional learning, G-d extends our lives and grants us additional years.

Our Sages explained that the Fifteenth of Av is the date on which the nights begin to be slightly longer and the days shorter. Generally speaking, the daylight hours are reserved for work; at night, people have more free time to spend as they please. The shorter the day, the more hours are left over at night -- and nighttime is especially conducive to learning Torah.

The length of the days and nights on earth is a variable; it changes in accordance with the movement of the sun. The days grow shorter and the nights longer on the Fifteenth of Av when the sun's orbit begins to change.

The Talmud, however, provides us with the true reason for this planetary phenomenon: to enable the Jew to spend more time learning Torah! For the sake of the Jew, G-d alters the course of the sun in the sky, a cosmological change of fantastic proportions!

How important it must be to G-d that we increase our study of His Torah, to the point that He moves heaven and earth on our behalf!

Consider the immense size of the earth, and the sun, which is about 170 times as large. Ponder the sun's tremendous power and energy, and the vast treasures that are hidden in the depths of the earth. How many billions of people populate our planet? How many animals, plants and inanimate objects? Just try to estimate the volume of water that covers the earth, or the number of stones and rocks that form its crust. In comparison with G-d, of course, all these things are insignificant.

When we are mindful that the entire universe is orchestrated by G-d for our sake, we will learn His Torah with eagerness and enthusiasm, and express it in actual deed.


You find the recipe, read it over, and scan your pantry to make sure you have all of the ingredients you'll need. Then you glance at your watch to see if there's enough time to complete the baking project.

You've done the preliminary preparations. Now it's time to gather the mixing bowl, measuring spoons and cups and other supplies and start the actual process of creating a culinary delight.

But, imagine baking a cake without those preliminary preparations. You take out the mixer, spatula, measuring spoons and cup. You start reading the recipe. One by one you add the ingredients.

Oh no! There's only one egg left in the carton and you need three. What can you substitute? You decide to borrow eggs from a neighbor and hope that the half-mixed batter with the baking powder already added will survive.

When you're finished, you get ready to spoon the batter into the cupcake tins.

Oops! There aren't any cupcake liners. Scrap the idea of cupcakes; you'll make a cake instead. You look at your watch skeptically, knowing that cakes require more baking time than cupcakes.

If you've been there and done that, you certainly know that a little bit of preparation and thoughtful planning can save time and aggravation in the long run.

There is a Jewish custom to wish each other in correspondence and in conversations: "Ktiva vachatima tova" -- may you be written and sealed for a good year -- starting from the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month Av.

You may well be wondering, "Isn't the fifteenth day of Av a little early to start preparing for Rosh HaShanah? After all, it's over 6 weeks until the New Year!"

In answer, the upcoming Jewish month of Elul, which begins in just a little over two weeks, is the month when we prepare ourselves spiritually for Rosh HaShanah and the entire year to follow. By the middle of the current month, the month preceding Elul, we need to prepare ourselves for Elul! From the fifteenth day of Av we do the preliminary preparations and beginning in Elul we do the actual preparations for the new year.

So, far from being way too early, now is a good time to begin making sure we have all of the right ingredients for the new year!

When Jewish people bless each other (for the upcoming year), it is an expression of "ahavat Yisrael" -- love and concern of one Jew for another. When wishing another person well is done with warmth and sincerity, out of a deep feeling of love, it is an even stronger demonstration of the mitzvah to "love one's neighbor as oneself."

And the love and concern for another Jew expressed in our wishes for a "Ktiva vachatima tova" hasten the realization of G-d's blessings for the coming year.

To get the "recipe" just right for the coming year, plan ahead. If we start now with preliminary preparations, we'll be surprised at how smoothly and efficiently we'll be able to approach the New Year.


"The Holy Temple will be destroyed, and the Jews will be exiled from their land!" a Heavenly voice decreed. "But the Western Wall of the Holy Temple will not be destroyed," said G-d, "so that there should always be a reminder that G-d's Glory resides there!"

The Jews would not forget the Holy Temple. Every year on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Menachem-Av, the day on which the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, the Jews assembled at the Western Wall. There, standing next to the only visible remains of the Temple, they poured out their hearts over the destruction and beseeched G-d to rebuild the Holy Temple.

The Romans, the destroyers of the second Temple, could not bear to see how resolutely the Jews kept to their religion, and how holy they regarded the Western Wall. The Romans hit upon a plan of how to remedy the situation; they issued an order that all gentiles who lived in Jerusalem must dump their garbage daily near the Wall.

Day in, day out, the heap of garbage grew. Bit by bit the entire Wall was buried under a massive grave of garbage. The Jews mourned anew.

Many years went by. A very righteous Jew from outside of Israel came to Jerusalem to pour out his heart to G-d over the destruction. He walked through the streets of Jerusalem, seeking the Wall, but he could not find it. Everyone he asked shrugged their shoulders; they had never in their lives seen the Wall.

The Jew, however, did not give up hope. Day and night he looked for the Wall. Once, he came upon a huge hill of rubbish and wondered how so much garbage came to be accumulated at this place. He noticed a very old woman carrying a heavy sack on her back.

"Old woman, what are you carrying?" the Jew asked her.

"I am carrying a sack of garbage to throw on the hill."

The Jew inquired, "Do you have no place closer to home for garbage, that you are forced to bring it here?"

"It is an ancient custom for us to bring the garbage here. Once, in this place, there stood a huge, magnificent stone wall. The Jews regarded the wall as holy. Their conquerers, the Romans, ordered all of the city's non-Jewish inhabitants to dump their garbage. So generations ago, we were ordered to cover the wall." She emptied her bundle and returned home.

The Jew wept and pledged to himself: "I will not move from here until I figure out how to remove the garbage and reveal the Western Wall."

Suddenly an idea came to him. He began walking in the streets of Jerusalem and whispered to everyone he met, "They say that a treasure lies buried beneath the hill of garbage over there."

The man himself took a shovel and began digging in the dirt. A short while later people began arriving. The whole city of Jerusalem was abuzz with the announcement of a treasure lying beneath the hill of garbage. People streamed to the hill with shovels and buckets. They dug for a whole day until the upper stones of the Wall came into view. The sun set and people left, eagerly anticipating the dawning of a new day. The Jew then took some gold coins from his pocket, covered them with dirt and left.

Early the next morning, soon after dawn, there was an uproar at the hill. Someone had found a gold coin. A second person found a golden coin and then a third.

The people started to dig with even more enthusiasm. Every day they dug deeper and deeper. Every day a few golden coins were found. But, they were certain the real treasure lay at the bottom. The Jew spent his entire fortune on his mission to uncover the Western Wall.

For forty days the people dug near the Wall, seeking to unearth the buried treasure. Finally the entire Wall was cleared of garbage. They did not find the treasure, but in front of their eyes a big stone wall loomed.

Suddenly a great storm broke out and a torrent of rain came down. It rained for three days, washing the Wall clean of any traces of dirt. When the people came out to see what they had unearthed, they saw a handsome wall with huge stones, some as tall as ten feet high.

On the spot where the earth from which Adam was formed was gathered by G-d's "hand," where Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed, where the first Holy Temple built by King Solomon stood, and the second Holy Temple built by Ezra and Nechemiah stood -- on this very spot the third and final Temple will be built, when Moshiach comes.


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, August 15, Erev Shabbat Parshat Eikev:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(16) by 7:37 p.m.

Saturday, August 16, Shabbat Parshat Eikev:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 4 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:39 p.m.


16. 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.

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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