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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 738
                           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.
        October 4, 2002         Bereshis        28 Tishrei, 5763

                        Creation's Double Vision

All beginnings are difficult. Starting a job, starting school, even
starting  the day. Starting a marriage, starting a family, starting
dinner, starting a  book - even starting this essay! We find beginnings
difficult because a new beginning requires a change. What went before
wasn't good enough. Whether we're changing from one thing to another -
from one job to another, for example - or from a "nothing" state to a
"something" state - from not being married to being married - we have to
change. And change requires effort; we have to overcome our inertia. In
order to change we have to begin. And beginning requires an act of will.
We resist beginning until we want to begin. (How many times have we
resisted getting out of bed in the morning to start the day until we
simply decided to get up - for no apparent reason?)

This explains the difficulty of beginning: we not only have to begin, we
have to begin to begin. That is, before we can start something, we have
to envision it as complete, whole, finished. From where we are we have
to see where we will be. We cannot imagine what we want superficially,
not if we want it to be real. We have to see the details. We must
anticipate not only how the thing will work but also how it will get
made and how we will feel about it. We have to have a goal, a business

So not only must we actually start the project - get the materials,
follow the instructions, do all the little things to open the store or
assemble the bookcase - we must build it virtually, so to speak,
construct it in our minds. Even before we begin, we must have begun.
Even as we build, we must imaginatively have already built.

In a sense, creation requires double vision. We must foresee the final
result, the completed product. We must envision the end of the process,
indeed, what will be after we finish that which we've begun. But the
level of insight never becomes real; we constantly anticipate but never
arrive. In fact, as long we see the end, as long as we live - mentally -
after the fact we not only never get there, we don't ever start. We
'begin to begin' - we have constantly in mind the final moment after;
but we never actually start.

Thus we have to see differently. We have to see beyond the will-be, or
rather, we have to look closer than the yet-to-be. We have to perceive
the process. We have to "just do it," to live in the middle, to
experience the unfolding of the initial point.

The first type of beginning conceals; it's the goal, the thought in
mind, the future already real but never reached. The second type of
beginning reveals; it's the start, the origin, the potential for
progress and the development of details.

But we don't have two eyes to see double. That strains the muscles and
drains the mind. We have two eyes so that we can see holistically,
integrate our vision (of the future) and perception (of the here and
now). When the two become one - when the inner reality becomes outwardly
manifest - then we live in the time of Shabbat, the time of perfect

That's the goal of Creation, of course, to see G-dliness. And in the era
of Moshiach the whole world will experience it, will be filled with
knowledge of the L-rd.

"In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth." With these
momentous words, the very first portion of the Torah, Bereishit,
establish G-d's Kingship over all of creation.

The Torah, however, is not a history book. The Torah is our guidebook.
We can apply its teachings to every aspect of our existence.

The ancient Sage, Rabbi Yitzchak, raises a pertinent question. "Why does
the Torah open with the story of Creation?" he asks, as quoted by Rashi
in his commentary. "Why didn't G-d begin with the words, 'This month is
to you,'- the first commandment containing practical implications?"

"The might of His deeds He told to His nation; to bequeath to them the
heritage of the nations," Rabbi Yitzchak himself answers.

"If the nations of the world will one day accuse the Jewish people of
being thieves, having 'stolen' the land of Israel from the seven nations
who formerly inhabited it, they will counter, 'The entire earth belongs
to G-d! He is the One Who created it and bequeathed it to whom He saw
fit. It was His will to give the land to the nations; it was His will to
take it from them and give it to us."

According to this explanation, the entire order of the Torah's portions
was changed solely to refute the world's complaint that the Jewish
people misappropriated their land. But is their accusation really so
important that G-d would change even one letter in His holy Torah for
its sake? Would not a refutation in the Oral Tradition have been
sufficient to counter whatever complaint Gentiles would one day lodge
against the nation of Israel?

