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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 756
                           Copyright (c) 2003
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        February 7, 2003        Terumah           5 Adar I, 5763


Have you ever taken a child to a ballgame or to an amusement park? (Or
maybe you've gone with your family to the zoo?) If so, then surely
you've seen the souvenir stands.

They sell all kinds of memorabilia, from the unforgettable to the
frivolous. As you and child walk past, you slow down to look. Maybe a
team pennant catches your eye, or a foam ball, or a shirt with a marquee
player's name and number. Maybe it's an oversized doll - the zoo's icon,
or a familiar figure. Maybe it's a key chain, a pen, or just a tchatchke
(known as a knick-knack in the vernacular).

Maybe it's a book, a video, an informative poster or a three dimensional

The souvenir stand can be no more than a stall blocking a stadium
corridor. It can be an entire room inside the museum with all kinds of
learning games, experimental toys and educational tchatchkes.

What you see before you is the merchandise of experience,
entertainment's wares. With a skeptic's eyes you weigh the cost - is
that official team logo baseball cap really worth $25? What about the
glass elephant? It'll only sit on a shelf or break. And look at how much
you've already spent just to get in, not to mention the cost of a drink.

And while you stand there, the child is clamoring and climbing up your
arm - now doing a good imitation of a mountain - plead-ing, begging,
cajoling - the wise salesman just waits, not watching the battle too
intensely lest the scales be tipped against him.

And so you must decide, do you buy the child a souvenir or not?
Something physical to remember the day, something tangible to evoke not
just the events but the emotions shared. For when you enter the child's
room one day and see that ridiculous, over-priced noisemaker or stumble
over the base of the half-finished model (then crack a dozen little
pieces with your next step) - when that happens, you, too will recall
that time, recall with a smile the joy, excitement, discovery, gratitude
and love of the child.

After all what separates a memento from a piece of junk? What makes bits
of plastic, metal and glass into a souvenir?

When we think about it, a mitzva's like a souvenir. It involves
something physical - a bit of leather, some wax, parchment perhaps, even
food. None of the material used for a mitzva has any significance in and
of itself. But when we make tefilin out of the leather, Shabbat candles
from the wax, turn the parchment into a mezuza and say a blessing over
kosher food, we transform these ordinary, inconsequential, trivial bits
and pieces into things of holiness.

And like a souvenir, the objects of a mitzva recollect the past - or
rather, re-collect it, making the event, the action ever-present.

The objects of a mitzva are a living reminder, not only to us, who were
there, not only to our children - for whom our mitzva now becomes
tangible - but also for G-d. For our mitzvot are His souvenirs.

Until the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the Jewish people's
principal connection to G-d was through Moses. G-d would speak to Moses,
who would then pass on the commandment to the rest of the Jewish people.
This week's Torah portion, Teruma, begins a new chapter in our worship
of G-d and opens up a new means of communication: G-d asks the Children
of Israel to build Him a Sanctuary, a special place where they will
pray, offer sacrifices, and witness manifestations of G-dliness.

Why did G-d require a special place to dwell? Does He not already exist
everywhere? Why would G-d, Who is not limited in any sense, want to
cause His Presence to rest on a particular, limited, physical site?

To answer these questions, one can employ an analogy taken from a
natural phenomenon: When a high, brick wall falls down, the bricks from
the highest part of the wall fall the farthest away. Those bricks that
formed the lowest section of the wall remain very close to their
original place. This principle applies as well to the spiritual realm -
"The higher the spiritual source, the lower will be its manifestation in
the corporeal world."

As a further illustration we see that the better a person's
understanding and grasp of a subject, the more he is able to explain the
subject, however complex, to another - even to one with limited

Similarly, G-d's desire to dwell in a specific location does not point
to His limitation, but is rather a manifestation of His infinite nature.
It is precisely because G-d is without measure and omnipresent that He
was able to dwell in a sanctuary made of wood and stone.

There were also different degrees of holiness present in the Tabernacle,
which traveled together with the Jews through the wilderness, and the
Holy Temple, which was later erected in Jerusalem as a permanent
dwelling. The Tabernacle was built mostly of material from the vegetable
and animal kingdoms-wood and animal products; the Temple was built
almost entirely of stone, taken from the realm of the inanimate, the
lowest of all. The Holy Temple had the highest manifestation of
G-dliness, from the highest spiritual source, and this was reflected in
the fact that it was made of the lowliest building materials.

