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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 724
                           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.
        June 21, 2002         Chukas-Balak        11 Tamuz, 5762

                              Making Time

A time-management professional is brought into a busy corporation for a
lunch-time lecture. He starts by offering a visual portrayal of how to
make the most of one's time.

He fills a jar with stones until no more fit in. "Is this jar full?" he
asks the audience.

All heads nod in concurrence.

The speaker takes out a sack of pebbles and begins to pour them into the
jar, shaking and shifting as he pours. Half the sack is now empty and no
more pebbles will enter the jar. He asks the audience again, "Is this
jar full?"

A few heads vigorously nod in agreement while a number of faces express

The speaker lifts a bag of sand and begins pouring it into the jar. The
fine grains glide through the obstacle course of pebbles and stones. He
continues to pour the sand until the jar can contain no more.

"Now is the jar full?" he asks.

Although nearly everyone is now certain that the jar is finally filled,
only a few people sheepishly nod their heads.

Finally, the speaker reaches under the table and pulls out a bottle of
water. He slowly pours the water into the jar. It passes over the small
stones and pebbles and sand, settling in the bottom of the jar, then
midway up, now at the top, and finally a few drops flow onto the table.

"Now is this jar full?" asks the speaker.

Hesitantly at first, and then more assuredly, the participants shake
their heads in agreement.

"What do we learn from this little demonstration?" asks the
time-management professional.

Instantly people raise their hands. The speaker calls on an
enthusiastic-looking young man perched on the edge of his chair in the
front row.

"We learn that no matter how full a person's schedule is, he can always
squeeze more in," the young man says triumphantly.

"Wrong!" bellows the speaker.

The audience is taken aback. Isn't the lesson of the stones, pebbles,
sand and water obvious?

"We learn from this little exercise," the expert says earnestly, "that
first we must schedule into our days that which is most essential and
significant. Afterwards, we can begin to pencil in the 'important'
matters. We follow that up by adding to our schedules matters of lesser
importance. And only after we have incorporated all of these into our
days and weeks do we fill up the rest of our time with the
inconsequential matters."

                                *  *  *

Our thoughts continue to focus on our brethren in the Holy Land-may we
hear only good news.

The days and weeks turn into months. And we are "still" preoccupied with
Israel, with the rise in anti-Semitism, with the imperative of Jewish

We come face-to-face with the realization that our Jewish identity,
Torah and its teachings, are our "stones" and we consider how we are
going to make sure that all of them get into our jars.

                                *  *  *

On Thursday of this coming week (June 27 this year), we begin the
three-week period of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temples.
The first Holy Temple was destroyed nearly 2,600 years ago. The Second
Temple was destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago. And for all of these years
we have been praying for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the
ingathering of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, and Moshiach.

The hope and prayers for the Redemption have always been part of the
personal and collective jar of the Jewish people.

Before our jars get packed with time-wasters and energy-sappers, let's
fill them with simple acts of goodness, dignified acts of kindness and
the foundation stones of Torah study and mitzva observance. Let's
increase in acts of goodness and kindness, in Torah study and in holy
deeds, as a preparation for the era that will be utterly good, kind and
holy for the Jewish people and the world.

This week we read two Torah portions, Chukat and Balak. Of all the
prophecies in Scripture that refer to the Messianic era, the one
contained in the Torah portion of Balak is most unusual in that it came
from Bilaam, a gentile prophet.

Bilaam, the foremost prophet of his time, was forced against his will to
foretell the downfall of the nations of the world and the ultimate
ascendancy of the Jewish people.

The very fact that this prophecy is included in our holy Torah indicates
its special significance; indeed, it contains a distinct advantage
precisely because it was said by a non-Jew.

For, when Moshiach comes, the Jewish people will no longer be
subservient to the nations; on the contrary, the gentile leaders will
vie with one another for the privilege of serving the Jews!

Thus, the prophecy of Bilaam concerning the Final Redemption not only
gave the Children of Israel cause for rejoicing over their future, it
actually afforded them a "taste" of the way things will be in the
Messianic era.

As far as prophecy itself is concerned, our Sages foretold its
reoccurrence among the Jewish people before Moshiach's arrival according
to the following chronology:

Commenting on the verse in this week's Torah portion, "At the proper
time shall it be said to Jacob and to Israel, what G-d has wrought,"
Maimonides noted that prophecy would return to Israel after "the proper
time" had elapsed after Bilaam, i.e., after the same number of years as
had passed since the creation of the world until his prophecy.

