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Devarim Deutronomy

Breishis Genesis

   588: Bereshit

589: Noach

590: Lech-Lecha

591: Vayera

592: Chayei Sara

593: Toldot

594: Vayetzei

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596: Vayeshev

597: Miketz

598: Vayigash

599: Vayechi

Shemos Exodus

Vayikra Leviticus

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Devarim Deutronomy

October 29, 1999 - 19 Cheshvan, 5760

591: Vayera

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Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.

  590: Lech-Lecha592: Chayei Sara  

Don't Forget To Set Your Clocks  |  Living with the Rebbe  |  A Slice of Life  |  What's New
The Rebbe Writes  |  Rambam this week  |  A Word from the Director  |  Thoughts that Count
It Once Happened  |  Moshiach Matters

Don't Forget To Set Your Clocks

If you live in North America, for a fleeting moment you might consider what would be the best way to use the "extra" hour you'll gain in the wee hours of Sunday morning when we begin Standard Time. But, as quickly as that question enters your head it exits. After all, what could be better than an extra hour of sleep?

According to Jewish teachings, that hour might be much more valuable than you would have ever thought! "Far better an hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than a lifetime in the World to Come," our Sages said.

How can one hour thus occupied be so precious? (To sidetrack for one-sixtieth of your extra hour, it is important to note that repentance should not bring on depression, discouragement or inertia. Rather, a soulful inventory should prompt one to improve, advance and feel invigorated.)

Why is an hour of repentance and good deeds so valuable? Because our actions here and now are bringing about revelations of goodness and G-dliness that will culminate in the Messianic Era!

But the transtion to Standard Time this weekend in North America and around this time in a number of countries throughout the world, contains a more general lesson as well.

The Jewish year in which we now find ourselves is a leap year. Unlike the solar calendar which adds one day in a leap year, the Jewish lunar calendar adds an entire month in the late winter.

However, not all leap years in the lunar calendar are the same. This year has the distinction of having the maximum number of days that any leap year can have-385.

A leap year in the Jewish calendar makes up for the "deficiency" in the number of days of previous years, bringing the lunar year into harmony with the seasons (determined by the solar year).

In addition, not only does the "extra" month make up the past deficiency, it also gives an "advance" on the future.

What does all this have to do with our lives here and now? Every person has his or her own mission in this world. Although each day comes with its own task that has to be accomplished on that particular day, the extra month in a leap year gives us the opportunity to make up for past deficiencies and even gives us an advance on the future.

This leap year, containing a maximum number of days, also teaches us to maximize the opportunity to make up for the past and get a jump on the future. And certainly, if G-d gives us this mission, He also gives us the courage and energy to accomplish our goals.

Now, what was it you were thinking of doing early Sunday morning?

Living with the Rebbe

As related in this week's Torah portion, Vayeira, when G-d told Abraham He was going to destroy the city of Sodom, Abraham tried everything he could think of to dissuade Him. "And Abraham drew near and said, Will You then destroy the righteous with the wicked?"

Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, explains this verse to mean that Abraham attempted several methods of persuasion: speaking harshly, conciliation, and prayer.

Abraham was willing to do anything in order to save the city of Sodom. The first approach he took was to "speak harshly" to G-d. When that wasn't effective he tried to appease Him, and when that didn't work he resorted to praying. All conceivable approaches were attempted to persuade G-d to avert the decree.

In the Torah, our Patriarch Abraham is referred to by G-d as "Abraham, the one who loves Me." How then could Abraham have had the audacity to "speak harshly" to G-d? Another question: If Abraham's intent was to dissuade G-d from His plan, why did he start off with harsh words, rather than first trying to appease Him in a more conciliatory way, or by praying? Wasn't Abraham characterized by his great kindness?

The key to understanding this lies in the fact that Abraham was trying to save lives. G-d had already issued His decree; the angels had already been dispatched to destroy the city. Abraham saw no other choice but to demand that G-d change His mind, even if harsh words were required.