In truth, the Torah's choice of language holds significance not only for
the nations of the world but for Jews themselves.

"In the beginning" contains an important lesson for every Jew to apply
in his daily life.

In general, the life of a Jew may be divided into two realms: the
religious and the secular.

The Jew willingly observes his various religious obligations because the
Torah requires him to.

When, however, he is asked to also sanctify those mundane aspects of
daily existence that seemingly fall outside the domain of religious
observance, he balks, rejecting this demand as an invasion of privacy.

The secular realm of a person's life, pertaining to the physical and
material domain, metaphorically belong to the "seven nations."

Yet it is precisely this realm that the Jew is called upon to conquer,
elevating his every action by performing it solely for the sake of

"You are thieves!" the world cries out against the Jew. "How dare you
conquer the domain of the seven nations and blur the distinction between
religious observance and the mundane?!"

To which the Jew replies, "All of creation belongs to G-d." Every realm
of existence is part of Divine plan and can be made holy.

Indeed, such is the mission of every Jew -- to transform wherever he may
be into a spiritual Land of Israel.

Judaism demands that we sanctify even the lowest aspects of the material
world, thereby imbuing all of creation with holiness and demonstrating
the unity of the One Creator.

                  Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, Vol. 20

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                           The "Rodeo Rabbis"
                            by Yaakov Weiss

This summer Yosef Susskind and I spent three weeks in the state of
Wyoming. We were on "Merkos Shlichus," a summer outreach program to
visit places in the world where there is a weak Jewish infrastructure,
established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

In some cities we stayed in motels and in other cities we slept at
people's homes. One night, we actually slept in a "Tee Pee."

Our goal: to let the Jews of Wyoming know that someone is thinking about
them. We came to encourage them to add mitzvot (commandments) to hasten
the coming of Moshiach.

Practically every day we witnessed Divine providence at work. During the
three weeks we were there, we met with about 100 Jews. We sold a pair of
tefilin, put up some mezuzot, set up a "tefilin club" every Sunday in
Cheyenne and a Torah class in Laramie and Cheyenne once a month by a
Rabbi from Denver. We put on tefilin with over 30 men, many of them for
their first time. Many of the men made resolutions to put on tefilin
every Sunday, and even more women decided to light Shabbat candles every

You're probably wondering how we found Jews. In the big towns, we
already had lists of Jews from the previous student Rabbis. Still, we
found many new ones. We would drive into a town and go into a store and
ask, "Do you know of any Jews living in this town?" People were very
nice and helpful. If they did know of any, they did their best to help
us. For example, one day we came into a town called Riverton, a
population of about 5000. We went into store after store, but no one
knew of any Jews living there. We were about to give up, but we decided
to go into one more store. We asked the two women working there if they
knew of any Jews. They did not, but they said that maybe their priest
would know. They called their priest and after explaining our
predicament, he told them he would be right over. He was very nice and
he gave us the names of a few Jewish families, whom we visited and with
whom we put on tefilin. All because of a Catholic priest.

One Friday, I had a route planned out in order to visit a town called
Rock Springs, which was on the way to Salt Lake City - our destination
for Shabbat. I made a wrong turn and we ended up in a small town of
2,000 residents called Pinedale. I thought to myself, "Surely it is
Divine Providence that brought us here." I began asking around for Jews.
Someone told me there is a Jewish chef who owns a restaurant. I went to
the restaurant and asked for Chef Wendy. I was told that she was at a
speech outside the museum. We decided to "crash" the speech. As we were
walking out of the car we spotted a woman in a chef's uniform. We asked
her if she is Wendy. She was so shocked when she saw us. Two rabbis in
Pinedale! We spoke for a while about being Jewish in Wyoming. She is
extremely proud of being Jewish. She told us about three other Jews in
Pinedale. Only one was there and we visited her next.

We then drove to Marbleton, population 200. We went into a bar and asked
for Jews. The owner said there were none. We went back to the car and as
we were driving off, the owner ran out to tell us that there was a
Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man.

