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Parshat Vayeitzei, 5762
Year of Hakhel

Kislev 8, 5762 * November 23, 2001

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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 of Living With Moshiach is dedicated in honor of the third yahrtzeit of my dear cousin, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Kazen, founder and Director of Activities, of Chabad-Lubavitch in Cyberspace, who passed away, at the age of 44, on Tuesday, 12 Kislev, 5759 (Dec. 1, 1998).


This Saturday, Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei, the ninth of Kislev (Nov. 24), is the birthday and yahrtzeit of Rabbi Dov Ber, the second Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Therefore, we present an article about his--and all the other Chabad Rebbes'--special relationship with the Holy Land of Israel.


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

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


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

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

3 Kislev, 5762
Year of Hakhel
Brooklyn, New York

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Vayeitzei

"And Yaakov (Jacob) left Beer Sheva and went toward Charan," relates the Torah portion of Vayeitzei. When darkness fell, Yaakov had traveled as far as Mount Moriah. Placing a stone under his head for a pillow, he lay down and fell asleep. That night G-d revealed himself to Yaakov in a dream. "The land on which you are lying I will give to you and your seed," G-d said, promising Yaakov the land of Israel as the inheritance of the Jewish people forever.

To demonstrate just how effortlessly the land would be conquered by Yaakov's descendants, "G-d 'folded' up the entire land of Israel and placed it beneath him, alluding to the ease with which it would be acquired," comments Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, citing the explanation given in the Talmud.

Generations before, a similar promise was made by G-d to Avraham (Abraham). "Arise, walk through the land in its length and breadth, for I will give it to you." According to the Talmud, this commandment was given to Avraham to facilitate his descendants' subsequent conquest of Israel. Avraham's sojourn through the land demonstrated his Divine claim on the territory and paved the way for his descendants years later.

It is interesting to note that whereas Avraham was commanded by G-d to perform an actual physical action ("walk through the land"), Yaakov was not. Lying on the holy ground of Israel was sufficient for G-d to reveal Himself and promise it to his descendants.

Furthermore, G-d "'folded' up" the land of Israel beneath Yaakov to emphasize that not only would it be easy for the Jewish people to conquer, as already alluded to Avraham, but its acquisition would require no more exertion than merely lying on the ground. The land of Israel would be given over into their hands without effort, without their having to perform any special feats or extraordinary actions.

In effect, G-d granted the Jewish people the ability to conquer the land of Israel without having to wage war. The Jewish claim on Israel was fixed as incontrovertible in the consciousness of all mankind forever and ever, as Divine right.

This potential could have been achieved immediately with Joshua's conquest had the Jewish people possessed sufficient merit. Because of the sin of the spies, however, this merit was taken away, and the Jews were forced to fight to acquire what would have otherwise become their possession immediately.

When Moshiach comes and ushers in the Final Redemption, this potential will be fully realized. The land of Israel will, at long last, be secured by the Jewish people for eternity, without their having taken the slightest overt action whatsoever.

Even now, before the Redemption, may it occur speedily in our days, when Jews stand firm in their Divine claim to the Holy Land, unequivocally and unashamedly declaring their G-d-given right to Israel, all the arguments of the Gentiles against the Jewish people are nullified, and the arrival of Moshiach and the Redemption is thereby hastened.


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.


This Saturday, Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei, the ninth of Kislev (Nov. 24), is the birthday and yahrtzeit of Rabbi Dov Ber (5534/1773-5588/1827), the second Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, known as the Mitteler (or "intermediate") Rebbe. The following day, the 10th of Kislev, is the day on which the Mitteler Rebbe was redeemed from imprisonment (in 5587/1826).

In 5576/1816, Reb Dov Ber established a settlement of Chabad chasidim in Israel, in the holy city of Hebron. He encouraged the chasidim already living in other parts of Israel to resettle in Hebron. In addition, his own daughter and son-in-law moved with their family from Russia to Hebron.

But the history of Chabad-Lubavitch's support of people, institutions and settlements in the Holy Land predates even 5576/1816. For the first Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, vigorously encouraged his followers to support the Jews in the Holy Land.