At such a time Abraham did not allow himself the luxury of taking personal considerations into account. No method of persuasion was off limits or out of bounds. The only thing that mattered was that the city of Sodom not be destroyed, and Abraham tried with all his might to prevent it from happening. Speaking harshly to G-d was the antithesis of Abraham's nature; nonetheless, he did not refrain from doing so in the hope that it would save the city and its inhabitants.

We, the descendents of Abraham, should learn from our forefather's example and emulate his ways.

Whenever the saving of a Jewish life is at stake, either in the physical or spiritual sense, we cannot stop to weigh our options or consider our choices. The thing to do is act, and to act immediately. All our efforts and all of our strengths and powers must be employed, even if it is contrary to our nature and even if harsh words are required. For all methods are permissible when it comes to saving the life of a fellow Jew.

Adapted from Likutei Sichot, vol. 10

A Slice of Life


by Deena Yellin

As I settled into my seat on Flight 1272 bound for Chicago, I glanced at the passengers filing down the aisle. My Jew-radar immediately went off; in addition to the business travelers toting their laptops and briefcases and the pleasure travelers wearing shorts and Walkmans, I spied several suede kippot, a striemel [fur hat worn by some Chasidim] and ankle-length skirts.

Despite our shared heritage, I didn't bother acknowledging them. They were strangers. And I live in New York, where strangers seldom exchange greetings, even if they recite the same prayers.

The plane rolled toward the runway and I waited for takeoff. No such luck. The pilot announced that the flight was being delayed three hours due to stormy weather conditions in Chicago. I glanced at my watch nervously. Usually, I avoid flying Friday afternoons for fear I won't arrive in time, but on summer weekends when Shabbat doesn't begin until around 8 p.m., I figured I'm safe. I figured wrong. I calculated that I could just make it if I didn't claim my luggage and jumped into a taxi. I turned around to check on my co-religionists. Two kippot were examining their watches. The chasid was on the airphone.

A half-hour before arrival, the pilot announced that O'Hare Airport was shut down and we were landing in Milwaukee until we could continue on. My stomach sunk. Candlelighting was an hour away. I'd never make it on time. Like most religious Jews who work in the secular world, I'd experienced my share of close calls. But I never knowingly violated the Sabbath. Now, I was stuck.

By now, the kippot and long skirts were huddled in the back of the plane. They had been joined by others. Shabbat was bringing strangers together.

It was time to introduce myself. "We're going to get off in Milwaukee," a young man told me. The Chasid had called Milwaukee's Chabad Rabbi, who offered to host any stranded passengers for Shabbat. "Come with us," he urged. I nodded with relief but returned to my seat crestfallen, since I had planned this weekend with my family for months.

My non-Jewish seatmate, noticing my despair, inquired what was wrong. When I told him the story, his jaw dropped. "Let me get this straight," he said. "You're getting off the plane in a town where you've never been with people you don't know to stay overnight with complete strangers?" For the first time that day, it occurred to me just how lucky I was.

When the plane landed, the pilot announced that we were disembarking for religious reasons. Passengers stared at us, dumbfounded. My seatmate bid me farewell as if he didn't think I'd survive.

But I quickly realized I was among friends. As I attempted to carry my bags off the plane, a woman insisted on helping me. When we crowded into cabs to take us to the Rabbi's house, the Chasid insisted on paying for me. And when the cabs pulled up at the home of the Rabbi and Rebbetzin, they ran outside to greet us as if we were long-lost relatives.

As the sun began to set on Milwaukee they ushered us into their home, where a long table was set for Shabbat with white tablecloth, china and gleaming kiddush cups. When I lit the Shabbat candles, a wave of peace washed over me. With all that had transpired, I was warmed by the notion that the world stops with the first flicker of the Sabbath lights.

Over a traditional Shabbat feast, the Rabbi enchanted us with tales of the Baal Shem Tov and informed us that our reroute to Milwaukee was not the world of weather but of Divine providence.

