Holidays   Shabbat   Chabad-houses   Chassidism   Subscribe   Calendar   Links B"H
 
 
 
The Weekly Publication for Every Jewish Person
Archives Current Issues Home Current Issue
                                  B"H
                                 -----
                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 659
*********************************************************************
                           Copyright (c) 2001
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
                             --------------
                  Electronic version provided free at:
                          www.LchaimWeekly.org
                          --------------------
                    To receive the L'CHAIM by e-mail
                  write to: listserv@LchaimWeekly.org
                              Subscribe W1
*********************************************************************
             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
*********************************************************************
        March 2, 2001           Terumah             7 Adar, 5761
*********************************************************************

                    Keeping Teeth Jewish Cavity Free

Today, in addition to brushing twice a day, we are encouraged to floss
daily and use an anti-bacterial mouthwash. For children, it's considered
important to schedule their first dental appointment by age 1 and it is
common to treat older children's teeth with a sealant. All of this is to
insure that our teeth and gums remain healthy, devoid of cavities and
other common tooth ailments.

There are many similarities between tooth care and the attention we must
pay to our Jewish commitment. What kind of "treatment" do we need to
give to our Judaism to guarantee that it remains "healthy?"

We might start off with basic tooth-brushing, especially after meals and
before bedtime. Brushing has to become a good habit. Sometimes, parents
must even nag their children to establish this routine. But it's
worth-while in the end. Similarly, Jewish children and adults must be
well-educated about Jewish life and the Torah until, yes, it becomes a
habit. Until we don't think twice about saying the Shema prayer before
going to bed (after brushing our teeth), or saying a blessing before we
eat. Parents might have to remind and nudge their children, but in the
end, it's well worth it.

Fluoride is an other component of preventative dental care. It's found
in toothpaste, vitamins, even drinking water. Judaism, too, must be
incorporated into every dimension of our lives. Judaism is not and
cannot be relegated to certain times and specific places. Judaism isn't
just for the synagogue or Chanuka. It's for everything in our lives,
even something as commonplace as the water we drink.

Next comes flossing. Many people approach flossing with great
trepidation. It's a hassle and in the beginning it's uncomfortable.
Flossing, however, is one of the most beneficial aspects of dental care.
In Judaism, some people approach the observance of mitzvot with
trepidation. Some mitzvot, in the beginning, might even seem to be a bit
uncomfortable. Whether it's a little boy wearing a yarmulka for the
first time or an adult contem-plating keeping kosher, it can feel
restrictive. But the benefits of actual mitzva observance, not just
learning and talking and feeling but actually doing, is one of the most
beneficial components of Jewish care.

Anti-bacterial mouthwash (and taking an extra few seconds to brush your
tongue) is easy. It's like those mitzvot that only take a minute-such as
putting on tefilin or lighting Shabbat candles-but have tremen-dous
spiritual and emotional value.

Then, there's sealant. Some dentists recommend to have permanent teeth,
especially children's molars, sealed with a special compound that
prevents tooth decay. But even sealant isn't fool-proof. It only seals
one out of five of the tooth's surface. And the teeth have to be
resealed every six months to three years because the sealant wears off.
There will always be something new or "improved" coming along, a new
"product" or "treatment" or panacea for keeping our Jewishness healthy
and alive. But they all wear off in the end. None of them are
fool-proof. In our lives, nothing is fool-proof or absolute except G-d,
Torah and mitzvot.

It pays to take care of what rightfully belongs to you. Then you'll be
able to smile with ease.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
The Torah portion of Teruma contains the commandment "And you shall make
two cherubim of gold." The cherubim were placed atop the Ark of
Testimony in the Sanctuary, which contained the Tablets of the Covenant.

What did the cherubim look like? Our Sages offer several opinions. Rashi
describes the cherubim as "having the face of a baby." Nachmanides
maintains they had the form of "the chariot that was seen by Ezekiel."

