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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 711
                           Copyright (c) 2002
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        March 15, 2002          Vayikra            2 Nisan, 5762

                  Getting In Touch with the Inner Ewe
                          by Rabbi Shais Taub

There is a war going on.  Neither side will settle for less than
complete domination of our very lives.  The two camps are two forces
within us, two souls that keep us alive.

The G-dly soul is selfless, peaceful and unwaveringly dedicated to the
service of the Divine.  This soul is enthralled by spiritual matters
only and finds mundane pleasures repellant.

Then there's the animal soul.  Ego-driven, unsettled, given over to the
pursuit of pleasure.  He thrives on stimuli and seeks out all things
physical.  All notions of any "higher purpose" leave him terrifically

If we are to approach the Infinite, to cling to G-d, we must see to it
that the G-dly soul forever dominates its animalistic counterpart.  This
is the war.

But after the smoke is clear, how shall we deal with the vanquished
beast?  To set him free would be dangerous.  To eliminate him entirely
may be imprudent.  (After all, who'll remind us to eat lunch the next

Chasidic thought offers us an ideal game plan for dealing with the
animal soul - an age-old dynamic mastered by zookeepers and farmers long
ago.  The animal soul left unchecked will disrupt, even oppose the
attainment of spiritual goals.  Could we expect any different?  But if
we master the animal, put him under the yoke, train him - at once his
intensity and might become our own. We teach him to take pleasure in the
Divine.  Redirect his focus.  Now he pulls the wagon and we ride.

This week's Torah portion, Vayikra, describes the Jew and his offering
that he brings to G-d upon the altar of the Temple.  The Torah tells us
that the offering shall be from him, the Jew.  The Chasidic masters
teach that this is the animal each one of us must bring to G-d, the
animal inside us whose sublimation is a most unique and pleasant
offering to G-d.

Everyone's animal is different.  Some of us have a rowdy ox.  Others
exhibit the distinct qualities of a stubborn goat.  And some people have
an indulgent, little sheep inside.  But these traits, all of the
animal's special quirks, can become assets in serving G-d.

When pointed in the right direction, our animals become the most
energetic, staunch, and persistent workers in reaching spiritual goals.
And who knows?  Once the animal gets going, he might even teach the
mellow G-dly soul a thing or two.

This week we begin reading from the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus), which
deals primarily with the laws of sacrifices. In connection to the
sacrifices, the Torah repeatedly uses the phrase "rei'ach nichoach
la'Hashem," generally translated as "a pleasing fragrance to G-d."

Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, interprets the word "nichoach" in
the sense of "nachat ruach," pleasure or contentment. "It is a source of
contentment to Me, that I said [to bring the offering] and My will was

Some commentators (the Mizrachi, for one) explain Rashi's comment as
intending to repudiate the mistaken notion that G-d enjoys the odor of
the burning sacrifices. For this reason, Rashi emphasizes that G-d
derives pleasure not from the odor, but from the fact that His will is

However, if that were Rashi's intent, the above-mentioned comment would
have been made the first time the phrase "rei'ach nichoach" appears in
the Torah - back in the Book of Genesis, when Noah offered a sacrifice
after the Great Flood: "And G-d smelled the pleasing fragrance." In that
instance, Rashi offers no comment at all!

Accordingly, we must conclude that Rashi is not repudiating something
that is so self-evident, i.e., that G-d does not enjoy the physical
aroma of the sacrifices. What possible enjoyment could be derived from
the smell of an ani-mal burning, an odor that even humans consider

It is therefore obvious that the contentment being derived is spiritual,
from the fact that the Jewish people are fulfilling G-d's will. In
truth, Rashi's comment is intended to explain why G-d derives pleasure
from the sacrifices, as opposed to any other of the Torah's

The difference between the sacrifices and all other mitzvot is that all
other commandments contain an element of reason or benefit. Even the
super-rational mitzvot, such as the red heifer, while we do not
understand them intellectually, serve to strengthen a Jew's acceptance
of the yoke of Heaven.

By contrast, the sacrifices (and particularly the olah offering, which
was completely burnt) do not have any perceptible "reason" in human
terms. On the contrary, they seem completely illogical: Why "waste"
one's hard-earned money in such a fashion?

