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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 729
                           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.
        July 26, 2002            Eikev               17 Av, 5762


You're walking down the street and you see a person who looks perfectly
normal walking toward you. Then you notice him talking to himself. He's
gesturing, pointing and wagging his finger in the air to make a point.
What's going on here?

As you get closer you avert your eyes. Perhaps he's not embarrassed but
you sure are!

When you are within just a few feet of the individual, you chuckle to
yourself. "How could I have forgotten? Cell phones."

Everywhere we go, at any time of day or night, people stay connected
with family, friends and work via cell phones.

Mitzvot, Divine precepts that guide and govern every aspect of a Jew's
life from the moment of his birth to his last breath, are a means by
which we connect with G-d. In fact, the word mitzva itself has two
meanings: "commandment" and "connection."

And at any time of day or night, we can stay connected with G-d via

By commanding us the mitzvot, G-d created the means through which we can
establish a connection with Him. The hand putting a few coins in a
charity box, the mind thinking Torah thoughts, the lips curved into a
smile to greet another person, the voice soaring in prayer, the stomach
digesting matza on Passover, the ears hearing the shofar on Rosh
Hashana, all become instruments to connect us with G-d. So there are
mitzvot for each limb, organ and faculty of a person, mitzvot governing
every aspect of a person's life, so that no part of him remains
uninvolved in his relationship with his Creator.

Each time we do a mitzva we connect with G-d. Sometimes, the connection
is so natural that we don't even notice it. At other times we feel the
connection of a mitzva-tears streaming forth in a moment of prayer; an
intangible peace as the Shabbat candles are lit; the slow exhale as
tefilin straps are unwound.

But what about when there is no connection? When we're out of our home
area and our service is roaming, when we forget to recharge the battery
and the phone goes dead, or when we're driving through a tunnel and we
get disconnected?

Our family, friends and office can't get in touch with us then. But G-d
still can. Because we can never truly disconnect from G-d. "A Jew
neither wants to nor can be disconnected from G-d," taught Rabbi Shneur
Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism. Even if we think the connection is
broken or that we got disconnected, we're still connected with G-d and
He's still connected with us. Furthermore, we can still communicate with
Him and vice versa. Because, in truth, the service never goes down.

Maybe it's a wrong number or something has affected the microwaves. But
the lack of connection is never permanent.

G-d can and does communicate with us. We need only perk up our ears and
listen, recharge the battery or be patient 'til we see the light at the
end of the tunnelthe hook, and reconnect.

In this week's Torah portion, Eikev, Moses looks back upon the Jewish
people's 40 years in the desert and mentions twice the manna they ate.
Both times, Moses seems to imply that eating the manna was somehow
distressing: "And He afflicted you and suffered you to hunger, and fed
you with manna"; "[He] fed you in the wilderness with manna...that He
might afflict you."

In fact, the Children of Israel complained bitterly over having to eat
it. "But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all except this
manna before our eyes." "Our soul loathes this light bread."

At first glance their complaint is surprising, as the Torah describes
the manna as being delicious - "and its taste was like wafers made with
honey." Our Sages comment further that the G-dly manna was unique in
that the person eating it experienced whatever flavor he wished.
Furthermore, the manna was completely digested, having no waste. How
then could such a wonderful food be perceived as "torment"?

However, the Talmud explains that it was precisely these qualities that
left the Jews with a sense of hunger. It was hard to get used to this
"bread from the heavens" that had no waste and could taste like anything
in the world. The Jews wanted regular bread, "bread from the earth."
They longed for food that looked like what it was.

But the truth is that the Jews' resentment was motivated by the Evil
Inclination. At first, the Evil Inclination draws a person into small
sins, slowly working its way to more serious ones. So it was with the
Children of Israel: They started by complaining about the manna, then
progressed to "crying among their families," implying transgressions in
the area of family life.

The dynamics of the Evil Inclination never change, and even today, the
Evil Inclination still chafes against "bread from the heavens."
Symbolically, "bread from the heavens" stands for Torah and G-dly
wisdom, while "bread from the earth" is secular, worldly knowledge. The
Evil Inclination tries to make the Jew dissatisfied with his "bread from
the heavens," and attempts to convince him that a steady diet of Torah
will leave him hungry. "The Torah is endless," it whispers in his ear.
"You can never learn it all; the more you'll learn, the more you'll see
how infinite it is. Why not turn your mind to worldly matters? At least
you'll get a feeling of fullness and satisfaction."

