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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 788
                           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.
        September 26, 2003    Rosh Hashana         29 Elul, 5763

               "Our Father, Our King -- Avinu Malkeinu."

The theme of G-d as Parent and Ruler dominates Rosh Hashana.

The Baal Shem Tov taught that the love G-d has for each one of us is
analogous to and surpasses the love a father has for an only child born
in his old age.

Rosh Hashana is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve. Thus,
it corresponds to the rebirth of humanity and we reestablish our
relationship as children of G-d on this day.

The sounding of the shofar is connected to this central motif of Rosh
Hashana, that of G-d as our Divine Parent.

To better understand this we look to another parable of the Baal Shem

An errant prince, an only son, traveled far from the palace. After many
years had passed, the prince yearned to be reunited with his father, the
king. However, by the time he returned to his native land, he had
forgotten his mother tongue. From deep within his soul a cry emerged, a
cry that -- no matter how estranged the child -- a father could

This fervent broken-hearted plea, of "Father, it is I, your only son,
help me!" broke through the barriers separating father and son more
eloquently than any words the prince might have uttered. At this moment,
the king embraced the errant son.

For thousands of years the Jewish people have wandered in exile. At
times, we even seem to have lost our means of communicating with our
Father. We are very much like the proverbial prince, who when facing his
father the king could only cry.

We are in pain not only because our self-created barriers separate us
from G-d. But also because even when we wish to return we encounter all
sorts of seemingly insurmountable obstacles born of the national and
spiritual exile of our people.

The shofar represents the wordless cry of the only child within each of
us. Chosen because of its simplicity, it symbolizes the incorruptible
nature of the soul connected to the essence of G-d, Himself.

Transcending the conventional modes of communication, the shofar's
shattering wail arouses in us an awareness of the most powerful bond
uniting Father and child. No matter how far we may feel we've strayed
throughout the year, no matter how muted or inadequate our ability to
communicate with G-d, the shofar of Rosh Hashana enables us to reconnect
in a more fundamental and powerful way than previously envisioned.

The "Great Shofar" sounded by G-d signaling the Messianic Age, will
pierce all barriers and penetrate beneath the surface of our very
beings. When G-d sounds the Great Shofar we will be able to express,
completely and openly, the fundamental child/parent relationship we
intrinsically have with G-d. The shofar of Redemption will usher in a
time when the love between G-d and the Jewish people -- concealed
throughout our trial-ridden exile -- will be fully revealed.

May we all be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year. But even
before the New Year may we all find ourselves in the Holy Temple in
Jerusalem with the revelation of our righteous Moshiach, and he will
redeem us.

This Shabbat and Sunday are the holy days of Rosh Hashana.
Traditionally, the High Holidays are associated with Teshuva, Tefila and
Tzedaka - repentance, prayer and charity - which together form the three
pillars of our service of G-d. The usual translation of these three
concepts do not, however, convey their true Jewish essence.

Teshuva is usually rendered "repentance." However, the exact translation
of "repentance" is "charata."

Charata stresses a movement toward a new path of action by the
individual. He regrets that he committed an evil deed, or failed to
perform a good one, and now wishes to conduct himself in a new manner.
Teshuva, on the other hand, signifies return. A Jew is essentially good,
and his innermost desire is to do what is right. It is only due to
various circumstances, wholly or partly beyond his control, that he has
erred. This is the Jewish concept of teshuva - a return to his roots and
origins, to his innermost self, revealing his innate personality, which
will now become the master of his life.

Tefila is generally translated as "prayer." Yet the more accurate
translation of prayer would be "bakasha."

Similar to teshuva and charata, tefila and bakasha are antonyms. Bakasha
means a request, a plea. Tefila means "to attach oneself." Bakasha
emphasizes a request to the Alm-ghty to grant us our needs. However,
when we lack or desire nothing, our asking is superfluous. Tefila
signifies attaching oneself to G-d, and is relevant to everyone at all

Every Jew has a soul that is bound and connected to G-d. At times, these
ties to the Alm-ghty may become weakened. To correct this, we have
specific times during the day for tefila in order to renew and
strengthen our ties with G-d. Hence, even for those who lack nothing
material, there exists the concept of tefila, "wanting to get closer to
G-d," so to speak. It is the means of strengthening the bond and
attachment between the Jew and his Creator.