We located her house and met her and her ten children. She was thrilled
to see us. After we spoke for a few moments, it became apparent that
although she strongly identified with Judaism, she believed in the
Christian god. We had a long conversation with her, explaining how she
has a beautiful building, but no foundation. At the end, she promised to
light Shabbat candles from then on.

In Cheyenne, we went to visit a man in an old age home. We put on
tefilin and spoke for a while. He was very emotional. He told us we were
an answer to a prayer. He had prayed to G-d to help him come closer to
Judaism. He even wanted to go to Yeshiva!

One of the most interesting stories occured on Tisha B'Av, the 9th of
Av, a day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of both Holy
Temples. After we had met with Jews in Buffalo and Sheridan, we stopped
by a small town of 650 people called Story. There is only one store in
the whole town, and that is of course the bar. (In Wyoming, it is not a
town without a bar.) I asked the bartender if she knew of any Jews in
Story. She said she did not, but would ask around. While awaiting her
return, a patron started a conversation with us. He was drinking whisky
and complaining about his hard day. He asked us what we were doing
there. We explained that we were Rabbis and we were looking for Jews. He
said, "Hey, I'm Jewish." And so he was. We sat down at the bar and had a
long conversation with him. That is how we came to spend our Tisha B'Av
in a bar.

Driving through Wyoming is really beautiful. The Teton Mountains are
magnificent. It was very interesting to see the old "western" lifestyle
still alive. I guess that's why they call it "The Cowboy State."
Actually, we really didn't stick out that much. With the hats, many
mistook us for being cowboys! I told people we were "Rodeo Rabbis."

We met one man who shares my last name. He really liked us. He promised
me he would come to my wedding no matter where it will be. Another man
made up a song about us at the meeting and sang it on his guitar. The
woman whose home we stayed at for the most time cried when we left. I
have received many emails; some with questions and others just to say
hi. One man wrote that he is considering making his house kosher. We are
very thankful to G-d that we are able to see much fruit from our labor.

Probably the most inspiring part of our visit was that no matter who we
met, everyone is extremely proud to be a Jew. Especially the children.
It just goes to show how powerful the Jewish soul is.

It is my hope, that together with the Jews of Wyoming, we will all merit
to be united once again in Jerusalem, with the coming of Moshiach,
speedily in our days, Amen!

                               WHAT'S NEW
                     New Center in Plettenberg Bay

Ten thousand Jewish tourists visit Plettenburg Bay, South Africa, each
summer (December and January). Now that Rabbi Zev and Gabi Wineberg have
become the Rebbe's emissaries in this tourist hot spot, the local Jewish
community of 150 families as well as tourists and Jews from neighboring
areas now have Shabbat services, adult education classes, holiday
awareness programs, and an afternoon Hebrew school.

                    Chabad of Boynton Beach Expands

The Rae and Joseph Gann Campus for Living Judaism, under the
directorship of Rabbi Sholom and Dini Ciment, is a 13,000 square foot
building on a three-acre property in the center of Boynton Beach,
Florida. It houses all of Chabad's programs with a sanctuary, a social
hall, Hebrew school classrooms, a youth center, and ample office space.
Phase two, already under construction, includes a mikva, pre-school, and
state-of-the-art recreation center.

                            THE REBBE WRITES

  The following is excerpted from a letter dated 24th of MarCheshvan,
  5723 [1962] and are points that refer to the Rebbe's views on "the
  question of the Regents Prayer which became the subject of a
  controversy when the U.S. Supreme Court declared it, not unanimously
  but by a majority opinion, to be unconstitutional." The Rebbe made
  it clear that his views "are based on the following aspects of the

    a) The question relates specifically to the non-denominational
    Regents Prayer, which reads:
    "Al-mighty G-d, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg
    Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country."

    b) The procedure of the recitation of this prayer being that the
    students read it together with the teacher.

