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Parshat Pinchas, 5762
Year of Hakhel

Tamuz 18, 5762
June. 28, 2002

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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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, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue we focus on The fast day of the 17th of Tamuz, Thursday, June 27.


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 Pinchas

This week's Torah portion, Pinchas, details the manner in which the land of Israel was to be apportioned between the Twelve Tribes. The Torah states: "According to the lot shall one's inheritance be divided." The lot determined which section of the Land of Israel each tribe would inhabit. It was not a rational process, but a method of dividing the land in which no logical reasoning was apparent.

Chasidic philosophy explains that the physical plane of existence is a reflection of its higher spiritual source. It follows that just as the division of the Land of Israel was accomplished by a lot, so are certain aspects of a Jew's spiritual service determined in a super-rational manner.

To explain: Every Jew is obligated to keep all the Torah's mitzvot. However, certain commandments are more relevant to some individuals than to others.

We are told of various Sages of long ago who were especially scrupulous in their performance of one mitzvah. Of course, being Tzaddikim, they observed all the Torah's commandments. But one mitzvah was more personally relevant than all the rest.

How do we explain this? That a particular mitzvah has special significance for a given individual is not something that can be explained rationally; the person himself doesn't necessarily perceive that this is so, either. In truth, it is a matter that transcends intellectual understanding, just like the process of choosing by lot. Indeed, the particular mitzvah that is most relevant to each of us is determined from Above. The Jew's function in life is to be especially careful in that one area, and to observe that mitzvah to the best of his ability.

The simplest way to determine which mitzvah is the most vital to us personally, is by examining the relative ease or difficulty we encounter in observing it. As a general rule, the mitzvah we find the most difficult to fulfill is the one that is most imperative on a personal level. In fact, the hardship we experience is proof of this, as our evil inclination, recognizing the mitzvah's special significance, spares no effort in trying to deter us. The machinations of the evil inclination increase in direct proportion to the mitzvah's importance.

The lesson to be learned is remarkable. Whenever we find it exceptionally difficult to do a certain mitzvah, or it seems that the effort required of us is greater than that required of other people, it is forbidden to throw up our hands in defeat. On the contrary, we must try even harder in that one area, as it is most relevant to us personally. Indeed, the mitzvah for which we must overcome the greatest number of obstacles is the one that can be said to have fallen to our lot.


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.


18 years ago, on Shabbat Parshat Pinchas, 5744/1984, the Rebbe spoke in a relatively unusual manner about his persistence and insistence on continuously discussing the coming of Moshiach. Let me share with you translated excerpts from that talk:

"Some people wonder: How can a person appear in public, week after week, and repeatedly speak on one subject -- the coming of Moshiach?

"Furthermore, that person always stresses that he is not just speaking of the concept, but of the actual coming of Moshiach, here on this physical earth, and immediately, this very day. On each occasion he instructs those gathered to sing 'May the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days,' emphasizing that 'speedily in our days' should not be understood as 'speedily, tomorrow,' but as 'speedily, today'!

"Certainly, every Jew believes that Moshiach can come at any moment -- after all, 'I await his coming every day' is one of the fundamental principles of Judaism. Still, they wonder, to believe that Moshiach will come at this very moment is hardly consistent with the reality of our lives. So why does this man speak incessantly about it, on every occasion, and with such single-minded intensity, as if to force the idea into the minds of his listeners?

"Their conclusion is that all this is a nice dream, nice, but not very realistic. So what is the point of speaking so much about one's dreams?

"Chasidic philosophy explains that our current state of exile is like a dream; in a dream one's sense of perception can tolerate the most contradictory and irrational things.

"In other words, our current 'reality' is a dream, while the world of Moshiach is the true reality. In a single moment, we can all wake up from the dream of exile and open our eyes to the true reality of our existence -- the perfect world of Moshiach. Everyone present in this room can immediately awaken himself from his dream, so that today, Shabbat Parshat Pinchas, 5744, before we even say the afternoon prayers, in fact this very moment, we all open our eyes and see Moshiach, in the flesh, with us, here in this room."