Tzedaka is often translated as "charity." But the more accurate word for
charity is actually "chesed." The word chesed stresses the kindness of
giving. This concept does not demand that the recipient be deserving,
nor the donor obligated to give. Instead, out of goodness, he gives.
Tzedaka, on the other hand, comes from the Hebrew word meaning
"justice," signifying that justice demands of the Jew that he give, and
for two reasons: First, he is not giving of his own, but only what has
been entrusted to him by G-d to give to others. Second, since everyone
depends on the Alm-ghty to provide for his needs, one is obligated to
repay "measure for measure" and give to others.

                       Adapted from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                       Igniting Souls With Music

"I was born into an assimilated family in Peoria, Illinois," begins
David Louis. "My parents belonged to the Conservative community and my
mother worked as a secretary at the Temple. I personally felt no
obligation to attend services with my parents, but I went anyway to
please them. In general, my parents wanted to hide their Jewish
background as much as possible, which is why they changed our name from
Ginsberg to Louis."

The walls of the Louis home in Kiryat Gat, Israel are decorated with
musical instruments alongside stunning landscapes painted by David, a
talent he inherited from his mother. Yet his parents preferred that he
study music, because "you can't make a living from painting," and so
little David studied music diligently.

David excelled in his study of music and while still quite young, he
became a star performer on the trumpet as well as a composer. In
university, Louis continued to study music, along with philosophy and

This was in the 60's. The war in Vietnam was raging. Large groups of
students began to rebel. Many left the universities and normal life and
wandered around, living as they pleased.

David Louis was affected by these upheavals. "The student riots changed
America, me included. My entire worldview changed." David became a
hippie who searched for meaning in life. He tried "to find himself" on
long trips throughout the U.S. and Canada.

David Louis grew his hair long and wore decrepit clothes. At a certain
point he joined an infamous Indian religious group. "Eventually I made a
major transition from a life of abandon to life within the strictures of
a cult."

Louis still hadn't found peace, though. He left the cult and continued

David arrived in S. Francisco and rented a room. Looking out the window
the first evening, he saw an old Gothic building and went to
investigate. "I went inside and was told that this was a monastery with
a college nearby. I met with people from the monastery and offered to
teach music in the college. After telling them my musical history, I was
employed and became part of the staff." The administration quickly
grasped that Louis was a first-class musician. In fact, they wanted him
to join the monastery and become a priest!

Deep within, however, David felt he couldn't do it. His neshama made him
proudly declare, "But I'm Jewish!" He decided to get out of there as
fast as possible.

"I followed my instincts and without a definite plan, I packed my few
belongings and left the monastery with only 50 dollars. I decided to go
to Los Angeles, which cost me 20 dollars. I was left with 30 dollars for
my basic needs."

In Los Angeles, David looked for the university. On his way, he noticed
a sign that said "Chabad House," as well as a young man who looked like
an Orthodox Jew. David wondered what it was all about. He entered the
Chabad House and met Rabbi Yosef Teitelbaum, who invited him home for a
visit. "We got to the Teitelbaum house and R' Yosef opened a Torah Ohr
and began to explain it. I was dumbfounded. He spoke about the Prophets,
the Jewish soul, the images associated with the heavenly throne - it
really grabbed me. I couldn't understand how it happened that all those
years I had searched for this in various cults, and it was right there
in Judaism.

"I decided to stay at the Chabad House. During the day, I learned more
about my Jewish heritage. I was especially interested in the
conversations with Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, head Lubavitch emissary to
California, who spoke a lot about Chasidic philosophy and mysticism

"In the winter of 1973 I went to Crown Heights, and was accepted into
Yeshiva Hadar Hatorah, a school for Jewish students interested in
learning about their heritage." This also gave David a chance to see the
Lubavitcher Rebbe, about whom he had heard so much.

David's first deeply touching experience with the Rebbe occurred a few
months after he came to Crown Heights. It was the night of Pesach, and
he was sitting in the yeshiva dining room. "One of the students
announced that the Rebbe would be arriving shortly. Suddenly, the Rebbe
walked in with a serious expression on his face. Everybody was silent.
The Rebbe walked over to the kitchen and checked that everything was set
up properly for Passover.

"It's hard to describe what I felt. The seriousness on the Rebbe's face
expressed for me an inner, profound seriousness that was interwoven with
the foundations of Judaism and Chasidism."