Each and every Rebbe of Chabad, up to and including the present Rebbe, has unequivocally supported the Holy Land and spoken out boldly concerning anything that might have the slightest impact on the security of the Jews there.

Our brethren in Israel know firsthand about the Rebbe's concern for them and their lives. During the Gulf War, the Rebbe's emphatic message, that "Israel is the safest place in the world, for G-d is constantly watching it," was continuously played on the radio. The hundreds of Chabad Centers that dot the Israeli landscape were deluged with callers during the Gulf War, asking, "What is the Rebbe saying now?"

Without a doubt, and everyone can be sure of this, the Rebbe's policy has not changed one iota in the past 51 years nor has it changed from that of his predecessors. Based on clear guidance from the Torah and Jewish law, the Rebbe reiterates:(1) No action can be taken that might negatively affect the safety of the Jews of the Holy Land!

In the merit of Rabbi Dov Ber, who established the first Chabad settlement in the Holy Land, may we be privileged to go together with Moshiach to the Holy Land, NOW.

* * *

There is a famous story about the Mitteler Rebbe told by the Previous Rebbe and often related by the Rebbe:

The Mitteler Rebbe was known for his unusual power of concentration. When he was engaged in study or prayer, he did not hear or see a thing around him.

Once, when Rabbi Dov Ber was studying, his baby sleeping in a nearby cot fell out of its cradle and began to cry. Rabbi Dov Ber did not hear the baby's cries and continued learning. But the infant's grandfather, Rabbi Shneur Zalman if Liadi (the founder of Chabad Chasidism), who was in his room on an upper floor and was also learning at that time, did hear the baby's cries. He interrupted his studies, went downstairs, picked up the infant, soothed it and put it back in its cradle. Still, the infant's father did not hear or see what went on around him. Later on, Rabbi Shneur Zalman told his son: "No matter how important the thing is in which a Jew is engaged, one must always hear the cry of a child."

This story is applicable to parents, teachers and even children. We must always hear the cry of a child, whether that child is a child in years or knowledge or commitment to Judaism. Even when we are involved in important things, we must not neglect or ignore the cry of the child.

This applies, as well, to the child within each one of us. This spark of good and G-dliness, the wide-eyed and innocent trust and belief that the world can become a perfect place, that evil can be eradicated, that goodness can prevail, and that "I" can be a part of it or perhaps even be the catalyst for realizing the world's potential, must be listened to and heeded.

* * *

About the Mitteler Rebbe it was said that he was so immersed in Chasidus that "if his finger would have been cut, it would have bled Chasidus instead of blood!"

When the Mitteler Rebbe was arrested by the Czarist government (in 5587/1826) on trumped-up charges of anti-government activities (he was later released on the 10th of Kislev of that year), even the governmental doctor, who was a prominent specialist, acknowledged that Chasidus was the Mitteler Rebbe's very essence and life. The doctor told the Russian authorities that they must allow the Mitteler Rebbe to give talks on Chasidus to his chasidim, explaining, "Just as you provide food for prisoners to ensure their existence, so, too, must you allow him to teach Chasidus. His very life depends on it."

The authorities saw that this was true when, while imprisoned, the Mitteler Rebbe's health waned. They agreed to let fifty chasidim enter his prison room twice weekly to listen to a chasidic discourse.

But the Mitteler Rebbe was not only concerned about the spiritual life of his fellow Jews, he also worked to better their situation materially as well. He encouraged thousands of Jews, both his chasidim and others, to settle on the land as farmers so that they would not have to be at the mercy of the anti-Semitic landowners or peasants. In 5575/1815 he established twenty-two Jewish farm settlements on land near the town of Cherson, which he had convinced the government to give for this purpose. Many of his chasidim, however, were reluctant to move so far away from their Rebbe. Thus, the Mitteler Rebbe promised to go to the trouble of travelling to them so he could teach Chasidus to them there.

The Rebbe spoke numerous times of the importance of celebrating the 9th and 10th of Kislev in a fitting manner, with gatherings that will foster brotherhood and lead to good resolutions.

May such gatherings this year be in Jerusalem, with the Rebbe and all of his predecessors presiding.