May the Rebbe's words of 18 years ago, and his prophetic promise of ten years ago, that "the time of our Redemption has arrived," be fulfilled this very Shabbat Parshat Pinchas, 5762.


Surely you've seen the t-shirts and pins stating, "I don't need your attitude, I have one of my own."

Most likely, the person wearing this message is tired of being confronted by people with negative, angry attitudes, whether a fellow commuter on mass transit, a cashier at the supermarket, or a customer service representative for a local utility company.

People with attitudes seem cold as ice, but if you've ever tried saying a few caring words, you were probably surprised to see the frosty exterior melt like a popsicle on a 100 degree day.

"You look like you've had a really hard day" will often get you a sigh of appreciation and a peek under the veil of indifference and anger.

But why should we put ourselves out and be compassionate toward a surly person?

Because, in these last few moments of life as we know it here in this imperfect world, we can practice honing our interpersonal skills. Kindness, compassion, and consideration are what our attitudes will be all about in the times of Moshiach.

In the Messianic Era, the inherent goodness and G-dliness that everything contains, will be revealed. We can help reveal that latent quality even now by making sure our Attitudes are caring toward our fellow human beings. Even if their Attitudes make them seem despicable and unworthy of compassion, we should respect them simply because they are G-d's creatures, and if G-d tolerates them, we should, too.

Sometimes, displaying a Moshiach Attitude takes no time at all. Like when you flash a smile at someone as you pass him or her on the sidewalk, or when you say a heartfelt "thank you" as you're given your change. At other times it might take a moment, but not much more, to let your Moshiach Attitude shine through: Letting someone with one item go ahead of you in the supermarket line; helping a little old lady cross the street (yes, there are still little old ladies who need help crossing the street!); calling a parent or sibling to say, "I was thinking of you," not cutting someone off in traffic just to get to your destination 30 seconds earlier. But those moments are timeless and well spent.

Practicing a Moshiach Attitude now is a sure way to get ready for and actually hastens the perfect world we've always dreamed of.


Thursday, 17th of Tamuz, June, 27, is a fast day. We neither eat nor drink, from approximately 72 minutes before sunrise until 40 minutes after sunset.(1)


1. In New York City, at 9:10 pm.


This summer, during the months of June and July, comes a very serious time for the Jewish people, when many terrible things happened throughout history. This period is called the "Three Weeks," or Bain HaMetzorim, which means "Between the Straits."

What happened during this time? On the 17th of Tamuz: 1) Moses descended from Mt. Sinai and smashed the two Tablets with the Ten Commandments when he saw the Jews worshipping the Golden Calf; 2) The Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem in 70 c.e.; 3) During the siege of Jerusalem the daily sacrifice was interrupted by Nebuchadnezzer; 4) Apostomus publicly burned a Torah scroll; and 5) An idol was erected in the courtyard of the Holy Temple. On the 9th of Av, both the First and Second Temple were destroyed, bringing terrible suffering upon the Jewish people.


The "Three Weeks" begin on the 17th of Tamuz (Thursday, June 27, 2002), and continue until the 9th of Av (Thursday, July 18, 2002).


We observe some aspects of mourning: Weddings do not take place, and playing musical instruments is prohibited, as is the buying and wearing of new garments. In addition, we do not cut our hair.

Also, we should try to be extra kind to one another. We should give extra charity, and learn extra Torah, and pray to G-d to end the Exile.


Jewish teachings explain that when we learn the laws of the Holy Temple, its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if we are rebuilding it.

Therefore, the Rebbe stresses that during the "Three Weeks" we should spend time studying what the Holy Temple will be like, and to learn all about it.


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


There are two approaches to the present period of the "Three Weeks."

One approach is to dwell on the awesomeness of those tragedies and the difficulties suffered by our people in the exile that followed.

The other approach, while not minimizing the extent of our nation's loss, puts the emphasis on the purpose of the exile. Heaven forbid to say that destruction and exile are ends in and of themselves. Rather, within the ashes of the Temple's destruction was kindled the spark of the Future Redemption.