David later married and moved to Israel, where he lives in Kiryat Gat.
He now spends his time composing, playing, drawing, and teaching Jewish
mysticism. About a year ago, Louis made four trips around the world for
the purpose of bringing joy to Jews in far-off places. He visited
communities in Yugoslavia, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, Italy, South Africa
and the U.S., and performed in some 30 concerts!

                             Reprinted from Beis Moshiach Magazine.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                                60 Days

The High Holiday season is a paradox for many. These are awesome days,
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destiny of our lives. Yet, how many of us are truly transformed on Rosh
Hashana and Yom Kippur? 60 DAYS addresses this dilemma. This newest book
from Rabbi Simon Jacobson, author of Toward a Meaningful Life, offers
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                            THE REBBE WRITES
                     Freely translated and adapted
                  In the Days of Selichos, 5734 [1973]
            To the Sons and Daughters of Our People Israel,
                     Everywhere: G-d bless you all,

Greeting and Blessing:

One of the main aspects of Rosh Hashana is its being the anniversary of
the creation of man. Hence Rosh Hashana is also the Day of Judgement for
mankind, as well as for the world in general - which had been created
for man's sake, to be conquered and governed by him.

This is also the reason why Rosh Hashana is Coronation Day, when Jews
proclaim G-d's Sovereignty as King of the Jewish people and King of the
Universe, and petition Him - in all prayers of Rosh Hashana: "Display
Your reign over all the world," with certainty, that He will favor the
petition and accept the Coronation.

Needless to say, this Coronation must be wholehearted and complete,
meaning that together with the feeling of awesome reverence for the
sublime majesty of the King of the Universe, coupled with the profound
joy at G-d's acceptance of the Coronation,

There is bound up with it a firm resolution of allegiance and obedience
to His commandments - to carry them out on each and every day of the
incoming year and thereafter.

The general and essential nature of this resolution is: to order one's
life - in every aspect of the daily life - in accord with the purpose of
man's creation, which is - to quote our Sages: "I was created to serve
my Master (Creator)"; and to serve Him with joy, as it is written,
"Serve G-d with joy."

The nature and end-purpose of this service is: "To make an abode for G-d
in the lowest world." This means, to conduct oneself in such a way that
every detail in the surrounding world, and certainly every detail of the
individual's personal life, becomes an "abode" for G-dliness, which is
achieved through everyday Torah and mitzvos (commandments) living.

All this is required of every Jew, man or woman, young or old,
regardless of position and status, as this is also indicated in the
verse alluding to Rosh Hashana: "You are standing firmly this day, all
of you, before G-d your G-d: your heads... down to the drawer of your
water." Every Jew, without exception, is required and expected to rise
to the level of "standing before G-d, your G-d," regardless how it was
in the past year.

The question arises: How can one expect every Jew to attain such a
level, and to attain it truly and with joy, considering that it has to
do with an "abode in the lowest world," a world that is predominantly
materialistic; a world in which Jews are - quantitatively - "the fewest
among all the nations"; and, moreover, to expect it of the Jew when his
indispensable physical requirements, such as eating drinking, sleeping,
making a living, etc., occupy the major part of his time and energy,
leaving little time for matters of spirit and holiness?

The explanation of it - in terms understandable to all - is to be found
in the concept of bitochon, trust in G-d, bitochon being one of the
foundations of the Torah.

...The idea of bitochon is to feel reassured and convinced that G-d will
help overcome all difficulties in life, both material and spiritual,
since "G-d is my light and my help." It is especially certain that
everyone, man or woman, is able to carry out their mission in life, and
do so with joy - reflecting on the extraordinary privilege of having
been chosen by G-d to be His emissary on earth for the purpose of
"making for Him an abode in the lowest world" - with the assurance of
having G-d's light, help and fortitude to carry out this mission.

The joy of it is further increased by contemplating the nature of this
help from G-d, which comes to him in a manner of "I turn to my Loving
G-d and my Loving G-d turns to me" - the G-d Who loves me with infinite
Divine love - bestowed particularly from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom
Kippur, as explained by our Sage.

Hence, during this time, as also throughout the year thereafter, this
extraordinary divine love must evoke in the heart of every Jew a
boundless love for G-d, as the Psalmist expresses it: "Whom have I in
heaven? And on earth I desire nothing but You: my flesh and my heart
languish for You, O G-d." Here, too, the love and trust in G-d are
underscored in all aspects of life: "in heaven" - the spiritual, and "on
earth" - the material.