On an even finer level, the Evil Inclination tries to dissuade a Jew
from studying Chasidut, the innermost part of Torah, which is also
likened to "bread from the heavens." "Bread from the earth," the
revealed part of Torah, is enough, it claims.

But the truth is the opposite. Because the Jew's essence is spiritual,
he can never be satiated by worldly matters. Only Torah, and the
innermost part of it, can make the soul feel full, for it is through
Torah that the Jew connects to the Infinite.

                                Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Vol. 4

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                               Soul Tears
                            By Yehudis Cohen

"As a child, I went to a secular school in the morning and a Jewish
school in the afternoon. My parents felt that it was important to get
both types of education," begins Miriam Unterberger.

As a youngster, Miriam attended a Jewish club that met at her local
synagoguge on Friday night and Saturday. In her teen years she became a
counselor for the club. "I didn't really know that much about Judaism
but I knew enough of the basics to give them over to children younger
than myself."

After graduating from high school, Miriam studied computers for two
years, though early on she decided that computers weren't for her. "I
had been painting since I was 12 years old. So once I made the decision
not to continue in computers, I began attending art school."

While in art school, in the fall of 1999, Miriam's father Andres, had a
heart attack. A few days later, one of her friends gave her a present.
"My rabbi, Shlomo Levy, one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's emissaries in
Buenos Aires, sent this book to you. Read it," her friend reassured her,
"and your father will be better."

The book was King David's Psalms - Tehilim. "I flipped through the book
and saw essays in the back. One of them said that if you read specific
chapters of Psalms it helps a person in distress. I began reading those
chapters every single day and my father started getting better. A few
days later, Rabbi Levy visited my father in the hospital. After the
rabbi's visit, my father said, 'Now I feel better.' "

Miriam started to go with her friend to the Levy home for dinner on
Friday night. She enjoyed the company and the warmth of the Levy's open

When a group of Miriam's friends made plans to make aliya-to move to
Israel, she decided to join them. "I attended an ulpan in Ashkelon to
learn Hebrew and then later in Jerusalem. I wasn't at all religious yet
but it struck me that in such a holy place there was so much unholiness.
In the apartment building where all of the new immigrants stayed, there
were people selling drugs literally in every stairwell. I asked myself,
'What is this? I am in Israel, this holy place, and yet there is so much
depravity.' "

After the ulpan ended, Miriam worked in a hotel in Jerusalem as a
receptionist and then started working in a cosmetics store. "I had a
job, I had friends, I was in Israel, but I started feeling down and I
didn't understand why. Maybe I needed my family and all of my 'stuff'
that I had left in Argentina. I felt like something inside was wrong. It
felt like my soul was in pain, that it was crying."

The parents of a friend from Argentina who had moved to Israel a few
months before invited her for Shabbat. "They were religious and they
invited me to spend the whole Shabbat with them. I figured, 'What am I
going to lose?' and  I went. I did not enjoy myself at all. 'This is not
for me,' I told myself."

A little while later, a different friend invited Miriam to a Shabbaton.
"What am I going to lose?" Miriam asked herself. "The Shabbaton finished
and I was still no closer to understanding what was going on inside
myself than when I had started. I decided to discuss it with my boss.
His take on the situation was that I was very homesick. I packed up all
of my stuff and went home."

But once home, Miriam felt the same as she had in Israel. "I went to
Rabbi Levy to talk with him. He asked me to describe how I was feeling.
'I feel like my soul is crying. Is that possible?' I asked him."

Rabbi Levy took out the book Toward a Meaningful Life by Rabbi Simon
Jacobson in Spanish and opened to one of the first pages. 'Read this,'
he urged me. It described exactly how I felt!"

"You need to feed your soul," Rabbi Levy told Miriam. "The same way that
you give food to your body you need to give food to your soul."

"I was nervous. 'I don't want to be religious,' I told him.

"That's not something to be worried about," Rabbi Levy reassured Miriam.
He encouraged her to call the director of a part-time woman's yeshiva in
Buenos Aires and to begin taking classes. Though hesitant, Miriam
agreed. "I don't know if this will  quiet the crying of your soul but
you have to try." At first I didn't really like the classes. But as I
continued, I realized that this was nurturing my soul."

A short while later, Miriam was struck by the fact that there were so
many single Jewish young men and women but no one seemed to be doing
anything to help them meet each other. "I told Rabbi Levy that he needs
to make shidduchim (matches) so that Jews will marry Jews.