In an ultimate sense, this was the purpose of the exile -- to prepare the Jewish people and the world at large for the higher and deeper level of fulfillment to be reached in that era.

There is no question that the second approach is the one more followed in the present age.

Our Sages declared, "All the appointed times for Moshiach's coming have passed; the matter is only dependent on teshuvah."

We have already turned to G-d with sincere teshuvah. Thus, when speaking of the readiness of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, used the allegory of a garment that is complete in all respects -- "and all that is needed now is to polish the buttons."

Surely, the many years of vibrant Torah activity that have followed since the Previous Rebbe's statement was made, have been sufficient to accomplish that purpose.

We are standing on the threshold of the Redemption. Moshiach's coming is no longer a dream of a distant future, but an imminent reality that will very shortly become fully manifest.

Through living with the concept of Moshiach, we shall hasten his coming and bring about the era in which these "Three Weeks" will be transformed from mourning into the celebration of the Redemption.

May this take place in the immediate future.


The Holy Temple lay in ruins, its resplendent beauty plowed under by the conquering Roman Legions. The remnants of the population were in despair. The Talmud relates that four great rabbis were walking along a road in The Land of Israel. Suddenly they heard a rumbling sound rising from the distance. One rabbi inquired of the others, "What is that noise?"

"That is the sound of a multitude of Romans far away in the distance," replied another.

Three of the rabbis began to weep; the fourth, Rabbi Akiva, began laughing. The others were surprised by their colleague's reaction and asked, "Akiva, why are you laughing?"

He countered: "Why are you three crying?"

They said: "Here we see that the Romans, who worship idols and burn incense to them, are living in safety and prosperity. And we [who worship the true G-d], the House which is G-d's footstool [the Holy Temple] lies burned in fire. Why shouldn't we weep?"

Rabbi Akiva replied: "That is precisely why I'm laughing. For, if this is the lot of those who violate the will of G-d, how much more joyous will be the future for us Jews who do His will?"

On another occasion the same four Sages were traveling together to Jerusalem. When they reached the point of the Mount of Olives, they tore their clothes [in mourning] as is prescribed by Jewish law. Proceeding further they arrived at the desolate Temple Mount, and as they gazed toward the Holy of Holies -- where the sacred incense had been offered to the Al-mighty -- they saw a fox emerging. Three of the rabbis began to weep at the sight of the degradation of the holy place. Rabbi Akiva, however, laughed. They turned to Akiva and asked, "Why are you laughing?"

He asked in return, "Why are you weeping?"

They answered him, "This is place of which it is written, 'And the stranger who approaches will surely die.' Yet, now we see foxes strolling about. Why should we not weep."

Replied Akiva, "That is precisely why I am laughing. In the prophecy of Uria it says, 'Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will be desolate and the Temple Mount will be a forest.' The prophecy of Zecharia says, 'Aged men and women will yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem.'

"Before I saw the prophecy of Uria fulfilled I worried that the prophecy of Zecharia would not be realized. But now that I have witnessed the fulfillment of the first, I know surely that the second will come to pass as well."

They turned to him and said, "Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva you have comforted us!"


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.

Study About the Holy Temple:

Jewish teachings explain that when we learn the laws of the Holy Temple, its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if we are rebuilding it.

Therefore, the Rebbe stresses that during the "Three Weeks" we should spend time studying what the Holy Temple will be like, and to learn all about it.


"This study should be carried out in anxious anticipation of the Holy Temple being rebuilt. We should study about the Holy Temple with the awareness that in the very near future we will see what we are studying about in actual reality."

The Rebbe, 24 Tamuz, 5751/1991


"G-d told the prophet Yechezkel that through studying the laws of the structure of the Holy Temple it is considered as if we have been involved in its actual construction.

"As we are so close to the Redemption, the subject must be approached as a present reality; at any moment the Third Holy Temple which is already built in the heavens will descend and be revealed on earth."

The Rebbe, 17 Tamuz, 5751/1991


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 28, Erev Shabbat Parshat Pinchas:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(2) by 8:12 p.m.

Saturday, June 29, Shabbat Parshat Pinchas:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 6 of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 9:22 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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