"And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst."
Today, because we have no Holy Temple, every Jew serves as a sanctuary
to G-d. Just as the Children of Israel elevated their physical
possessions by using them to build the Tabernacle and later the Temple,
every Jew must now utilize his possessions in bringing the peace and
light of Torah into the world. When we do this, and conduct even the
most mundane aspects of our lives "for the sake of Heaven," we ourselves
are sanctified and transformed into a sanctuary to G-d, and become
active partners in imbuing the world with holiness.

                    Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                           Cherished Memories
                      by Rabbi Dovid Shraga Polter

A memory of my teenage years still resonates within me, partly perhaps,
because of my work as a Community Chaplain serving Jewish older adults
in the Detroit Metropolitan area.

It was a Friday afternoon in the middle of the summer. I was shopping
for Shabbat provisions on a bustling street with people rushing in all
directions. As I hurried with my shopping bags across the Brooklyn
neighborhood's main street, I noticed an elderly European Jew. Over and
over again, he was shouting to all the passersby, "Vie loift a
Yid?!!-Where is a Jew running?"

I viewed this man - and his seemingly bizarre behavior - as just another
strange street person, all too common in New York. I went about my
business, and along with the other shoppers, didn't try to connect with
or understand the man.

Decades have passed, and only recently have the man's words begun to
strike me as profound and insightful. I realize now that he was
challenging me to value and nurture peace in my life. He was questioning
our hastiness, for he believed one must live every moment for the
moment, not for the next. His words have inspired me to cherish the
moment  and not to overlook or rush it through.

Some of us possibly have spent much of our lives looking for the next
moment - only to finally realize that our entire "present" has suddenly
become swallowed by our irretrievable past.

I believe I heard in this man's voice the cries of our elderly urging us
to share our "precious present" with them, with our parents,
grandparents, and our other respected elders.

Our elders have so much to live for and pride themselves in - the joy of
children and grandchildren if they were so blessed, life-long friends
they have made, talents and expertise they have developed, and
individual attitudes and wisdom about life that they have shaped and
honed over the years of joys and struggles. They strive to live in the
present and enjoy each moment of the lives they are granted.

Perhaps we have a role to play in helping them fully experience the
"precious present," rather than leaving them solely to memories,
recollections and nostalgia.

I must admit I was not always so comfortable about visiting older adults
living in health care facilities. A memory from my childhood recently
reminded me of how far I have come in this regard.

When I was six years old, my teacher took our class to perform for
residents of a nursing home as part of a Chanuka celebration. We proudly
sang Yiddish tunes and many residents shed tears of joy.  The room was
filled with love and memories.

Throughout the performance, an elderly woman with a very wrinkled face
kept staring at me. She even attempted to roll her wheelchair over to me
several times, but was unsuccessful. I was uncomfortable and scared. As
the performance came to an end, the woman's agitated signals caught the
attention of my teacher. The woman explained that a secret hope of hers,
kept alive in her heart for many years, could now be fulfilled. She saw
in my face the image of her loving son, Shlomele, who had perished in
the Holocaust. She felt electrified.

How she had dreamed of just one more glimpse of his sweet, young face.
The only thing she wanted from me was a kiss. At the age of six, I was
frightened to come so close to her. My teacher began to bargain with me.
He began offering me points for prizes. He offered me ten, 20, 50, 100
points, but to no avail. He had to raise the points to nearly a thousand
for me to agree to kiss her.

Years have passed and things have changed dramatically for me. The one
thing I learned from this experience is that we need to train our
youngsters by having them spend time with our elders. In addition to the
great benefit that results for our frail older adults through this
activity, it is an even greater reward for our youth, because it gives
them the privilege to visit those who carry the title of Zekanim
(elders) who truly are full of wisdom and experience.

Several years ago, my wife and I travelled to Israel. We made frequent
visits to my grandmother who lives in a nursing facility in Jerusalem
because of advanced dementia. My grandfather visited her every day to
feed her lunch, thereby maintaining what he could of their relationship.

It was during one of these lunch visits that I witnessed something
between them that I will probably remember for the rest of my life.

My grandfather reached into his pocket and took out several laminated
flash cards upon which were printed the blessings on the various foods
grandmother was about to eat and placed them in front of her.
Unbelievably, she picked them up and made the appropriate blessing on
each food - as she had done everyday throughout her life.

