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Parshat Chukat-Balak, 5762
Year of Hakhel

Tamuz 11, 5762
June. 21, 2002

Yud-Beis Tamuz

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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.


In this week's issue we focus on Yud-Beis Tamuz, the 12th day of Tamuz, Shabbat Parshat Chukat-Balak, June 22.


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

13 Tamuz, 5762
Year of Hakhel
Los Angeles, California

Reb Menachem Mendel Halevi
ben Reb Leib Yoel Halevi
Passed away on 12 Iyar, 5757
Mrs. Rochel bas Reb Mordechai
Passed away on 9 Tamuz, 5760
* * *
Dedicated by their Children
Mr. & Mrs. Boruch Shimon Halevi & Pnina Katsch
and Grandchildren

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

Parshat Chukat-Balak

Of all the prophecies in Scripture that refer to the messianic era, the one contained in the second Torah portion we read this week, Balak, is most unusual in that it came from Bilaam, a gentile prophet. Bilaam, the foremost prophet of his time, was forced against his will to foretell the downfall of the nations of the world and the ultimate ascendancy of the Jewish people.

The very fact that this prophecy is included in our holy Torah indicates its special significance; indeed, it contains a distinct advantage precisely because it was said by a non-Jew. For when Moshiach comes the Jewish people will no longer be subservient to the nations; on the contrary, the gentile leaders will vie with one another for the privilege of serving the Jews! Thus, the prophecy of Bilaam concerning the Final Redemption not only gave the Children of Israel cause for rejoicing over their future, it actually afforded them a "taste" of the way things will be in the messianic era.

As far as prophecy itself is concerned, our Sages foretold its reoccurrence among the Jewish people before Moshiach's arrival according to the following chronology: Commenting on the verse in this week's Torah portion, "At the proper time shall it be said to Jacob and to Israel, what G-d has wrought," Maimonides noted that prophecy would return to Israel after "the proper time" had elapsed after Bilaam, i.e., after the same number of years as had passed since the creation of the world until his prophecy. Bilaam's prophecy was said in the year 2488; 2488 years after that, in the year 4976 (we are now in the year 5762), prophecy was destined to return to the Jewish people.

In fact we find that this was indeed the case, for it was then that prophetic luminaries began to appear on the Jewish horizon -- Rabbi Shmuel Hanavi, Rabbi Elazar Baal "Harokeach," Nachmanides, the Ravad (Rabbi Abraham ben David), Rabbi Ezra Hanavi and Rabbi Yehuda the Chasid, and others.

More generations passed until the birth of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidus, and his successor, the Maggid of Mezeritch, about whom it was said that they "could see from one end of the world to the other." The following generation produced Rabbi Shneur Zalman, who formulated Chabad Chasidus. Had he lived in the times of our prophets he would have been on a par with them; moreover, this chain of prophecy continued from one Chabad leader to the next, until the present day, when the Rebbe has prophesied that Moshiach's arrival is imminent.

The return of prophecy to the Jewish people is therefore both a prerequisite and preparation for the messianic era, which is due to begin at any moment.


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.


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 that 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.


A star steps out of Jacob and a scepter rises out of Israel (Num. 24:17)

Although one passage in the Jerusalem Talmud states that this verse refers to Moshiach, another interprets it as referring to every Jew.

This seeming contradiction is resolved by the Baal Shem Tov, who said that every Jew contains within him a spark of the soul of Moshiach.

Furthermore, this spark is more than just a latent aspect; every Jew is able to bring that spark out into the open, bringing about the actual manifestation of Moshiach by means of Torah and mitzvot, which effect a purification and refinement of the physical world.

This will be achieved in macrocosm with the coming of Moshiach, who will reveal the world's goodness and holiness.