Rashi consequently stresses that G-d's pleasure is derived from the
fulfillment of His will. A Jew brings sacrifices only because G-d wants
him to. The sacrifices are thus the purest form of obedience to G-d,
without regard for personal benefit or other considerations. And the
highest expression of this is the olah, which was completely consumed.

From this we learn that the greatest pleasure a Jew can bring G-d is to
obey Him, purely and simply.

                             Adapted from Vol. 32 of Likutei Sichot

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                              Sowing Seeds
                          by Esther Muellejans

My husband, children and I live in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dubbed
the "paradise of America," it's been listed as the number one small city
in America, known for its cultural and art offerings, its fine public
schools and higher education, and its small town ambiance, being a city
of 30,000, surrounded by lush farmland.

In 1993, our oldest daughter, Ruth, was about to begin kindergarten in
the local public school. We had been exploring Judaism with friends and
acquaintances, at the various Jewish institutions in our area, and
through reading.

That summer we contacted Rabbi Chaim and Yocheved Adelman, of Chabad
House at Amherst, because we wanted to start keeping kosher. They
graciously helped us set up a kosher kitchen. Yocheved taught me
everything about this fundamental mitzva and was there for all my
questions. As I enrolled in study groups and we began attending family
events, the Adelmans asked if we wanted to send Ruth to their Sunday
Hebrew school program. We jumped at the idea.

Jewish education for my children, something I somehow knew was
important, now became a reality. And what a wonderful experience it was.
I volunteered to "help," essentially passing out and collecting
supplies. But secretly I was Yocheved's oldest student, absorbing
information and inspi-ration, and learning my Hebrew alphabet. What
happened at the Chabad House that year paved the way for the many steps
we have taken as a family.

We soon discovered that the Adelman children attended Lubavitcher
Yeshiva Academy (LYA). We enjoyed the Adelmans, and their children had a
special something about them. Their politeness and respectful attitude
were impressive. Their strong sense of values (all Torah-based as we
were learning) and their chesed, their willingness and desire to treat
one another and their peers with love and kindness, touched us, and we
knew that this was what we wanted for our children. We had been feeling
great trepidation about sending Ruth to public school. We already felt
the challenge of being the only family keeping kosher in her public
school class. And then there were the social events, the non-Jewish
holidays, the lack of Torah perspective in a pluralistic setting.
Through the Adelmans we had discovered another option.

After several meetings and discussions, Ruth began first grade at LYA.
Everything fell into place. Yocheved taught there and was able to
transport Ruth to and from school.

In the years that ensued, Ruth absorbed her Torah and secular studies
like a sponge. She would come home singing songs about the Jewish
holidays - some of which we had never heard about, such as the birthday
of the trees. But we were open and we enthusiastically shared in Ruth's
learning process. To this day I credit Ruth with enabling me to say the
Grace After Meals, otherwise known as bentching, due to her steadfast
teaching. I proved a very slow learner, much less agile mentally than my
"teacher." Each and every word remains precious to me to this day.

As we were growing (both spiritually and in number), so was LYA. We
happened to be the first family to send our children to LYA from the
Amherst-Northampton area. As the Adelmans continued to touch the lives
of others, the number of families making that commute to Longmeadow has
grown to seven.

Slowly, over time, many seeds were sown. LYA was founded in 1946 by the
Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. With just a handful of students in one room
in Springfield, Massachusetts, Rabbi David Edelman (current dean of LYA)
planted the seeds of love for Torah and Chasidut in many young hearts.

Since then, many people have benefitted from and supported the school.
They too have planted seeds of Torah in the hearts of children,
grandchildren, family and friends. In fact, we are these very people!

Eventually, a new building in Longmeadow was built which includes a
preschool, elementary school and a middle school wing, with numerous
community outreach and education programs taking place there as well.

The school recently embarked on yet a new adventure - experiential
learning of the best kind - in Israel. Ruth, now a middle school
student, spent two glorious weeks in Israel with her classmates last
spring. The single most meaningful part of the trip to the students,
universally, was being at the Western Wall on Friday night, welcoming
the Shabbat Queen (yes, Ruth taught me to daven these prayers as well).
Everything they were learning was affirmed in all its meaning and
importance on this trip.

