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Devarim Deutronomy

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Devarim Deutronomy

February 15, 2002 - 3 Adar, 5762

707: Terumah

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

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  706: Mishpatim708: Tetzaveh  

Is Everybody Happy?  |  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

Is Everybody Happy?

"Turn that frown upside down!"

"Don't get so upset."

"Put a smile on your face."

"Sha, sha. Don't cry. Everything will be okay."

It's hard to keep track of what the latest trend is in expressing or suppressing one's feelings or how deep one should (or must) dig in order to get to the essence of what one truly feels.

So what's a Jew to do when the Jewish month of Adar begins and we're told that the standard "Serve G-d with joy" and "It is a great mitzva to be continually joyous" is supposed to be intensified?

Fake it!

Yes, you read correctly. Pretend as if you are really happy. You'll be amazed at the results.

A Chasid wrote to the Tzemach Tzedak (the third Rebbe of Chabad) and told him that it was difficult for him to attain a level of "joy."

The Rebbe answered: "Thought, speech and actions (the three 'garments' of the soul-the way in which the soul expresses itself) are the three main parts of a person's behavior. Each individual was given control over what he thinks, speaks and does according to his desire.

"A person must guard what he thinks, thinking only thoughts that cause joy; he must keep away from speaking about matters that are sad and depressing; and he must act as if he has a full and joyous heart, to show joyous mannerisms even if that is not how he feels at the moment. Ultimately it will be this way in actuality."

In a similar vein, a Chasid came to the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman, fouder of Chabad Chasidism), asking how he could help a fellow Jew who acted as if he were pious when in reality he was actually quite a sinner.

The Alter Rebbe declared: "May what the Talmud says happens to a person who pretends to be a pauper but is not really poor, happen to him!"

The Chasid was taken aback. He had hoped for some practical and pleasant advice. Not what seemed to be a curse!

Then the Alter Rebbe explained: "The person who pretends to be a pauper but is not will ultimately become a pauper. So, too, this man who pretends to be pious but is not should ultimately become pious!"

As indicated in both of these stories, the initial step to being happy is even to go so far as to pretend we are happy even if we are not. Eventually, the play-acting will no longer be acting but real.

This "put on a happy face" attitude encompasses our religious duties but extends to our interaction with others, as well. Judaism teaches "Receive all people happily"and "Receive all people with a cheerful countenance." Receiving people happily is an inward expression of one's feelings. Even if we aren't inwardly, genuinely happy to see someone, at least we should greet himwith a cheerful countenance, an external expression of joy. "Even if your heart does not rejoice when someone visits you, pretend to be cheerful when he arrives," a great Sage once taught.

So, be happy, it's Adar. And even if you don't feel happy, fake it until you do!

Living with the Rebbe

The commandment to build a Sanctuary to G-d appears in this week's Torah portion, Teruma. The mitzva was given to all Jews - men, women, and according to the Midrash, even children.

The Sanctuary in the desert was a tremendous innovation, an entirely new phenomenon that had never before existed: a physical "house" for G-d in which the Divine Presence was "enclothed" and dwelled. In fact, it is such a radical concept that King Solomon was moved to wonder, "Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain You; how much less this house that I have built?"

How, then, can such an amazing thing be accomplished by every Jew, even the simplest?

In actuality we find that only a handful of people were responsible for making the Sanctuary's components, such as Betzalel, whom G-d filled with "the spirit of the L-rd." Nonetheless, the Torah clearly states that the building of the Sanctuary was dependent on the actions of every Jew. But how could a single individual have the power to cause G-d's Presence to dwell in a physical structure, when the entire world is too small to contain Him?

The question becomes even stronger when we look at the wording of the command itself, "And they shall take to Me an offering." As Rashi explains, this means that the contributions for the Sanctuary had to be made for the sake of heaven, i.e., with pure intent. As not everyone can attain such an elevated level of Divine service, how could the command be directed at all Jews?

In order to understand, we must go back to the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, when the Jewish people underwent an essential transformation. When G-d chose the Jews from among the nations, He took ordinary, corporeal human beings and turned them into "a kingdom of priests and a holy people."