The following factors have to be considered from the viewpoint of the
Torah and Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law):

    1. Prayer as a Divine Commandment.

    According to all our authorities, it is a positive commandment to
    pray to G-d daily. The text of the prayers has, of course, been
    formulated and ordained, but the law also provides that under
    certain circumstances (e.g. where personal safety is a factor, and
    distractions of a similar nature) - a short prayer should be recited
    and the commandment is fulfilled thereby.... Accordingly, the
    Regents Prayer is a valid prayer, especially as it contains two
    basic elements of prayer: acknowledgment (praise of G-d) and

    2. Submission to the Kingdom of Heaven (Kabbolas Ol Malchus

    Recognition of the Divine Authority and obedience to it, is also one
    of the imperatives of the Torah, which is to be fulfilled every day.
    This is the basic purpose of our daily reading of the Shema. While
    the actual reading of the verses and portions of the Shema is
    required for the fulfillment of the precept, the element of
    "Submission to the Divine Authority" contained therein can also be
    expressed in any appropriate form.

    Thus, those Jewish children who do not recite the Shema daily could,
    at least, fulfill that part of it which expresses recognition of the
    Divine Authority - by means of the Regents Prayer.

    3. There are certain precepts which are incumbent upon Jews not only
    every day, but every moment of their life, such as the belief in
    G-d, the love of G-d, reverence of G-d, etc..

    Precisely in the case of a very great number of children of the
    Public Schools and their parents, Jewish and gentile, it is likely,
    sad to say, that many days, weeks and months might pass by without
    their giving a thought to G-d in a more personal way, not to mention
    any thought of love and reverence for G-d.

    Therefore the Regents Prayer, expressing as it does the
    acknowledgment of, and dependence upon, G-d, and that the welfare of
    this country and of the parents, children and teachers depends on
    G-d's benevolence, offers in many cases the only opportunity for the
    children to make some personal "contact" with G-d every day....

    5. As for the argument that the Regents Prayer has little religious
    value because it would tend to become mechanical and would not reach
    the heart of the child reciting it, the same argument can be used,
    and with greater justification, in the case of adults and in regard
    to any daily prayer in any place. It is, unfortunately, true that
    attendance at houses of worship sometimes degenerates into a social
    function rather than serving as a deep religious experience, but it
    is not necessarily the fault of the environment; and the same is
    true of the Public Schools.

    As a matter of fact, children are usually more sincere and more
    receptive than adults, and a great deal depends on the teacher, and
    the Regents Prayer need not degenerate into a mechanical recitation
    if the teacher will put some feeling into it....

    7. There is an additional point to be considered: The responsibility
    which the Jewish religion imposes upon its adherents towards the
    non-Jew in the matter of dissemination of the belief in G-d;
    certainly not to weaken that belief in any way, directly or
    indirectly, which comes under the Biblical injunction: "Place not a
    stumbling block before the blind."...

    10. The apprehension has been expressed in some quarters that the
    recitation of the Regents Prayer in the Public Schools in the manner
    in which it was carried out (bareheaded, and limited to only
    twenty-two words, etc., etc.) might create an erroneous impression
    among those students who are completely devoid of Jewish knowledge,
    even of the fundamentals of our faith. Such children might conclude
    that this prayer and the manner of its expression satisfies all the
    requirements of our Torah and the Jewish prayer; that it is
    permissible for Jews to pray bare headed; that no synagogue
    attendance is necessary, etc., etc.

    In my opinion, however, these apprehensions do not justify at all
    the elimination of all the positive aspects of the Regents Prayer as
    enumerated above.

    To be more exact: The said apprehensions do not at all justify the
    prevention of scores of thousands of Jewish children from fulfilling
    the Mitzvos enumerated above, all the more so since they are basic

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
30 Tishrei, 5763 - Oct. 10, 2002

Positive Mitzva 242: The Unpaid Watchman

This commandment is based on the verse (Exodus 22:6) "If a man gives his
neighbor money or vessels to watch"

This mitzva deals with the laws that apply when one person watches
another person's object, but does not receive any payment for this
favor. If that object is lost or stolen, the Torah provides specific
instructions about the watchman's responsibilities.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
It was the custom of most merchants years ago to obtain their goods by
periodically attending a great fair where all kinds of merchandise were
sold wholesale and in bulk.