We lingered over our meal, enjoying our spiritual sanctuary in time after the stressful day. Zemirot [Shabbat songs] filled the room. We shared disappointments about our unexpected stopover. Most of the group was traveling to Chicago for their friend's aufruf [celebration at the Torah on the Shabbat before one's wedding] and wedding and were missing the aufruf. The Chasid and his wife were missing a Bar Mitzva.

We pondered the meaning of the departure from our journey and marveled at the coincidences. I had attended camp with my "roommate," a couple had conducted business with my father, a man had learned in yeshiva with my cousin, the Chasid used to work in my hometown of Aurora, Illinois, and I had once spent Purim in Crown Heights with my hosts' son. Exhausted as we were, everyone was hesitant to leave the table to go to sleep. The next morning a lively tefila [prayer service] was followed by a leisurely meal where we exchanged stories about our lives, careers and dreams. We nicknamed ourselves the "Milwaukee 15" and wondered if future generations would retell the story of the flight that barely made it in time for candlelighting.

Saturday night, we made a regretful journey back to the everyday world. But before we began the final leg of our journey, I called my husband to tell him all that had transpired. "Who did you spend Shabbat with?" he asked worriedly. I pondered how to explain who these former strangers were who had given me object lessons in Shabbat hospitality and in the power of Shabbat to bring Jews together.

And then, as swiftly as a 747 can leave the tarmac on a clear day, I realized the truth: miles away from my parents, husband and home, I had accomplished what I had set out to do when I booked my ticket: I had spent Shabbat with family.

Reprinted from The Jewish Week

Deena Yellin is a newspaper reporter who has published stories in The New York Times, Newsday and The Jerusalem Post. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

What's New


The Moshiach Information Center recently expanded their automated telephone teaching system. Sponsored by the International Campaign to Help Bring Moshiach, the Center offers a general introduction to Moshiach, a daily message, questions commonly asked about Moshiach, a children's corner and stories of the Rebbe. Dial 718-MOSHIACH and chose from messages in English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Italian.


"Eternal Joy" is the newest publication to be added to the bi-weekly subscription offered by Sichos In English. Culled and translated from the Rebbe's talks and letters about dating, engagement and marriage, Eternal Joy is mailed together with English translations of Shulchan Aruch HaRav by Rabbi Shneur Zalman, Likutei Diburim of the Previous Rebbe and Proceeding Together, translations into English of the Rebbe's earliest talks. To order a subscription contact Sichos In English at 718-778-5436 or email

The Rebbe Writes

l7th of Cheshvan, 5723 [1962]

...I trust that our views will be reconciled, since, as you indicate in the introductory paragraph of your letter, you are in full sympathy with the aims of my said letter, namely, to resolve any doubts that science presents a challenge to the commandments of our Torah.

I must begin with two prefatory remarks:

(1) It should be self-evident that my letter did not imply negation or rejection of science or the scientific method. In fact, I stated so explicitly towards the end of my said letter. I hope that I will not be suspected of trying to belittle the accomplishments of science, especially as in certain areas the Torah view accords science even more credit than science itself claims; hence, many laws in halachah are geared to scientific conclusions (as e.g. in medicine), assigning to them the validity of objective reality.

(2) A remark has been attributed to you to the effect that just as Rabbinic problems should be dealt with by someone who studied Rabbinics, so should scientific problems be left to those who studied science. I do not know how accurate this report is, but I feel I should not ignore it nevertheless, since I agree with this principle. I studied science on the university level from 1928 to 1932 in Berlin, and from 1934 to 1938 in Paris, and I have tried to follow scientific developments in certain areas ever since. Now to your letter:

I quite agree, of course, that for the aim mentioned above, scientific theories must be judged by the standards and criteria set up by the scientific method itself. This is precisely the principle I followed in my letter. Hence, I purposely omitted any references to the Scriptures, or the Talmud, etc. from my discussion.