Bitochon is for every Jew an inheritance from our Patriarchs, as is
written, "In You our fathers trusted; they trusted - and You delivered
them." It is deeply ingrained in the Jewish heart and soul; all that is
necessary is to bring it forth to the surface, so that it permeates the
daily life in all its aspects.

In light of the rule, enunciated by our Sages, that "By the measure that
a person measures, it is measured to him" it follows that the stronger
and more embracing one's bitochon is, the greater, more evident, and
more inclusive is the fulfillment of this trust, through the blessings
which G-d bestows, materially and spiritually.

May G-d grant that all the above should be realized in every Jew in the
fullest measure.

And this will also hasten the fulfillment of the all-inclusive Divine
blessing to our people - the true and complete Redemption through

With the blessing to be written and sealed for a good and sweet year,
materially and spiritually.

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
3 Tishrei, 5764 - September 29, 2003

Positive Mitzva 176: Appointing Judges

This mitzva is based on the verse (Deut. 16:18) "Appoint judges and
officers in all your gates" The Torah contains laws and rules governing
every aspect of our lives. It deals not only with how we pray in the
synagogue, but how we should grow our crops, run our businesses and set
up laws for our people. The job of enforcing that the Torah laws are
followed is given to the judges (courts) and the officers (police).

Positive Mitzvah 175: Abiding by a Majority Decision

Exodus 23:2 "To follow the majority"

Differences of opinion about Torah law often arise among Torah scholars.

Since all rabbis sitting on a Rabbinic court are learned, they cannot
dismiss an opinion at random.

However, a decision must be reached.

Therefore, the Torah set down a basic guideline - the majority rules.

Whenever there is a dispute between the Rabbis sitting on a court, it
must be resolved by following the opinion of the majority.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
                           May this year be:

A year of "Arise and have mercy on Zion,"... uplifted in matters of
Moshiach and the Redemption... faith in G-d and Moses His servant...
traveling with the Heavenly clouds... Revealed Wonders; Wonders in
Everything... the building of the Holy Temple... trust; Great wonders...
the true and complete Redemption; Dignified Wonders... victory... the
seventh generation is the generation of Redemption...King David lives
and is eternal; "Those who rest in the dust will arise and sing and he
will lead them"... Moshiach is coming and he has already come... the
revelation of Moshiach; "He will redeem us"... "And they believed in G-d
and in Moses His servant"; "This one will comfort us"; the wonders of
true freedom... a new song; an abundance of good (Rambam); the king
shall live; inscribed and sealed for a good year... the harp of
Moshiach; learning Moshiach's teachings; the coming of Menachem who will
comfort us... the King Moshiach; wonders... revealed miracles... a
double portion; treasures... the completion and end of exile... the
revelation of the Infinite Divine Light; "Humble ones, the time of your
Redemption has arrived"; "Jerusalem will dwell in open space"; Your
servant David will go forth; the ingathering of the exiles... acceptance
of his sovereignty by the people; Rebbe - Rosh B'nei Yisrael; peace... a
new song... Moshiach's shofar... unity of the Torah, unity of the Jewish
people, unity of the land of Israel; Resurrection of the Dead... "A new
Torah will come from Me"

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
For You are He who remembers forever all forgotten things. (Musaf Rosh
Hashana Amida)

One of the great Chasidic masters said of this verse: G-d remembers only
that which a person forgets. If a person sins but he remembers the sin
and it troubles him, G-d forgets it. But if he sins and he forgets about
the sin, i.e., it doesn't bother him, G-d remembers it. The same is true
of mitzvot (commandments). If he does a mitzva and remembers it, always
thinking how great he is to have performed the mitzva, G-d forgets it.
But if he does a mitzva and forgets about it, i.e., he doesn't become
impressed with himself over it, G-d remembers it.

                                *  *  *

                         The Cry of the Shofar

The word used in the Torah to describe the sound of the shofar also
denotes the sound of someone crying. There are two types of crying
sounds. The first is like the moaning and crying of a person in pain,
which is slightly drawn out. Another type of crying is tightly spaced
short sobs. And sometimes, the first turns into the second; longer
sounds followed by the shorter sounds. The first category of sounds are
called shevarim, the second are teru'ot and the combination are
shevarim-teru'ot. Each type of crying must have a single long sound,
called a tekiah, preceding and following.