It just so happened that "Feast 1000," a dinner that the Chabad Center
hoped would attract 1,000 young single Jews, was in the early planning
stages. Miriam started working with Rabbi Levy on the project. "I now
had a job working on a project that I believed was very important.
Slowly, I started eating kosher and eased into keeping Shabbat."

"A few weeks before the event we still only had 700 people reserved.
Rabbi Levy flew to New York and went to the Ohel (the Rebbe's resting
place) to pray to G-d that the event would be a huge success. Suddenly
we started selling tickets like nothing. Before we knew it there were
1,500 people reserved. We closed the reservations and another 450 came
in. So we had the main dinner as planned, and a 'smaller' dinner with
450 people a few days later."

Miriam remembers asking herself one day, "When did I become frum
(religious)? One day I noticed that I was eating only kosher. Another
time I realized that I was fully observing Shabbat. It was a process. It
didn't happen all at once."

Upon the advice of Rabbi Levy and her mashpia ("spiritual mentor"),
Miriam applied to Machon Chana Women's Yeshiva in Crown Heights,
Brooklyn. Once accepted, Miriam found obstacles that would have
prevented her from attending falling by the wayside. She was short money
for her plane ticket and found 100 pesos lying in the street. She didn't
bring proper documentation for a student visa to the American Embassy in
Buenos Aires but received one anyway.

Reflecting on these past few years, Miriam says over and over again, "I
feel like G-d has been so generous to me."

                               WHAT'S NEW
                        New Mikva in Tallahassee

A groundbreaking was recently held for a new mikva (ritualarium)
sponsored by the Chabad Center in Tallahassee, Florida. The new mikva
will serve over 10,000 Jews from Tallahassee, Panama City Fort, Walton
Beach, Pensacola Florida, Thomasville, Cairo and Valdosta. The project
is being spearheaded by Rabbi Schneur and Chanie Oirechman who have been
the Lubavitcher Rebbe's emissaries in Tallahassee, the capital city of
Florida, for two and one half years. Until the mikva's completion, the
closest mikva is a four hour drive. In addition to the 3,000 Jews in the
community, Chabad of Tallahassee serves the 3,500 Jewish students at
Florida State University. Holiday awareness programs, adult education
classes, Shabbat services and innovative projects are the hallmark of
Chabad of Tallahassee.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                    Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5740 [1979]

Greeting and Blessing:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 24th of Cheshvan. In reply to your
questions in the order of your writing: While giving Tzedoko [charity]
for Jewish causes, is it desirable or optional to give charity also to
non-Jews in need of help?

In general, you are, of course, right that this is not only permissible,
but also desirable. Indeed, our Sages of the Talmud have ruled that
non-Jewish poor should be helped along with the Jewish poor (Gittin
61a). As to the proportion to which such charity should be distributed,
especially under certain conditions, this is a Shaala [question] which
you should consult with a Rov [Rabbinic authority] in your community,
since each situation has to be considered on its own merits.

With regard to your second question - I trust second only in your
letter, but surely first and foremost in importance - pertaining to
advancement in Yiddishkeit [Judaism], etc., it should be borne in mind
that the basic approach in matters of Torah and Mitzvoth [commandments]
is that the usual "rational" approach to things would be "irrational" in
the case of Torah and Mitzvoth, which are essentially beyond full human
comprehension, being Divine in nature. In other words, prior
comprehension of the Divine precepts must not be a condition of their
fulfillment, or - Naaseh ("doing") must come before v'Nishma
("understanding"). Moreover, the actual fulfillment of the Mitzvoth
makes it easier to understand them subsequently.

By way of illustration: one does not expect a small child to understand
either the thinking or the ways of a professor, even though both are
human beings and the differences between them is only relative in terms
of time and education, and it is even possible that the child might one
day surpass that professor in knowledge and wisdom. But the difference
between a created human being and the Creator is, of course, absolute
and incomparable in any manner or degree

I will mention one further point, namely, that inasmuch as a human being
cannot know the future, and frequently has no complete knowledge even of
prior events in a particular situation, human judgment of any happening
which he sees cannot be perfect without having complete knowledge of all
the causes and effects. Here, too there is a simple illustration: If a
person, who has no knowledge whatever of the function of a hospital,
should enter the operating room, where he sees someone bound and
unconscious on the operating table, surrounded by people who are cutting
him up, etc., he would think that they are a group of sadistic
murderers. But he would have a different judgment when it is explained
to him that these people are surgeons who are removing some foreign body
or injury, with a view to curing the patient and restoring him to good