Since then, every single Jew is connected to G-d on an essential level, which is why our Sages said, "Even though he may have sinned, he is still a Jew." Inside every Jew is a "pintele Yid," a Jewish spark that does not allow him to be separated from G-d. The true inner desire of every Jew is to obey G-d's will; if it is not always apparent, it is only because the Evil Inclination has temporary control. Moreover, even if it seems as if a Jew's motivation for serving G-d isn't entirely "pure," on the deepest, innermost level, it is.

Because the essence of the soul is always inextricably bound to G-d, every single Jew thus has to the capacity to establish a dwelling place for Him.

Adapted from Vol. II of Sefer HaSichot 5752

A Slice of Life

Superposition of States
by Dr. Avrohom Boyarsky

As a researcher I have worked on a number of mathematical problems in quantum mechanics. At the very heart of the theory of quantum mechanics is the great mystery of superposition. The Principle of Superposition is illustrated by the famous thought experiment proposed by Schrodinger in 1935. If a live cat is placed in a thick lead box, there is no question that the cat is alive. If a vial of cyanide is thrown into the box and the box is then sealed, now we don't know if the cat is alive or if it has bitten into the cyanide capsule and died. The Principle of Superposition states that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time. It exists in a state of superpostion. Although at first glance this appears absurd, superposition is a fact of nature. There are many observable effects at the subatomic level in which a single particle is demonstrated to be in multiple locations simultaneously.

After they have finished their homework, brushed their teeth and donned their pyjamas, my two young sons, Lippe and Mendy, are eager for their reward: a bedtime story. I sink into the easy chair, raise the leg support, and am ready - for a serious nap. But a promise is a promise and as the boys huddle around me, all ears, I plunge into the plot. Tonight I'm telling them a story about Rabbi Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, how he used his intelligence to outwit an evil minister of the king. For a few minutes I manage to stay alert, embellishing the story line with details that delight the boys. But soon I start to doze off and before long I'm hurtling down vertiginous stairways as I drift helplessly between wakefulness and sleep. As I hover between wakefulness and sleep, somehow BOTH conscious and awake, Mendy tugs impatiently on my sleeve. I hear myself mumbling words neither I nor the children understand. At first the boys gaze curiously at me, then suddenly, as one, we burst into happy laughter - they at my momentary confusion - I at the precious awareness that I've been granted a glimpse into the mystery of superposition.

As I reflect on the exhilirating incident, my thoughts turn to a problem I've wrestled with for decades. How can a Jew live truthfully in two worlds at once - in a phsyical world replete with its myriad mundane details all the while in a spiritual world, striving passionately toward its very pinnacle, to the state captured so poignantly in the supplication of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism, to the Alm-ghty: "I don't want Your Garden of Eden - I want only YOU! YOU!" How is it possible to exist faithfully in both realms at once?

To live in one world at a time is reasonable. On Shabbat, the Jew is entirely spiritual, divested of all material concerns. Then, on Monday morning, he is back in the fray of the street, the lofty spiritual state of Shabbat having receded into the past. This we see, this we can accept. But what is expected of a Jew is a true duality that simultaneously and harmoniously spans the material and spiritual worlds! Is it really possible? That epiphanic moment with my sons has convinced me that a Principal of Superposition underlies the life of a Jew, that superposition of worlds is not only possible, but is actually so. Now, if this is a true Principal it must have its source in Torah. Where then do we find superposition of states in the Torah?

On their way back from the Holy Temple, the Jews were exuberant: "They went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that G-d had done for David His servant, and for Israel his people" (Samuel II). In the Holy Temple they had experienced first hand the life of the spirit. Why then were they so happy now to return to the fields, to the sweat and drudgery of physical labor?

What made them so happy was their awareness of a great truth: moved by their experience in the Holy Temple, they were convinced that they could weave that spirituality into the very fabric of physical existence, that they could live in two worlds at once, that the superposition of worlds was possible. This was their joy! And as for me and my sons - perhaps our unwitting laughter in the middle of the story was a remnant of theirs?

Avrohom Boyarsky is a professor of mathematics at Concordia University in Montreal.