The trip had special meaning for my husband and me. Through G-d's
guiding hand we had met one another in Jerusalem back in 1985. And now,
here was our 13-year-old daughter visiting the very spot where our lives
first intersected! Little did we imagine then where we would be today.
As I look back, I marvel at how the circle continues to spiral upwards,
towards Torah.

Our pathway to Torah has been to grow and learn with and through our
children. Where will they lead us next? Ruth is in her eighth and final
year at LYA. And once again, we find ourselves going deeper into our
commitment to an observant life. A group of parents are now working with
the school to create a Lubavitcher girls' high school, which would
provide the same outstanding educational excellence and nurturing
atmosphere that distinguishes LYA, a place in which a Jewish girl's full
potential is able to blossom.

As adults we must do our utmost to provide a nurturing and high quality
Torah education for the upcoming generation, to support them on their
journey. But what if the tables are turned and you find you're being
nurtured and supported by your children through the wonderful Jewish
education they are receiving and sharing with you? I'm told this is one
sign that the era of Moshiach is upon us! G-d willing, let it be now!!

                        Reprinted from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter

                               WHAT'S NEW
              Chasidic Perspectives, A Festival Anthology

This festival anthology contains 47 discourses by the Rebbe and is
expertly  translated by noted Chasidic scholar Rabbi Alter Metzger. The
holidays will never be the same after reading these Chasidic
perspectives. The book has a year-round appeal. Published by Kehot

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                        5th of Iyar, 5721 [1961]

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letters of the 1st [of] Iyar,
14th of Nissan, and the previous ones. No doubt you have, in the
meantime, received my letter. I hope you will continue to have good news
to report.

Needless to say, every additional measure of trust in G-d, and every
additional effort in all matters of Torah and Mitzvoth with joy and
gladness of heart, will increase your personal contentment and also the
success of your activities on behalf of others. This will also help you
to understand the inconsistency of your writing that everybody seems to
be against you, which cannot be true, in view of the fact that our Sages
taught "All that G-d does is for the good." And when we speak of "good"
we do not mean only the good in the hereafter, but in the here and now.

As I have written before, with every obligation and duty, comes the
ability to fulfill them, for "G-d does not deal despotically with his
creatures," and does not impose on anyone anything which cannot be

I hope you have read the Pesach [Passover] message carefully and have
found it useful in clarifying your mind and approach.

Hoping to hear good news from you,

With blessing,

P.S. You do not mention anything about the dental situation, from which
I gather that all is well.

With regard to the question of "a holy soul" I refer you to the
beginning of Chapter 2 of the Tanya, where it is explained that the soul
of every Jew is a part of G-dliness, Mamash [literally]; and see also
Chapter 4 of Iggeres haTeshuva there. On the question of Moshiach, the
Rambam has clearly described everything pertaining to the Moshiach
(hil[chos] Teshuva 9:2. Melochim 11:4), his qualifications, ancestry
etc. and that solves your problem.

You have been remembered, and will be remembered again at a propitious
time, in prayer at the holy resting place of my father-in-law of saintly
memory, with regard to all your needs materially and spiritually,
including a greater measure of your trust in G-d and growing success in
your activities to strengthen Yiddishkeit, with joy and gladness of

                                *  *  *

                       3rd of Nissan, 5727 [1967]

Greeting and Blessing:

I just received the telephone message about your condition, and am
awaiting good news about your treatment and relief. May G-d grant that
you should have a speedy and complete Refuo [recovery], and that
everything turn out to be for the good, the visible and obvious good.

Having entered the auspicious month of Nissan, the present time is
particularly propitious for good tidings for all Jews, both materially
and spiritually. Moreover, if at all times throughout the year a Jew is
to serve G-d in good health and with joy and gladness of heart, this is
particularly true for the month of Nissan, a time of considerable
preparation for the forthcoming Festival of Liberation, especially the
removal of Chometz [leavened foods] and the bringing in of Matzoh, with
all that this signifies, including a thorough spiritual "spring
cleaning." There is no need to elaborate on this to you.

I had intended to write to you these days in any case, but will now take
advantage of this opportunity to express my gratification at the
enthusiasm which your speech evoked at the gathering in the home of Mr.
and Mrs. . . ., organized at the initiative of Prof. and Mrs. . . . I am
also informed that it left a considerable impact on the audience.