Bilaam's prophecy was said in the year 2488; 2488 years after that, in
the year 4976 (we are now in the year 5762), prophecy was destined to
return to the Jewish people.

In fact we find that this was indeed the case, for it was then that
prophetic luminaries began to appear on the Jewish horizon -Rabbi Shmuel
Hanavi, Rabbi Elazar Baal "Harokeach," Nachmanides, the Ravad (Rabbi
Abraham ben David), Rabbi Ezra Hanavi and Rabbi Yehuda the Chasid and

More generations passed until the birth of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov,
the founder of Chasidut, and his successor, the Magid of Mezeritch,
about whom it was said that they "could see from one end of the world to
the other."

The following generation produced Rabbi Shneur Zalman, who formulated
Chabad Chasidut. Had he lived in the times of our prophets he would have
been on a par with them; moreover, this chain of prophecy continued from
one Chabad leader to the next, until the present day, when the Rebbe has
prophesied that Moshiach's arrival is imminent.

The return of prophecy to the Jewish people is therefore both a
prerequisite and preparation for the Messianic era, which is due to
begin at any moment.

                   Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, Vol. 2

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                              "Release Me"
                            By Elise Lantor

The Baal Shem Tov would have loved the "Released Time" program. Over 250
years ago he was the loving escort of shtetl children to their cheder
(school) so that they could learn the fundamentals of Judaism. The Baal
Shem Tov must have been the inspiration for the "Released Time" program.
For the past 62 years at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, public schools
throughout the New York metropolitan area discharge a bevy of
enthusiastic children to a "rebbe" who escorts them to a local synagogue
for an hour of Jewish education.

For most of these children, mainly from Russian and Israeli backgrounds,
those brief sixty minutes are the only formal Jewish education they
have. Understandably, the teachers make the most of those precious
moments.  For many of those children, and even for their families, the
Released Time program has become the catalyst for real Jewish growth and
learning. It was never regarded as a substitute for Jewish education,
but as a stimulus to arouse the desire for full-time Jewish education,
and each year many Released Time children join Jewish day and afternooon
school during the following school year.

When the doors of our synagogue, Congregation Israel of Kings Bay,
Brooklyn, fly open each Wednesday afternoon, 30 public school children
rush in, eager to learn about the the Torah portion, Shabbat, kosher, an
upcoming holiday, and blessings through the mediums of arts and crafts,
stories, cartoon characters ( and games. This
curriculum is duplicated in synagogues all across the city. The fun
continues even during school vacations as the children are offered
"Winter Camp" and "Mid-Winter Camp," the opportunity for daily Jewish
learning in between swim and gym sessions and day trips.  Come summer
vacation, the children are encouraged to attend Jewish camps.

The history of Released Time is an interesting one.  New York State
initiated its program in 1940, at which time it served primarily
Catholic schoolchildren. However, the arrival in New York of the
Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in that
same year brought a dramatic revision to the program.  He and his
son-in-law and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, had the
foresight to see that this program was a vital one with which to reach
the majority of Jewish public school children who otherwise were not
being given any Jewish education, the chance to encourage the spark of
Torah and Judaism. As a result, the Released Time program from its
inception was organized and energized by Chabad, although for the past
15 years a similar program has also been offered by the Jewish Education

Since there were few yeshivot and afternoon Hebrew schools in the early
post-war years, there was great enthusiasm among parents to enroll their
children in Released Time.  It was not unusual for the programs to have
300 children in each synagogue.  One former Released Time student of
that era is Rabbi Harvey Senter, Founder and Executive Administrator of
"Kof-K Kosher Supervision."

From a kosher but not Shabbat observant home, Rabbi Senter was
profoundly influenced by Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, who in 1947 was his
Released Time teacher. With Rabbi Hecht's loving inspiration and his
father's blessing, Rabbi Senter left public school and entered the
yeshiva world.  Years later, after Rabbi Senter established "Kof-K" and
was in the office of Levy's Jewish Rye Bread he encountered Rabbi Hecht
again, who recognized him immediately and "lit up like a street light,"
according to the poignant reminiscence of Rabbi Senter.  Rabbi Hecht
invited Rabbi Senter to speak on his radio program and at fund-raising
events that highlighted the success stories of Released Time students.