What's New

The Laws of Cooking on Shabbos

This slim volume is adapted from the book "Shabbat K'Hilchato" by Rabbi Y. Farkash. It examines and explains the laws of cooking on Shabbat according to the rulings of the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbeim. Prepared by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov, published by Sichos in English,


Wellsprings is a journal of Jewish thought that explores a wide range of issues of interest and concern to Jewish readers. Drawing specifically upon Chabad Chasidic ideas, the journal strives to uncover the inner meaning of Torah as it relates to the here and now. In the process, disparate worlds are bridged and hidden bonds are uncovered in the relationships of past and present, sacred and mundane, spiritual and physical. Published by the Student Affairs Office of the Lubavitch Youth Organization, subscriptions are $15 for four issues. To subscribe send payment to Wellsprings, 770 Eastern Parkway, Bklyn., NY 11213 or visit

The Rebbe Writes

Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5728 [1968]

To the 26th Annual Governors Dinner
Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch

Greeting and Blessing:

This is the time of the year when we read in the Torah those Sidras [portions] which deal with the building of the Sanctuary of old.

Since the Torah is eternal, its instructions (for this is the literal meaning of "Torah") are likewise eternally relevant. Hence, the "build-ing of the Sanctuary" is something which can and should be carried out by Jews in every generation and wherever they live.

The eternal relevancy of the Torah has been pointedly emphasized by the Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch, by saying that the subject matter of the weekly Sidra has a direct bearing on the events of that particular week.

The connection will be apparent if we realize that the annual event of the Yeshiva is in the true sense a project of "building a Sanctuary."

The essential aspect of the building of the Sanctuary was that Jews set aside some of their gold, silver and other material possessions, and built therewith a holy abode for the Divine Shechina (Presence). In this way they brought down the Shechina to dwell in their midst, and with it came G-d's blessings in all their affairs, both material and spiritual.

Nowadays the Yeshiva fills the place of the Sanctuary of old. The Yeshiva is a place where G-d's Torah is studied and prayers are recited daily with devotion and self-sacrifice, substituting for the holy services in the Sanctuary of old. It is a place where the Divine Shechina dwells, bringing blessings to all who have a share in building and maintaining this sacred institution.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that all participants in the annual event of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Montreal will emulate the spirit of generosity, coupled with enthusiasm and joy, which the builders of the original Sanctuary displayed. Surely every one of you realizes the great Zechus [merit] and privilege of helping provide a dwelling place for G-d's Presence, a place from which the light of the Torah and Mitzvos shines forth and illuminates Jewish life near and far.

May the great Zechus of it stand each and all of you, with your families, in good stead, to enjoy G-d's blessings in all your needs, material and spiritual.

With the blessing of Hatzlocho [success] and good tidings, and wishing you also a joyous and inspiring Purim,

25th of Adar, 5730 [1970]

Greeting and Blessing:

I duly received your letters, as well as your inquiry through Rabbi Hodakov in regard to a visit in Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel]. No doubt you promptly received my reply, but for the record I will repeat it here. It is that in general it is a very good thing to do, and if it is possible for you to arrange properly for your children to remain in London during your visit to Eretz Yisroel, it would be advisable to do so, so as not to disrupt their studies, etc. But if this is not possible, then you will of course take them with you. However, I trust that you will be able to arrange this, since this arrangement, in my opinion, would be preferable. I further trust that your visit in Eretz Yisroel will not be a hurried one.

I do not know the schedule of President Shazar, and cannot therefore say it with certainty, but I trust that for various reasons, President Shazar will be pleased to meet with you and Mrs.- I suggest, therefore, that when you arrive in Jerusalem, you should get in touch with Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin. I believe that Rabbi Zevin will be able to find out about the possibility of your meeting with the President, and I trust that despite the undoubtedly full presidential schedule, there would be an opportunity for you to get acquainted and visit with the President....

Last but not least, I want to express my very profound gratification on the report of your various public appearances in England, and the impact which they have had. I am confident that the impressions and benefits will be lasting.

I am also very gratified to note from your correspondence that you have found the visit in England very useful from your personal aspects and your scientific work. As I had occasion to mention before, this area is also related to your spiritual work, inasmuch as your scientific successes obviously will increase also your influence in the area of spreading Torah-Yiddishkeit.