Similarly I have been informed by the Tzeirei Agudas Chabad about the
success and lasting impressions of your other appearances.

There is a connection in this continuity of the above, since the
inference is how much you can achieve in good health, both in your
immediate and distant environment. Hence, it will surely stand you in
good stead.

Hoping to hear good news from you in all the above, and wishing you and
yours a Kosher and inspiring Pesach.

With blessing,

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
5 Nisan 5762

Prohibition 54: excluding descendants of Esau

By this prohibition we are forbidden to exclude the descendants of Esau
from our community after they have become converts, i.e., to refuse to
intermarry with them (beyond the second generation). It is contained in
the Torah's words (Deut. 23:8): "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he
is your brother."

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
Today, the second of Nisan, is the anniversary of the passing in 1920 of
the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Dovber. Only hours before his
passing, the Rebbe Rashab told his Chasidim, "I am going to heaven, but
my writings I am leaving with you." Although the Rebbe wouldn't be
physically present, the Chasidim could still connect to him through his
holy writings and teachings.

In 1914, after World War I broke out, the Rebbe Rashab sent a minyan of
yeshiva students to the gravesites of his father and grandfather to
recite a special prayer every day. As the words of a tzadik are eternal,
there is no doubt that the Rebbe's prayer still reverberates in the
celestial spheres, and is especially relevant in light of the world
situation today.

In free translation:

"May Your mercies be aroused, O Source of all mercy, for the sake of our
brothers, the Children of Israel, who are in grave danger. It is already
several months since a war has broken out...with the kingdom of Ishmael.
Many Jews have been killed in the terrible warfare...among them are
married men, the fathers of children. May Jacob be redeemed from this
current horror!

"May the light of Israel succeed in imploring G-d's mercy for the
Congregation of Israel who live in lands affected by the strife. May G-d
protect them and save them from the sword and from all enemies who lie
in wait. May they succeed in all their endeavors and return in full
health to their homes. May G-d implant the desire for peace in the
hearts of the kings responsible for this bloodshed, so that the world
will be spared this great and terrible destruction. ...And may we be
worthy of greeting the Final Redeemer, speedily in our days, Amen."

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And [G-d] called to Moses (Lev. 1:1)

It is traditional to begin a young child's study of Torah with the Book
of Leviticus, which deals primarily with the laws of the sacrifices.
From this we learn that Jewish education is so important to the
perpetuation of our people that parents should not hesitate to make even
the greatest financial "sacrifices" to ensure that their children
receive the proper instruction.

                                                       (Avnei Ezel)

                                *  *  *

For this reason, our Sages stated (Nedarim 81): "Be cautious with the
children of the poor, for from them the Torah will go forth." When poor
parents demonstrate self-sacrifice to pay their children's tuition,
their strength is inherited by their offspring, who become giants in

                                               (Rabbi Meir Shapiro)

                                *  *  *

And he shall slaughter the bull before G-d (Lev. 1:5)

As explained in the Talmud (Chulin 30), "And he shall slaughter" implies
drawing or pulling. The act of slaughtering (according to Torah law)
"draws" the animal or bird upward, rendering it capable of being
elevated from the realm of the animal kingdom to the realm of man, when
it is ingested and transformed into the blood and flesh of the person
who partakes of it. The animal soul of man must likewise be
"slaughtered," by drawing and elevating it upward until it is subsumed
in the holiness of the G-dly soul.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

With all your offerings you shall offer salt (Lev. 2:5)

The sacrifices in the Sanctuary and Holy Temples elevated and refined
all four kingdoms of created matter: the inanimate (salt), vegetative
(fine flour, offered with every sacrifice), animal (the animal or bird
being sacrificed), and the realm of man (the kohen, who performed the


                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
There was once a poor melamed (teacher) who was a follower of Rabbi
Yechezkel Landau of Prague. Unable to provide a dowry for his daughter,
he decided to look for a job in Hungary. He found a teaching position in
a small village, where most of the town's income came from the
production of wine. The melamed stayed there for several years, until he
saved up what he hoped was enough money.