Rashi's explanation is based on a passage in the Talmud that depicts the
cherubim as looking like a boy and a girl facing each other, symbolic of
G-d's love for the Jewish people. When G-d spoke to Moses, the Divine
voice issued from between the two cherubim, as it states, "And I will
speak with you from above the Ark cover, from between the two cherubim
that are upon the Ark of the Testimony." This was the place of the most
intense revelation of the Divine Presence.

In general, Rashi's commentary explains the Torah's "literal" meaning,
whereas Nachmanides' interpretations are more mystical and esoteric.
Nachmanides thus describes the cherubim according to their deeper,
spiritual significance, i.e., as resembling the "chariot" seen by the
Prophet Ezekiel, while Rashi gives us the simple facts, i.e., that the
cherubim had the face of a baby.

However, it is Rashi's literal interpretation that best expresses the
depth of the connection between the Jew and G-d. Our Sages say that the
idea of creating the Jewish people occurred to G-d before He thought of
creating the Torah, as it were. In other words, the love that G-d has
for the Jews transcends and is "higher" than the Torah. G-d loves the
Jewish people with the kind of love a parent feels for his child, which
is independent of the child's conduct or actions.

This is reflected in the fact that physically, the cherubim were placed
on top of the Ark of Testimony, which contained the Ten Commandments.
For the inner bond between the Jewish people and G-d, which is derived
from their essence, is above even the Torah itself.

This also helps explain why the innermost level of a Jew's bond with G-d
remains unaffected even if he sins and transgresses the Torah's
commandments, G-d forbid (as opposed to the more external aspects of
their relationship, which sustain damage).

Lastly, in emphasizing the indestructible connection between the Jew and
G-d, the cherubim and kaporet (covering over the Ark) achieved atonement
for the Jewish people, as alluded to in the word itself (kaporet is
related to kapara - atonement).

                           Adapted from Volume 26 of Likutei Sichot

*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************

                 It's a Great Mitzva Always to be Happy

                      by Malka Rosenfeld (age 11)

It's a very big mitzva always to be happy, and to make other people
happy. That was my Zaide, Emil W. Herman, Reb Menachem Zev ben Reb
Pinchos.

My Zaide was very smart, and well-respected. He lived in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania all his life, where he worked as a lawyer and was the head
of his law firm.

Other lawyers and judges all liked him, and so did all the people who
knew him, even the janitor and the parking lot attendant where he
worked. This was because my Zaide truly loved people and greeted
everyone with a smile.

My grandfather helped people who were in all kinds of trouble. Many of
his relatives, neighbors and friends were also his clients. They told
him all their most private problems because they knew that Zaide would
never talk to someone else about them. I never heard my grandfather say
a bad word about anyone. When disagreements came up, he worked hard to
bring people together.

When my Zaide met Rabbi Sholom Posner, the Rebbe's emissary in
Pittsburgh, my grandfather did everything possible to help Rabbi Posner
succeed in his work. Sometimes the Rabbi needed money for his school,
Yeshiva Achei Temimim. Sometimes he needed legal work or advice.

My Zaide respected Rabbi Posner and became his student and his good
friend. No matter what Rabbi Posner wanted, Zaide never let him down.

When Rabbi Posner encouraged my grandparents to go to Crown Heights to
have a yechidus (private audience) with the Rebbe, of course they went.
The Rebbe told my Zaide to use his respected position in the community
to influence others to live a Torah life. That's exactly what my Zaide
always did.

My grandfather didn't spend a lot of money on himself. He was satisfied
with simple things, and never wasted anything that could still be used.
But he always gave charity generously and gave to the yeshiva with an
open hand.

He loaned people money for their needs and never told anyone about it.
Before Passover, he used to go to the kosher grocery store and secretly
pay off people's bills.

Of course Zaide was always eager to buy things and do things for his
grandchildren.