It is difficult to elaborate on this subject in a letter, and if you
still wish to obtain further clarification, you can surely discuss it
with the persons with whom you are in contact in matters of Torah study
and Yiddishkeit.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                       8th of Teves, 5741 [1981]

Greeting and Blessing:

I received your letter of Dec. 5th, with the enclosures. I am gratified
to note that you have joined the Lubavitch Kolel [advanced Rabbinic
studies for married men] in Stamford Hill and find it very inspiring. I
appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending me samples of your work.

I trust there is no need to emphasize to you at length the importance of
the Mitzvah [commandment] of V'Ohavto L'Reacho Komocho [love your
neighbor as yourself], and I trust that you are using your good
influence in your surroundings to induce others to follow your example
and join the Kolel, or, at any rate, to have regular periods for Torah
study, and generally advance in all matters of Torah and Mitzvoth which,
in addition to the essential thing of being a must for their own sake,
are also the channels to receive G-d's blessings. Therefore, every
additional effort in this direction, where there is always room for
advancement, widens the channels to receive G-d's blessings in all

With blessing,

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
19 Av 5762

Positive mitzva 98: Defilement of food and drink

By this injunction (Lev. 11:34) we are commanded to deal with
uncleanliness of food and drink in accordance with the Torah's
prescribed rules. ("Cleanliness" and "uncleanliness" applies only in
reference to the Sanctuary and its holy objects. If a person does not
intend to enter the Sanctuary or touch any holy object, he may remain
unclean as long as he likes and eat ordinary food that has been in
contact with unclean things.)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This coming Monday (July 29) is the 20th of the Hebrew month of Av. This
date is the yartzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak
Schneerson, the saintly father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

In a letter that Reb Levi Yitzchak wrote to his son, he emphasized the
concept of faith in every little "dot and crown" of our G-d-given Torah,
whereby each detail complements and perfects the others:

"Do not imagine that the process of argument and debate as engaged in by
the Sages of the Mishna and Talmud and those who followed... falls into
the category of regular human intellectual pursuit. No, it is not that
at all... Rather, each of the Sages perceived the Torah's wisdom as it
exists Above, according to the source of his soul and his individual
portion in Torah, whether in Jewish law or Aggadita.

"There is absolutely no doubt that everything in both the Oral and
Written Torah, and in all the holy books written by the sages and
tzadikim (righteous people), who studied Torah for its own sake...
everything was said by G-d Himself, in that particular and exact

Reb Levi Yitzchak's spoken words were not ephemeral sounds, his written
words were not mere ink on paper. The understanding that every dot and
crown of Torah are true and holy were his blood and bones. He lived with
the realization of the importance of every aspect of Torah and had utter
self-sacrifice for the compliance to Torah's every detail and nuance.

May we learn from his teachings and example and may his memory be a
blessing for us.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And you shall keep and do them [plural]...and He will love you and bless
you [singular] (Deut. 7:12-13)

"And you shall keep and do them" is in the plural, as it refers to
keeping the Torah's commandments, which all Jews must do equally. "And
He will love you and bless you" is in the singular, as it refers to the
reward a Jew receives for his observance, which is entirely individual.
Although all Jews keep the same mitzvot, they do so with different
levels of enthusiasm, devotion and motivation; thus they are given
varying degrees of reward.

                                                       (Kli Chemda)

                                *  *  *

Now Israel, what does the L-rd your G-d ask of you except to fear G-d
(Deut. 10:12)

"People are strange," Rabbi Chanoch of Alexander used to say. "They beg
and plead that G-d should give them 'fear of heaven,' when this is
something that is entirely in the individual's control. Yet when it
comes to livelihood, they imagine that they are in charge."

                                *  *  *

And you shall eat and be sated. (Deut. 8:10)

The Maggid of Mezritch once asked a wealthy man what he eats every day.
"Bread and salt, Rebbe, like a poor man," was his reply. The Maggid
rebuked him and told him to eat meat and drink wine every day as wealthy
men were accustomed to do. Later, when the Maggid's disciples asked for
an explanation, he said: "If a rich man eats meat and drinks wine every
day, then he will realize that a poor person needs at least bread and
salt. If, however, he eats bread and salt, he will think that his poor
neighbor can make do with stones!"