                                *  *  *

                      Good Wishes on Rosh Hashana

Reb Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch said: "Every person is accompanied by
two angels when he returns home from the synagogue. After the evening
prayers of Rosh Hashana, when they hear each person wishing his neighbor
with a pure heart - 'May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year' -
they soar aloft and appear as defense attorneys in the Heavenly Court,
where they plead that the well-wishers be granted a good and sweet year,
as well."

                                *  *  *

                  Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we are given a period of seven days,
containing every day of the week - one Sunday, one Monday, and so forth.
This complete week, neither more nor less, enables us to atone and
repent for any wrong deeds accounted for during the previous year, and
to better our way of life in the new year. That we have been given a
complete week in which to accomplish this is significant: Spending the
Sunday of this week as we should, and making the most of the time,
serves as an atonement especially for the wrong done on all the Sundays
of the previous year. The same is true of the repentance done on Monday
for all Mondays, etc.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
It was the first day of Rosh Hashana in the synagogue of the famous
Berditchever Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak.

The shul was crowded. The Rebbe himself was leading the congregation.

The Rebbe's soft, vibrant voice touched the heartstrings of every
worshipper. As the Rebbe pronounced the words, his voice broke, and
everyone's heart was filled with remorse. Each pictured himself standing
before the Judge of the Universe.

The Rebbe recited line after line of the solemn prayer, which the
congregation repeated, until he came to the line:

"To Him, Who acquires His servants in judgment..."

Here the Rebbe suddenly paused, for the words died on his lips. His
prayer shawl slid from his head, revealing his pale face; his eyes were
shut, and he seemed to be in a trance.

A shudder passed through the worshippers. A critical situation must have
arisen in the Heavenly Court; things were not going well for the

A few moments later, the color returned to the Rebbe's face, which now
became radiant with joy. His voice shook with ecstasy and triumph as he

"To Him, who acquires His servants in judgment!"

After the service, the Rebbe explained:

While we prayed, I felt myself lifted up to the gates of heaven, where I
saw Satan carrying a heavy load. The sight filled me with anxiety, for I
knew that he was carrying a bag full of sins to put onto the Scales of
Justice before the Heavenly Court.

For a moment the bag was left unattended, so I went up to it and began
to examine its contents. The bag was crammed with all kinds of sins:
evil gossip, hatred without reason, jealousies, wasted time which should
have been spent in study of the Torah - ugly creatures of sins, big and

I pushed my hand into the bag and began pulling out one sin after
another, to look at them more closely. I saw that almost all the sins
were committed unwillingly, without pleasure, downright carelessly, or
in sheer ignorance. No Jew was really bad, but the circumstances of
exile, poverty and hardship, sometimes hardened his heart, set his
nerves on edge, brought about petty jealousies, and the like.

And strangely enough, as I was examining all these sins, and thinking
what was really behind them, they seemed to melt away, one by one, until
hardly anything was left in the bag. The bag dropped back, limp and

The next moment, I heard a terrible cry. Satan had discovered what I had
done. "You thief!" he screamed. "What did you do to my sins? All year I
labored to gather these precious sins, and now you have stolen them! You
shall pay double!"

"How can I pay you?" I pleaded. "My sins may be many, but not so many."

"Well you know the Law," Satan countered. "He who steals must pay
double, and if he is unable to pay, he shall be sold into servitude. You
are my slave now! Come!"

My captor brought me before the Supreme Judge of the Universe.

After listening to Satan's complaint, the Holy One, blessed is He, said:

"I will buy him, for so I promised through my prophet Isaiah (46:4):
'Even to his old age, I will be the same...I have made him, I will bear
him, I will sustain and save him!'"

At this point I awoke - concluded the Rebbe - Now I understand the
meaning of the words, "To Him, who acquires His servants in judgment!"
We are the servants of G-d, and if we are faithful servants, G-d
protects us and is our Merciful Master. Let us remain faithful Servants
to G-d, and we'll be spared from being servants of servants, and in the
merit of this, the Alm-ghty will surely inscribe us all in the Book of
Life, for a happy New Year.

     Adapted from The Complete Story of Tishrei, Kehot Publications

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
When Moshiach comes, every creation will understand and recognize that
within everything in this world there is a G-dly power which makes it
exist and gives it its life-force. This is the meaning of the prayer
that we say in the Amida of Rosh Hashana "May everything that has been
made, know that You made it." We beseech G-d to reveal His Kingship in
this world because in truth nothing exists without this G-dliness.

                                     (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 788 - Rosh Hashana 5764

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