Every summer, my brothers and my sister and I would visit Zaide and
Bubby in Pittsburgh. Zaide would always take time from his busy schedule
and take us places and show us a good time.

Just being with him was wonderful. Almost every night we would play
games like ping-pong, Monopoly, or baseball in the back yard. Zaide even
had patience to teach each of us how to play chess!

No one was more fun than my Zaide. He was able to lighten everyone's
mood with a joke, a smile or a song. He was a great actor and could
imitate different voices. One Purim, he and my Bubby acted in a puppet
show for the yeshiva. Everyone enjoyed seeing my dignified Zaide dressed
up in a turban and a long Persian robe for the show!

My grandfather loved to sing, and he had a great voice, too. He taught
us funny songs and told us how to sing them to my grandmother to make
her laugh. Whenever a new baby was born into our family, Zaide would set
his or her name to a tune and create a special personalized song!

On Friday nights when he came home from shul, Zaide would bless us and
give us a kiss. Then we would sit and sing together around the Shabbos
table. Zaide always sang the low harmony with his deep voice.

For three years Zaide had a serious illness, but didn't tell anyone, not
even his own family. He worked hard the whole time, kept his cheerful
attitude and never gave up hope.

Zaide Herman passed away last year and I really miss him. When I think
of him, I remember the wonderful discussions and close times we had. I
think about the way Zaide never wasted any time being sad or worried. He
realized that everything is in G-d's hands.

A lot of people said that G-d must have wanted a good lawyer to convince
Him to bring Moshiach once and for all. I can't wait until Moshiach does
come and Zaide will be with us again!

     Reprinted from the "Jewish Heroes" column in The Tzivos Hashem
                                                         Newsletter

*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                             Kosher Kremlin

Last month The New York Times featured an article about the koshering of
the Kremlin kitchen by Chief Rabbi of Russia Rabbi Berel Lazar and Rabbi
Yitzchak Kogan,  emissaries of the Rebbe in Russia. Entitled "Why the
Rabbi Blowtorched the Kremlin Kitchen," Michael Wines described how, in
honor of the visit by Israeli president Moshe Katzav, "the Kremlin
created an entire kosher kitchen for the occasion, an undertaking that
required, among other things, an army of rabbis, all-new cooking
utensils and a blowtorch." Wines explained that Rabbi Kogan spent an
entire day in a slaughterhouse making sure that the meat and fowl served
to the Israeli president and the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin,
and guests were killed in accordance with Jewish dietary law.

Though Jewish leaders had suggested it would be simpler to have the meal
catered, Russian officals insisted that the Kremlin chefs would prepare
the food as they would for any other head of state.

Rabbi Lazar supervised the creation of what Russians call a "koshernaya
kukhniya." Wrote Wines, "There was also the matter of instructing
Kremlin chefs how to cook a traditional Russian dinner according to
kashrut, the labyrinthine body of Jewish dietary laws. Rabbi Lazar and
his aides delivered lectures, then oversaw the purchase and cooking of
foods."

Reported Wines, "The Federation of Jewish Communities [headed by Rabbi
Lazar] has begun certifying Russian-made kosher foods for sale in local
stores. A new division in the Federation is being devoted to spreading
kosher cuisine. And Rabbi Kogan, who lives in Moscow and was persecuted
by the K.G.B. for keeping kosher as recently as the 1980s now ships
three tons of kosher meat weekly from the Miasokombinat plant to cities
across the nation."

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                           18th of Adar, 5734

Greeting and Blessing:

...With regard to the essential points of your letter, specifically in
regard to the activities of Shamir [an institute in Israel dedicated to
helping Russian immigrants], I agree of course with all you stated in
your letter.

However, I believe one essential point, and perhaps very essential, is
missing.

This is not surprising, inasmuch as it is perhaps the most difficult one
to cope with, and it is also complicated by the fact that it might
create certain suspicions and prejudices on the part of persons
connected with the various departments.