At present, since there are fewer Jewish children attending New York
City public schools, enrollment averages 1,000 children per year but can
swell to hundreds more, with new children coming into the program even
until the last day of the school year.  There are Released Time programs
in California, Australia and Canada, and calls routinely come into the
Released Time Office of Director Rabbi Shneur Zalman Kalman Zirikind
from places like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida, asking how to set
up similar programs in their communities.

According to Assistant Director Rabbi Natan Shusterman, each year about
35 Released Time children are inspired, like Rabbi Senter, to leave
public school and attend yeshiva.  That represents not only a victory
for the individual child but for the family as well, for it is the goal
of the program to ignite the family's interest and education in Jewish
fundamentals, and many families have become Torah observant through the
efforts of Released Time.  This is a tribute to the hard work and
dedication of the teachers, who spend a significant amount of their time
counseling the parents.  Lubavitchers who hope to go out as emissaries,
opening Chabad Houses around the world, are expected to get their
training by first teaching in Released Time programs.

The synagogue that plays "host" to Released Time children also has a
vital role to play in this regard. Our synagogue includes the children
and their families in invitations to all of our holiday parties, special
events and Shabbat Across America programs, where the children perform
songs and skits.  The children and their families are, after all, from
our community and they are made to feel comfortable and welcome, "at
home" in the shul and hopefully to become part of our membership.

Thus far, the Released Time program has influenced three generations of
Jewish children and their families, hundreds of thousands of children
since its inception. Who can calculate how many Jewish lives have been
reached for the better?  Hopefully, this might inspire you to invite the
Released Time program to your synagogue or to inform a child you know
about the program. Perhaps he will become another Rabbi Senter.

      For more information about Released Time call (718) 735-0215.
                   This article first appeared in the Jewish Press.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                            New Mikva Opens

A new mikva (ritualarium) opened in the Chabad Center of Palo Alto under
the directorship of Rabbi Yosef and Dina Levin. The Dryan Family Mikva
is a state-of-the-art facility serving Northern California. The
cornerstone of Jewish family life throughout the ages, the observance of
Family Purity laws has been enhanced through the construction of mikvaot
by Chabad-Lubavitch Centers world-wide (see

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                      14th of Tammuz, 5719 [1959]

Greeting and Blessing:

I received your letter of July 15th...

It happens that promises before elections are not always kept after
elections. Therefore, even if the said person will not always abide by
his promises, I trust that it will in no way affect your work for the
benefit of the community. Furthermore, the Zechus Horabim [merit of the
public] will stand you in good stead and you will be successful, which
will at the same time also provide additional channels to receive G-d's
blessings in all your affairs, public and private.

Your letter reached me during the auspicious days of 12-13th of Tammuz,
marking the Liberation of my father-in-law of saintly memory from
imprisonment and persecution in Soviet Russia for his work for Jews and
Yiddishkeit [Judaism] there. My father-in-law had declared that his
liberation was not a personal affair, but it was a victory of all the
holy things for which he had fought, namely, the strengthening and
spreading of Yiddishkeit in general, and of the teachings of Chassidus
in particular. Therefore, these days are auspicious for everyone who is
associated with his work, and a source of inspiration and blessing.

I was pleased to read in your letter of your successful business
activities, and may you continue to do successful business in an
ever-growing measure.

I was also particularly pleased to note in your letter that you took
advantage of an opportunity when you were called upon to make a public
speech at the grammar school, and you made a declaration on the
importance of higher Jewish education for boys and girls. May G-d grant
that this fundamental and vital idea has taken root in the hearts of all
the listeners, and will bring good results with all speed. For, I have
often emphasized, in the question of education, the time element is of
the essence, and opportunities lost are rarely retrieved.

On this day of "Issru Chag" [the day after a festival] of the Liberation
Festival, I send you my prayerful wishes that you enjoy liberation and
freedom from all anxieties and difficulties, and that you carry on your
good work with true inner joy and gladness of heart, going from strength
to strength both materially and spiritually.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                      15th of Tammuz, 5723 [1963]

Blessing and Greeting:

I was pleased to receive your letter with the enclosure. I am gratified
to note that you found the children well and happy, and that all is well
also in the educational work.

I was, of course, also pleased to note that after our conversation, you
felt much encouraged in regard to your work for spreading Yiddishkeit.
In regard to your writing that you had the feeling that you could
conquer the world, may I add that this is not only a manner of speaking,
but has a basis in fact, as indicated in the Gemara (Kiddushin 40b), and
also the Rambam states something to that effect, as a matter of halachah
[Jewish law], when he says that a person should always consider his
positive and negative deeds as equi-balanced, and so the whole world. If
one does an additional mitzvah [commandment], he places himself, as well
as the whole world, in the scale of zechus [merit], outweighing the
negative side.