Adapted from a Letter of the Rebbe

. . . At this time, in proximity to the anniversary of the geulah -- deliverance -- of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of saintly memory, from the tyranny of the Soviet regime on the 12th-13th of Tamuz, it behooves us to reflect again on those history-making events and how they relate to every one of us here and now. For, as he indicated in his first letter on the occasion of the first anniversary of his geulah, and as we see it clearly now, his deliverance was more than a personal one; it was a turning point in the survival of Russian Jewry, and is of lasting significance for every Jew everywhere.

This timely reflection should make every one of us all the more deeply appreciative of the blessing of freedom [which enables us] to live a full life of Torah and mitzvot. In addition, it should heighten our awareness of the sacred obligation to do one's utmost to spread and strengthen Yiddishkeit, with enthusiasm and love -- love of G-d, love of the Torah, and love of our Jewish brethren, which are inseparable.

By his total mesiras nefesh [self-sacrifice], even in the face of overwhelming odds, and by his ultimate triumph, with G-d's help, the Previous Rebbe has shown the way, and, in fact, trodden the path, so that every Jew can follow in his footsteps, with complete assurance that when he is firmly resolved to work for Torah and Yiddishkeit, he will overcome whatever difficulties there may be, and be successful, with G-d's help.

I hope and pray that the inspiration of the Previous Rebbe and the holiday of his Redemption will stimulate you and yours to redouble your efforts in the said direction in the days ahead, which will also widen the channels to receive G-d's blessings for you and yours, in all your needs, both material and spiritual.


Shabbat Parshat Chukat-Balak, June 22, marks both the birthday of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and the 75th anniversary of his liberation from Soviet prison and exile. When the Bolshevik revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Czarist regime in 1917, it set about destroying religion. Judaism, and particularly Chabad-Lubavitch, was a prime target. The Previous Rebbe devoted himself to keeping the flame of Judaism alive in Communist Russia.

So powerful was the Previous Rebbe's impact that at one point he was even offered a deal by the Communist government! He would be allowed to continue to support rabbis, ritual slaughterers, etc., and even continue to encourage Jews to attend prayer services on one condition: He had to stop educating the children in the ways of the Torah.

To the Previous Rebbe this was unacceptable, and he refused, saying, "If there are no children there will be no adults..." Without the proper Jewish education for our children, we as a nation, cannot survive. And even when the Previous Rebbe reached the shores of America, he continued to strengthen Jewish life by establishing schools here as well.

The Previous Rebbe showed great courage and determination when it came to preserving the Jewish way of life through Jewish education. He stood up to both Communist oppression and to those here in America who told him that yeshivot couldn't thrive in the new world. His legacy, Chabad-Lubavitch schools the world over, has outlived Soviet Communism and continues to prove those who doubted him wrong.

The Previous Rebbe was a living example of his teachings. His strength and courage were not for his personal needs, but for the spiritual and material needs of the entire Jewish people.

Let us stand strong together, and demand from G-d what we need most, the arrival of our righteous Moshiach and the true and complete Redemption.

* * *

In a letter sent out by the Previous Rebbe on the first anniversary of his release from prison, the Rebbe explained that the 12th of Tamuz is a day of rejoicing for every single Jew:

"It was not myself alone that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed on the 12th of Tamuz, but also those who love the Torah and observe its commandments, and so, too, all those who bear the name Jew -- for the heart of every person of Israel, irrespective of his particular level in the observance of the mitzvot, is perfectly bound with G-d and His Torah. . . .

"This is the day on which the light of the merit of public Torah study banished the misty gloom of calumnies and libels.

"It is fitting that such a day be set aside as a day of gatherings -- a day on which people arouse each other to fortify Torah study and the practice of Judaism in every place according to its needs . . . ."

* * *

The Previous Rebbe's redemption from prison is related to the ultimate Redemption through Moshiach and the personal redemption of every single Jew.

How can this be so? The Previous Rebbe was the leader of the Jewish people of his generation. The great commentator Rashi explains: "The leader includes the entire people." Therefore, the redemption of the leader of the generation affects the entire generation.