The wonder of this act is unbelievable since she could never have
recited the proper blessings on her own and certainly would not have
repeated it after him. Despite her impairment, however, she was capable
of reading the blessings. But even more than being innovative, I have
learned from my grandfather - who is a scholarly Chasid in his nine-ties
- that older adults are receptive to observing  that which is in their
reach. They sincerely want to be part of the Jewish experience and gain
the connection and comfort that a mitzva (commandment) brings. I believe
the approach to take with our elders is to consider them interested in a
prayer, a mitzva, a Torah thought, unless they voice the opposite.

One of the reasons for the continuity of the Jewish people is the family
unit and the caring relationship between the elderly and the youth.
Share your children with your elders. I know that you will be amazed at
the fruitful rewards!

                               WHAT'S NEW

                      New Emissaries to California

Two new Chabad-Lubavitch Centers recently opened in Southern California.
Rabbi Shmuel and Bluma Marcus opened a Center that will serve the
communities of Cypress and Rossmoor and Rabbi Dovid and Bina Holtzberg
will be serving the Monterey community. Among their initial activities
will be adult education classes, Mitzva Campaign Awareness projects and
holiday programs.

                      Massive Bar Mitzva in Moscow

A huge Bar Mitzva ceremony was held in Moscow this past month for 52
boys. The "young men" hailed from Moscow and other parts of Russia. Held
in the Marina Roscha Synagogue and Jewish Center on the anniversary of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe's accpetance of the mantle of leadership of
Chabad-Lubavitch 52 years ago, the event was the largest of its kind
ever held in the Former Soviet Union.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
           On the day of reading: "And you shall be unto Me a
         Kingdom of Kohanim [priests] and a Holy Nation," 5730

Greeting and Blessing:

...The Ten Commandments begin with the fundamental precepts of man's
relation to G-d, and conclude with precepts governing man's relation to
man. This emphasizes that even the most elementary ethical and moral
precepts have a validity and effectiveness only if they derive from the
authority of "I am G-d your G-d" and "Thou shalt have no other gods."

The history of mankind has continuously demonstrated that human life can
make no real progress where the imperatives of morality and ethics are
not based on the authority of the Supreme Being, but are human
inventions that can be changed and modified to suit the proclivities of
the age. The state of the generation of the present day is the best
proof of that.

In Jewish life, in particular, there can be no separation between
morality and ethics on the one hand, and our belief in One G-d on the
other. Unity is the very core of both our belief and our daily conduct,
where the material and spiritual aspects of life must be brought into
full harmony, with the spiritual aspect being the predominating and
determining factor.

There can be no difference of opinion as to the necessity to bring up a
child in the proper relationship towards others, with respect for
parents and elders, and so forth, from his earliest age. On the same
basis, it is equally imperative to bring up a Jewish child in the spirit
of Torah and Mitzvoth from his earliest age.

Only this kind of upbringing and education can be called a complete and
unified Chinuch [Jewish education], a true Torah-Chinuch. This is what
the wisest of all men meant when he said, "Train the child in the way he
should go, and he will not depart from it when he grows old" (Prov.

                                *  *  *

                        Purim-Koton, 5725 [1965]

Blessing and Greeting:

I am pleased to be informed about your forthcoming convention, which is
taking place in the period between the two Purims. This auspicious
circumstance, coupled with the fact that the Jewish women had a
prominent part in the Miracle of Purim, will surely add a significant
dimension to your convention.

While on the subject of the two Purims, it is appropriate to mention a
further point: The occurrence of two Purims as this year, is due to the
fact that our unique Hebrew Calendar requires a periodic adjustment
between the lunar and solar years. The extra month in our Leap Year
makes up the deficiency in the lunar year as compared with the solar
year. But since the deficiency is only close to 11 days, whereas the
extra month consists of 30 days, it is clear the extra month makes good
the deficiency of several years.

In accordance with the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov [founder of
Chasidism], to the effect that every experience should serve as a lesson
toward better service of G-d, the Leap Year serves to remind us that
everyone has an opportunity to make up for any deficiency in the past,
and sometimes even to accumulate a little reserve for the future, as in
the case of our Leap Year.

Chabad Chassidus emphasizes this point in a very basic manner, since by
very definition Chassidus is a way of life that demands a little more
effort than in the line of duty - a little more dedication, a little
more depth, a little more enthusiasm; and enthusiasm itself provides a
breakthrough in overcoming limitations. Fortunately, Jewish women are
blessed with a goodly measure of enthusiasm, which should only be
channeled in the right direction - to strengthen and spread Torah and
Mitzvoth [commandments] as they are illuminated with the light and
warmth of Chassidus.