Please convey my personal regards and appreciation also to Mrs.-. I have heard that she has contributed in no small measure to the general success of your visit in London.

With prayerful wishes for continued and growing Hatzlocho, and

With blessing,

Rambam this week

3 Adar 5762

Positive mitzva 153: determining the New Moon

By this injunction we are commanded concerning the reckoning of the months and years. This is the "commandment of the Sanctification of the New Moon," and is contained in the words (Ex. 12:2): "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months." This duty is only performed by the Great Court, and only in the Land of Israel.

A Word from the Director

Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman

We are now in the month of Adar, about which our Sages declared, "When Adar enters, we increase in joy." Although we celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, the theme of the entire month is joy.

Joy, of course, is not limited to a specific time of year, place or circumstance. Rather, it is an underlying principle and integral component of the Jew's service of G-d. The Torah enjoins us to "Serve G-d with joy." Similarly, "You shall serve the L-rd your G-d with joy and gladness of heart."

Nonetheless, there is a special obligation to be even more joyful during Adar. The Talmud explains that Purim is the culmination of the Giving of the Torah. At Mount Sinai the Jews accepted the Torah, but it was somewhat coerced. On Purim, they accepted the Torah not out of fear, but out of love. The festival of Purim thus emphasizes our commitment to Torah and mitzvot, with a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm.

Joy is a tremendous force that is capable of transcending all boundaries. On Purim, a Jew must rejoice until he transcends the limitations of his intellect and elicits the deeper dimensions of the soul.

Although every Jewish holiday is in the category of "festivals for rejoicing" (as we say in our prayers), the joy of Purim is the greatest of them all. This is reflected in the fact that one is encouraged to be so joyful "that he cannot distinguish [between 'blessed is Mordechai' and 'cursed is Haman'] - i.e., above and beyond all restrictions and limitations.

The joy of Adar is thus a preparation for the joy of Purim, which not only breaks through boundaries but transcends them beyond measure. This will lead to the ultimate culmination of joy in the Final Redemption, as it states, "And the redeemed of the L-rd shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads."

May the positive influence of Adar be expressed in the advent of the true and complete Redemption with Moshiach in the immediate future.

Thoughts that Count

They shall make Me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell among them (Ex. 25:8)

Three different types of metal were used to build the Sanctuary: gold, silver and copper. As gold is obviously the most precious, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to use only gold? Rather, the three metals allude to the three categories of Jews. Silver (kesef) alludes to tzadikim (the righteous), who continually yearn (nichsafim - from the same root as kesef) for G-d and His Torah. Gold (zahav) alludes to penitents, "in whose place even complete tzadikim cannot stand." Copper (nechoshet) alludes to those who have transgressed, who have yielded to the temptation of the nachash (serpent) that brought sin into the world. Because G-d wanted all Jews to participate in the Sanctuary's construction, all three metals were utilized.

(Maayan Chai)

You shall also make a table ("shulchan") (Ex. 25:23)

The numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word "shulchan" is 388, the same as the phrase "l'Moshiach," "for [the era of] Moshiach." In the Messianic era, all of the Temple's vessels and implements that have been plundered or hidden away will be restored for use in the Divine service.

(Chomat Anach)

You shall set the shew bread upon the table before Me always (Ex. 25:30)

Ever since the world was created out of nothingness, G-d's blessings can only come down when there is a physical object or vessel to contain them. As the function of the table in the Holy Temple was to influence abundance among the Jewish people, physical loaves of bread were necessary as a channel for G-d's blessings.


And you shall make upright boards for the Sanctuary (Ex. 26:15)

According to the Midrash, the world was unworthy of cedar trees (out of which these boards were made); nonetheless, G-d created them for the sake of the Sanctuary and the Holy Temple. The wood of the cedar is extremely hard, symbolic of strength and inflexibility. However, this very attribute was created to be utilized for positive purposes, i.e., that a Jew must never be deterred by those who mock him.

(Avnei Ezel)

It Once Happened

Many years ago there lived a Chasid of the Baal Shem Tov who was very poor. When someone suggested that he rent a certain tavern and become its manager, he took the advice and went to find the owner of the establishment.