You write that you can heartily applaud my emphasis that scientific theories never pretend to give the ultimate truths. But I went further than that. The point was not that science is not now in a position to offer ultimate truths, but that modern science itself sets its own limits, declaring that its predictions are, will always be, and in every case, merely "most probable" but not certain; it speaks only "in terms of theories." Herein, as you know probably better than I, lies a basic difference of concept between science today and l9th century science. Whereas in the past, scientific conclusions were considered as natural "laws" in the strict sense of the terms, i.e. determined and certain, modern science no longer holds this view.

Parenthetically, this view is at variance with the concept of nature and our own knowledge of it (science) as espoused by the Torah, since the idea of miracles implies a change in a fixed order, and not the occurrence of a least probable event.

Acknowledging the limitations of science, set by science itself, as above, is sufficient to resolve any doubt that science might present a challenge to Torah. The rest of the discussion in my said letter was mainly my way of further emphasis, but also because, as already mentioned, according to the Torah, i.e. in the realm of faith and not that of science, it is admissible for the conclusions of science to have the validity of natural "law."

(3) Next, you deplore what you consider a "gratuitous attack" on the personal motives of scientists. But no such general attack will be found in my letter. I specifically referred to a certain segment of scientists in a certain area of scientific research, namely, those who produce hypotheses about what actually occurred thousands upon thousands of years ago, such as the evolutionary theory of the world, hypotheses which contain no significance for present day research ... hypotheses which are not only highly speculative, but not strictly scientific, and are indeed replete with internal weaknesses.

Yet, lacking any firm basis, these scientists nevertheless reject absolutely any other explanation (including the Torah narrative). It is the motives of these scientists that I attempted to analyze, since their attitude cannot be equated with a desire to promote the truth, or to promote technological advancement, scientific research, etc. I did not want to accuse them, at any rate not all of them, of anti-religious bias, especially as some of them, including some of the originators of the theory, were religious. I therefore attempted to explain their attitude by a common human trait, the quest for accomplishment and distinction. Incidentally, this natural trait has its positive aspects, and is also basic in our religion, since without the incentive of accomplishment nothing would be accomplished.

(4) Your remark about the misuse of the terms "fission" and "fusion" in relation to chemical reaction is, of course, valid and well taken. I trust, however, that the meaning was not unduly affected thereby, since it was twice indicated in that paragraph that the subject was chemical reaction. Undoubtedly, the terms "combination" and "decomposition" should have been used. (Actually, I believe, the different usage of these terms in nuclear and chemical reactions is more conventional than basic. Nevertheless, I should have been mindful of the standard terminology.)

Here, a word of explanation regarding the terminology of my letter is in order. If the terms or expressions used are not always the standard ones, this is due to (a) the fact that I do not usually dictate my letters in English, and while I subsequently check the translation, this perusal may not always preclude an oversight, as the present instance is a case in point; and (b) the fact that I received my scientific training, as already mentioned, in German and French, and previously in Russian, which may also account for some the variations. continued in next issue

(5) You refer to my statement that scientists know very little about interactions of isolated atoms and subatomic particles, and also question its relevance to the theories about the dating of the world. The relevance is this: The evolutionary theory as it applies to the origin of our solar system and planet Earth, from which the dating is inferred, presumes (at least in the case of most of the hypothesis) that "in the beginning" there were atoms and subatomic particles in some pristine state, which then condensed, combined together, etc.

I am aware of the fact that a major part of physics research in this century has been concerned with interactions of individual units ranging from atoms to the most elementary particles known. But as late as 1931, of the subatomic particles only protons and electrons were known and "explored". The bubble chambers was constructed only in 1952, and a field ion microscope (by Dr. Muller of Penn State University?), reaching into the realm of the atom and subatomic particles - only in 1962. We have good reason to believe, I think, that just as scientific knowledge was enriched with the introduction of the first microscope, we may expect a similar measure of advancement with the aid of the latest (though it had been preceded by the electronic microscope). Therefore, it is safe to assume that all we have learned in the field of nucleonics in the last few decades is very little by comparison with what we can confidently expect to learn in the next few decades.