May G-d grant Hatzlocho [success] to your convention to accomplish its
goals, and more, with practical and fruitful results.

With blessing,

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
6 Adar I, 5763 - Feb. 8, 2003

Prohibition 356: It is forbidden to remarry one's divorced wife who
married and divorced a second time.

This mitzva is based on the verse (Deut 24:4) "Then her former (first)
husband who sent her away may not take her again to be his wife." A man
who divorces his wife is forbidden to remarry her if she married another
man and then, was divorced a second time or was widowed from her second
husband. (If she did not marry another man, he is permitted to marry her

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This coming Sunday is the seventh day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the
birthday and yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses).

The Rebbe has spoken numerous times about the significance of this date
in our G-dly service. In a leap year such as our current year, there is
a difference of opinion as to whether we commemorate this date in the
first or second month of Adar. Since both opinions are "the words of the
Living G-d" it is appropriate to commemorate the date in both months.

On a person's birthday, "his mazal (source of influence) shines
powerfully." If this concept applies to the birthday of any Jew, surely
it applies with regard to the birthday of a leader ("Nasi," or "prince")
of the Jewish people. Nor is this relevant merely as an event in the
past. Instead, each year, the positive influence associated with the
Seventh of Adar is increased, reaching a level immeasurably higher than
in previous years.

The birthday of a Jewish leader affects every member of the Jewish
people, for the leader is the source of influence through whom G-d's
blessings are drawn down for the entire people.

Seven is symbolic of a complete cycle.

Thus, the Seventh of Adar should inspire every Jew to carry out his
service in a complete manner. The positive influence of the month of
Adar will facilitate the performance of this service.

Similarly, these positive influences will hasten the coming of the
Redemption. It is of utmost importance that the Redemption come sooner,
even a moment sooner, for the Divine Presence and the Jewish people are
in exile. Therefore, it is important to hasten the coming of the
Redemption; every single moment its coming can be speeded is

The potential for this certainly exists: the very next moment can be the
last moment of the exile, and the moment that follows, the first moment
of Redemption.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
From the cover (itself) shall you make the cherubim (Ex. 25:19)

The cherubim were made with the faces of small children, one a boy and
one a girl. From this we learn that providing the proper Jewish
education for even our tiny children is a basic principle necessary for
our keeping the Torah.

                                         (Rabbi Yosef Ber of Brisk)

                                *  *  *

Within and without shall you overlay it (Ex. 25:11)

A true Torah scholar is one whose "inside" matches his "outside." Merely
learning the lofty principles contained in the Torah is not enough - its
lessons must also be internalized. That is why we say in Psalms (45:14),
"All the glory of the king's daughter is within." The splendor and glory
of the Torah is the internal purity it leads to.

                                              (Kiflayyim L'Toshiya)

                                *  *  *

Of a talent of pure gold shall it be made (Ex. 25:39)

Man's purpose in life is to illuminate his surroundings with the light
of Torah and mitzvot (commandments). This responsibility holds true no
matter what the individual's circumstances or mood may be. The numerical
equivalent of the Hebrew word for talent, "kikar," is 140 - the same as
the numerical equivalent of "mar" (bitter), and "rom" (lofty). No matter
what our situation, our task remains the same.

 (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

Two and one-half cubits its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth,
and a cubit and a half its height (Ex. 25:10)

The ark was measured in fractions, not whole numbers, teaching us that
to achieve spiritual growth, one must first "break down" and shatter
one's negative characteristics and bad habits.

                                     (Sefer Hamamarim U'Kuntreisim)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Rabbi Shneur Zalman (founder of Chabad Chasidism) was deeply disturbed
by the intrigues and dissension that jeopardized his activities,
particularly those relating to the Chasidic community in the Holy Land.
He had a premonition that his own eclipse was at hand. One day, the
Rebbe confided in his daughter, Devorah Leah, and expressed his utmost
apprehension in regard to the future of Chasidism and to the Baal Shem
Tov's teachings.

Devorah Leah realized the gravity of the situation and sensed that her
father's life was linked with it. For several days she kept her anxiety
to herself. Then she decided that it was her duty to divulge her secret
to some of the senior Chasidim. She also resolved that she would give
her life for the life of her father.

Devorah Leah asked three senior Chasidim to meet with her. She asked
them to promise on oath that they would act according to her
instructions, whatever they might be, and would keep in strictest
confidence all that she was about to tell them, until such time as it
would be fitting to keep the matter secret no longer.