The above is true, of course, also in the matter of spreading
Yiddishkeit, and not only for the purpose of out-balancing. For the
activities in Chinuch [Jewish education], starting in a sincere and
hearty way, create a chain reaction, and eventually the students
themselves become sources of influence, whether as teachers or in other
active capacities, with the same enthusiasm and inspiration.

I trust that you observed in a suitable way the auspicious days of
12-13th of Tammuz. These days marked the liberation of my father-in-law
of saintly memory from Soviet imprisonment, where his life was in
jeopardy as a result of his relentless and sustained battle for the
preservation of the Jewish life and institutions even under that
totalitarian and anti-religious regime. His selfless dedication, as well
as miraculous triumph, is an inspiration to every one of us, and proves
once again that where there is a will and determination in matters of
Torah and mitzvos, no obstacles are insurmountable. May the inspiration
of these days be with you throughout the year.

With blessing,

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
14 Tammuz, 5762

Positive mitzva 72: the offering of higher or lower value

By this injunction we are commanded to offer a sacrifice of higher or
lower value (according to a person's means) for certain transgressions:
defilement of the Santuary or its hallowed objects, an oath of
utterance, or a false oath concerning testimony. It is contained in the
words (Lev. 5: 1-11): "And he shall bring his forfeit...and if his means
suffice not, etc."

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat is the twelfth day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. This day
marks both the birthday of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak
Schneersohn, and his liberation from Soviet prison and exile.

When the Bolshevik revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Czarist
regime in 1917, it set about destroying religion. Judaism, and
particularly Chabad-Lubavitch, was a prime target. The Previous Rebbe,
devoted himself to keeping the flame of Judaism alive in the early days
of Communist Russia.

So powerful was the Previous Rebbe's impact that at one point he was
even offered a deal by the Communist government! He would be allowed to
continue to support rabbis, ritual slaughterers, etc., and even continue
to encourage Jews to attend prayer services on one condition: He had to
stop educating the children in the ways of the Torah.

To the Previous Rebbe this was unacceptable, and he refused, saying, "If
there are no kid goats, there will be no adult goats..." Without the
proper Jewish education for our children, we as a nation, cannot
survive. And even when the Previous Rebbe reached the shores of America,
he continued to strengthen Jewish life by establishing schools here as

The Previous Rebbe showed great courage and determination when it came
to preserving the Jewish way of life through Jewish education. He stood
up to both Communist oppression and to those here in America who told
him that it couldn't be done, that yeshivot couldn't thrive in this
modern new world. His legacy, Chabad schools the world over, has
outlived Soviet Communism and at the same time continues to prove that
those who doubted him were wrong.

The Previous Rebbe was a living example of his teachings. His strength
and courage were not for his own personal needs, but for the spiritual
needs of the entire Jewish people.

Let us stand strong together, and demand from G-d the thing we need
most, the arrival of our righteous Moshiach and the true and complete

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
This is the Torah's decree... have them bring you a completely red cow
which has no blemish (Numbers 19:2)

There is a profound link between the precept of the "red heifer" and the
principle of Messianic redemption: Mitzvot signify life. When one
follows the commandments one attaches himself to the Al-mighty and draws
spiritual vitality from the Source of All Life. Sin signifies death.
Violating G-d's will disrupts attachment to the Creator, thus bringing
about the "impurity of death." Both the red cow and the Messianic
redemption effect purification. For just as the ashes of the red cow are
used for removing a legal state of impurity, the Final Redemption with
Moshiach will purify the entire people of Israel from any trace of
deficiency in their bond with G-d.

                                                  (Peninei HaGeula)

                                *  *  *

Which has no blemish, which has never borne a yoke (Numbers 19:2)

If a person sees himself as "without blemish," confident that he has
already reached perfection, it is a sure sign that he "has never borne a
yoke" - he has never accepted the yoke of heaven. Otherwise he would
understand that he is still full of imperfections...

                                               (The Seer of Lublin)

                                *  *  *

And now come, I pray you, and curse me this people (Num. 22:4)

It is interesting to note the language Balak used when he asked Bilaam
to curse the Jewish people: "Curse me" he said, words which can also be
interpreted to mean that he himself should be cursed, which is exactly
what eventually happened. One must always think before speaking and pay
attention to the words we use.