(6) You object to my statement that conditions of pressure, temperature, radioactivity, etc. must have been totally different in the early stages supposed by some evolutionists from those existing today, and you assert that those environmental conditions have, for the most part, either been duplicated in the laboratory or observed in natural phenomena. Here, with all due respect, I beg to differ, and I believe the study of the sources will confirm my assertion.

(7) You state that there is no evidence that any radioactive element produces cataclysmic changes, and go on to note that there is a lack of clear distinction in my letter between cosmogony and geochronology. The reason for the lack of such a distinction in my letter is that it is irrelevant to our discussion. The subject matter of my letter is the theory of evolution as it contradicts the account of Creation in the Torah. According to the Torah, the creation of the whole universe was ex nihili, including the Earth, the sun, etc. The theory of evolution presents instead, a different explanation of the appearance of the universe, solar system and our planet Earth.

Now, in evaluating this theory, I have in mind that the strength of a chain is measured by its weakest link, and in my letter I attempted to point out some of the weakest links in both areas, cosmology and geochronology. With regard to geology and the changes and upheavals that may have occurred at a time when the whole universe is supposed to have been in a state of violent atomic instability, with worlds in collision, etc., cataclysmic changes cannot be ruled out, such nuclear reactions should have caused changes which would void any evolutionary calculations. Similarly, in the evolution of vegetables, animal and human life on the Earth, radioactive process of such magnitude should have produced sudden changes and transmutations which would normally take long periods of time.

(8) You state, finally, that the crucial point to consider in regard to geochronology is the existence of objects and geological formations in and on the crust of the earth, which serve as physically observable clocks, etc. But I have already pointed out in my said letter that such criteria are valid only as of now and for the future, but cannot be applied either scientifically or logically to a primordial state. By way of illustration, though you do not identify any of the objects you are referring to, let us examine radiocarbon dating, since most of the letters and questions I received on this subject pointed to it. This method assumes that the average cosmic ray intensity has remained constant for the whole period of the dating, and that atmospheric mixing is rapid compared to the lifetime of...

Now to mention but one flaw in the criterion: it requires that the shielding power (density etc.) remain constant. But the evolution theory is built on the premise that there had been most radical changes. Incidentally, in most recent years geologists in South Africa discovered such a disorder in geological formations in that part of the world that it contradicted all the accepted theories of geology. The discovery was publicized at that time, but I do not have the informational media at hand, and I mention this in passing only. I suggest another look in my letter, p.5, par. beg. "The theory of evolution..."

Should you wish to continue the discussion, please do not hesitate to write me.

With esteem and blessing,

P.S. I have just been able to trace and borrow one of your books, "The attenuation of Gamma rays and Neutrons in Reactor Shields."

May I say that I was greatly impressed with the effort, material and clarity of presentation. Incidentally, I noted in it your observations about the "discrepancies between theory and experimentation" which I found more than once in your book. Such a statement as "Not only is the simplest organism an incredibly complicated entity whose chemistry and physics are barely glimpsed at, but the classical scientific pattern of experimentation is necessarily not available in studying radiation efforts" - is very significant and has a direct bearing on the theory of evolution which involves an age of unimaginable radioactivity both in the universe and our planet Earth.

Rambam this week

In memory of Yosef Yitzchak ben Shlomo Shneur Zalman yblc't

20 Cheshvan 5760

Positive mitzva 109: immersion in a mikva (ritual bath)

By this injunction we are commanded to immerse in the waters of a ritual bath, thereby cleansing ourselves of any of the kinds of (spiritual) uncleanness with which we were affected. (This law applies only to a person who wants to become clean; it is not obligitory.) It is contained in the words (Lev. 15:16): "Then shall he bathe all his flesh in water."