                                *  *  *

And to serve Him with all your heart (Deut. 11:13)

Rashi explains that this verse refers to the service of the heart,
namely prayer. Reb Yisroel of Ruzhin used to take a long time over his
prayers; Reb Shalom of Belz would recite his prayers hastily. On this,
one of their contemporaries commented that both of them cherished every
word of the prayers: the former loved them so much that he could not
bring himself to part with them, while the latter-for the same
reason-could not restrain his eagerness to make them his.

                                     (A Treasury of Chasidic Tales)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The House of Study of the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman (founder of
Chabad Chasidism), was located in the small, White Russian town of
Lionzna. His many chasidim flocked there to be near him, to pray, to
celebrate the festivals, to receive his blessings and to benefit from
his Torah-wisdom.

Once, a chasid came to the Rebbe with a heavy sorrow weighing on his
soul. When he entered the Rebbe's chambers, he couldn't restrain
himself, and tears flowed from his eyes. "Rebbe," he sobbed, "my son has
turned away from everything we have taught him. He no longer observes
mitzvot (commandments), and I'm afraid that he will be completely lost
from the path of truth. Please, Rebbe, give me some advice how to get
him back."

The Rebbe felt his chasid's pain, and he was silent for some moments.
Then he replied, "Do you think that you might be able to persuade your
son to come to see me?"

"I don't know," the man sighed. "The way he's been acting recently, I'm
afraid it might be very difficult. He has some wild friends, and he
hardly listens to his parents."

"Nevertheless, I want you to think up some way in which you can get him
to come here. Maybe there's some errand you can send him on that would
bring him to Liozna. When he gets to the town, a way will be found to
bring him here to me."

The prospect of the Rebbe educating his wayward son lifted the chasid's
spirits. He returned home in a far brighter mood than the one in which
he had come.

The man spent the whole return trip to his village deep in thought,
trying to hatch some plan which would draw his son to the Rebbe.
Suddenly he had an excellent idea. Much to his dismay, his son was very
fond of horse-back riding, an activity considered improper for a Jewish
boy. The young man, however, cared not the least for public opinion, and
to his father's consternation, he took every opportunity to ride into
town. This seemed a perfect ruse to get his son to the Rebbe. He would
ask the boy to go and pick something up in town.

When he asked his son to go on the errand, the boy responded, "I'll go
only if I can go by horseback." This time the father quickly acquiesced.

The young man happily galloped into town, unaware that his father's
friends were on the lookout for him, and that the errand was merely a
signal to them to bring him to the Rebbe's house.

No sooner had he arrived in Liozna, than he was spirited to the Rebbe's
house, and found himself standing face to face with the Rebbe. "I'm glad
to see you," said the Rebbe. "But, tell me, why did you come by
horseback, instead of in a wagon?"

"To tell you the truth, it's because I love to ride. And my horse is
such a fine specimen, I figure, why shouldn't I take advantage of him?"

"Really? Tell me, what exactly are the advantages of such an animal?"
asked the Rebbe.

"Surely you can imagine, an animal such as mine runs very fast. You jump
on his back, and speed down the road, and in no time at all you are at
your destination," the young man replied with great enthusiasm.

"That is truly a great advantage, but only provided that you are on the
right road. Because, if you're on the wrong road, you'll only be going
in the wrong direction faster."

"Even if that's so," countered the young man, "the horse would help you
get back on the right road more quickly as soon as you realize you're on
the wrong road."

"If you realize yourself that you are on the wrong road," the Rebbe
slowly emphasized. "It's true, my boy, if you catch yourself, before
it's too late, and you realize that you have strayed from the right
path; then you can quickly return."

The words of the Alter Rebbe, uttered so slowly and deliberately, hit
the young man like a bombshell, and the Rebbe's penetrating eyes seemed
to pierce right through him. The young man fell down in a faint.

He was quickly revived, and in a subdued tone, he asked the Rebbe's
permission to remain in Liozna, so that he could renew his Torah studies
and come back to his family as a good Torah-abiding Jew.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
The sea and its fullness will roar in joy, the earth and its
inhabitants. The rivers will clap their hands, the mountains willl sing
together. [They will rejoice] before the L-rd, for He has come to judge
the earth; He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with

                                                         (Psalm 98)

                 END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 729 - Eikev 5762

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