The merchants would take the large packages home, sort through the
contents and then use them as they saw fit.

The month of Tishrei is similar to such a wholesale fair, at which time
we obtain huge portions of holiness and joy in doing commandments and
celebrating the festivals -  enough to last us the whole year. The only
condition is that we actually open the bundles and use their contents.

These bundles are opened up and used for the first time this Shabbat, on
Shabbat Bereishit-the Sabbath on which the very first portion of the
Torah is read.

What are some of the bundles and packages that we accrue during the
month of Tishrei?

On Rosh Hashana we acquire the ability to nullify our will before G-d's
will, to connect with G-d as an only child relates to a parent.

On Yom Kippur we bundle up the capacity to truly regret and feel remorse
for any actions that were not up to par and to resolve to improve in the

On Sukkot we pack joy into our luggage. Together with the joy we pack
Jewish unity, love and respect.

And, on Simchat Torah, we pack even more joy into our valises, as well
as enthusiasm and excitement for all things good and holy.

As we unpack our suitcases and unload our trunks, we needn't look too
longingly at all we have acquired during this festive month, for before
we know it, the month of Kislev will have begun. And, although not as
replete as Tishrei, it too has numerous festivals and lessons for our

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
In the beginning G-d created (Gen. 1:1)

The final letters of the Hebrew words "G-d created" - "bara elokim et" -
are alef, mem, and tav, and spell the word "emet" - truth. Truth is the
foundation upon which the whole world stands, and without which the
entire creation would be unable to exist.

                                                      (Tzror Hamor)

                                *  *  *

G-d rested from all the work which He had created to be done. (2:3)

Rashi explains that the words "to be done" teach that the world was
created incomplete, as it were, requiring the active participation of
mankind to attain perfection. But how can we, insignificant as we are,
complete the act of creation? The Torah's own words, "created to be
done" assures us that this perfection is within our grasp, and is part
of G-d's plan. Each of us has the strengths and talents to improve the
world and elevate it into something holy and Divine.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

And G-d created man (Gen. 1:27)

Why doesn't the Torah state after the creation of man, "and it was
good," as it does after all the other things created during the six
days? Every other creature was created complete, with its nature and
instincts ready to be applied to the world. Man, however, was created
incomplete, and it is his purpose in life to perfect himself. Human
beings are given free will and the responsibility for their own
development and improvement. That is why it doesn't immediately state,
"and it was good" - we must wait and see how man behaves before passing

                                                       (Klai Yakar)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Yosef Yosfa, a Spanish Jew, was a great scholar and pious man. Shortly
after the Spanish Inquisition he arrived in Cracow, Poland, and became
widely respected by the Jews there. Although he was 50 years old, he was

For 30 years Yosef Yosfa lived by himself in Cracow. One day, a man from
Cracow was killed during a business trip to Prague. He left behind him a
young widow but no children. When a man dies childless, if he has a
brother, the brother is required to conduct a special ceremony called
"chalitza" to permit the wife to remarry. It was the custom in Cracow
for this ceremony to be a community event, after which the wife was
blessed by the rabbi that she remarry soon and have children.

Five months passed. Yosef Yosfa, known throughout the past 30 years in
Cracow as "the Spanish Tzadik," came to the Rabbinical Court and told
them that he wished to marry the widow if she was in agreement. Yosef
Yosfa explained to the Rabbincial Court that he had never intended to
marry, but due to various reasons he now wished to marry.

When the Rabbinical Court called for the young woman, they were shocked
to see her burst into tears as soon as she arrived in the study hall,
even before she knew the reason for her summons.