Consequently, what I am writing to you here (with a copy to Prof.
Branover), may be premature to be brought out into the open for the time
being.

I have in mind the economic problems of new Olim [immigrants to Israel],
and what should be done about it. As in the case of everything, there
are effects and symptoms, and there are causes which bring them about.
While the reason why many of the Olim have not been absorbed into a
religious atmosphere is that they have not been approached and taken
care of immediately, or soon after, their arrival, or for lack of an
adequate budget and the like - an important reason, and perhaps the main
cause, is the fact that in the final analysis every new immigrant is
preparing for or becomes involved with the problem of Parnosso
[livelihood], a suitable job and a suitable apartment, and in some cases
there is the problem of a job not only for the head of the family, but
also for his wife and grown-up children.

Now, the distribution of apartments and jobs, etc., like everything else
in Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel], is in the hands of certain
parties, representing certain ideologies. Even those Olim who have no
desire to fall under the influence of the party (and ideology) from
which they receive economic assistance, it is inevitable that they
should indirectly be so influenced and, considering human nature, it is
inevitable that direct influence should be brought to bear.

Needless to say, the responsibility to provide a job rests upon the
government, and upon state and municipal offices, all of which, as
mentioned above, are involved in politics. And it is not for Shamir to
become a political activity; on the contrary, as often emphasized, it
should steer clear from (party) politics. However, what can be done, and
very effectively, is that when an individual has to negotiate for an
apartment, etc., it should not be done by the individual alone, or even
by a friend or relative, but through the organization. And if this were
to be done, the above mentioned undesirable sad effects and influences
on the part of those who dispense economic assistance, could be largely
curtailed.

In view of the above, I had occasion to discuss the above with Prof.
Branover, and I believe also with you, and I have often emphasized that
Shamir should become a place where Olim could also receive help in their
economic problems, and, in due course could not only be helpful, but it
should become a force to obtain better conditions, etc., for the Olim in
whose behalf Shamir would act as their representative.

As indicated above, this problem requires a discreet approach, in order
not to get involved in politics. However, with good will and
determination, this matter could be put into effect. If the
administration of Shamir will make this one of their important goals,
even if at the beginning it has to be handled with discretion, without
coming out with it at full blast, it would nevertheless immediately
provide new guidelines for many branches of Shamir's activities. I need
hardly add that time is an important fact in this area, for such matters
as housing and earning a livelihood are pressing needs, and naturally
preoccupy the minds of the new Olim from the moment of arrival, even
though the first few months are spent in an Ulpan [absorbption center].
But the anxiety is there, and the sooner it can be alleviated the better
it is from every viewpoint, including, above all, the main point that
they should not have to feel that they are entirely dependent upon some
persons and department who are, unfortunately, more interested in party
politics, than in the spiritual well-being of the people depending upon
their good graces.

With blessing,

*********************************************************************
                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
*********************************************************************
7 Adar 5761

Positive mitzva 164: fasting on Yom Kippur

By this injunction we are commanded to fast on the tenth day of the
month of Tishrei. It is contained in the Torah's words (Lev. 16:29):
"You shall afflict your souls, etc.," which is interpreted to mean "in
respect to that upon which life depends, i.e., abstinence from eating
and drinking."

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
*********************************************************************
This Shabbat we read a special portion from the Torah known as "Parshat
Zachor." The Torah commands us to remember what the Amalekites did to
the Jewish people when they left Egypt. It also tells us to "blot out
the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget."

But why does the Torah give us a mitzva that we cannot fulfill in
practical terms? Why are we supposed to "remember Amalek" every day of
our lives?

According to Chasidut, Amalek is not only to be understood literally but
in the broader sense, as a negative character trait and outlook on the
world. This approach is so devoid of any positive element that the only
way to "fix" it is by "blotting it out" completely.