A Word from the Director

This Shabbat, the 20th of Cheshvan, is the birthday of Rabbi Shalom Dovber, the fifth Chabad Rebbe. In the year before he was born in 5621 (1860), his mother, Rebbetzin Rivka, had two dreams in which his birth was foretold. In her own words:

"On 10 Kislev 5620, I saw my mother [Rebbetzin Shaina] and my grandfather [the Mitteler Rebbe] in a dream. My mother was smiling as she said, 'Rivka, you and your husband should write a sefer Torah.' Then my grandfather said, 'And you will have a fine son. Don't forget to name him after me.' To which my mother added, 'Rivka, do you hear what my father is telling you?' At that point I woke up."

Rebbetzin Rivka kept her dream a secret. A few days later, her father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek (the third Chabad Rebbe), made a cryptic comment to her about "a good dream, that should surely be fulfilled."

On the night of the 19th of Kislev, Rebbetzin Rivka had another dream. This time, her mother and grandfather were accompanied by another elderly man, who said, "Amen, may it be G-d's will." "Then my mother said, 'Grandfather, bless her,' and the elderly man gave me a blessing, to which my grandfather and mother answered 'Amen.' I also said 'Amen' in a loud voice, which woke me up."

When Rebbetzin Rivka related both dreams to her husband, the Rebbe Maharash, he insisted that the sefer Torah be written on the highest grade of parchment, made from the skins of kosher animals that were ritually slaughtered.

The scroll was completed on the 13th of Cheshvan. When Rebbetzin Rivka brought the mantle she had embroidered for the sefer Torah to her father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek, he said, "Mazal tov, and may G-d fulfill the blessing that was given to you by my father-in-law [the Mitteler Rebbe] and my grandfather [the Alter Rebbe]."

Rabbi Shalom Dovber was born a week later.

Thoughts that Count

And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed to the ground (Gen. 18:2)

The great Sage Shammai said: "Greet every man with a pleasant countenance." Should a person give his friend every gift in the world, yet greet him with a scowl, it is considered as if he gave him nothing. But if he greets him with a smile, it is considered as if he gave the other person everything, even if he is empty-handed. (Avot D'Rabbi Natan)

And he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared and set it before them (Gen. 18:8)

How could Abraham have offered his guests meat and milk at the same time? The answer is that he served the meat and dairy foods to them separately, with the intention that each guest should choose for himself what he wished to eat. Abraham even went to the trouble of preparing three tongues, should each of the three guests wish to eat only meat. This is the epitome of the mitzva of hospitality. (Likutei Sichot)

And offer him there for a burnt offering (Gen. 22:2)

"Master of the Universe!" cried Abraham before G-d. "When you commanded me to offer up my son as a burnt offering, I could have said, 'But yesterday You promised that my seed would be perpetuated through Isaac!' However, I conquered my own inclination to carry out Your will. In return, may it be Your will that should the descendents of Isaac ever be in trouble, with no one to defend them, You Yourself will come to their defense." (Jerusalem Talmud, Taanit)

The trial of the binding of Isaac is ascribed to Abraham's merit, even though he was not the intended sacrifice. For the agony of a father who leads his child to slaughter is much greater than the child's own suffering. (Taharat HaKodesh)

It Once Happened

As related by Menachem Arye Yehuda Klozner of Beersheva

The year was 1935. I can remember how we all sat on plump cushions, listening with rapt attention to our grandmother's stories. Oh, how we loved our Bubbe Rivka-Faya's stories! All of us were there: my brother, Betzalel Boruch, and my two younger sisters, Rochel and Penina, and myself.

We lived in the city of Arad, in Transylvania. Every summer Bubbe, who lived 80 kilometers away, would come and stay with us. In those days this wasn't a trip you could manage more than once a year.

Bubbe always wore a dark-colored dress and head kerchief, and was never far from her battered copy of Tzeina U'reina [a book about the weekly Torah portion written specially for women]. Our grandmother was a G-d-fearing woman who utilized her every spare minute for learning and praying.