As the tavern was located in a very desolate spot, far off the beaten path, the owner didn't even ask how much he was willing to pay, and immediately agreed. The Chasid then borrowed money to buy provisions, and moved into the inn with his family. Although the Chasid was no longer starving, the inn provided a very meager source of income.

One time, the Baal Shem Tov was passing through the region and stopped at the inn, much to the Chasid's joy. The Baal Shem Tov asked him to prepare a fine meal for himself and his attendant, but before they could eat he called the Chasid over and told him that he had lost his valuable snuffbox. The Baal Shem Tov asked the Chasid to take his horse and search through the surrounding forest until he found it.

The Chasid immediately complied, although it was the middle of the night. Suddenly, he heard a voice calling from the distance. "Someone help! Please save me!" Going over to investigate he discovered that the carriage of a wealthy nobleman had fallen into a ditch and was stuck in the mud. The Chasid was able to extricate the carriage and the nobleman, who introduced himself as Prince so-and-so, was extremely grateful. As the Prince was soaking wet and trembling from the cold, the Chasid invited him back to the inn to warm up. The Baal Shem Tov then insisted that the meal that had been prepared for him be served to the nobleman instead.

The next morning, the Baal Shem Tov told the Chasid that if the nobleman wanted to offer him money, he was to refuse it. Indeed, before the Prince's departure he offered the Jew 2000 rubles as payment for his kindness, but he refused to accept it. "Perhaps you'd like more," the nobleman then pressed him. "Here is 10,000 rubles." Again the Chasid refused. When the Prince offered him the staggering sum of 100,000 rubles, he ran back to the Baal Shem Tov to ask if he was permitted to accept it. "I've told you not to accept even a penny!" the Baal Shem Tov replied. The Chasid returned to the nobleman and declared, "I will not take any of your money. I did not help you in order to receive a reward." The Prince then offered him a treasure in gold coins in addition to the rubles, but the Chasid stood firm. When the Prince saw that it was impossible to change the Chasid's mind, he asked him for his name so he could at least record it for posterity. The Prince then went on his way.

Before the Baal Shem Tov departed, he asked the Chasid if he wished to give him a few cents for a pidyon (as is customary among Chasidim when asking for a blessing). The Chasid gave him his last few coins, and the Baal Shem Tov blessed him with good fortune.

After the Baal Shem Tov left the Chasid's wife let out a huge sigh. Not only had they refused a great fortune, but now they were completely penniless! At that moment there was a knock on the door. Someone was requesting a glass of whiskey. The Chasid told his wife to pour water into the empty whiskey barrel; maybe the water would somehow acquire the taste of whiskey from the few drops left at the bottom. Surprisingly, the customer reported that the whiskey was delicious and unusually strong. The process was repeated, and again the water was miraculously transformed.

Over the next few years the Chasid and his wife made a fine living selling this whiskey. They eventually bought the inn and became very wealthy.

Sometime later, two gentile businessmen lodged at the inn. In the middle of the night they had a violent argument, and one of them murdered the other. The next morning the guilty party accused the Jewish innkeeper of the crime (supposedly to rob the businessman), and the Chasid was hauled off to jail. The case was tried, and the Chasid was found guilty and sentenced to death.

In the meantime, the Prince who had once been helped by the Chasid had become King. As supreme monarch of the land, all executions had to be personally approved by him before they could be carried out.

When the case came before the King, he recognized the name at once. He insisted that he would not sign the decree until he had spoken to the accused. The prisoner was summoned to the palace.

When the King saw the Chasid he thought to himself, "Surely, someone who refused 100,000 rubles when he was on the edge of starvation would not commit murder to steal money as a wealthy man." Further inquiries were made, and the real murderer was arrested and hanged. And the treasure the Chasid had refused years before was finally bestowed on him, together with several valuable properties.

Moshiach Matters

Israel shall not be redeemed until they will confess and demand the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of the House of David, and the Holy Temple."

(Bet Yosef on Tur-Orach Chayim)

  706: Mishpatim708: Tetzaveh  
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