Now, at that time a wealthy wine merchant from Prague had just arrived
in town to buy wine for Passover. He agreed to take the melamed back to
Prague, provided he supervised the wine barrels along the way (to make
sure they weren't tampered with, which would render them not kosher).
The melamed was grateful for the offer and they set out.

That Friday afternoon they stopped at an inn. The melamed, who was
carrying a large bundle of money and was afraid to entrust it to just
anyone, decided to hide it among the wine barrels for the duration of
the Sabbath, after which he would retrieve it after sundown on Saturday
night. Satisfied that his money was secure, he went off to prepare for
the holy Sabbath.

The following evening he was shocked to discover that the bundle was
gone. It did not take him long to figure out that the only person who
could have stolen it was the wine merchant, who must have seen him
hiding the money and was unable to withstand the temptation. Although
his first impulse was to directly confront him, he decided to appeal to
the man's conscience instead.

Explaining that he had worked hard to provide a dowry for his daughter,
the melamed asked the merchant if he had perhaps hidden the money in a
more secure location. But the merchant made a show of being insulted by
the very idea. He denied the theft, and even blamed the melamed for
having been foolish enough to leave his money where it was unsafe. When
the melamed came right out and begged, the merchant threatened to leave
him and continue on to Prague by himself if he did not stop "all that
nonsense." He was perfectly willing, however, to make a donation toward
the girl's wedding expenses.

"I'm not looking for charity," the melamed replied. "If you didn't take
my money, I apologize." Seeing that there was nothing to gain by
pursuing the matter, he resolved to consult with Rabbi Landau upon
returning to Prague.

After listening to the melamed's sad tale, Rabbi Yechezkel Landau
promised to intervene. The wine merchant, he revealed, was due to arrive
shortly to ask for his rabbinical approval that the wine was "kosher for
Passover." In the meantime, he suggested that the melamed go into an
adjoining room and rest.

A few minutes later the wine merchant showed up at the Rabbi's house.
"As in years past," he explained, "I have just returned from Hungary
with a large quantity of wine for Passover. I can assure you that it was
completely supervised throughout all stages of its production, from the
crushing of the grapes until its arrival in Prague in sealed barrels.
And as one of your own disciples acted as supervisor, may I assume that
you will approve it?"

"Yes, well," the Rabbi hesitated, "there seems to be a slight problem

"What kind of problem?" the merchant asked nervously.

"Your supervisor has told me that he hid some money among the barrels
and it disappeared."

"But surely you don't suspect me of having stolen it!" the merchant

"G-d forbid that I would accuse you," the Rabbi assured him. "But if you
didn't take it, or let us say 'borrow,' then someone else did. And if a
stranger had access to the wine, well, then there's no way to ensure
that it wasn't tampered with. In a case like this, I just couldn't vouch
for it..."

The merchant paled when he realized that the money he would lose from
the potential sale of the wine was far more than the amount he had
stolen. He immediately admitted the theft and promised to make

But the Rabbi wasn't finished. "It's more complicated than that. If you
stole on Shabbat, the kashrut of the wine is still in question." The
merchant insisted that the theft had occurred before sundown, but the
Rabbi refused to believe him. "How do I know that you aren't admitting
to something you didn't do, and are willing to pay the melamed to
receive my authorization?"

At that point the merchant broke down in tears and declared that he was
willing to swear he spoke the truth. "I will do anything you say," he

"All right," the Rabbi replied. "I can see that you are sincere.
However, this is what you must do: In addition to returning the money,
you must make a large contribution towards the girl's dowry. This will
partially atone for your transgression and the aggravation you caused an
innocent man. Provided, of course, that he is willing to forgive you."

Needless to say, both parties were more than happy with the decision.
And the wine merchant learned a valuable lesson.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Jewish teachings state, "The Land of Israel is destined to spread forth
over the whole world." (Yalkut Shimoni on Isaiah) How will this be
accomplished? In the future, when the world is refined and all unclean
shells are annulled, nothing will obstruct Divinity. The lands of the
Diaspora will thus also be refined, and will become elevated to the
level of the Land of Israel. In this sense, then, "The Land of Israel is
destined to spread forth over the whole world."

                                             (Likutei Torah, Masei)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 711 - Vayikra 5762

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