The Previous Rebbe himself emphasized this point in a letter that he wrote to his chasidim on the 1st anniversary of his release:

"It was not myself alone that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed on the 12th of Tamuz, but also those who love the Torah and observe its commandments, and so, too, all those who bear the name Jew . . ."

Our Sages have taught that on a person's birthday his mazal -- luck, or strength -- is stronger than at other times. This is true even after the person's passing. In addition, Judaism also teaches that the spiritual influences and energy that were present on a specific date in Jewish history repeat themselves and return on that same date throughout the ages.

Thus, on the 12th of Tamuz, the birthday and anniversary of deliverance of the Previous Rebbe, all of these additional spiritual powers are in place. Let us hook into them and use this auspicious day for Torah study, additional good deeds and charity, and a special, heartfelt request from each of us to the Al-mighty to bring the Final Redemption immediately.


The Russian Revolution had come to a close. Communism was the law of the land. Slowly but surely, the promised freedom and equality were disappearing. Rather than a society in which all men lived as brothers, a totalitarian regime emerged. Whoever did not conform was removed.

In addition, the new government tried to stamp out all religion. It undertook the cruelest means to do so. Disappearances and executions abounded. All too quickly, living Judaism became scarce. The penalties for providing Jewish education or for merely living as a Jew were just too frightening. But one man rebelled.

He was the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. The Previous Rebbe set up an underground network spanning thousands of miles. Throughout the length and breadth of Russia, his followers established underground shuls, schools and mikvehs (ritual baths). In the still of the night, in the dark of a cellar, adults and children gathered to learn and share the words of their holy tradition -- under the threat of arrest, even of death.

The government soon caught on. They knew that one man was behind it all. As long as the Previous Rebbe was on the scene, they realized that the mighty Russian government would have to wait for its desires to be carried out.

The government started sending spies to the Rebbe's talks to hear what he said. But fearless, in front of these spies, the Previous Rebbe continued to call upon his followers to defy the government, however dangerous it was, and to ensure that Judaism survived.

And his followers listened. Though the dangers were worsening from day to day, they opened new schools, new shuls and new mikvehs.

Eventually the government decided to do away with their opponent. On the night of the 15th of Sivan, 5687/1927, KGB agents called on the Previous Rebbe and led him away. They took him to the most feared jail in the city from which hardly anyone returned. They subjected him to the greatest disgrace and torture, but he continued to defy them.

One day, while in prison, the Previous Rebbe was called in for an interrogation. He refused to reply to his tormentor's liking. The inquisitor took a gun in his hands, played around with it and said: "This little toy has made many people speak."

"Yes," said the Previous Rebbe, "It has made many people speak. That is, people with many gods and but only one world. But for me, who has one G-d and two worlds -- this toy is meaningless."

Jews throughout the world prayed for the Previous Rebbe's release. International governments applied great pressure on the Russians. Slowly the Previous Rebbe's sentence was made easier. The death sentence was revoked, and instead came ten years of forced labor. Then, this too was challenged. Eventually, the Previous Rebbe was freed from jail to proceed to a distant town where he would remain in exile for a period of three years.

On the 3rd day of Tamuz, 5687/1927, the Previous Rebbe was exiled to the city of Kostrama. Before leaving to Kostrama, the Previous Rebbe was permitted to stop in his home for a few hours.

The Rebbe then proceeded to the train station where a large group of chasidim awaited him. Before boarding the train, the Rebbe made strong statements to the assemblage, among them:

"This, all nations on earth should know: Only our bodies were put in exile and subservience to kingdoms, but our souls were not driven into exile nor subservience to kingdoms. We must openly proclaim to all, that with regard to that which relates to our religion, Torah, mitzvot and Jewish customs, no one is going to impose his views on us, and no force has the right to subjugate us."

After just a few days in exile, on the 12th of Tamuz, the day of his birthday, the Previous Rebbe was informed that this punishment, too, had been commuted, but being a local holiday, he received his official release papers the next day, on the 13th of Tamuz.