Amalek attacked the Jews at what was then the highest point in their
history. The Jewish people had just left Egypt amidst wonders and
miracles, the Red Sea had just parted, and all the nations of the world
were in awe of the power of the Almighty. When Amalek attacked, it was
not due to a lack of knowledge about G-d; it was also completely
illogical. Amalek "recognized his Master and deliberately rebelled
against Him." He knew exactly what he was doing, which is why he is
symbolic of the ultimate in "chutzpa."

Amalek is also associated with "coldness," as it states, "...how he met
you ['korcha' - from the Hebrew word for 'cold'] on the way." Amalek
stands for everything that "cools off" and dampens a Jew's natural
enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvot. Amalek is also the master of doubt,
sowing seeds of skepticism for the sole purpose of preventing a Jew from
serving G-d.

So why is it important to remember Amalek? Being aware of this
"internal" Amalek allows us to be ever vigilant against his negative
influence, which is so destructive that it cannot even be negotiated
with. For the only way to get rid of Amalek is by "blotting out his
memory from under the heaven..."

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
Speak to the Children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering (Ex.
25:2)

Why does the Torah use the word "take" instead of "give"? Because in
reality, everything in the world already belongs to G-d without us
having to "give" it to Him, as it states, "For all things come from You,
and of Your own have we given You." However, when a person does a good
deed with his own money, he acquires it for himself in the true meaning
of the word. Only then can he offer it to G-d as something that is truly
his.

                                                           (Malbim)


And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings upward...and their faces
shall look one to another (Ex. 25:20)

Every talmid chacham (Torah scholar) should aspire to these very same
traits: On the one hand, his "wings should stretch out upward" - he must
be very careful to observe the mitzvot between man and G-d. At the same
time, his face must look toward his brethren - i.e., relate to his
fellow man with justice and righteousness.

                                                    (Olelot Efraim)


And you shall make a crown of gold (zahav) around its border (Ex. 25:25)

The numerical equivalent of the word "zahav" is the same as "David," as
the crown of sovereignty was promised to King David and his descendants
forever. (King Moshiach is a descendant of King David.)

                                                     (Baal HaTurim)

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
Long before Rabbi Meir of Premishlan was known as a tzadik (righteous
person), his unusual kindness and compassion were demonstrated. Even as
a young child he would go from door to door collecting money for the
poor. Rabbi Meir was simply unable to bear seeing someone in an
unfortunate situation. He would do everything in his power to relieve
the other's suffering.

At the same time, he was extremely modest and went out of his way to
avoid drawing attention to himself. A year after he was married, he
hired himself out as a tutor for an estate owner's children, a common
way to support one's family in those days.

It did not take Rabbi Meir long to realize that the wealthy landlord was
a coarse individual. Nonetheless, the children seemed to be progressing
nicely under his tutelage, despite their father's rough and boorish
behavior.

Rabbi Meir was particularly distressed by his employer's stinginess.
Whenever a poor person knocked on the door asking for a donation or a
crust of bread, he was treated condescendingly and with a tight fist.

For the first few weeks in his new position Rabbi Meir tried to
concentrate on his teaching and ignore what was happening. But as time
wore on he found it increasingly difficult to restrain himself.

One day, Rabbi Meir approached the owner of the estate and made a
suggestion. "From now on," he proposed, "every time a poor person comes,
I'd like to you give him a coin, which you can deduct from my salary."
The landlord agreed to the plan, as there was no reason for him not to.

From that day on, every beggar who arrived on the doorstep received a
coin, and sometimes even a light meal to ease his hunger. In the
meantime, the owner of the estate was carefully recording every penny
that went to charity in his ledger. No one could understand the miserly
landlord's sudden generosity, but at least the beggars were happy.

Six months passed, and soon it was almost Passover and time for Rabbi
Meir to go back home. Before he left, the owner of the estate called him
in to pay him his salary. Taking out his ledger, he deducted all the
coins and food he had "wasted" on the poor, and was shocked to see that
nothing remained. And not only that, but Rabbi Meir actually owed him
money! The landlord was furious. How could he, a smart and savvy
businessman, have allowed himself to fall into such a trap?