                                                  (Shaloh Hakadosh)

                                *  *  *

He has not beheld any wrong in Jacob, nor has he seen evil in Israel:
The L-rd his G-d is with him, and the glory of the king dwells among
him. (Num. 23:21)

Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorka used to say: It states in the holy Zohar that
"The Holy One, Blessed Be He, the Torah and Israel are one." The same
way one cannot pick G-d or His Torah apart by saying, "This particular
verse of the Torah doesn't appeal to me," so too, should we approach our
fellow Jew, treating him with respect and acknowledging his importance
to the Jewish People as a whole."

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The heavenly decree was sealed: "The Holy Temple should be destroyed,
and the Jews should be driven out of their land!" Then G-d said: "But
the Western Wall should not be destroyed, so that there should always be
a reminder that G-d's Glory resides there!"

The Jews could not and would not forget their Holy Temple. Every year on
the ninth of Av, the Jews assembled at the Western Wall to pour out
their hearts about the destruction, and to beseech G-d to rebuild the
Holy Temple.

The Romans could not bear to see how resolutely the Jews kept to their
religion, and how holy they regarded the Western Wall. The Romans hit
upon a plan of how to remedy the situation; they issued an order that
all gentiles who live in Jerusalem must dump their garbage daily near
the Wall.

Day in, day out, the heap of garbage grew. Bit by bit the whole Wall was
covered. The Jews mourned anew.

Many years went by. A very righteous Jew from outside of Israel came to
Jerusalem to pour out his heart to G-d over the destruction. He walked
through the streets of Jerusalem, seeking the Wall, but the could not
find it. Everyone he asked shrugged their shoulders; they had never in
their lives seen the Wall.

The Jew, however, did not give up hope. Day and night he looked for the
Wall. Once, he came upon a huge hill of rubbish and wondered how so much
garbage came to be accumulated at this place. He noticed a very old
woman carrying a heavy sack on her back.

"Old woman, what are you carrying?" the Jew asked her.

"I am carrying a sack of garbage to throw on the hill."

The Jew inquired, "Do you have no room closer to home for garbage, that
you are forced to bring it here?"

"It is an old custom for us to bring the garbage here. Once there stood
here a huge stone wall that the Jews regarded as holy, so we were
ordered to cover the wall." She emptied her bundle and returned home..

Tears poured from the Jew's eyes. "I will not move from here until I
find a plan how to remove the dirt and reveal the Western Wall once

Suddenly an idea came to him. The Jew started back to town and whispered
to everyone he saw: "They say that a big treasure lies buried beneath
the hill of dirt over there."

He took a shovel and a bucket and began digging in the dirt. A short
while later many more people arrived. The whole city of Jerusalem was
aroused at the announcement of a huge treasure lying beneath the hill.
They dug for a whole day till the upper stones of the Wall came into
view. The sun set and the people went home to rest from their day's
labor. The Jew then took out some golden coins, covered them with dirt
and left.

The next morning, soon after dawn, there was an uproar by the hill.
Someone had found a golden coin, and so did a second, and a third. The
people started to dig with even more enthusiasm.

Every day they dug deeper and deeper. Every day a few golden coins were
found. But, they were certain the real treasure lay at the bottom. The
Jew spent his entire fortune on his mission to uncover the Western Wall.

For forty days the people dug around the Wall and sought the treasure.
Finally the whole Wall was cleared of garbage. They did not find the
treasure, but in front of their eyes a big stone wall appeared.

Suddenly a great storm broke out and a torrent of rain came down. It
rained for three days, washing the Wall clean of any traces of dirt.
When the people came out to see what they had unearthed, they saw a
handsome wall with huge stones, some of them as much as ten feet high.

On the spot where Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed, where the
first Holy Temple, built by King Solomon stood, and the second Holy
Temple, built by Ezra and Nehemiah - on this very spot the third and
final Temple will be built, when Moshiach comes.

                                               From Talks and Tales

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
A personal obligation rests upon every individual Jew to arouse his
fellow to the practice of good deeds. When instead a person adopts an
attitude of humility and argues, "Who am I to arouse my fellow? What
kind of a spokesman am I?"- he deserves to be sternly rebuked. These
"meek of the earth" will be rebuked by Moshiach, though here too he will
find extenuating circumstances.

               (Likutei Dibburim by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 724 - Chukas-Balak 5762

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