Parshat Shelach, 5758

Sivan 25, 5758
June 19, 1998

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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


This week's issue focuses on Chof Ches Sivan, the 28th of Sivan.


This Jewish year, is the year 5758 since Creation. The Hebrew letters are Hei-Taf-Shin-Nun-Ches. Over a decade ago, in the year 5742, the Rebbe stated that the Hebrew letters for that year were an acronym for "This should be the year of the coming of Moshiach."

Since that time, the Rebbe has publicized a phrase describing the year according to the acronym of its Hebrew letters. This year has been designated by the Rebbe's followers as "Hoyo Tihei Shnas Niflaos Cheiruseinu" meaning "It surely will be a year of wondrous miracles liberating us (from the material and spiritual problems of our exile)."


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

15 Sivan, 5758
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Shelach

This week's Torah portion, Shelach, relates the story of the spies and their unwillingness to settle in the Land of Israel. As we now stand on the threshold of the messianic era, when all Jews will return to the Holy Land, it is interesting to explore that event.

The spies' reluctance to leave the familiarity of the desert, their home for forty years, stemmed from the fact that it represented a radical change in their spiritual service. For forty years the physical needs of the Jewish people had been met miraculously--manna from heaven, fresh water from Miriam's well, their clothing miraculously growing along with them, clouds protecting them from their enemies--enabling the Jews to concentrate on their relationship with G-d without distractions. Settling the Land of Israel would involve embarking on an entirely new path, intimately involved in agriculture and necessitating direct interaction with the material world. True, these activities would be Torah-guided; the people would refrain from stealing, slander, gossip, etc. And they would also fulfill the precepts of giving a tenth of their earnings to charity, etc. Nonetheless, there would remain very little time to study and pray compared to life in the desert.

Yet embarking on this new path was precisely what G-d desired. The sin of the spies, each one of whom was a righteous and upstanding Jew, was their rejection of this notion. They worried that working the soil would take away precious time from their Torah study. Rather than purify the material world through their practical mitzvot, the spies preferred to continue their G-dly service removed--as much as possible--from the world and its demands.

But this is not the Jewish approach. The Divine mission of the Jew is to go out into the material world and conquer it, elevating physical matter by imbuing it with spirituality; working hard to provide the physical necessities of life, while at the same time imbuing their surroundings with G-dliness and holiness. For this is what G-d really wants Jews to do. Our mission in life is to lead a normal, physical existence, while at the same time following the precepts of the Torah.

This reluctance on the part of some people was limited to the very first time the Jews were about to enter the Land of Israel. When Moshiach ushers in the Redemption, no one will be ambivalent about the new era. At that time, our return to Israel will be complete and wholehearted.

On the one hand, the Jewish people will return to an agrarian existence, symbolic of G-d's desire that we elevate the physical world through our service. Yet at the same time, the substantial labor involved in this work will be done for us by others, as the Torah states, "And strangers will arise and tend your flocks, and the children of foreigners will be your farmers and vinegrowers," enabling the Jewish people to pursue their primary role, the uninterrupted worship of G-d.

This is also alluded to in G-d's promise to bring us to "a land flowing with milk and honey." In the messianic era, the sustenance of the Jews will be as bountiful as the milk that flows by itself from the goat and the honey that drips from the date palm--without our having to expend any effort. We will then be free to dedicate all our time to the joyful service of G-d.


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.


The 28th of the Hebrew month of Sivan (next Monday, June 22), is the 57th anniversary of the arrival in the United States of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.

The Rebbe and the Rebbetzin were in France during the early years of World War II. In 5701/1941, after tremendous effort on the part of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn--who was already in the United States--the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin were able to travel to Portugal, from where they boarded a ship to the United States.

The trip itself was quite dangerous, with the ship being stopped numerous times en route by the Nazis.

On the 28th of Sivan 5701 (June 23 1941), the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin arrived in New York.

The Previous Rebbe, because of ill health, was unable to greet his daughter and son-in-law personally. Instead, he sent four of his most eminent Chasidim to greet them.

The Previous Rebbe informed them, "I am selecting you as my representatives to welcome my son-in-law, who is arriving tomorrow. I will reveal to you who he is: Every night he says the Tikkun Chatzot prayer over the destruction of the Holy Temple. He knows by heart both the entire Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds with their commentaries, and Maimonides' great Mishne Torah (code of Jewish law), and is expert in the works of Chabad philosophy. . .!"

The 28th of Sivan became established as a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the rescue of the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin from the fires that raged in Europe.

It also marks the beginning of a new era in Chabad outreach with the establishment by the Previous Rebbe of the central Lubavitch educational and publishing departments, which he placed under the directorship of the Rebbe.

May the 28th of Sivan this year be the ultimate day of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the rescue of the Rebbe and the entire Jewish people from these last moments of exile, may G-d send the redemption NOW!


Have you shopped for a Father's Day card yet? Even if you haven't, certainly you remember from previous years that most Father's Day cards fall into a few categories. There are the sweet and sentimental ones with the soft-touch drawing on the front and then there are the humorous or tongue-in-cheek cards that seem to be written especially for your dad. Some cards talk about Dad always being there, making things right, listening and caring. Others extoll Dad's virtues and then ask for the car keys, or a few extra dollars.

G-d is often referred to in our prayers as Our Father. Just like your dad, G-d is interested and even involved in the most mundane and seemingly insignificant parts of your life. He can be approached by every Jew, no matter where, no matter when. And He can and should be approached for any of the things you might ask your flesh-and-blood father for: some money for a new car, extra assistance on the final exam, a listening ear, or forgiveness, to name a few.

"I can get by with a little help from my friends," some people say. "I don't believe in asking G-d for what I need." That sounds nice. Sort of like you don't want to bother G-d with your "trivialities." But did you know that it is a mitzvah to ask G-d for our needs? To pray that the refrigerator doesn't break down because you can't afford a new one right now. To ask G-d to heal a sick friend. To request success on that presentation you have to make next week.

Asking your dad for something you need--and his being able to help out--gives him pleasure. Similarly, asking G-d for what we need--and His giving it to us--gives Him "pleasure."

There are times, too, that in order to get our dad's attention we have to respectfully demand that he put down the newspaper, etc., and LISTEN. "Listen to our voice, merciful Father, have compassion on us, accept our prayers; do not turn us away empty-handed for You hear everyone's prayers."(1)

G-d hears our prayers, He listens to our requests, He registers our complaints. But does that mean that things always go the way we want them to? Not necessarily! Did your father always give whatever you asked him for? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

When you got a yes, you probably never asked him why. But the no always needed an explanation.

Why a no? Sometimes, what you were asking for wasn't right. You knew it and he knew it, but you had to ask anyway. Sometimes it wasn't right, but just Dad knew it; and later, looking back, you realized Dad had made the correct decision. And sometimes, for some inexplicable reason, Dad said no without explaining himself, and you just had to accept it. This is true, too, of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes, He accedes to our requests and at other times He denies them, for He truly knows what is best for us.

There is one request, however, which we know is correct and which we have a right to demand G-d listen to. It is the plea for Moshiach, who will help the world achieve the purpose for which it was created, an era of peace, prosperity and the pursuit of G-dliness.

Father, hear our prayer, we want Moshiach NOW!


1. Paraphrase of one of the 19 blessings that we say in the Amidah prayer recited 3 times each weekday.


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.havienu.org/www/vestibule/hebcal.html

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, June 19, Erev Shabbat Parshat Shelach:

Saturday, June 20, Shabbat Parshat Shelach:


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 Tamuz is on Wednesday, June 24, and Thursday, June 25.

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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