Rabbi Meir was banished from the estate without a penny in his pocket.
Why, he was lucky to even have a pocket, as the landlord had briefly
considered taking Rabbi Meir's overcoat as payment for the "damages" he
had incurred, before changing his mind at the last second.

Rabbi Meir, however, was not particularly upset by what had occurred. In
fact, he was in a good mood. Passover was coming, he was going home, and
there were many things in the world more important than money...

Rabbi Meir was on the outskirts of Premishlan when something shiny in
the road caught his attention. Looking closer, he saw it was a very
valuable gold coin, worth far more than the entire salary he was
supposed to have received as a tutor!

Rabbi Meir, however, did not think along the same lines or in the same
way as "regular" people. The whole way home his thoughts had been
focused on higher, more spiritual matters. His initial reaction upon
seeing the coin was hesitation. "Is this the way it has been decreed
from Above that I derive my livelihood?" he thought to himself. "Does
G-d really want me to make a living from the dust of the earth?" Rabbi
Meir continued walking and did not bend down to pick it up.

Rabbi Meir's wife was overjoyed to see him after a half-year's absence.
Several days later, when her husband still hadn't mentioned any
earnings, she thought it was strange, but having full faith in him she
did not bring up the subject, assuming he had his reasons.

By the following week she decided the time had come to allude, very
delicately, to their financial situation. But her husband only responded
cryptically, "Let's wait until tonight..." and left for the synagogue.
In shul, money was soon the farthest thing from his mind.

That evening, Rabbi Meir was in the study hall when the servant of one
of the wealthiest inhabitants of Premishlan suddenly tapped him on the
shoulder. Handing him a gold coin he said, "My master asked me to
deliver this to you."

Rabbi Meir jumped up as if bitten by a snake. "What is the meaning of
this?" he inquired. The servant related that earlier that day his master
had returned to Premishlan after a long journey, and had found the coin
lying on the ground. After some deliberation he had decided to give it
to a young Torah scholar, and Rabbi Meir's name had been drawn from a
lottery.

"I see this coin really was supposed to be mine..." Rabbi Meir smiled,
pondering the ways of the Creator.

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
This Friday, 7 Adar, is the birthday and anniversary of the passing of
Moshe (Moses).

"Moshe is the first redeemer and the last redeemer," states the Midrash.
As noted in the Zohar, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters
comprising "Moshe" is the same as that of "Shiloh" (the term in Genesis
49:10 denoting Moshiach): the soul of Moshiach is the "soul-of-the-soul"
of Moshe, so that in effect Moshe will be the final redeemer.

                    (From the book Mashiach by Rabbi J.I. Schochet)

*********************************************************************
                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 659 - Terumah 5761
*********************************************************************

Current
  • Daily Lessons
  • Weekly Texts & Audio
  • Candle-Lighting times

    613 Commandments
  • 248 Positive
  • 365 Negative

    PDA
  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Java Phones
  • Palm Pilot
  • Palm Pre
  • Pocket PC
  • P800/P900
  • Moshiach
  • Resurrection
  • For children - part 1
  • For children - part 2

    General
  • Jewish Women
  • Holiday guides
  • About Holidays
  • The Hebrew Alphabet
  • Hebrew/English Calendar
  • Glossary

    Books
  • by SIE
  • About
  • Chabad
  • The Baal Shem Tov
  • The Alter Rebbe
  • The Rebbe Maharash
  • The Previous Rebbe
  • The Rebbe
  • Mitzvah Campaign

    Children's Corner
  • Rabbi Riddle
  • Rebbetzin Riddle
  • Tzivos Hashem

  • © Copyright 1988-2009
    All Rights Reserved
    L'Chaim Weekly