The three Chasidim requested time to consider. They realized that
something was amiss. They had noticed that the Rebbe had secluded
himself in his private room and not even they were admitted. This change
in the Rebbe's routine was ominous. Undoubtedly, the Rebbe's daughter
knew something that was of extreme gravity. Finally they came to the
conclusion that they had to accept Devorah Leah's conditions. The
following day they presented themselves to Devorah Leah with their
resolution. She began by saying:

"We are all Chasidim of my father, our Rebbe, and each one of us must be
ready and willing to give his or her life for him, and for the future of
Chasidism." Then she was overcome by a flood of tears.

At her distress the three Chasidim were deeply moved. One Chasid
ex-claimed: "I will be the first to give my life for the Rebbe and for
the perpetuation of the Baal Shem Tov's teachings. I will gladly go
through fire or water..."

"First," Devorah Leah interrupted, "you must swear to me by the most
stringent Torah-oath which has no absolution, that you will do what I
ask of you, without any mental reservation whatsoever, even if it is a
matter of life."

Hearing these ominous words, they reiterated that they had already
carefully weighed the matter and had agreed to abide by Devorah Leah's
conditions, come what may. Thereupon the three of them gave their solemn
oath as requested.

"Now I make the three of you a Beit Din (rabbinical court), and you will
agree to act as a Beit Din, and to rule in accordance with the law of
the Torah." Devorah Leah continued, "These were my father's words
concerning the present situation in the wake of the intrigue which has
cast a shadow over Chasidism:

" 'For thirty years a fruit-bearing tree requires cultivation and care
in order to bring it to its optimum fruitfulness. It is now thirty years
since the teachings of our master, the Baal Shem Tov, were firmly
planted by my teacher and master, the Maggid of Mezritch, and grew into
a Tree of Life. Now, the Adversary threatens to destroy it all. I do
want to live, for this is the duty of every man, according to the Torah.
Yet, more precious to me than life is my desire to cultivate this tree
so that it continues to give its fruit until the coming of Moshiach.

" 'The Maggid, had forewarned me of difficult times, and had promised to
come to my aid. I saw my teacher, but his face was overcast, an

"In view of this situation, I have resolved to put my life in lieu of my
father's. I bequeath my life to him; I will die so that he may live a
good and long life, in order to cultivate the Tree of Life. In this way
I will also have a share in it."

On the first night of Rosh Hashana, after the services, Rabbi Shneur
Zalman broke his custom not to speak to anyone. He, asked: "Where is
Devorah Leah?" When she appeared, he began to wish her the customary
blessing to "be inscribed in a happy year." But she interrupted him
immediately, and wished him, instead, to "be inscribed in a happy year."

After Rosh Hashana ended, Rabbi Shneur Zalman called  Devorah Leah and
her husband Rabbi Shalom Shachna into his room. What was spoken there is
not known, but Rabbi Shachna was heard saying: "What is to happen to the

The following day Devorah Leah passed away. Rabbi Shneur Zalman took
personal charge of her young son's upbringing.

The next years saw an intensification of intolerance in certain
communities towards the Chasidic approach. The extent of Rabbi Shneur
Zalman's suffering became apparent on Shavuot, the anniversary of the
Baal Shem Tov's passing. He was immersed in a state of profound soulful
reverie. It was an awesome sight. Suddenly, Rabbi Shneur Zalman stood up
and exclaimed: "Zaida (Grandfather)! (referring to the Baal Shem Tov.)
Invoke Divine mercy upon me, upon all your disciples and followers, upon
the survival of your teachings! Our Heavenly Father, have mercy upon
us!" Then, Rabbi Shneur Zalman fainted.

Turmoil broke loose. In the midst of the commotion, little Menachem
Mendel, the orphaned son of Devorah Leah, came running into the room.
Seeing his grandfather lying on the floor, he cried: "Zaida! Zaida!"
Rabbi Shneur Zalman opened his eyes. "Zaida, take hold of my hand and
get up!" the child kept saying. Reaching for the little hand, Rabbi
Shneur Zalman stood up and said, "This one will comfort us!"

                              From the book, Shneur Zalman of Liadi

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
We must look at every moment that we still remain in exile not as a
moment of exile but rather as a preparation for the Redemption. With
this perspective in mind, we can much more easily confront and overcome
the difficulties of exile and complete our mission.

                    (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 10 Shevat, 5714 - 1954)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 756 - Terumah 5763

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