The Previous Rebbe and his followers continued to adhere to Judaism and spread its message far and wide in defiance of the Russian government. To this very day, the underground network that the Previous Rebbe established in Russia still exists, though, thank G-d, now it can finally operate more openly.

About three months later, the Previous Rebbe left Russia a broken man physically, having been tortured in jail. But they were not able to touch him spiritually in the least.


A further stage in the Previous Rebbe's redemption was his coming to America, which brought about an increase in the work of spreading the teachings of Chasidus throughout the world.(2)

And this increase in the spreading of the teachings of Chasidus continues even to this day. It serves to hasten the Redemption, as exemplified by the famous quote of Moshiach to the Baal Shem Tov that Moshiach would come when "your [the Baal Shem Tov's] teachings are spread outward."


2. See Living With Moshiach, Vol. 235: "Tes Adar"

Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe

In order to understand the concept of "spreading the wellsprings [of Torah] outward,"(3) we need to examine the physical properties of a well.

A well's water gushes spontaneously from its source without waiting for the thirsty person to come and drink. Likewise, its waters flow far and wide, saturating everything with which they come in contact.

In a similar vein, when the objective is bringing the waters of Torah to other Jews, we cannot wait until they come and ask to drink its knowledge. The Torah, the sustenance of life itself, must be brought to wherever Jews are found.

This approach originated with Aaron the High Priest, who "loved peace and pursued peace, loved his fellow creatures and brought them nearer to Torah." Aaron did not wait until others took the first step, but went "outside" to draw them closer to Judaism.

Significantly, Aaron "brought them nearer to Torah," and not the other way around. The Torah's principles were never altered or compromised to fit a given situation. Rather, each individual Jew was brought to the Torah, the same true and eternal Torah that has stood immutable for thousands of years.

This characteristic service of Aaron is alluded to in the Torah portion of Beha'alotcha -- literally, "When you light the lamps." As High Priest, Aaron's job entailed kindling the menorah in the Sanctuary.

A candle is symbolic of the Jewish soul, as it states, "the candle of G-d is the soul of man." Aaron's function was to light the candle, i.e., ignite the soul of every Jew, for every Jew possesses a G-dly soul, no matter how concealed it may be. By lighting this "candle," Aaron revealed the flame that burns inside each and every one of us.

Furthermore, Aaron made sure that the candle would continue to burn without his assistance. It is not enough to uncover the G-dly soul that exists in the recesses of every Jewish heart; the soul must be so aroused that it continues to burn with love of G-d and perpetually seeks to reunite with its Source Above.

Thus, "spreading the wellsprings outward" requires that we go "outside," beyond our own "space" to awaken the hidden spark of G-d that is the birthright of every Jew. For no matter how hidden it may seem to be, all that is necessary is that we find it and fan its flame until, like a candle after the match which lit it has been removed, it continues to burn by itself.


3. See "The Wellsprings," in Living With Moshiach, Vol. 250.

See also CHASSIDUS IN BRAILLE: Lighting Up the Path to the Redemption


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 Yud-Beis Tamuz Gatherings:

In connection with the 12th of Tamuz, the Rebbe explained that it is customary to organize chasidic gatherings that will inspire people to study and spread the teachings of Chasidus.

The Rebbe also said that "this will generate the potential of the transformation of the Three(4) Weeks [of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple] into a positive period, with the coming of the ultimate Redemption. Even before that Redemption comes, we will merit a succession of Divine miracles. When one Jew will ask another, 'What was the last miracle that happened?' he will be unable to answer because the miracles are taking place in such rapid succession. And these miracles will lead to the ultimate miracles, those which accompany the Redemption from exile."


For a 12th of Tamuz gathering in your area, contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.


4. The "Three Weeks" begin on the 17th of Tamuz (Thursday, June 27), and continue until the 9th of Av (Thursday, July 18). Ed.


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, June 21, Erev Shabbat Parshat Chukat-Balak:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(5) by 8:11 p.m.

Saturday, June 22, Shabbat Parshat Chukat-Balak:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 5 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:22 p.m.


5. 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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