Tearfully she explained that she had had a dream many times recently in
which her beloved, deceased father appeared to her. She was not sure if
she should place any credence in the dream and, seeing as the Rabbis had
called her, she would like to ask them advice.

"In my first dream, my father appeared to me dressed in his finest
Sabbath clothes. He placed his hands on my head to bless me and said, 'I
wish you mazel tov for it has been ordained that you marry the Spanish
Tzadik Yosef Yosfa.' I awoke from my dream," continued the young woman,
"and was shaking. After I calmed down, I paid it no attention."

The woman continued, explaining that the same dream had repeated itself,
but again she put it out of her mind. The third time she dreamt of her
father, however, it was different. "He looked very serious and told me
that there was no way out. It had been decided in Heaven that I marry
the Spanish Tzadik. 'If you listen,' my father told me, 'you will be
blessed with an extraordinary son. But if you refuse, you will come to a
bitter end.'

"This dream recurred three more times and finally I decided to come to
you and ask you for your holy advice. Immediately upon making my
decision to visit the honored rabbis, your shamash arrived and told me
that I had been summoned before you," the young woman concluded.

The rabbis looked at eachother in astonishment. They told the widow that
Yosef Yosfa had come to them and told them that he wanted to marry her.
It was now more than clear that it was G-d's will that the widow marry
the Spanish Tzadik. The marriage was arranged and the entire community
of Cracow participated in the joyous celebration. This was no ordinary

Two years later, the couple was blessed with a son whom Yosef Yosfa
named Eliyahu, after Eliyahu HaNavi-Elijah the Prophet. When Eliyahu was
two years old, Yosef Yosfa began to teach him Torah. Yosef Yosfa
remained Eliyahu's private Torah teacher and Eliyahu was an assiduous

Father and son studied thus until a short time before Eliyahu's Bar
Mitzva. At that time, Yosef Yosfa told his wife that he was about to
pass on. He informed her that after his Bar Mitzva, their son would tell
her that he wanted to go into the world to continue his Torah studies.
Yosef Yosfa implored his wife not to discourage him from leaving; his
soul had come into the world to accomplish a special mission and he
would need to wander and learn from many masters in order to fulfill
this mission.

Yosef Yosfa revealed something further to his wife that he had not
revealed to anyone. When her first husband had been killed nearly 15
years earlier, he - Yosef Yosfa - had received a Divine command to marry
her, for a child with a very lofty soul would be born to them. This
child would have a special mission to fulfill for the Jewish people and
would help and uplift them.

"During the decade of Torah study that our son studied together with me,
Eliyahu HaNavi himself has been studying with our son to prepare him for
this mission." Eliyahu was to be the first in a long line of tzadikim
who would lead the Jewish people to the coming of Moshiach.

Yosef Yosfa breathed his last breaths and passed away. A few weeks after
Eliyahu's Bar Mitzva, he told his mother that he wished to go out into
the world.

Forty years later, in the year 5350 (1590) a great Torah scholar,
teacher, and tzadik appeared in the city of Worms, Germany. His name was
Eliyahu. Rabbi Eliyahu, who became renown as Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem,
established a yeshiva in Worms where he taught Jewish mystical
teachings, particularly the Zohar, in addition to the Talmud.

Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem was the first in a long line of great tzadikim
who have prepared the Jewish people and the world for the coming of
Moshiach. Rabbi Eliyahu was succeeded by his disciple, Rabbi Yoel Baal
Shem, then by Rabbi Adam Baal Shem, who was succeeded by his disciple,
Rabbi Yisroel, the famous Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Now, because of our many sins in these times right before the coming of
Moshiach, when our Sages' prediction that "the wisdom of scholars will
fall into disfavor and G-d fearing people will be despised" [Sandhedrin
98a] has been fulfilled... our Torah and prayer are more. precious to
G-d than those of previous generations"

                            (Divrei Yechezkel on Rosh Hashanah 17a)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 738 - Bereshis 5763

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