For a Tes/Yud Kislev gathering in your area, contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.


1. See "EYES UPON THE LAND" - The Territorial Integrity of Israel: A Life Threatening Concern. Based on the Public Statements and Writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Adapted by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger (1997: Sichos in English). http://www.truepeace.org/book.html

See also: REBBE'S VIEWS http://www.truepeace.org/rebbeview.html


Even before you know what's inside the gift you say "thank you."

Before you've tasted that heavenly-looking dessert the waiter brought, you murmur, "thanks."

And before you start your day, as soon as you realize that you are no longer in that delicious mode of sleep, you say the Modeh Ani prayer:

"I give thanks to You, living and eternal King, for having restored within me my soul, with mercy; great is Your trust."

Though we haven't ritually rinsed our hands, washed our face, brushed our teeth, we can say this prayer.

The obvious reason for this dispensation is that G-d's name is not mentioned in this prayer but is referred to only as "King."

However, this allowance points to an essential component of each and every Jew, that the "Modeh Ani" of the Jew -- a Jew's very essence -- can never be tainted, sullied or contaminated.

The concept of expressing thanks to G-d is one of the fundamental principles of Jewish life.

Thus we begin each day with an expression of thanks -- Modeh Ani -- in which we gratefully acknowledge G-d's return of our souls.

This, our first act of the day, serves as the foundation for all of our subsequent conduct.

It teaches us to be grateful, to take nothing for granted, to appreciate everything we have.

The Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement, was renown for his efforts to spread Jewish teachings even among small children.

In particular, before he revealed himself as a leader of the Jewish people, he served as a teacher's helper.

In fact, when the story of the Baal Shem Tov's life is related -- before his scholarship, piety, unbounded love of all Jews, and miracles that he wrought are recounted -- it is first told that he began as a teacher's helper.

At that time, he would remind children to begin their day with praise of and thanks to G-d, by reciting Modeh Ani.

Through this -- one's very first act of the day -- a Jew acknowledges G-d's Kingship.

In addition, it sets the tone for the whole day and for our whole life.

It teaches us to be grateful from our earliest moment in our lives at the earliest moment in the day.

Our Sages have told us that every night when one goes to sleep one's soul returns to its Divine source and gives an account of its activities that day.

In the prayer before going to bed we say, "Into Your hand I pledge my soul; You have redeemed me, O G-d, G-d of trust."

A pledge is something the debtor gives to the creditor as security that the debt will be repaid.

Usually the creditor will not return the pledge as long as the debtor still owes him money.

But G-d is very merciful; though every day we are indebted to Him, He returns our soul to us.

Furthermore, our Sages declare:

When a person gives a pledge, even if it is a new thing, it becomes old and stained by the time it is returned. But G-d returns our "pledge" new and polished even though it has been "used," and so it is written, "They are new every morning; great is Your trust."

The fact that we go to bed "dead tired" and wake up refreshed, returning from the unconscious world of slumber, is similar to the "revival of the dead" which will take place in the Messianic Era.

This daily experience strengthens our conviction in the "resurrection of the Dead," one of the 13 principles of Judaism.

And this adds further meaning to the words, "Great is Your trust," for we have absolute trust in G-d not only that He will return our soul in the morning, but also will return our soul into our body at the end of days, when all dead will arise from their "sleep."

Get into the habit of giving thanks, right from the very first moment of the day.

Gratefulness goes a long way.


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.

Awaken Your Core This Month:

"Awakening the core of our being must be reflected in a concern for the fundamental existence of every Jew. This should be expressed in efforts to provide our fellow Jews with the necessities required to celebrate the holidays of the month of Kislev [the 'chasidic New Year' on the 19th of Kislev and Chanukah] with happiness and joy. Similarly, they should have the means to fulfill the custom that the Rebbes followed of giving Chanukah gelt to the members of their household."

(1 Kislev, 5752/1991)

Simply stated, this means that as we think about our own family's holiday celebrations this month, we should make sure to help provide for other, less fortunate people in the greater Jewish family.


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, Nov. 23, Erev Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 24, Shabbat Parshat Vayeitzei:

  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:18 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.

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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