We children were always begging her to tell us stories. For us it was a great treat to hear about how she had attended cheder as a little girl or her reaction to meeting her red-headed bridegroom, our Zeide Zev, for the first time. Another thing Bubbe often mentioned was her fervent wish to receive word from her youngest son, who had emigrated to America during World War I and hadn't been heard from since. (Thank G-d, her wish would be fulfilled in 1938.)

One morning she told us the following tale:

When Zeide Zev became Bar Mitzva in 1875, his father, our great-grandfather Menachem, had taken him from their native Galitzia to the famous tzadik of Sanz, Rabbi Chaim. Accommodations were no problem, as there were always extended family members willing to open their doors.

In a private audience with the Sanzer Rebbe, our great-grandfather had requested a blessing for himself and his son, which the Rebbe granted. Afterward, as they were about to leave, the tzadik had looked at the Bar Mitzva boy for a long time before adding a blessing for long life. "And you will merit to go up to the Land of Israel, where you will be gathered unto your fathers," he concluded.

Remember, we were hearing this story in 1935. At that time our Zeide Zev was already 74 years old, and had never even considered emigrating to the Holy Land. We didn't really know what to make of the story.

But unforeseen changes were about to take place. The Second World War broke out, and the Romanian regime was replaced by the Iron Guard. Jews from all over the country began to congregate in the big cities. In time, Zeide Zev, Bubbe Rivka-Faya, and several aunts and uncles and their children came to live in our city.

I was one of the first members of my family to leave Europe. In 1944, even before the War ended, I made aliya with my cousin Betzalel. Back in Transylvania, the city of Arad passed from hand to hand. One day it was captured by the Hungarians, the next it was under Russian control, and the next it was considered to be Romanian territory. Finally, the War was over. Bubbe Rivka-Faya, may her saintly memory protect us, passed away in Europe in 1946.

In 1950, my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins boarded the ship "Transylvania" bound for Israel. (This ship would actually transport most of Romania's Jews to Israel after the War.) Our family was almost completely reunited. Only Zeide Zev and my Uncle Binyomin remained behind.

In 1951, the "Transylvania" made its final voyage, with our 91-year-old grandfather, Zeide Zev, and Uncle Binyomin and Aunt Sarah as passengers. It was a Sunday when my grandfather set foot on the holy soil of Eretz Yisrael, in Petach Tikva.

Unfortunately, by the time Zeide Zev arrived he was suffering from pneumonia. Exhausted and in a weakened state, he was nonetheless overjoyed at having merited to arrive in the Holy Land. But it was obvious that he was fading fast. Over the next few days he did not stop thanking G-d for bringing him to Israel and allowing him to be reunited with his family.

For five days Zeide clung to life, but on Friday morning his soul returned to its Maker. My wife and I, who were then living in Haifa, had planned on coming to Petach Tikva for Shabbat to see him, but Divine Providence would not allow it.

Zeide Zev was buried in the ancient cemetery in Petach Tikva. His tombstone bears the following inscription: "The tzadik's blessings were fulfilled in him. He merited to go up to the Holy Land, but much to our sorrow, was taken from our midst just a few days later. He passed away on 10 Adar I, 5711, aged 91."

Our eldest son was born two months later, and naturally, was named after his great-grandfather, Dov Zev. The story of the tzadik's blessing, and how it took 81 years for it to come about in all its details, is a favorite in our family. For it teaches that we must always have faith in the words of a tzadik, whose holy utterances G-d fulfills.

Translated from Sichat HaShavua

Moshiach Matters

Someone once complained about the difficult economic and political plight of Russian Jewry to the renowned 19th-century Chasidic leader Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, Rebbe of Sanz. Rabbi Halberstam replied: "Unfortunately I can't help you now. But before the Messianic Era, Russia will crumble into many pieces and then Moshiach will come!" (Shem MiShlomo)

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